Monday, December 14, 2015

Project 51: Happi and Obi

Close up of Turkish fabric
Last Summer, my friend Paola took a trip back home to her native Turkey, and when returned she brought me a length of beautiful Turkish fabric. I was unfamiliar with the weave, and to tell you the truth I haven't been able to learn much about it since my Turkish is limited to asking for things in a restaurant, hello, please, thank you, and good bye.

The fabric is thick and plush on the printed side and flat on the back side. The design is beautiful and to my eye reminiscent of the traditional Turkish charm against the evil eye. I spent some time with it and what really leapt out at me was the grid pattern, which made me think of rectangles, which makes me think of traditional Japanese garments. Most things like kimono, haori, hakama, etc. have some major pieces that are just rectangles, which combined with beautiful prints and drape produce the elegant understatement that we all love about them.

This Turkish fabric seemed to want to be made into a happi, which is the straight sleeved coat that you see sushi chefs and taiko drummers wearing. They wear them for good reason! They're easy to make, comfortable to work in, and look very smart.

I've written before about growing up visiting my Mom's best friend Kimiko Sakai and spending time with her mother-in-law, Botchan. When Botchan would go out to work in the garden, she always wore her happi so it has that warm memory attached to it also.

I was pretty sure I could make one from memory, but just to be safe I bought a pattern from Folkwear. It all came out just like I hoped, so I used some other fabric from my stash to make an obi to go with it.

It will be just right on Paola!
Here's the secret. I really made it for Paola. I hope she likes it

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