This semester I was able to continue my kimono making lessons from last semester and learn more about traditional Japanese garment construction techniques. After trekking to my Sensei’s house every Friday afternoon this semester, I have finished sewing one whole yukata by hand and my Sensei and I have began working on a haori as well. Pursuing these lessons has allowed me to work on my Japanese conversation skills outside of the classroom and given new directions and techniques for my own artistic practice in the future.
Since I first began studying under my Sensei last semester, I have gradually gotten better at sewing with my hands. I’m still not as fast as the experienced hands of my Sensei, but I can tell that now I can stitch straight much more easily and even do harded stitches like hidden seams much more easily. I also now have a much better idea of how kimono are constructed, and the technical tricks and manipulations of the fabric that are used to achieve the distinct drapery and shapes of kimono. This work has given me a valuable different perspective on how to put clothes together, and I’m excited to apply this knowledge to my own projects and experiments in the future.
Meeting with my Sensei every week has also allowed me to work on my Japanese conversation. Though when I first met him we had a hard time communicating, as I’ve continued to study and improve my own Japanese I’ve been able to understand my Sensei’s accent better and become more conversational. Our chats are a bit light, as we are usually both working on our own sewing, but I feel proud that over the past seven months I’ve gradually become able to communicate effectively. I’m glad I had the opportunity to take these lessons.