October 11, 2013

Shichi-go-san, Kimono body

I'm feeling really good right now, I've completely finished sewing an awase kimono for my baby boy! I have to say, it looks really good~~ But, I will show it off in the next post, for now I will continue showing my process of how I made it. I'm going to divide it up into 2 separate posts, this post will be constructing the body panels.

Before I get started, a few things I'd like to point out. This is a children's kimono, so the proportions are a little different from adult kimono, and the collar is also different, but that doesn't mean that you can't use my tips to make an adult kimono! The only real differences is in the measurements and collar, which I will add a note to the collar section of my blog post for how you can do a collar for adult kimono. For measurements, I suggest using an existing kimono you have as an example, adjusting as you see fit.

Looking through my kimono collection, I see two ways that body seams are sewn:
1. outer layer and lining sewn individually and then join at the seams with long basting stitches. This is the typical way, and it allows for some movement between the layers.
2. outer layer and lining sewn simultaneously. My more modern washable kimono are sewn this way, as well as several children's kimono I have.

The first method, I think is preferred, but great care must be taken to insure measurements on both layers are perfect to make sure they line up correctly. The second method makes it more difficult to replace the lining should it eventually need replacing, but it is faster to do, and since I am on a tight deadline to finish this ensemble, I decided to sew my lining simultaneously. If you chose to do the classic method and sew the lining independently, you can still follow my construction notes, just sew the two seams separately and then baste them together.

I used a sewing machine unless otherwise noted, but please use your preferred method. Remember, this is more like construction tips than an actual tutorial.

1. Back Seam
*NOTE* This kimono is small, so I chose to do the back by folding the fabric in half and then sew the back seam, and then cut the . Please note that typically this step involves sewing two halves together, but I am using western fabric and decided to skip cutting the fabric completely in half.
I carefully measured my lining and sewn my hakkake lining (lower hem lining) to both ends of my lining, and press the raw edges upwards, towards the doura lining.

I folded both the lining piece and outer piece in half widthwise, right sides together (see note above, for an adult kimono, or when using a kimono bolt, you will have 2 lengths of each, place them right sides together). Mark the very center of the lengths, both lining and outer, this will be where the shoulder fold will be. Sandwich the fabric together outer fabric on top, and starting from where the shoulder was marked on the left, pin them together down to the bottom. (Note: for sewing a woman's kimono, the collar is set back more from the shoulder fold, so mark another pin 2-3cm lower than the shoulder fold mark and begin sewing the back seam from there.)
Sew the pinned edge (1cm seam allowance is typical.), leaving a short distance near the hem unsewn (for me, I stopped roughly 2.5-3 inches from the bottom, doesn't need to be exact, just make sure it is enough to easily turn under the hem). Back stitch to secure stitching.

Separate the two halves of unfinished seam near the hem, lining and outer. Sew the remaining length of these two halves independently, back stitch to secure.
The result is like the kanji for person, 人. Do this for all of your vertical seams. This will allow you turn in the raw edges and add padding for the hem.

With the layers still sandwiched, fold back the seam towards outer fabric half of the sandwich, and iron about 2mm past the stitch line. This will help form the kise fold (fold over of fabric that helps cover stitched seams) as well as train the raw edges to go in the correct direction.

Open up the layers and press the seam again, careful to not lose the kise fold. You can see through the fabric that the raw edges are to the right of the sewn seam when viewed from the lining side. 
At this point is when I decided to cut down the center of the rest of the length, which will become the front. Remember, typically a narrower kimono bolt is used, and this cut is unnecessary unless using wider western fabric. Also note, I did not cut slits yet for the collar - this is because I am using a brocade fabric that frays really badly, I did not wish for the cut for the collar to fray and lengthen while being handled before I get around to sewing the collar. Typically the collar slits would have been cut before now.

2. Side Seams
The side seams are done similar to how the front of the sleeves where sewn. I first ironed my shoulder fold to make this step easier. First, fold over the lining half at the shoulder fold, right sides together, than fold under the outer fabric at the shoulder fold (the outer fabric will be folded the opposite direction of the ironed crease).
My son was building his train set under the table as I worked <3
Half of the body is now sandwiched again with four layers, and two separate shoulder folds. I temporarily pinned the shoulder folds together to keep them even, and measured down the side where I wanted the bottom of the miyatsukuchi (armpit opening) and pinned the remaining length. The seam allowance will depend on how wide the back panels will be. I marked my seam line lightly with pencil, measuring the desired width from the back seam. Just like when sewing the back seam, stop sewing a little ways from the hem and then sew the remaining length independently, so that you will be able to turn under the hem - But, unlike last time, do the same at the top as well. Begin sewing a short distance (again, I did about 2.5-3 inches) down further than the first pin which marks the miyatsukuchi, and then come back and sew those first few inches under the miyatsukuchi independently. This will allow you to eventually match up the lining along the miyatsukuchi when it is time to attach the sleeves.

Do the same for the other side of the kimono. Fold the raw edge over towards the outer fabric side and iron about 2mm past the stitch line to form the kise, open up and press both sides again. I chose to trim the raw edge of the seam a bit, up until the miyatsukuchi just the reduce some bulk, but there is no real need to trim the seam unless desired.

3. Okumi panels
Now it is time to attach the okumi panels. At this point I needed to cut the slits for the collar, to help the kimono open up more for attaching the okumi panels.
This is a children's kimono, so the slits are cut directly on the shoulder fold. Woman's kimono, the collar slits are 2-3cm lower than the shoulder fold. It is difficult to determine how long this cut slit is from an existing garment, so for an adult woman's kimono, please cut 9.5cm from the raw edge (so, if the center back seam was sewn with a 1cm seam allowance, cut 8.5cm from the back seam). This is sized for a 3 year old, so my cuts were 4.5cm.

Okay, back to okumi panels! Sew the hakkake lining piece to the doura lining, press the raw edge up. The hakkake lining on the okumi is longer than the other panels. It should be a few centimeters longer than where you plan to have the collar end.

Now, the front panels of a kimono are more narrow than the back panels, so that means that the raw edges of the okumi pieces won't line up with the raw edges of the front panels. You can measure carefully and mark where needed, or trim the front panels so the raw edges are even, like I did. Not traditional, but it is a kid's kimono, and I want less bulk.

I measured and trimmed to allow a 1.5cm seam allowance. With right sides facing, layer, pin, and sew. Remember to sew the botton few inches independently to allow turning of the hem. Fold over and press about 2mm beyond the stitches to form the kise, open and press again.

Okumi panels are now attached! Most of the rest of the steps will have to be sewn by hand.

4. Hem preparation
Before sewing the okumi and suso hems, I like to make sure they are nicely creased. This makes it easier to insert hem padding before hand sewing. Unfortunately, it is time consuming, but prepping the creases before hand makes it much easier to do the hem without having to fuss over uncooperative hems when trying to insert the padding.

First, measure and fold under the free edges of the okumi panels, only to just past the hakkake lining. This is what I mean by time consuming: I first measure and fold under the outer layer, pinning in place, and then iron it flat. Then fold under the lining so that it is a tiny bit shorter than the outer layer, pin the lining down and then iron the lining flat. Lots of shuffling pins around, it can be a pain, but it looks nice. Be careful not to burn your fingers on hot ironed sewing pins.

Fold under and press the bottom hem, on the outside only.

When you get to the outside corners, the edge of the okumi hem goes over the bottom hem.

Next, start folding under the lining hem, matching up the seams. Leave a small amount showing, this is the suso-fuki, it protects the hem of the outer fabric, and it looks really lovely!

When you get to the corners of the hem, lift the corner of the folded over okumi hem...

...then pinch together the bottom the bottom corner of the okumi hem lining...

...and tuck the remaining lining hem inside. It might help to use a chopstick or skewer to neaten the inside so everything lays flat and even.

Iron the hems well, so that the lining's hem is nicely creased.

5. Hem padding
Now that the bottom hem is pinned together... it's time to take it back apart to insert the padding. Booo! After all that work, I know, sucks! But, thanks to that prep work, it will come back together easily, yay!

My padding material is cotton batting. You can get it in the quilt batting section of the fabric store. Typical polyester batting is too thick and airy for this use, but cotton batting tends to be thinner and more condensed. It comes in a rolled sheet for quilt making, so plan to have another use for the rest of it (I'll be using the rest as padding for a hifu vest), or you can use folded up interfacing. If you padding material is too short, you can cut two ends at 45 degree angles and join the pieces together with a rough stitch to make a longer piece.
Remove the pins from the lining hem and nestle the padding up against the ironed crease. Use pins to hold in place if needed. Do corners as pictured, leaving the corner flap free.

Hand stitch the padding in place. On the reverse side, take long stitches, I used my thumb as a guide.

On the side that shows, take tiny little stitches, that can barely be seen. Be sure to put a tiny stitch through the kise fold of each seam. Do not stitch through the loose flap in each corner. You can now remove the pins holding the padding and pin the two sides of the bottom hem back together again, and tuck the corners back in like done previously in the hemming prep stage.

6. Hem basting
Before sewing the hems closed, it helps to sewing basting stitches along the hems first. This helps keep the layers together far more evenly than pins do, and makes hand stitching much easier to do without accidentally pricking yourself. The basting stitches can remain in the kimono until it is ready to be worn.
I don't really have a method for basting stitches. I wasn't too terribly concerned on making them neat. On the front is a long-short-long pattern, and the back is a short-short pattern.
Now that it is basted and pins taken out, turn on a television show and get comfy for a night of hand sewing!

7. Hems
The hand sewing isn't particularly difficult. I don't know the name of the stitch used, but basically you go back and forth through the folded over part like a zipper motion, being careful to not accidentally poke the needle out through the layer that would show the stitch. The stitch should be invisible, completely hidden.
It is time consuming for me, as I can only do one pair of stitches at a time. For the okumi sides, it helped to sew with the lining facing towards me.

When done properly, the only stitching you should see in the basting stitches.

But when the layers are gently pulled apart, the stitches will look like this, a back and forth zigzag.

For the bottom hem, it helped to face the lining away from me. And I could take slightly larger stitches for this part.

That's it for now! I'll cover sleeve and collar attachment in the next post!

1 comment:

  1. Great, great, great indeed !!!!!!!!!! Keep your great work Amanda !! (*^。^*)♥