Re: Return of the hemp gi?
I feel an update and mini review is in order. I have been using Jen's hemp gi now fairly regularly for a couple of months. First I have to say the fabric is astoundingly comfortable. It is soft, yet airy, keeps some winter chill off, but does not get clammy when sweating. Usable both in the winter and, I imagine, in the summer. It's too early to tell how well it will hold up over the months and years, but if it does, it is fabulous material. We have had a few practises with katadori and so far nothing has broken. There were a couple 'clicks' that I would usually connect to threads breaking, but I haven't seen any rips or tears on the fabric, so it may also have been the gi moving around under the hakama. The trousers, in particularly, are wonderful. They are far more comfortable than the two pairs I've had previously — they're like pyjamas. The extra fabric on the knees is long enough to cover everything well, so good for suwariwaza.
As I suspected the fabric looks a bit frumpy, and might not perhaps be my choice for seminar wear or a grading, but for regular practise it gives off a sense of being a warrior who has seen a bit of life (much like my indigo hakama). In fact, if you were going for that ronin look at seminars, it might work there too.
In terms of fit the trousers are spot on. Just the right length to cover stuff, but not poke out under the hakama, and loose enough to not hinder movement. I ordered the top to be a bit longer to fit under the hakama. Iaido length. I'm not sure yet if I'd stick to that if I was ordering a new one, but at least it covers the hakama side vents well. One gripe I do have is that it doesn't wrap round my front quite enough for my tastes. I'm not sure if I measured myself wrong, but I end up exposing more chest than I'd like after even a bit of vigorous practise. There are no side straps or chest straps to mitigate that. The lack of side straps, in particular, make dressing trickier as the sides kind of fall down before I get my obi belt properly tight.
Another small gripe is that the belt loop at the front has almost come off. I'm not sure why as I wouldn't imagine that having to suffer much stress, but there you go. Should be easy to sew back. The belt string, however, moves very smoothly and without sticking, even after a wash, unlike my cotton ones.
Shipping costs to Europe were high, but helped a bit by having a friend order a gi with me. Overall Jen has been communicative and pleasant to order from, and the gi is a really unique piece of clothing. I would be very curious to see what her hemp hakamas are like. Please someone post pictures if they have one!
Edited to add that Jen's gi fabric no longer contains polyester, but is 40% lyocell (which I think is some kind of environmentally friendly rayon).
Last edited by Setok : 01-19-2023 at 07:31 AM.