Sunday, July 20, 2008

Making Puppet Kimono Patterns

Perhaps this title should be “Lesson Learned the Hard Way” because the lesson I learned is…you can’t use the same pattern to dress your hand that you use for the rest of your body. That’s the first part of it anyway… the second part would be: always stuff a glove puppet before sizing it. Because my first attempt at a kimono for Momotaro ended up: a) binding up the puppets movement and b) not looking right at the neck.

I was frustrated, as you can well imagine so I went back to the basics. Step one of the Basics is dig through your recycle bin for scrap paper. Then for your second step, you pin it on to the STUFFED puppet body. Third, you go around it and cut it down at places like the shoulders and under the arms. You should end up with something like this:

Then, you clean it up and put it all on a nice blank pattern page:

You cut it out of waste material and sew up the main seam…use a large stitch like this:

Now you put it on the puppet and pin it in to fit. Like this:

Sew that up and cut off excess. Now try it on the puppet and repeat the pinning, sewing and cutting until you get a workable pattern. Once you do…remove all your stitches and there’s a pattern!

Now you try it out with the real material.

I then recycled the pattern material for the green archery guard on the left arm. The hakama you see in the picture above, I didn’t have to do using the pattern method…possibly because straight-ness of a man’s hips and the straight-ness of ones forearms match.

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