The Kurume Kasuri manufacturing process
The handcrafted process of making Kurume Kasuri
The Kurume Kasuri production process consists of more than 30 stages and may take up to three months. Each step is realized according to the traditional techniques which have been handed down until today.
The main production stages are the following.
Design Creation (*through hand or digital painting)
The new Kasuri design is made through either hand-painting or digital graphics. The drawing is then used as a guideline for making sewing patterns.
This stage requires a lot of experience as each thread needs to be dyed individually and risks shrinking.
Those threads required to realize each design within a big frame are wrapped together in length. Then, they are knotted and got ready for the “Kukuri” (threads tying) and dyeing procedures.
“Kukuri” (tying bunches of cotton threads)
Some cotton threads are grouped and tied together with other cotton strings, which have been previously glued and located according to their position on the final figure.
Since the non-tied yarn is not dyed, the range of colours will result from weaving, and not from dyeing. This is a very unique feature that differentiates Kurume Kasuri from any other kimono-fabric production process.
Indigo dyeing: Many manufacturers who keep weaving Kurume Kasuri by hand pick the indigo dyeing.
The most skilled craftsmen in the “Aidate”, which is the indigo fermentation process to get natural pigments for yarn dyeing, can check on the fermentation stages just by licking the surface of the liquid fermented indigo. The various shades of indigo result from multiple stages, which may be up to 30 for a more intense pigment.
Chemical dyeing: Even if in the past only dark shades were used, many other colour ranges have been introduced today. These shade variations can be realized by adding extra water, which takes impurities and excess dye away. For this reason, Kurume Kasuri can only be manufactured in locations where water resources are widely available.
Glueing and drying
The threads are glued and dried, aiming to avoid fluff and to pull them homogeneously taut.
The threads that will make the fabric are placed next to each other so to create the desired drawing.
Warp and weft yarn winding
The warp yarn is winded onto a winding box, while the weft yarn goes on a specific flat foil. This process only works well with the support of experienced manufacturers, who makes sure that the drawing results without any blend.
Both hand-weaving and mechanical-weaving require experience and specific skills in sewing warp and weft according to the Kasuri model. In our mechanical-weaving laboratory, we use electrical looms built in the early 1900s and still perfectly working.
Dip in warm water and cloth finishing
Once woven, the Kasuri is washed with warm water, which takes the glue off the fabric, and dried in the sun. After a quality check, the cloth is cut in 12-meters sizes (a Kimono fabric unit of 12 meters is known as “Tan” and is equal to the length of cloth required to make a Kimono) and folded every 4 meters.