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Constructing Japanese Clothing

Layout for Men's Hakama on 3 yards of 45" wide fabric:

Constructing Hakama:

  • Hem the bottoms of the legs by folding the raw edges twice to the inside and sewing (or you can do this after the hakama are complete)


  • Sew one side of the square-shaped crotch gore to the slit of one leg, lining the corner up with the end of the slit. Remember to match right sides together. Don't sew all the way to the corners of the square.
  • Sew the adjacent side of the crotch gore to the other side of the slit on the same leg. You'll need to twist the fabric around to get it to work.
  • Sew a third side of the crotch gore to the slit on the other pantleg. Make sure that the larger parts of the legs are on adjacent sides.
  • Sew the remaining side of the crotch gore. Then sew the legs to each other the rest of the way for the center front and center back seams. (Note: be careful you are sewing the two fronts together and the two backs together and not just sewing the front to the back of the same leg.)
  • Sew each leg into a tube along the outside edge, stopping about 15 inches from the top. You will need to fold each leg in half around the other leg to sew.
  • On the back (smaller side), fold the fabric on either side of the crotch seam into one huge pleat and pin in place. The folds from the two sides' pleats should just meet at the center seam on the outside of the hakama.

  • Fold in the edges of the back: Measure your waist where the hakama will tie (under your gut to show how well-fed you are). Divide that number by two and subtract 5 inches. Call that number W. Fold the sides of the back in until the width equals W (if the back is already narrower than W, fold in just enough that the selvedge won't show). 

  • Sew across the top of the back pleat to hold it in place while you work on the front. If you have big flaps of fabric folded in, you may want to tack them down with a few hand-stitches as well.
  • On the front, fold the edges in first, about as much as you did for the back and pin in place. Measure the width of the front pieces after the edges are folded in and call it F. 
  • I will give instructions for making 3 pleats per side. Divide F by 18 and call that number P. Use pins to mark points along the top of the front pants in increments of P, measuring out from the center seam. There should be 9 pins on either side of the center seam.
  • With the fabric lying right side up and counting out from the center, fold the fabric so pin 2 meets the center seam. Next fold pin 5 in to line up with pin 3. Then fold pin 8 in to line up with pin 6. Pin pleats in place and repeat on the other side.
  • Sew across the top of the front pleats to hold them in place.
  • For each tie, sew the ends into tubes, leaving enough of the tie unsewn in the middle to attach it to the hakama. Clip corners, turn right-side out and press.
  • Sew the front tie to the outside of the front, right sides together. Fold the tie up and around the raw edges to the inside, turning the raw edge of the tie under so the fold of the fabric meets the seam where the front of the tie was sewn. Hand-stitch the tie in place. Add extra stitches at the corner where the tie meets the hakama leg because it will get a lot of stress.
  • Do the same with the back tie as you did with the front..

    Congratulations, you're done.... try them on!!


All content copyright the author, Jennifer Munson munson.jennifer@gmail.com The author makes no guarantees for instructions and recipes on this site; neither does she accept responsibility for their outcomes. Verbatim copies may be made for educational purposes only provided they contain original copyright marking.

This page created August 4, 2002

Last updated August 02, 2005