It has been more than 15 years since I started dealing with vintage kimono but recently, our daughter Mugi came to show me what she found.
It is a summer thin kimono with checquered woven pattern called Kobai. The textie is jinken, made to look and feel like silk fabric but rayon. This particular kimono does not have any fancy technique and the dyed pattern is rather simple.
Sleeves are rather longer and it apparently is from during or before WWII-the time most people in our country were not so rich except few special people.
There are four `butterflies' at the bar tracking of the under arm (where sleeves and the bodice part are attached)
The part is usually sewn with extra stitches to reinforce to make sure the part will not tear when sleeves are pulled. Sometimes a small piece of fabric is attached to make the part stronger.
Howeveer, this particular kimono had embroidered butterflies at both sleeves. The design of the butterfly is cute, but it is not only design, the butterfly wings must be helpful reinforcing the part, it is practical also. So there are four butterflies in total for this one kimono and the part is almost invisible! Unless the wearer pull the part and indicate to show, saying `Look here', nobody could notice.
I check almost a hundred kimono or obi everyday but have never seen this type of reinforcing design before. The lady who owned this kimono might not have had expensive kimono (maybe not rich) but had time apply embroidery - she had time to enjoy secret oshare (fashion) at the details.
As you may know already, kimono wearers enjoy paring lining fabric. Many kimono wearers are fussy about hakkake color, the bottom lining. The bottom lining shows only when the bottom flips (for example when you walk with a big stride). Also people are particular about juban colors and patterns, under kimono which also do not show much...
Men's haori lining sometimes have amazing design. The lining does not show at all when you wear the haori but people were eager to have interesting design in the lining. Here are some examples.
Kimono wearing has many rules - what can be worn to certain places, there are appropriate seasonal motifs, what married women and single women wear differ and so on... but under the strict condition, people find their own pleasure secretly. Finding such secret is one of the joy with our business!