Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Crafting: Hadajuban (Part 1)

As a nod to 'Workspace Wednesdays,' I'm going to try to devote Wednesday posts to crafting. This week, we're going to start with a somewhat lengthy project, but entirely appropriate for the warmer months ahead, if you're in the northern hemisphere.

In the summer months, having a garment to wear under yukata that is not a full juban is not necessary, but it is a practical addition to your kimono wardrobe. While the extra layer may add a little weight, it will also serve to protect your yukata from stains.

These garments, called hadajuban, can be easily acquired online and will generally be made of a light-weight, white cotton fabric. While ordering a garment might be more expedient, I much prefer to make my own. It takes a little longer, but by sewing for myself, I have a broader choice in fabrics that I can use, and I can be assured of the fit.

For the following walk-through, I'll be using the pattern pieces I've created using the Folkwear Japanese Kimono pattern (#113). I cannot recommend this pattern highly enough, and if you have any desire to embark on making your own kimono, this is the place to start. If you intend to follow along with this project, I strongly encourage you to purchase your own copy of the pattern and read ALL of the instructions.

Folkwear pattern. The white pieces are the pre-printed pattern pieces, the green are the duplicates I traced to meet my measurements.

If you are not confident in your sewing abilities to the extent that you would want to make your own kimono, this may be just the project to get your feet wet and familiarize yourself with the Folkwear pattern. The most complex thing covered here will be the application of bias binding to finish the neckline (which is NOT something the pattern even mentions; it's my own fix for not wanting a visible collar on this garment). As intimidating as it  might be, the only way to get better at sewing is to find patterns you want to make and to make them.

I should note that the hadajuban is a much more closely fitted garment than kimono, so while you may want narrower body pieces for this project, you will want something wider for a finished kimono. This is why I recommend tracing pattern pieces onto tissue paper or something like 'pattern magic,' a non-woven material designed for just this sort of thing, and generally found with interfacing in your local fabric store. If you are making your own pieces using the Folkwear pattern as a guideline, be sure to remember to leave a seam allowance. I like to leave 1/2" for this project, but if I am making kimono, I will leave even more seam allowance so that I can preserve the selvage edges of the tan (this makes it easier to size a kimono up or down if necessary).

For this first part, I'll be going over fabric selection and preparation.  I don't propose for this to be a step-by-step tutorial so much as a guideline as I offer some of the hints and techniques that I have discovered as I continue to learn about sewing and garment construction.

As this is going to be a garment worn mostly in summer months, I highly recommend purchasing a light-weight cotton for construction. Color doesn't really matter, though if you have more light-colored yukata, then you might wish to go with white or a similarly light-in-color fabric. Personally, I'm not as fond of white as it will show stains more easily (even if no one but you is going to see it), but I still have one to wear under my lighter colored yukata. For this project, I chose a darker indigo blue to use to demonstrate.

Any of these fabrics would be suitable for hadajuban, though I would probably select the white, as it is the lightest in weight and has an openness to the weave.

When purchasing your fabric, you want to be sure that you are selecting a 100% cotton fabric. The natural fibers 'breathe,' making it easier for air to reach your skin and keep you refreshed and comfortable. Polyester blends do not have this property and will keep your body heat close.

Once you have purchased your fabric, your next steps should be washing and ironing. Neither of these steps is glamorous or photogenic, but I can assure you, they are entirely necessary. Natural fiber fabrics are notorious for shrinking in the wash, and if you have chosen a dyed fabric, you'll want to be sure to wash it on its own so it can't stain any of your other garments. By pre-washing your fabric, you can take away a lot of that shrink factor and be assured that if  your pattern pieces are the right size, then your garment will continue to be the right size, even after subsequent washings.

Ironing, that other decidedly unglamourous step, is just as necessary if you want a finished garment that is not only free of wrinkles, but has a proper fit, too. Wrinkles in fabric can distort how your pattern pieces sit on the fabric, and may even warp the shape after they are cut, so iron, even if the fabric 'looks fine.'

There is a third step that you could undertake at this stage, known as 'truing' the fabric, which involves tugging at the selvage and ends so that the threads of the weave are more properly perpendicular to each other. On some fabrics, this can make a great deal of difference as pieces cut on an unintentional bias to the weave can have undesirable qualities of stretch. At this point, I freely admit to being lazy and have never actually used this step, and so far, I've been able to cut and assemble garments with no difficulty.

This concludes the first part of Crafting: Hadajuban. If I have been unclear at any point or you have questions concerning patterning or fit, please don't hesitate to leave a comment and I'll do my best to assist! Next week's Workspace Wednesday Crafting segment will cover pattern layout and cutting, and I hope you'll join me then.

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