Blue cotton hitoe with stylised flowers

Blue cotton kimonoWhen is a cotton hitoe not a yukata?

The answer, really, is when it’s too heavy.

The kimono I’m wearing in this picture is a modern kasuri cotton kimono, unlined. I can, and sometimes do, wear it as a yukata but the fabric is quite stiff and thick – though by no means as thick as the old-style handwoven kasuri, so it really does work better with a juban.

The juban is the picture is one I made many years ago from eau-de-nil shantung – I must have had this about 25 years, but shantung ages pretty well, no matter how many times you wash it. I used to wear it as an outer-layer jacket, but am now pensioning it off as a juban, along with a couple of others I made at the same time, and it needs a new han-eri, probably one of those that I made recently (see separate post).

Guatemalan silk obiThe obi is also my own ‘creation’ – just a 3m length of handwoven Guatemalan silk with gold threads. It looks and feels a lot like sakiori – Japanese recycled silk – and is woven on the same principle. I think the original silk from which it is is made may be recycled from saris. Not only is it beautiful, it’s also easy to wear because it ‘holds’ and stays put when you tie it. As you can see, I just wrap it round a couple of times, knot it and tuck the ends in – there’s no obi stay under this because the fabric’s pretty sturdy all by itself. A very comfortable way to wear an obi.

This kimono is getting a lot of wear this summer because of the dark, practical colour and busy pattern – best for days when the temperature is in the low 20s. The fact that it can be washed at home in the machine is also a big bonus. Altogether great little buy from Kimono Best Buy.

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