bookmark_borderWhite Kosode 2020

I had meant to leave this year’s white kosode half-finished, so I could use it as a demonstrator for a class I was going to teach at Pennsic on kosode construction. Instead of leaving it to fester while we’re waiting to see if there will be a Pennsic next year, I decided to complete it so that I could wear it if we ever happen to have an SCA event ever again.

Gosh that all sounds pessimistic, I know, but there it is. Really, I’m much more optimistic about the future of the SCA than that. I think we will have to reconsider what makes an event and how we run them, but I’m sure we will have events in the future. They might just be very different from the kind of events we’ve had in the past, though.

Anyway, this year’s kosode, in white ramie. I’ve already made two kosode from the white ramie I ordered a couple of years ago. When it became time to make my 2020 kosode, I thought about getting some new fabric, but I realized I still had plenty of this terrific 150 gram ramie linen from Morex Fabrics, so why not use it? The pattern is my standard men’s kosode method, starting from 14.5″ panels. For my technically-minded friends, I continue to use half-panel overlaps and three-layer collars.

bookmark_borderCompleted Daimon Hitatare

I sewed the Daimon Hitatare Sugata some time ago, and added some kotsuyu embellishments and munahimo some weeks ago, but only got around to taking new pictures recently.

Completed Daimon Hitatare
Daimon From the Back

While the scroll I based this outfit on does not show these cords, I feel they are necessary. I am guessing that the scroll does not show them because the warrior in the image was not rich enough to afford them.

bookmark_borderTabi 2020

It’s not even half-way through the year, and I already have this year’s tabi foot coverings finished.

Tabi in blue linen

For those of my readers who are not familiar with this tradition, I started sewing my own tabi a few years ago to go with my Japanese garb. They are usually made from leftover fabric from garb projects, but it’s just regular fabric, so they tend to wear out pretty quickly. I found that if I make a pair a year, I can keep ahead of the curve and always have at least a few pairs of tabi that are not worn out and shabby looking. Usually, I wind up finishing a year’s tabi in January or February of the following year. Not this year! Free time and your wife hosting local sewing circles can do that.

These are made from the blue linen I used for the hippari top I made for the field clothing outfit from this past December. They’re sewn entirely by hand, including attaching the himo ties, which I normally do by machine. This was not a decision to be a stickler about it, just that I was sewing these to have some sewing to do while being social, so why not stretch it out a little bit?

These are apparently the eleventh or twelfth pair of tabi I have made for myself. Scary. Maybe the next pair will be impractically fancy. We still have some really nice silk brocade sitting around.

bookmark_borderMore Daimon Images

Kingdom coronation was held virtually this weekend, so we got dressed up at home for the teleconference. Here’s a comparison of the gentleman in the “Nenbutsu Gathering” scroll with me in my daimon hitatare.

Him in His
Me in Mine

Now I can attach the braids!

bookmark_borderBraids for Hitatare

The scroll doesn’t show them, but most hitatare I have seen are embellished with little knots called kotsuyu . I’ve made these in the past for my green hitatare and for Sir Morgen’s daimon hitatare. I want to get some pictures of me wearing the daimon before I add braids, so that it matches the scroll, but I do eventually want to add braids. To that end, I spent a few days making braids.

Thirteen Black silk braids

All of the braids are made from sixteen ends on black laceweight silk yarn per tama, and are simple 8-tama round edo yatsu braids. The pile at the bottom is 9 15-inch braids to make the kotsuyu knots, 5 for the hitatare and 4 for the hakama. The 2 braids with looped ends are for the munahimo chest ties at the front of the hitatare. The two very small knots are for the vestigal sodetsuyu sleeve knots at the bottom of the sleeve ends.

bookmark_borderDaimon Hitatare Sugata

A while back (more than a year ago, probably) I was browsing the online collections of the Metropolitan Museum of art, and I found a hanging scroll called “A Nenbutsu Gathering at Ichiya, Kyoto“, which is an excerpt from the “Illustrated Biography of the Monk Ippen and His Disciple Ta’a”.

Now, I am not a big fan of the Pure Land Buddhism favored by Ippen, but I was instantly drawn to a figure in the middle foreground. Not only is he wearing a bright-colored hitatare, it’s a daimon hitatare decorated with a triple-hexagon motif (my registered badge is hexagonal), and I look kind of like him with a beard and narrow stature.

This has been the reason for me buying bright orange linen at Pennsic, me learning to carve wooden printing blocks, and me spending hours practicing printing and actually printing yards and yards of fabric.

Behold, my daimon hitatare:

Hitatare top and matching hakama pants, front
Hitatare top and matching hakama pants, back

The outfit still needs some finishing touches, but I am so happy with the way main construction went on this garment that I thought I would post some photos. I still need to make a samurai eboshi hat, and a fan if I want to complete my recreation of this guy from the painting. I am torn about adding the kotsuyu and sodetsuyu knots to the garment. I know they should be there to make a proper daimon hitatare, but they are not visible in the painting.

bookmark_borderMore Fabric Printing

Spent the last two days prepping fabric and planning, and spent the whole morning block-printing some fabric.

Drying

Now, every available surface in my office is draped with fabric. There’s very little bleed through the fabric, and the printing is actually thin enough that it does not run or drip, and dries quickly. I used Jacquard “Textile Color” with “Air Fix” additive. Even so, I will probably spend tomorrow heat setting with an iron just in case.

All in all, I did almost 100 impressions of the badge today, and another dozen or so impressions while testing. This is all from just one of those little 2.25 fluid ounce jars of paint. There’s still some paint left, too.

bookmark_borderFirst Garment

First complete garment from block-printed fabric is this kataginu vest. I have a much larger project I’m working on, but this garment enabled me to do a batch of test prints like the one I posted the other day. Later, I was able to make a garment from some of the tests.

Front
Kataginu front
Back
Kataginu back

It’s really super difficult to get all the wrinkles out of linen this thick. It’s great stuff, going to make awesome garb, but wrinkly. The printing came out good. I had to print back mon on both pieces before sewing, because printing across the seam with allowances on the inside would not have worked as smoothly.

bookmark_borderKaminari Kataginu

Recent experiments applying the mon of Clan Yama Kaminari to fabric have demonstrated to me that I am most happy with machine embroidered versions. They are durable, attractive, and can be made by a robot. This last is handiest because I want to embark on a project to make probably several dozen of these so that when we do something like march in a festival parade or rocess into court as a group, we can have a uniform look. Here are two prototypes I made over the last few days.

Embroidered Kaminari Kataginu

Even with a robot to do all of the embellishment work, it’s still labor intensive to get the fabric loaded onto the machine just right to get good results exactly where you want them. It also takes about ten minutes to complete each mon, so that’s going to be a lot of time if we make a whole bunch of these.