Karlotta Pink is a Swiss/German store selling special fabrics from all over the world. Have a look at their online store and you can let your mind travel to Australia, Guatemala, Africa or India. A lot of the fabrics have very distinctive prints from the specific regions – the first word that came to my mind was “ethnic”, but to be honest, I really don’t like that term. I think I wrote before that I have studied anthropology, and the “ethnic food” shelf at the supermarket always makes me cringe. It sounds so ethnocentric! But I’m getting carried away.
Karlotta Pink also has a selection of beautiful Indian cotton fabrics, woven on a handloom. Most of the fabrics are duo-tone fabrics, meaning that the weft and warp threads of the fabric have (on most fabrics) different colours. I have this green/black fabric and this red/blue fabric in my stash, and it’s amazing to see how the colour of the fabric changes when turning it around in your hands. Just have a look at Maarika’s amazing blouse, made of the black/green fabric! I really want to copy it…
Karlotta Pink has a strong ethic views, and works directly with the weaving cooperative in northwest India. The region has a long tradition for weaving and most families have a long history as weavers. As in many regions of the world, the old weaving knowledge started to be forgotten, as more and more people moved to the cities, trying to make enough money to survive. The weaving mill where the Karlotta Pink fabrics come from teaches young women the art of weaving and hires them on fair conditions. The fabrics aren’t officially FAIR TRADE certified (it’s expensive to get certifified!), but Iris, the owner of Karlotta Pink, visits the weaving mill from time to time and is convinced that the working conditions are good and worth supporting.
When Iris asked me if I could sew a sample using her handloom fabrics, I immediately said yes. I chose this blue fabric with a hint of mustard (although the colour isn’t as dominant as for example the black in the green/black fabric) and this gold/brown fabric, which perfectly highlights the yellow in the blue fabric. I recently saw the Kitty Dress by Maven Patterns and loved the cute collar, and I immediately thought that the collar would be a great possibility for some colour blocking. I chose the blue fabric, and Iris suggested the golden-brown fabric to go with it, and I have to say that her choice was spot on!
The Kitty Dress is a wide woven A-line dress with short sleeves or elbow-length sleeves. It has shoulder darts and kind of “inverted” bust darts, sewn from the middle of the dress outwards. The elbow-sleeves have elbow darts, too, making the dress comfortable to wear. All darts and seams are topstitched, making every seam a real feature of the dress. The dress is closed with a button at the back, giving me the opportunity of trying fabric covered buttons for the first time. I promise, the back does match, I just didn’t know it was askew while I was taking pics (and my husband didn’t tell me…)!
The instructions are easy to follow and the fit is good. The only change I made was lengthening the dress by 1-2″ and to sew the skirt slightly slimmer than intended by the design. I think I took out about 1″ of fabric in total towards the hem of the dress.
The handloom fabric works perfectly for garments and it’s very comfortable to wear. As with many traditionally woven cotton fabrics, the fabric does crease a little, so I guess I’ll do my fair share of ironing before putting on my pretty Kitty Dress. But that’s ok, because the fabric has a story and I love the idea of wearing a handmade dress, knowing where the fabric comes from and knowing that the people weaving my fabric have been treated fairly. Oh, and 10% of the money Karlotta Pink makes by selling fabrics from India is going to the NGO Krishna, working in Dehli. So, when buying from Karlotta Pink, you’re not just getting unique fabrics, but you also know that you’re supporting some really good causes.
– I received the fabric I used for this blog post for free in return for sending some pictures of my dress to Karlotta Pink. I weren’t obliged to blog or to promote Karlotta Pink in any way and all opinions are, as always, my own. –