Sunday, January 30, 2011

recycled and refashioned - Children skirt


I love batiks. I found all of them unique regardless of their origin. I realised they are distinctive and beautiful in their very own forms. I have a skirt made with beautiful patched old batik Solo. The problem of seasoned fabric is they do not last long as the fabric is somewhat fragile. I had mended a few tears and continued to use it for short while before a bad rip developed on the skirt and I had to give up wearing it.

As usual, I kept it at a corner for awhile. Until one day, I took it out and decided to transform it into a skirt with crossed straps for my daughter. The bad rip was at the bottom part of the skirt and I trimmed it off to make it into an A-lined knee length skirt.

I love pockets and I thought with the crossed straps, the skirt would look cute. I cut the fabric as shown on the picture on the right. The top part of the skirt was cut into the length right on my daughter's knee; the two bands for the straps; from the bottom part of the skirt, I cut off some fabric for the pockets. It was a quick job as there were only minor adjustments.


My old torn skirt was given a new life. Zen looks just great in it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Little Artists of Sapa

Standing in front - Anh , Back - Chi

I met Anh aged 10 and Chi aged 13 at Sapa town, Northern Vietnam in 2009. When my friends and I were looking for a cafe to take a rest, I met two Hmong girls dressed in factory-made Hmong costumes with elaborate machine stitched laces by the walkway. They were not the usual Black Hmong but probably white Hmong from or around Tamduong.

They came to a shop front with a narrow platform. Anh took out her lined exercise book from her sling bag and started drawing with her blue ball pen. She used the platform as her table as the shop was built on the slope that was raised above the road. I was attracted by them, especially Anh who was so engrossed with her drawing. Being an artist myself, I always get attracted to kids' natural talent to draw and paint. I gave her the remaining box of crayons which my friend Pam had prepared to give away on the trip. We would usually bring along gifts for children on our travelling and it was a joy to see Anh and Chi so jubilant with having added crayons.

Anh happily filling in colors on her drawing

While my two friends, Pam and Subra, were having beer, I found pleasure in spending time with the girls. Anh was able to converse in simple English and both of them could write their names in English. I believe that they learnt English in school. Anh was confident and wise beyond her years. If she is given opportunity in learning, she could have great achievement in future.

The two paintings given to me by Anh & Chi

I drew a drawing for her and they each drew a painting for me. Anh also gave Pam and another tourist each a painting. I was touched by her generousity. I treasure the two drawings very much and I hope to see them again when I visit their homewon again.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Handmade Notebook

I love notebooks and especially those with fabric covers. I use them as travel journals. I would record my experience from trip planning, during the trip and after the journey.

I made two notebooks not too long ago...or more correctly last year since today is January 1, 2011. I took a study of the construction of notebook with fabric cover before I customized my notebooks in my own designs. The toughest part of the process was stitching up the papers. It requires lots of patient and time to accomplish the process.

I have been working a lot with fabrics made by the ethnic minority people of the Golden Triangle and China. For a change, I decided to use Malaysian batik with Borneo ikat motives for my first notebook. I will try to write Chinese in these tiny little squares....

With the snap button, the notebook could hold extra materials, such as brochures.

Right after the first notebook was completed, I couldn't wait to make my second notebook. I decided on an Oriental Theme for my second attempt. I got the idea from a Chinese brass frame hook in my drawer. The hook was in shiny gold when it was new. Over the years, it tarnished and looks even prettier now. The brass frame hook will served as a lock for the notebook. It will be attached onto the magnets hidden beneath the red fabric on the cover of my notebook.

The red cloth I used to make the notebook shown below was given by a friend who runs a business of curtain making and upholstery. I was fortunate to collect fabric remnants from his workshop for free! I made a reversible tote bag and another notebook with the same material.

Front View                                                              Back View

I ran the geometry patterns on the fabric with a sewing machine. Then I stick two small magnets onto a cardboard, which will be used as the front cover of the notebook, before I glued the red fabric on it. Prong snap buttons were used to secure the red band that holds the metal hook. I used white glue and double sided tape for this project.

Left: A Chinese fabric being stitched onto paper.  Right : Plain paper for the insert.

It was a 2 day project which can be done over the weekend. I just can't wait to use the oriental theme notebook for coming trip to China!