Matt as Himura Kenshin

Character: Himura Kenshin
Series: Rurouni Kenshin
Made for: I-Con 2001
Worn at: I-Con 2001, I-Con 2002

Construction Details: This costume is made out of two parts, the hakama and the haori. I've since learned that, to be authentic, Kenshin should be wearing an actual kimono with an under-kimono (apparently a haori was fairly different), but it looks close enough to the anime that I don't question too much.

Hakama: We acquired a pattern for the hakama, or "samurai pants," online, on a (now defunct) page for a live-action samurai roleplaying game. It's actually quite easy and requires no cutting of pattern pieces (the entire thing is one giant rectangle of cloth). The only challenge was putting in the pleats. Pre-pleats, the hakama looks like pants for the elephant man, and it requires The Power of Math (tm) to get the pleats even on either side, front and back.

As for fabric, we faced the dilemma of finding a white that was heavy enough that it wouldn't be see-through. Upholstery fabric scraps ended up being the answer to that question.

If I made this again, I would sew the belt the right way out (I was still in that "which side is the right side?" stage of sewing at the time), and I would use buckram on the back piece instead of the recommended multiple layers of interfacing. The back piece, a trapezoidal piece on the back above the belts, is supposed to stand up, but ours is kind of lazy, due to floppy interfacing.

Haori: The haori pattern we used was Folkwear's Japanese Hapi and Haori pattern. We used a pink cotton for the outside, and a white bleached muslin for the lining.

This pattern, though it was the biggest size, was not big enough for an average man! Amusing, considering a haori is supposed to be a men's garment. Well, technically, this shouldn't be a haori, but ignore that. If you are using this to make a Kenshin costume, and you're a guy, you will need to enlarge the pattern (probably by adding some fabric in the center of the back).

Other details: We purchased a katana for Matt to carry around with this costume, since I-Con is pretty lenient with its weapons policy (they do peacebonding, yay). Usually Matt wears little plastic flip-flops as zori, and we've yet to make tabi, though the tabi pattern comes with the Folkwear haori pattern. Matt dyed his hair red for this one, though it's hard to tell from this photo. We also tend to starch and iron this one heavily before wearing, just to make the pleats stand out. Mmmm, the powers of starch.