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What to Wear in Madagascar- Part 2

My daughter has been in the Peace Corps in Madagascar for the past 2 years and 3 months, and she came home to visit for a few weeks this month.  Before she left in 2016,  I made her some clothes to wear, and blogged about them here in this post.  Those clothes have been worn to shreds by now, and she is extending her stay by one year, so she wanted some new things to wear!  There's not much that I can do for her 12,000 miles away, but I can sew, and I'm happy to support her in any way that I can.

What she found when she got there is that really, anything goes clothing-wise in Madagascar.  They can wear pants, skirts, dresses- anything at all as long as it isn't too hot.  Where she is at, which is in the north,  never really gets cool- just hot weather, followed by really hot and humid weather, or the rainy season, as she calls it.  So, in figuring out what to make, it really was all about comfort- breathable and lightweight fabrics were the priority.

Within minutes of arriving home, she was raiding my closet.  She claims that it's just like shopping at a store.  Even though she's not my size, she has quite the nose for clothes, and the first things that she picked out was my Vogue 9305 tunics that I had just made.  How did she know that I had just made them?  So, I knew that I wanted to make her one of her own.  We waffled back and forth for weeks about what fabric to use, and finally decided on a floral rayon jersey.  She had also discovered a pair of linen pants, and decided that they were pretty awesome.  So I made her her own pair of pants from an avocado green linen from Fabric Mart's designer linen section.

For her version, I shortened it 3 inches and also cut it a size smaller than her measurements, since I was using a really stretchy knit.  It's really pretty on her, and hopefully it will hold up. Rayon knits are not the best for longevity, so I was a little hesitant on this one, but told her not to wash it very often.  I'm sure that the pants will hold up- that linen will wear forever.  I just used an basic Kwik Sew pant pattern with pockets for it.

Next was the Kielo Wrap Dress from Named patterns.  I had just made myself one, and of course, she wanted one for herself.  I can't say enough good things about this pattern- easy, chic, and fits great!  I made hers out of a hot pink linen knit.  Someday, I'll blog about my version.

Here she is in her supermodel pose:

And here she is more like in real life, goofy.

We got so many good pictures of this one.  We're at Allerton Park, which is a beautiful public garden in central Illinois.

Next on the list was a tank top that she wanted me to copy from another tank top that she had bought. I traced off the pieces, and did my best at recreating it.  I made her a couple of these- this one is from a polyester crepe like fabric that is really pretty.  See the bag next to her?  Those are made in Madagascar, and her sister had given me one when she visited last summer.  I love it.  It's my favorite to take grocery shopping.

I also made it out of a green quilting cotton.  I told her that it wouldn't drape as well, but it still looks cute, and green is a great color on her.

And the last thing that I had actually made for me a couple of year ago,  but since I wasn't wearing it, and she liked it, it ended up in her suitcase.  It is a pair of wide leg wrap pants from Vogue 9191.    I just had to shorten them to fit her.  She's wearing them with a black linen t-shirt, so that the pants can be the star of the show.

So, she's already back in Madagascar, and looking forward to another year there.  I will probably be visiting myself later this year, so there may be a What to Wear in Madagascar, Part 3!  Or maybe not- I have a feeling that my suitcase will be filled with books to deliver to her, as she reads a lot, and books in English are few and far between.  She's been in an isolated village with no internet, no TV.  We've been able to talk to her every couple of weeks, and have tried to keep her up to date on what's been going on in the US, but she really can't keep track of it all.  Can you imagine not hearing everyday about politics for the last two years?

Here she is showing off how she can carry things on her head, one of many skills she's learned while there, including cooking over an open fire, rice farming, speaking Malagasy, and many more!  If you'd like to learn more about her experience, you can check out her blog at Recklessly Freckling.

Happy Sewing!!

Vogue 9305 Asymmetrical Tunics

It's April and we're expecting snow tonight.  Have we switched hemispheres?  Nevertheless, I am sewing with visions of warm sunny days.  And for those warm sunny days to come, I imagine sitting in the shade with a light breeze flowing through the air, enjoying a light beverage with friends.  Just close your eyes and you can imagine too.  What would you be wearing?  Well,  I love a dramatic asymmetrical tunic made of the softest linen.  As luck would have it, I found just the fabric in the "As Is" section in Fabric Mart's sales category.  With just some irregular dye marks on the selvage, it was marked down, but still completely usable.  It started out as a solid color, but I did an ombre dip dye process to get this look- more on that later!

For my pattern, I chose Vogue 9305, a tunic with a shaped hemline, and two styles of pants (I didn't make the pants).   This pattern must be the biggest bang for your time possible.  The tunic went together so quickly- that little flounce on the front hem is deceptively simple- you would think that there was some very tricky construction, but it's just a short seam sewing the lower side section to the upper section, and then the rest is narrow hemming. Sometimes, fabrics are difficult to narrow hem on a curve, but this linen behaved beautifully.  It really was a joy to work with.  

I lowered the neckline by 2 inches, using a french curve to make sure that it had a nice rounded shape.  That allowed me to slip the tunic over my head and not worry about fiddling with a button closure in the back.  I also lengthened the tunic 1-1/2" for my 5'9" height, but I'm not sure that was necessary- it's very long as is!   I particularly like how the side piece falls when sitting.

Serger time-out and thrift store haul

This is my Spring Break, and I had hoped to do a lot of sewing, but the sewing gods had other plans for me.  My beautiful Babylock Serger, which I've had for 20 years, with absolutely not a hiccup, finally needs new blades.  One of my sewing students let a pin sneak through, and I got a nick in the blade.   I've ordered a replacement, and hope that it will arrive soon.  And rather than sew without my baby, I decided to do some much needed organizing.  I mean- I really, really, really needed to do this.  I am not an organized person, and I would rather do just about anything else.  Usually I wait until I just can't find something before I organize.  I'd rather live with chaos than wait to start a new project!

Part of that organizing meant boxing up all of the scraps from prior projects and taking them to the IDEA store- this is a reuse/recycle thrift store that is absolutely my candy store.  All the proceeds from this store benefit the local school foundation, which gives grants to teachers for special projects that they wouldn't be able to do otherwise.  I was surprised at how many scraps I accumulated in the last year- three full boxes!!! It seems that I almost always have at least 1/2 yard of so extra at the end of a project that I think I'll use somewhere else but never do.  So, I hope that someone more creative than me can see some potential in these scraps and make them into something beautiful. Here's one of their displays, all organized by color.  They sell fabric for $4/pound.