November 27, 2013

Sewing a Hifu Vest

Hello everybody! Thanks for your patience on my Shichi-go-san sewing updates. Next up is the hifu vest.

Originally, I was going to embroider a design on the front of the vest, but I discovered the fabric warped really badly when I tried to embroider on it. But, that was fine. I ended up making it plain black polyester crepe, which I think is still really nice and versatile.

Construction of the hifu vest is surprisingly simple, but I did make friends with my seam ripper a few times while learning the hard way how to layer my fabric and padding pieces.

I started with the lining. I cut a piece of lining polyester to 42x113.5cm, marked the center shoulder fold, cut down the middle of one half and sewed a 1cm seam on the other half. I then folded the sewn seam over 2mm from the sewn line (to form the kise) and ironed.
Along the shoulder fold, the neck opening is cut, 3.6cm from the center sewn line.

The machi (side panels) were cut to 8x40cm. I marked a point 19cm down from the shoulder fold, this will be the top of the armpit opening. I pinned the machi with 2cm above the pinned mark, and attached the machi to the back with a 1cm seam.

Then marked the front half of the body 19cm down from the shoulder fold, and pinned the machi to the front half, only this time, the top of the machi is extended 1.5cm past the edge of the front body lining. This will make the machi panel slightly tapered. Sewn again with a 1cm seam allowance, from the edge of the body lining.

You can see the machi is slightly tapered. Seam allowances ironed (with kise) away from the machi panel. Lining is finished! Next is the outer body.

I sewed the outer fabric and cotton padding simultaneously. Cotton padding can be found in the quilt batting section of the fabric store. Avoid polyester batting, which is more common, it is too thick and porous. For the outer fabric I cut 2 pieces 21.5x118cm, and the padding I cut 2 pieces 21.5x102cm. I marked the shoulder fold, and sandwiched the fabric, right sides together, placing the padding pieces on top. The back seam is pinned together along the right side (shown above) and sewn with 1cm seam allowance.

To reduce bulk along the seams, I trimmed the padding close to the stitches, then opened and pressed the seam. Originally, I thought that I would need to use my walking foot on my machine to sew over the padding, much like sewing quilts, but I found that the walking foot caused the padding to bunch up, so I used a regular sewing foot. 

Neck opening slits cut along shoulder fold, 3.6cm from the back seam.

Next the machi panels. I cut the machi panel fabric to 8x42cm, measured 19cm from the shoulder fold to find the top of my sewing mark, and placed the machi fabric with 2cm above that mark (the bottom edges should line up). Then I cut cotton padding for the machi to 8x32cm and placed it on top of the machi fabric with the top edge even with my top sewing mark (19cm from the shoulder).

The padding will be about 8cm shorter than the outer fabric.

Machi panels sewn to the back. Since the lining is light colored, the seam allowance should be trimmed so that the black edges don't show through the lining fabric.

 I trimmed the seam allowance of the outer fabric and padding on the body side only.

And then pressed the seam allowances toward the body, covering the trimmed edges.

Next, I lined up the machi to the front half of the body. Measured 19cn down from the shoulder, and just like with the lining, extended the machi edge 1.5cm past the edge of the body piece to create a slight taper.

And sew the seam 1cm from the edge of the body panel. Again, trim and press towards the body (away from the machi) like the previous seam.

Next, to prepare the arm holes. The padding is the same width as the body fabric, so I trimmed ~1cm all around the arm openings.

Then fold over the edges of the outer fabric. First fold down and pin the excess 2cm over the top of the machi panels, then pin over the ~1cm around the arm openings.

I then basted the edges down with a contrasting color thread.

I then needed to trim the front of the body to size. The slits cut for neck opening is the same distance that needs to be trimmed, ~3.6cm from the center back seam. Measure and trim the front of the body, I trimmed only the outer fabric first so I could use the padding for contrast for the photo. I will trim the padding (and lining) later on.

Now the hem. Trim the padding, if needed, to the desired length. My padding was originally cut to have the finished hifu be 51cm long, so no trimming. Turn up the outer fabric and baste in place with contrasting thread.

To prepare the lining to be sewn in, I folded under the hem so the finished lining is ~48cm long and press.

The center back seam is attached first. It is difficult to see in the picture, but the seam allowances are going to same direction, towards the left side when worn. Fold the lining along the back seam, lining up the seams, attach the lining with basting stitches near the seam, starting at the neck opening and work down.

When it gets to the point in the lining where the hem is folded over, it is no longer possible to sew on the seam allowance, so open up the lining and attach the rest of it with tiny, nearly invisible stitches directly next to the original seam stitching - pull the kise apart slightly so that the tiny stitches will be hidden underneath the kise fold.

Next do the side machi seams. Fold under the excess 2cm at the top of the lining's machi panel and line it up the the machi panel of the outer fabric. Then line up the seam of the machi along the back panel.

This part is difficult to baste together due to the angle and direction the seam allowances are pressed. So I hope the photograph helps! The two halves are pinned together outside the seam line and basted together by carefully guiding the needle through the seam allowances, being careful to not sew through the outer fabrics. The lower part of the lining hem is done the same as before.

The machi panel seam along the front part of the body can be basted in the same way as the back seam.

Now the hems are pinned together. The lining is shorter than the outer fabric.

The hem is attached by doing an invisible stitch.

And now the lining around the arm opening. I smoothed out the lining evenly (and pinned the layers together near the edge temporarily, not shown) and turned under the edge so it is slightly shorter than the outer fabric. Then the lining is sewn on also with an invisible stitch.

Next is the tate'eri. The tate'eri are the two panels that overlap in the front. I want the neck opening to be 14cm down from the shoulder fold, so I measured 37cm up from the bottom hem and marked with a pin. This will be the top of the tate'eri.

For the tate'eri, I cut 2 pieces of cotton padding to 13x37cm, and 2 pieces of outer fabric to 27x42cm.

Apologies, photographing black on black, it is difficult to see. I first layered the outer fabric for the tate'eri on the body of the hifu, lining up the cut edges (I first smoothed out my layers on the body half and pinned them together so that they lay evenly, as I still have not trimmed the padding or lining), with about 2-2.5cm extending over the pin marking the top of the tate'eri, and 2-2.5cm of excess length extending past the bottom hem. The padding piece is then layed on top, lining up evenly with the bottom hem and pinned mark.

Sew a 1cm seam, beginning at the top pinned mark (the top of the padding layer) and end at the hem (the bottom edge of the padding layer).

At this point I trimmed the excess width of padding and lining. 

Excess seam allowance trimmed on the tate'eri side, to reduce bulk. Press.

Before finishing the tate'eri panels, I'm going to make and attach the ko'eri. The ko'eri is the folded over collar. I decided to make a rectangle collar, so that the collar will have sharp points much like a men's dress shirt. I think that the angled point looks more boyish. I cut one piece of cotton padding to 8x32cm, and two pieces of my outer fabric to 9x34cm. I layered the two outer fabric pieces, pinned 3 sides and sewn them together.

I folded over the sewn edges, pressed, then I layered the cotton padding on top and pinned the folded over edges to the padding. Trim the corners as needed.

Then I carefully basted the sewn edges over the padding, being careful to only baste the padding and not go through to the outer fabric.

I then turned the ko'eri right side out, moving the padding to the inside, and used a sharp pointed chopstick to push out the corners.

I pressed it flat, and marked the center of the ko'eri.

Then I trimmed the padding along the neck opening 1cm shorter than the outer fabric and lining.

Now here is the hard part. I turned over the edge of the outer fabric, pinned, and then basted it to the padding layer. The corners needed to be carefully clipped. Folding over the fabric around the corners is difficult as the fabric becomes narrow at that point.

Then I lined up and pinned the ko'eri to the neck opening, and attached it to the outer fabric using an invisible stitch.

Finally, the edge of the lining is turned under ~1cm and sewn to the ko'eri with an invisible stitch.

Now the tate'eri can be finished up. Lay it flat and fold over the top and bottom of the outer fabric over the padding layer.

And then fold over the padding lengthwise. 

The folded over fabric along the short ends should be slightly shorter on the inside of the tate'eri panels, so that it does not show on the front.

Finally, fold over and pin the inside edge of the tate'eri, covering the stitching of the original seam. Sew the three pinned edges with an invisible stitch (I first basted the tate'eri edges before sewing, but not necessary).

Now the hifu vest is completely sewn! Next is attaching the snaps. I marked the position of the snaps with pins. Two snaps go in the top corners, then two more along the edge, which I positioned 13cm apart. Remember, the tate'eri panels overlap in the same direct as kimono, left over right.

Use sew-on snaps. Sew them on firmly, careful to not sew through the outer layer of fabric.

Finally, the decorative buttons. Any sort of decorative thing is fine, such as tassels. I decided to use plain fabric covered buttons. Very easy to do.

Buttons attached and basting threads removed, the hifu vest is complete!

I will cover sewing the shoulder tucks in a future post.

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