Saturday, February 7, 2015

Commission: L.P.'s MSD Heian Era Lady of the Court

Updated for Finished photos, below the cut!

This is an order for September 2014.  Deposit paid, awaiting decision on fabric and layers.  Final cost to be determined by the layers, real and false. O_o

And with the Heian Era that takes some doing.  O_o  The court was mired in poetry.  To the point where official documents had to be in acceptable poem form to be taken seriously.  We're talking traditional high end traditional Chinese style poetry, not three jug sake Haiku.  Government mandated Haiku documentation would be awesome, no?

Driving in L.A.
    pot holes abound in the street
         auto repair bill

This is just the basic; the train is missing along with the extra shoulder piece.
Check out Shrioki Kazahana's wonderful historical cosplay blog

I know, I suck at poetry of any kind.  But, I do have a signed Certificate of Poetic License from Prof. B. and I am so proud of that thing!

Meanwhile back to reality.  The layers of a Heian Era outfit were in themselves a form of visual poetry.  Depending on the colors, and the images in the fabric, the age, social status of the wearer, what one wore was sending a message.  The only comparison European culture has is the Language of the Fan, and the Language of the Flowers.  I have to think they had some sort of micro ice age going on, or they just didn't close any windows in winter, because wow, that's a lot of clothing!  You will note that for the most part, the hair was very simple, then as the layers came off through the centuries, the hair styles became more elaborate.
found on google

From a Japanese doll clothing book

August 31, 2014

Because of my dumb mistake the package was addressed to Apt A rather than E. O_o  I'm waiting to see if my recently new neighbors (2 months) are kind enough to let me know what they did with it.  I feel like a dumb ass for making that mistake.  Now I have the address in my phone's word docs as a copy paste file so that I don't mess it up typing it in by thumb one character at a time. It's a long alpha numeric address to get used to, too, *head desk*

February 8, 2015

So, to start with, there was a mix up in how much fabric was needed for the kimonos.  L.P. was kind enough to take a look at my solution and let me run with it.  I pieced the gorgeous fat quarters she sent with plain or small print fabrics to match the colors as closely as possible.
The Heian Era royalty and upper class would stack their kimono (possibly because they were freezing to death) and the very least was a 12 layer set up called the Jyuu-ni hito.  It could go up to 16 or more, if the fabric was a. very thin, b. layers faked.  The colors and prints of the outfit were very subtle.  Think victorian language of the fan, or of the flowers.  Your outfit 'said something', and what it 'said' could make or break you socially.  Hey, being rich is boring when you live in a pre-industrial village.  Read Muraski-sama's "pillow book".  Ouch.  Anyway, back to my fashion essay here.

Not knowing how the customer was going to want to be stacking the layers, I thought about it and came up with a rational concept.  The original ladies must have adjusted their layers according to how they were stacked, because the fashion for matching colors changed with every day. One day you wore purple and brown, and that was okay but the next time, OMG, Fashion Police!  No one wears brown with purple any more!  (Yeah it was that crazy)  So with the doll kimono, I went with what I had, and figure, okay, layer the kimono before putting them on the doll!  First, tuck the sleeves in, and fold or pleat them inside, squashing them flat.  Iron if needed, with a low temp iron and steam.  Safety pin a pleat in the body lengths at waist/hip height (same as with modern kimono) to match what you want them to show, and press them as well if you wish.  THEN tie on the under belt (which can be a length of grosgrain ribbon so it's pretty but doesn't slip) and put on the shoulder/shawl piece and what they called the 'apron' but it actually a train.  Note that the hakama pants were actually worn long and trailing behind and must have been a pain in the butt with wearing out from being walked on all the time.  Watch the Japanese historical drama and see the men and women all shuffling around so dramatically important in their overly long 'pants' along those wooden walk ways between building rooms, it's rather hysterical.  No wonder the guys are always fighting off stinging tears at the drop of a hat, their tailoring bills are killing them.

Because of the thickness of the stacking, I took a clue from the Japanese doll book and only put in half linings and facings on the sleeves.  It's still pretty thick after 3 layers.  But as you can see from the above images, it's correct to look like mum dressed you for a snow day in Buffalo, N.Y. Girls were taught like the geisha vids you see, to walk 'correctly' in their bundles, so that they looked graceful and unstrained by all that fabric.  And presumably wouldn't fall on their faces from walking on their pant legs.  A soft silky swishing sound had to be made musically as they moved.  (Yeah, lots of time on their hands....)

A short white under garment is worn under the hakama

Now start layering.   I couldn't stand her up in the pants and
couldn't find my doll stand to hold her up!  You'll need some sort of
stand under all this weight! 
Some layering, along with a 'shawl' and the train tied on.
Remember, once she's layered up and dressed
properly, this will look great!  
Too many to photo all together and show off. 

For a wonderful view of the Heian Era, read "The World of the Shining Prince".  Seriously, I nearly died laughing when I read about the whole "government documents had to be in Classical Chinese poetic form" thing.

Boxing it all up, along with left over fabrics, a huge chunk of sequin encrusted chiff I didn't use, and ready-ing to ship some time this week. ^_^ 

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