Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

This is a book review that I read and reviewed in my reading blog, Moonwishes Reads about a book that I thought other sewers might appreciate if only to appreciate what many of us have in our sewing rooms.

As a seamstress and a reader, I was impressed by this book. Even though there might have been technical flaws with the timeline of the book, the story itself was astonishing. In our world today, most of us who sew have sewing machines, if not more than one. We also may have embroidery machines, all sorts of notions and gadgets, access to all sorts of fabric and the freedom to use them any way we like. Here is a story of women risking their lives to sew to provide needed financial help to their family. This book will make you appreciate your freedom to sew. This review is from my Amazon Vine book review.
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe
by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

As a seamstress I was fascinated by this book. When their world has gone mad and life as they know it had changed, the women of Afghanistan found themselves in a peculiar situation. They could not leave their homes without a male escort, they could not work out, they had a new dress code that was so old fashioned many of the women had to borrow clothes to leave their home as they didn’t have the proper dress to satisfy the Taliban. As many of them found that they were widows with children to support they were left in a quandary. How do they support their families, feed their children and keep a roof over their heads and still follow the rules? If they didn’t follow the rules they could be beaten, tortured and killed. For women who were used to going to school (now no longer allowed), holding down jobs, and being able to shop and visit at will, not only were they in financial straights but bored beyond belief. They were essentially under house arrest.

For one family of many daughters, Kamela Sediqi found a way to be productive, earn an income and involve not only her many sisters but other women and girls from her area. She became a seamstress. With one sewing lessons from her married sister that was a tailor, she set up shop and made her first garment. Escorted by her younger brother, she went to the market, avoiding the Taliban soldiers, and took orders for the dresses she and her sisters would make. As someone who has sewed for 40+ years, she did something I would never even think of attempting. But she got orders and took them home and carefully she and her sisters cut the cloth and hand sewed and embroidered the garments. Her business grew, all being secretly done in her home, to the point she was able to hire other women and girls to help her and thus also help with their financial difficulties.

Sewing by lamplight and eventually with sewing machines during the times of infrequent electric power, Kamela and sisters and friends, beat their boredom, supported their families and showed that even when the chips were down, they could succeed against all odds,

I very much enjoyed this book although there were some areas that were confusing, especially the timeline. I was reading the advanced reading copy so I hope someone caught the discrepancies before actual publication. Other than that, it was a very inspirational true story that I enjoyed very much.

Check out this book now:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Project Linus Quilt 2011

This year I made my Project Linus quilt using my 2" x 4" bits and pieces of bright primary color print scraps. I think any small child should be happy with all the bright colors and things to look at. It is backed with a yard sale find of what looks like bright jelly beans on a black background. I got about 4 yards of this fabric for I think it was $2 last summer and knew it would be great for backing Project Linus quilts. I try to make a quilt each year to donate. I have been so richly blessed with sewing supplies that I want to pass the blessings on and to who better but a child going through a serious illness or trauma. I trust the parents of the child will also be blessed that someone cared for their child and prepared a quilt for them long before the need arose.

This quilt was pieced on a Janome Memory Craft 9000 and was quilted with decorative stitches on the seam lines with a Janome Horizon 7700.

It is amazing how cheaply you can make a nice quilt for a project like this, just using scraps that you color coordinate. Scrap quilts, if you are careful, can look as well planned as a quilt that you have bought fabrics for. For 2012 I'm hoping to use some of my pastel scraps to make a more 'girly' quilt. With my son's wedding quilt I'll be using mostly primary colors and know I will need a rest from them when that quilt is finished.

Spray Basting a Quilt

I finished my Project Linus quilt two days ago. I don't have the photo downloaded yet, but one of the echniques I used was spray basting it and it turned out great. Here is a terrific video on both spray basting
and using your wall to spray baste on! I can hardly wait to show hubby this technique! In the meantime, I'm sharing it with you.