Apologies for unanswered comments/emails form last week!
Also, an etsy note: I’m now going to be re-downloading and checking patterns as soon as they’re listed, because something seems to be happening from time to time that pattern pieces mysteriously change shape. So far that has happened with the arctic parka, a sleeve from the 1940s collection and the Maru “versatility” pants. SORRY!! If you have those patterns you should have gotten an email about it with pieces that will print correctly. If not, please let me know and I’m happy to resend! If ever a pattern piece doesn’t look right, please let me know and I will make it right!
Ok, on to this week’s post:
So I had kind of a revelation last week about gathers and pleats and fullness in general in historical Asian garments. You know about the pleats in week 3’s hakama, and this week we have a pleated skirt-type hakama to wear over a summer kimono (yukata) as Little Darling celebrates Obon. (Apparently she’s time traveling too, back to summer!)
And then I started thinking about Chinese clothing, for example, the unusual skirt made in two pieces and attached with little frogs (see it here)
Even in Southeast Asia, garments were more often pleated, for example, sarong-style skirts and saris.
Korea seemed to be an exception, with the women wearing wide, full skirts. I had always assumed they were gathered, but the other day I was watching a historical K-drama where they did a close-up of a dress after she flung it over a dressing screen. Turns out, it was pleated with many tiny pleats!
So, I asked myself…why no gathers? In my opinion, gathers are easier to do than pleats. OOOH, unless you’re sewing by hand. (that was the revelation) Pleated garments can also be folded and stored more easily to avoid wrinkles, especially in drawers and chests, which was the common storage method in most parts of Asia. There’s a bit more polished elegance to pleats as compared to gathers, and finally, these loose-fitting pleated garments were very easy to adapt to different wearers or body changes. Remember when Scarlett O’Hara had to get out the seam ripper to alter a dress before a party because her waist had increased by a couple of inches? That would never have happened with most garments being worn in Asia in that same time period!
Also, here is a printable shoji-style lamp. You can use it as a room decoration or to help your doll celebrate Obon. Print it as “shrink to fit” on cardstock, fold and glue.
If you like pleats and want something more Western, there are TWO new patterns for 13″-14″ dolls in my etsy shop.
The first one was done as a custom request based on a family photo and named for its original wearer. It features a unique asymmetric front bodice with a pleated skirt and closes down the back. The pattern includes some vintage illustrations and hints about “period correct” fabric and color choices.The other was based on a dress from the Fall/Winter Sears catalog from 1966. I named it the “Alpine Dress” because the embroidery and front band reminded me of Lederhosen. :) Embroidery can be stitched by hand or is available in .pes format.