How to Make a Sashinuki Hakama

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Sashinuki hakama are a type of traditional Japanese clothing. Hakama are a pleated, wide-legged pant that tie closed and have a distinctive bare triangle at the side of the hips. They are worn over full-length kimono, so this triangle cut out shows the kimono fabric and not skin or underclothing. The sashinuki variety of hakama are extra long and gathered at the ankles. The basic pattern is the same as other hakama, with the extra length added on to the legs. A drawstring or tie is added to the bottom to hold them up.

Take your measurements. You will need a waist, length and leg measurement. The waist measurement is taken at the true waist for women's hakama and slightly below the waist for men's. Women might wish to measure their hips at the widest point instead to ensure the hakama fit neatly over them. Next, measure from the waist to your ankle. This will determine the length. Remember to record these measurements.

Calculate the other measurements for the hakama's legs. You need four panels ---- two for the front and two for the back. Divide your waist measurement by four. Add at least nine inches to the front panel for the pleats. Pleating takes about three times as much material as the visible pleat, so if you want deeper pleats, add more material. The back only has one pleat, so add only 3 inches. To create sashinuki hakama, you need extra length through the leg to create a ballooning or blousing effect. Six inches is enough for a small blouse at the ankle.

For example, your waist measurement is 36 inches and your legs are 40 inches long. Your front panels will be 20 inches wide; 36 divided by 4 equals 9, plus 9, plus 2 for seam allowance. The back panels will be 15 inches; 9 plus 3, plus 2 for seam allowance. The length of both panels will be the same, 50; 40 for your leg, plus 6, plus 4 for the drawstring casing.

Fold your fabric in half if it is not already folded. Iron it to remove wrinkles. Mark your measurements with chalk on one side, but cut both layers out. This will cut both panels at the same time.

Cut the crotch out of the leg panels. Measure to about one third of your leg down from the top. This would be 11.3 inches in the example measurements ---- 40 divided by 3. Draw half of a U shape, with the top at the waist and the curve at the bottom. Cut this same shape out of all four panels.

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Pleat the hakama legs. Make pleats by folding the fabric over itself and then back again, leaving an inch of fabric exposed. The front panels will have three pleats, while the back has one. Pleat on the side closer to the crotch, with the pleats facing the crotch, but leave the half U shapes free of any pleating. Iron the pleats so they stay, and sew across the top.

Create the triangles at the outer hips. On the outside of each panel, fold the outer corner down and sew it. The size of the triangle is up to you, but will typically be an inch or two wide at the top, and at least 6 inches long ---- long enough to expose your hip.

Sew the legs together. First, sew each leg by sewing the inside together from the bottom of the half-U shape to the end of the leg. Sew the outside from the bottom of the triangles to the end of the leg. Then attach the two legs by sewing the U-shapes together.

Cut three lengths of cloth four inches wide and slightly longer than your waist measurement. These will be the ties for the waist. Sew two of these ties together. Fold the edges of the ties twice and sew them down. Sew the centre of shorter one to the back of your hakama, and the centre of longer one to the front

Create two more ties such as your waist ties. These will be smaller, only 2 to 3 inches wide, and the length of each leg's width. In the example, this would be 35 inches ---- 20 for the front, and 15 for the back.

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Create a casing for the ankle ties. Fold the ends of the hakama legs up 2 inches and sew near the end, leaving a tube for the tie. Cut two small holes. Push one end of the ankle tie inside, and work it around until you can pull the end out of the other hole. Tie knots in both ends to keep them from slipping back inside the casing. Repeat on the other side, and your sashinuki hakama are ready to wear.

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