Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Re: A small kimono challenge (03)

01. How did I discover Kimono?
02. My dearest kimono items.
03. My most frequently used kimono items (excluding juban and himo).
04. My least used kimono items.
05. My favourite coordinations up until now.
06. Likes and dislikes about kimono.
07. Kimono confessions: Did you know that...?
08. The massive must-have-list (or the what-I-would-like-to-buy-but-is-far-to-expensive-for-me-list)
09. My biggest fears and wishes about kimono.
10. My biggest kimono inspiration.
11. My kimono collection.
12. The evolution of my kitsuke.

Long time no update, my exams took too much time of the few months.
Anyway let's talk about some nicer topics: My most frequently used kimono items.
It's really hard to tell for me which items are the most used one. Compared to the time I have to spent on wearing kimono (sadly they do not live with me but at my parents house) I have too much clothes (of course overall it can never be too much ;-)). But I think I used this obi rather often (at least more than twice):

Gold and purple reversible hanhaba obi.

This simple hanhaba obi isn't special at all, but it is easy to tie. Since I love wearing hakama this one always goes with them. I am thinking about buying some similar ones in other colours, but it's not really wearable with anything besides yukata (which I am not that fond of) and underneath hakama.

Not a single other items beats it in times of usage and time in my collection (it was my first obi ever <3). Due to this I won't list any further items, it would be a little random and I am already pretty "random" when it comes to buying kimono. You'd have no chance if you'd want to find a system within it :P

See you next time to see my least used kimono items!

Participating Blog's posts:
Airi-san's Kira Kira Kimono
Sekhet's My Kimono's

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some "Japantag 2011" Impressions

So on Saturday I went and visited the "Japantag" in Düsseldorf. Usually it is hold in spring, but due to the catastrophe in Japan back then, they moved it to October. 

My impression: I enjoyed listening to the orchestra of Düsseldorf's Japanese International school and "watching" the Watanabe dance group and some other stuff at the small booths along the Rhine-promenade. But I guess it was even more crowded than last year, it was really hard to get to see the Rhine, people (especially crazy ones) everywhere XP
Temperaturewise it was quite refreshing, and moving around in kimono wasn't uncomfortable at all in contrast to the last years, where it was either hot (and crowded) or rainy.

In the End it became to cold for me to stay for the fireworks and waiting alone in the cold isn't too exciting, too. I left rather early and enjoyed watching the fireworks on TV later in the evening (^.^)

People heading towards the Rhine-Promenade

"Watching" the Watanabe dance group
Sunset at the Rhine

My "Japantag"-outfit

Items: Kimono, Obi, Hakama

Monday, September 12, 2011

[Beginner's Guide] Choosing your first obi! (2)

1. Type and Formality/ Typ und Formalität

Let’s have a look at this basic chart. Until you have a feeling for what goes together and what does not, you should consult it out on occasion.

Schauen wir uns zunächst die folgende Tabelle an. Diese solltet ihr, bis ihr ein Gefühl dafür habt, was zusammen passt und was nicht, bei Gelegenheit konsultieren.

click to enlarge, by SilberRegen 2011

The notes within the fields refer to the obi.
minus: do not wear together
all kind: this obi type works with this kimono type
formal: choose more formal obi of this type
informal: more informal obi of this type work

Die Notizen in den einzelnen Spalten beziehen sich jeweils auf den Typ Obi. 
Minuszeichen: besser nicht zusammen tragen
all kind: alle Obi dieses Typs passen
formal: formellere Obi dieses Typs passen
informal: informellere Obi dieses Typs passen

Be aware that if the formality of an kimono (kamon!) rises you'll probably have to rise the formality of your obi, too. In particular, this applies to edo-komon, iromuji. If these have one or even more crests, consider to change "all kind" into "formal". Moreover, if tsukesage and houmongi do have crests (especially when over one) cross out nagoya as option, just to be save.

Seid euch darüber im Klaren, dass mit der Formalität eures Kimono auch die des Obi steigen sollte. Im speziellen kann dies bei Edo-Komon, Iromuji, Tsukesage und Houmongi der Fall sein. Bei ersteren ersetzt alle "all kind" durch "formal", bei Tsukesage und Houmongi streicht zur Sicherheit den Nagoya-Obi lieber ganz raus.

Formality tendencies within obi types/ Formalitätstendenzen innerhalb eines Obitypes:
  • gold and silver embroidery -> formal
  • gold and silver weaved into fabric -> formal
  • heavy embroidery -> formal
  • rather plain single coloured, less motives -> informal
  • longer obi -> formal
  • Gold- und Silberstickerei -> formell
  •  Gold- und Silberfäden eingewebt im Stoff -> formell
  • viele Stickereien -> formell
  • eher einfarbig, einzelne Motive -> informell
  • längerer Obi -> formell
An example/ Ein Beispiel:
Both of these obi are fukuro obi, but while I would wear the upper one with formal kimono only, the lower one goes better with the informal one, e.g my komon.

Obwohl beide Obi hier Fukuro sind, würde ich den oberen nur zu formelleren Kimono tragen, während der untere eher zu informellen passt, z.B. auch Komon.
formal fukuro-obi
informal fukuro-obi
Attention: Very graphical, simple, gold/silver embroidered designs are a significant evidence of a stage obi! These are worn with dance/stage kimono (kabuki etc.) only.

Achtung: Sehr graphische, einfache, gold- /silberfarben gemusterte Obi sind fast immer Tanzobi! Diese werden ausschließlich zu Tanzkimono und Bühnenkostümen (Kabuki etc.) getragen.

While maru-obi are clearly very formal obi, you'll have to be careful with fukuro and nagoya. Nagoya-obi are, compared to other obi types, a rather late invention meant to make kimono dressing easier (like tsuke obi).
While modern nagoya and fukuro can mostly beseparated into nagoya=informal and fukuro=formal (like I implied in this post), older specimen of nagoya could be re-sewn maru or fukuro, thus making them formal. Older fukuro on the other hand may have a wide range of formality, since full-width obi were standard in earlier days.  A hint might be the length, longer obi tend to be the more formal ones, and of course their design.
The same goes for tsuke-obi, which I didn't list in the chart. Modern ones can be considered as "nagoya" formality-wise, but older ones (rather rare) could also be re-sewn fukuro or even maru.

Während Maru-Obi immer als formell anzusehen sind, trifft dies bei Fukuro- und Nagoya-Obi leider nicht immer zu. 
Moderne Versionen können meist bedenkenlos als formell (Fukuro) und informell (Nagoya) einsortiert werden, wie ich es in diesem Post bereits andeutete. Ältere Exemplare jedoch mögen aus diesem Schema herausfallen, weil manch ein Fukuro- oder Maru-Obi umgenäht wurde, was den entsprechenden Nagoya-Obi wesentlich formeller macht.
Dies trifft ebenso auf Tsuke-Obi zu: Während Moderne zumeist als "Nagoya" gehandhabt werden, können ältere Exemplare eventuell geänderte Fukuro und Maru sein. Es empfiehlt sich, den entsprechenden Obi auf seine Länge (formelle Obi sind oft auch die Längeren) und sein Design hin zu prüfen.

You may notice, that this cart only contains kimono and obi types I already explained in previous posts. I think this way it is easier to use, while rare and special kimono/obi types will be discussed later anyway.
"Irotomesode" and "kurotomesode" are put together into "tomesode" as well as "chu-furisode" and "oo-furisode" into "furisode". They're basically treated the same in this matter.
"Ko-furisode" are not included here on purpose. They are mostly worn together with hakama and  therefore falling out of the scheme. Like this you'll wear a hanhaba obi underneath.
If you wish to wear ko-furisode without hakama (untypical, but not unpractisable) put them together with the other furisode.

Manch einer wird bemerkt haben, dass ich in die Tabelle nur bereits besprochene Obi- und Kimono-typen gepackt habe. Das liegt daran, dass ich der Meinung bin, dass für es für den Anfang wesentlich einfacher ist zu überschauen und seltene, sowie spezielle Kimono-/Obisorten später noch einmal extra erklärt werden.
"Irotomesode" und "Kurotomesode" wurden zu "Tomesode", "Chu-" und "Oo-Furisode" zu "Furisode zusammengeschlossen, da sie hier im Prinzip gleich zu behandeln sind.
"Ko-furisode" finden sich mit Absicht nicht in der Liste, weil sie fast ausschließlich mit Hakama und folglich mit Hanhaba-obi darunter getragen werden. Solltet ihr Ko-Furisode ohne Hakama tragen wollen (nicht üblich, aber möglich) packt sie einfach zusammen mit den anderen Furisode.

Next part: Seasonality(coming soon)

[Beginner's Guide] Choosing your first obi!

Unless you went the other way around and bought and obi first, you might want to choose the obi matching your selected kimono. If you did buy an obi first follow these tips the other way around, it should work just fine.

Falls ihr nicht bereits einen Obi gekauft habt und nun einen passenden Kimono dazu sucht, werdet ihr den Obi wahrscheinlich passend zum Kimono wählen wollen. Die folgenden Tipps funktionieren aber auch wenn ihr einen Kimono sucht.

There are three things concerning your kimono you should know at this point:

Ihr solltet euch an dieser Stelle über diese drei Dinge euren Kimono betreffend im Klaren sein: 

  1. Type  and Formality (Typ und Formalität)
  2. Seasonality (Saisonalität)
  3. Design and Colour (Design und Farbe)

With this you can eliminate most offerings on the many online stores and auction sites and narrow down your options. Assuming you chose nothing too special (vintage, summer weave kimono, bridal etc.) this will help you not to be buried by all the listings.

Mit Hilfe dieser Punkte könnt ihr die Masse an Angeboten auf das einschränken, was für euch wirklich in Frage kommt, vorausgesetzt  ihr habt nichts allzu ausgefallenes gewählt (Vintage, Kimono aus Sommerstoffen, Hochzeitskimono usw.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

[WIP Cosplay] Medli's Costume Fitting

This is a picture of my first try-on of the tunic plus most accessories. Missing are wig, nose and contact-lenses, but you wouldn't see the last ones in picture anyway. I just uploaded it for those of you curious about the result, since I was too stupid to take pictures at GamesCom. I need to do an extra photo shooting to present some full cosplay pictures, I'm sorry :-(

Back to "Cosplay"

Re: A small kimono challenge (02)

The Challenge Questions:

01. How did I discover Kimono?
02. My dearest kimono items.
03. My most frequently used kimono items (excluding juban and himo).
04. My least used kimono items.
05. My favourite coordinations up until now.
06. Likes and dislikes about kimono.
07. Kimono confessions: Did you know that...?
08. The massive must-have-list (or the what-I-would-like-to-buy-but-is-far-to-expensive-for-me-list)
09. My biggest fears and wishes about kimono.
10. My biggest kimono inspiration.
11. My kimono collection.
12. The evolution of my kitsuke.

02. My dearest kimono items.

This is a really hard question. Basically I love all my kimono, there are only a few pieces I do not like that much (some are going to be sold in the future I guess), but these are to be discussed in one of the the next challenge questions.

What I hold dear for example is my first fukuro obi. It was my first full-width obi and I just love it deeply. I wish I would wear it more often, sadly I didn't found that much possible coordinations with it, yet. It has a lovely black-based tabane noshi pattern with butterflies, phoenixes, kiku etc.

And of course one of my treasures is the furisode my grandmother sew together for me. It's not perfect (some troubles with lining and sleeve-placement), but it's very special to me. The fukuro obi was meant to go with it, when it was bought by the way.

Kimono Closet listing: Link
pattern detail
I have several other items, I love very much and would never ever give away, e.g. my hikizuri. But I guess these two items are rather outstanding, because they belong to the foundation of my kimono collection.

See you in part three of this challenge :-)

Participating blog's posts:
Airi-san's Kira Kira Kimono 
Lyuba-chan's Strawberry Kimono 
Sekhet's My Kimono's

Friday, September 9, 2011

[Pita Ten] Misha - Artbook Dandelion Yukata

© Koge-Donbo
Series: Pita Ten (Manga)
Character: Misha
Kimono RL:Yukata
Obi RL: Hanhaba
Musubi : Bunko/Chou-chou hanhaba
Accuracy: 97%

Kimono layout: 

  • yukata
  • yellow base colour
  • highlighted circles, light yellow to white
  • dandelion flowers
  • fabric suggestion: cotton

Visible Accessories:

  • lacquered geta/pokkuri, red /w light coloured hanao
  • yo-yo balloon
  • huge rabbit hair clip
  • hair bow, red
  • small flower hair clip, light pink

Additional Needed Accessories:

Kimono thoughts:

Yukata pattern are, as well as some komon's, rather random and repetitive. I would't bother too much about an exact recreation of this look. Just make a pattern, repeat it all over the yukata and make sure that neighbouring panels face opposite directions (up-down-up-down).

Obi thoughts:

Very simple yukata hanhaba obi: one side red, one side yellow (example, different colour). By folding it in partially when wrapping around, one can create this layered look. It's a really basic technique as well as the obi knot. I'd suggest either bunko, chou-chou or one of the various cute variations as knot(^.^)
These simple two sided yukata are quite cheap and if you don't want to bother binding them, they're often found in a pre-tied version.


Just a wearing matter: wearing obi knots in other places than your back might be found awkward. Wearing it in the front is an absolute no-go especially with yukata. For those who didn't know: In the past oiran/tayuu (high ranked courtesans)as well as courtesans of lower ranks used to wear their obi tied in the front. Unless you're doing an oiran or tayuu cosplay, I'd say better leave the obi in the back. Moreover I think it's drawn at the side for artistic reasons only in the picture anyway.

Kitsuke-skill needed:

Yukata are the most easiest kimono to wear and don't need much extra items. Try putting in on two or three times before going public, but it's definitely a beginner's kitsuke project (^.^)

Back to "Character's Kimono"

Monday, September 5, 2011

[Pita Ten] Shima - Striped Artbook Kimono

© Koge-Donbo
Series: Pita Ten (Manga)
Character: Shima (Shia)
Kimono RL: Komon
Obi RL: Nagoya, Hanhaba
Musubi : Otaiko, Hanhaba knots
Accuracy: 95%

Kimono layout: 

by SilberRegen, 2011
  • unlined (hitoe) komon kimono
  • cream/white base colour
  • stripes in light blue/blue/dark blue/ochre
  • collar (eri) in different stripe design

Visible Accessories:

  • obiage, blue
  • obijime, white
  • tabi, purple
  • zouri, light blue
  • blouse with striped collar, red and white
  • rose pin, red to dark red
  • scarf, translucent grey or black
  • pearl necklace, two or one long
  • leaf hair decoration
  • cat with yellow bow (^.^)
Additional Needed Accessories:
  •  a little bit padding
  • some koshihimo
  • maybe eri-shin

Obi thoughts:

I'd favour a nagoya-obi. Though it looks like it's meant to be all-black I wouldn't do it all black. The image of all-black obi and kimono is all about funerals, so not so good... Adding some small highlights will do the job (maybe a cute cat? ^^)


This kimono outfit doesn't have "constructional" flaws. It is just worn very loose, which makes it difficult to do without looking too messy. Additionally it's a mix of western and eastern clothing. I'd somehow try to get the collar a little stiffer as usual or insert an eri-shin, but an eri-shin might already be too much.

Kitsuke-skill needed:

Because it's "messy" you should train on your skill quite a bit. It does indeed look differently if somebody did it like this on purpose or just couldn't do better kitsuke. Securing this look on your body is also a point where some routine in kitsuke will help a lot.

Back to "Character's Kimono"

Re: A small kimono challenge (01)

I really like the idea Airi-san posted in her blog two days ago. So this is my blog-response (^.^)

Kira Kira Kimono: A small kimono challenge(part 1):

The Challenge Questions:

01. How did I discover Kimono?
02. My dearest kimono items.
03. My most frequently used kimono items (excluding juban and himo).
04. My least used kimono items.
05. My favourite coordinations up until now.
06. Likes and dislikes about kimono.
07. Kimono confessions: Did you know that...?
08. The massive must-have-list (or the what-I-would-like-to-buy-but-is-far-to-expensive-for-me-list)
09. My biggest fears and wishes about kimono.
10. My biggest kimono inspiration.
11. My kimono collection.
12. The evolution of my kitsuke.

01. How did I discover kimono?
It began with my addiction to manga, anime and japanese dramas with evolved into a love for the japanese culture I guess.
I always drooled over these wonderful kimono and eventually found out about maiko and geiko, which wear even more gorgeous kimono. At the same time I wondered why I couldn't find any kimono like this in german online stores, I always only found this crappy bathrobe like tourist yukata, which didn't appeal to me at all.
Finally, after hours of googeling I found sakura yukata market on the internet. It wasn't a german store, but one that would ship internationally and was within my rather small budget. I bought my first komon kimono there along with some very basic kitsuke stuff and an simple hanhaba obi. Well, I didn't knew about the various kimono types back then, but I knew how to differ a kimono from bathrobes by their construction XD

My very first kitsuke, no nagajuban :-)

Buying the first one cost me quite some effort, I didn't tell anyone of my family beforehand and I was quite nervous how they would react.
Well, my mother freaked out a little bit when the letter from the customs arrived, she thought I did something illegal XD
But other than that everything came out just fine.
Since then my collection grew quite a bit and is already too big to fit into a closet together with my other clothing. One year ago it moved into it's own closet.

What else happened?
I discovered Immortal Geisha Forums and spent countless hours on browsing through all the threads and informations. Best site ever for information about kimono and the geisha-world!

I'll do some more of these blog-responses along with Airi-san's posting. ^.^

Participating blog's posts:
Airi-san's Kira Kira Kimono
Lyuba-chan's Strawberry Kimono
Sekhet's My Kimono's

Sunday, September 4, 2011

[Pita Ten] Shima - Cover Kimono of Vol. 7

© Koge-Donbo
Series: Pita Ten (Manga)
Character: Shima (Shia)
Kimono RL: Komon
Obi RL: Nagoya, Hanhaba
Musubi : Otaiko, cute Hanhaba-knots
Accuracy: 97%

Kimono layout: 
by SilberRegen, 2011
  • unlined (hitoe) komon kimono
  • solid background colour, deep-red/burgundy
  • stripes, light blue/grey/purple
  • arrows (yabane) with asanoha pattern, yellow/orange

Visible Accessories:

  • nagajuban/hanjuban, light pink
  • han-eri, light pink
  • obiage, dark green
  • obijime, light pink 
  • rose-shaped obidome, red
  • tabi with dots, light-/lime-green and deep-red
  • zouri or geta, black base and red hanao with added flowers
  • tama-kanzashi, red ball
  • bira-bira kanzashi with roses and red string
  • colourful "scrunchy" kanzashi thing
  • small bag, light yellow
  • short gloves, white
Additional Needed Accessories:

Obi thoughts:

A nagoya-obi tied into an otaiko knot might be best considering the formality of this kimono. Hanhaba might also work, but with obiage and obi-jime the first choice might be better. 
Otaiko-shaped pre-tied obi will increase wearing comfort.


Koge-Donbo drew a very nice kimono ensemble. There are hardly any real flaws to begin with. You'd probably won't wear it exactly like this, because it drawn rather loosely fitting. Following some classical kitsuke rules, the juban shouldn't show at the bottom and the arm-pits and a real obiage is worn a little different and less loose.
Personally would go with some little corrections and follow the classical way of wearing, because the overall appearance will be much neater.

Kitsuke-skill needed:

Assuming you go with a classical pattern and do not simplify it for wearing, you should definitely practise on this one. Since this character is meant to wear an actual kimono here, sloppy kitsuke might easily ruin it.

Back to "Character's Kimono"

Friday, September 2, 2011

[WIP Cosplay] Medli's Shoes

I guess this were the hardest to make of all the accessories. It was the last thing I finished and the only thing I needed help with, which my grandmother kindly provided.

My idea was to sew a cover to slip on to one of my sandals, since I didn't wanted to modify a pair. Moreover I decided to go with bandages, interpreting the lines in the picture as wrapping not black lines.
The link cosplaying friend of mine dyed two rolls bandages and some old white dishcloths in yellow, then I roughly fitted and pinned the cloth around one of my shoes and cut away the extend. Used this piece as template for the second shoe, mirrored of course (I didn't wanted to do this process twice XP).

My grandmother sew them together and added elastic bands.
finished cover base over sandal

You can see, there are some gabs showing at the bottom and I considered fixing this while worn with some stitches, but it's not visible at all from other views.

In a final step the bandage were sewn on. Starting at the tip of the show, the first to layers were pinned down, cut and then sewn on, because I had to leave the bottom open. Otherwise the wouldn't have been wearable anymore.

The third layer were attached to the base as far as necessary, while the loose end were left as it was,. This part was later wrapped around my leg.

finished cover
testing my product :-)

Some notes: I used sandals with heels, because it would give my feet a smaller appearance. But it doesn't make it very comfortable to stand on the whole day. Even though it i just a small heel, my feet were really aching after the whole day waiting in line XP

Back to "Cosplay"

[WIP Cosplay] Link's Belt Buckle

I didn't cosplay link myself, this accessory was made for my friend who did.

We decided to do it with an acrylic form. So we bought this big round medallion thing, took the upper half and cut off the hanger with a sharp knife.

Colours don't stick to these sooth slippery surface of acrylic glass so good, because of that I roughened the inside with some sand and water. With black acrylic paint I draw the pattern on the inside.
both halves, the upper already sanded and painted with black colour, back view
front view
The yellow background colour were dabbed on  in thin layers on top. I decided to go with two thin layers of gold colour first, to give it some extra shine :-)

first gold-coloured layer, back view
all layers added, front view
Lastly I lacquered the inside to protect the colour.
To attach this buckle to a normal belt, we added to elastic hair ties with hot glue on the back (no pictures yet). This way you can just slip it over the original belt buckle.

Back to "Cosplay"

Monday, August 15, 2011

[WIP Cosplay] Medli's Red Cloth

My friend's mother did the sewing on this piece. The construction is just two squared pieces of red cotton cloth with a cut in opening for my head.
I thought about sewing on the emblem and curly decorations as well, but it would have been insanely fiddly with all the curves and sharp edges. In the end I decided to paint it on.
Not much to explain here, the straight outer line was done freehand. For the other patterns I made two stencils, pinned them down on the cloth and carefully painted on the symbols.

I needed about 3 layers of paint everywhere to create a good cover. Here's the outline:

First stencil, the crest, pinned down and filled in:
I removed the stencil after the initial layer, because I could pin this one down properly and it smudged a little at the borders. Second and third layer where added freehand again.

Constructing the small stencil:

Cut out with utility knife.

Placed some double-sided tape at the back and cut it out again, I guess this could also be done in one step, but this idea was developed a little late to do so.

Pinned down (the tape worked very well) I added the colour again. I had no problem with blotches this time.
Reused the stencil to add the two outer ornaments in the back too.
Lastly I corrected the blotched edges with some matching red colour. With this another piece for the Medli Costume was done (^.^)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

[WIP Cosplay] Medli's Nose

This one gave me some headaches first. I needed some light weighted, sturdy and easy to attach thing. In the end I found that making a cast of my nose and build the shape on top would be easiest. Synthetic cast was way out of my budget, so I went with the classical cast (disadvantage: it tends to crumble on the edges).
Luckily I had some "plastic art light" modelling compound laying around, which turned out to be the perfect material for this job.

I used up just a little corner of this block, I bet I could do at least 20 more medli-noses with the remaining stuff XD

Ok, let's start with my first step: The cast.
I placed the bandages rather roughly around and on top my nose, about 5-6 layers on the critical parts (edges of the nose etc.), 3 on the rest. After a short time it would harden and I could remove it carefully from my face. I let it dry completely for two days.

Put back on my face, I roughly marked the outlines of the bird-nose-to-be.

With this help I began modelling on the compound stuff.
Firstly creating a smooth line from one lower edge to the other, then adding the right outlines to it.
The excess cast were cut off after I got the shape I desired.

It was a little bit sanded down to smooth the surface and to prepare for painting.

Like the pin, the nose got painted in several layers too, then laquered with a matte varnish, including the inside.

Finished (^.^)

It's meant to be worn using skin-glue. It works really got, though breathing is surely not that easy with it XD