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Fabric Shopping in Hoi An, Vietnam

The final stop in my attempt to fabric-shop my way across SE Asia – Hoi An, Vietnam. Hoi An is known as the tailoring capitol of Vietnam (more on that coming soon!) so one would think that I should have been able to go on one last fabric binge, right? The obvious place to look would be the building in town called the “cloth market”, right? The cloth market is a market in a building on the east side of the main part of Hoi An. It’s full of stalls of fabric, as one might expect from the name. Unfortunately, each stall had pretty much the same selection as the others around it and the touts were very, very aggressive. The fabric is really being sold as part of getting something custom tailored, and it usually took me a bit to get a price for a meter of fabric as …

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Flower Hmong Blouse Decoration Close Up

I think all of us sewing bloggers can agree that we’re voyeurs at heart, that pretty pictures of finished garments are great, but what we really want to see is the insides so we can mentally sew the garment for ourselves. Right? I know that’s not just me because after I posted about Flower Hmong Fashion, I got questions about how the decoration on the blouses is constructed. So, for my fellow voyeurs, I’ve got a close-up look at 3 different Flower Hmong pieces to share. First is the yoke cut off of a worn blouse. This is the oldest and most handmade piece I have. You can see on the inside how much stitching goes into this decoration! Also notice a few different fabrics that have bits and pieces remaining – as I mentioned before, the blouses are often put together with several different fabrics in what we might …

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Current Flower Hmong Fashion in North Vietnam

The Flower Hmong are one of the most colorfully dressed ethnic minorities in Vietnam, making me ever so infatuated with their sartorial sensibilities. The Hmong are one of 54 ethnic minorities in Vietnam, making up 1% of the population, and further subdivide themselves into groups whose names often describe the traditional clothing of the group – such as Black Hmong, Blue Hmong, and Flower Hmong. One of the interesting and universal things about fashion is that it is alive and dynamic. Many Flower Hmong women continue to wear their traditional clothing, but the dynamic nature of fashion is clearly visible at the Bắc Hà weekly market in North Vietnam. Many Flower Hmong women carry embroidered purses. While embroidery is an important form of textile ornamentation for the Hmong, these purses break from tradition in that they are machine made in China. As tourism becomes a more important industry in formerly rural areas …

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Vietnamese Dress

Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups and a correspondingly rich assortment of traditional dress. I wanted to share a small selection of different traditional women’s dress from across Vietnam for I have found the amazing assortment of color, shape, and construction to be a true inspiration. I hope you find them inspiring as well! Cotton is historically the most popular fabric with silk being used on applique and for festive costumes although synthetic fibers and chemical dyes are becoming prevalent, even in traditional dress. There are a wide variety of techniques used across the ethnic groups that include embroidery, appliqué, batik, ikat, and woven patterns. The Yao (also known as Dao or Zao or Mien) are originally from southern and southwestern China. This Yao Do outfit is from Cao Bang and made in 1957. It’s hand-woven cotton dyed with indigo and decorated with embroidery and appliqué. It includes two turbans, a …