It’s not even half-way through the year, and I already have this year’s tabi foot coverings finished.
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.
One of our favorite commercial sewing patterns is Folkwear #112 “Japanese Field Clothing“. I’ve used it for more than a dozen items of informal garb, and Sharon has probably used it for more than two dozen items. Monpe are basically baggy sweatpants, much like very simple hakama with only four panels total. Hippari are simple shirts with an open front that ties closed, and small sleeves. Together, they make good “peasant garb” for Pennsic, or work clothing for other events during the year. In movies, you’ll often see these garments with multiple patches and fixes, giving you the impression that most people in medieval Japan would only have one set of clothing, and they would wear that for as long as humanly possible. Anyway, they’re a good thing to have available in the Japanese medieval garb wardrobe, even though the Folkwear pattern isn’t quite medieval. Here’s the set I made in 2019 to replace some stuff I made more than a dozen years ago that I just can’t wear anymore.
Both of these are made from linen fabric that I bought at the fabric store. The weave on both of these is a simple weave with color threads in one direction and white threads in the other. This gives the fabric sort of a homespun appearance, in my opinion. Anyway, these two items look pretty good together.