How to make Kyoto hand-drawn Yuzen Kimono?
Step.01 図案 Design
Step.02 下絵 Rough sketch
Step.03 糸目糊置き Applying Glue
Step.04 地入れ Applying Juice soybeans
Step.05 挿し友禅 Putting Dyes
Step.06 蒸し・水元 Steaming ・Washing the dye
Step.07 ゆのし Steaming to remove wrinkles
Step.08 金彩 Decorating the cloth with gold leaf
Step.09 刺繍 Embroidery
Step.10 地直し Fixing up the defects
Step.11 上げ絵羽 Temporarily tailoring
The first stage of making a kyo yuzen kimono is to draw a design. When making a kimono, one must come up with an image of how it should be and zuan (design).
We have discussions with clients over and over and finally decide the design.
Patterns and arrangement are decided, depending on the type of kimono, the age range of a wearer, the season or the occasion.
Zuanshi, or a designer, needs to have an especially artistic taste.
And a thorough knowledge of millions, or gazillions, of traditional patterns of kimono is required, too.
Not only that, a zuanshi must have a technique to sketch the base of patterns and wide imagination to understand traditional patterns, as well as to re-create them into new and modern expressions.
A specific zuan work starts with drawing a pattern on paper called hinagata, which has a shape of a kimono reduced by 1/3.
Zuan is a rough sketch used at the first phase of making a kimono; however, there are cases when smaller details would be thoroughly depicted, or when it is colored with various tools.
The detailed zuan, drawn by a zuanshi already has the power to move our emotions.
This is how a kimono, Japanese traditional wear, is newly made.
We cannot wait for it to be completed.
Based on the final design, we draw directly to temporarily tailored white cloth with “Aobana”, Juice from the flower of Murasaki Tsuyukusa.
Applying glue resistant called “Itome Nori” prevents the color to be wept out from the line.
It enables us to dye the cloth in various colors. Whether to apply glue thick or thin is depending on our sense accumulated by many years of experience.
We get the glue into the cylinder shape tool (thin tube with a brass point) and we squeeze it out and apply it to the outline of the design. Our glue is so unique that we use hand-made glue in a mixture of special gum and real gold.
White cloth without any treatment is easy to repel the color and difficult to take the color into the cloth. So before we actually dye it, we need to step on to the process called Ji Ire. Ji Ire is the method applying Juice from soybeans to all over the cloth.
We make the juice in accordance with traditional method of our own. Depending on the density, dyeing color grade varies that we carefully prepare it for the best color.
We apply this juice to the cloth with special brush at once and let it dry naturally overnight.
Generally, Sashi Yuzen process is done by thin brush but our company uses thicker brush in order the dyes to be attached into the thread of the cloth. We believe it adds depth to the Kimono and this is actually our original method which is different from other company.
Also, there is another original point after Sashi Yuzen procedure. In general, next steps you follow after Sashi Yuzen are “Mushi”(Steaming) , Fuse Nori (Applying glue resistant to all over the pattern) and “Hiki Some( Putting Dyes on the background).
But we are concerned that those procedures make the color faded or changed. So, in order to prevent the color change, our company decided not to step “Fuse Nori” but to do the “Hiki Some” directly with thicker brush right after the “Sashi Yuzen” procedure.
Those original methods enables us dye with free color combination and balanced color. Usually, background of Kimono is tend to be 1 or 2 colors but our company can put more colors on it and makes it look more beautiful and gorgeous with above mentioned technique.
Next we move on to the procedure of “Mushi”, steaming the cloth in 80-90 ℃in steaming box. It makes the dyes fixed and the color vivid.Time and frequency of “Mushi” are different depending on the color we want to make.
Until 1960’s, “Mizu Moto” was done at the Kamo river or Hori river in Kyoto but it has been done at indoor pool since then. If we want to dye the cloth with dark or vivid color, we need to repeat the procedure at least 2-3 times.
We draw neutral water from the ground. It is said that water in Kyoto is the best for doing “Mizu Moto”.
Yunoshi refers to the operation of applying the hot steam to kimono fabric to make it soft, to smooth out wrinkles, as well as to adjust and make the length of the weft and the warp of the fabric equal.
We might not pay much attention to this operation, but this is a truly crucial step of making a kimono. When yunoshi is not properly done, it could influence the way a kimono looks.
That being said, whether yunoshi was properly conducted or not, could make a huge impact on the quality of a kimono.
When good yunoshi was applied and a kimono was properly made, it is easy to see the softness and the flexibility which are characteristics of silk, and it would be very comfortable to wear.
Also, yunoshi could brighten up the colors of dyes and give the fabric a beautiful sheen by applying the hot steam to a kimono.
Proper yunoshi, by artisans with the best technique, is applied to all kimono sold at Japanese Kimono Online Shop.
Just like there is always uncredited and behind-the-scenes support for a gorgeous show, slow and steady effort like yunoshi is essential to make a gorgeous kimono.
In order to represent the Kimono more gorgeous than the current, we glue the dyed cloth with gold or silver leaf.
We put on a vinyl and cut out the shape we want to decorate and then glue the gold leaf or sprinkle the gold powder as shown. The color of Kimono and the beauty of gold are harmonized and become distinctive character of Kyoto Yuzen Kimono.
We embroider the pattern or family crest (like a mark of the family).
We use gold, silver or colored thread for the decoration. Sometimes we twist the thread by ourselves. Those decorations make Kimono look gorgeous.
If there are such defects as glue scattering, color spot or dirt on the cloth, we need to fix it by using various chemicals.
This has to be done by skillful technician.
After everything has done, we temporarily tailor the cloth because we need to check whether the designs of Kimono are well fixed after tailoring.
This is the final process called “Age Eba” and this is the final step of making Kyoto Yuzen Kimono.