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28062Re: Garment Construction Details

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  • LJonthebay
    Dec 21, 2011
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      --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, "Carey G" <agnesvonh@...> wrote:
      >
      > Does anyone know of any information available regarding some of the finer details in regards to period garment construction? I'm willing to take anything from within or near period as I know that is difficult information to come by in European garments. Some of the specifics I'm looking for are what kind of stitches they used to sew their garments, what kind of seam finishing if anything they used, if they used linings and if so what kind of linings.

      1. Seam finishing is not as much of an issue as it is with European garments for the simple reason that Japanese textiles were (and still are) woven to relatively narrow bolt widths, which means lots of selvaged edges. You'd simply adjust your seam allowance wider or narrower to fit the wearer. That said, most of us have to deal with cutting modern fabrics to the necessary. I hand-sew everything, so my seams are done with running stitch, then the raw edges get folded inward on themselves and bound with an overcast stitch.

      2. They definitely lined things. Many of the color combinations used for court ladies' kasane describe colored linings that compliment or contrast with the robe they're built into. Winter robes might also contain a layer of silk padding trapped between the outer fabric and lining. (The padding was made of unrolled cocoons stretched out into a sort of sticky tissue wadding that would more or less stay in place without elaborate quilting, from the descriptions I've read.)

      Conversely, the word "hitoe" refers specifically to certain types of unlined robes: there's a man's garment, a woman's garment and it's also used as a term for modern summer kimono. Unfortunately, I have not been to Japan and have been limited to studying most garments and textiles by way of books and the 'net, so I can't tell you a lot about what period linings looked like. However, my modest vintage kimono and haori have linings in both silk and cotton. In fact, some may be a combination of both, with the fancier (or colored) fabric showing at hem and sleeve edges while the lined body (from about shoulder to knee length) may be quite plain. The other extreme is the secret luxury of highly decorated linings which came into vogue during the Edo period as a way to get around strict Shogunal sumptuary laws. Modern men's haori are very plain, but the linings frequently are elaborately decorated.

      (Another feature of a couple of my modern vintage unlined yukata is what I can only describe as a butt panel - there's a rectangular piece of fabric about where one's sit-upon would come in contact with the fabric. Makes a lot of sense for an unlined garment used as lounge or bath wear.)

      3. Running stitch is the work horse stitch and I've seen examples where the stitches are fairly big and far apart. That makes for quick and easy disassembly for cleaning or re-tailoring, not to mention making by-hand construction go pretty quickly.

      Blind stitch is great for attaching collars: do one edge with running stitch, then fold over and blind stitch the other side. I banged my head on a glass case at the Asian Art Museum peering at the inner edge of a hitatare sleeve on a Noh costume - it was beautifully finished with tiny (and I mean TINY) hem stitches.

      Hope this helps some,

      Saionji no Hana
      West Kingdom
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