Edo Period Coat Restoration: The Quilted Lining (Stage 2)

Project 9, part 8 – Keeping Warm (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 here)

It’s so…something! 😂

Welcome back to the Edo period coat restoration project! I’ve managed to make some more progress on the lining of the coat…although let me tell you I am not getting this finished before spring. Mostly because it’s the 22nd of March as I’m posting this, and thus spring is already here! (Unless you’re one of my charming and delightful Southern Hemisphere readers, in which case…my plan is still to have this finished before spring!) I don’t plan on showing every inch of progress of this stage as it’s quite slow going, and much of it will look the same to you (and to me, if I’m honest).

Pictured: much the same, for hours on end.

I’ve cut the huge section of quilted cotton for the upper torso portion of the jacket, and it’s definitely “rustic,” shall we say. Maybe “wonky,” if you’re not feeling quite as generous. 😀 If this were going to be the final layer, I most certainly would have used paper patterning to get precision cuts. But it’s not – I’ll be adding the decorative silk lining on top of it when I’m done – and the time spent on this is already boggling my mind (and hurting my hands). So I rough-cut sections of quilted cotton, and if there are some additional strips here and there it doesn’t matter as it will all be covered up anyway!

Wherever I can, I’m securing the quilted cotton to itself rather than the jacket. Fewer stitches in the antique fabric means fewer points of failure from a textile perspective, for one. For another, it’s a huge pain in the butt to do as I have to be very careful to not let the stitches show through to the other side, which takes even more time than just the baseline hand-sewing. Whew!

Billy Matsunaga is just delightful. I could listen to her all day!

While I was generally researching this jacket, I ended up down a rabbit hole of Japanese cold-weather clothing – as is pretty normal for me, haha! Billy’s video is really worth a watch if you have the time, but if you don’t, I’ll summarize – Japanese houses get super chilly in the winter because they’re (generally – with the exception of Hokkaido) built for Japanese summers. If you haven’t been to Japan in the summer…oof. It’s sticky. Very hot, very humid – you will want as much airflow as possible! So in the winter rather than turning up the heat, it’s preferred to layer up.

Today’s idea of warmth and early America’s version are two very different interpretations. Today’s room temperatures in winter usually range between 68 and 76 degrees. …On 21 December 1797, John Innes Clark of Providence, Rhode Island, described this first month of winter as follows: “This month has been more pleasant. It is however, exceeding cold, the thermometer in our dining room with a good fire being about 48 degrees.”

From the Winter 2015 issue of The Friends of Carlyle House Newsletter

The above quote relates to the US, not Japan, but brings up another important point – homes in the Edo period were not only not built for winter, they were not particularly insulated at all. All over the world, people in previous centuries tended to heat just one room at a time rather than the entire house. In Japan that often meant a charcoal brazier – either open, or under a blanket-draped table called a kotatsu – that kept the important room tolerable. Women tended to wear multiple kimono as well as scarves around their heads, although working women might also wear momohiki (股引き) which are close-fitting hose or trousers, just like the men did.

Look, she’s got a lot of really useful information! 🙂

Everyday clothes that could simply be layered up or down were more common amongst the working class than jackets, as far as I can tell, but they definitely existed. However, the silk collar, the detailed toggles, and the general level of workmanship does help confirm the idea my jacket was likely owned by someone of at least some station in life. Even if that station was a low-ranked samurai attendant, they still most likely didn’t labor in the fields for a living, and they had enough money for a stylish jacket to keep them warm!

Front (??) view. It’s inside out, so is it still the front? Inner front? Anyway…

With the addition of both the quilted cotton layer and the final silk layer, my jacket will definitely be increasing in warmth from its original form! I’m currently attaching this upper piece as you can see, and then I’ll do the other sleeve, and then finally the lower torso and lapel areas. Then I can add the silk layer, and then finally add the facing fabric and finish things up! Still a ways away, but I hope you continue to enjoy the process with me, and I look forward to seeing you back here next week on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

Subscribe so you never miss a post! New adventures in history and sewing every Tuesday.

8 thoughts on “Edo Period Coat Restoration: The Quilted Lining (Stage 2)

  1. To my sweet daughter in-law, I am finally caught backup on your blogs. I’m so very proud of you and the restorations that you have done.
    Your blogs are so enjoyable 😉 to read, I love you very much!❤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: