Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lined Stretch Tabi Tutorial

Recently, Linda Cole (Saiya-chan) of Oranda no Kitsuke created a very nice pattern for making your own stretch tabi. You can download the pattern here. The pattern is for making size 25-25.5cm stretch tabi, however it is easy to make size adjustments by adjusting your print margins.

To make your own pair of stretch tabi using Saiya-chan's pattern, simply cut out your stretchy fabric (reverse the pattern for the other foot) and sew the pieces together (inside out) matching up the letters on the pattern pieces. I used a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine, but you can also sew the tabi by hand.

Unlined tabi, made using Saiya-chan's pattern:

Now, if you would like to make stretch tabi that are lined, it takes a few extra steps. The lining gives some extra thickness and stability, especially if the fabric you use is very thin. Here is my tutorial on making lined stretch tabi using Saiya-chan's tabi pattern:

Step 1, Cut out your fabric.
Reverse the pattern for the other foot.
For the outside layer I am using very satiny fabric that is a mix of nylon and polyester. For the lining I used an old jersey cotton T-shirt.

 The tabi soles are also jersey cotton, but I used 3 layers of fabric to give the soles cushioning thickness.

Step 2, baste the soles together.
Pin the three layers of fabric for the sole together so that they do not separate. Stitch around the outside of the sole to bond the layers together. You can use whatever sort of stitch you prefer for this, such as hand basting, machine basting stitch. I used a zigzag stitch around the very edge of the fabric.

Step 3, Sew together the center seam of the top of the tabi (point B on the pattern)
Pin the left and right halves of the tabi and tabi lining together and sew them together. Again, I used a zigzag stitch.

Step 4, Sew the heels (point C on the pattern)
Sorry, I don't have a picture for this step. With right sides together still, sew up the back of the heel of each of the tabi and lining pieces.

Step 5, Attach the lining to the tabi body.
Turn the tabi body right-side out and carefully insert the lining into the tabi body. Line up the toes and pin around the edges. Baste around the edge to bond the tabi and lining pieces. I basted by hand this time.

Step 6, Attach the sole.
Pin the sole to the body of the tabi, starting from the heel. Use plenty of pins around the toes. The toes are wider on the body piece than the sole, however everything should line up if you focus on keeping the edges even. Again, I used a zigzag stitch.

Step 7, Sew the ankle opening (point A on the pattern).
To cut down on bulk around the ankle, I trimmed the lining a little bit.

Fold the top of the ankle twice and pin it down.

You can sew it however you wish. I used a zigzag stitch again for this. It can be seen on the outside of the tabi, however a zigzag stitch is less likely to break when the tabi is stretched while inserting your foot. You may add a piece of elastic in the ankle opening if you want, but I don't see the need for it.

Done! Turn the tabi right-side out, and you are finished!
The color on these photos didn't turn out right. The tabi are gold colored and shiny.

This is the true color:

You can have fun using different types of stretchy fabric and old clothing!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tanabata, Star Festival

Yukata @ Seattle Tanabata 2011, (Source)
Next upcoming event is Tanabata, the Star Festival, July 7th (Saturday). Tanabata has a romantic story about Orihime and Hikoboshi being able to meet in the Milky Way for this one night of the year. Come celebrate Tanabata by dressing in yukata and decorating bamboo with paper ornaments and wishes!

Tanabata is held jointly by the Seattle Japanese Garden and the Wing Luke Museum, and there will be activities at both locations with a shuttle going between the two locations every half hour from 1-5:30pm.

Seattle Tanabata, 2008. (Source)

Seattle/Tacoma Kimono Club's Facebook Event listing
The Seattle Japanese Garden
Wing Luke Museum

Locations and admission info:
You only need to pay the admission fee for one location, and you can visit the second location for free. The admission fees and parking is different for each location, so I've provided that information below.

Wing Luke Museum
719 South King Street, Seattle, WA
Pay-parking, public parking map
Adult - $12.95
Senior - $9.95
Age 13 – 18 or with student ID - $9.95
Age 5 – 12 - $8.95
Under 5 - free

Seattle Japanese Garden
1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E, Seattle, WA
Parking lot is available.
Adults 18-64 - $6
Age 6–17, 65+, college students with ID, & disabled - $4
Under 9 - free

Event Schedule:
Celebration at The Wing Luke Museum:
10am-1pm: Crafts with P.A.P.E.R. and the Drachen Foundation.
10:30am and 11:30am: Storytelling performances by Eth-Noh-Tec.

Celebration at the Seattle Japanese Garden:
1-5pm: Japanese calligraphy wishes with Meito Shodo Kai
1pm, 2pm, and 3pm: Japanese tea ceremony (must purchase tea ticket in addition to admission).
2pm: Traditional dance by Fujima Dance Ensemble

A note about the tea ceremony. This is a 40 minute presentation in which visitors are guests of the ceremony, sitting on their knees, seiza style. Tickets are limited to 10 tickets per presentation. The 1pm presentation is sold out, but the the 2pm and 3pm presentations are currently open. Tickets are $5 and are non-refundable. If you would like to participate, call 206-684-4725 for reservations, or let me know if you would like to go as a group. I suggest the 3pm tea ceremony if you wish to watch the dance performances at 2pm. You do not have to wear formal kimono for the tea ceremony, you may wear a yukata or regular clothing, however they do request that you wear socks or tabi (bring them along with you if you are wearing yukata), and they also request that you don't wear jeans, rings, or fragrances.

Here is a video of the Seattle Tanabata in 2010. The video begins with scenes of the decorations on bamboo branches and the telling of the story of Tanabata. The emphasis of the video is on the tea ceremonies performed at the Seattle Japanese Garden during Tanabata.

The Fujima Dance Ensemble will perform this year at Tanabata. Dance performances are generally held at the moonviewing platform overlooking the pond. Here is a video of a dance performed at the gardens for Children's Day festivities.

 There are several decorations that are hung on bamboo branches during Tanabata, each representing a different kind of wish.
Seattle Tanabata, paper decorations. (Source)
The main decoration is tanzaku, rectangular strips of paper in which you can write a wish. There will be calligraphers at Tanabata to help writing wishes in Japanese.
Some examples of tanzaku wishes:
世界が平和でありますように。 (Sekai ga heiwa de arimasu you ni - I wish for world peace.)
今年も元気でいられますように。 (Kotoshi mo genki de iraremasu you ni - I wish to be healthy/energetic again this year.)
みんなの夢が叶えばいい。 (Minna no yume ga kanaeba ii - I hope everyone's dreams come true.)
Your wish can be anything you want, "I want to pass this test." "I want to become a doctor." "I wish my mom would stop embarrassing me in front of my friends." ~Whatever you wish!
Wikipedia has a good description of the other decorations and their meanings. Maybe some of use would like to make the paper kimonos called Kamigoromo, as a wish to improve at sewing!!

If you'd like to make more decorations yourself, here are some links for printing out decoration crafts.
Epson Web Japan
Tanzaku wish papers
Canon Papercrafts

So You Want to Make a Kimono?

Hello, reader. If you're interested in kimono or yukata - maybe for cosplay, maybe for a summer festival, or maybe even for just slobbing around the house - you're in the right place.  This (monstrous) tutorial covers everything from purchasing cloth to finishing a girl's or woman's unlined kimono or yukata.

Photo from Wikipedia

When I first started to become interested in kimono, it was a little intimidating because all of the kimono for sale seemed to be for girls much smaller than I am. For reference, I'm about 5 foot 9.5 inches, or 176 cm, tall in my bare feet, slouching. I'm losing weight (slowly) but right now I also wear an American size 14 to 16 in women's sizing. I am not a small girl, so having a hobby that is geared towards tiny Japanese girls is difficult.

I got so frustrated with wanting to wear pretty kimono but not being able to find any in the right size that I started researching their construction. Most of the commercially-available patterns like Simplicity's costumes are nowhere near accurate. (The one exception might be Folkwear's kimono pattern, but I haven't tried it myself). My method, while not perfectly traditional and exactly "right," is good enough that I've stood in front of professional dressers and not had them notice that my kimono isn't "authentic."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kimono Fashion Show Meet-up

Yesterday we had our first meet-up! Shannon, Katie, and I (Amanda) attended a kimono fashion show, The Tradition and Culture of Kimono, by Yu Ugawa.

It was a very good and informative show. I think many people there learned a lot about kimono. The show started out with an "Iki" (chic) kimono coordination show. The fashion show included styles for men and women, informal and formal, traditional and non-traditional. I apologize now about the photographs, I don't have a fancy camera! This is most of the photos, but you can see all of them at the club's Facebook group, here.

Men's kimono were shown first. There were two models, but my other photos didn't turn out well. After the models showed their kimono, Yu Ugawa and her daughter Mariko Kayama came out and showed the audience how the decoration on men's kimono is restricted to the nagajuban and inside the haori. And then they demonstrated how to put on hakama.

 Then informal women's tsumugi kimono was shown. The model wore matching kimono and haori, in Ugawa Sensei's "new kimono" style, worn short and with flip flops.

The model took off the haori to show the black embroidered satin obi.

 This model wore a furisode in the style worn for juu-san-mairi (13 years old ceremony), using a child's maru obi.

 The child's maru obi was removed and replaced with a fukuro obi.

Furisode worn in non-traditional way, with bright leggings and pumps.

The models of the "Iki" fashion show. Left to right; two men's kimono, non-traditional women's tsumugi, men's hakama style, furisode, Yu Ugawa-sensei, non-tradtional furisode, modern style furisode, men's denim kimono, and Ugawa-sensei's daughter Mariko Kayama wearing non-traditional komon.

A woman was kind enough to take a picture of me, Katie, and Shannon during intermission.

Next was a kimono presentation in which Yu Ugawa-sensei showed various kimono styles, from informal to formal, and showed how different obi coordinations for each ensemble.

 Two tsumugi kimono; white tsumugi with dark blue embroidered obi, and a dark tsumugi with iris obi.

 Two iromuji.

Ugawa-sensei showed the tsukesage kimono worn by the emcee, and explained the location of the patterns.

 My personal favorite, a soft green houmongi. They demonstrated changing the obi to a bright orange to liven up the ensemble for a party.


 Iro kakeshita

Wedding ensemble and furisode together to show the slight differences.

The models for the kimono presentation lined up to show their obis.

All of the kimono show participants.

After the show, Ugawa-sensei said that she was happy to see people in the audience who wore kimono, and she asked us to come up to receive a special gift. She showed the audience each of our ensembles and explained what we were wearing to the audience. We then received a gift of cute gauze handkerchiefs! It was unexpected, even the emcee said she didn't know it would happen.

There was then a Q&A session, the audience asked some good questions. Ugawa-sensei even called on us when someone asked how long it takes to learn how to tie your own obi. We enjoyed some matcha tea, small cakes, and sandwiches, and browsed around a section where kimono and kitsuke items were offered for sale. We talked to many people and had a good time just chatting.

 After the show, the models relaxed a little. These two were overheating in the fully lined furisode! The girl in pink said she had a lot of cotton padding underneath, which I could see when she pulled at her collars. It must have been an inch worth of cotton padding along her collarbones!

 We got to see this furisode ensemble up close. The model is very tall, so she was dressed in a modern way with the hem of her kimono at steep angles. She has two han'eri, a massive gold obidome, and a gold and pearl obi kazari in the shape of a false obiage (she had a green obiage underneath, but it can not be seen).

She had a silver hanhaba obi with a feathery decoration in back.

Here are some pictures of what the three of us from the kimono club wore:

  Katie and another girl taking pictures (I apologize, I forgot her name already. I even asked Katie at least a dozen times on the drive home, but still forgot!) Katie wore a butterfly hitoe kimono with a cute butterfly ro obi! Sorry, the only front pic I got was the group photo above!

Shannon wore a blue stripe hitoe kimono she made right before the kimono show, with a red tsukuri obi and scarf-obiage. Her kitty doesn't approve of taking photos!

And I wore a blue polyester hitoe with a flower-fan pattern and a purple bamboo obi.
I don't know why I didn't realize we all wore shades of blue..!

After the kimono show, we went to a local Japanese antiques resale shop, Hosekibako. We spent a good amount of time there digging through the kimono stuff, giddy and hyper! Shannon got a pink iromuji and gold tsuke obi, Katie got a pink chirimen han'eri (for $1, woo!) and bright blue obijime, and I got a silk brocade business card holder (because I gave out a lot of business cards for our club, and my crumby origami card holder wasn't cutting it!)

We had a lot of fun! I look forward to our next excursion!