Yukata seams revealed… 2

For a 1912 Titanic Sewist- Yes, work continues, though branching out, or going back to what we did before?

For making a Kimono (or a summer one, a Yukata), you use traditional fabric woven in narrow widths and combine them in a set manner. I have a reference, Make Your Own Japanese Clothes, can’t find it right now (sorry!). It describes the narrow woven cloth and how to construct these.  Here’s a google reference, 1988 publication. I think it is still in print. I support local bookstores, and pretty easy to find online, ~$10-$45.

Here are some Yukata pix, not sure if it was my mother’s, from the late ’60’s in Japan. This is a textured cotton, pattern woven in. There is a large square inner patch over the seat; you can see it if you look for the center seam, then note that the pattern is 90 degrees rotated. I think it is a reinforcement, not a repair.

sleeve seam and shoulder fold

sleeve seam and shoulder fold

The shoulder does not have a seam from the neck out to the sleeve. These panels run continuously, floor front to floor back, with a tuck at the base of the arm seam, which would be covered by the obi. You can see the tuck from the inside in the next photo. All seam allowances have been very neatly sewn down, with no cut edges exposed, mostly the woven edges. All sewing is hand stitched. I don’t see any machine work.

underarm finish and seam allowance tuck

The wide seam allowances under the arms are sewn down, narrowing up over the shoulders to ~12mm. Garment shaping is very subtle as the shoulders are only slightly wider. You can clearly see the tuck at the back waist, the depth of the seam allowances. Those are pressed toward the front and have the same width all the way to the floor.

Here is another photo of the inside of the sleeve seam. The sleeves are not sewn all the way around this opening. The sleeve hangs freely from the body for ~5″ up from the base of the side seam, which is ~3″ above the flattened tuck. This sleeve is a pretty short one, not closed on the edge sewn to the shoulder, below that seam. Women I knew in Japan usually had longer kimono sleeves, with at least part of the inner seam closed, and they stashed things in them, even shopping!

inside arm seam

inside arm seam

This fabric is pretty dark, sorry it is hard to see the seaming! The shoulder is on the left in this one, seam allowance narrowing, sleeve edge turned & sewn down, ~3mm. The fabric is pretty crisp, but the edge of the sleeve is turned the 12mm I mentioned, the body section only 3mm.

On the inside, the sleeve is pressed to cover the body seam allowance, not a simple flat pressed-open seam. It looks like a tape along the shoulder. The actual seam under this is placed at ~the outer edge of the white shapes.

overlapped inner sleeve seam

overlapped inner sleeve seam

Before we leave the shoulder area, you should see the yoke /reinforcement I found there, on the inside. The edge is enclosed in the neck seam, the rest of it turned under and sewn down with a fine pick stitch in a white thread, ~every cm. The white unfinished fabric shows on the outside for half an inch, some variation from wear for some performance or other, probably should have been removed. It is pretty though. 🙂

inner yoke

inner yoke

Next take a look at the front shaping. The pattern diagram LL posted doesn’t seem to show these separate strips. It is hard to see the seams, so I placed pipe cleaners along them, hope it helps! The collar strips, three of them, are sewn with all edges enclosed, the middle section lapped on top of the lower front sections. Look in the photo for the third set of red dots up the strip, right to left. That is a collar seam. I think there are four (or more?) layers of fabric around the neck- it is pretty hefty. The single pipe cleaner down the V of the others is actually  the placement of a fold that encloses the edge of the piece below it. Think of this as a very wide flat-felled seam. The front section goes across to the lower pipe cleaner. The side (front also) section goes from the wide arm/side seam allowance we saw above, across to the single pipe cleaner, so this standard with of cloth has been used without cutting the cloth width to adapt to the section. Pretty clever- it appeals to my frugal nature.

front panel seams

front panel seams

Looking at that seam from the inside, you can see how wide it is. The hemming is visible, a neatly mitered corner at the front edge, narrower finish on the vertical edge, yet a relatively narrow bottom hem, too, ~a cm folded up twice and sewn in place.

front panel, deep seam allowance
front panel, deep seam allowance


LL, I hope this helps you! Have fun with yours! Let me know if you want any specific measurements.




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