Sunday, January 29, 2017

HSF '14 #9: White: Japanese Hakama* and Tabi socks

(*as opposed to other kinds of hakama? I don't know)

For once, I didn't have grand plans for this challenge. I knew I was making this cosplay in February (0f 2014), and yet I put it off and put it off, and then next thing I know it's May and I had about 2 weeks before it needed to be done. For a moment I panicked over what to make for the challenge that would be easy to make alongside the costume, and then realized that one major component of the costume was white, and also very historical. I can submit it for the challenge! Awesome!

Admittedly I didn't do a lot of research. In my younger days, I did a lot more reading and spent an embarrassing-to-admit amount of time steeped in Japanese culture from a great distance, and absorbed a lot of information through a variety of sources. Hakama have been used in Japan for probably centuries. They started as a skirt-like garment that at some point gained split legs for horse-riding. They are basically 8 panels of fabric woven 14" or so wide, folded back and pleated to a much smaller waist measurement and attached to long bands that tie around the waist. At some point in semi-recent history, the back gained a stiffened board. My costume is based on an anime series that is set in 1867, so I also set out to recreate the look, if not a strictly historical garment.


Bottom right. Image ©Idea Factory

Made of heavy white cotton twill, the front has six pleats, the innermost two stacked to look like one. I had to play with the back pleats, two stacked to look like one, for HOURS trying to get the visible pleat in the center and also make the back a narrow enough width. I started out with it at 15" (too big), got it down to 9" (too small), and finally finished at 13" (just right).



2017 Update: Somehow, three years and three wears later, I still haven't managed to get any pictures of this costume! It's RIDICULOUSLY comfortable, the hakama are like wearing a skirt, full and airy about the legs, but still split for the comfort of pants. I have a post about the full costume upcoming!

The Challenge:#9 Black & White
Fabric: 100% cotton twill
Pattern: self-drafted, with guides from And Sewing is Half the Battle (English) and Yousai.net (Japanese, lots of pictures)
Year: 1867
Notions: thread, interfacing for the back board
How historically accurate is it?: Reasonably.
Hours to complete: 14 or so (more than one went into the back pleats...)
First worn: May 2014
Total cost: $40

Tabi Socks

I wasn't sure about the tabi socks; I thought for SURE I'd end up sewing a small U into a pair of modern socks to get the split-toe look. You can get two kinds of tabi in Japan - traditional non-stretchy socks that close up the back with flat hooks, or stretchy knit ones with a separate toe. But I finished the main part of the costume with a few days to spare, so I took the pattern in Make Your Own Japanese Clothes and enlarged it as per the directions, and made up a quick pair in a light cotton. They could probably use some tweaking in terms of fit, but they were satisfactory enough for a cosplay that I went ahead to make the final pair. They are made of a lighter twill from my stash with the heavier twill sole cut from the hakama fabric, and lined with the same fabric I used for the yukata. The fabrics were all scraps from other projects, making this a very economical project.



2017 Update: I've never worn the socks with the costume. Both cons I wore this to, they are summer cons. By the time I get everything on, including a wig, my feet being covered by socks is the last thing I wanted to experience.

The Challenge: #9 Black & White
Fabric: 100% cottons
Pattern: Make Your Own Japanese Clothes
Year: 1867 (ish -- very big ish)
Notions: thread, a bit of Velcro
How historically accurate is it?: Not really sure, I think these would not look out of place in history, but they're pretty modern otherwise.
Hours to complete: 2
First worn: Never
Total cost: Free! Cut from scraps from the hakama and yukata :) Very little fabric is needed, so new materials would be minor in cost.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

HSF '13 #18: Re-make, Re-Use, & Re-fashion: The Inspiration

Part of my 2017 goals that I didn't mention was that I want to clear out my backlog of posts! There aren't a great many, but my draft folder is taunting me. Here is the first.

Summer, 2013

The Historical Fortnightly's 18th challenge is due on September 9. This one of the only challenges I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and possibly the first one that might be done on time. (hahaha that didn't happen!)


Some 8 12 years ago, when I began to express interest in making and wearing Victorian clothing, my mom gave me this gown. She'd made it in the late 80's or very very early 90s (certainly prior to 1991) and had never worn it herself, or only worn it a couple of times. She commented that she'd made a bustle pad to wear with it; I remember the pad very well, as it made an excellent pillow that my siblings and I all fought over the chance to nap on it. She gave it to me with the hope that it would fit me, or if not, that I could remake it so that it would.

It didn't fit me. I've gained weight since then, and it still doesn't fit me. I had only been seriously sewing for a couple of years at that point, and I had no faith at all in my ability to alter it so it would fit me. Now, nearly 14 years and several outfits later, I think I can do it.


I'm not really sure what to do with it, though. There's something about it that's so quintessentially '80s. The jacket is made from a thin poly lining, and what I'm pretty sure is poly "silk". The skirt is the same poly "silk". The skirt's overlayers and the jacket's "blouse" are embroidered net over lining. It was hard to photograph, but the back part of the skirt's overlayers had two layers of net/lining. I don't know what pattern was used, if any. My mom is a much better patternist than I. The shoulder seams are placed squarely on top of the shoulder, and not behind as was period.


After I ripped it apart, the skirt was made from a continuous loop of fabric, gathered along one selvedge, giving me a large 4 yard piece. When I thought about it a little more, I remembered some dresses from The Voice of Fashion and Edwardian Modiste that have lace or net overlays on bodices. If I use the lining material as the basis for the dress, the "silk" for the outer dress, and some of the net as an overlay, I could probably get a lovely gown out of it :)

2017 Update: I'm not sure where the fabrics from this dress ended up when I moved in November 2013, and I still don't have a solid plan. I'm pretty sure I didn't keep the bodice as trying to recut it and account for the shoulder seams was too much work, though a part of me regrets that decision. I could have used the smaller pieces for something, surely! The other part of me is yelling to declutter and good riddance! It's a struggle sometimes...

Monday, January 2, 2017

Looking Forward

Last year I didn't write or post a "this is what I want to accomplish this year" list. I think I knew somehow that the year was going to be really hard. I struggled a lot with anxiety (A LOT), and I'm still having trouble dealing with it. Don't worry, I'm working with professionals on a game plan :) This year I want to make more time for sewing and things that bring me joy. And it seems that the repetitiveness of certain things help soothe the anxiety (like baking! Making bread is fantastic for working out some tension!) so the rituals surrounding sewing can only be good for me :)

My biggest project for the year will be an 1867 ballgown to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary. Luckily a few of the challenges for this year's Historical Sew Monthly line up with that challenge, plus I'd really like to participate for an entire year.

One of my inspiration images!

January: Firsts & Lasts: Already started! A mid-1860s chemise :)
February: Re-Make, Re-Use, Re-Fashion: I wonder if the base skirt of my ballgown will count? I sewed it up years ago but now I need to re-make it. Perhaps an elliptical hoop with salvaged boning from a modern hoop skirt.
March: The Great Outdoors: mid-18th century riding habit. Again. IT SHALL BE DONE.
April: Circles, Squares & Rectangles: A petticoat for a 1780s gown or the riding habit skirt, depending. Maybe both!
May: Literature: I'm not sure that I have a favourite historical literary character, but I'm sure I can come up with something. (In general I can't read actual historical fiction. The language norms just bypass my entire brain. I don't know how many times I read one page in Persuasion until I gave up and went on to the next one, but it was definitely more than three.)
June: Metallics: This one will be tricksy D: I haven't got an idea yet. I do have a yard and a half of gilded linen though.
July: Fashion Plate: I have a plan! I need a loooot of red soutache :D I don't know if this will get done, I may be frantically completing outfits for Costume College!
August: Ridiculous: Oh gosh, where can one start?
September: Seen Onscreen: If I am very very lucky, I can pick up some beautiful red silk in LA and recreate Caroline's beautiful red dress in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice (say what you will about the movie, that dress is stunning!) Failing that, a recreation of Jane's adorable Spencer jacket from Austenland.
October: Out of Your Comfort Zone: There's many things I could do for this one, many things are out of my comfort zone!
November: HSF Inspiration: I really love the idea of this one. And there is a LOT of beautiful pieces made over the last 4 years (almost 5 by the time this rolls around) to choose from. I will probably choose something small, as this is during National Novel Writing Month.
December: Go Wild: I have a bit of beaver pelt rescued from a coat (I think) that I got from my aunt's estate. It's destined for a muff cover.

I'm also considering addressing my everyday wardrobe. I've been finding some of the things I've had for the last few years are no longer comfortable to wear. But I need to give this some serious thought. I really like vintage styles, but I really don't have the energy or patience to dedicate time to also creating vintage hair and make-up and accessories to go with outfits. I might get there some day, but right now it's enough that I can drag myself out of bed to feed my cat. Plus the added bonus of living in a place with very distinct seasons, necessitating multiple collections. Summer clothes really don't work in winter! I should probably start with looking at capsule wardrobes. This is a relatively low priority though.

Add in my usual con circuit, plus the additional pieces I need for Costume College, and I should have a very productive year!

Road to Costume College 2017

I mentioned earlier this year that I got a steal on a seat sale, so I am headed to Costume College in LA in just over a week! Alas, I am not...