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Constructing Japanese Clothing

Women's Hakama (Kamakura, informal Heian)

Always red. Wear over a white kosode and tie them very high on the waist. There is only one tie on women's hakama. The tie connects the front and back pieces on the left side (with a slight gap between them) and ties in a bow on the right. If you have enough fabric, the front end of the tie should wrap all the way around your waist before tying to the back in a big bow on the right side.  You may optionally wear uchigi and an Uwagi over top. Adjust leg length so you won't trip over the hakama - they should just brush the top of the foot. 

Layout for Women's Hakama on 4.5 yards of 45" wide fabric:

Layout for Women's Hakama on 3.5 yards of 60" wide fabric:

Nagabakama (Women's Long Hakama):

Always red. Wear over a white kosode. Wear over a white kosode and tie them very high on the waist. There is only one tie on women's hakama. The tie connects the front and back pieces on the left side (with a slight gap between them) and ties in a bow on the right. If you have enough fabric, the front end of the tie should wrap all the way around your waist before tying to the back in a big bow on the right side. The nagabakama will drag on the ground behind and you'll have to walk on the pants legs. Hitoe, multiple Uchigi, and Uwagi go over top. Karaginu and Mo are added for formal situations.

Layout for Nagabakama on 5.25 yards of 45" wide fabric:

Layout for Nagabakama on 3.7 yards of 60" wide fabric:

Constructing Women's Hakama or Nagabakama:

  • Attach leg pieces to each long side of an inner leg piece, matching them up at the bottoms. Repeat for other inner leg piece.
    (NOTE: Try to put selvedges on the outsides of the leg pieces so you won't have to finish them later.)
  •  

  • Hem the bottoms of the legs by folding the raw edges twice to the inside and sewing (or you can do this after the hakama are complete)

 

  • Place the two U-shapes formed by the leg pieces together, right sides facing in. Sew them together along the inside of the U. This will be the crotch seam, so you may want to sew it twice or serge the edges to prevent it from splitting open. Clip the corners.
  • Sew each leg together along the outside edge, stopping about 16 -18 inches from the top (the side opening should come to just above your knee). You will need to fold each leg in half around the other leg to sew.
  • Calculate the finished width for the front and back panels by taking 1/2 your waist measurement and subtracting 2.5 inches (Note: this is the amount of the gap between the front and back panels - if you wish to have a larger gap, use a larger number). 
  • Pin the front in 6 knife pleats: 3 pleats on either side of the center seam, all pointing towards the center seam. Adjust the pleat depths so that the total width matches your calculation. 
  • Sew across all the pleats to hold them. If the outside edges are raw or ugly, you will also want to turn them to the inside and stitch them in place.
  • Pin and sew the back into six pleats in the same manner as the front.
  • Ideally the tie should be long enough to go around your waist twice with at least 30" at either end to make a bow. You can piece several lengths of fabric together to make the total length. If you don't have enough fabric even with piecing, you can attach the tie so the free ends are both about the same length and tie the ties directly together, without wrapping the front tie around. 
  • If you have enough fabric for the tie that wraps around twice, measure the total length of the tie and subtract 2 x (your waist measurement) from that. Divide that number in half (it should be greater than 30"). Mark that distance from one end of the tie with a pin.
  • Line the pin on the tie up with the right side of the back piece. Sew the upper edge of the tie to the back pleats of the hakama, right sides together.
  • Allow at least 2.5 inches of tie between the back and the front pieces (the same number as you used to calculate the finished width of the panels)
  • Wrap the tie around to the front and sew the upper edge of it to the front pleats, right sides together.
  • Fold the tie up, over the raw edges of the front and back pleats. Turn under 1/2 inch seam allowance and fold the edge to the inside so it meets the seamline from sewing the ties on.
  • Handsew the tie to the inside of the hakama to hide the raw edges. Handsew the two edges together on the section of the tie between the front and back. Add some extra reinforcing stitches where the edges of the hakama meet the ties.
  • Handsew the remaining length of the ties in a tube, stopping about 15 inches from the end. The ends of the ties should be left flat so they will make wide tails hanging down from the bow. Turn under the raw edges of the ends on all 3 sides and sew them down.

    Congratulations, you're done.... try them on!!

     

All content copyright the author, Jennifer Munson munson.jennifer@gmail.com The author makes no guarantees for instructions and recipes on this site; neither does she accept responsibility for their outcomes. Verbatim copies may be made for educational purposes only provided they contain original copyright marking.

This page created August 4, 2002

Last updated August 02, 2005