Obi Makeover, the Sequel: The Finish and Reveal

Project 11, part 2 – Loyal Cerberus Watches You Sew (Part 1 here)

Look, I have a tripod, ok? But sometimes it’s just easier to shoot in the mirror. 😀

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! This week I finished my obi, and let me just spoil the ending for you: I LOVE IT. It’s stiff yet flexible, it makes it incredibly easy to put on my sword, it holds everything in place without shifting around the way my old cotton one did…in short, it’s fantastic.

Pictured: fantastic.

The topstitching really did take a long time. I’m currently chatting with one of my senpai about time-sharing a heavy duty machine because I think others of our dojo would love to have one of these and my Featherweight really shouldn’t be put under this type of strain again. Tsumugi silk is thicc. 😀

Sorry focus hit really weird here, but at least you can see how it’s meant to tie!

I finished the topstitching and wore it to the dojo, but discovered that the bottom edge was fraying after just the first wear. I had hoped that the topstitching would prevent that, but, alas! It did not. The original had folded the bottom in, but I’d wanted to avoid that in order to make the obi flatter and more flexible. This meant my only option was to whipstitch the entire length of the silk…about 5′. Ack! Luckily my husband has been playing the awesome game Hades and I could just chill on the couch for a few hours watching him run around in Tartarus while I painstakingly secured the fibers at the obi’s bottom edge.

Basically, at the bottom there where the sword is emerging, it was fraying like crazy. Not a good look – definitely not the polished style I’m going for!

Nonetheless, the work was finally done, and I’m so very happy with it! I was initially pretty vexed by the difference in tone between the obi and my sageo (the cord securing my sword to my hakama) – the obi is a deep scarlet and the sageo is more of a bright vermillion. Reds are SUPER hard for me to color balance when I’m editing photos, so it doesn’t look too bad in the image, but trust me that the sageo is quite a bit more orange in real life. So I did end up purchasing this one:

Image from – I’m so excited for it!

In the short term, the vermillion actually works better than I expected, with the brighter color in front and the deeper color peeking out from the sides of my hakama. I’m not going to stress about replacing it until after my test in April, since doing so means removing the stitching on my old one, then attaching and re-sewing the new one. I still have to hem my “dress” hakama before the seminar so I have to be realistic about my available time! Also, learning the way a new sageo behaves right before a test might be a little troublesome.

Sorry for the quality; I ended up taking this photo on my phone, and it’s an older model. So enjoy the nice old-timey effect! 😀

And here it is, in all its glory! Short-term, this obi was a lot of work, but considering it should last me years it definitely was a worthwhile investment of my time! It’s a sweet connection to the lineage of my dojo, as well – although I was never able to meet the woman who sewed the original, it makes me feel like I’ve received her knowledge and instruction nonetheless. Also considering how expensive shipping is from Japan right now, being able to sew my own accessories is really helpful.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my latest obi makeover project, and I look forward to seeing you next week back here on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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