How to Sew a Happi Coat


The happi coat, also known as a hanten, is a Japanese garment traditionally worn by shopkeepers. Happi coats served as uniforms, often depicting a painted shop name or family crest on the back. Closely resembling a short version of the kimono, these overcoats are today often used as plain robes for the beach and bath, though they can also be seen on people at festivals and in the restaurant business.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Cotton fabric
  • Thread
  • Home sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Iron and ironing board

Prepare the Coat Pattern

  • Have a friend help you take your measurements. Measure the distance between your outstretched arms, from the fingers. Divide this measurement by four to get the width measurement.

  • Measure the distance between the nape of your neck and your knees to get the height measurement. Also spread your fingers apart and measure the width of your hand at its widest point to get the sleeve width measurement.

  • Cut two rectangles that are as wide as the sleeve width measurement and as long as the height measurement. These will be the sleeve pieces of your happi coat.

  • Cut two rectangles that are as wide as the width measurement and twice as long as the height measurement. These will be the body pieces.

  • Cut one rectangle that is half the width measurement and twice as long as the height measurement plus 8 inches.

Sew the Coat

  • Take the body pieces. Pin the body pieces together at the long edges, right sides together, stopping at the midpoint. This will be the center back seam.

  • Sew this seam, 1/2 inch away from the edges. Iron the seam allowances flat and zigzag stitch the raw edges.

  • Pin and sew the short edges of the happi coat sleeve pieces to the long edges of the body, matching midpoints. Press and stitch the seam allowances.

  • Fold the body and sleeves at the midpoints, wrong sides together. Stitch the side seams, from wrist to body hem. Press and stitch the seam allowances.

  • Turn up the hem of the body and sleeves 1/2 inch, then another 1/2 inch. Sew along the folded edges.

Attach the Collar

  • Make the neck hole for the body. At the shoulder edge, cut a slit on each side that is half the sleeve width measurement.

  • Press flat 1-inch seam allowances along the length of the collar piece, on both sides. Zigzag stitch the raw edges.

  • Sew one long side of the collar piece to the front edges of the body, matching the midpoint of the collar piece with the center back seam of the body.

  • Fold the collar piece to the inside, covering the seam allowances along the front edges. Hand-stitch the collar to the inside of the happi coat using a slipstitch. Iron the collar flat.

  • Fold up the hanging edges of the collar, tucking them into the tube created by the rest of the collar. Hand-stitch the tube closed.

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