Restoration In Progress: Meiji Era Wedding Kimono

Right off the bat, you’re seeing me be real iffy about labeling what kind of kimono this is. And there’s a pretty good reason for that. I’ll get to it. I promise. I didn’t just empty all of my knowledge into a ditch somewhere. Sooooo. Let’s get right to it.

Look at this insanity. I’m over here waffling back and forth between “I cannot believe I have this,” and “why did I pay this much to torture myself?” And the reason isn’t really that crazy; I bought it because of it’s alarming closeness in design to this piece:


Aaaaaaand because self control isn’t something we do around here, I had to get it.

I knew it had some major condition issues when I made the decision to purchase it, but inspection always reveals whether or not I’ve made a good or bad choice. In this case, you can see that I’m feeling cocky as hell confident enough to call this a “restoration” as opposed to a preservation. This is because while I used the word “major” to describe those condition issues, they’re all aesthetic. With the exception of some tailoring that needs redone and a bit of wear in the areas that count, this majestic beast is structurally sound.

That’s okay, though. We’ve got plenty of other shit to raise my blood pressure with! Let’s have a look!

We’re going to start with something that almost made this a deal breaker for me. Someone has used material from this kimono to make a “belt.”

Pictured: The sound of my molars cracking.

Usually when I see this shit, I consider the piece a total loss for my purposes. This isn’t to say that I am against remake; that is in no way true. Repurpose is preservation! But for restoration purposes specifically, this makes my life a living hell and that is the context I’m operating in.

This belt thing wasn’t a surprise. I knew it was coming. My surprise: I can’t fucking figure out where in the beautiful dusky blue fuck it came from. It was definitely not cut from the bottom. It did not come from the collar. Nothing is missing from the sleeves. My best guess is that it was taken from the seam allowance.

Wait a tick. The seams on the sides don’t look opened anywhere. Which means if the person who did this thought to do that, then they knew how to open and close the seams. And as I take a closer look at the belt…hold up.


…the fabric that was used to line the belt is most certainly for a kimono lining. But it is absolutely not the same fabric as the lining of the kimono it came from. They’re not the same texture or color.

And for that matter, the pieces are sewn together in a properly kimono-y (it’s a word now, eat me) way, and the ends are sewn in the style of koshihimo (ties for dressing):

Moving on, the hem is also weird. This is where I promised I would get to why I don’t know exactly how to categorize it. I think it’s an uchikake (wedding overcoat) turned furisode (long sleeved unmarried women’s kimono) turned dressing gown. If we look at the lining down around the hem, it’s missing something no matter what: it isn’t padded. At all. Not even slightly. It’s just fabric in there. Even modern furisode have a little bit of cotton padding at the hem for a little weight. And Meiji kimono tend to have heavier padding.

Even weirder, check out the way the lining is sewn in down here where the kimono opens:

First, the lining is baggy as hell. I ain’t seen baggy like this since JNCO jeans in high school. HAHAHA aging. Also it is double tacked to the shell to keep it in place. Second, the lining is sewn to the shell on the front panels in exactly the way it is on an uchikake. The style of tailoring was not changed; only the padding was removed. Here’s why I think that:

The image on the right is from this uchikake that I am also restoring, from the same era. It looks like this:


I’d also like to point out that this piece (the one this entry is about) is 166cm in length and absolutely covered in couching. So with all of that, I’ve made the decision to restore it as an uchikake, because that’s what I’ve come to the decision that it must be. As this shit does not come with an undo button, I’ve just made one metric fuck ton of work for myself! Yaaay!

Let’s look at the other fuck tons now! Boy do I have a lot of fucking embroidery to fix! Have a look!

AHAHAHAHA. THIS AGAIN. This is worse than the other one that needed the couching repairs. By a lot. Hell, one of those turtles looks straight up chewed on. Oof, look at this poor guy, someone tried to put him back together:

Pictured: Hmmm

-Sigh- Ooh my.

And when I’m done driving myself entirely insane with that, I can handle the fact that it is absolutely fucking filthy.

I’ll do my best. We’re going to be treating this one very gently. Lots and lots of vinegar, probably.

Someone at some point installed a hanging loop for it. They used more lining fabric from a different kimono to do it, and it failed.

Pictured: Ugh

-Pinches bridge of nose- Okay. Everyone. If you’re reading this, do not install a loop on your kimono remake if you’re going to keep the sleeves. Why? Because it will do this:


Can I fix that? Yeah, I think so. Also, if you hang anything heavier than a haori on a regular-ass clothes hanger, expect similar problems later in life. They’re really not designed for this.

Other than that, the lining is in shockingly good shape. I don’t think I’m going to have to replace it.

Pictured: REEEED

You can really see what I mean by “it’s baggy” in this shot, too.

Also the sleeves will need resewn to the shoulders because of fucking course they do.

Pictured: -external screaming-

Oh well. This fucking duck is my best friend now. His name is Quackles, and we’re going to go to space together. It’s because we have real dreams and not because I have completely lost my shit. Say hi, Quackles.


In seriousness, Quackles needs a little straightening, but he looks pretty good overall.

Okay. So my wrist is still fucked, so all of this shit is going to have to wait. At least I can document and take photos still, even if my pictures aren’t great because FUCKING OOOWWW.


4 thoughts on “Restoration In Progress: Meiji Era Wedding Kimono

    1. As in how do you follow the blog, or is there an instruction on one of my tutorials that isn’t clear?

      For the first, there’s a “notify me of new posts” checkbox down at the bottom somewhere. I could literally scream from my window, but my range would be only like…100 yards on a good day. šŸ˜ƒ


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