Antique Tsukesage–Tsubaki & Sasa

Bright Camellia Blossoms And Long Bamboo Grasses On Delicately Woven Blue Silk.

This qualifies as a restoration. This also qualifies as a recent restoration. But I did that thing that I do where I take a big healthy gulp of Big Dumb Idiot Juice and my whole brain just fucks off and I didn’t really take any “before” pictures when I received it. I just dove right in. It’s worse because I’ve been running this blog for seven goddamn months, and I still just went “Duurrrr” and got started. I need to hang a sign on my wall under some of the art that I look at the most that says, “TAKE PICTURES FIRST YOU FUCKING TWAT.”

Anyway, here’s where it gets worse-worse. This piece even starred in its own tutorial where I showed how I open and close a seam when necessary. So we are just banging on all fucking cylinders now, aren’t we? Party hard.

So now that we’ve established that I have the situational awareness of a dead goldfish, let’s talk about this lovely piece. This is a Tsukesage (semi formal kimono with discontinuous pattern) from the early 1930’s-ish. That was a best guess given to me from the seller. I bought this one direct from Japan, because there was just something about that blue that made my mouth water.

That sounds like a fun turn of phrase, but I’m being serious. There are colors that make my mouth water, because if this thing had a flavor, it would be tropical Kool-Aid, and I would drink it. Slluuurrrrp.

She’s decorated with vertical strips of rinzu (woven patterns) that vary between kikko (the flower one), gosho guruma (royal cart), and various foliage. It also has the amazing shimmer of metallic threads running between the borders of the different woven patterns. There’s a red copper thread, a silver, and a faded gold one. And they are juicy.

It’s decorated with big, poofy tsubaki (camellia) and long sasa (bamboo).

My primary issue here was going to be stain removal. This piece had, at one point, been worn to dinner, and dinner was really fucking good. It was so good that it was all over the front of the skirt, parts of the sleeves, and even some of it managed to get on the back. Like…what in the actual fuck? Did they take a bath in it?

-Sigh- …it’s teriyaki. You already know how I know. DON’T ACT SURPRISED.

Okay so here’s the stain removal shit. These are mostly blown up seller photos because am big brain:

As you can see, the stain is gone now. That one was actually a lot darker in person, but since I didn’t take my own fucking picture of it like a goddamn idiot, you’ll just have to take my word for it. I’ve got some wrinkles on the skirt on mine that are still relaxing. That happens sometimes when you have to take something apart to treat it for stains and then sew it back. It’s been lightly steamed so that it’ll relax again, but I chose to take the pictures now instead of later. I refuse to be aggressive with wrinkle removal unless something is really bad. Those will be gone in a day.

Next we have this:

Mostly this one was removal of what seemed to be water spots. They’re still there a slight bit, but you do have to get like two inches away from it to see them now, and if someone’s that close to me, then that’s what the bear mace is for.

Next is this one that I actually did take for myself!

Ever remove water stains from below the running dye? It’s weird. Very weird. It worked okay, though. You can also see in the full shot of that part that the staining beneath the bamboo leaf is gone, too.

Next up is couching repairs. Because of course it is. This is the picture I chose to take to illustrate this one. Why? I don’t fucking know man. I didn’t even remember taking the damn thing. Check it out.

So a fun thing here is that someone had attempted to repair this couching before. They did their best. This is not a sideswipe at them, I’m being sincere. I’m guessing they’d never done it before, and did the best they could with what they could see. They did a pretty good job. I had to replace the threads entirely, though, because the gold was kind of…sloughing off.

Here, too, but nobody had attempted to repair this one.

There’s also these two spots, but I didn’t take pictures of them before I fixed them because I’m a fucking pancake.

Thanks to all of my work on this amazing uchikake that I’m still not sure I’m worthy of, I’ve actually gotten really fast and really good at couching. I’m actually kind of proud of this.

This would probably be a significantly more interesting entry if I had taken the time to actually document the staining on especially the sleeves. But I didn’t, and now the stains are gone, so I would just be showing you the sleeve all like tHeRe WaS tOtAlLy A sTaIn. And that’s…not that fun to look at. So I’ve settled on making this post like this and making a big goddamn deal out of how I didn’t document what I was doing, so that I’ll remember next time.

Don’t worry, it reads like I’m being really hard on myself, but I’m actually laughing pretty hard. These are kimonos, not missiles or kidneys.

I’m out of things to say about it now.


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