One of our friends in the SCA, Oribe Tsukime, received a writ for elevation to the Order of the Laurel. The writ was issued back in the Spring, but she was not able to have her actual elevation until this past weekend. This gave me plenty of time to make these white silk tabi for her to wear as part of her elevation garb.
This was the first time I had ever made tabifor another person, the first time I had made tabi in a few years, and the process was complicated by Tsukime living somewhat far from my home. Footwear is always difficult to fit, and trying to do it by sending prototypes back and forth in the mail took a few months.
I was able to complete this project with days to spare, however, and she wore them during her vigil and elevation ceremony. They are all fine silk left over from the uenohakama project, sewn by hand with white silk thread. I don’t know how long they will last, and they probably never can be washed, but I was asked to make them and they were ready in time, so I am happy.
I completed this project back in early May of this year. I wore it to War Practice and to court at Pennsic, but I am only just now getting around to documenting it. Sorry I didn’t get any pictures of me actually wearing this outfit. Anyway, I wanted a less-formal and lighter-weight hitatare than my others. This one is made from a mid-weight linen, instead of the heavy-weight linen and hemp from which the others are constructed. I painted some white stripes on the fabric so that it wouldn’t look like a bedsheet. Here is the view from the front:
From the back, you can see that there are also stripes in the back, and that the hakama do not have a koshi-ita panel on the back. Some hitatare of late period had these panels, but since I do not tend to add them, this garment does not.
The sugata part of this post’s title of course means basically “outfit”. The hitatare itself is the upper-body over-garment. You have to make the body panels quite long if you don’t want the tails pulling up out of the hakama waistband.
Here is a close-up of the painted stripes. I have stopped using the “Jacquard Neopaque” acrylic fabric paint for most things, and I have switched over to “Jacquard Textile Color” fabric paint. This does not have the same vinyl-esque feel as the Neopaque, but it works well and still resists bleeding into the fibers. I applied the paint after the garments were constructed, so the stripes would match across the seams.
At the sleeve ends, the sleeve cords run through “belt loop” style attachments. There’s a hitatare in the Kure red book that uses these attachments, and I have found them to be durable.
Here’s a close-up of one at the bottom of a sleeve. You can clearly see that I have not bothered to braid my own cords yet for this outfit. It uses store-bought cotton braid. The belt loops are made by starting with a rectangle of fabric that is twice as long and four times as wide as the eventual loop. The ends of the rectangle get folded in to the center, followed by the sides getting folded in to the center. The loop is then folded in half along the length to make a short 4-layer strap, and stitched along the long edge to hold it closed. Stitching it on to the garment seals the ends of the loop.
Similar loops are at the cuff end of each leg. I only put loops on the outsides of the pleats, so they hold the pleats in place. I’m not sure if this is historical or if the exemplar just has narrower legs.
I also made a kataginu that matches the hakama so that I don’t have to roast if it is very hot. A kataginu is basically a sleeveless hitatare.
So there, now I have four hitatare sugata. This one went through the post-Pennsic laundry without falling apart, so I consider it to be a success.
I neglected to post about this at the time, but back in March when we were getting ready for my sweetie’s elevation, I made three more eboshi for our friend Gwen.
Of course, Gwen has been camping with Kaminari for years and has several eboshi, but nothing deemed nice enough to wear while heralding an elevation. So, I made three more for them. One floppy nae eboshi, one linen tate eboshi lined with heavy interfacing, and one mesh tate eboshi for summer wear. The mesh eboshi has a silk band for the extra-fancy.
The motivations for this shirt are complex, but the execution was straightforward. I bought a blank red sweatshirt from the craft store, block-printed the Yama Kaminari clan mon in the center of the back and at the front left shoulder in white, then painted the kanji for my SCA name on the back beneath the mon. I had to re-paint the white by hand, which is almost always necessary when trying to paint white on dark color, but it’s pretty easy once the graphic is established. I used Jacquard Textile Color on this instead of heavier acrylic paint, since it soaks into the fabric more and changes the texture of the garment less. I’m really starting to like the Textile Color quite a lot.
Anyway, this came in very handy on the chilly first night of War Practice this year, and on the chilly morning of pack-out at that same event.
Back in 2018, when I was being elevated to the Order of the Laurel in the SCA, Sharon made some parts of a Sokutai Sugata for me to wear as my elevation garb. She made the two most important upper-body garments, the houeki no hououter robe and the shitagasanemiddle-layer robe with its long kyo tail. I made or purchased many of the accessories for the garment such as the kanmuri headgear, sekitaibelt of stones, shakubaton, and hiraobelt. However, the lower-body garments and some accessories were substituted with less-formal items because we ran out of time.
To prepare for her elevation next month, I decided to make at leat two of the missing items, which had been on my to-do list for some time. I made the uenohakama out pants, and the oguchi lining pants.
Most of the time, when you see the uenohakama, they are lined and appear to be both of these garments in one. The lined uenohakama are for winter wear. These are for summer wear and are unlined. uenohkama are made very differently from regular hakama. They open in the front, and they only have one long waist tie that connects the front and back at the sides. The tie is arranged so that it can be knotted at the right hip, and there is a fly strip that covers the opening at the front.
The oguchi are supposed to be a bit longer so that the hems are visible sticking out from beneath the hems of the uenohakama. I wound up making mine about the same length as the uenohakama, so I sewed on an extra bit at the bottom to add weight and appear as a hem. The oguchi also only have one tie, and it is arranged to tie at the left hip.
Layered together, the two garments look like this, though you’ll have to wait until after Hara’s elevation to see what they look like as part of the outfit.
Back in October, I was idly searching eBay for Japanese antiques, and I found a kanmuri for sale at a very reasonable price. So, I bought it. This one is not as old or as nice as my other one, but it was less expensive and is in better shape. I won’t be as afraid to wear it or lend it to others. However, it should still have a better storage container than the corrugated cardboard box in which it was shipped to me.
I made two separate boxes to hold the parts of the first kanmuri. This was partially because of the shape of the tail, and because the body of the first kanmuri does not break down into parts. This second one comes apart much better, so I could build a single flat box to hold the parts.
This kanmuri-bako is a simple rectangular, lidded box. The top and bottom are thin birch-faced plywood, and the edges are maple scants. I put a couple of coats of shellac on the outside for protection, but I left the inside unfinished so that the wood can absorb and release moisture as needed.
Inside, there is enough room that the pieces of the kanmuri can be individually wrapped to protect them from rubbing. There is actually enough room inside that I am able to store some other formal accessories in there to keep everything together. I can fit a shakuin the bottom, my sekitai, and my hirao. There’s probably enough room to add my gyotaiif I ever need to.
Because I just realized that I never posted to my blog about the first kanmuri, here is a picture of the assembled second kanmuri. the tail removes easily. When you remove the horizontal pin, from the hat part, the upright tube can also be removed.
Basically as soon as Sweetie and I had reached full immunity following our second COVID-19 inoculations (it’s not really a vaccine, you know), we went and visited my parents in NJ. They still live where I grew up in NJ, and although we did not want to go into NYC to visit fabric stores, I decided to search around the area to see what might have become available in the 30+ years since I left. Sure enough, the large presence of immigrants from Southeast Asia in my home town had resulted in some great fabric stores catering to their tastes, including one just 15 minutes from my parents’ house, called “Fabric Guy“. I was looking for some figured white silk for another project, but also wound up buying some of this lovely medium-weight silk brocade.
I suddenly decided that I needed a fancy kosode, because who doesn’t need a new fancy kosode every once in a while? One difficulty with the project is that the gold metallic threads for the flower buds (or whatever they are) are pretty much just behind those graphics. Cutting the fabric released hundreds of little whiskers, and I realized that wearing the kosode would break off more of those and they would get into everything else. The solution was to add a lining to the plan.
I had some light-weight habotai silk in my stash, so I used that. I’ve madelinedgarmentsbefore, so this was not alien territory for me, but it has been a while. The trick, for those who don’t know it, is to leave closing the neckband for the very last step. That enables you to attach the sleeve linings to the body lining easily by pulling those seams to the outside of the garment. This silk was so light that keeping it still enough to sew was something of a challenge, but it came out OK, I think.
When I was in the fabric store to buy the flannel for the new pajamas, I took a browse through the selection of “Asian”-themed cotton prints, and found this colorful “koi in water” fabric. I don’t really need another kosode, but I need to make something out of this.
Here are some details that will mean nothing unless you are a kosode geek: The fabric was a little narrow, but I can still get away with wearing 14-inch wide panels, and I had gotten enough fabric to make it knee-length like I like them now. The sleeves are almost fully attached to the body, but I still like to give them a little flappy bit at the bottom. The sleeves themselves are about 18-inches tall, and the opening is half of that. It has a 3-layer neckband that is only about 2 inches wide.
Here is a close up of the fabric so that you might appreciate how pretty it is:
I had meant to leave this year’s white kosode half-finished, so I could use it as a demonstrator for a class I was going to teach at Pennsic on kosode construction. Instead of leaving it to fester while we’re waiting to see if there will be a Pennsic next year, I decided to complete it so that I could wear it if we ever happen to have an SCA event ever again.
Gosh that all sounds pessimistic, I know, but there it is. Really, I’m much more optimistic about the future of the SCA than that. I think we will have to reconsider what makes an event and how we run them, but I’m sure we will have events in the future. They might just be very different from the kind of events we’ve had in the past, though.
Anyway, this year’s kosode, in white ramie. I’ve already made two kosode from the white ramie I ordered a couple of years ago. When it became time to make my 2020 kosode, I thought about getting some new fabric, but I realized I still had plenty of this terrific 150 gram ramie linen from Morex Fabrics, so why not use it? The pattern is my standard men’s kosode method, starting from 14.5″ panels. For my technically-minded friends, I continue to use half-panel overlaps and three-layer collars.
I sewed the Daimon Hitatare Sugata some time ago, and added some kotsuyu embellishments and munahimo some weeks ago, but only got around to taking new pictures recently.
While the scroll I based this outfit on does not show these cords, I feel they are necessary. I am guessing that the scroll does not show them because the warrior in the image was not rich enough to afford them.