About Kimonos

About Kimono

Most kimono are of a uniform shape and size, and are constructed in such a way that one size really does fit all. Kimono are composed of rectangular panels of fabric that are sewn together. This panel design allows it to be neatly folded. Kimono can also be disassembled, cleaned, and then reassembled thanks to this design.

The standard kimono pattern includes the following parts:

  • Eri (collar)
  • Erisaki (collar end)
  • Erishita (collar underside)
  • Furi (sleeve portion below the arm hole)
  • Mae sode (sleeve front)
  • Mae migoro (body front)
  • Suso (hem)
  • Senui (back middle seam)
  • Ushiro migoro (body back)
  • Tomoeri (collar topside)
  • Ushiro sode (sleeve back)
  • Sodeguchi (sleeve opening)
  • Sode haba (sleeve width)
  • Kata haba (shoulder width)
  • Yuki (sleeve and shoulder width)
  • Sodetsuke (armhole seam)
  • Sodetake (sleeve depth)
  • Miyatsuguchi (opening under armhole)

The standard kimono size is as follows:

Length: 158 cm
Sleeve and shoulder width: 63 cm
Sleeve width: 32 cm
Shoulder width: 31 cm
Sleeve depth: 49 cm

There is some variation on these dimensions, as you can see in our measurements of the kimonos that we have for sale.

Kimonos can be made of silk, wool, cotton, linen, or synthetic fabrics. Patterns can be produced by weaving, hand painting, embroidery, or use of stencils. Today, weaving by machine is much more common than weaving by hand.

If a kimono is dyed before the weaving process, it is categorized as a sakizome kimono. Sakizome kimonos, also known as woven kimonos, include meisen or habutae (reeled silk), omeshi (heavy crepe), tsumugi (spun silk), sha (silk gauze), and ro (leno weave gauze), kasuri (splash pattern), shima (stripe pattern), koushi (checks or lattice pattern), and joufu (linen).

If a kimono is dyed after weaving, it is categorized as an atozome kimono. Atozome kimonos, also known as dyed kimonos, include garazome (dyed designs on white fabric), tegakizome (hand-painted), rouketsu (yuzen, batik), katazome (stencil), kata yuzen (hand-drawn yuzen), kata komon (small stencil designs), edo komon (small one-color crests), bingata (multicolor dyeing on stencil resist), chuugata (medium stencils for yukata), kasurizome (tie-dye), and mujizome (pattern-less, one-color dyeing).

The main types of formal kimono are:

  • Kuro tomesode, a formal kimono for married women. Kuro means black, and tomesode implies sleeves of short width. Kuro tomesode typically have five family crests as well.
  • Iro tomesode, another formal kimono for married women, though less formal than the kuro tomesode. It too has five crests and sleeves of short width. The word iro implies color, which differentiates this formal kimono from the kuro tomesode.
  • Uchikake, a long robe that is an integral part of the traditional Japanese bridal costume.
  • Shiromuku, another traditional bridal robe. The shiromuku is white.
  • Furisode, a kimono with wide, flowing sleeves. Furisode are for single women, and are very colorful and feature ornate designs.
  • Houmongi, a modified version of the furisode or tomesode. Houmongi are meant for formal visits.
  • Mofuku, a kimono for mourning. The mofuku features no design or pattern.

The information on this page was compiled and condensed from several of the kimono booksfeatured on this site. We especially recommend The Book of Kimono for those interested in further such details about kimono, haori, and obi.