裁縫Sewing

3世紀頃に貫頭衣や袈裟式衣に始まった日本の裁縫技術は、4~5世紀以降の中国や朝鮮との交流によって、また7~8世紀の隋・唐風の影響を受けて進歩を遂げ、正倉院には精巧に仕立てられた襦袢や枕、装束などが残っています。江戸時代になると庶民の間でもお洒落や流行を楽しむようになり、服飾文化が花開くとともに技術も発展しました。幕末に軍服が採用されたことに始まり、明治時代に「文明開化」とともに和装から洋装への移行が始まり、それまで裁縫と言えば着物を縫うことだったものを洋服の仕立てと区別するために「和裁」「洋裁」と呼ぶようになりました。第二次世界大戦後は洋服が本格的に普及して家で裁縫をする機会が減り、大量生産型の洋服が主流となる一方、再び素材や仕立てにこだわった服作りも見直されてきています。養蚕や手織り、手縫いの仕事を経験し、現在は京都で身の周りの布の品を仕立てて暮らす朴 左愛(ぱく さえ)さんにお話を伺いました。

「和裁と洋裁の違いは、デザインはもちろんですが布の扱い方だと思っています。ほとんどの場合、基本的には布を四角く裁つので型紙も要らず、生地に無駄を出さないことを主において布を裁って仕立てていきます。裾がすり切れたらほどいて縫い縮めたり、上前が汚れたら下前と切替えられたり、おはしょりで長さを調節できたりと長く使うための知恵と工夫が詰まっています。糸印やくけ縫いなど縫い方ひとつとっても、布を傷めずに糸をほどきやすく、洗い張りや仕立て直しがしやすいようになど、一つの着物を大切に美しく保てるようによく考えられているなと思います」。使う道具は縫い針と糸、裁ち鋏と定規、布を挟んでまっすぐに縫うためのくけ台とくけ針、とシンプル。角や曲線の始末にいたるまで、細い針でひと針ひと針精緻に仕上げられた服飾品や仕覆には、洗練と優しい温もりを併せ持つ手縫いならではの美しさがあります。和裁も洋裁も経験してきた朴さんが、現在ミシンを休ませて手縫いのものを作り続ける理由のひとつには、「早く」「大量に」が常時運転になっていることへの疑問があるといいます。「身の回りの大切なことですら飛ばして、十分な時間をかけられないものづくりの在り方には寂しさや矛盾を感じます。京都に来たのは法衣の仕事がきっかけですが、いまは着物に限らず注文に応じたものを仕立てています。使う人や場面や素材と、私がそのとき持っている経験や技術とでどんなものを作り出せるのか。それを考えているときが一番楽しいですね」。

もうひとつ、朴さんのいまの仕事に大きく影響しているのが、長野にある工房で土を作って桑を育てて蚕を飼い、糸をひいて織って布ができるまでの一連の工程を経験したことです。「自然から繊維がどうやって生まれ、人が生きることとどう関わってきたか、作る体験を通して学んだことで、布を手にしたときに想像できる範囲が深くなりました。これからも大切に作られた美しい素材で生活の身の回りものを大切に仕立てていきたいです。それが、その人らしく生活していける助けになれたらいいなとも思っています」。

 

– 写真説明 –

写真説明

[Ⅰ]「縫」の文字通り糸と糸が出逢うかのように、ひと針ひと針を大切に縫う。
[Ⅱ]見える針目を実用の最小限にして仕上げ、布の美しさを生かす「くけ縫い」。布は友人の美術家林智子さんがウメノキゴケで染めたシルクオーガンジー。
[Ⅲ]針はさまざまなものを使い分ける。縫っていて布に引っ掛かりを感じたらまち針にする。
[Ⅳ]鉄の脚を特注で知り合いに作ってもらった作業台。座った時の高さが身体に合っているかは重要なポイント。
[Ⅴ]約4年前に仕立てた暖簾を繕いなおす。このお店では中心がよく擦り切れるので、直しながら永く使えるように仕立てる時に両端の三折を幅広にとってある。

Japanese sewing techniques, which began in the 3rd Century with the Kantoi (simple clothing consisting of a piece of cloth with an opening for the head) and Kesa-style garments (shoulder-worn robe used by Buddhist priests), progressed through exchange with China and Korea from the 4th and 5th Centuries, and under the influence of the Sui and Tang dynasties of China in the 7th and 8th Centuries. The Shosoin Repository has a collection of finely tailored inner garments, pillows and costumes. In the Edo period, common people began to enjoy fashion and dressing up, and the culture of clothing design blossomed and technology developed.

In the Meiji period, the transition from Japanese to Western clothing, along with “Bunmei kaika (civilisation and enlightenment)”, began following the adoption of military uniforms at the end of the Edo period. The term “sewing”, which had previously been used to describe the sewing of Kimono, was divided into “Japanese sewing” and “Western sewing” to create a distinction from the tailoring of Western-style clothes. After the Second World War, Western-style clothing became more popular and there were fewer opportunities to sew at home, and mass-produced clothes became the norm. Yet, on the other hand, there is a renewed interest in making tailored clothes using carefully selected materials. We spoke to PAK Sae, who has worked in sericulture, hand-weaving and hand-sewing, and now lives in Kyoto, where she tailors items in everyday life.

“The difference between Japanese and Western sewing is not only in the design, but also in the way the fabric is handled. In Japanese sewing, most of the time we cut the fabric into four‐sided figures, so we don’t need a pattern, and the main thing is to avoid wasting fabric. If the hem is worn out, it can be untied and sewn down, if the upper front gets dirty, it can be changed to the lower front, and the length can be adjusted with the hemline. There is a whole range of wisdom and ingenuity on how to use items for a long time. Even the stitching techniques, such as Ito-jirushi (where the thread marks the seams) and Kuke-nui (stitching where the thread of the seam is not visible from the front), are well thought out to keep a Kimono beautiful: the thread can be easily untied without damaging the fabric, and the Kimono can be washed and re-tailored,” says Sae. The tools used are simple: a sewing needle, thread, scissors, ruler, and a Kuke stand and Kuke needle for nipping the cloth and sewing straight through it.

The beauty of hand-sewn garments and Shifuku (silk pouch with drawstring for holding tea ceremony items) is the combination of refinement and warmth, with each stitch finished with a fine needle, down to the corners and curves. Sae, who has experience in both Japanese and Western sewing, says that one of the reasons she continues to make hand-sewn items while taking a break from her sewing machine is that she is concerned about the constant drive to “make things quickly” and “produce in large quantities”. “I feel sad and contradictory about the way things are made, where we skip even the most important things around us and are not able to spend enough time on them. I came to Kyoto to work on vestments for Buddhist priests, but now I tailor things for each order, not just Kimono. The people, the occasions, the materials and the experience and skills I have at the time, and what I can create with them. Thinking about these things is most fun to me.”

Another major influence on Sae’s current work is the experience she gained at a workshop in Nagano Prefecture, where she learned about the whole process of making cloth, from preparing the soil, growing mulberry trees and raising silkworms, to spinning and weaving the thread. “Through the experience of making cloth, I learnt how the fibre comes from nature and how it is related to human life, which has deepened the range of imagination I have when I hold a piece of cloth in my hands. I would like to continue to tailor everyday items with beautiful materials that are carefully produced. I hope that my work will help people to live their lives in their own way.”

 

– photo explanation –

[Ⅰ]As the Chinese character for “sew” suggests, I sew with care, stitch by stitch, as if the thread meets thread.
[Ⅱ]Kuke-nui – stitching method to finish with the minimum of visible stitches and to make the most of the beauty of the fabric. The fabric is silk organdy dyed with plum moss by Sae’s friend, artist Tomoko Hayashi.
[Ⅲ]The artist uses a variety of needles. When there is a catching feeling in the fabric while sewing, the artist uses marking pins.
[Ⅳ]A workbench with a custom-made iron leg built by a friend. It is important that the height of the legs suits the body of the artist when they sit down.
[Ⅴ]Mending a Noren curtain that was tailored about 4 years ago. In this shop, the centre of the curtain is often worn out, so when tailoring one, the three folds at both ends are made wider so that it can be used for a long time by being repaired over time.

 

Photography by Tomoko Hayashi

巾着袋
布はスイートピー農家の友人に
シーズンオーバーになった
花で染めてもらった絹 
Drawstring bag
the cloth is made of silk,
dyed by a friend of the artist who is a sweet pea farmer,
from flowers that had gone out of season

朴 左愛 PAK SAE / JWAAE  

Website: https://pakjwaae.portfoliobox.net/