I'm sure many of you have noticed that bolts of Japanese fabrics come in a variety of standard layouts-some with over-all patterns, some with segmented depictions that must be grouped to create the artist's intended flow of image. Fabric with a repetitive pattern may be easily imagined into the finished garment. Not so the segmented images that may be seen in tsukesage, tomesode, and many other styles of kimono.
Often when a client went to a gofukuya, or kimono store, on display were a number of enticing karinui, along with splendid bolts of colorful fabrics. The karinui are lightly basted garments, with all of the important images matched carefully at the seams to help the potential clients imagine how beautiful the garment would look on them once fully sewn and accessorized.
Did you realize that kimono are sized? Kimono may be tailored to the proper Japanese fit through adjusting seam allowances. The karinui stage helps the seamstress to achieve just the right balance of fit and graceful line.
Many people in non-traditional settings overlook the other potentials of karinui. For those of you who spend hours picking apart vintage kimono to employ the exotic patterns and textures, much time may be saved by investing in this stage of the kimono construction. A few quick snips and pulls and the garment has been entirely disassembled-with no trace of stitch line. Since by virtue of definition, karinui have never been truly worn, other than minor shop wear, they should have no discoloration at the seams.
Consider using karinui to create elegant scarves by simply taking the full sleeve of a karinui garment and finishing the cut ends. The remaining body may be cut at the shoulders, the pieces laid out flat, stitched to batting for a truly luxurious pictorial quilt or duvet cover. The okumi may be used to sew shams if you like. There are, of course, countless other ways of making use of these exquisite art pieces.
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with John Marshall
Welcome new friends and old! I've often been asked to write about a variety of Japanese textile and culture related subjects. This page allows me the opportunity to address your requests and to ramble off on side subjects wherever my whim and imagination lead.
Ichiroya has graciously allowed me to use images from their site to illustrate my ramblings. This is not a financial arrangement I have made - I simply believe them to be wonderful people with whom I enjoy doing business, and wish to support their endeavors. Ichiroya is a web based treasure trove of Japanese textiles, antiques, and information. If you haven't visited them in the past, just click on the icon to the left! Or, click on any of the images below to be taken directly to their page for more images and information.