A few weeks ago, Gareth Branwyn of the Cool Tools blog posted a request for suggestions to include in a “Maker Sartorial” feature. I had a couple of ideas, so I sent in some email, and my suggestions were just posted as part of the June 11th post.
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.
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:
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.
Spent the last two days prepping fabric and planning, and spent the whole morning block-printing some fabric.
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.
I’ve been doing all thus work in Mr. Arimoto’s shop, and a little work in my own shop, and getting pretty tired of filling up all my regular clothes with sawdust. A woodworking blog I read started selling some nice looking shop coats, but they were a little pricey for my tastes. What the heck, I can sew.
It’s just another iteration on the venerable pajama pattern, just in heavier fabric with a few extra pockets to hold tools and wood chips.
I didn’t manage to get my tabi for last year finished until February of this year, but i’m now way ahead of last year when I didn’t finish my 2018 tabi until more than half way through the year.
The uppers and soles of these tabi are made from the same raw silk I used for this suoh. The ties are made from some green linen I had left over from this hapi that I made so long ago. I did save some time making this pair by just overcasting all four layers (two layers of upper, two layers of sole) together at once instead of sewing the inner and outer layers together separately and then joining them with the himo ties. This leaves a raw edge rubbing against the feet, but hiding this edge between layers is bulkier and actually less traditional. Anyway, as you can see in the photo, I usually wear socks inside my tabi.
Just in case you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about here, tabi aretraditional Japanese footwear. Common tabi are made of two layers of fabric. Modern tabi have closures at the back, but historical tabi close in front and either tie at the top or are tall enough to be held shut by the kyahan. Since they are fabric and you walk on them, they tend to wear out pretty quickly. I try to make a new pair every year so that as old ones fall apart or get too dirty I have new clean ones to take their place. Since they don’t need very much fabric, I usually piece them together from bits of surplus fabric left over from other projects.
Here’s a picture of me from our Baronial 12th Night event wearing a Kataginu Kamishimo of mostly new-for-2020 garb.
I’m wearing a kataginu vest and hakama pants in matching blue linen, printed cotton kosode, white linen kosode, white linen kyahan shin covers, black linen tate eboshi hat, and purchased jika tabi shoes. Sagemono belt-hangers are a belt favor of the three baronial orders to which I have been inducted (Order of Copernicus, Order of the Blue/Silver Comet, Order of the Gold Comet) and a kinchaku made from the same black silk brocade as my elevation garb which has been machine embroidered with a Laurel wreath.
Most years, I try to make one of my holiday gifts for Sharon be something that I made myself. This year, I decided sort of at the last minute that it would be a knock-off of a garment she bought for herself earlier this year. She bought a kind of smock / poncho garment, and it has become one of her favorite things. It’s a good thing to throw on as an extra layer for warmth, and it adds a couple of handy pockets. The catalog she got it from only offers a couple of colors, and she bought the one she liked. If she was going to have another one, it would have to be hand made.
The fabric is a light gray mostly cotton stretch knit. Don’t underestimate the comlexity of this garment. The shoulders actually slope down from the neckhole, and the sides taper in towards the bottom hem. The hems have narrow turn-unders, and mitered corners. The pockets have rounded bottom corners. The neck hole has a narrow facing band. I have done almost no work with this kind of stretch knit fabric before.
Anyway, it took me a few days to get everything laid out, cut out, lanned out, and sewn. It was finished in time for the holiday, but still had chalk marks all over it so it had to be washed before it could be worn. Sharon sent all day yesterday wearing it, and found it to be as comfortable as the original, so success.
I’ve been wearing a lot of green lately. Green goes pretty well with blue, and most of my pants are blue jeans. Blue shirts are sometimes a little matchy-matchy with blue jeans, and green can be part of a black shoes outfit or a brown shoes outfit. I don’t like wearing black or gray shirts with brown shoes, so green is a good versatile color for different outfits. Anyway, I was shopping for fabric and saw this great green flannel.
The pattern is the old pyjama top pattern, which is now Dana Marie Design Co. #1033, “Night and Day“. I still love this pattern for big comfy shirts. I don’t put the decorative trim on the pocket or cuffs. I added a vertical line of stitching that separates the pocket and makes it less likely that my phone will fall out. I just got those buttons at the fabric store today, so I could finish this project. I tried out some fancy buttonhole stitching, but you can’t really tell in this images.
My days are nothing but free time lately, but holidays doubly so. I’ve spent most of the last few days sewing on different projects, but nothing I can post about quite yet. I sewed a present for Sharon, but I didn’t get a chance to launder it so it’s covered in tailor’s chalk markings and needs a few touch-up stitches here and there. I sewed a flannel shirt for myself, but it needs a trip to the fabric store for buttons before it can be completed, and I’m not sure I want to go to retail-ville on Boxing Day. It’s all about stymied ambition, isn’t it? Anyway, hope you all got a chance to spend the day doing something you enjoy.