I’ve decided to add to my juban collection, partly by making my own.
When dressing in kimono recently I realised that one reason I don’t wear kimono as often as I might is my lack of jubans.
I’m now seriously regretting giving away my pastel synthetic juban. I didn’t like it next to my skin, but of course I should, anyway, have been wearing it over proper kimono underwear, something I also lack.
I have just bought this lovely red floral rayon juban – isn’t it gorgeous? So pretty and bright that I panicked for a second, having won it, in case it was a child’s. But indeed, I had actually checked the measurements and it is indeed an adult size.
Three of my other jubans are silk: pale pink plain ro, awase pink silk with red shibori (somewhat spoiled now for having been through the wash – I didn’t realise you have to dry clean jubans as well as kimono), and this gorgeous mustard one. And finally, there is this cream wool muslin one with red hemp leaf pattern.
I can, however, extend my number of jubans by wearing yukata as a juban instead – I have a couple of ro yukata that work well as underwear, but somehow it doesn’t feel quite as luxurious as a proper juban, especially an awase.
The problem is, good jubans are very expensive. So I have decided to make a few of my own, along with some proper kimono underwear.
In the sewing room is a giant stash of fabrics, and many of them, I just can’t think what to do with. In some, the pattern is too large to be flattering on a dress or a jacket, or the fabric is too transparent to wear without an underliner. But they would make great kimono underwear, and making it has the virtue of reducing my stash at the same time as creating items to wear (important, as I am turning the sewing room back into a bedroom).
So far, I have earmarked a number of fabrics as potential juban fabrics: pink silk foulard with the word ‘Jacquemar’ in black Pitman shorthand all over it; a pale blue 1950s silk with a tiny pink flower; black slippery rayon with a 1930s-style pink rose print; and pink wool challis with a floral pattern. All of these are a difficult fit for modern clothes but would look great as juban, alongside my red batik ‘windowpane’ cotton and yellow ‘stained glass’ cotton – very thin and startlingly bright; vivid orange cotton gauze, taken from a multi-layer skirt; and beige rayon chiffon with enormous pink flowers on it (what WAS I thinking?).
I could go on: mint green sari silk with satin stripes, which has sat in my stash for nearly 30 years, unused; red sari silk shading to black, with a gold imprint; yellow, black and red tartan cashmere mix; cream wool challis with black ‘tyre track’ marks (again, WHAT was I thinking?).
It’s intriguing and quite exciting to think of uses for these impossible fabrics in this way – the loud colours and loud patterns are perfect for Taisho Roman kimono, so I hope to make at least five jubans and five lots of underwear. Watch this space.