Kona Bay Fabric

June 17, 2006 by  
Filed under Die Cutting Machines and Supplies

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What sort of fabric should I use for my kimono?

I want to go to an anime convention (Youmacon) in November, and they will be holding a masquerade ball. People are allowed to wear kimonos to this, and my friends and I are planning on wearing kimonos. We already have patterns and that sort of thing, but what kind of fabric should we use? It's really hard to find cheap silk where I live, so is there a silk-like material that would be cheaper? Or would cotton be okay? I don't want to use cotton because it wouldn't be dressy enough (the ball is going to be all-out fancy), but I will if I absolutely have to. Does anybody know of any fabric shops in the Southwest Michigan area (around and south of Kalamazoo) that would sell fabric, cheap? I also need to find some fabric for my Rin Kagamine cosplay, so the fabric shop would help with that too.

A good-quality cotton would be better than most fabrics, especially if you can get a decent one with a nice Japanese pattern (there are some Kona Bay fabrics that might work). Technically speaking what you would have as a result would be a yukata, but the plus side of that is that yukata accessories are easy to make and yukata are so casual that you can get away with a lot of experimentation and can actually dress them up quite a bit.

If you really don't want a yukata and you can't get silk, your best bet is probably going to be polyester crepe. The major downside of this is that it will probably be hot, and unless you can get it with a nice pattern your kimono will be quite plain. But out of all of the non-silk fabrics available in most American fabric stores it really is your best bet. Steer clear of practically every other dress fabric, including anything sheer or glittery, anything with beads/sequins/etc on it, "Asian" brocades, sari silk, netting, velvet, and satin. Satin is way too shiny and you will just look cheap if you use it.

If you're willing to spend the money, you can actually buy bolts of actual kimono fabric from places like Ichiroya, Yamatoku, and Shinei. I would suggest getting iromuji or komon bolts, since it might be tough to work well with anything more formal if you have never made a kimono (by the way, I hope you're using the Folkwear patter -- the ones by Simplicty, McCall's, and so on are pretty terrible).

Honestly, your biggest problem is going to be making the other required accessories. For a yukata it would be easy -- you don't need much but the obi, geta, and something to wear under the yukata, along with a couple of ties to hold things together. Strips of plain cotton long enough to wrap around your waist and tie will be fine for the ties, and they don't have to be pretty since they won't be seen. You don't need special undergarments for a yukata so you could get away with a low-necked t-shirt and a knee-length dress slip if you didn't want to buy or make anything special. For the obi you can literally just by several yards of fabric, hem it all around the edges, and have a perfectly attractive heko obi to wear. Heko obi are the exception to most of the fabric rules because you CAN use things like lace, sheer fabrics, and fabrics decorated with beads/sequins/glitter/etc. and they will be perfectly appropriate (heck you could make multiple heko obi and wear them all together and it would still be fine). You don't even need to learn any special ways of tying them. You can just wrap them around your waist a couple of times, tie a big bow, and be done with it. If you want a more traditional obi, it will be more difficult. If you want to make something more formal than a yukata, it will be even MORE difficult because you will not only need to make the obi, but also a juban, obi age, and obi jime, and your footwear MUST include zori and tabi. There really is no way around these things, and it's tough to make the obi without appropriate material...which generally doesn't exist or is very difficult to find in American fabric stores.


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