Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hanbok Project Part V: Making the Chima

The skirt, in comparison to the jeogori, is really simple to make. First of all, you have to decide what kind of skirt you want; there are two types, pul-chima, with a separated back, or tong-chima, with a seamed back (like a modern skirt). In ancient times, the chima was simply made out of a piece of rectangular cloth wrapped around the waist/bust depending on the fashion of the period. The length of cloth was gathered or pleated and attached to a waistband with ties that fastened around the trunk of the body.

The width of the waistband changed throughout the years, eventually becoming a form of breast-binding in the 19th/20th century as I mentioned previously. The A-line shape of the skirt was more dependent on the numerous types of undergarments worn under the chima than the cut of the skirt itself; traditionally, women wore bloomers-type pants over three pairs of increasingly smaller pants and a loin cloth. Up to seven layers of undergarments were worn under the chima apparently! Upper class women would also wear two kinds of underskirts for formal occasions, thereby attaining an even more voluminous silhouette. Without the undergarments, the rectangular chima would look like this when worn:

Straight, tubular, and flat. Of course, you could create more volume by using more cloth and pleating furiously at the waistband; I tried 2.5-3 metres of cloth for the last one and it did work quite well, albeit being a lot more expensive. Also, if there are too many pleats, they tend to bunch up under the jeogori, making a nasty bulge around the bustline.

These days, however, the chima is constructed like a panelled or gored skirt, allowing for more flare and volume as well as more economical expenditure. The rectangle piece of cloth is cut up into triangular panels, which are then sewn together to form a circular stretch of cloth. To do this, first get your waist/bust measurement, and make yourself a rectangular waistband that wraps comfortably around your body. Next, take your waist/bust measurement and divide it by four. This should be the length of your skirt panel at the top. Measure the distance from your bust/waist to where you want the hemline to be, and draw a straight line perpendicular to the first line with this measurement. Finally, think about how wide you want the chima to be at the bottom and draw a line parallel to and at least 10cm longer than the line on top. Connect the top and bottom lines together at the sides, and you should end up with a triangular trapezium like this:


Cut out 6 panels of this thing. If you want a more voluminous skirt, either cut out more panels (but in my opinion, anything more than 6 necessitates too many seams around your chima and therefore should be avoided), or increase the length of the top and bottom lines. If you want to do 4 larger panels instead of 6, add 10 or more cm to each panel (waist/bust-line ÷ 4, + 10cm) and accordingly increase the length of the bottom line to match. Precise calculations aren't really needed, you just have to ensure that the top line of your skirt is longer than your waistband to allow for some pleating, and that the bottom line is longer than the top to produce an A-line silhouette. When you have cut out 6 panels, it would look this this:

Sew them up together using a french seam (take into consideration twice the seam allowance, if you use this), hem the bottom using slipstitch / double-rolled hem on the machine, and you are done! Last of all, attach this fabric to the waistband, pleating evenly across at the top. If you want it to be seamed at the back, sew the first and last panels together, but then you have to make sure you can get into the skirt by putting in an invisible zip, or by leaving a small slit open at the top.

For my chima, I used a purple charmeuse satin, topped with a layer of black nobang fabric. The satin has a slightly softer drape than Korean silk/satin, but it works as well if you have a proper petticoat to give it some structure. I had to get a microtex needle to sew it though, because it was too slippery and finely woven to work with the normal needle size. While doing the french seams, keep pressing and steaming to get a flat seam. Both the nobang and satin go beautifully flat when ironed with steam unlike the duchess satin, so no problems there. This is the nobang with the french seams and hem on the wrong side:

The satin charmeuse:

And a picture of the finished chima. I'd still like to add some gold foil trim to the skirt for a bit more decoration, and get some norigae pendants attached, but for now, here's the finished product minus the dongjeong:

Proper photoshoot pictures to come later, and a post about hair.

18 comments :

  1. Hello, what a coincidence!! you have writed this today, and I have to learn how to make a hanbok for a fashion project class :) thank you very much for your tutorial!!

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  2. Hello, glad to be of help and thanks for stopping by! I would love to see your work when you're done :)

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  3. i had some old sari fabric sitting around and being inspired by my kdramas i decided to make a hanbok out of it, not bad! thanks to you i have my own (albeit poorly made) hanbok! Keep up the good work!!! Best wishes for a dream job!

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  4. That's great to hear, hope you enjoy wearing it! Sari fabric would look very pretty if you have gold trim around the bottom of your skirt! Thanks, I'll update when I start another project :)

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  5. LOVELY! Have a question though. The sheer fabric that goes over your purple, how is that attached? Is it sewn with the purple in to the white band? Also how do they usually make the nice fold to give the chima more poof? Thanks! :D

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  6. Lovely! Question: does your waistband cover your bust? I'm not getting that part I guess. Are there straps?

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  7. Yes the waistband can be as thick or thin as you want it to be. It varied with the changes in fashion. I made mine to cover the bust and attached spag straps for comfort.

    Kristina: Sorry for the super late reply! I attached the black fabric to the white band as well, pinned and pleated both fabrics before sewing them to the waistband. I just did knife pleats all around the waistline to get the poof, if you want more volume you can try cartridge pleats but you will need a lot more fabric.

    http://www.reconstructinghistory.com/articles/17th-century-articles/how-to-cartridge-pleating.html

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  8. Is there any special way that you calculate the knife pleats?

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  9. Heh...I just estimated based on the folding. I really hate math. But i suppose if you want to you could take your waist measurement + (how wide you want each pleat to be x number of pleats) and then get that amount of cloth?

    :)

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  10. Hi!! I really interested your Hanbok.I want to know what kind of fabric which you make Hanbok.Please contack me ciscus_a.la.folle@hotmail.co.thor you can contack me on Face book http://facebook.com/cisciscuscus. thank you very much .:D

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  11. hi sharon, thank you for sharing how to make a hanbok. i made a hanbok for my daughter recently...and it's my first attempt. i had such a difficult time with the collar.

    do come and visit my blog and have a look at the hanbok http://thesewingroomdiva.blogspot.com/2012/09/my-first-attempt-at-making-hanbuk.html

    thank you so much sharon. your blog has been a great help :)

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    1. Wow your hanbok looks great! I love the way you did your chima, it looks so beautifully structured. May I know what fabric you used? (I'm guessing...taffeta?) The embroidery was a nice touch too!
      Thanks for dropping by.

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    2. hi sharon. the pleasure is all mine. i am glad that you like it too. i just use pink cotton for the top and the turquoise bottom is a dress lining material they called habotai silk. it's quite cheap (since i'm not prepared to take the risk of ruining expensive fabric with this 1st attempt) and i like the lightness and airiness of this material when they are gathered or puffed up. looks like it's floating in the air. to give it more body, i lined the chima with the same pink cotton.
      and thank you for taking the time to visit my blog:)

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  12. Hi Garaff, I ordered hanbok fabric from Sonjjang hanbok. It's a special type of polyester fabric, I haven't been able to find a Western fabric that has the same stiffness and lightness to it. If you type hanbok fabric into ebay there are also some stores that sell it, e.g. worldfabrix. I haven't tried ordering from them before though. Planning to buy a huge haul from Korea next time when I get the chance to visit :)

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  13. what is the white garment showing below your jeogori?

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  14. That's the waistband of the chima :)

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  15. I don't know how to sew but I need to make this! Any tips?

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  16. Hello! I don't know if you still check that blog or not, but I just wanted to say that thanks to your posts, I managed to make my own hanbok. It doesn't look as great as yours since I don't like to buy fabric online, so I had to manage with whatever fabric was available at the store. Also, I don't have much experience, so the jeogori was a pain to make =/ I'm not that tall, but the measurements were too small for me >_<
    Anyways, I did my best without proper patterns, and your blog, helped a lot! Thank you so much =)
    Here's a picture of my (more or less) finished hanbok: http://milielitre.deviantart.com/art/Green-Hanbok-434258756

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