Thursday, 22 May 2014

Going Global;Going Thai

Don't you love Project Sewn?  I really admire the participants in the official competition but also really like seeing what all the participants in the sew along do. But it has never before occurred to me to participate myself. Until this time. As soon as I saw the Going Global theme, I knew exactly what I was going to make; the country, the design and the fabric.

To me it was obvious that I would choose my adopted home of Thailand as the country of influence, so to speak. I also knew that I wanted to incorporate a couple of elements that seem very "Thai contemporary"  (for want of a better description) to me and I absolutely knew that it had to be local mudmee (ikat) fabric.

So this is what I came up with. (yes, I drafted it myself:)

My Thai design

The two main design elements were the tucks on the upper bodice and the both cut-on and sewn-on godets. You can see the tucks on the left upper bodice above. And here's a close up..

Upper bodice tucks

Sewn-on godet

Did you notice my sewn-on godet?

Cut-on godet

And the cut-on godet side.

Gorgeous wooden buttons
These lovely wooden buttons are reminiscent of coconut shell buttons, which would certainly be more 'traditional' but to me scream 'made for tourists'.

Back view

And a (very crooked) back view where you can just make out the lines of both types of godet. And the fab use of the different 'stripes' of the fabric. Yes, I am mighty proud of that:)

I post full construction details in a post tomorrow. For now I'm off to have a well-deserved drink and bask in the glow of a project that turned out exactly the way I envisioned it....

And if you're of a mind to, you might like to pop on over to Project Sewn, check out the sew along entries and perhaps even vote for me.....

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Thursday, 1 May 2014

It's raining blog posts

So I bet (hope) are you now all hearing "It's raining men, hallelujah...." I really loved dancing to that back in the day.

But rain is the reason for the sudden and long overdue flurry of activity. It has finally rained after a couple of truly awful weeks of 40C+ temps. And on top of the heat, every afternoon we have had lots of dark clouds and thunder leading to high hopes of the glorious relief that a thunderstorm brings. Only to have those hopes dashed... seriously, it has been emotionally draining. And way too hot to sew, to blog or to do just about anything but lie in a puddle of sweat moaning about the heat.

There is so much to catch up on.

The very kind Lyric from Sewcroandquilt has nominated me for a Liebster award. And I will do a proper post with everything about that soon but I didn't want to leave it any longer to at least express my gratitude. I am tickled pink. In the meantime, why don't you pop over and check out her blog.

It was also Fashion Revolution Day and yes I missed that too.

I had really wanted to participate but figured that wearing my sarong inside out around the house wasn't going to be much of a contribution.

I did think it was interesting though how many sewists mentioned that they would like to know more about where their fabric comes from. This is something that interests me greatly and something I have been trying to gather more information on so I hope to have more posts on that in the future. However, in the meantime all the fabrics listed as handwoven in my etsy shop (there is a link in the sidebar) are generally produced by women working in their own homes. This also allows them to take care of children and other family members, which is very important in a country with basically no social welfare system. These women work for themselves although often under the auspices of OTOP which is a government program to support locally made products.

This program provides an opportunity to sell and market products collectively even though they are often made by individuals in their own homes. As well as the immediate benefits for communities through the sales of local products, the OTOP initiative has halted, and in many cases reversed, the decline in many traditional crafts and skills. So definitely a worthwhile initiative which I am in no way affiliated with except that it allows me to buy truly beautiful fabrics knowing that they were created locally and without exploitation.

In totally non-sewing related news, one of my orchids flowered. Yay!!! I love orchids and have a few. They all seem to grow really well but some of them (mostly the more unusual ones) don't flower very often or at least they don't for me. So I am fairly stoked by this, plus another will be flowering in a few days. This makes me happy.

As I mentioned earlier this infernal heat has effectively prevented sewing since I discovered that I was leaving sweat stains as I went. So I am hoping to jump back in to that today. But this does mean that April's Make a Garment a Month will not be finished on time. But I am still hopeful for only a few days late if all goes well. And seriously is it really May already?

I hope to be back soon with some actual sewing.....

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Double Kwik Sew

Yes another Sewing Double post prompted by the Monthly Stitch challenge. And two posts in two days - will the wonders never cease?

This Kwik Sew pattern, KS2627, is now my TNT shift dress pattern.  I have made two dresses and one top from it so far. And yes, it is so far - there will be more.

This is my first (and favourite) version.

It is navy cotton (made here in Thailand) with a textured self-stripe and a white woven border in a traditional(ish) motif.

Now if you've visited this blog before you will know (since I'm often moaning about it) just how hot it can be and so I am always looking for cool and comfortable. I am also not averse to a quick and simple sew and this Kwik Sew lives up the name. Oh and it's free. What's not to like.

I sorted out the admittedly minimal adjustments in my wearable muslin.

 Which, yes I know, is a top. I almost always make a top first to sort out the fitting before making a dress. I HATE making muslins unless they are of the wearable variety. This also allows me to actually wear the muslin and see how it performs rather than being ok for 5 minutes in front of a mirror. I didn't actually need many adjustments once I used the correct pattern sizes. (Although that wasn't nearly as simple as it sounds. You can read more about that here.)

For my second version I made a couple of design changes. Probably one too many to be honest.

I rotated the bust darts to the shoulder and made a square neck. But it seems that both of these can result in a little more room across the upper chest so both together was maybe not such a good idea. Or maybe both together when you don't actually know what you're doing isn't such a great idea. You can read more about that here.

Having said that, this dress is in high rotation. It is wonderfully cool, doesn't crease during wear and only needs a very quick press touch of the iron. Did anyone else call this 'pressing' before they began to sew? Seriously, in our house a quick press meant it didn't mean much ironing.

As I've said before, I really like simple designs as I hate fidgeting with clothes. Don't like worrying about where/how they're sitting. Don't like fitted just about anything, hate belts/ties/etc. Ok, I'm sure you get the picture. So this pattern is great for both tops and dresses that are cool, comfortable and easy to wear. I have already drafted tulip sleeves for it and plan to start that version very soon.

I'd also like to draft kimono sleeves on to it. Can anyone point me in the direction of a good tutorial for this?

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