This is my entry for this month's RNEST Monthly Challenge...Kiyomi the Geisha. The theme for April is Japan/Japan Relief. I got the name "Kiyomi" from one of my Facebook fans after putting a call out for pretty (but not cliche`) Japanese names. It means "pure beauty".
This piece was inspired by the "Panda Buns" project in the Wee Wonderfuls book I got from the library a few months ago. I actually used the pattern as a base for this design, and (as usual) tweaked it to suit my vision and make it my own.
I feel extremely accomplished after finishing this (it took me most of yesterday afternoon/evening to complete). This is the most sophisticated piece I think I've done to date. I've never made removable clothes for any of my plush before, (with the exception of that skirt I tried making for Mika the raccoon.) so this was a big challenge. I'd also never worked with bias tape before in this way. It was a challenge, but I definitely prefer using the bias tape over dealing with trying to hem raw edges.
I improvised the hair and designed it myself.
Here she is without the kimono. I felt the need to give her a modest, sewn-on undergarment so she wasn't naked underneath.
I wanted the obi to be attached to the kimono itself...since I know how little girls are, and if I'd made it a separate piece, it would ultimately get lost. Although...the shoes will probably get lost. My dolls were always barefoot when I was little, unless the shoes were sewn on. For my next geisha doll (yes, I will be making more!) I want to get a little crazy and actually make little wooden sandals out of balsa wood (that was my husband's idea!).
The original "Panda Buns" project has "pajamas" instead of a kimono (and I believe is intended to be Chinese instead of Japanese). To make the kimono, I just lengthened the pajama top pattern and improvised for the obi (the sash around the middle). I also give my husband credit for suggesting how to do the obi.
The obi wraps around and is attached in the back with snaps. (this was my first time using snaps too).
Here is Kiyomi with my very first geisha doll that I made about 4 years ago. I had thought about entering the "Sock Geisha" in the Team Challenge, but was insecure about the stitching...since I made her back before I had a machine, when I sewed everything by hand. Plus...she is one of the pieces I'm attached to and want to keep for myself. But I also didn't want to put something on Etsy with inferior stitching.
I still have a ton the blue asian brocade fabric...so one of my next geisha dolls will definitely have a kimono made from it! Even with as much work as Kiyomi was, I am really looking forward to making more of them with different kimono, learning from my mistakes and honing my skills. Practice makes perfect right? :)
Of course, Terra jut has to explore my little photo shoot area I have on the porch. My husband popped his head in and laughed at my little staging area and props like the parasol and paper lanterns! He thought it was adorable!