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KANTHA!

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Kantha, literally ‘patched cloth’, is traditionally made and stitched in workshops of women in India, Bengali and other countries in that region. A testament to our passion for making something useful and beautiful out of discarded items, the craft of creating kantha cloth is universal. 

 I am appreciating the Kantha fabric, in shawls, yardage and treasured bits & pieces you have all shared with me after the fire. Here are some spring layers I've just added to my new wardrobe using this fabric with such a rich history.

Reversible Cropped Vest-I seem to reach for this short layer in silk and cotton daily…one side or the other just works with everything! The Faultlines Pattern is perfect for small pieces and the angles are so flattering. The pattern pieces can be placed in various directions to feature stitching in either direction.

Knowing It would be reversible, I decided to hand-sew the vest together. The outside edges were turned, pressed and sewn first. After the shoulders were connected, the neck edge has a pieced binding piece that ends with a jog…just because.

Next, the fronts and backs overlapped (instead of right sides together). With a vest, not every seam needs to be sewn to the ends…sometimes leaving edges open (as in the case of the back seam) adds movement & dimension, even to a this small vest. 

Here are the fronts & backs- depending on what it is worn over, it can give alot of different looks so it will be a great layering piece for travel. 

 

 This Ashland Vest- starting with a double layer, silk shawl piece of kantha for a longer vest. Using the piecing as a guide, some of the edges became borders and the fabric is so light, adding strips for contrasting neckbands was added for weight down the fronts. I've added to my scarf collection too. A pieced length from the kantha fabric easily becomes a scarf which creates different looks when worn with the vest too.

Easy to fit: Leave the sides open, finish the armhole and side edges then try it on, overlapping the fronts where they need to be. Next, close the sides to get the perfect amount of overlap for a more flattering fit on this Ashland Vest.

I do this with most vest garments…they just look better. I used the fringe edge of the shawl for a yoke facing on the inside…it was the perfect way to finish some edges and add weight and structure to the back neck area. The Ashland Vest is available in paper or PDF.

  Let the Kantha you are using be the guide about hand stitching or machine stitching…sometimes it will show …sometimes it won’t. You may want to use a combination…hand stitching as an accent to the original stitching in the fabric. 

Pant Hem Detailing-

Who doesn’t covet small bits!? Loved the new distressed jeans I found….but to short on this tall girl. I serged a hem on some scraps and used a fusible to hold my new cuff pieces to the inside of the original cut-off hems.

The white stitching was used to reshape the fullness in the leg.….and these are the new favorites!!  Love this detail idea for cuffs on a jacket too. A stash of small pieces has been perfect for bindings, covered buttons and pockets -see the holiday dress with added Kantha to my Building a Wardrobe from Scratch in Dec. 

 Wearing these casual garments feels like home...soft and warm, as I settle into my new life. Diane

 

4 comments

  • Kath Lestina: April 16, 2021

    Love your patterns, especially this one.

  • Diana Davis: April 15, 2021

    Love receiving your blog and look forward to your inspiring designs! Your closet must be amazing.

  • Diedre: April 14, 2021

    Diane, This is beautiful. I have a question, how is Kantha different than Boro?

    Thank you for the inspiration.

  • cynthia thomas: April 14, 2021

    diane—i think this is my favorite garment you’ve made; loved seeing the small bits of color on it! your closet is definitely looking like you.

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