ORGANIZING FABRIC AS SWATCHES

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These are for older fabrics which I can’t remember all the details for. I’m going to add width and how much I have for all the new ones I buy. I’m organizing them by the city / store I bought them from because I forget all other details but I remember (so far) where I’ve got them from.

I feel like my sister (OCD) when I’m neat and organized. Thanks P!

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INDIAN CLOTHES ON MY BRAIN

Lately I’ve been thinking of Indian clothes, mainly worn during shaadis, and how gaudy and glitzy they tend to be – not to mention overwhelming. Women seem to be drowning in a lot of these clothes, plus with the bling and jewellery it’s quite impossible to see the person underneath (I know, I’m bitchy) To be fair, some of the silhouettes are not bad, but the embroidery, fabric, bling, all together, makes it too gaudy.

My sister’s getting engaged/married soon which means that an avalanche of “functions” is sure to come and I’m going to need clothes to wear – lots and lots of clothes – most of which will be worn two to four times in their lives. It is only by error, that a simple, clean and nice outfit gets designed, but they are as difficult to find as a needle in a haystack. Anyway, enough ranting. I spent some time last night and these are outfits that I want to give a shot at sewing and maybe they will actually look half – decent?

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First up, a cream/peach/pink chiffon saree. I will sew self – made chiffon rosettes / flowers with a small pearl in the middle. The blouse will be plain white / offwhite with pearl buttons all the way along down the centre – back. I haven’t decided what to do about sleeves yet – maybe sheer?

 

 

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Second – This anarkali is based on a red Sabyasachi one we (my sister and I) own. This one will have printed georgette (maroon / black) as the main body with sheer black sleeves and hi-low hem. The lining will have dull gold embroidery on black lace and will show through at the bottom for 3 – 4 inches. The dupatta will be light and sheer to offset the dark bodice and will play off the gold embroidery to be a very light cream colour. To create cohesivie-ness I will add a black embroidery border (saree border) all around the dupatta. This is probably going to be the blingiest of all.

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Third: This is all about the dupatta which I want to be a nice print with drape. Based off on that will be the lining colour, for the sheer eyelet bodice. I think Pakistani style slim ankle length salwar will look quite nice and the lace border everywhere will tie things up.

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Fourth: The simple base of navy and offwhite salwar – kameez will keep the focus on a gorgeous sateen – cotton – silk dupatta. I might add a neck border which I will also put on the dupatta, not sure

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Finally, this one is going to be a hit or a miss. Based on a Anamika Khanna design, I’ll make dyed jacquard dhoti salwar (will use the pattern based on one we have) with a offwhite / yellow-ish cape with stark hi – low hem. I will line the entire kaftan/cape thing with a printed fabric. The colours are the same as my dress, but maybe a little blue on the kurta? Also, will need a blue tank if the cape/dress ends up sheer.

All illustrations done by me. Not bad, I think. Modesty is my strong suit.

I think a total budget of Rs. 20,000 (~$350) is not entirely impossible.

 

TEXTILE NOTES

One of the great things about being in India is having easy (and cheap, relatively speaking) access to some fantastic fabrics. I’m starting to easily differentiate between knit and woven various fabrics and here I’m summing up some new (to me) and interesting textiles I’ve come across.

Names which basically describe a technique rather than the fabric

Ikat

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Chikankari or Chikan Kari or Lucknowi work is a type of embroidery typically white and typically on cotton and chiffon

Hakkoba or hakoba work is basically eyelet fabric. At times Chikankari and hakkoba look quite similar

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Chanderi work, which I’ve heard of but can’t identify. It’s characterized by round motifs / butti and the sheer fabric

Bandhani (on cotton, chiffon, silk – pretty much everything – but cotton is most common) is basically tie – dye and the process is similar to Japanese Shibori or Indonesian Plangi. Leheriya is a form of Bandhani where in the pattern is diagonal or zigzag lines. Batik is also similar and commonly found

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Zardosi or Zardozi embroidery is beautiful and is one of my favourite. It’s a shame that most of the fabrics and designs available are so OOT

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Block printing

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Fabric and Blends

Voile (Cotton voile) also called “vail”, “gauze” is basically soft cotton

Terry Cotton – can’t make out it’s distingushing feature

Lizzy Bizzy Cotton is 50% cotton 50% Polyster which makes it soft. Very popular and cheap

2×2 or Rubia Cotton or 2 by 2 Rubia is basically softer 100% cotton (not softer than voile though)

Pleated Cotton (printed or plain)

Jacquard

Brocade

 

And of course, there are various silks (cotton silk, khadi silk, pure silk, crepe silk, polyester silk, silk satin, silk duponi), chiffon and georgette (I can’t tell the difference), crepe, denim, chambray, twill, net, tissue and lace. Wool, other warm fabric and leather are harder to find.

And lest I forget there is the “export fabric” which can be any of the above but will be slightly better quality (or not) and so will be more costly.

Phew! I think I’ve listed down all the fabric names I’ve heard and I guess for now this is a start.

PLANNING THE FUTURE

I’m thinking about what I want to make in the future and here are my plans – what fabric I actually use will vary based on what I find or will come from my small stash. (I don’t really have a large amount of fabric laying around!) I sort of like to go and buy fabric right before I start on it.

Tops:

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From top right: Scout with 3/4 sleeves, lakeside top, hound design tiny tank, tiny tank with buttons on back

Dresses:

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From left: A maxi dress, archer colour block shirtdress with placket button things, a strapless dress with boning, an easy tent dress

Jacket / Blazer:

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Modified victoria jacket by hand london, victoria jacket

Other: Moss mini skirt and men’s shorts from Thread

There’s a lot so let’s see what actually comes off this.

I BOUGHT A FASHION MAGAZINE

Over the years I’ve bought a lot of fashion magazines, starting with Teen Vogue when I was 15 – 17, to proper Vogue later on. And then at one point I stopped. They were full of information that seemed a bit worthless and also they pretty much say the same thing over and over again.

Since then I’ve only bought fashion magazines (read: not cosmopolitan) when I get on flights to kill time. I recently did that and I believe it’s time to stop that as well.

For a change, on this flight, I had a good look at what makes a Marie Claire, Vogue or InStyle. Here are my findings:

1. Half , yes half, the magazine pages are just ads! I knew there were a lot of adverts and promotions but didn’t realize that half the magazine was dedicated to them

2. 70-80% of “women” shown are models, skinny, white, young and photoshopped. I am ok with using attractive women, finding the perfect time to photograph in the “right” light, but if we get to a point when wrinkles start looking abnormal, it’s not ok.

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3. A 3 – 4 page section on “@ work” in Marie Claire was a refreshing change from my teen years of reading the magazine

4. The only time the magazine talks about “world” events is to talk about the terrible (it’s always down-right terrible) condition of women in Africa (it considers it one place), Afganistan, south east asian countries etc – basically anything outside of the US and Europe. I understand that this is not a political, news magazine and I am not looking for The Economist, but an over-whelming number of times it showcases women in dire conditions who happen to make up the majority of non-white faces in the magazine. Note that this is followed by rape, stalking, abuse etc. happening to a women (featured) in Europe and US and how they overcame it.

5. It tells you to love yourself the way you are, and then in the next page it gives you advice on how to loose 20 pounds / kilos in 20 days, followed by a ridiculous diet plan to try, followed by terrible recipes (which are neither low-cal nor quite healthy)

6. Obviously the main content of the magazine should be fashion (for women) as that’s what they claim to be – but is actually shopping for fashion and how to look like the models in their magazine, with a smattering of other “womanly” things (work, love, sex, home decor, low-cal/diet food, travel) thrown in. On a side note someone should tell them women are much more than that.

Where is the fashion? I’m talking about what makes a skirt or bag worth $2,000? Where’s the hard work that goes in to it? Why is there no “fashion” from different parts of the world – unless it has been toned down to an “aztec” print and is “in”? Where’s the handiwork? Where are the artists? It doesn’t have to be about high-end couture fashion. How about an idea of how clothes are made? How they reach the Gaps of the world? How about how trends are defined and decided? How about why crop tops have made it (other than the fact that simultaneously all the “top” fashion houses were showcasing them) vs some other trend? What about why certain fabrics feel nicer than others? How about showcasing (with 2 – 3 pages vs 4 lines) upcoming designers and why they’re good? How about talking about the schools of fashion? History of fashion?

I really am not interested in reading about the celebrity/model life from the cover page. We are all aware that they’ve all really struggled and overcome great hurdles but still manage to be humble and generous people. Plus, please tell me what the life of celebrities has anything to do with fashion – apart from them wearing more expensive clothes than average Jane?

I could go on and on, but will stop for now. If anyone has got through till here and knows of a great fashion magazine, which does not contain the above, do let me know. Thanks in advance.

FIRST TIME SEWING

My sewing began when I started a basic course at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines, sometime in February of this year. The classes are once a week and the results of my first (or second day?) are here. I sent the photo to my mum whose response was “wow you need to learn”. Off to a good start, wasn’t I?

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In the next class I practiced darts, seams and zippers on the muslin. Mum’s response to the zipper photo was “beautiful”. Either way, I was feeling quite proud, but I will admit a bit curious as to of how I was going to make a pencil skirt (next on the project) given that the industrial juki seemed to have a mind of it’s own and more than half my time was spent in dealing with the bobbin, threading the needle and other difficult tasks.

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If anyone ever reads this, let this be a reminder that your day 1 was probably not as bad. I’m glad I am able to spread joy in the world.