the dawn of Spring

This will be the cover for a notebook, about 5″ x 7″ landscape format, in which I can record ideas about something I want to start this month.

It’s quite ambitious, but I want to make some sort of garment: a short coat or jacket that celebrates the coming of Spring. Something quite informal, just an extra layer I can wear around the house. I decided on a Japanese-style hanten, which is a little like a shorter version of  a kimono – all rectangles, minimal shaping, relatively easy to construct. I want to stitch it all by hand in the traditional way, piecing blues and greens together boro-style and then embroidering and quilting. I like the way Japanese garments are based on the measurements of one’s own body. For instance, the width of the collar is traditionally determined by the width of your own outstretched hand. I like that; it gives the garment a kind of magical, protective quality and is something to meditate on while stitching.

So the book that will wear this cover will be a kind of starting point for some ideas. This will be more notebook than sketchbook: a place to jot down instructions, revisions, measurements etc. I’m no expert dressmaker, but I’m looking forward to this.

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16 Responses to the dawn of Spring

  1. Jill says:

    what a fabulous idea ….. has certainly got me thinking!

  2. fibrefrolics says:

    Sounds wonderful. The book sounds as if it will be a piece of art in itself. Can’t wait to see the end result of your ideas. Have fun with it!

  3. Penny says:

    Oh I love this cover. What a wonderful idea – making yourself a jacket using these colors — it will be so much fun to walk with you on this journey. I truly love the idea of it being all ‘handmade’ – no machine stitching.

  4. Deborah says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out. I stitch totally by hand also and don’t even have a machine. But I haven’t yet tried to make an item of clothing.

    • Karen Turner says:

      I do have a machine, Deborah, but I don’t like the way it grabs and gnashes at cloth. It always looks so rough to me, and I also don’t like the noise of the machine. By hand is so much gentler and quieter!

  5. naperie says:

    I’m really looking forward to seeing your ideas develop. I love your idea of making a traditional garment just for yourself to feel comfort in. The notebook cover is inspiring, delicate and colourful all at the same time. Lovely to think of spring on its way.

  6. tina slipper says:

    I cant wait to start watching!I have made a hanten jacket in the past, it was very absorbing, , since you could never see all the stitching in one go, the stitching could tell a story as it travelled round the jacket, very interesting.

  7. deemallon says:

    how does the book cover (lovely!) relate to the garment you are dreaming up? will this cover the book where you jot ideas about the jacket?

    • Karen Turner says:

      A few days ago I posted a picture of some blue and green fabrics I dug out. These fabrics will be used to make both the jacket and the cover of the book where I will note down ideas about the jacket. My apologies if this wasn’t clear :-/

  8. serenapotter says:

    this is a great idea!

    • Karen Turner says:

      Well, it’s a good idea.. but whether I can do it justice is quite another matter. At the moment I’m somewhere between very excited and absolutely terrified 😛

  9. Amanda says:

    Sounds great, I look forward to watching the progress.

  10. Janice says:

    I’m sure it will be wonderful. I’ve long harboured a desire to make a jacket similar to what you describe – didn’t know they were called hantens. I’d like to try sashiko quilting on it. But it’s not on the immediate to do list. Interested to see how the notebook this month will differ from the sketchbook from last, in which you were allowing a theme to develop in your mind and seeing where it took you.

  11. Rachel says:

    Now this is interesting – the use of the wearer’s own dimensions for dimensions of their garments!

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