Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Roommate Gets a New ゆかた (浴衣)

We lived in Japan from 1993-1994, teaching English at an eikaiwa (conversation school).  The Roommate got this yukata (cotton kimono) there and we both love it because of the writing and the graphic quality of that writing.  I have no idea what it says, but I love writing systems, and this satisfies on so many levels. 

However, it's wearing out.  The seams are holding up, but the fabric is worn through in many places.  I have new fabric for another, but am dismantling this yukata so that I can re-use it as lining for the new one (at least the parts I can re-use...probably just the lower half.  I started dismantling (okay, seam-ripping!) and then began to wonder just how long it had been since I'd washed it.  So it's in the dryer right now...just to be sure I'm working with a clean version.  

I dug out my Japanese kimono pattern book (see below), and have been using the proportions from that, along with measurements from the existing robe.  Japanese kimono use most of the fabric because the pattern pieces are essentially just rectangles; they're also fairly easy to make because there is not really fitting in terms of width, it's the length that has to be modified, depending on the wearer's height.  If you're at all interested in purchasing used kimono to re-use for fabric, it is a pretty good idea--you won't get a bunch of tiny pieces that you can't do much with.  Lots of rectangles, and the back is often one large piece, not 2 pieces sewn together.  
Very little wasted fabric with a kimono pattern!
I finished it!  I had lots of time (Hurricane Sandy means no work today or tomorrow), plus I couldn't go anywhere (not safe to be on the streets), and the Roommate was out of town (stuck in SFO & couldn't get a flight back), so it was a great time to work on a present that wasn't meant to be a surprise, but why not?  The situation definitely called for it.  

See what you think...he picked out the fabric.  I wanted to use one of my West African wax prints (thinking "What a crazy mix--African batik & Japanese clothing!"), but he didn't like that idea.  It's an Alexander Henry print (I was going thru my scrap box & noticed his name was on a LOT of selvages!), that I got from an Etsy Shop, Lucky Frog (Lucky Kaeru).

Nigiri Sushi Yukata

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