senryu : fabric


my mom’s kimono
scanned before passed onto sis
fabric herstory

senryu by M. Nakazato LaFreniere

This is a scan of the bottom edge of my mom’s kimono.  My sister wanted it and mom said no, intending to give it to me.  I said give it to sis since she has children and I don’t, something remaining from Okinawa that could be handed down over time — although how she will choose between three children, I don’t know.   Hopefully to whichever one has the greatest sense of history and would keep it to pass onto their children, refusing to sell it the first time cash was needed.

The same problem my mom had in having to choose.  Being fair doesn’t work unless you want to cut the kimono in half in a Solomon’s judgement.  However, for me, there is another way.  Simple really.  I scanned the whole kimono.  So I still have the virtual fabric, able to look at it when I choose.  I have a black and white photo of my mom in that kimono and I photoshopped the actual scan atop the photographed photo.  A bit more tricky than I expected as my scan was flat and in the photo, the kimono is worn, flowing over curves and folds.

It’s not the same as holding the silk but I am much taller and larger than my mom so I couldn’t wear it as a kimono anyways.  I could wear it hanging open in front like a robe but it’s too beautiful for that.  Although honestly my brother’s daughter is the only one small enough to be able to wear it properly as a kimono but he never asked.  Traditionally a kimono is handed down mother to daughter.

My mom treasured it for more than 50 years, having had it before she met my dad.  I have an oil painting of her wearing the kimono in her twenties.  When I view the scans of the fabric, that’s what I remember — my mom looking so beautiful in her kimono.  Strange to have that memory so clear — it was before I was born.


daily prompts, daily post

March 10: pink sherbert
Color your world challenge

font : Shutter Stone Italic by Sarid Ezra, also in Big Reputation font duo (Carroll Extra Bold Italic with Shutter Stone Italic)

Amazon: a pretty cool book by a Japanese publisher showing some kimono textiles

Kimono Design: An Introduction to Textiles and Patterns

8 thoughts on “senryu : fabric”

  1. Thank you very much for the history behind Mom’s kimono. You are correct, it is a treasure beyond words and I treat it as such. Laying lovingly in the hope chest you gave me almost 40 years ago.


    1. I wish I had thought to ask Mom whether she bought the kimono as fabric and made the kimono or if she bought the kimono already made. She could make her own patterns so might have made it. She used to make our clothes when we were kids from patterns she created.


    1. Thank you! I do love the idea of hopefully my mom’s great-great-great-great-granddaughter receiving it one day. I just read that in Japan, only about 40% own a kimono. Most prefer to rent a formal kimono on the rare occasions they need one. I guess it’s like guys renting a tuxedo here. Although most everyone has a yukata, a casual summer kimono. Although it might be an age thing. I noticed when I taught English in Japan, it was my women students over 40 who started taking kimono-wearing lessons to learn how to put on kimonos. The younger ones were more interested in modern fashions. I’ve always been different. I’ve always loved vintage and would love to have a turn-of-the-century ballgown even knowing I have nowhere to wear it. Just the idea of it is cool.


Leave a Reply