Saturday, April 17, 2010


Some people collect sports cards; others collect stamps. I collect sewing pattern, preferably costume ones (amongst many other collections I have). I have over 250! Whenever there is a sale, I can’t help but get a couple more that I don’t yet have. And yes, sometimes I buy some twice by mistake (I should sell my doubles here). My collecting made me buy this Hanbok pattern by Butterick:

Of course at the time, I had no idea what it was supposed to be; I just thought it looked nice. But you know me; I have to know everything about everything (costume related) so I went online and did a little research.

As previously stated, it is a Hanbok. “And just what is a Hanbok?” I hear you say. It is the traditional Korean costume. Just like Kimono in Japanese means garment, Hanbok literally means Korean clothes. The modern Hanbok is based on the fashion of the Joseon Dynasty which ran from 1392 to 1897, but of course, it has evolved in the last century, for practical reasons. Nowadays, the Hanbok is worn as semi-formal or formal wear for traditional festivals and celebrations.

A woman in Hanbok at Beomeosain in Busan City

The traditional women’s Hanbok consists of two pieces: the Jeogori which is the short jacket, and the Chima or wrap around skirt.

The Jeogori is made up of Gil, the bodice; Git, a band of fabric that trims the collar; Dongjeong, a removable white collar which is placed over the edge of the Git; Goreum, the ribbon tie that keeps the Jeogori closed at the front; and sleeves, which can have Kkeutdong, different colored cuffs, or not.

Here is a video showing how to properly tie the Goreum:

The Chima is made of a rectangle of cloth which is gathered into a band of fabric (which we’ll call a waistband but really sits atop the bust). The waistband itself extends to be used as ties to securely close the skirt. There are also shoulder straps attached to the waistband that keeps the skirt up and in place.

Men's Hanbok Rental by Hanbok House

The traditional men’s Hanbok also consists of the Jeogori, but it is paired with baggy pants called baji, which is also the modern term used for pants. Following the introduction of Western influences at the end of the 19th century, modern men Hanbok also often include a Jokki, which is a vest.

Korean Royal Costumes

Traditionaly, upper classes Hanbok were woven from ramie or silk, of a variety of colours, although bright colours were usually reserved for children. The colour of the Chima indicated the wearers social status; for instance, navy if she had sons. Only royalty could wear Geumbak or gold leaf printed patterns at the bottom of the Chima.

Commoners were restricted by law to wear cotton (at best), white for everyday clothes and dull shades of pale pink, light green, gray, and charcoal for special occasion.

I’m not sure when or for what occasion I might use my pattern, but it looks like a very comfortable thing to wear!


  1. I'm starting a nice collection here myself....

    If you decide to sell your doubles, I'm a taker ! Truly !

  2. I'm a hanbok collector too^^ it's nice to collect them

  3. I am a lover of all things beautiful and I desire to own at least 4 hanbok. Do you have the research notes on the undergarments that you can pass along to me? I will happily post and share my progress with you as I endeavor to make my hanbok. Thank you for sharing this much with us!

  4. hi, I have been looking for this pattern. I wonder where did you buy it from? I am desperate. Thanks in advance

    1. I bought it at Fabricville, my local fabric store, but as the date stamp of this post shows, that was 5 years ago. I am vertain that with the name and number (Butterick 4539) you can find it on eBay or Etsy. Good luck!