Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Traditional Vietnamese Montagnard Shirt

The Montagnard, also known as the Degar, are indigenous people from the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Montagnard means "mountain people" in French, and up until the mid 20th century Vietnam was a French colony. During the Vietnam War, American soldiers interacted with them as they were staunch allies.

My boyfriend encouraged me to make a Montagnard shirt for him, and I'm super excited to take on the challenge.

For reference, we pulled a few images from the internet. Shirts of this style are also seen in the movies Tropic Thunder and Apocalypse Now. The most helpful ones were from this Etsy vendor, who sold his version for $100--way out of my boyfriend's price range. But the images, unlike most of the ones garnered from our Google search, showed different angles of the shirt and hinted at the construction.


 
Cant wait to try all this fiddling with my handmade bias tape!
From these images, it looks like there's no shoulder seam, and that the front and back parts of the shirt are cut as one. I also figured that the sleeve seam was just covered with the decorative trim.

We found a really great black cotton at Wal-Mart, surprisingly. It isn't see-through, and has a nice, crisp hand but is still soft, for about $3.50 a yard. I'm making all the red double- and single-fold bias tape myself, out of equally nice red cotton for $4 a yard (from Jo-ann's). To help make all that bias tape, I also got a bias tape maker, which is cutting out so much time!

We couldn't find silver buttons, but got a pretty close match with some glossy black dome buttons, also from Joann's. We were able to find a really nice embroidered flat trim, but at $5 a yard, it would just bust our budget, so we chose a nice narrow gold crochet trim with a shiny red and black ribbon through it. He picked it out, so I'm confident in the choice!

Measuring for the shirt
Working on drawing the lines for a continuous strip of bias tape
Ahh, the pleasing mathematics of miles of bias from one continuous strip!
Here, you can see the dressform I got for Christmas, which is being very useful as a display for a new scarf made of silk yarn!
These photos were taken by my lovely boyfriend Josh, who is a professional photographer and filmmaker. You can see his portfolio here, and I really recommend checking it out as it's got many photos of middle eastern dancers, which can be great costume inspiration!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Portugal 2012: Part 5

One of the most marvelous places I have ever been to was the Se de Evora, the second-oldest cathedral in Portugal. This is a pic-heavy post, but it'll show you just how marvelous this experience was!

The Se was built in the 12th century (1186) but consecrated in 1204. It was only completed in 1250.  Because of this time gap the cathedral has both Roman and Gothic influences, such as the three naves. During the 15th and 16th centuries the cathedral underwent remodeling to the pulpit, baptismal font, and chapel. The Baroque aesthetic is also present in this church in the form of massive amounts of gold leaf. It's incredible how one monument could witness and represent so much that changed through humanity and ways of thought!

The entrance to the cathedral.
Can you believe I'm standing on the roof!? There were lichens all along the parapet.

The view extending for miles...and a glimpse of the Roman Temple!
The arid terrain stretched out before us. From this view I really felt like I had stepped back centuries in time!

There were several of these beautiful butterflies flitting about.

I feel like this belongs on top of Hogwarts!

The bell-tower
Along the cloister garden
Shrine in the center of the Cathedral

Just...WOW

Beautiful!
Paintings from the 17th and 16th centuries, deteriorating along the edges.



The Se is MASSIVE!
Oh, what great views of the gowns! I believe this is from the 17th century.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Glimpse of My Lace Collection: Part 1

I'm finally back on the blogosphere! I've had posts written up, and dresses sewn, but I was just so caught up with school that it seemed impossible to get enough time in to write a sincere and comprehensive blog post.

My Grandma recently sent me her lace trim stash, since she hasn't sewn in years and appreciates the pleasure I take in sewing. So, as I've been measuring and documenting the various trims and flounces for easy reference, I decided to share my treasures with my dear readers! Most of the lace trim is American, of synthetic materials, from the 70's and 80's. Some of it is soft, crochet lace, truly lovely, and was probably purchased in Portugal (where she lives) or handmade there.

74.5 inches of 2.5 inch wide lace edging
This variety is my widest, with a great geometric floral design. There's a little over 2 yards, but just in cut up pieces--the smallest piece being barely 5 inches long and the longest, 18 inches.

6.5 inches of 1.5 inch wide cotton eyelet 
Sadly, I've only got a little over 6 inches of this super cute eyelet--I think I could still work it into an Edwardian day dress, maybe in the neckline decoration layered with other lace trims!

74 inches of 5/8 of an inch wide acrylic lace edging
I'm no lace historian, but this one screams 1970's to me. It's stiff, has a clunky but cute design, and the generic scratchy feel of the acrylic stuff from Wal-Mart. But I've got so much of it! 

84 inches of 1.5 inch wide acrylic lace trim
 This one was purchased in Portugal, but I think it's also synthetic. The design is a bit overwhelming, but rather charming.

133.5 inches of 1 inch wide daisy lace trim
This one is also from Portugal, and very similar to the one above, sort of stiff and shiny, but a cute modern design. I really can't think of what to do with almost 4 yards of it, but it's very cute.

182 inches of 3/4 inch wide lace edging
This is by far one of my favorites. For one thing, I have 5 yards of it! I can just imagine trimming necklines, chemises, camisoles...This lace edging is small, delicate, and incredibly soft--the top edge is rolled netting. But it's just so soft, light, and dainty...I can't wait to use it!

Embroidered collars
I've got four of these--it looks like it takes a pair to make a collar. There are flower appliques and embroidery on this shiny synthetic piece, which also leads me to peg it from the 70's. The material is just so stiff and shiny...ugh!

So tell me...which is your favorite? Your least favorite?