Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hanbok Project Part IV: Dongjeong and Finished Jeogori

For a while I was thinking about how to make the dongjeong, the white band placed around the collar of the jeogori to accentuate the face and neckline. Traditionally, it was apparently detachable - and I took this to mean that the dongjeong was not physically attached to the collar in any way, but folded, ironed on or starched. Now however, I am not sure if this could mean loosely slip-stitching it on, or gluing it with a substance that can be washed out with water. Silk kimonos were, after all, historically taken apart for washing then sewn back together by hand. This Japanese website selling dongjeong and hanbok does it the same way as bias tape, attaching it to the collar with a slipstitch. On a side note I wish I discovered this website sells a large variety of ornaments and some very very beautifully embroidered hanboks. Prices are quite steep though, (seriously, SGD543 for a hairpin?) and if I'm not mistaken they only deliver within Japan.

I asked Sonjjang about traditional dongjeong making and they said it was put together with guksa fabric and Korean paper (hanji). Korean paper is pretty similar to Japanese washi, it's durable and can apparently stand unsupported, thereby giving the dongjeong stiffness. Obviously hanji is pretty impossible to find outside of Korea so I decided to try other methods of fabric stiffening. In Spotlight, I found Stiffy:

According to the manufacturer's description, this product can work on most fabric types, and you can control the degree of stiffness you want by diluting it with water. It comes out in a thick white liquid. It can be used to make fabric bows, stiffen needlework, add lace, ribbon and trims to craft projects or mold or drape dollies and lace. Just rub and work it into your material with your hands (gloves!) then leave it to hang or sit in a mold overnight.

I got some double fold bias tape, rubbed Stiffy into the fabric, and here are the results:

Now it can stand! A bonus is that Stiffy stops fabric fraying as well, so no need for anti-fray glue.

I chose double fold bias tape because the white colour appears stronger with two layers of fabric, and single fold bias tape doesn't fold all the way under the first layer, ending up with a semi-transparent section right down the middle. See here. Not ideal at all for dongjeong making.

After stiffening, I ironed the bias tape folds real crisp and straight, and stitched it onto the jeogori in the usual way, without the finishing topstich. Instead I slip-stitched the closing flap of the bias tape to the collar on the inside, so that no stitching shows through in front.

Before completing the jeogori, I also added Bemsilk lining to the inside of the jacket to make it more comfortable to wear. Initially, I wanted to line it with the wrong side of the whanggeum fabric, but it felt too stiff and scratchy, and it clung to my skin in a most unpleasant manner. Using the Bemsilk lining made it a lot less irritating, but it also made the front and back panels of the jeogori more drapey and heavy, losing the perfectly clean, sleek lines that double-layered Korean fabric can still achieve. I suppose because a sok-jeogori was usually worn under the jacket, that could be made out of comfortable material to prevent the scratchy jeogori fabric sticking to your skin. Even today, hanboks are commonly worn with a basic camisole or t-shirt as an undergarment, perhaps for similar reasons. Or perhaps the whanggeum is the only problematic fabric; Korean silk would surely not be as stiff and uncomfortable, or so I would think. Have to find out more about that next time.

To attach the lining, pin pin pin pin pin fabrics right side together. Sew all the edges up, leaving the arm holes open and with the sleeves pulled through. Be careful not to catch the goreum while sewing. Invert the whole thing right side out through the armholes, then slipstich (again!) both layers together at the armhole seam.

I think I'm now pretty good at slipstiching. Hate it. Anyway, a picture :)

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