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Kake-Mamori – A Japanese pouch

Kake-mamori - a Japanese pouch

Kake-mamori – a Japanese pouch

Recently I had the pleasure of making a gift for the Northshield A&S Gift Exchange.  The lady assigned to me has a Japanese persona… something I know absolutely nothing about!  After some research and choosing and discarding several different possible projects, I finally realized something about all the pictures of Japanese women that I had been looking at.  None of them – whether SCAdian or scans of medieval artwork – had a pouch or basket of any sort! I posed the question “What would a proper Japanese woman use to carry her stuff?” to the folks on the SCA Japanese Persona Facebook page.  NAME suggested a kake-mamori and offered this link: I followed the directions given on WHO’s webpage pretty close; however, I did make a few changes.  As the person this gift was intended for had stated that she likes “bright colors”, but I also have no idea what her garb looks like, I wanted to make something that would go with her garb whatever color she wears AND I wanted something with bright colors.  I chose two fabrics:  one very bright pink and the other a more neutral cream color, but with bright colorful flowers.  So that the Kake-mamori could be reversible, I did not sew the chanel that was recommended on the web site.  I can see how that may help to keep the fabric tucked where desired, but I did not find it to be too much of a problem, especially once the ends were tied. The ties themselves became a project unto themselves.  I do not know what kind of cord would have been most authentic, but I chose to use Kumihimo.  Unfortunately, I had never made a Kumihimo cord before!  I  bought a disc from Wal-Mart for $3 and had some fun making the cord!  My son even got into the fun of it.  He is 4 years old and quickly caught on to the pattern of “trading strings” necessary to make the cord. Once it was all put together, I realized that the kake-mamori makes a nice little pouch.  It would easily hold a cell phone, your money, keys or whatever today’s Medieval Japanese woman just needs to keep close.  This was a fun project.  I learned more about medieval Japanese clothing than I ever would have looked for otherwise; I learned a new craft; and I simply had fun making this.  Thank you, Northshield A&S Exchange for this opportunity!



A Finnish Underdress

In an attempt to develop my new Iron Age Finnish persona, I have decided to make my own Eura dress.  I am basing this on grave finds as described in _Ancient Finnish Costumes_ as found here:

Unfortunately, my first attempt didn’t work out quite as planned.  The dress turned out beautiful… it sewed together perfectly… and it would fit two of me comfortably!


The problems:

1)The text which accompanies the pattern drawings of the underdress in the above link states that the dress can be made on fabric which is 80 cm wide.  However, using that width, I ended up with a dress which is much too large to comfortably wear under an overdress.

2)Also, I found that the “yoke” (created by the portion of the sleeves which attach to the front and back panels) is much too low (by about 3″) creating a rather immodest “issue” up front, even when the front is pinned together (as is often seen done with trefoil brooches).

3)And it’s not really a problem, but something else I notices was that the overall length of the dress is too long, but the sleeves are slightly too short.

The fix:

The body was cut to a width which puts the side seems quite a distance out from my body (as seen in the photograph).  Because of the placement of the sleeves “on top” of the front and back panels of the dress, reducing the width of the body will also reduce the width of the sleeves.   This actually fixes two issues at once.  I have determined that (for me at least) the body should be no more than shoulder width, which would, by extension, narrow the sleeves as well.

Adjusting the length of the sleeve to make it longer will automatically make the overall length of the dress shorter.  (See the illustration in the above link, page 50, and you will understand what I mean.)

Unfortunately, I am going to have to wait for new linen to arrive before I can sew up a new underdress with these modifications.

What’s next?

After I get the underdress and over dress sewn, I need to add jewelry (shoulder brooches with chains, a trefoil at the neck, and spiral bracelets at the wrists.  I also plan to add a veil, shawl, and traditional apron with spiral adornments.

Oh yeah… and more pictures as it goes!