The Karamiori Technique

A unique technique for weaving see-through fabric

Weaving in the 300-year tradition of Tango chirimen silk crepe

Yasuda Textile Co., Ltd. has long been weaving silk fabrics called “ro” and “sha” which are used for summer kimono. The techniques used to create the high-grade silk fabric with a proud 300-year tradition called “Tango chirimen silk crepe” live on here. We have continued to expand these techniques to develop techniques that enable us greater flexibility in designing see-through silk material, as well as to fine tune our production system.

Creating open space in fabric

Our company specializes in karamiori; a weaving technique in which the warp threads are twisted in a figure eight pattern into which the weft threads are inserted, creating open spaces in the fabric. The twisting creates a distinctive texture and three-dimensional feeling. The technique for weaving karamiori is complex, so it can only be woven slowly, and each piece is like a handmade curio.

Karamiori Effects

“See-through” visual effect

The most distinctive feature of karamiori is its sheerness. It can also be woven to be partially see-through, allowing the expression of a wide variety of designs. In addition, depending on the type of weft thread used, there are weaving techniques that can produce sheerness that varies based on the viewing angle, appearing see-through when viewing from one side, but almost opaque when viewed from the opposite side.

Highly breathable

Due to the structure of the weave, karamiori is a technique which creates gaps in the fabric by intertwining the threads. As a result, the fabric is see-through and consequently also highly breathable. In kimono, this fabric is used for summer clothing, but there are a variety of possible applications that take advantage of the characteristics of this fabric which allow light and air to pass through.

Resistant to wrinkling and slippage

Some may worry that durability is a concern for a see-through material. However, karamiori is actually resistant to wrinkling and slippage, because the threads are intricately interwoven. The texture also has a certain degree of stiffness, so it is possible to create fabric that is sturdy as well as see-through.

Types of Karamiori

Ro(絽)

A textile with a straight grain and regularly spaced see-through portions called “rome.” Some situations in which ro garments are worn have strict rules. Kimono worn for formal occasions such as tea ceremonies, flower arranging, or mourning clothes are made from ro. In the tea ceremony, some very strict tea houses even have rules about the spacing of the rome.
Komaro…Ro with a smooth texture woven from silk thread called komaito. These kimono are worn during midsummer in July and August.
Ro chirimen…Ro with a crepe texture woven with flat warp threads and crepe weft threads. These kimono are worn in June and September, period for wearing unlined kimono.

Sha(紗)

A see-through textile in which the material is made entirely with karamiori weave. It is used for the summer vestments worn by priests, as well for luxurious and elegant kimono called sha-awase, tailored with sha layered over ro. In recent years, it is also tailored into haori (a short overgarment) woven from sha that are worn instead of a coat. They have become more common as fashionable wear.

When a pattern is applied to ro or sha, the fabric is called monro or monsha respectively. At Yasuda Textiles, we can handle all of these fabric types.

Karamiori’s Texture and Feel

Desired Criteria for Texture and Feel

To make our customers’ ideas a reality, we also take requests regarding the feel of the fabric, etc., in addition to the pattern.

  1. Adjusting sheerness
  2. Material selection
  3. Fabric weight
  4. Anti-drape stiffness and firmness
  5. Special finishing

We will offer suggestions based on your desired cost.

Creating Pattern Card Data

In textiles, how a design is expressed in textile form is influenced by the quality of the pattern and its conversion into a weave structure (the pattern in which the warp and weft threads are interwoven). Additionally, there is an upper limit to the number of threads which can be used, which is equivalent to the resolution of a digital image. How to reproduce the idea of the design pattern with a limited thread count is an important consideration. The quality of this will influence the reproduction of the shapes in the pattern, as well as the sheen of the fabric, etc.

Yasuda Textile specializes in karamiori

Textiles produced by the karamiori technique are generally not often seen, and there are also few weavers capable of handling these textiles.
Broadly speaking, there are two main reasons for this. Karamiori was primarily a technique used for summer kimono, and the weaving technique is complex.

An unwavering commitment to summer kimono

When demand for kimono was much higher than it is now, there was a time when weaving summer kimono was considered a waste of time. As the demand for long-sleeved kimono was overwhelmingly greater, many weavers put their emphasis on material for long-sleeved kimono. Meanwhile, our company maintained its commitment to summer kimono fabrics, and today we have earned a reputation as experts in karamiori and as a specialist manufacturer of summer kimono fabrics.

Understanding karamiori is complicated

When creating the weave structure for typical textiles, it is generally only necessary to plan whether to raise or lower the warp threads, so in most cases a simple approach can be taken to the weaving. However, with karamiori, in addition to the aforementioned approach, it is also necessary to think about how to intertwine the thread. When doing so, one must design it so that the parts designating a standard weave do not interfere with the parts designating karami (intertwining), making it inevitably a complicated process.

As a specialist vendor, we answer the needs and creativity of our customers in order to spread the word about the beauty of karamiori and its possibilities as a fabric.

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