Monday, April 30, 2007

Making a Hanten Jacket

Earlier this year I had an opportunity to take a class - making a Hanten Jacket. I had wanted to make an Eastern flavored jacket for some time so when my friend Janet worked tireless to gather support for having this class at our Guild - I had to give it try. In looking at the pattern I realized that it was not quite the kimono style I had wanted to make, but figured that surely I would be able to "massage" the pattern to fit my vision .

On the day of the class we were asked to place the fabrics that we would be working with in a pile in front of us. There were wild glorious piles of color and texture ! Some were messy like mine (at the top ) and some were very orderly like the one below mine. I had chosen a very lovely, but very slick satin for the lining and a yummy soft green Tencel for the top. We all were to use flannel for the interlining (batting).

I asked our instructor, Drew Betz, if I could "alter" the pattern - explaining that "I had a vision". Ha ! Talk about burst bubble - the size of the cut pieces were what made this pattern possible - changes would not work very well ! My vision was going to have to wait for another opportunity to manifest itself ! After the pieces were cut, we all put them up on a design wall for further contemplation. It was fun to watch the concentration on people's faces as we all searched for that special accent or focus fabric.

One woman, Toni, had not sewn in 20+ years. She wanted to make this warm comfy jacket for her mother who was ill. Janet had graciously lent her a machine and also helped her with some piecing. Guess who was THE ONLY ONE IN THE CLASS TO FINISH ?! Toni, the one who had not sewn in so long !
There she is (below and to the right) modeling the jacket. I know her mother cherished this gift !

The pattern ended up making me look like an evil troll - or

at best an overstuffed mushroom.
I should have stuck with just cottons perhaps- it would have made the pieces go together more easily.

I knew that if I kept this jacket I would NEVER wear it in public and I did not wanted to relegate it to a pile in my already too cluttered sewing area. What to do? What to do? I thought about trying to revamp the structure - making it more streamlined - but because of all the layers I would have been presented with logistical problems that I was not up to solving at that point. After about a day or two thinking about it - I just cut it all up ! Not to despair - I kept just about all of the pieces and am finding uses for them. Now I ask you, in looking at the photos of my jacket below - how far away from "potato sack" do YOU think it is !!!!!
I did re-use a beautiful piece of hand dyed silk as the
collaged backing of a small new piece called : "Dharma Lines" ... proving the old adage that everything old can be new again - and that there are no mistakes just lessons to be learned !


midgeling said...

Lovely stuff. I have a hard time finding clothes that fit me properly - or even looking decent on me. I am 4'11" and DD chest. I know that mushroom feeling very well, lol!

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Marie...I agree... that shape just wouldn't work on you. Good decision!

u2beal999 said...

I love the transformation to the new jacket and the collage on the back. I feel a bit bad about the original pattern since I don't think it was presented that well.

A hanten in Japan is supposed to be a heavy quilted house or work coat to keep people warm during the bitterly cold Japanese winters; it's not usually worn outside the house or work areas. The original coat pictures don't seem like they have any batting included.

I wear my hanten, purchased in Tokyo, as a house coat to keep me snuggly during cold evenings.

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