Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New sewing project

Even after sewing so many pieces for my Shikishidate Goshokago, I was still in a sewing mood. And I wanted to use the beautiful cha-ire (pottery container for thick tea) that I bought last fall, but it didn't have the required shifuku (bag).

It's challenging to follow the instructions on how to measure, and draw the custom-fitted pattern even though the pictures are very detailed. Two friends have helped me translate the Japanese text and I added my own notes in English as I went through the process to help me remember details.

Below are some in-progress photos. I didn't photograph the failed attempt caused by trying to conserve fabric. I cut out the pattern with a minimum seam allowance that frayed, and the bag was too small.

Before cutting the next attempt, I ironed on a very light weight fusible fabric to the back of both the outer fabric and lining, and left a generous seam allowance that could be trimmed away after sewing. Since the fabric I chose was rather stiff and the fusible backing gave it and the lining extra stability, it didn't add the usual thin layer of padding between the layers.

The pattern I made from measurements.
Measuring the chai-re
The bag lining ready for its bottom to be sewn on.  
The bag, inside out, with bottom sewn in. 

Hurray, it fits!

My home-made marudai

After basting the lining to the bag, I put it aside and made the kumihimo braid for the drawstring cord on my home-made marudai (frame for braiding). The first silk cord I braided with 8 bobbins/strands of 3ply silk, which turned out to be too small in diameter. I went back to The Needle Works here in Austin for some 6ply red-brown silk embroidery thread, which is better, but still little bit thinner than the cord on my "real" Japanese shifuku in the photo below. I read that I could vary the counterweights to change the thickness of the braid and will experiment with some Perle cotton thread before I work in silk again. 

Photo below: 
Upper left - the new basted shifuku ready for loops and cord, with red cord.
Lower left - my "real" Japanese natsume shifuku for comparison, and the first gold cord that is too narrow.  

Goshokago For Lesson

Last month I was fortunate to have a special lesson in Shikishidate Temae, the procedure for using a lidded basket called goshokago. The set has many more parts than the other Chabako Temae, and it has taken me a year to research the techniques, find the materials to alter or substitute, and put the set together. I would still like to make a rectangular basket and braid the sanadahimo ribbon for it.

First I transformed a purse into a goshokago, by replacing the original handle with a ribbon tie, and removing the zipper. (see Aug 31, 2012 entry "Gosho-bako Progress"

Here is the set. (back to front, left to right)

Goshokago (basket), 2 chawan, natsume on its kobukusa (cloth), chasen in its tsu-tsu (tube), chakin-bako in a shifuku with button closure, chashaku in shifuku, 3 folded kobukusa, furidashi in its ami-bukuro (see my Sept 6, 2012 "Macrame Furidashi Bag") The bukuro for the chawan is in next picture. 

It took me an especially long time to create a pattern for the bukuro (bag) for the nested tea bowls since I did not have a book or directions. My internet research yielded photos of 2 different designs. The more typical one has an inset bottom (on the right below).

The other style bukuro is the type usually made for natsume (tea caddy). It intrigued me because it looks so simple, but it was very hard to create the pattern. After hours of internet surfing I finally found a clue - a pattern for a simple Japanese tote bag that was based on the same general idea. But it had a square bottom and I wanted a curved bottom that would fit the teabowl snuggly. It took 6 attempts to figure out the proportions and curves that would create the right form when sewn together with long enough "ears" to tie it closed.

I lined the final version (below left) with a contrasting fabric even though that is not traditional, to conserve the small amount of plain-colored chirimen silk I purchased online. It was a pleasant surprise when my home-made bukuro looked so similar in shape and size when placed next to the "real" Japanese one that was so kindly given to me later.  The hedate (triangular shaped pad) in the picture goes between the two chawan before they are tied up in the bag.

2 types of bukuro, & a hedate (triangle pad)

 The pattern I created for the bukuro.

Shifuku for chakin-bako in progress.
Unfinished wooden chakin-bako and silver paper origami one.