Taisho Irotomesode–

Soft Blue Green Crepe Silk With Blooming Spider Mums And Fans Over Flowing Water.

This is a restoration that I totally failed to keep any tabs on whatsoever. I bought it, cleaned it, sewed a few panels back together, and then hung it up here to take pictures without so much as documenting a single thing about what I had done. This is because I’m just goddamn terrible. Also I wasn’t thinking about having a blog, or telling its story in any meaningful way when I did it. It was another domestic purchase that needed a little love, and I had a little love to give.

There are some issues I couldn’t fix. The staining around the collar isn’t staining, it’s discolouration in the dye. I’m not sure entirely what did it–I imagine someone probably tried to spot clean this, or probably a dry cleaner that wasn’t familiar with what they were working with. The fabric itself beneath the discolourations is in pretty sturdy condition. It’s not so terrible that I would call it a loss. I thought about trying to do the same trick I use with faded black dye, but I’ve never done it on anything except black. And honestly? Black is pretty simple.

Aside from that, I guess it doesn’t matter too much if I didn’t bother to take pictures, because this was honestly a pretty boring restoration. They’re only fun when my molars crack and blood shoots from my nose! There were some spots that I identified as ballpoint pen. No problem. A few spots that seemed to be food or sauces. Easy peasy, all gone. The lining had some decayed threads in the back, so I stitched that back up. One of the sleeves needed to be removed and then reattached because of the thread holding it together was damaged. It hadn’t decayed so much as it was just broken in a few spots. So I did that, and she’s all back together now. A quick once over and soft cleaning, and she’s a rich, beautiful teal.

This is a very classic Taisho style Irotomesode. Tomesode actually just means “shorter sleeves,” and I think its naming convention is meant to be used opposite of “furisode.” The term tomesode most often refers to a woman’s kimono bearing five kamon (crests). Kurotomesode are black. Irotomesode are any other colour. These are both considered to be extremely formal garments, with I believe Kurotomesode being technically more formal. But sometimes who would wear an item depends on who they are at the formal event. Irotomesode are often worn by female relatives of the bride or groom that are married, unmarried, and definitely not the mother.

The classic Taisho style I refer to is the beautiful mirrored pattern on the skirt of the right and left front panels, both on the inside and outside. This is not a trend we see anymore, and my understanding is that it officially fell out of fashion in before the 1930’s, but I’ve heard different things about that. The blooming flowers on the hem are kiku (chrysanthemums) and ume (plum blossoms). They’re arranged with open sensu (fans) and mizu (flowing water). A calm, spring theme. The five kamon are Cho (butterfly), and this is an identifiable crest often associated with the Taira clan. Although I don’t believe the association was very strict by the time this kimono was made. There…uh…weren’t a lot of samurai running around in the Taisho Era.

I suppose this is more of a showcase than a restoration entry, too. I mean whatever. Look at her. She’s a delight.

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