For most of my pregnancy, I have avoided doing any kitsuke - even for practice. With hormones making me generally not feel well for a good amount of the time and (of course) an ever-changing body to deal with, it just felt like too much. However, this past weekend, I had a good reason to try to get dressed in kimono. It was the annual local Japanese food event, "Oishii Japan", and my tea ceremony group was asked to do a short presentation. The outfit I ultimately ended up choosing was not something I would usually wear for tea, but I went with it considering it was a casual event, and I had a limited number of things that still fit and would be comfortable enough.
I went with a synthetic ume patterned komon for a couple of reasons besides fit. This was a busy and crowded event and with the added pregnancy body functions (I won't go into that...), the risk of damaging a silk kimono was fairly high. My shamisen teacher recommended that I just wear hanhaba obi for comfort rather than try to wrangle a nagoya obi. I had also looked at wearing a heko obi, but I had none that would look appropriate or fit correctly. I figured a dark hanhaba obi would then be the most flattering with this kimono, and I settled on this reversible polka dot one. I tied it in karuta musubi, in case I needed to lay back in a chair or something. Since this was for tea, I stuck with plain white haneri and tabi. The final touches were a deep turquoise obijime and turquoise zori.
In case you were curious, I did have to make some adjustments in the fitting and what I wore underneath the kimono. I can no longer fit into my kimono bra, so I just stuck with a regular maternity/nursing bra and a camisole. To help compensate for the larger-than-normal gap underneath the breasts, I folded a hand towel in thirds lengthwise (normally I only have to do this in half) and tied in on with a datejime. I used my normal hip padding for my back. I am not a big fan of one-piece juban, and I also had none that would fit now anyway, so I opted for the two-piece variety. The catch was, I could only use the top as my belly prevented me from being able to wear the susoyoke. I didn't want my bare legs to show should the panels come open, so I wore some black maternity tights for the bottom half. The top part of the juban only barely fit over my belly, but I was able to keep the collar area closed like normal by using a korin and koshihimo (usually I'd use a datejime but I didn't have anymore that would fit). The ohashori of the kimono had to be tied quite high, just under my ribs. This was not too uncomfortable for most of the day, but by the end of the event, the koshihimo was digging in a little. The other koshihimo was tied only a little higher than normal. (All of the various ties only barely fit now, so I am not sure if I try again before the pregnancy is over that they will fit at all!) I had to tie the obi very high, almost over my bust! I used a special type of obiita that allows the obi to be turned around very easily, and this proved to be very helpful.
As for the event itself, we served tastings of matcha and sweets throughout most of the event, culminating with an abbreviated example of tea ceremony led by our tea master. (I may have some pictures of this part taken by a photographer friend to share later.) While I often am asked to act as either a main guest or assistant for these types of things, Sensei asked me to narrate for the audience this time around - which was welcome considering it is getting more and more difficult to get up off the ground these days! The presentation seemed to be very well received, and a few people asked when the next lessons will be, so I hope we see some new faces in upcoming classes!