Friday, January 11, 2013

Taking the plunge - my first Baju Kurung

Mission - sew a Traditional Baju Kurung 

My friend R and I went for a three day sewing course at the Foundation for Women's Education and Vocational Training (Yayasan Pendidikan dan Vokasional Wanita Malaysia) which happened to be located above my aunt's restaurant. We were given a list of things to bring, one of which was 4 metres of cotton fabric. The Man and Sweetie #1 chose a pink flowery piece. It was the only decent one within my price range since I was not about to spend too much on something I might accidentally rip to shreds :)

Day 1
We learnt to take measurements, calculate and draw out the pattern, trace, cut the fabric and sew the seams with a special machine called a serger. The serger cuts away excess fabric as it sews the seams. What this means is - if you can't keep your fabric in a straight line, you might end up with pieces of precious fabric on the floor. YIKES! I'd never used any kind of sewing machine before so it took a great deal of practice, focus and cursing patience. It's all in the eye-hand-leg coordination. Not. Easy. After that we moved on to the sewing machine and squeezed in some practice time. Needless to say, we went home exhausted.

Day 2
After more practice on the sewing machine we finally began putting the pieces together. It's a lot complicated than it looks, though. There are two panels on each side called the "pesak" and an underarm piece called the "kekek", plus, R and I decided to also add a pocket to our baju kurung. The hardest part was the collar. We had practiced sewing in a straight line and forgot all about curves! Haha! Somehow we managed and by the end of the day we had finished the top. 

Day 3
Doing the skirt started off easy enough. A lot of sewing in straight lines and folding the pleats into place. 

But then came The Zipper.... and The Waist Band... and Trouble.
Oh me. Oh my.

Do not be fooled by the little square below. It was the hardest bit to sew.
I came yay close to violently tearing my hair off at one point. Luckily, Vanity saved the day. I didn't want to go home with any bald patches on my head :)

Am so relieved the pleats fell into place.

Voila! All done. Kinda. I still need to hem the collar :0

A big thank you to our very patient teachers Cikgu Jun and Cikgu Leha
 and to R who survived this together with me :)

More pictures of the Traditional Baju Kurung here.

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