Return to tsumami kanzashi (thing)

Tsumami Kanzashi, literally "tsumami" pinching a square piece of [fabric] into a formed shape, and "kanzashi" [hairpin]. This is a traditional Japanese art form that has been in use for over 200 years. Used to decorate meiko, the [geisha] apprentices since the [Edo Era|Edo period].

There is a very [tradition]al and rigid structure around wearing kanzashi. There are many different kinds, and the type and [location] can indicate status. Kanzashi are becoming a very popular fashion accessory not only among [kimono] wearing Japanese, but among the general population around the world. While the kimono wearing society in Japan (geishas, maikos, tayu, yujo) must pick their kanzashi according to the [season] and holidays, everyone else is free to wear whatever they think is lovely. No emphasis is placed on the location of choice for the general [population] either, pick one that coordinates with what you're wearing.

I found a few websites that sell these, made out of kimono [silk] for a lot of money, so I decided I would look into making them myself. After pouring through three different [tutorial]s, I finally figured it out. What follows is my own version of the directions.

For the tsumami kanzashi you will need:

  • fabric (cut into about 1x1 inch squares)
  • [starch], rice is prefered
  • thread
  • a [hot glue gun]
  • [bobby pin]s, clips or hairpins of desired shape
  • something to poke the fabric

I practiced the general form on an index card cut to size.

1. Fold the square in half, to form a triangle.
2. With the right angle of the [triangle] forming the top, fold the other two sides up (independently) toward the top to form a [miniature] square.
3. Turn this over.
4. With the middle fold forming a [vertical] line down the back, fold the two opposite corners of the square in toward the middle. It is important that they meet exactly.
5. Turn over again. The closed end will become the rounded top of one [petal]. For this part, you will need to shape the petal by lifting up the two halves on the front, pushing on the top and bottom, squeezing the loose ends together, and poking out the back.
6. Your options are to sew the ends together, or hot glue them with a little [dab] onto a piece of [waxed paper|wax paper].

Once you have mastered the [index card] tsumami, you are ready to move onto [fabric]! Starch your fabric very well before you attempt this. Amaze your friends with [personalize]d hairpieces.


I will post photos when I get some made.