22 January 2012

Sewing again!

I haven't sewn in some time, let's see...um, over 2 years! I didn't/couldn't bring my sewing machine to Guatemala when we moved. Moving house via luggage is not an easy task. As luck would have it, I was able to purchase a brand new machine in December and bring it back with me! It's taken some weeks to start using it but, I have and I've just begun.
*I got a Brother XL 2600i-love it a lot so far.


My etsy shop featuring my sewn efforts.

I gave my old appleseeds shop on etsy a new life with a new name:

I am working with old well loved vintage Mayan traje (clothing). All of it is handmade from the ground up. It's all been woven on a backstrap loom and a lot of pieces are even woven with fiber harvested and made by hand. All of the designs and patters and imagery on the traje is threaded in as the piece is being woven on the loom this technique is called brocade. Guatemala is 65% indigenous Maya Indian and most of them, especially the women, still wear the traditional clothing. All of the clothing is village specific, although plenty of modern Mayans tend to wear whatever they like from which ever town but, for the most part you can tell where someone lives or is from by the huipil they are wearing. Being obsessed with the indigenous culture and absorbing it like a sponge, I find myself living the simple life they do: going to the market everyday, preparing all of my meals from fresh and scratch and just taking life one day at a time. Spending a lot of time in the markets, I have almost become bi-lingual but, not quite, I don't exactly speak 'Spainish' instead I speak 'Guatemalan Market Spanish'. I write this smiling because I think it's funny but, what it really is is just the Spanish I need for my life at the mo'. What I am getting at is I spend a lot of time in the market and that's where most of the used (and new) traje is sold and traded. I've been collecting pieces to sew for a while and it's great to finally be getting around to it!

Deconstructing a vintage Chichicastenango huipil.
The huipil from Chihi is attractive to me in several ways. First, I love the patterns and colours, second, they are thick n' heavy and feel great, third, they are three panels attached by a hand-sewn external seam called a 'randa'. I love the panels because I can simply separate the and make pillows from the outer two panels without even having to cut into them. I have lots of ideas for the use of the middle panel but, haven't gotten to any of them yet. Here are some of the pillows I've made so far:

It's all very exciting to me and I can't wait to venture on to making different things!!

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