{Kimono Workshop}

May 14th, 2013 | Posted by skirsner in Uncategorized

Those of you who know me, know that my love of “all things Japanese” boarders on obsession. Although Doie Lounge is named after my fabulous grandma Doie {short for Dorothy}, the inspiration for the prints are all Japanese influenced and the robe design is based on the Japanese Kimono. I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when my boyfriend told me about a Kimono making class at The Workshop Residence.

This very authentic class was taught by Tsuyo Onodera, who has been making kimonos for over 50 years! She flew in from Japan just for this class. Tsuyo doesn’t speak English, so her daughter, Maki, and her grand daughter, Rei, were also there to help out– they both also know how to make kimonos, but Tsuyo was the main teacher and the “master” kimono maker. I loved how they each wore a different kimono for each class. Their kimonos and obis were stunning and seeing them was one of the best parts of the class, for me.

I was instantly in love with the supplies given to us at the start of the class. We each received our kit containing thread, adorable push pins with little flowers, cool Japanese looking scissors, a ruler with no numbers (only symbols) on it, some needles, and a pin cushion that we got to pick out ourselves. We also had our pre-cut, persimmon-dyed cotton that was cut specifically to fit each individual’s measurements.

I’m not going to lie, the class was very difficult– I think that I missed the part that said we would be making the kimonos entirely by hand. Every stitch was made by hand and every seam was pressed by hand (using the most adorable Japanese irons). There was also hours of unanticipated homework, but Tsuyo, Maki, and Rei were always eager to help and often stayed an hour after class to help each person.

The class ended with a gorgeous “Kimono dressing day,” where each of the teachers helped us get dressed in our kimonos (much harder than one would think) and we paraded around in them while eating ice cream. Before we were dressed we were each able to pick out an obi that Maki and the Workshop Residence team made! I am usually quite indecisive, but something pulled me directly towards the navy pattern that I chose. I continued to wear my kimono, proudly, around San Francisco throughout the day. If only I could figure out how to get it back on…


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