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Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:23 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo

Hi. I have to confess I'm frustrated and confused about how to make kimono. Kimono may seem easy but it doesn't always feel like it. I did not want to post this thread because I didn't want to seem like a dummy. But I thought maybe it was for the best.

I feel like though this forum provides a lot of info, it's not always easy to follow or find. There are many variables it seems. Availability of materials and tools or different countries using different things among others.

I've been making notes for a few years now concerning kimono and the other things needed for the look and yet something like an obi is still beyond my comprehension something that should be easy. But then you have to figure out material and interfacing etc. I'm sorry if I am sounding like I am whining. It's that it's not easy to admit that you just don't get how to make Japanese garments. (I've even tried to make a koshi himo and it did not work.) It seems many people wish to do so but only a few succeed.

I have John Marshall's book and for someone who isn't even a seamstress it's pretty confusing (and it seems others feel this way on the forum.) This close to trading it in. That leaves only JP lang. books, which I'm certainly not fluent in. Heh. Sometimes I think if I ever learned to make Japanese garments I'd write a book that anyone could follow in a simple format. But I must learn first obviously. :(

Like most westerners I'm not of the convenient build for kimono.
5'3", with a large chest and large hips and most kimono that would fit me are for men. So this is why I wished to make my own. I have just one yukata (machine made I assume) but I'm reluctant to take it apart as it wouldn't help me learn to hand sew it.

I think it comes down to learning style. If I were to make a tutorial I'd post the following:

-where i got the materials/tools (like western fabric especially)
-the price
-the skill level
-what materials are needed for the task
-i'd put it all in list format

*I am aware there is a fellow on YT who does nothing but tailor and sew kimono but again, I don't understand JP and in some videos he doesn't even speak not to mention there sheer volume of videos to sift through.

I hope I'm not too alone here. :ermum But this wasn't meant to be a pity post. I thought maybe we could compile a thread or a webpage with just the info on how to make them (I've tried kimono de cheap, unfortunately it's still not easy for me to understand, I know because I tried a few of those projects.)

Uhm so I hope this gets some ideas going on how to help everyone learn to make kimono (for those who are willing anyway.) Thank you for your time. :]

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:27 am
by IG Team
Chiisana Hato

Let's put it this way. Kimono makers spend years learning to make kimono properly as apprentices. I think there is a lot more to making kimono than just the technical aspects. I think you sort of have to feel the kimono as you make it in relationship to the wearer.

This is something that comes with a great deal of practice.

Another problem is that kimono bolts are very specifically woven to final size of the wearer.

I've been sewing my whole life and haven't yet been able to wrap my head around kimono construction (little on the lining!)

I plan on having a go at Folkwear's kimono pattern and see if it helps me get the "feel" for kimono construction. We'll see... :smil3:

http://www.folkwear.com/asian.html

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:27 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo

That's probably a strong case. And I'd probably make it a life's goal to go study how to make them traditionally. Still I've seen several well made kimono on the forum that probably didn't take but a few months to put together (though it's possibly they were working out kinks long before that.)

Maybe I have to accept that I just can't craft or sew no matter how hard my determination is. I don't have a good mind for figuring out value. While it's hard to find feminine kimono for my build making one seems like something that may never happen. I don't want to give up but...when I am not enjoying this I wonder what I should do.

But I'd like to also help others who struggle as I do. *shrug*

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:28 am
by IG Team
Rubyminky

Have you got partway into making the kimono - I could understand you getting stuck on the collar! - or are you stuck on the cutting out/measuring part?

Also are you making a yukata (easiest) or attempting one with a folding collar or lining (harder)?

I know the feeling of getting annoyed and discouraged halfway through a sewing project SO well and I sympathise. Sometimes you just need to put it aside for a bit - or if you've been working on it for a couple of years as you say, maybe you're just sick of the sight of it (another sewing problem I know well!).

Why not stick some photos on the internet and let us take a look - I bet you're doing better than you think.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:29 am
by IG Team
Cicada13
Byakkojo wrote:Maybe I have to accept that I just can't craft or sew no matter how hard my determination is.
Utter nonsense.

Kimono can be tricky, but I made my first one, a lined one no less, in about three days. It's not great. In fact it's probably not wearable. But I learned a ton, and the next one will be better. Then the next one after that.

Sure, there are artisans who spend ten years learning to sew kimono and then turn around and tell you they know nothing. Quite simply that's horsefeathers; they know SO MUCH that they can see tons of ways to improve their work. It does not mean that they're making anything less than beautiful, wearable kimono, and have likely been doing so for years.

You can do the same. It won't take any remarkable skill or a great deal of time. It'll take some practice, but that's how you learn.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:29 am
by IG Team
Sarcaism-hime

I strongly suggest buying the Folkwear pattern if you're struggling with figuring out how to do it on your own. It will probably be easier to work with the pattern as a starting point and make any necessary adjustments. It doesn't show how to make a lined kimono, but for hitoe it should work okay.

The only things I noticed about the pattern that might need changing:

- it directs you to cut diagonally on the okumi piece in order to attach the collar piece. On traditional kimono the okumi is not cut so that the entire bolt can be basted back together for cleaning; the excess fabric is simply folded up into the collar.

- you'll need to modify the length and width of each panel for your body. A good way to figure out the panel width needed is to measure from your centre back to the side seam on your pants, at the widest part of your body. This will be the width of your body panel, not including seam allowance.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:29 am
by IG Team
James

John Marshall's is probably one of the worst descriptions of how to make a kimono I've ever seen.

Here's the thing. I don't really believe there's a "traditional" way to make kimono. There are Japanese sewing techniques, Japanese sewing tools, and methods that Japanese professionals use when they're making kimono, but as far as I know there isn't one standard way of doing it.

As someone who makes kimono but doesn't have much sewing experience and doesn't really enjoy sewing, I simplify the process as much as possible:

* a kimono is made of 8 rectangles: 2 for the collar, 2 for the sleeves, 2 for the body (1 left side, 1 right side), and 2 for the okumi, the extra panels on the front.

* the body rectangles extend from the front of the ankle to the back of the ankle, over the shoulder. In other words, they're twice your height plus a little extra for the ohashori if it's a woman's kimono. There are traditionally tucks near the waist, but I usually don't bother with them. If you want to include them, measure the distance from the shoulder fold at the front and back to figure out where to put them.

* the sleeve rectangles extend from the bottom of the sleeve at the front to the bottom at the back, again folded at the shoulder.

* one collar rectangle should be the entire length of the collar from right to left (or, if you don't have enough fabric, you can use 2 or more rectangles sewn together). The other collar rectangle is just a protective cover that's sewn over the collar partway along its length.

* the 2 okumi rectangles are about the length of your body, not doubled (because they're only attached to the front), plus a little extra for the ohashori and seams.

* the easiest way to figure out your measurements is to use an existing kimono that fits you well: measure the sleeve length and width and the arm and body holes, the collar length and width, the overall kimono length, and the width of the large and small body panels (from the centre back seam to the side seam, and the okumi panels at the front), then add a few inches to each measurement for seam allowances.

* use any fabric that will give you the length and width you need.

* simplify the inside seams as much as possible: using French seams will reduce the amount of hand sewing you need to do.

When I make a kimono I do it in 7 or 8 steps. I start by laying out the body panels full length side by side, with the back portion sewn together and the front portion open (if I'm using fabric wide enough I don't cut separate panels. Instead I use a full width of fabric, add a fake centre seam at the back and cut the front part open). Then, with the body panels spread out, I attach the sleeves. I fold the kimono at the shoulder, and sew the side seams, then finish the sleeves. I attach the okumi panels, one to each side of the front. I attach the collar and collar cover, then finish all the seams and hems.

This process is quite different from what I've seen Japanese people do, which usually involves entirely making the sleeves first, then the body, then attaching the finished sleeves to the finished body. There are also relatively complex techniques for sewing the inner seam of the sleeve curve which I don't bother with.

In short, a kimono is a relatively simple garment to construct, but there are very complex methods you can use to do it. Or, you can just use basic methods to acheive the same result (at least when it comes to the external appearance of the garment).


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Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:30 am
by IG Team
Devo

FWIW, Byakkojo, I have the same problems. I've seen tons and tons and tons of articles, pictures, videos, etc. on how to make kimono, and I still am nervous to try. Nor am I sure I've got it all down.

For myself, personally, I am going to buy a bunch of cheap, per pound fabric (sold by the pound, not the yard) and just learn on it. That way, when I mess up, I wont' be upset from it. And once I start to understand how it's done, I'll take what I've learned, and apply it to my kimono that need major problems fixed (such as replacing the lining).

If you're interested in obi (which I've just broken into), it's more or less two rectangles, sewn together. Interfacing seems to be optional, depending on whether you need it or not. I found out this weekend that cutting and sewing 15 feet of fabric to be parallel and even is a challenge. But with patience, it can be done.

Ganbatte!

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:31 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo

rubyminky: I don't really have anything to show. There was a thread around here where someone posted about a book where you can sew kimono with a machine which right now I'm more than okay with since other than the technique it's still better than say what you'd get from a Western pattern book (I had the pleasure of trying two different kinds only to see how off it looks. Dx)

Anyway I bought it and the book came with a pattern, I think I can manage to fit it (but if not I'm sure some things can be altered.) I'm still in the gathering info stage. Though I do plan on trying it out on muslin or something when I start. It's not a yukata but it's not lined so I guess it'd be hitoe. I think the only thing holding be back is not understanding the Japanese directions. So in this case the actual sewing seems to be the challenge for now.

My mom can sew but she's not the type who can just whip something up just by peering at images and those sorts of things. Videos and actual patterns with instructions tend to be most helpful to us at this stage. But I will be so happy to post any triumph in sewing kimono and kimono items when I get the chance.

cicada 13: I see. Sorry if I came off as Negative Nancy. But I was simply trying to be realistic. As I said it wasn't easy to make this thread and admit that I'm having some obstacles with problem solving this. I thought maybe other people felt the same and that we could come together to figure out where we all could work toward to engage in a hobby we all love. I don't have plans to give up but at this stage of the game I've hit a block. I thought maybe this was the place to ask for assistance...

sarcasm-hime: I have seen that pattern on the site. I do wish there were more in depth photos and examples of finished projects with that pattern. > < But last night I thought of getting the tabi pattern at least. I had wanted to try the John Marshall way of making tabi but got really confused. :/

james: Yeah…someone from Ichiroya actually suggested the book to me when I asked for bit of advice which was a little discouraging. Anyway thank you so much for laying our your process! These are the sorts of note I try to take. And I think I have to agree that maybe there is no one way to make traditional kimono. I guess as long as it looks close that's fine too. As I mentioned above in another response, I am trying to use a book that does provide a pattern but the look is still very nice and authentic (though I think the sleeves are a bit longer, which is okay with me too.)

deco: Yeah. I think the biggest thing is people sometimes give advice but unfortunately I'd like to see what they've worked on and see a process (or to put it bluntly, proof.) If someone has actually tried it for themselves then I can get a better idea of what I need to do. There is an abundance of advice but it's so overwhelming because as James said, there are so many methods one could take. Perhaps some of us have to find the easiest method.

I believe at one time I saw a thread where one could post their finished kimono projects but I haven't been able to find it. It'd be great if we could revive it.

I made this thread also because despite the overflowing cup of information there are so few examples of finished projects. It was frustrating and resentful to hear people say how easy it is. It if were I think we'd see more finished projects. I wish there were a YT video documenting it or written a book in English that might be far better way of going about it than the involved Marshall option.

Anyway I appreciate everyone's responses. This does give me up and better understanding. :]

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:32 am
by IG Team
Joshua

One of the reasons I have been buying kimono (on the cheap mind you) is to get a look at how they are really made, and to get a feel for what the finished item should be like. One of the first things that struck me is the differences between the real thing, and what the reference books tell you.
Also though they are all very similar, there are differences between the garments, and not just juban-kimono, male-female. Differences in construction details, corner folds, neck reenforces/gussets, collars etc.
I would guess you have different traditions in different areas,eg Kyoto v Tokyo, and Satsuma off in a completely different direction to everyone else (as usual). I would also think each atelier or workshop would have its own little "wrinkles".
Back in the day, kimono were made at home by the women of the household, in a country that was deliberatly divided up into sections and travel discouraged, "55 stations on the Hokkaido road" refers to the road blocks on the way where you had to show your travel document.
So if you are going "traditional" I would say you have a lot of leeway, and if you are going "contemporary", well there is a movement to reclaim kimono from the "elitists". Some interesting threads on this site about that very thing.
Sorry to rabbit on, but it is a subject dear to my heart. My new kimono bolt has just arrived, and my next step is to turn it into a wearable garment.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:32 am
by IG Team
Chiisana Hato

I'm like you. I learn better from someone showing me than reading the words. Everybody has different ways they learn best. I'm a visual person. :bunbun:

I also have to see the whole construction visually in my head before I begin or it never turns out right.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:34 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo
Chiisana Hato wrote:I'm like you. I learn better from someone showing me than reading the words. Everybody has different ways they learn best. I'm a visual person. :bunbun:

I also have to see the whole construction visually in my head before I begin or it never turns out right.
Yes. Often times even when I find a tutorial there is usually one little but possibly crucial detail that keeps me from attempting it. Sometimes the diagrams or photos are hard to interpret.

At one point I started to feel paranoid, as if people did not want me to know how to do this. Stupid I know. But when other people get it or understand and talk about how easy it is you start to seriously doubt in yourself.

Being that I don't sew (the most I can do is pin on a pattern and cut) that adds another level of difficulty. Realistically I wonder if I'm able to learn to sew and craft. Usually when I craft it never turns out how it should.

Tsuke Obi: http://kittykanzashi.blogspot.com/2012/ ... t-one.html

So far this is the only tutorial on making tsuke obi that does a pretty detailed job at explaining things but it can still get confusing. I'm not sure what they rolled bit of fabric is in one of the diagrams (the bit after it talks about the ribbon being a 1cm away.) If anyone could tell me what that is I'd be grateful.

I guess what I'm attempting to say is despite the sea of information and despite people saying they've made things, I need more evidence, more explanation. I'm terribly visual. Videos are something I find extremely helpful (still photos often don't let on the whole process.)

I say if something works and it looks nice, I'd show it off and share with others but I'd also try to be as thourough (while not being too confusing). Ugh I wish I knew enough to make my own book to replace Marshall's. I'd say many people on the forum have done a much better job than what he presents. Of course, I don't know what they did or what others have access to. Kimono De Cheap is a good start but still sometimes lack depending.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:35 am
by IG Team
Joshua

As has been said on this site before.....in the end the best option is to buy cheap examples of what you want to make, and use them as reference pieces. Then you know how it went together, and can smack any critics round the ear with them.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:35 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo

Er yeah...I have taken note of that. Unfortunately I cannot sew (machine or by hand.) I hope one day I can learn enough to understand the basics and how to go about it. It seems to be almost unanimous that one should get a reference kimono. I suppose I'll make it a short term goal to obtain a used kimono and take it apart. (I think sequence starts with the sleeve first...)

Maybe this idea has been put forward already but if not I thought I'd put it out here. If anyone knows of ball jointed dolls and the forum Den of Angels, you might be aware of a book that the forum (or at least I think the forum) tried to put out. It was mainly supposed to contain info on the dolls and also how to customize and care for them, as well as little things like patterns for wigs and clothing etc. Personally I don't think the book was very good execution or aesthetic wise, but the idea was great, especially since these dolls are pretty unique to East Asia alone so a guide for Western collectors was a useful idea.

Point I'm trying to make is, mightn't it be a good idea to do something similar? I realize there are tons of kimono books out there. But I have yet to find one that meets concerns rolled into one. A.) Being able to read the directions in English B.) Finding directions that are presented in a concise way. C.) Information that is very close if not completely authentic and traditional.

While this forum has plenty of information I happen to notice members still brimming with questions on all kinds of aspects so this is why I suggested it. We could include basic info about kimono, kitsuke, maybe put forth some tutorials for making kimono as well as accessories etc within the book. I think it might be a cool idea but of course I understand that is quite an undertaking and that not everyone would like the format, but it's just an idea. :ermum

Thanks for reading!

[redundant picture removed by bebemochi -- please don't quote pics]

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:36 am
by IG Team
SuzumeOdori

Honestly, if you don't know how to sew at all I would take the time to do about half a dozen non-Japanese sewing projects. Start with really easy things like pillowcases, move up to elastic waist skirts or sweatpants, sleeveless shift dresses, etc. For virtually anyone, choosing a totally foreign (to you) garment for your first sewing outing is going to be biting off more than you can chew.

I'm a semi-decent sewer and am on my third kimono attempt, which is going much better because... I cut up an old kimono and am using that as my pattern. ;)

As far as the book idea, it's a nice one but I'll share an experience: long ago and far away I ran a bi-monthly Lolita fashion magazine staffed entirely by volunteers (I was one myself). Between coordinating everything, getting decent writers, getting decent photos, making sure you're not violating the law (copyright, etc.), doing layout, etc. something like this can easily be a full-time job. I sandwiched it in inbetween my actual full-time job and burnt out six months in: we made it two issues.

So if the forum ends up considering doing this, I'd be happy to help give advice if asked but I'll say up front this sort of group project is a lot more work than you think it could ever possibly be. 8-O

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:37 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo

Right. I've probably been in a state of denial about learning to sew. I find it all amazing but simultaneously intimidating. It's a wonderful useful skill to have. I would like to be able to myself and not rely on my mother (who doesn't feel assured unless she has a lot of instructions and uses patterns.) Personally I admire seamstresses, especially if they can sew things without having to use a pattern (that is, using other garments as patterns or going by measurements.) So I will take your advice, find some small projects. Hehe I think there are some Japanese things I could do that are simple enough actually, but we'll see. The extent of my "sewing" involves pinning patterns, cutting them out and sewing in a straight line with a machine. Things like readying the machine and other things are a lot for me at this point. Something to work on!

While I'm thinking of it, thanks for posting that little tutorial on obi dome. I don't have any obi jime to test them out with but I tried to follow your directions and made some simple fabric button obi dome. Maybe I'll get up the courage and post shots of them. :]

I see. I take your point. Producing books and the like I know is a lot of work but I suppose I wasn't aware of all the things that went into it. Still I hope one day my passion for kimono remains and I can take on that task myself.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:37 am
by IG Team
Devo

I also agree with sewing simple things- it's how I've started.

I started off making han-eri. Really really simple- but can take your kitsuke to the next level look wise.

Then, I began to move onto obi- which is where I am now. It's like a han-eri (as in a rectangle) but more involved due to the size, the interfacing, etc. Still straight lines- but more complicated.

Once I get better with the obi (making hanhaba, nagoya, fukuro and kaku) I will move onto my yukata projcet- getting cheap fabric, and having at it.


You can't let fear stop you from trying. It's sewing- you will get frustrated. If you're like me, you'll scream, cry, rant, and throw things across the room. But after you've gotten it out- you'll set back at it again. Because it's something you want. Unless you start somewhere, you'll never get very far. Much like with music or art- you can't start off as a beginner painting a masterpiece, or performing an hour long sonata. You have to start small, and build up your confidence. The more you practice, the better you'll get. The easier it'll be to change bobbins, thread your needle, fix tension, etc. And the straighter your sewing will be!

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:38 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo

Thanks. I think I got really ambitious and somewhat impatient. I tend to get that way about a lot of things. I see an idea, think "That's not so bad I can do it" then get sorely let down when I find out it takes more than I thought. :oops:

While it's still not easy for me how to sew it together, breaking it down into steps and knowing how to tailor it to my frame might help. But I'll follow your advice and start small. I've never had a full ensemble so how to scale things to fit me. But as you said you can always start with muslin and go from there. While I do have one homemade han eri I'll start there. I need more anyway.

Guess I'll be a busy bee this summer. :]

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:38 am
by IG Team
bebemochi

A thought about muslins that might help -- for real muslin can be kinda pricy depending on where you are. You can go to Goodwill and get sheets to work on things. Just wash them in hella hot water and color safe bleach and you have nothing to worry about. And if you buy prints you think are cute, you can actually save some things. Like, if you made a tote bag and bitched it up, no big, reusable shopping bag or just trash it if it's really hopeless.

In addition to kimono I used to do Civil War reenactments. (I don't do Civil War reenactments anymore.) I've always made all my hada juban and chemise and crap out of salvaged sheets.

ETA for more rambling: the nice thing about salvaged sheets is that you get a lot of fabric for very little, they're generally pre-washed and thus pre-shrunk, and softened with wear. The only issue for some things is that they often have a polyester content, so some purists aren't gonna be down. Of course pure cotton is the most breathable for yukata and undergarments, but I haven't had an issue with the stuff I've made. What I tend to like about a little poly content is that they don't wrinkle so much, but seem to still have enough grip that they're good for things like himo. But this is totally a YMMV situation. There's a respectable natural fiber versus manmade fiber division on the forum, both with excellent points. I happen to be on the manmade side, myself, but you may not be, and that's ok.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:38 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo
Haha we must think alike. :] I have recently started to shop for fabric material at Goodwill. I found a nice bedsheet and actually made an azuma bukuro from it (unfortunately it's a tad off because of the lack of seam allowance, but still functional. I still have some left.)

Yes sadly those sheets were polyester. Personally I'd like to use natural things whenever possible simply because I try to be environmentally friendly but I'm not about to debate or police someone for making a different choice. Thrifting second hand and donating stuff is still better for the environment and more economical. It also serves it's purpose for folks who want to practice their sewing and not spend a lot.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:41 am
by IG Team
Joshua

Well today I followed my own advice and took apart one of Shinei's $4 specials. Wish I had done it sooner...but then this was the first one I was happy to do that with, so there!
Primarily my intent was to remodel a women's awase Kimono into a man's hitoe which of course meant a nearly full dismantle, ..strip out the lining, eri removed, sleeves removed and side seams opened.. So many things that puzzled me before now make sense.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:42 am
by IG Team
bibanan

Boy have I got a link for you!

http://kurokami-kanzashi.deviantart.com ... 0#/d17xed7

I was trying to find out how to make a Hikizuri and found this person on deviantart! I'm definitely trying this out!

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:43 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo

Ok so this is kind of like an update?

Just wanted to get some opinions if this sounds like I'm on the right track.

Total number of pieces for unlined kimono: 8
2 sleeves
2 body panels
2 okumi panels
2 collar pieces (1 for reinforcement)

Construction sequence
body -> okumi -> collar -> sleeves

Deconstructing sequence (for if you have a references kimono)
sleeves -> collar -> okumi -> body

Key Measurements
height
bust
waist
hip
wingspan

This is all I could come up with atm. Something else my pop into mind but right now this is it. If there is something I missed please let me know.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:43 am
by IG Team
utsusemi

If you have a kimono that does not break your heart when deconstructing, do it slow and with some sheets of paper on which you can make sketches and make notes along the process. This will really help you, as you know then when copying that you are copying a professional. Those notes will be your personal treasure. I do have a japanese kimono making book, but I figured out that it is not meant for do it yourself studies as a lot of important points are not mentioned there. Fortunatly I have my own notes from deconstruction which I now think are worth gold.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:44 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo
utsusemi wrote:If you have a kimono that does not break your heart when deconstructing, do it slow and with some sheets of paper on which you can make sketches and make notes along the process. This will really help you, as you know then when copying that you are copying a professional. Those notes will be your personal treasure. I do have a japanese kimono making book, but I figured out that it is not meant for do it yourself studies as a lot of important points are not mentioned there. Fortunatly I have my own notes from deconstruction which I now think are worth gold.
Right. That seems to be the way to go from what I hear from others.

I had been wanting this book for a while.

http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%81%AF%E3%81 ... 579&sr=1-1

But I'm wondering if I shouldn't scrap that idea and use the money to, instead, buy a kimono to take apart. (The book comes with a DVD I assume showing you how to sew it together?) While I haven't looked lately I remember I had a hard time finding hitoe kimono (I suppose it won't matter if it's too small or something.)

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:45 am
by IG Team
GoldenPhoenix

Your absolute best bet for learning to sew kimono is taking them apart and making tons of notes. That's how I figured most things out. I drew diagrams of everything as I deconstructed them and reasoned the order in which seams would have had to be completed to achieve that particular structure. It's surprisingly complicated, and there are seams that appear to be unneccessary until you think about the order in which things would have had to be done.

This is the order of construction as I've figured it out:

Body
1 - back seam
2 - side seams
3 - okumi panels

Sleeves

Collar

Lining gets a lot more convoluted, but from what I can tell the collar is the last thing done on a lined kimono because you need the lining and exterior open there to access and work on the hidden portions of the kimono. Once all of the hidden work is done, you close up the entire garment along the outer edge of the okumi and collar.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:48 am
by IG Team
SuperGrouper
utsusemi wrote:If you have a kimono that does not break your heart when deconstructing, do it slow and with some sheets of paper on which you can make sketches and make notes along the process. This will really help you, as you know then when copying that you are copying a professional. Those notes will be your personal treasure. I do have a japanese kimono making book, but I figured out that it is not meant for do it yourself studies as a lot of important points are not mentioned there. Fortunatly I have my own notes from deconstruction which I now think are worth gold.
... ... ...I did this and still couldn't figure anything out. >_>; It doesn't work for everyone- Peachy-chan is still in pieces in a plastic box, and I'm still relying upon internet tutorials for sewing... I'd never heard of anyone incapable of learning how to sew a kimono from taking one apart before... ;__; so I thought it was safe...

It's important to pick a kimono you really don't like- and preferably a hitoe one... (TT__TT)

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:49 am
by IG Team
utsusemi

Super Grouper A lined kimono is really not the best to begin with. Its what I have done, sigh. I am quite sure, you can do it. Is it possible that the order of construction is the problem ?

Back seam, side seams and okumi. Same with the lining. Iron it all carefully. If you have those gold threads applied you have to be extra careful. ( I did read somewhere that a piece of cardboard between fabric and iron is a save and professional option )
The lining is made from two parts. The fabric on the back of the seams is folded upwards, not down as gravity would dictate.
Then the lining is sewn on with big basting stiches, seam on seam. Starting with the back seam.
Last is the hem. Sew it so that a bit of the lining can be seen. In a lot of my vintage kimono there was a folded strip of cloth sewn into the hem as weight. ( yes, I am a kimono killer )
Then it is a nice thing to sew a basting line about 5mm inside from where you want the collar to be. It not only serves as guide line for the collar to sew, it also keeps lining and kimono nicely in place.
The sleeves. I use a template from "clover" for the curve in the sleeves, but a piece of cardboard does nicely, too. There are many ways to Rome. Sometimes the folded lining is laid on top of the folded sleeve and the sleeve curve is done together, all four layers of fabric in one go. But I say do it as you like. Fold lining and kimono sleeve separatly and put one into the other like a russian doll.
When you sew the sleeves to the kimono body you have four layers to deal with. It can be done in one go, but again, you can do kimono fabric and lining seperatly, going one way the kimono and on the way back the lining.
Sewing on the collar in my kimono book looks like an elaborate form of torture with 15 needles for each side separatly,starting at the back seam as every single one has to be placed in a certain order. The needles go through the fabric of the kimono body and pierce the lining of the collar as well.
Which is what I did not do. I sew on the collar of the kimono and used the resulting stiches on the other side as a guideline for the lining. Needless to say that my kimono book has the more elegant solution. My finished kimono however looks like all the others. lol

Time for peachy-chan to come back to light !

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:49 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo

I think I'm just going to place any helpful info in this thread and I hope others are able to use it too.

I don't know if there is a difference to using a Japanese bolt or Western fabric bolt, but am I correct in believing that the fabric you must use should be 2x your height + maybe 10cm (4in)?

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:49 am
by IG Team
Byakkojo

For Xmas, I got a book on sewing kimono that came with a DVD. It's in Japanese unfortunately but it does have detailed illustrations and lists.

It not only features instructions on how to sew a hitoe kimono (or I guess a yukata too) but also includes directions on how to put in lining, how to make both a nagajuban and a hanjuban, a (nagoya?) obi, susoyoke, tabi (with a pattern) and does have instructions on how to put it all on! :]

I have to say I got more than I was expecting which is great. Still I only know kana (which only means I can read it; I may not necessarily understand what I'm reading :mad: )

At this point I have any and almost all tools needed for the task (whether it be hand sewing or machine sewing.) What I seem to be stuck on are what my measurements should be and how to put it all together (sewing/construction.) That being said I suppose I'll focus on measurements.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:36 pm
by IG Team
gienahclarette

Might I suggest buying a cheap karinui and learning from that? I made the mistake of buying a karinui instead of a completed kimono once and took it upon my self to line it. I learned a lot about kimono construction, and it gave me a very good idea of whether or not I'd want to invest the time and energy into learning to sew kimono myself.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:48 pm
by IG Team
Byakkojo

Well a karinui seems like it would save me the trouble of having to cut it up but I'd still need the pieces to fit my personal body stats. I'm 5'3", but body structure is wider, muscular. I don't know much about karinui and if there are kanji marked on it, it's likely that I won't be able to read it (unless it's something like "sleeve" of "collar")

Plus I had no intentions of making a lined kimono. I don't need the extra headache.

Also I must ask, if you actually went ahead and made the kimono from karinui. A lot of people say they have made kimono, but I guess I haven't seen a lot of images that show it. (There may have been a handmade kimono thread around but I haven't found it yet.) I'd love to buy kimono but I'm not wealthy and the older ones are not going to fit me. So I figure the best bet is to try and make it myself (or else get rich and buy from sites like Mamechiyo or something.)

If I'm correct, I'd need a kimono that is going to be around 160 cm at minimum to accommodate my heigh, maybe more for my frame. I own one yukata that fits me well but it's pretty modern and I believe machine sewn. I keep it mainly as an example of how the finished product should look and to make sure everything matches.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:51 pm
by IG Team
Rabellaka

I have the Folkwear pattern, but I have not successfully made a kimono that I can wear. I make costumes as a small business, so right now I'm concentrating on cosplay to learn how to make kimonos better. I've made Jedi costumes for years, which is basicly a kimono with narrow sleeves, so I don't have trouble with the collar. It's adding a lining and getting the proper dimensions for my body that are causing me trouble. (5'9" with 48" bust and 52" hips) also, finding appropriate fabric without busting the bank.
Byakkojo wrote:For Xmas, I got a book on sewing kimono that came with a DVD. It's in Japanese unfortunately but it does have detailed illustrations and lists.

It not only features instructions on how to sew a hitoe kimono (or I guess a yukata too) but also includes directions on how to put in lining, how to make both a nagajuban and a hanjuban, a (nagoya?) obi, susoyoke, tabi (with a pattern) and does have instructions on how to put it all on! :]
I'd love to know what book that is.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:08 pm
by IG Team
Byakkojo

Sure

はじめての和裁 DVDつき手習い帖 [大型本]

I believe this translates to Hajimete no kimono or "First time making kimono". But let me say this. The DVD shows the traditional method of constructing kimono. The sewing is shown being done by hand (and I think the woman measured the material before starting.) There's a table of contents on the DVD so it does go in order (first thing being sewn is the sleeves, after she has done preliminary cutting and the like.) That being said, she uses a traditional bolt and the pattern is cut as such, from one long length of fabric.

I should correct myself about what I said before. The book tells you how to construct:

-kimono (hitoe/yukata)
-half nagajuban (so like hadajuban except with kimono sleeves)
-hadajuban
-susoyuke
-a nagoya obi
-a raincoat
-tabi (pattern included)
-a hand-sewing reference that shows knots and various stitches
-how to insert a panel for added length
-how to dress
-and how to fold komono for storage

I'm not quite sure it tells you directions for lining it as I alluded to before. I have yet to figure out what that section is (though it seems to be working with an inside out completed kimono. Maybe just finishing touches? :ermum

Can't say if the DVD shows anything else but kimono construction. But as I said before, the book has corresponding detailed technical illustrations. (If only I could read the kanji and not just the kana!)

Been spending the majority of my time translating the size/measurement page. It features sizes S, M, and L. The Large goes up to 163 (but the mitake shows it running from to 160-165.) So in a way that's good news for me as I am 160cm. I suppose when it comes to the width of my hips (and possibly shoulders) I have to adjust the width of the mitake?

Sorry to yak on and on but I hope this helps.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:08 pm
by IG Team
Liz

My question concerns the width of the panels when making a kimono. Last year while visiting my nephew in Japan, his mother-in-law gave me a roll of 15" silk. Now I am attempting to make a kimono, have finally figured out how to cut the panels so that the pattern matches. The pattern goes from the left bottom of a panel around to the front and includes all of the left front pieces. To get the patterned pieces to march, a couple of the pieces will be a bit narrower than the corresponding right side pieces. Should I make the right ones the same widths as the left ones? And, the collar appears to have an additional piece of fabric sewn over the upper part of the collar. Is that a permanent piece or is it attached so it can be removed for cleaning?
Thanks for any help!

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:09 pm
by IG Team
muhvi

I would make the panels same size. Making the left side narrower than right side would result in unsymmetrical kimono construction, and while it might be not so apparent at the hem, I would guess it would make the kimono top part strange and difficult to wear. If you need to make the hem wider than the hem pattern allows, you can stretch the part between the back and front panels so that the design does not match perfectly. I have seen this done with many professional sewn kimono, and it doesn't usually show much unless you are actually looking for it.
Tomoeri (I assume you are talking about it) is in most kimono sewn on the long collar so it can be easily removed and washed separately, just as you say. In some cheap synthetic ones it might be fake or sewn with a same seam with the whole collar, but if you are sewing your own and planning to wear it too, I would sew it like it is meant to, separately.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:09 pm
by IG Team
Liz

Thanks for your help! I made a cheap "test" kimono first and learned a lot, but I did not add the collar cover (Han-eri?) to it. I think I will find a nice white fabric to use for the silk one. I agree that both front pieces should be symmetrical, since there won't be a lot of fabric lost in matching. I have looked and looked to see what kind of kimono I am making, what it is called. It is a pale pink silk with Spring-like flowers on it, with the shorter sleeves and will be unlined. Does it fall into a particular category by name?

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:11 pm
by IG Team
SuperGrouper
Liz wrote:Thanks for your help! I made a cheap "test" kimono first and learned a lot, but I did not add the collar cover (Han-eri?) to it. I think I will find a nice white fabric to use for the silk one. I agree that both front pieces should be symmetrical, since there won't be a lot of fabric lost in matching. I have looked and looked to see what kind of kimono I am making, what it is called. It is a pale pink silk with Spring-like flowers on it, with the shorter sleeves and will be unlined. Does it fall into a particular category by name?
The collar-cover on a kimono, made from the same fabric and attached to the kimono itself, is called a "tomo-eri" and can protect the real collar.

Unlined = hitoe
shorter sleeves = NOT furisode
if the flowers are woven in and it's one color = iromuji hitoe
if the flowers are a different color & dyed + a continuous pattern overall like checkers = komon hitoe
if the flowers are a different color & dyed + clustered in different places = tsukesage or houmongi hitoe
Does that help?

What are the patterns like? :?

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:11 pm
by IG Team
Liz

The flowers are a different color & dyed + clustered in different places = tsukesage or houmongi hitoe.
There is a pattern of dyed flowers at the bottom that is in 4 panels with other smaller "bouquets" at different areas, such as on the sleeves and at an upper back section. I wish I could post a picture for you to see, but I couldn't. When I brought this home I didn't know what to do with it since I don't usually wear such pretty clothes (I live in Florida) so I decided to just make what the fabric was designed for. It took a lot of research on the Net to finally figure out how to lay it out and cut it. I actually had the pattern pieces placed when I found the markings on the fabric. Very hard to see, but I was just a couple of inches off when I saw that! Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it and knowing just what kind of kimono I am making!
Liz

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:12 pm
by IG Team
Liz

Oh, dear....I am making a kimono using a 15" wide roll of silk and have cut out the sleeves, and the two front/back sections. I have a long piece of fabric where the two okumi will come from and am wondering where is the fabric for the collar????? If I double the fabric for the okumi, I will have some fabric left and will have to piece together the collar; if I don't double that fabric, I will have the piece for the collar. Help!!!

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:13 pm
by IG Team
Byakkojo

Question, and this might sound strange but, has anyone ever tried making kimono out of paper? :?

I've run upon something labeled as "hinagata" (why I don't know) which often appears to be a kimono made entirely of some kind of paper. A fully constructed/completed kimono that hangs closed on a stand.

I thought perhaps this is something to consider when trying to see how to construct kimono? Perhaps it is useless in terms of how to sew it together, but maybe in adjusting measurements or knowing where things begin and end? This may be no different than some kind of pattern (or maybe a simple work of art?) But I thought I'd mention it.

What's more, I may take a break from kimono to try making an obi. And I realize these have probably been answered but I will ask regardless.

For an average chuya/casual obi:
-Are 30 cm wide x 4 meters (13ft?) the correct dimensions?
-Do I need to have seam allowances and if so by how much?
-If you have made an obi, what kind of interfacing did you use, which brand works best, where did you purchase it and how much was used to achieve the right effect?

I can't pretend that I'm not a little frustrated with how easy an obi is said to be, but so rarely I see an actual consensus on how to do it. I didn't want to ask because I felt as though I either wouldn't get the answers I need or would risk looking like a simpleton but it would be nice if someone could do a nice tutorial on how to do it regardless of how easy making obi appears. Honestly sometimes seeing a process helps me to learn better.

Either way I welcome any resources!

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:13 pm
by IG Team
James

Liz, I'm afraid I don't understand your question; how do you mean "double" the okumi? It's fine to construct the collar from different sections of fabric; it's the collar cover that matters more in that regard.

Byakkojo, although I've never seen one, there are (or were) wearable kimonos made from paper. I've no idea what kind of paper or even why they'd be made from paper, though, although it must be said that there are papers that are very fabric-like; I'd assume for practical purposes it would be something like that.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:14 pm
by IG Team
Sarcasm-hime

Seam allowances depends on the obi material. I have a couple of hitoe obi which are woven in a stiffer manner and don't have the seam allowances sewn inside; it's just folded in half and then the edges are whipstitched together.

For lined obi, I think 1cm seam allowance is normal. But again it would depend on the bolt itself, and also how wide you want your obi to be. If you are larger or taller than average, you might choose to sew the obi wider. When sewing an obi bolt I will compare the width to my existing obi and make sure it will be the same size.

I have used obi stiffener from Yukkochan's shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KimonoPonchoC ... d=11945206

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:14 pm
by IG Team
Byakkojo

I was trying to avoid buying anything from Japan since shipping is so high. I had planned on using a Western bolt with quilt cotton or something of that nature; basic stuff. Nothing too textured or synthetic. I also do not have existing kimono. I have one obi..a nagoya I believe, far far too formal to be used for anything casual. The bow part is roughly around 11in wide, the waist section is 6in. I'll try to provide a photo of it.

I suppose 30cm/12in is a fine width for me but I do have a wider build so I am only guessing. My waist is around 32-34 around. My hips are around 41-42in around. My heigh is roughly 5"3'.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:15 pm
by IG Team
Sarcasm-hime

12" sounds fine for obi width. For lining you want something close-woven and moderately stiff. I believe the obi stiffener from Japan is a very close-woven thick cotton that's been starched, if that helps. A stiff sew-in interfacing would also work.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:15 pm
by IG Team
Byakkojo

I suppose when you put it this way it'd be easier to just buy some things but again, not made of money (it's the shipping that's killer). Plus I'm just a creative type and like to personalize things. :lol:

I'll continue to make what I'm able to. I want to supplement wherever I can if possible to save money. That being said, could I get away with wearing a kimono that isn't my height and up? I'm not tall but most kimono are still rather short.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:16 pm
by IG Team
Sarcasm-hime

What I meant was to give you an idea of what the 'proper' stuff is like, so you can hopefully find something for cheaper that's similar.

Casual kimono can be worn without ohashori, so it would measure from your shoulder to the tops of your feet at least. For fancier kimono, the length should ideally be your height but you can fudge it if it's off by only a couple of inches (by making the ohashori small).

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:18 pm
by IG Team
Byakkojo

Oh I apologize. I misunderstood.

Still, I have to start paying better attention to what things cost. Sometimes it's not worth making on your own (even if I do want to customize things). :P

This is an iromuji.
*sigh* I'm still not sure I can get it.
My wingspan (total) is around 58 in.
The wingspan of the kimono I want is 48 in.
(Ironically my dad happened to mention that your wingspan is the same as your height...which in my case seems to be true!)
I don't even like 3/4 sleeves so I guess I won't be getting it. *DISAPPOINTED*

This is why I want to make my own. No way am I going to find a women's kimono that fits me for less than $50.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:19 pm
by IG Team
Clio

Oh, I think you may not be measuring wingspan correctly! :? And your dad is talking about another measurement, not Kimono Wingspan.

Wristbone to wristbone is as long as you need - not finger tip to tip or to the thumb knuckle. Unless you have extra-extra long arms for a person who is about 5' 3" tall, you'd probably only need kimono with 52" or so along the back and sleeves. Granted, one that is just 48 inches is still too small for you to fit correctly, but at least it is possible to find kimono that are 51 1/2" to 52 inches in wingspan.

I'm very short and chunky, but prefer a wrist-to-wrist of almost 51 inches, since I don't like the 3/4 length look either!

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:19 pm
by IG Team
Sarcasm-hime

Many kimono can be let out at the shoulder seam as well, if there is enough in the seam allowance there. So you can get an inch or so extension that way.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:20 pm
by IG Team
Byakkojo
clio wrote:Oh, I think you may not be measuring wingspan correctly! :? And your dad is talking about another measurement, not Kimono Wingspan.

Wristbone to wristbone is as long as you need - not finger tip to tip or to the thumb knuckle. Unless you have extra-extra long arms for a person who is about 5' 3" tall, you'd probably only need kimono with 52" or so along the back and sleeves. Granted, one that is just 48 inches is still too small for you to fit correctly, but at least it is possible to find kimono that are 51 1/2" to 52 inches in wingspan.

I'm very short and chunky, but prefer a wrist-to-wrist of almost 51 inches, since I don't like the 3/4 length look either!

Clio
Yeah I knew it wouldn't equal to the kimono wingspan but I knew that if I had been measured finger tip to finger tip it would have come out to be my height. I have only one yukata to my name (a modern one) and I try to use that as a guide to fit. I got it from Yukata Kimono Market Sakura. Unfortunately I don't have the invoice I got when I bought it (I was hoping it would tell me the size)

I think I do have really long arms. I've asked my mother to measure me a few times and it comes out at 58in (147cm) from wristbone to wristbone (so 29in/74cm for just one side).

The yukata I have is pretty long (I assume to accommodate people with thicker bodies) but the sleeves are still a bit short (tolerable but probably not aesthetically pleasing.)

The book I have that came with a kimono pattern has a wingspan of 132cm total so I suppose I have to work on widening the pattern pieces. Right now my only concern is the width of the body panels and sleeve length (as well as making sure there's enough for ohashori. This is a good pattern because it's only a few in/cm off but I'm just trying to get this all straight. (I don't think the okumi needs to be widened but lengthened perhaps.)

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:20 pm
by IG Team
Clio

Hmmmmm - The size of your yukata would still be just what the actual measurements are: length to suit one's height and the wrist to wrist distance for the full width of the garment across the top. Were you personally measured with your arms out straight, parallel to the floor? Not down to your sides?

I have sewn reproduction historic clothing for scores of women over the decades, and only one taller lady of normal build had proportionately longer arms than you seem to. Do you have very wide shoulders and long arms? Or just awfully long arms? 8-O

Today Ichiroya had a lovely blue tsumugi "queen size" kimono that sold right away. It was 64 1/2 inches long (would fit a person five-feet five inches tall), had a hip measurement of 47 inches, back width of 26" and the wingspan was 53 1/2 inches. That is a pretty fair size for a "larger" woman of today's average height. Even the lining was real silk and only cost $88. It was made of men's type silks, but it certainly was wider than usual.

Anyway, take heart as there are better sizes at reasonable prices if you decide to buy kimono instead of trying to make them - which I understand can be incredibly frustrating at times!

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:21 pm
by IG Team
Byakkojo

My mother measured me with my arms slightly extended at an angle (not straight down or parallel...I thought this was done to make room for ease or something.) I would say my shoulders are rather square (not sure if they're wide.) They don't slope, they're straight. But I have a wider body in general. (I suppose I could PM a picture.) It's hard to say. Oddly enough I've been working on my personal style and fit is something that is very hard for me to achieve. I'm just not a evenly proportioned person, but at this point I have no idea if my arms are longer. :(

That being said, can someone maybe just make a tutorial on some of this stuff? I see a lot of videos on how to wear kimono and tie obi but very little on how to construct some of these items. If people have been able to do it, it might be nice to share experiences.

I'm still trying to find out what are the hang ups I'm currently experiencing. My guess is matching my personal measurements to how big the kimono needs to be, the amount of material and the layout.

Re: Making kimono construction easier to understand

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:21 pm
by IG Team
Sarcasm-hime

Has probably been posted before, but this yukata sewing tutorial was useful for me: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~weyrbrat/Japan/yukata/