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V8813 Marcy Tilton Silk Dress

Any time someone special in your life gets married, it’s an excuse to sew an outfit, right? Well, this summer my brother got married so I had grand plans for a rehearsal dinner outfit and a wedding outfit for myself. “Plans” are the operative word this time around.The first thing that got in the way of my “grand plans” is that Trevor asked my daughter Evelyn to be his flower girl. So I got to sew her a dress (more on that in a future blog post). My mom has some health complications and this summer she needed her legs to be covered. She didn’t have anything nice in her closet that fit this bill so I offered to make her a dress for the rehearsal dinner and some silk trousers she could wear with a nice tunic she already had for the wedding. I was happy to sew for …

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Natural Dying and Weaving Silk in Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos is a country with a rich textile heritage. With almost 50 main ethnicities and over 150 ethnic groups, there are many different traditional styles of weaving and methods of textile production. Ock Pop Tok is an organization based in Luang Prabang, Laos, that is working to empower women through their traditional skills and to preserve and promote Laotian textiles. I had the immense pleasure of taking their day-long workshop on dying silk using natural traditional dyes and learning how to weave. While Ock Pop Tok trains women across Laos in their traditional weaving techniques and buys textiles from all around the country to sell in their store in Luang Prabang, they also hire a group of local women to weave at their weaving center in Luang Prabang. So, before I got started on my own project, I got to watch professional weavers in action. I was mesmerized. I could …

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Silk Weaving in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Although Siem Reap, Cambodia, is almost exclusively known for Angkor Wat temples, there is certainly plenty else worth exploring. Since I’m a textile junky, we toured a silk factory outside Siem Reap. The factory was built as a part of project aimed at “providing professional skills for communities with limited educational opportunities” as well as reviving Khmer cultural heritage. The women who work there make a good living wage and they don’t have to move away from their home towns to a city for a paying job, so the positions are sought after. The factory has a training program that every woman must go through for 6 months wherein they learn the entire silk making process, from worm to weaving. After completing their training, they can decide which job they prefer to be hired for. Silk worms only eat mulberry leaves so next to the factory there is a big …

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Hand Dyed Silk Kanzashi Flowers

A collection of flowers. A panoply of kanzashi flowers. A range of silk flowers. An array of handmade flowers. A multitude of hand-dyed flowers. An assemblage of pink and purple flowers. A lot of flowers. Aren’t they so very bright and happy! And cheerful and fun! Okay, okay, I’ll lay off the thesaurus, I promise. I handmade and hand-dyed each of these flowers from silk noile from Minerva Crafts for my Minerva Craft Blogger project this month. Kanzashi is a Japanese method of folding fabric into individual petals and then sewing them together into flowers. I followed instructions in the book Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleland. The instructions in the book are great, but it’s worth noting that the vast majority of the book is ideas for using the flowers in projects. Diane has a how-to video on her website that’s a great resource if you want to make …

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Pink Silk Retro Bow Neck Blouse Simplicity 2154

Is this outfit too much? No, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know the answer. I am overcompensating with this outfit. You see, yesterday was not a good day. It poured down rain on my ride into work and the crotch of my rain pants split half way through the ride. So all the water that was puddling in my lap leaked into my crotch. And when I got into work and took off the failed rain pants, it looked like I had peed my pants. Not a good look and certainly not very comfortable. Fortunately, a co-worker had a pair of sweatpants I could borrow (thanks again Alex!). Unfortunately, they were the exact same color as the sweatshirt I was already wearing. So I ended up in a navy sweatsuit. (Oh, and I was wearing an oversize beanie because my hair was due for a wash and I …

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Dip Dyed Silk Bow Neck Blouse

I did some simple refashions on this one-time-old-lady-blouse to fun, flirty effect! The blouse was given to me by a friend of Adam’s who was helping to clean out an elderly friend’s closet and thought I would like the silk. I will admit to having been given it so long ago that I don’t remember when and can no longer find pictures of it in its fully native state. But, I can describe what I did to make it the fun piece it is today! It really didn’t take much to give this blouse a new life as part of my Bow Neck Blouse Sewalong, and it’s reminded me that I like to do refashions (which I used to do a LOT, but haven’t so much recently). Like I said, the blouse started as very much an old lady blouse. There were shoulder pads. There were some stains on the …

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Silk Floral Print Anna Dress

I sewed the Anna dress from By Hand London out of a lightweight silk to wear to a girlfriend’s wedding this weekend. It consumed my every free moment last week since I didn’t leave nearly enough time to sew it (since I had a stomach bug on the weekend I had planned on doing most of the work.) But I got it done, and I adore the result! To make sure that the dress would work before I cut out my silk, I sewed the same version of the dress out of a cheaper fabric first, but that version is currently only basted together because, as soon as I saw that it fit and I liked it, I switched to the silk dress. (I will finish it soon). I originally had other ideas for what to wear to this wedding, but the more versions of this dress I’ve seen pop …

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Silk Tunic Blouse

For Mother’s Day this year I made my mom a tunic blouse, just like her Sew Grateful for Mom blouse. This time I used a lightweight undyed silk that my cousin bought for me in Bangladesh years ago (Over 10 years old and it has been sitting in my stash since. That definitely makes this a stashbuster!). The silk was divine to sew with. I got such crisp seams, it pressed beautifully, and yet it still has some drape. It seems like every time I sew with silk I’m surprised by how much I love working with it. Note to self: you like silk. A lot. The back and sides have slits. It is interesting comparing this blouse to the exact same blouse in rayon. The silk does have a bit of drape, but nowhere near as much as the rayon. One noticeable difference is that the sleeves look shorter …