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A Beautifully Sashiko Stitched Maekake or Maedare

Written on February 2, 2011

I love Japanese aprons–and luckily for me there are a lot to love.  Aprons of some fashion were worn every day by almost every woman–and some men–in old Japan, so there are some interesting examples still available to be seen.This very fancifully stitched apron is a knock-out, and with such an elaborate field of sashiko stitching, it’s hard to imagine that this was worn everyday, around the house, or while working outside.  Most likely this was reserved for special occasions.The layout of the stitched design is beautifully regular–it’s almost architectural in its design.It’s astonishing to see the expert work on this apron and then to consider that so much of the sashiko stitching of this type that we see is of equally good quality.  Or better.  Thinking about this makes you realize that in old Japan, expert hand work and stitching was rampant and widespread, that in most households there would have been at least one woman who had a fantastic facility with needle and thread.Even more astonishing to think about is that in the traditional Japanese home there is very little light–and at nights, when some stitching was done, especially in times past, you can only assume that the interior was shadowy or was illuminated with soft or indirect lighting.Not to mention the fact that many of the women in old Japan, of course, were poor.  Maybe they didn’t have eyeglasses.  Imagine doing this kind of detail work with the naked eye?Beautiful.This indigo dyed cotton apron was probably made in the first half of the twentieth century.   Shown above and below is the apron’s back.

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  1. Comment by Jean Betts:

    –exquisite, and thanks for showing the back, it tells of the skill of the stitcher and the value they placed on their work.

    February 3, 2011 @ 2:49 pm