Kimono and Japanese Clothes
by Jenni Dobson
Jenni Dobson readily acknowledges her indebtedness to John Marshall’s seminal book for the westerner, “Making Your Own Japanese Clothes.” Where Marshall’s book focused on preserving the exact Japanese tradition of garment making, Dobson simplifies the patterns and process to make them more accessible to the western sewer and fiber artists, and encourages the reader to use them as a starting point from which to imprint your own creativity. Japanese clothing and design has long been admired by designers and this book, no doubt, will find a place on many bookshelves.
Making Kimono and Japanese Clothes is packed with valuable information that appeals to dressmakers, quilters and embroiderer’s, as well as fiber artists. For beginners and people thinking they could not accomplish some aspect of needlework and are inexperienced in garment making, the simple, basic, patterns and step-by-step assembly instructions make the process accessible to just about anyone with an interest in kimono making. More accomplished readers will love the sections on use of color, design and fabric choices. I am particularly fascinated by the Japanese use of symbols, motifs and asymmetry. An overview of sashiko, silk painting and shibori is included. Detailed assembly, diagrams and instructions are included for kimono, mompe (traditional trousers), hippari (female) and jimbei (female) jackets, waistcoats (vests), child’s chan-chanko (kimono style garment), hanten (jacket or coat) and Haori (coordinated kimono over-garment). Additionally, instructions are included for several small accessories such as the collar guard, mock obi and ties. The patterns are diagramed so that they can easily be drawn on scaled pattern material.
To be honest, I have been looking for such a book for some time and would be willing to pay twice the asking price. Until now, this information had to be gleaned from many sources and classes. This is obviously the result of many, many hours of research by a very accomplished garment maker. I appreciate the attention to detail, the clearly organized instructions and diagrams, beautiful, carefully chosen photos, and especially, the design and embellishment information.
Review by Diana Norris