Textiles in Nepal

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Women in historic Bhaktapur

Like India, Nepal’s fashion scene is pretty spectacular.  While the clothing is different from your favorite fashionista’s attire, the colors are beautiful and women wear their garments with great pride.

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Time for Socialization

Unfortunately, instead of being manufactured in Nepal, using the traditional block printing methods, many of the fabrics are now imported from China.  This causes concern on two fronts: 1)The end of the tradition of block printing and 2)Loss of jobs for persons who work in the textile industry.  Our tour guide spoke of two textile plants recently closed leaving 1400 people unemployed.  As China produces fabric more inexpensively than Nepal, this will continue to occur.  Not to Nepal’s benefit, there are rolling electricity black-outs in most communities which certainly doesn’t benefit this or any other industry.

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One of dozens of fabric stores in the Kathmandu Valley

All of the gorgeous fabrics are not cottons as many of the sari’s are also made from polyester.  No matter which fabric, the colors are gorgeous.  Below are several more photos.

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Mother is rubbing mustard oil on baby’s hair

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Daily trip to the community well to obtain water

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Babas in their colorful garments

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Fashion in India: Easy on the Eyes

In the past few weeks we had the privilege of traveling in India and Nepal; a countries where we saw thousands of women wearing the gorgeous and elegant “sari”.  Surrounded by all of that fabric, it seems impossible that I would have returned home without a single cut of fabric.  Even my BIL bought 2 Indian sari’s –  essentially 6 yards of fabric, and I’m sure he has never before purchased fabric.  What was wrong with me?

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In areas where we traveled in India, there were some but not a large number of fabric and/or sari stores.  Most of the stores had gorgeous and very colorful fabrics with lots of bling, however most fabrics were polyester.  Admittedly, I dreamed of returning from India with bags of silk fabric.  Of course the textile factory we visited had gorgeous silks but at incredibly high prices, even for U.S. fabric stores.  Thus “bags of fabric” didn’t happen.   (Sorry, Karen, I know you really wanted some silk from India.)

With no purchases to show you, I’ll share some photos of the beautiful women of India wearing stunning garments.  They were so easy on the eyes that I couldn’t stop my camera from snapping just one more photo.  Enjoy!

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Next time, I’ll discuss Nepal’s textile scene, which is somewhat different than India’s thriving textile industry.

Sewing a Draped Front Cardigan

Still stylish this year is the draped front cardigan, which is so easy to sew, even if you don’t have a pattern.  One of my sewing friends asked me how to alter a cardigan pattern to make a draped front, so I thought I’d share the information with you too – with apologies for the poor photos.

Literally smiling at the camera, I was wearing a very lightweight wool knit sweater I sewed. (because of the fabric weight, it doesn’t drape as well as heavier fabrics).  Because of the striped design, it is easy to see how the sweater pattern was altered.

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This was Jalie’s pleated sweater pattern 2919 with the pleats removed and without a collar.  In the next photo, you will see that 14-16″ of fabric was added to each side of the center front in order to achieve the draped look.  The neckline was curved slightly as well.

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In the following photo you can see that when widening the front, I kept the edge on the grain of the fabric.  To finish the neckline, I cut a 2-1/2 or 3″ band of fabric (cut on the grain, using the lace pattern in the fabric) and sewed it along the entire neckline. The neckline band was not stretched; it was simply used as an edge finish.  The vertical edge was stitched with a 1″ hem to add weight.  For a heavier fabric, folding over a 1/2 or 5/8″ hem would have worked.

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Using this same technique, here’s one with more draped sweater.  To achieve this, I extended the front center another 2-4″, or so that when pulled out straight, the center front edge was beyond the armpit on the opposite side.

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Hope this helps you to make this stylish sweater without buying yet one more pattern.