How To Make A Gi

A gi is the necessary uniform for many various martial arts. The gi consists of a pair of loose pants, a wrap jacket, and a colored belt.

Depending on which martial art you’re planning on using it for, you might require some special features added onto your gi. 

How To Make A Gi

While the gi is necessary for certain moves in martial arts, they can be expensive to buy – especially if you’re buying for a child who is going to grow out of it quickly.

If you don’t want to spend a large amount of money on your gi, then you might consider making one yourself. 

Today we’re looking at how to make your own gi at home to avoid the heavy costs of store-bought. 

What You Will Need To Make Your Gi

Let’s start off with the things you will need to make your very own gi at home. These things will either be available to collect from around your home or in the local craft store. 

Heavyweight Cotton Blend Fabric

This will be the fabric that you make the gi out of. Gi’s are traditionally made from thick cotton blend material, so make sure you’re using a fabric similar.

If you’re purchasing from a fabric shop, you could ask an employee if they have anything suitable for a gi or not to ensure that you’re getting the right thing. 

You can choose your fabric in whatever color suits the martial art you’re wearing it for. Most are white, although some are blue or black depending on the martial art. 

Thick Thread

The fabric you’re using is going to be much thicker than most sewing projects you have completed before, so you need to make sure that you’re using a thick thread. A thin threat might simply burst within hours of the gi being worn.

So, you need a heavyweight thread to match the heavyweight cotton blend fabric you’re using.

You should match the color of the thread to the fabric so that you cannot see your stitching.

Gi Pattern

You can find a pattern online for free, or purchase one from a retailer. Make sure that you’re using an appropriate pattern for the martial art that you want to use it for. Print your pattern out true to size so that you can cut the fabric to your measurements. 

Sewing Machine

While it wouldn’t technically be impossible to hand sew your gi, it is improbable. A sewing machine is going to give you better results in a quicker amount of time, and your fingers won’t hurt so much as if you had to hand sew the entire thing. 

Pins

These will come in handy in multiple instances when wanting to cut the pattern from the fabric, or hold two pieces together to sew them.

Fabric Scissors

Plain old kitchen scissors aren’t going to cut the fabric as nicely and might even chew it up.

Use some fabric scissors to ensure clean cuts are made all around the pattern. 

Tailor’s Chalk Or Pencil

You can use tailor’s chalk to draw on fabric before cleaning it away when you’re done. If you don’t have tailor’s chalk, a pencil will also do the trick – but be more careful with a pencil as it might not come out of the fabric so easily. 

  • Measuring Tape

You’ll need this to take accurate measurements of your body to ensure that the gi fits correctly. 

  • Iron and Ironing Board

An iron will be helpful to press the gi and get the fabric ready for sewing. 

Making Your Gi – Step By Step

Step One: Preshrinking

The first thing you need to do is preshrink your fabric so that every piece of fabric that you cut out is made to be the same size.

To do this, simply wash and dry your fabric. Do this the same way you are going to wash the gi every other time. 

For example, most gi’s come with instructions to be washed on cold and air dried.

However,  if you’re going to wash it on hot and use a dryer, also use this method for preshrinking. 

Step Two: Ironing

Iron all of your fabric on a low heat to remove any creases. 

Step Three: Cutting Out The Pattern

Most patterns will have cutting lines depending on your measurements, so take your measurements with the tape measure and align them with the correct cutting line.

This ensures that your gi will be the right size for your body. If your measurements don’t perfectly line up with one of the cutting lines, use the size slightly larger.  

Pin the pattern onto your ironed fabric and cut around all of the pieces. Make sure that you use enough pins to keep the pattern steady when cutting, as this will avoid mistakes. 

As you’re cutting around the pattern, use your tailor’s chalk to mark any pattern symbols onto the fabric. This will help you to remember them when it comes to sewing. 

Pin all of your pieces together that you want to sew so that the wrong sides are together. This will give you a neat seam when you turn it inside out. 

Step Four: Sewing! 

Use your sewing machine to sew all of the pieces together as the pattern directs you to.

The flat-felled seams technique is best for gi’s, to ensure that the seam won’t wear away too quickly during martial arts practice.

You can use other sewing techniques, but we have found this to be the best. 

Step Five: Finishing Touches

Now all that is left to do is hem the arms and legs to the correct height. One this is complete, cut off any loose threads, turn the gi the right way, and iron it. Now step back and admire your work! 

Summary

We hope that this has been a helpful guide on how to make your own gi. As you can see, it is quite a simple process, you just need some basic sewing knowledge and time! Good luck, and enjoy.

Christopher Anderson