In the West we tend to think of kimono as a static garment, always one style, one type of construction. Over the past decade I have handled a wide variety of vintage kimono, mostly from the 20th century, and the style, color, quality of weave, etc. do change the same as our own garments, although perhaps not in such obvious ways. While our skirt hemlines bounce up and down every few years, kimono stay the same length. However, haori (jacket worn over kimono) have changed from quite long to rather short from one end of the 20th century to the other.
Working with the doll kimono I can see how lapel width has changed greatly, as well. My little guy has a wide lapel, which I will copy for his new kimono. New dolls, such as those from Doll Studio Tomo tend to have a narrower lapel on their kimono. These dolls are clothed in stunningly beautiful vintage kimono silk remade into new pieces.
Two books I’m using for inspiration are Ichimatsu – Rokusho vol. 5 (July 2012 – ISBN 978-4-89511-574-2) and Dolls to Remember – Dolls created by Haruyuki Morishige and the Tomo Studio (Kodansha 1997 – ISBN 4-7700-2138-0). Both books are available online if you hunt around a bit.
Dolls to Remember has the benefit of being written in both English and Japanese, while Rokusho is only in Japanese but full of gorgeous photos of dolls with their maker’s marks, which helps to identify antique Ichimatsu dolls.
My little guy has no maker’s mark, which makes him a mystery to me. We’ve only been able to date him by his style of manufacture, his clothes, and the postcard I found hidden in his obi. More on that in a later post.
The past two days have been primarily focused on visual research, but I’ll be back to sewing again tonight.