Maneki Neko  


Happy Customers In Their Custom-Made Garments

Sumo Wedding Outfit (click image)
Tomasi in Wedding Outfit  

This delightful young man from Tonga needed a whole outfit for a wedding. Black silk crepe montsuke, striped taffeta silk hakama, and an obi made from vintage kimono silk.

Japanese Prom (click image)
Japanese Prom  

Jason's grandmother is Japanese, so he knew what he wanted to wear to his girlfriend's prom. He lives on the other side of the country, so this was strictly mail-order.
Fortunately, everything fit, and he was very pleased.

Shakuhatchi Outfit
(click image)
Shakuhatchi Outfit  

This very tall and slender shakuhatchi player needed a formal outfit to wear when his group went to Japan!

Zen Priest Koromo
(click image)
Zen Priest Koromo  

This gentleman is a Zen priest in Berkeley—I think Kasuri Dyeworks sent him my way—and needed his own koromo for his ordination. He was wearing an old borrowed one that was too short and didn't fit, but he let me use it for a model. I used a very fine black handkerchief linen. Zen koromo are supposed to be slightly sheer, so it worked well. He already had his own kimono, etc.

I made several other custom garments, but didn't get any photos. Then the crashed so no more customers, but ... Kate Matthews had bought Folkwear Patterns and asked me to do a new hakama pattern to replace the old 151, and how about adding a kataginu just for fun?!

Folkwear Hakama & Kataginu Pattern
Folkwear Pattern #151
Click Image

Folkwear Pattern #151

You can order the pattern directly from Folkwear at:

or your local fine fabric store.

More patterns at Round Earth Publishing (, a martial arts site with clothing patterns, (including hakama and kataginu), samurai movies, lots of cool stuff.

Folkware 151 Model  

Once again, the marvelous Gretchen Schields is doing the cover illustrations. Here's the model! (Click images)


Montsuke and Hakama (click image)
Montsuke and Hakama  

In 1995, my son started taking Aikido in college and wanted me to make him hakama. I had no clue how to do this, but I found a book on theatrical costuming with a very basic outline of how to make hakama. Based on that and watching American Ninja ten times, I made a pair from a heavy cotton twill, not realizing that by the time you've used 3-5 yards of fabric, it can get pretty heavy! I didn't know how to make a koshita, so there wasn't one.

Kyodogi (click image)

I learned later that I had done the front pleats incorrectly—Hakama are ALL about the pleats—and the himo (ties) were the wrong length. By chance we found an old raggedy pants hakama in an antique store, so I could see how the pleats work, how the crotch is cut, the side openings, the ties, and most importantly how to make a koshita.

Striped Hakama Front (click image)
Striped Hakama Front  

By now, my son had taken up Iaido. They don't wear gi, so he needed a "montsuke", also called "hakama-shiita" i.e. something you wear with hakama. It's basically an abbreviated man's kimono with a slit up the back to accommodate the hakama.

Striped Hakama Back (click image)
Striped Hakama Back  

By now, the kimono customers were asking for American size garments, so I started offering custom montsuke and hakama.

© 2016 Susan Fatemi