Today I thought I’d show you all some pretty fabrics! I know I mentioned here that I’ve been on a fabric buying ban for a few months now, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t received fabrics in that time. My mom actually went on a trip to visit family in Afghanistan this fall, and returned bearing some textile gifts!
I swear I only asked her for some embroidered trims that are hard to find here in the states. She brought back an entire suitcase full of fabric and notions. I am forever grateful for my mother and her generosity, but holy moly is it a lot of stuff! It’s been about two months and everything is still sitting in the same suitcase in a corner of my bedroom. I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and clearing lately, so this is sort of an inventory of the goods. Maybe you all can help me figure out what to make with it!
Looking at the fabrics my mother chose, I realize that it’s pretty obvious where my taste for bright colors, embellishments and sparkle comes from. I’m quite enamored with all of these – they’re very pretty, if not at all practical. Her intention was for me to make several fancy dresses, of course.
First is this dark blue embroidered chiffon. There are also chiffon flowers dotting the edge of the fabric. The design runs across the width of the fabric, and one of the selvedges is scalloped with a border design. The vines extend toward the opposite selvedge.
Next is a bright blue chiffon with an embroidered paisley design. This one is so unique! In the close-up, you can see what looks like some couched stitches and fuzzy chenille threads (yarns?) used for the colorful paisleys. I love the texture.
This one is an apricot colored mesh with stripes of rectangular sequins running parallel to the selvedge. In the photo on the far right, you can see that there are actually two sets of stripes with some plain mesh in between. The sequins in each set of stripes hang towards opposite selvedges. I believe it is meant to be used like you would use a double border print, or maybe it is meant to be cut down the middle. My mother has instructed me to make a gown with a tiered skirt.
The next one is also an embroidered mesh. The colors are pale gold and silver on a black background. The silver is metallic thread, but the gold is actually tiny sequins. You can see them in the close-up shots.
And finally, this gorgeous piece! It has seafoam green/blue (my camera had a hard time with the vibrant hues) and gold embroidery on an off-white mesh background. There are also pearl, crystal, and bead embellishments worked in. This one also had a matching gold satin lining, so it’s ready to go once I decide what to make!
My mother also picked up a few cuts of rayon challis: five solids, two border prints, and a small floral print. She bought the solids to coordinate with some of the trims she purchased. I really love the colors in the prints!
These are the pieces I’m most excited about! They are neckline appliqués that are used for making Afghan dresses. Now as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that many readers might not know what Afghan clothing looks like (except those family members who follow me – helloooo!), so if you’re curious you can see some examples here. In my totally biased opinion, Afghan dresses are some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing made anywhere.
This first set is a little different. The bib-looking pieces are obviously the neckline appliqués. The rosette is placed in the upper center back (decorations on both sides!), and the border trim can be used at the hem of the dress and/or sleeves (also pant hems, I suppose). The one on the left also had a rosette, but I didn’t find it until after I took these pictures.
The rest are more traditional. The embroidery is done directly on cotton muslin, and when you’re ready to make your dress, you just sew it on (or set it in) and trim away the excess. The skinny rectangular pieces are used to decorate the hems of the sleeves. This type of mirror work is very common in Afghan clothing. My mother bought these in two sizes – the smaller ones are for girls’ dresses (for my nieces, I presume) and the larger ones are for women’s dresses. As you can see, my camera went crazy with the colors (especially the red), but they are really quite vibrant in real life!
Trims and Embellishments
The rest of the haul is all miscellaneous trims. First up: some metallic jacquard ribbon, and various skinny trims. The third one (from the left) has a fuzzy rainbow chenille yarns running through it – it reminds me of the paisley fabric.
Ric-rac and soutache braid in metallic silver and gold.
Beaded trim and mirrors. These are real glass mirrors (dresses can get very heavy with all the fabric and embellishments). The colors on these match each other: green, purple, and magenta. The magenta color keeps showing up as red, though. Have I mentioned my camera troubles?
Another mirrored trim. These are actually just shiny sequins, not real mirrors, which I think is pretty neat. It makes it a lot lighter than it would be if there were actual glass pieces in there.
Lastly, I had to share the shoes! They have nothing to do with sewing, but they really complete an outfit, don’t you think? They’re made of leather and need to be majorly broken in before I do any extended amount of walking in them.
Hope you enjoyed seeing my latest acquisitions! Do you like learning about sewing in other parts of the world? When I started sewing, I was very focused on making western style clothing because that’s what I wear most days. However, as I am analyzing my style through the Curated Closet, I’ve realized that I have a second wardrobe of Afghan clothing (as well as Pakistani and Indian style clothing), that was all either purchased abroad or made here by a family member or local tailor. I’m not really sure why I never felt the desire to make these types of clothes myself (until now), so that’s given me some food for thought. Has anyone else experienced this type of wardrobe duality?
Have a happy holiday! I hope it’s stress-free and fun for everyone. I’ll be back with some festive NYE wear next week.