Hinamatsuri

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Hinamatsuri is a holiday that needs to be international – it’s doll festival day!!  I struggled with when to post this.  March seemed reasonable, but the festival falls on March 3rd, which wouldn’t give you enough time to get things done.  I also wanted to do Chinese New Year, which falls on February 10th this year, and for that I designed a Chinese dress and started a set of felt food.  Well, I was sick for almost 2 weeks and then spent an entire weekend at a (kind of boring) conference, so not much has gotten done for the blog, and my ambitious plans fell a little short.  So there’s a Chinese dress pattern (and some ready-to-wear ones) coming soon to my etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/jenwrenne but  this post will focus just on Hinamatsuri.

As a doll-loving child I absolutely adored all of Rumer Godden’s books.  In particular Little Plum and Miss Happiness and Miss Flower captivated my imagination.  If you have not read them, your local library probably has some of her books.  The Story of Holly and Ivy is one of the loveliest Christmas stories ever and I re-read it every year and cry happy tears at the ending.
Anyway, in  Little Plum the childrens’ little Japanese dolls celebrate a “dolls’ doll festival” which I’ve wanted to do ever since I first read the book, and this year I’m finally getting around to it.  Though what ends up on the blog always seems to me to fall short of all the great ideas I had in my head, I bet your dolls would enjoy it as much as Miss Happiness and Miss Flower did.  (What I would enjoy is some more ethnic diversity in the KnC product line but that’s another story)

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The most important part of the festival is a set of dolls that are often family heirlooms.  They are arranged on a set of red steps with gold folding screens behind them and other props such as trees and lanterns.  A large set can be used to represent the royal court of Japan, but minimally you need the emperor and empress.  (click photo above to enlarge)

Here is an explanation of all the dolls: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinamatsuri

and here are links for the paper ones I made:
http://www.yamaha-motor.co.jp/global/entertainment/papercraft/seasons/03/index.html

The pattern for the Kimonos is here and the other dresses are an adaptation of the sweater from the ballet pattern.  These outfits will all be for sale on etsy in the next week or so, but if you’d like to email me (jenniebagrowski at hotmail dot com) to order them before that,  I will pay shipping!

Since these dolls are heirlooms, kids are obviously not permitted to play with them, so other “play” versions can be found as well, such as stuffed Emperor/Empress Hello Kitty, re-ment sets, etc.  I made the ones Lena is holding, which are similar to kokeshi dolls as a play version, but of course you could set them up as your whole display if you want!

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Traditional foods include delicious diamond shaped cakes called hishimochi and the ever-popular chirizushi.  Click here to get a .pdf of crafts (dolls and food) for hinamatsuri.
Even if you don’t like to eat it, you have to admit sushi is beautiful, especially if you arrange a lot on a plate to get a variety of colors and textures.

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And thank you to everyone who voted/commented on the Spring pattern.

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Responses were strongly in favor of vintage 40’s-50’s with a comment about matching coat/dress ensembles so I am thinking about maybe doing something like this:

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From an old McCall’s Sweet Sue pattern

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