Since I’ve been back in Colombia (about six weeks now), I’ve been on a full on Tilly & the Buttons fest. I recently got her book Love at First Stitch, which I bought purely for the patterns – in terms of techniques, there isn’t really anything too advanced.
But first – Colombia. I’ve just come back from Southern Tolima, which is one of the poorest parts of the country and also one of the lowest altitudes, meaning that mosquito borne illnesses such as yellow fever and malaria are relatively common, as well as water borne illnesses. It was very interesting and very beautiful, if baking hot!!
Last week I took a trip down to Alqueria, Bogota’s garment district – you might have seen photos on my Instagram. Bogota is a city made up of districts, so if you want to buy emeralds you go to the emerald district; computers to the tech district; a washing machine to the white goods district… and so on for everything you can imagine, from hairdressers to cars.
Fabric is no different. Garment production, both historically and currently, is an important industry in Colombia. There is a special focus on jeans, as you can see from international Colombian fashion companies like Diesel. Colombians care about their appearance and their clothes, and often wear fantastic outfits for special events such as the quinzena (a girl’s 15th birthday party – kind of like the US “sweet sixteen” I guess). Big cities like Medellin and Bogota have both huge factories catering to international markets, and small cottage industries. There is a lot of skill, knowledge and interest in making clothes, so the garment district is big (multiple blocks) with hundreds of shops selling fabric, sewing machines, notions and much more, at high quality and competitive prices.
I bought four stretches of 2m of different fabrics, plus a few bits and bobs, which came to about 100,000 pesos (about 35 USD). I can’t wait to get stuck in with these. I also saw a few shops selling bra-making equipment and sports gear stuff, so I might be branching out in my sewing plans this year.
Back to Love at First Stitch. I made the shirt, which doesn’t really work on me sadly, but was interesting to make. Then I made the Delphine skirt, which everybody loves for good reason – I plan on making a another, possibly hacking it into a button-front with pockets. I also plan to make the pyjama bottoms and the Lilou dress at some point, although I might be putting those off for a while.
But – oh love of loves – the Megan dress. I wasn’t 100% sure, and halfway through cutting thought “what the hell am I doing to this lovely Liberty print?!” … But finally, I love it. I love the sixties feel, I think the high waistline and neckline suit me, and the sleeves are super cute too. Plus it was actually a pretty quick make.
I did my standard fitting – sway back & back gape – but otherwise sewed a straight size 3. I used a Liberty print that I bought a while ago and never got round to using, and I think the chintzy feel of the print works well with the pattern. It makes me feel like a sex kitten with massive black eyeliner, and I plan to wear it out tonight. Basically, I love it!