There was a turning point some where between 10 to 15 years ago. Thanks to eBay and improved eCommerce tools from the likes of Amazon, goods from Japan started to become more readily accessible in the US. I remember vividly buying my first 2 bolts of yukata fabric from Ichiroya. Back then I ran a small eBay store selling craft fabrics. Yukata was always a big hit. Alas, while the store was profitable I just didn’t like the “always on” customer service that eBay auctions required. For me personally the value of the time I had to invest in responses to inquires exceeded the financial return on investment.
So where was I going with this. Oh yeah. Yukata. For my summer festival coordinate I am taking a departure from the traditional yukata and spinning it Harajuku style. But if you are interested in making your own traditional yukata a great book just came out in May. It is simply titled Yukata & Jinbei to Wear (着るゆかたとじんべい).
Instructions do abound on the web for making yukata and kimono. After all most of the pattern pieces are simple rectangles and it is primarily a math equation more than a pattern challenge. But having a physical pattern with multiple size options, especially for a jinbei, is so much easier in my opinion. I would rather spend my time thinking about trims and details instead of measuring out centimeters and what not.
Like so many Japanese instructional books, the illustration based instructions are super easy to follow. I am fond of page 43 where they give you the 3 variations of curvature for women’s sleeves based on age.
The book has a good balance of illustrations and actual photos. I think this is fantastic. While the illustrations make it easy to follow along, seeing the real deal in photos grounds the projects in reality. Photos are just much clearer to know exactly how it should look when you finish.
There is a section dedicated to how to wear your yukata. It includes several pages of different options for tying an obi. The book includes patterns and examples for both women and men, girls and boys. So basically if you are ambitious enough you can make matching yukata for your whole family!!
Back to what I was saying about access to Japanese goods being easier to come by these days. This book is ideal for those who really want to personalize their summer robe. You can very easily purchase yukata and yukata sets (with obi and geta) online these days. So this book is for those who are very particular and want to make a yukata out of that just right fabric and with that just right fit.