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Book Review: Fabric for Fashion – The Swatch Book

I won this book in a giveaway from Kathleen of the Fashion Incubator. And I am so very glad that this book ended up on my shelf because it’s already a go-to reference. Fabric for Fashion – The Swatch Book is a great reference that explains and even better shows the difference between different fibers, weaves, and fabrics. The text is easy to understand and the swatches are so helpful and informative. I recommend this book as an addition to the bookshelf of any sewist. I have a few different text books on textiles but I’d much rather turn to Fabric for Fashion for a few reasons. 1 – All of the swatches come glued in! Not all texts on textiles come with swatches and moreover, most make you buy the swatches separately and glue in every single swatch yourself. Not fun. 2 – The organization is really intuitive. On …

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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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Warp X Weft – Popup Britex Workshop

Last night I went to a really fun Pop-Up Britex workshop called Warp x Weft: Textile 101. It was taught by Geana, the lovely Britex host of our last SF sewing blogger meetup. The Pop-Up Britex workshops are a series of textile and design workshops that Britex has put together, hosted at different locations around the city. Warp x Weft was about the process of going from fiber to fabric and designed for anyone interested in learning more about textiles, not just sewers. The talk started with the raw fibers (did you know raw cotton isn’t necessarily white?), talked about manufacturing processes unique to each fiber, showed some yarns with special properties (wherein I learned a crepe de chine doesn’t use crepe yarn), different weaves of the yarns, and briefly touched on knit and felted fabrics. While I did know some of the information already, there was plenty that I …