Velveteen JSKs Restoration: The Cleaning (Red Dress)

Project 13, part 2 – It Doesn’t Always Work (Part 1 here)

She’s really so lovely!

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! This week I spent cleaning the red velveteen dress, which was…if not precisely a failure, certainly not a success either. More on that later, but first let’s talk about the process! You can see here that when the lace is compared to a piece of printer paper, it’s quite a bit darker:

But still freaking gorgeous! I’m such a sucker for torchon lace.

I was hoping to change that! Red is a notoriously fugitive dye, so job one was to spot test the tip of one of the waist ties to see if immersing this bad boy in water was even an option. Waist ties are often used for testing colorfastness on lolita dresses because not everyone wears them (they tie around the back in a bow to add definition to the waist, which not everyone wants or needs), and because a small bit of damage on one is easily hidden.

Not pictured: my deep anxiety.

When you have a dress with a printed pattern, you can see if the dye migrates from one area of the print to another. With a solid color dress, you just blog the wet fabric with a white paper towel and see if anything comes away.

We stan colorfast dyes in this neighborhood.

Luckily for me, the dye was solid, so it was time for the next test! This dress has a removable ruffle at the neckline, and before I went scrubbing on the whole dress I wanted to test my methods on the ruffle. The velveteen part of the ruffle is entirely hidden when the dress is worn, making this as safe a test as possible.

The ruffle in question.

I started with my usual cool water bath with some Delicate Wash from The Laundress mixed in.

Not pictured: more severe anxiety about how this will go.

Nothing happened. I mean, just nothing. So, on the advice of some fellow lolitas, I moved to Oxyclean! I haven’t used it before, but everyone I know has had great luck with whitening and brightening. I made a paste of it with hot water, and let it sit on the ruffles for about 6 hours as recommended before thoroughly washing it out.

Oxyclean gets weirdly crusty as it dries, it’s a very unsettling texture. Maybe that’s why you’re supposed to wear gloves? LOL.

Then it had to dry for almost 48 hours as apparently cotton velveteen LOVES retaining moisture and I was terrified of putting it away damp in my closet and bringing it out later only to find mold. Living in the boggy Pacific Northwest means a lot of vigilance against mold and mildew!

Sorry for the blurry image here! Also really glad I tested the ruffle first…

And…nothing. Ok, well, not nothing. The nap of the velveteen was crushed slightly be the experience, and it was now lighter and less vibrant than it was originally. The lace, however? Exactly the same.

Pictured: absolutely no change

So…I went back to my source material, and…argh.

Should have looked at this first!

Definitely off-white lace. In other words, this wasn’t lace yellowed from ageing, this was always intended to be a pleasing ivory. Siiiiiiiiigh.

This was a much-needed reminder to me to be more vigilant with checking primary sources before assuming I know what’s going on! Luckily thanks to my foresight I didn’t harm the dress, and the slight discoloration on the ruffle insert isn’t visible when worn. But at the very least I could have saved myself quite a bit of work by more closely examining the photos of the dress from its release, and realizing that it didn’t need to be cleaned! 😀

The black velveteen dress does have ACTUAL stains on the lace, but thanks to this experience I’ll be working on spot-cleaning those only, rather than trying to wash the entire dress! 🙂 So join me next time for what is hopefully a less pointless excursion here on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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昔のSewing Returns Next Week!

If the lady in the checkered kimono wants to sell me her outfit, she knows where to find me… 😀

Hi friends! I haven’t just been reading books about Edo-period fashion! This month has been very family-focused, which has been delightful but has also meant limited time for working on projects. I’ve literally got two things drying as I write, but I can’t finish the post until I can photograph them! Velveteen takes a long time to dry…lol. So no post this week, and I’ll see you back here next week on Mukashi no Sewing for more history, sewing, and fashion! ❤

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Clothing and Mannerisms of Edo Period Japanese Ghosts

Bibliotheca August 2022 – Spooky Summer: How to Dress a Ghost

Maruyama Ōkyo’s
 The Ghost of Oyuki circa 1750.

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! Or, if you’re here for the first time from the Bay Area Kei Bibliotheca blog circle – then just plain welcome! ❤ This month’s theme for the Bibliotheca bloggers was actually suggested by me – “spooky summer.” Now, if you live in the United States, you probably associate spookiness more with October – autumn leaves, chilly nights, headless horsemen… Maybe if you’re a Traditional Witch or a fan of H.P. Lovecraft you might aim for Walpurgisnacht at the end of April, or Beltane at the beginning of May for some spooky revels! But if you lived in Japan in the Edo period, you were much more likely to think of summer as the best time for spooky stories.

Do not stay the night in this house! Image by Hokusai circa 1790, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

This tradition is known as Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (百物語怪談会), which literally means “A Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales.” Kaidan (怪談), or “bewitching tales,” would be told over the course of a summer night. With each story, one of a hundred lanterns would be extinguished, eventually leaving the group of storytellers in haunting darkness. It was played in the summer for many reasons – one of which is that Japan’s festival of the returning dead, Obon, is a summer event (it’s very similar to Halloween or Samhain in the West), and another is that the shivering from hearing the scary stories was considered a way to cool down in the oppressive Japanese summer heat! It was also a way for samurai to show off their bravery – although reportedly many groups who played this parlor game stopped at the 99th story to avoid actually summoning the ghosts they’d been speaking of.

Pictured: lanterns, but probably not ghost-summoning ones. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

But if you’re here at Mukashi no Sewing, you’re here for fashion – so just how did Edo-period ghosts dress?

I recently finished a tremendous book called The Catalpa Bow, by Carmen Blacker, and the author was able to interview many mediums and shamans in the 1950s-70s regarding their practices. She reported that, “Mrs. Hiroshima…declared that to her dead spirits differed in the form they manifested according to their kurai or rank. The higher they advanced, and the nearer they drew towards salvation, the more they tended to resemble shining balls. Miss Ishida [on the other hand] told me in 1972 that to her they usually appeared in the likeness of the person they had been while alive, though frequently they wore an archaic form of dress of pale green or white.”

Yurei (ghost) in a graveyard; image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

White is the color of purity, and “…in Buddhism, death is not the ending but just the beginning of another cycle. Appropriately, Japanese Buddhist dressed corpses as pilgrims going on their final journey, called the shidenotabi (死出の旅) meaning ‘the final trip to death.’ The full costume for a corpse is called shinishozoku (死に装束),which means roughly ‘the costume for one going to death.'” ( The kimono is crossed right over left for the dead, which is why you’ll see ghosts dressed this way. Western ghosts are often depicted wearing sheets because that’s what they were buried in (as coffins were not readily available for the masses until comparatively recently) – so Japanese ghosts also appear in the garments their former body was dressed in.

Japanese ghosts traditionally don’t have feet, so they don’t get to wear special shoes! But their faces in Noh and Kabuki theater are often depicted with wide eyes and markings showing that they are supernatural in nature. Their hair is often long and disheveled, and their hands may hang limply at the wrists similar to Chinese jiāngshī. However, their appearance is strongly dependent on where and how they died, and the state of their emotions at death.

“Funayūrei” from the Ehon Hyaku Monogatari by Takehara Shunsen. Ship ghosts just wanna have fun!

Just like in the West, many Japanese ghosts can be appeased or released by helping them with an unfinished duty from life, or banished with the assistance of a priest (both Shinto and Buddhist traditions have historically had rites for this function). No matter the era or country, it’s a common human belief that something of us persists after death, and that those who die angry or before their time may rise up to haunt the living. We all wish to know that our loved ones have passed in peace, and that even if that’s not the case that there is hope for redemption after death. I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview of ghosts and their fashion sense (or lack thereof!) in the Edo period, and I look forward to seeing you back here next week on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

Check out what other members of Bibliotheca had to say about this month’s topic!
Crimson Reflections Produces Spooky Lolita Ghost Stories
Cupcakes and Unicorns Plans Her Spooks Well in Advance
frillSquid Stays True to Being Gothic Even in the Summer

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Velveteen JSKs Restoration: The Beginning

Project 13, part 1 – Velveteen Dream

Image courtesy Lolibrary
Image courtesy Lolibrary

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! This week I began a new hybrid project that definitely was not an excuse to buy new dresses. I don’t even know why you’d say that? So weird. 😀

Actually, I’ve wanted to do another lolita project for a while, as having the freedom to use more modern techniques is a relaxing break from the intensity of older restorations. Additionally, I would really like to learn how to work with velvet/velveteen because they can be very tricky fabrics to clean and sew. As these can also be quite expensive fabrics, I thought that doing a restoration would give me the perfect way to gain more experience without the anxiety of buying a whole garment’s worth at $37/yard (or more!).

But they’re really pretty expensive fabrics! And that texture… 😀

I’ve also recently begun collecting all the back issues of the seminal (and sadly discontinued) lolita fashion magazine “Gothic and Lolita Bible,” and seeing all the older styles of dresses made me nostalgic and made me feel I’d like to have some of my own. I first started buying the Gothic and Lolita Bible not long after moving to the Pacific Northwest, so I’ve been admiring the fashion since well before I started wearing it!

Originally I planned to just do a single dress, but I ended up finding two that both needed light restoration work rather than one in more dire shape. No, this STILL isn’t an excuse to buy more, honestly… 😀

The Velveteen Princess JSK first appeared in vol. 18, but images of the wine colorway made a reappearance in vol. 19!

Both dresses were manufactured by Metamorphose Temps de Fille – “Meta” for short. The wine-colored one is the Velveteen Princess JSK (released in 2005), and was designed by Kuniko Kato (who left Meta to form her own brand, Physical Drop, in 2010). I bought it on Lace Market and it came all the way from Estonia! It’s in tremendous condition, but it is missing the neck ties (I was aware of that when I purchased it, of course!), and additionally the lace that is supposed to be white has weathered to a pale ivory. Since this dress doesn’t need as much restoration as the Milky-chan JSK did, and Gothic and Lolita Bibles have sewing patterns in them, I also intend to sew a matching wine velvet and torchon lace headdress!

Street snap from Fruits vol. 35 courtesy Ophelia Moon’s Old School Lolita Coords flickr

The black dress was originally released in 1999! It’s called the Velveteen Sundress JSK – and yes, I’m just as baffled as you as to why Meta released a sundress in such a wintry fabric! It’s absolutely stunning and one of the most comfortable dresses I’ve ever worn. I bought it on Yahoo Japan Auctions and the critical issue with this dress (which, again, I was aware of before bidding) is the stains all over the lace.

As you can see, then, I have a few things to work on! For both dresses, I’ll be learning (and sharing with you!) how to properly wash velveteen as well as clean and restore the stained and discolored cotton lace. Then in addition I’ll be finding a matching cotton velveteen to the wine of Velveteen Princess, and sewing replacement neck ties as well as a brand new matching headdress based on a pattern by Metamorphose in one of the Gothic and Lolita Bibles! I look forward to adding new skills with this tricky fabric to my repertoire, and I can’t wait to see you back here next Tuesday on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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Victorian Era Undergarments: The Chemise Finishing

Project 7, part 7 – Who Needs an Iron? (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 here)

My old friend, the buttonholer! 😀

Welcome back to the Victorian Era Undergarments project! It’s been a long road, but I finally was able to finish the chemise this week, and I’m SO delighted with it. It turned out way better than I expected!

Unlike this photograph, which is honestly just a little worse than expected, lol…

Adding the buttonholes was relatively easy now that I’m more familiar with my buttonholer attachment, although I do have to admit that I forgot to lower the foot into place properly the first time and then had to go back and rip out all the wonky stitches and redo it. Whoops! 😀 The instructions for this chemise suggested a flat button, but I’m living dangerously and using these adorable rose buttons – I bought two more matching ones for the drawers, as well!

I’m not gonna lie – I’ve literally stopped ironing when it comes to things like this for linen. It’s just not necessary!
I’m really glad I bought 10 yards of this lace. I’ve gone through a lot of it already!

I pinned the hem at 1″, and then rolled it under and sewed it right on the fold to secure it, then pinned the heart embroidered lace on and sewed that down as well. I learned from my lesson this time, and didn’t actually cut it off the roll until I’d sewn it down in case I ended up being short again. 🙂

I managed to get the securing stitches to show up on camera this time! Yay!

Then I cut it free, and trimmed and stitched the meeting point to look as neat as possible. It looks really cute – and also gives the hem more weight and volume to keep it from riding up or collapsing under the forthcoming petticoat.

And with that, at last, the chemise is done!

Ok. It is a little wrinkly overall. But I wasn’t going to iron it just for pictures, knowing that it’ll crumple again the second I put it on!

It’s SO light and airy, and very comfortable! It cinches up with the pink ribbon on the front as well as the back to bring it closer to my body and keep it from slipping off my shoulders. I could potentially cinch it to the right width and just leave it tied there, and use the shoulder buttons to get in and out of the chemise, or I could untie the bow each time and smooth it out for less-wrinkly storage. For now I’ve left it untied, and it’s been boxed up with some of my actual antique garments!

Close-up of the upper portion! ❤

It’s really exciting to be 25% done with this project! And it’s so satisfying to know that when I finally get around to sewing a dress I’ll have all the proper foundational garments – and I’m learning a ton about working with different fabrics and techniques as well! Although I’m not being a stickler for historical accuracy with regards to the trim or sewing, it still gives me a lot of respect for the Victorian women who had to go through this every time they wanted a new chemise. I definitely understand why off-the-rack clothing stores became so popular!

Although the chemise is done, the project is not – next up is a matching set of linen drawers – so join me next time to see how that gets going here on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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Victorian Era Undergarments: The Chemise Sewing (Stage 4)

Project 7, part 6 – Ribbons and Lace (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 here)


Welcome back to the Victorian Era Undergarments project! I spent nearly all day Sunday getting more done on the chemise, and it’s so close to done I can feel it! 😀 The first step was stabilizing the neckline with bias tape. I could have done another French seam to enclose it, but the tutorial on recommended using bias tape instead for more durability. The neckline sees a lot of wear – not only from general use, but also because it will be constantly cinched and un-cinched to fit it to the body using the ribbons (that will be added a couple pictures down). 🙂

The bias tape mostly ends up on the inside of the garment as you can see here.

I was afraid this was going to be dreadful considering how hard adding the ruffled lace on the sleeves was, but actually it was super simple, and I definitely see myself using this method to finish future necklines on garments!

Next up, lace!

There was a line of stitches on the front of the garment from securing the bias tape, but that got covered up by this next stage, which was sewing on the insertion lace. This lace (also known as beading lace) is to provide the anchoring point for the ribbon ties – and also to look pretty. 😀 I bought this from Cock Robin’s Song on Taobao positively AGES ago. I bless my foresight in gathering all the notions I needed before starting this project because I probably would have had a hard time keeping up my momentum if I needed to also buy more things for it.

Pictured: looking pretty!

I could have machine-sewed the insertion lace to the chemise, but because my lace was so sheer I thought it would look better to hand-sew it. So I attached the top, threaded the ribbon, and then sewed the bottom down to encase it!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! It looks so professional! ❤

And with that, I’m nearly done! The last steps are to attach the buttons (and make the buttonholes), and to hem the chemise – then I can move on to the drawers! So I look forward to seeing you back here next time on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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Vacation Dress and Destination in the Victorian and Meiji Eras

Bibliotheca July 2022 – Vacation: What Happens in Ise Stays in Ise

Nothing says seaside promenades like blue stripes! ❤ Image from The Victorian Dressmaker, vol 2

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! Or, if you’re here for the first time from the Bay Area Kei Bibliotheca blog circle – then just plain welcome! ❤ My application to join an incredible lineup of bloggers, fashion enthusiasts, and artists was just accepted this month, and although it’s not required, there’s a theme each month for affiliated bloggers to explore should they wish. I’ve been doing so many projects lately that I haven’t had as much time for the history side of this blog, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make that happen!

Although I dabble in other periods, my particular era of historical interest is generally the 1800s or what’s known as the Victorian Era in England and the US (approximately 1837-1901), and the later part of the Edo Period and early Meiji Period in Japan (the entire Edo period was about 1603-1867, and Meiji ran from 1868-1912). There was so much growth and change during that time everywhere in the world, and the clothing was just fantastic. Additionally, the expansion of the middle class in these three countries in particular meant that many people had time for leisure – and therefore, vacations! So, where did they go? And – more importantly – what did they wear? 😀

1860s trekking and climbing gear. Image from The Victorian Dressmaker, vol 2.

The short answer is “everywhere,” and “clothing that made sense for the occasion,” just like today! 🙂 For a Victorian woman who wanted to indulge in new outdoor activities like hiking or rock climbing, this meant sturdy fabrics and skirts that were actually above her ankles. The scandal! 😀 For visiting the sea, she would likely wear washable linen or cotton dresses (salt spray would absolutely ruin silk) – and in the latter part of the era (1890s or so) she would change into a smart bathing suit to enjoy the waters.

There were even bathing corsets that were lighter-weight and more flexible! Image from Sporting Fashion.

Victorians absolutely loved to travel, and just like today it was recommended that they wear layers that were easy to add or remove to suit the weather, and to make washing easier after the dust of being in a carriage or train for hours – just like today when your clothes for flying overseas are likely to focus on comfort and ease of cleaning afterward.

How’s that for a photo op!? Image from Sporting Fashion.

And, just as now, sometimes Victorians simply wanted to stroll around a place and take in the sights. It was very common therefore for women in particular to wear an overdress/wrapper/coat to protect their clothing and allow them to worry less about the local conditions and more about what amazing scenery, people, or shopping there was to see and do!

I don’t know how practical that hat is, but I WANT it! Image from Patterns of Fashion 1.

In the late Edo period in Japan, very similar conditions were occurring as in Victorian England and America, and just like their Western counterparts the Japanese of the period absolutely loved travel. The most common form of travel used pilgrimage to a far-away shrine – or, better yet, a whole series of them! – as an excuse to leave town for months.

That poor horse… Image from Edo Culture

Clothing tended to be similar to what was worn in daily life – kimono (or kosode, the precursor to the kimono); usually several of them layered in the current fashion, straw sandals, and a sedge hat (particularly for women) to keep off the sun. Men might wear a type of pants or breeches beneath their hiked up kimono if they were of a laborer class, or if they were walking (to keep their kimono from dragging in the dirt). Whole industries sprang up around the popular tourist routes just like modern tourist traps, complete with overpriced restaurants touting the local specialties, and buskers and itinerant sellers lining the streets hoping to earn the tourists’ dollars. (Or monme, in this case!)

It’s not a pilgrimage without street musicians! Image from Edo Culture

Edo-period vacationers enjoyed activities in town as well – women queued up for rickshaw rides at the shrines in places like Nara, for example. Basically the same energy as Miami rickshaw touts today! Women almost always carried a parasol or umbrella if they didn’t wear a hat, but could wear finer zori rather than straw sandals when in town since they wouldn’t be expected to walk as far, or for as long.

These guys must have gotten tired holding this pose! Image from Japan 1900.

And of course, the place to see and be seen was during hanami – cherry blossom viewing season. Hanami dates back to the 700s in Japan for the elite, but in the Edo period cherry trees were planted en masse at temples, shrines, along riverbanks, and in various public gardens so that they could be enjoyed by all. A particular pattern for kimono became extremely chic in Edo (Tokyo) itself, called edokomon – literally “Edo fine patterns.” It was a repeating pattern that from a distance appeared to be a solid or nearly solid color, but up close revealed itself to be myriad tiny dots or shapes.

“Please stop taking my picture” – these ladies, probably. Image from Japan 1900

I find it wonderful and astonishing that today, we’re no different from our compatriots of the past. We still love to dress up beautifully, travel to distant places, see new things, and spend time with people we love – or make new friends! Whether in the 1820s or the 2020s, we still love to go on vacation. I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview of fashion and vacationing in the Victorian and Edo periods, and I look forward to seeing you back here next week on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

Check out what other members of Bibliotheca had to say about this month’s topic!
Bay Area Kei Goes South
Crimson Reflections Holds a Spring Tea
Dearie Dawn Shares a J-Fashion Friendly Guide to Toronto
Mahou Queen Helps You Travel With Lolita Fashion

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Victorian Era Undergarments: The Chemise Sewing (Stage 3)

Project 7, part 5 – The Process of Becoming (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 here)

Sewing down the gathers is so satisfying!

Welcome back to the Victorian Era Undergarments project! I took some time over the long weekend to get some more done on my chemise, and it’s hit that stage where it’s starting to look like a real garment instead of a pile of fabric. 😀 That’s my experience with almost all creative projects, actually – for quite a long time it just looks like a bunch of parts, or some blocks of color, or swatches of fabric, and then suddenly it becomes the thing it’s meant to be. It’s a pretty good metaphor for life in general! You don’t always know what your life is going to look like when you take the plunge on something new; you only find out in hindsight what effect it had and what you’ve become.

More French seams! Woo!

What this is becoming is an actual chemise! I enclosed the armhole seams in a French seam like the other ones, and removed the gathering stitches to reveal a lightly-ruffled sleeve. It looks odd, but the sleeve will cross over at the top and button there so the largest part is actually the part that goes under the arm. This gives a little more sweat protection, too!


Once I got the sleeves attached, I had to add the lace. It’s the same lace I used for my Milky-Chan waist ties, but without any added embroidery this time. It’s a perfect match in tone, thank goodness, and isn’t so long or stiff that it will feel odd when worn. Attaching this was a NIGHTMARE though. I honestly wished I had hand-sewn it because keeping it on the tiny little hemline while machine sewing was really difficult. It’s in no way perfect but it took me over an hour just for this and I was just happy to have finished!

I’m SO SORRY about the quality of this photo. My light and energy were both fading fast so I just took one picture and hoped for the best.

…And I was two centimeters short at the top of one sleeve! 😱 I left extra length of lace on the first sleeve, knowing it would gather up some, but I neglected to do so on the second and I had to cut another little section of lace to complete it. I could have not bothered if it were the back side, but the front laps over the back on the straps instead of the other way around, so I had to fill in the gap.

It’s hard to see the stitches, but that’s a good thing! 😀

I hand-sewed this, though. LOL.

OMG it’s looking like a real thing and I’m getting HYPED!

I went from being very dubious about this to extremely excited! ❤ There’s still a decent amount to be done, it turns out – bias tape on the neckline and lace/ribbon there, plus finishing the hem and adding lace, as well as the buttons and buttonholes on the shoulders. My heart really wants to add some pintucks at the hem as well, but we’ll see how ambitious I get! 😀 So join me next time here on Mukashi no Sewing to see how things progress! ❤

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Yagasuri Kimono Restoration: The Reveal

Project 12, part 3 – Taisho Roman (Part 1, part 2 here)

Ashleigh is the real star here, and we all know it! 💕

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! It was CRAZY hot here for a few days, and I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t be able to take pictures of this kimono until next week, but the weather cooled just in time! Even though this kimono is unlined, and I bought a new linen juban (undergarment), it’s still pretty warm in full dress. 🥵 So I was grateful that we were down in the 60s today and I could show off my work!

And my greyhound. Always her!

Look, let’s address the elephant in the room (not the greyhound!) right here – my juban sleeve is absolutely peeking out of my right kimono sleeve in almost every picture. I’m so sorry, Sparrow-Sensei! 😭 It is 100% not their fault – this kimono is quite small on me, in length, width, and sleeve length, and my juban (which is more correctly sized for me) kept wanting to be free. I should have taped it, but I was losing daylight and also the services of my photographer (thank you for your patience, Mukashi no Husband!), so I had to just roll with what I had. I’m sure I’ll improve on my ability to wear small vintage kimono as I keep practicing, but for now please forgive the wardrobe malfunction! 😀

Seriously this kimono looks brand new; I’m so happy with it!

My undergarments aside, I just couldn’t be happier with this ensemble! The green obi matches the green of the embroidered wisteria stems, and the obijime (the cord in the middle of the obi) I bought from Mamechiyo Modern is perfect.

Look, when you have purple hakama…

I couldn’t resist trying out a Taisho Roman coordination with these purple wool hakama as well! Girls started wearing hakama to school over their kimono in the Meiji era, allowing them to do all sorts of modern things like ride bicycles and play sports!

They look like they’re having so much fun!!

I’m a complete novice at wearing women’s hakama – we wear divided, men’s hakama in the dojo, whereas these are more like a skirt. So, again, my kimono teacher is not to blame for my errors! ❤

I can just feel the 1910s all-girls school energy emanating from this outfit. It’s delightful!

One thing I do like about the hakama is they are perfect for hiding any issues with a too-short kimono – so I definitely plan on playing around with these more!

Pictured: the extreme difficulty of light-balancing a very bright upper half with a very dark lower half.

I am SO happy I took the time to restore this kimono – its lightweight and breathable fabric will make it a joy to wear even in warmer weather, and the fact that it’s wool means I don’t have to worry even on days like today when it started sprinkling during my photoshoot. I have gained a lot of confidence from this whole process in my ability to deal with stains, and I hope you’ve found it inspiring and interesting as well! I’m still working away at a whole mess of projects new and old, so I look forward to seeing you back here next week on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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Review: Paradiso 2022

Review 2: A Beautiful Symphony

Image from Paradiso website

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! Last weekend I was away in Kansas City, Missouri attending Paradiso, a Japanese fashion convention. This was the fifth Paradiso (and the second that I’ve attended), but sadly it’s also the last one as pandemic pressures (both financial and logistical) led to the organizers to announce that they can no longer run the event. 😦 I was particularly glad, then, that I’d managed to win a Golden Ticket, and participate fully in all the activities this year, and I’m excited to share the fun with you here!

I tried to find a photo with everyone’s faces turned away. Everyone was also fully-masked which helps with both obscuring faces and preventing COVID transmission! 😀

I arrived at 3:30pm Friday, and was picked up at the airport by the fabulous Celestial from the Discord server! She was so kind, and took me straight to my hotel so I could change and head over to the venue for the pre-event swap meet! I sold a couple of things, but mostly used the opportunity to hang out with my friends. Afterward there was a VIP party that I spent about an hour at – the macarons were really good! 😀

Aahhhhh this venue is so lovely!!

Saturday was Day 1, and as a Golden Ticket holder I (and the other 3 people with Golden Tickets) got priority access to shop. My #1 priority was Neant Glass, who does beautiful pressed flower stained glass jewelry (that always sells out immediately online). I was lucky enough to be the first to her booth, and got the two necklaces I wanted – as well as a ring for a friend! I also bought a hat and headdress from Triple Fortune, and a couple of prints.


Some of the looks were incredible, and it was only day 1!

And mine wasn’t too bad either!

The convention photographer happened to have my exact same camera and lens, and we ended up chatting about camera stuff when I went over to have my picture taken! He was kind enough to attach his flash setup to my camera body, and take a couple of pictures of me with my camera as well! 🙂

Now THIS is a dress!

There was a break after the shopping, which I used to change and eat dinner, and then in the evening was the fashion show! I got to sit right at the end of the runway, and got some great photos!

The fantastic person with the pink mohawk will return on Day 2!
How much fun are they having?!
They look so dreamy in this Triple Fortune dress! ❤

Brilliant Kingdom also performed after the fashion show, and it was so much fun!

Sunday I got another Golden Ticket perk – brunch with Babi-san and Kaie-san of Triple Fortune!

They are SUCH kind and friendly people. I really hope to get to hang out with them again someday!

I gave them a cute purse with a Sasquatch on it, and they had never heard of Sasquatch! When they asked what it was, I explained that it was a kind of “Seattle yokai.” (Yokai are Japanese cryptids/spirits, essentially.) I was pretty proud of that explanation! Afterwards, it was time for the tea party and pageant contest:

The food and drink were not top notch I’m afraid. But it was a lovely venue!

The tea party venue was not air conditioned, and it was over 100 degrees F that day. ROUGH. Especially with layers of blouses, dresses, and petticoats! But getting to see everyone’s gorgeous outfits was so delightful. And once everyone had served themselves, it was time for the Ouji (“Prince”) Pageant!

Aren’t they lovely together?

Each prince had a set amount of time to woo their royal consort, and the winner was the fantastic Prince Olivier! They did a tremendous song and dance routine to “Take On Me” that got the whole room joining in. It was truly a worthy end to a glittering weekend!

My flight home on Monday ended up getting pushed back to later in the afternoon, so as a treat a few of my friends and I went to the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. It was SO COOL!

Pictured: how to make a teeny tiny violin!
Toy ovens changed a little bit over the years…

It was such a delight to get to see so many friends, and to make some new ones as well. I’m truly sad that Paradiso has ended, but hopefully you’ve had fun seeing some of the photos! And I look forward to seeing you back here next week for more history, sewing, and fashion! ❤

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