I usually try to make at least one of the gifts that I give to Sharon for our winter holiday celebrations. Often, this is a sewing project because it’s easy to keep those a secret. I was kind of at a loss this past year regarding what to make, because we don’t spend much time out of the house. So, I decided that since the Gray Smock that I made for her last year was a success, and since I found some knit fabric in a bright robin’s-egg blue that is near to her favorite color, I would just do another poncho smock.
It came out pretty good. I managed to get an actual narrow collar band in there instead of a facing, so I am pretty proud of myself. Of course, I couldn’t post about it before late December, and then I totally forgot to get a picture of her wearing it until recently.
When I was in the fabric store to buy the flannel for the new pajamas, I took a browse through the selection of “Asian”-themed cotton prints, and found this colorful “koi in water” fabric. I don’t really need another kosode, but I need to make something out of this.
Here are some details that will mean nothing unless you are a kosode geek: The fabric was a little narrow, but I can still get away with wearing 14-inch wide panels, and I had gotten enough fabric to make it knee-length like I like them now. The sleeves are almost fully attached to the body, but I still like to give them a little flappy bit at the bottom. The sleeves themselves are about 18-inches tall, and the opening is half of that. It has a 3-layer neckband that is only about 2 inches wide.
Here is a close up of the fabric so that you might appreciate how pretty it is:
After 16 (!) years, my hydrangea-print flannel pajamas (the first pajamas I ever made) are well on their way to being entirely worn out, so I decided to get around to doing some more sewing and make myself some new flannel pajamas.
These use a great shibori-print “Snuggle” brand flannel from the fabric store and (again) my favorite sewing pattern of all time. Again, though, I left the pockets and false fly out of the pants. I did wind up cutting the fabric too short for the pants legs, so I added the same style cuff to the legs that the pattern has for the sleeves.
I decided that I wanted to make one more shop coat. The other two are great, even though I have less opportunity to wear them lately, but I thought that a third coat made from oilcloth would be a handy thing to have. The oilcloth would make it water resistant, if not waterproof.
Then, I had to find a source of oilcloth. Most oilcloth you can find on the net is not real cloth, it’s that flannel-backed vinyl that people use as tablecloths. Real oilcloth is real cloth (usually cotton canvas) that’s been soaked in boiled linseed oil and allowed to dry. It’s easy (if pricey) to buy garments made from oilcloth, but not so easy to find the raw material, and I didn’t want to make it myself.
At least one of the merchants at Pennsic usually carries oilcloth, but there was no Pennsic this year and none of the merchant websites listed oilcloth. Eventually I found Hamilton Dry Goods. They have a selection of real cotton oilcloth in stock and their service was reasonably fast.
Anyway, here’s the coat:
Because it’s meant to be worn in wet conditions, exterior pockets seemed like a bad idea. Because the oilcloth feels a little greasy even when it’s dry, I decided to put a lining in the coat, and put pockets on the lining.
I had some of this rosy poly-cotton fabric all the way down in the bottom of one of my fabric supply bins, held in reserve for a project I was unlikely to ever make. It was a good hue match for the burgundy shell fabric, and a better feel against the skin.
The pattern doesn’t include instructions for adding a lining, so I had to figure all that out on my own. I only messed it up a little bit, at the lapels. I managed to effect a save without ripping out all the collar stitching.
A quick trip to the fabric store for some brass buttons, and this project was complete. Some time I need to figure out how to make one of these with a zipper instead of buttons. Not soon, though.
I was in the fabric store that shall not be named a couple of weeks ago, and they were having a sale on all cotton prints. Their selection of Japanese prints was pretty bad, so I bought a cute bunny rabbit print from the “Easter” colection, to make a new pair of pajamas.
There’s no crosses or anything, just white bunnies cavorting on a pastel purple background. Very cute, and the cotton fabric is lightweight and good for summer wear.
I used my favorite pajama pattern, since I know that I like the fit. I think I did a better job of placing the shirt pocket on this iteration than I did on the natural shop coat, and the collar attachment was quite smooth.
I greatly simplified the pants, though. I left out the false fly, which is a nice accent, but serves no functional purpose. I also left out the pockets, which are nice to have sometimes, but rarely used and not worth the added bulk and trouble in my experience. I also did a drawstring waist instead of an elastic waist, but I usually do that.
This project took me about two days worth of work. I’m very happy that this kind of thing is a weekend project for me now.
Not so much lately, given the extreme heat we’ve been having, but for much of the Spring I found my blue shop coat to be extraordinarily handy. I’m the kind of person who won’t really leave the house without a jacket or coat of some kind, so a mid-weight, durable chore coat was nice to have. If I’d worn it recently for actual woodworking, it was probably too dusty to wear out in public, though.
I thought it would be handy to have a second shop coat, but I didn’t like any of the other colors of cotton duck cloth that the store had in stock. Blue is a good neutral color, but I didn’t want another blue one, and black is really not my style. I decided to use this “natural” duck cloth.
Sharon points out that the unbleached “natural” color will probably hide sawdust very well. It sure does get wrinkly in the wash, though. That “crumpled paper bag” texture you can see in the photo is not exaggerated by the lighting; that’s what it really looks like.
Also, for some reason I wound up attaching the pockets really low on this one. The upper pockets on the blue coat are up near the first button, but there are down at the second button, about 5 inches lower. The pockets are also larger on this one, so it gives the coat a bottom-heavy appearance. It’s far too late to worry about it now, though. Maybe I will add a pocket or two higher up, or some decorative embroidery.
I also added a button to the left breast pocket. I found that it was very tempting to put my phone in that pocket, but on the blue coat there was always a risk that the phone could slip out and be damaged on the shop floor (like my last two phones were). I should really add a flap or something to the blue coat’s breast pocket.
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.