Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Hari-kuyo and Respect for Selvedges

I have found out some wonderful cultural traditions related to sewing in Japan.
The first relates to making kimono and is known as  "respect for the selvedges".  No material is cut away when making garments, the lengths of fabric are therefore kept intact and the item can more easily be remade for another person.
If any tacking is needed when making a garment it will be left in place in the finished item - if it is needed to make the garment it must be a valuable part of the garment. 
When kimono are laundered they are taken apart.  When clean they are remade, using the same thread through the same holes. 
Finally, I have just read about Hari-kuyo.  This is a festival which takes place in at shrines in Japan on
8th February annually and translates as the "festival of broken needles".  Women would take a break from their daily work to show their gratitude and respect to old, broken and rusty needles, usually by putting them to rest in a bed of tofu.  Ladies are also able to "bury" their secrets with their needles.  Some photographs and more details can be found here and here.

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hugs, Lis x