Monday, October 1, 2012

Crafting: Eri-shin

In my last post, I introduced to you some of the items that make the wearing of kimono a little easier. One of those items was the eri-shin, or collar stay. These can be bought online or in a store if you happen to be in an area that would have such a store. They can also be made, and the purpose of this post is to show you how I go about doing just such a thing.

The pattern piece. 
I traced my pattern from my store-bought eri-shin. This is that pattern piece folded in half to give you a sense of how long and wide it should be. Note the slight curve that happens at the left-hand side of the pattern (at the fold) and the very slight dip in the middle: this shaping helps preserve a natural roundness to the collar when worn.

The materials. 
Most eri-shin are made from a fine mesh so that the fabric will breathe. What I'm using here is a needlepoint mesh that I felt had the appropriate weight and structure (the ideal is something sturdy but with a little flex). The material on the card is single fold bias binding. You'll see where that comes into play later.

Pinning the pattern. 
The pattern doesn't need much pinning as it's fairly narrow, and it can be difficult to get the pins into the mesh neatly. Here, though, you can see the pattern unfolded.

Pattern piece on top, new eri-shin on the bottom.
 It's not laying flat, but you can get some sense of where the subtle curves of the pattern are.

Beginning sewing. 
This is where we bring in the bias binding. Because it is cut on the bias, it makes going around curves very easy. The pre-folded areas also mean that you can get a neater finish (even if no one is EVER going to see this but you). Rather than pre-cutting the bias binding, I simply worked with it off the card. This way I wouldn't have to worry about cutting it too short and having to add pieces in later. When I started sewing, I started  at a relatively straight stretch of the eri-shin and about half an inch down from the edge. You'll see why in a moment.

Continued sewing. 
Here, I am almost at the end of my bias binding. So that I can have a neater finish and hid the raw ends, I have taken my 'active' end (the one at the top, now cut free from the card) and folded it back slightly. I will lay then 'inactive' end over this and finish my sewing.

Sewing finished. 
At this point, I have one full edge of the bias binding sewn down to the eri-shin. At this point, you may want to trim away any excess mesh. This will make turning the bias binding easier.

Sewing, again. 
Here I am folding the edge of the bias binding around to the opposite side of the mesh eri-shin. All of the raw edges will be hidden under these folds. Just where my thumb is, you can see where the two edges join and how both raw edges are hidden.

Sewing continued. 
If I didn't use bias binding, this curve would be quite messy and full of little tucks and folds. This way, we get a nice rounded edge.

The finished product.
This is the second eri-shin that I have made for myself. When I did the cutting for the piece that I use in this walk-through, I went ahead and cut about eight more that I will be working on finishing in my free time. I don't need that many eri-shin, of course, but I think it would be nice to not have to move the one eri-shin that I had from one juban to the next, depending on what kimono I want to wear.

This is a little more utilitarian than some of my previous ventures, but the wearing of clothes, at its most basic, is a utilitarian thing. It's how we arrange those clothes that elevates the basic covering of ourselves to an art.

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