July 5, 2011

Stage and dance costume trick

I wanted to post some photos of one of the alterations I did to the shiromoku I used to create D's costume. One small thing I did was something I heard about from my kimono sensei. Her daughter used to perform Japanese classical dance when she was younger and often they danced either on an outdoor stage or in a parade and/or had to dress in tents at festivals. Not the best conditions for wearing light-colored kimono, silk or synthetic. She said she would line the hem of the kimono with lightweight, clear plastic used to protect tablecloths.That would keep the hems cleaner and from wearing and the plastic could cheaply and easily be replaced.
Seeing that one of the first photo shoots D attended was in a dirty warehouse and she needed the costume before I was totally done with alterations, I can attest how fast the hem got dirty even though she was very careful. Something needed to be done so it would stay looking good for the performances!
I found the clear plastic at Anna's Linens, a discount bed-bath store near my house. I spent about $4.50 on a oblong "table protector". You can pick these up at any store that sells table linens. Buy the thinnest, cheapest version the store carries, your needle will go right through it.

It was perfect. I cut a strip off the tablecloth about 7" wide, pinned it, basted it on and then cut the excess. I let the plastic wrap around to the outside of the hem about 1" or a bit more, enough to cover the padded hem, and it overlapped the inside about 4 inches. It worked really well and barely shows. It barely adds any weight or bulk since it's so thin.  D was pleased with the look and loved the idea since dry cleaning the shiromoku would be pretty costly. So for stage, it seems like a very good solution. I may consider adding it to the hem of my kurotomosode to prevent further wear.

I will post pictures of the finished costume soon, possibly even this week since D is back from LA. Apparently the performance was amazing and the costume and hat I made got rave reviews!


  1. That's a very handy trick, most of my hikizuri are very light coloured.
    Thank you very much for posting. (^.^)

  2. Really appreciate this post...Hope to see more good posts in the future.