Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I need a new dress... sooo....

... I make one. Not from scratch this time, but from a shirt a friend of mine gave me (cheers, Bry!). In tune with my principle of trying to consume less in all areas of life to tread more lightly on this earth, I have indeed not been clothes shopping in ages and ages. Conveniently for me, my friend has decided to bide one of his cotton work shirts farewell, as he has been working out lately and now many of his clothes are to big for him; he's really tall as well, so it's perfect dress-material for little me.


There are endless of ways of customizing shirts; they are one of the most satisfactory thinks to alter, as usually dress fabrics are nice. If you want to make one yourself, this is how I did mine: 

1. detached sleeves and collar, cut a strip from the sleeves to sew together with collar to create belt
2. cut deeper neckline, front and back. make cord channel with strip from sleeve. insert cord, tack at back to fix rouching
3. detached and re-attached pocket to lower position
4. detached cuffs, reseamed them, buttoned to sleeves as detachable epaulets
5. finish armholes
6. take in side seam under the arm holes and finish side seam
7. attach belt at side seams; rouch at back waist for regular gathering

Transformation completed!

... or almost... I still have a little bit of material left from the sleeves. Now, I am against waste of any sort. So either I will use this to lengthen the hem a bit (more suitable to moslem Indoland) or make rosettes for decoration. Ideas?

I am starting to customize another (short sleeve) shirt in a sunny yellow, as the other one looks lovely. First thing is changing the neckline, although I'm liking the sleeves so far (you can't see if properly on the pic but they are gathered on the top and left to drape underneath.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Tarum means Indigo; visiting a natural dyes workshop

Near Ubud, Bali, by driving along windey roads through little kampungs (villages) towards the coast, Tarum natural dyes have their workshop. Mr. Iwan, the owner, was kind enough to show me around their lovely (really, it was, and mostly open air) workshop, explain the different dyestuffs and techniques they use and show me samples of work the have done previously.

Mr. Iwan Triadi and Mr. Made Arsana, the owners first started experimenting with natural dyes in 1998, predicting growth of the area in the next 6 years. The prediction has been fulfilled and a steady but "organic" growth of the business has taken place.

Tarum uses leaves instead of roots, bark and wood as the tree can keep on living and regrown the leaves which is a sustainable harvesting method. The dying method is inspired by traditional pre-chemical dyeing. Most of the natural blues, reds, blacks, purples, and browns on traditional Indonesian textiles come from two vegetable dyes: indigo blue, from the shrubs Indigofera tinctoria and suffruticosa, and morinda red, from Morinda trees. Mango is used for yellow and orange. The plants are locally (in their back yard or in Singaraja, north Coast Bali) grown except for the Secang which comes from West Java because it is not sufficiently available in Bali.

Leaves for dyeing grown in the back yard

Harvesting Leaves to be boiled down to the dye stuff

Indigo leaf


Tarum also have a spinning and weaving facility; a wonderfully airy, spacious, light room. I mentioned to Pak Iwan that this is a much nicer working environment compared to the stuffy garment manufacturing factories I have seen in Indonesia; Pak Iwan however laughed and said one of their companies biggest challenges is in fact to recruit workers as the young people would rather work in mobile phone shops, can you believe it!

Weaving studio

Hand loom

Being dying professionals, Tarum are constantly expanding their repertoire on dying methods and have some in stock which are looking very interesting to Studio Anglindo...