Originally “kimono” was the Japanese word for clothing. But in recent years, the word has been used to refer to traditional Japanese clothing. Kimonos as we know them today came into being during the Heian period (794-1192). Before that the Nara period (710-794), Japanese people wore either clothing consisting of separate upper and lower garments (trousers or skirts), or one piece garments. But in the Heian period, a new kimono-making technique was developed. It involved cutting pieces of fabric in straight lines and sewing them together. Kimono makers did not have to worry themselves with the shape of a person’s body.
This new way of making kimonos offered many advantages. They were easy to fold and were suitable for all weathers. They could be worn in layers to provide warmth in winter and were made of breathable fabric such as linen which was comfortable in summer. All these advantages helped kimonos become part of the Japanese people’s everyday lives.
Over time the wearing of kimonos in layers became fashionable. Japanese people began paying attention to how kimonos of different colours looked together and they developed a heighten sense of colour.
During the Kamakura period (1192-1338) and the Muromachi period (1338-1578), both men and women wore brightly coloured kimonos. Warriors dressed in colours representing their leaders. The battlefield could become very colourful.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), the Tokugawa warrior clan ruled over Japan. The country was divided up into feudal domains ruled by lords. Samurais of each domain could be identified by the colours and patterns of their clothing. They consisted of three parts: a kimono; and a hakama, a trouser like split skirt. The kamishimo was made of linen, and was starched to make the shoulders stand out. Demand was high for samurai clothing and Kimono makers got better and better at making them. It grew into an art form and they became more valuable. Parent’s handed them down to their children as family heirlooms.
During the Meiji period (1868-1912), Japan became very heavily influenced by foreign cultures. The government encouraged people to adopt Western clothing and habits. Nowadays, Japanese people rarely wear kimonos in everyday life. They are usually only worn on special occasions such as weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies and other special events.
Our look at the kimono with continue of Thursday.
Hands Across the Sea Samplers are very honoured to announce that Sigrid Eckel will be joining our team of designers. Many of you will already know Sigrid and have admired her skill with a needle but for those of you who do not Sigrid lives in a small village in Hessen, Germany. She enjoys working on samplers with speciality stitches and free hand embroidery, and has a particular interest in band samplers and the traditional Schwalm whitework of her homeland.
Sigrid’s stitching is both meticulous and exquisite and she is looking forward to teaching us her methods through her designs and tutorials.
We cannot wait to see her first reproduction and the accompanying chart.
“It´s something unique to consider a sampler. I see the history, the life and I ask me who was this person? It´s magic. I wish fine needlework embroidery doesn´t die out.” – Sigrid
If there are any “want to be” designers out there looking for assistance in making their dreams come true Hands Across the Sea Samplers will help you wherever we can.
If you have enjoyed today’s blog post you might like to sign up for our newsletter and receive future posts via email.
Subscribing is easy just fill in your email address in the box at the top right hand side of this page. Don’t forget to add us to your contact list so the newsletters go into your inbox rather than spam.