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Han-eri are temporary collars that you sew to your juban (underkimono) to produce a pretty neckline.

han eri made from furnishing silkHaving discovered recently that I had some shantung wrapover jackets that I made many years ago, which would pass as a juban if only they had a stiffer collar, I decided to make my own han-eri.

I am a squirrel Nutkin and never throw anything away, so in the sewing room there are plenty of lengths of fabric that are a bit too short to use for anything much and in patterns that are a bit too loud and bright for daily wear. But for that reason they would make perfect han-eri.

To get the measurements, I removed a stained han-eri from an existing juban (and in a nasty polyester crepe, too – the sort of fabric I prefer to avoid) and used it as a pattern. Basically, you need a piece of fabric about 6-8in wide and about 39in long (its width should be four times the width of the collar you’re sewing it to).

You fold in the short raw ends and press them, then fold the fabric lengthwise into four – both edges to the middle, then the same again, leaving you with a long piece of fabric where all the raw edges are hidden. This, you slot over your juban collar both front and back and simply slip-stitch into place.

han eri made from scarfhan eri made from scarfThe two finished han-eri shown at left are made from old silk scarves that had gotten stained or torn over the years but which I couldn’t bring myself to throw away. Because the silk was very thin, I used lightweight interfacing to back it, which also makes it easier to press and keep a crisp edge. Using an old scarf has the advantage that you can use the borders.

furnishing brocadeChinese rayon brocadeblack op-art silkThe same day I also made collars from white vintage batiste with broderie anglaise, turquoise furnishing silk brocade, Chinese rayon brocade with multicoloured butterflies (used both face-on and in reverse), pastel-dyed silk shantung in shades of jade and pink, and this black op-art silk, which came from an old dress.

Next up will be all manner of florals, I think, as I would like a very pretty, Meiji-style neckline on my kimonos, with patterned juban collars, date-eri and patterned kake-eri. Watch this space.

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