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 (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.

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