I decided to do it by hand and follow the Study of the Okesa, Nyoho-e Buddha's Robe book from Tomoe Katagiri. This, in tandem with my teacher, Taigu Turlur's blog have been incalculable help. Anywhootle it was very painless and best off all I learned a very valuable lesson and here is the long way to it: (Scroll down to the short version below if you'd like its okay... I understand)
I bought many metres of black and white material as a very very kind coworker offered to make a back up kimono and koromo for me. I already have a set coming from A very very patient Buddha on this path named Yuko Conniff of Great patience Zen stitchery in L.A and She agreed to sew a winter and summer koromo (Gets cold up here ya know) and a kimono, which should be arriving any day (hehe I swear no more emails, for now :D). that said... I know me and anything meant to stay clean and white or just clean...
So I snipped off a the white part i need for making the Zagu from the material i was purchasing and while waiting to be rung in a kind sales person tried to up-sell me some supplies... I thought meh I'm good...until she said... "do you need thread?, Gutermann is on sale...blah blah... I blanked out while thinking about thread. I did... so off I went and whilst there I found it:
THE ANSWER TO EVERY PROBLEM I EVER ENCOUNTERED
...or the answer to my thread problem....
100metres of heavy duty thread!! this stuff looks like manly rope for pixies or something... AWESOME SAUCE!!!
Got it home... cut my stuff marked measured and ironed. Threaded the new thread into a slightly larger needle as the eye on my ol' trusty was too small. Started sewing and omg ... no matter how long I made the strand it didn't knot up when drawing it through...fast slow. Not that it didn't start too..it just never fully did I could easily right it with a flick of the needle. Not only that the stitches were clean and tight as a slight variance on the stitch was hidden by the the thickness of this thread!!
I brought this up with my good friend Fugen who said...with a smirk i might add "Ya, I already knew that". Added bonus is its heaver and can stand up better to wear and tear... sheeesh wish i would have learned his 1 Rakusu, 2 Kesas and my sanity ago :D
Heavier thread saves time and looks good and of course last longer.
anywho here is a bad picture of the Zagu:
The Zagu looks a bit wonky in the photo but its just perspective, the folds and some wrinkles ...seriously...and a bit of wonkiness too I'm sure :). Start to finish including measuring ...this took 8~ 9 hours by hand. Thank you to all of you whom have stitches in this Zagu and the Kesas!!
Shukke Tokudo is less than a week away and though its a ceremony recognizing what already is... I feel honored and a bit nervous...and humbled. Many amazing folk in this life life...some amazingly helpful caring and kind, some amazingly difficult, trying and down right irritating tones in between...all of them teaching me regularly some very important lessons.
To all my teachers, all Buddhas, Thank you. I vow to keep listening and learning from you all.
smack me up side the head if I'm not ;)