Meet-up.com is a bit of blessing here in Tokyo. I found the Stitch n Bitch group there, the Werewolf people (have I mentioned that before?), the Asakusabashi craft group and now the Onigiri girls who had a chance to make a Yukata listed as a meeting. This post from February describes various traditional japanese clothes and a Yukata is one of them. Last week we met our teacher, a wonderful 84 year old, and the organiser who was also translator, and went to a traditional fabric wholesaler as a group. Photos weren't allowed (boo) but this is what I came away with.
Today's class was cutting out and starting to sew and because we only have three sessions there were lots of the Teacher's former pupils and now friends to help out. This is a skilled art form! Patterns need to match with as little waste as possible and apart from height everything else about the person's size is done by eye. It was very impressive.
It was a wedding present and had apparently never broken down. Just divine detailing and perfect stitching.
While the machine was used to join lengths of fabric, the seams and hems are all hand sewn. The hand sewing used a cotton thread the weight of lace weight wool - perhaps a light pearl cotton - and a fairly hefty needle so was quite tough on the fingertips. We used two stitches I'll go into another time, but I'd not come across either before. We have been given homework to do before the next lesson in two weeks time but the Teacher helped by tacking the armhole seams in place.
As well as impressive cast steel scissors there were these mighty shears.
The final notion I wanted to show you was one a TV crew had apparently come to film her using because it is only used in this kind of work.
It will be perhaps another month before the Yukata is finished but once it is we are all going to go on a little outing somewhere and take photos of each other. Wheeee!