Thursday, February 4, 2010

More Silk, Silver and Cotton:

Marvelously intricate hand-woven cotton pieces that will likely be used to trim a suit ensemble.

Because of my interest in Thailand's rich heritage of hand-woven fabrics, Wan Li and my other teacher friend (who speaks no English and has a difficult Thai name), wore silk suits to school yesterday. The other teacher also brought her fine hand-crafted silver pieces (or some of them) and some fabrics she has accumulated for future garments.

Thai silk comes in two thicknesses. The heavier silk is more expensive. Both are always lined with another fabric such as rayon in a matching color. This gives the garment body. (And also must make it exceptionally hot to wear, especially in this climate!) The insides of the garments are as detailed and perfect as the outsides, with every seam beautifully finished.

The lengths of silk were all of the highest quality--meaning of the heavier sort. They showed me how to tell if the quality is the best (and thus avoid "being taken" by an unscrupulous merchant.)

They even showed me how silk should be stored. It should never be folded but gently wrapped into a long tube and hung with clothespins from a hanger. This will avoid folds, the gathering of dust stains, insects setting up housekeeping, etc.

Fine silk garments are handed down in families from one generation to the next. There's a museum in Chiang Mai showing the most ornate and gorgeous garments from the past. If I have time, I'd love to go there.

This quality of silk must always be hand washed and hung to dry without wringing it. Pressing it must be a true labor of love!

Lovely silks

Hand-wrought Thai silver.

Two wonderful ladies whose kindness is so typical of their culture. They wore these suits today especially for me. The suits are lined with another fabric on the inside and the day was sweltering. I felt so humbled by their willingness to suffer the heat just to please a farang!

Wan Li's silk suit was adorned with the tiniest of crystal beading, all hand-sewn onto the fabric.

1 comment:

  1. gorgeous fabrics and the detail is beautiful!