Kimono, an important component of Japanese heritage
A kimono, Japanese traditional dress, is made from one long and narrow rectangular fabric. The rectangular fabric is around 11 yard long and 16 inch wide. The rectangular fabric is cut into eight pieces to become one kimono (see the illustration below). This is why kimonos have tubal shapes that did not fit closely.
Kimono is an expensive garment. It is because many of the kimono fabrics are still hand made. By the time of my mother’s generation (she was born in 1939) kimono was an important item in their marital package – when a woman got married, she was given newly sewn kimonos from her parents, and some of them could be recycled from her mother’s. Since a kimono is made from eight rectangular fabrics, it is always possible to resize it as long as the fabric is in a good condition. This custom is, however, changing in my generation. Our lives are more and more westernized and losing occasion to wear kimonos.
When I became forty I asked my mother, “Can I have your kimonos?” My mother was delighted to remove her kimonos from her closet and said, “You finally understood!”
Lately, remaking kimono into Western clothes is becoming fashionable among people who want to cherish kimono fabrics by wearing them casually and daily. I kept some of my mother’s kimonos as kimonos, and remade some into Western clothes, too. When I remake kimonos, I end up designing tubal shape because the fabric looks better.