A gi (also known as a dogi, or a keikogi, loosely translated as “practice clothes”) is a martial arts uniform that is worn by practitioners of Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, BJJ, and more. A gi consists of a jacket (known as “uwagi”), pants (known as “shitabaki” or “zubon”), and a belt (known as an “obi”). To sew a gi yourself, you need to make the jacket, the pants, and the belt.
What you will need
- Patterns for the jacket, pants, and belt
- Sewing machine
- Tailor’s chalk
- Ironing board
- Measuring tape / scale
- Fabric (canvas/ cotton/ poly-cotton)
- Thread (colour usually matches the fabric)
Step 1: Get the patterns
You need three patterns, one each for the jacket, pants, and the belt. For this, you have the following options:
Option 1. If you know basic sewing, then you can buy the patterns from any online pattern selling website.
Option 2. If you know some advanced sewing, then you can borrow a gi/jacket/belt from someone and create your own patterns.
Option 3. If you are a tailor, then also you need patterns, either borrowed, bought or created. Patterns can be created on paper by taking individual measurements to make a custom-tailored gi/jacket/belt.
Step 2. Get the fabric
Once you know the patterns, then you can know the exact measurements and how much fabric you need. Fabrics come in a variety of weights (oz) from 8oz to 18oz. Canvas is 100% cotton and is a heavy fabric. While cotton and poly-cotton fabrics are light in weight. The weight depends on how the fabric is weaved. Common weaves for a gi are single weave, double weave, gold weave, pearl weave, pearl weave plus, honeycomb weave, and ripstop weave. Choose the desired weave and the weight of the fabric and buy it online or offline.
Step 3. Wash, dry and iron the fabric
Cotton tends to shrink when washed. Therefore before cutting the fabric, soak the fabric overnight in normal temperature plain water. The next morning, wash the fabric by hand with cold water of normal temperature. If you intend to use hot water for regular washing of the gi, then wash the fabric in hot water. Then, dry the fabric. Dry the fabric by hanging it on a clothesline that is outdoors in the sun. If you intend to use a washing machine for washing and drying it in a dryer, then do so now. This would let the cotton shrink as much as it can. The washed and dried fabric needs to be ironed on an ironing board, to remove any wrinkles. Ironing should be done on low heat, so as not to harm the cotton threads or the polyester threads of the fabric.
Step 4. Cut the pattern
If you have bought a pattern, then according to its user guide, cut the pattern in the required pieces and iron (on low heat) all the pattern pieces. If you have created a pattern from a borrowed gi, then cut the pattern pieces according to the measurements of the borrowed gi. Cut the paper for the patterns using another pair of scissor, as paper cutting can dull the sharp edges of a scissor. For cutting the fabric, use another scissor that has sharp edges.
Step 5. Lay and pin the pattern
Place the washed and ironed fabric on a table or a flat surface. Arrange the pattern pieces on the fabric as per the pattern user guide. Check whether seam allowance is given on the pattern, otherwise give a standard seam allowance of about 15mm (5/8″). Pin the pattern pieces in place on the fabric. You may use pattern weights instead of pins, so that the pins do not damage the fabric.
Step 6. Mark the fabric
Use a measuring tape or scale to mark the measurements on the fabric. Mark the fabric by using a tailor’s chalk. Some patterns may use folded fabric for measurements. A pattern provides standard measurements for standard sizes, but if you are making the gi for a particular person and have taken the person’s specific measurements at the chest, hip, waist, etc., then mark the fabric accordingly.
Step 7. Cut the fabric
Use sharp scissors to cut the fabric along the cutting line as given in the pattern pieces. Then remove the pins and the pattern pieces from the cut pieces of the fabric.
Step 8. Pin, sew, and hem the fabric pieces
Pin the cut fabric pieces together before sewing. If you have advanced sewing skills, then you need not pin the pieces together. Sew the cut fabric pieces with a heavyweight thread and a sewing machine. A gi undergoes a lot of stress and generally flat-felled seams are used. Hem the pants and the sleeves.
Step 9. Wear the gi and do amazing martial arts training
Now that you have successfully sewn a gi, wear it and do super punches and powerful kicks. After all the sweating in the rigorous training session, remember to wash your gi in the correct way. After your gi is nicely washed, fold it in a traditional way and go ahead to your next awesome training session. You may also sew the logo patch of your martial arts school on your gi.
To sew a gi, advanced sewing skills are required, as pants have a gusseted crotch, an elasticated waistband, as well as an internal drawstring. The sewing is doubly reinforced at pressure point areas to withstand the strain of punches and kicks. Jacket collars have folded fabric with multiple lines of stitches to give firmness. Belts may have embroidery, or labels, along with multiple stitching lines.
Sometimes, instead of sewing a gi yourself, it may be better to buy a Pacific Sports gi, which has numerous features and benefits, besides being very economically priced.
Pacific Sports Gi Sizes
All gi from Pacific Sports are made from the highest quality fabrics, have reinforced stitching and last a very long time. Please check out your size from the chart below.
Pacific Sports quality
All products sold at Pacific Sports undergo rigorous testing. Numerous gyms and martial arts schools of Australia and the world, rely on the Pacific Sports quality for tough and long-lasting products, which includes uniforms, jackets, pants, belts, shoes, rash guards, compression wear, protective wear and training gear. Additionally, products offered on sale carry this same high quality but with drastically reduced prices. Moreover, if the monthly newsletter is subscribed, then an additional 10% discount is also offered.