The Blog of The Bride of Sesshomaru


Welcome to my sewing, historical reenactment, and CosPlay blog! Here on this blog you will find all of my random thoughts about sewing, the SCA, manga, anime, CosPlay, costume making, embroidery, sewing historically accurate Japanese costumes, and my fandom of Lord Sesshomaru whom I CrossPlay as.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Kimono Silk For My Japanese Personas


My silk mania continues while I wait for my silk to arrive. Since I've gone from sewing up a fantasy costume for a fictional character to re-creating a historically accurate outfit for what he would have worn had he been real, I now find myself hunting down info on how to sew historically accurate Japanese garb. In doing so I came across this question posted on a blog by yet another person doing a Japanese persona:

    SCA Silk Road - To Those With Japanese Personas. What kind of silk do you use for your garb? I have a set of utility garb, consisting of linen kosode and hakama, but I haven't yet made a nice set of silk kimono to wear to indoor events (the linen getup is mostly for camping in the summer).

And here is the comment I posted in responce to that question:

I make mine out of historically accurate 15" wide hand woven silk, which I get imported from a dealer in Japan. It takes about 5 weeks for it to ship from Japan to Maine USA, so I have to plan for that amount of time too.

Japanese silk is utterly amazing: it's very lightweight, very soft, very buttery, and it looks like a thin batiste cotton, very few people would even know it was silk, because it's not what most folks think of when they think of silk! .... Japanese kimono silk, is not at all like the Indian or Italian silk which we are used to seeing here in the USA, which is shiny, slippery, and often too heavy to drape nicely. Also Indian and Italian silks are sold in 45" to 62" widths, while Japanese silks are sold in 13" to 18" widths (15" being the average), and that makes a big difference in how you actually construct your garments too.

To make them historically accurate while using 45" Indian silk, you'd first have to cut the silk into 15" wide strips and hem the edges, before you could start cutting out your kimono or hakama. For me doing something like that just isn't an option. I go all out when I want to be accurate. I know I can be a bit extreme at times too, because I also hand embroider my silk using ancient Japanese methods, and than hand sew my garb too! It takes my about 6 or 7 months just to make one kimono, because I get crazy over being all accurate about everything! LOL!

If I wasn't so strict with myself, I could use silk I could buy locally and sew and embroider by machine, and be done in less than a week. YIKES! I'm torturing myself, but I love it! I have so much fun hunting down this super rare type of silk and than once I've found it, I buy several bolts of it all at once (cause it's the same price to ship one bolt as it is to ship 5 bolts! and the shipping alone from Japan to USA is close to $100!) I figure, I've spent so much time locating the fabric, than dished out so many oodles and oodels of money to buy it (it's very expensive! I have to use bargain fabrics for my non-Japanese garb, cause I go for broke with my kimono silk!), so I figure I've invested so much in this cloth already, I might as well take my historical accuracy the whole 9 yards, right?

Weird thing about all this is, when I make my European or Early American garb, I don't give historical accuracy a thought! I just make whatever "looks accurate enough" out of whatever fabric I have on hand. I only go uber authentic when it comes to my Japanese garb. I guess I must like my Japanese persona better than my Euro or American ones!

Sorry for the long comment. I just got a bit excited being able to tell someone about my fabric hunting. I get so excited over buying fabric! I'm a fabric hoarder, btw! I'll never use half of the fabric I buy, but I always, see new fabric and it's like "Well, someday I could use it for something." so I buy it and never use it. LOL!

What's your take on this? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post. Leave a comment and share your views!


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