Sunday, February 2, 2014

HSF'14 #2: Innovations, the Korean Ayam

It was about this time last year that I was completing my hanbok.  With it, I wore my then chin-length hair pinned back into a teeny tiny pony tail, over which I stuck a chignon bun that I made out of false hair.  Well, now my hair is MUCH shorter and I've run into a bit of a cunnundrum.  What do I wear on my head when I don't have any hair?  So I turned to the internet in search of an alternative.  The ridunculously huge and complex wigs looked like fun, but this is a costume that I'd like to wear for long periods of time and a big wig would just be too heavy.  And also, I hate wigs.  So instead, let's look at hats.  
The one that really caught my eye was the ayam, also known as an aegeom.  It's a traditional winter cap worn by Korean women during the Joseon period (1392-1910).  The ayam has curved lower edges, to allow it to fit snug to the head.  The crown is traditionally made of black silk, with a red flannel lining, or possibly lined in fur for added warmth.  Lighter versions can be worn in the spring and autumn.  The upper 4-5cm is finely quilted, and long ribbons, or deurim, hand down the back.  There is a silk tassel (often red) attached to at least the front, or center front and back.  Flat braids or strings of jewels or pearls link the front and back of the ayam.

Quality photos of ayam from the Joseon period were difficult to come by.  So here are a few of the for purchase ones I was able to find and use to help me make my own:

While modern options include a variety of colors and lavish floral embroidery, I wanted mine to be simple and elegant. This way, I could pair it with a brightly colored modern hanbok just as easily as one of an older, more subdued style. Plus, I wasn't about to drop $50 + international shipping on something I was fairly certain wasn't going to fit my fat head when it arrived.

I had a cardboard party hat from New Year's laying around, and the crown of it seemed to be about the right angle.  So I separated it from the brim, stuffed it on my head and had a friend draw in the proper curves and crown height with a marker.

We had to cut a few slits in it to make the bottom fit better, then add in the forehead curve, but below you can see the finished pattern piece. The pattern is 4" high at center front, 5.5" high at center back, and fits on a head with a 23" diameter.

I wrote the basic instructions and notes directly onto the single pattern piece, so that I'll have them when I need them.  Here they are in text form, for those who can't read my handwriting.

Cut 1 (or two, depending on stiffness) of stiff interfacing of piece AB.
Cut one of lining fabric with 1/2" excess on all sides.
Cut the pattern along the blue dotted line, dividing the pattern into pieces A and B.  Cut one of piece A of outer fabric with 1" excess on all sides.  Cut one of piece B of outer fabric with 1/2" excess on all sides.
Cut one each of interfacing of pieces A and B.

To assemble:
- I used 1/2" seams throughout, except where noted otherwise.
- lay Piece A of outer fabric on top of Piece A of interfacing.  Sew in bands of cording until you run out of interfacing to anchor it to.  Attach a row of contrast piping on the top and bottom, then fold the seam allowance on the piping to the back.
- lay Piece B of outer fabric on top of Piece B of Interfacing.  Attach a row of piping to lower edge and fold seam allowance to the back.
- Sew piece B of outer layer onto interfacing AB.  Sew piece A of outer layer on top of piece B.
- Fold outer layer of ayam in half, right sides together, and sew up the center back seam.  Turn right side out.
- Fold lining in half, right sides together, and sew up the center back seam with a 5/8" seam.
- Pin inside out lining to the wrong side of the outer layer and hand stitch the lining to secure it.
- Rejoice, as the really tedious part is behind you!

The rest, I think, is fairly self-explanatory.  Make or acquire tassels and decorative knotwork by whatever method works for you.  String some beads, pearls, semi-precious stones along the sides, connecting center front and center back.  You could use a wide ribbon to make a passable deurim, if you're so inclined.  I left out any decorative embroidery on the body of the hat, but may give that a go on any future attempts.

Ta da!

And it wasn't my intent when I started this project, but this will totally work for the current Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge.  Looking back over the project, I think the most wondrous innovation has got to be the faux pearls, as I am a huge fan of using them to dress up costume projects.  Big Bead, Little Bead has a wonderful article on the history of man-made pearls (among many others).  Mine are made of glass with a 'pearly' coating, a style of bead whose European manufacture was really picking up in the mid to late 1800s.

The Challenge:  HSF'14 #2
The Innovation:  glass faux pearls
Fabric: a synthetic black brocade that a friend brought back from Korea, red polyester something-or-other. Stiff collar interfacing for the foundation.
Pattern:  we made it up. 
Year:  late 19th c.
Notions:  polyester thread, silk cords and threads for the tassels, glass pearls, rayon cord for the knot, and cotton yarn for the couching.
How historically accurate is it?  Mmm, it's hard to judge.  The only pictures I could find from this time period were small paintings, reproduced in books.  If anyone out there comes across a link to a dated museum example, do share.  But until then, I'm just going to have to call this one a best guess.
Hours to complete:  maybe 8-ish.  Making the tassels and attaching them to the knot work took the most time.
First worn:  not yet
Total cost:  from stash, but even guessing, I'd say under $10.

- Decorative Fusion Knots: A Step-by-Step Illustrated Guide to New and Unusual Ornamental Knots by J. D. Lenzen

No comments:

Post a Comment