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Roots Sewing Series - Elegance & Elephants

Monday, January 13, 2014
Behind the scenes I've been excitedly working on my Roots sewing series outfit, and today I finally get to share it with you!  It has been so rewarding to put this outfit together for my little girl.  

First of all, let's talk about my inspiration.  My heritage is a very unique mixture of two very different cultures: Czech and Trinidadian.  My parents both immigrated to Canada when they were in their twenties, met, married, and here I am!  At first, I was really uncertain about how to combine these two cultures.  Originally I thought I would make two separate outfits, but then, I like a challenge!  In the end, it actually wasn't that big a challenge at all.  I knew I had to create something that was inspired by the Czech national folk costume.  I've always loved the look of them…so beautiful with so many gorgeous details!  As a little girl, I used to play with these little Czech dolls dressed in these stunning dresses, and I always wanted one.  So, I knew I would create a similar, yet simplified, look for my girl.  And as I browsed through examples, I noticed that many of them had the colour palette of red, black, and white.  Well, that was just perfect, since those are the colours of the Trinidadian flag.  What a simple way of combining my two cultures!  

The Czech traditional costumes (called kroje) are very distinctive to each region, and now, are only worn during certain celebrations or festivals.  They are known for vivid colours, intricate embroidery, and elaborate accessories (scarves, ribbons, headdresses, hats, and belts).  One interesting fact I learned, was that in the Plzen region, the women wore 24 underskirts!

Here are some photos I was inspired by:




And here is the flag that became my colour palette.

Trinidad & Tobago flag

What I came up with is a versatile, three piece outfit.  Probably my favourite part is the collar of the white underdress.  It's kind of a delicate, flounced, overlapped peter pan collar, that through quite a bit of trial and error, came out just the way I wanted it (don't you just love it when that happens!).  I self-drafted the white dress and added lace to the bottom.  The pinafore is adapted from the pattern in the Five and Ten Designs Volume 1 eBook.  I lowered the front bodice piece, and added some width to the skirt to get more volume.  The little apron is also a self-drafted pattern, and one that I will make available to you in five sizes on Wednesday (and it will be free!)













Tomorrow, we head to Portugal when we are joined by Marta from Do Guincho.  I've seen a sneak peek, so I know you won't want to miss it!

You can join in the Sew-Along and get in on the fun!  
Every submission is entered into a draw to win some AMAZING prize packages!  

Elegance & Elephants
52 comments on "Roots Sewing Series - Elegance & Elephants "
  1. Lovely story - and wonderful combination of your heritage!

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  2. Lovely, Heidi! Brillant how you've managed to mix your cultures!

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    1. Thanks, Trine! I know had no idea at first how it would come together! :)

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  3. That dress is so cute. I love how you combined cultures.

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  4. So adorable. The Czech outfits remind me a lot of the ones from a fishermen city here from Portugal, it's called Nazaré and women also wore a great number of skirts, I can't precise how many though. Check here: http://espreitarportugal.blogspot.pt/2011/03/bonecas-tipicas-da-nazare.html

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    1. You are right, Magda! They really are similar. So cool!

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  5. Heidi, I've been looking forward to seeing your post! I love how you simplified the look and still got so many elements of both cultures! Secret confession: I've wondered about your ethnicity for a while. You have such an exotic look, lucky girl! Beautiful project!!

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    1. Thank you, Amy! That's so sweet of you! :)

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  6. You did a great job! I like the combination of colours from the one country and look of the other. But to be honest, I wouldn´t ever have thought of Trinidad by seeing a picture of this dress. It´s like a little hidden secret, that you shared with us now. :)

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it is very subtle! :)

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  7. At first I'm laughing because I thought the 1st "source" photo was your simplified look but then I read your explanation & have fallen in love with your sweet adaptation. You've got me thinking about doing this challenge. Thanks for the inspirational idea.

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    1. Ha, ha, Joy! That would be funny! Thank you so much. I'm glad you still liked my interpretation. :)

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  8. I had the same reaction as Joy above but then read through and saw that it was your inspiration, haha! What a lovely outfit Heidi... indeed, that collar is just dreamy. Way to kick things off for us!!!

    Natalie
    XX

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    1. Thanks, Nat! I think I'm going to have to make some more garments with that collar. :)

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  9. Amazing results from pulling those 2 heritages together. What a lovely collar!

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  10. OH my goodness!!! What a beautiful mix or both cultures! Amazing, Heidi!

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    1. Thank you, Venus! Looking forward to seeing yours!

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  11. Such a BEAUTIFUL little dress for a BEAUTIFUL little girl !!!!!!! Love it great job.
    Thanks for sharing. Linda Lee

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  12. I really like the collar -- especially in the close up photo -- looks so airy and delicate. I also like the way the fabric choice on the skirt mimics that heavy embroidered look you were going for. Great execution.

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    1. Much appreciated, Ann. That's exactly what I was going for. So glad you noticed! :)

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  13. Beautiful work Heidi, as I have come to expect! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You are too kind, Terri! Thank you!

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  14. Gosh! You made a beautyfull interpretation of the cultural outfit! You got all the "important" details!
    I love how you brought out the cultural and historical of the traditional pieces. They remind me om what we have here in Norway. We allso have these lovely dresses, that are often of several layers of wool and cotton, topped whit silver and gold bdetails in for exemple broches. Headpieces are allso important. We use these dresses for special occations, and I thing it is really important that we keep these traditons alive!
    I made a post about the Norwegian traditional dresses, that we call "bunad". Mostly worn on our national day, the 17th of may. Have a look:)
    http://trollemors-hverdag.blogspot.no/2013/05/17th-of-may-norways-national-day-and.html

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    1. Thank you, Tone! It certainly is similar to the Norwegian bunad. They are so beautiful! Thank you for linking for me. Norway is right at the top of our list of countries we want to visit…such a gorgeous place. You are lucky to live there! :)

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  15. Heidi, this is so beautiful. And how fun that it also is similar to the traditional dresses in Germany. I love how the underskirt with the beautiful trim is seen below the dress, then also the collar is so beautiufl. I love the flower wreath in your daughter's hair. I had been thinking about doing something like this, too. Well that's off my list now, but I still have some nice props in my head :) I'll do some detail shots today and then hopefully also the pics with my daugther...

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    1. Thank you, Annika! The wreath was a last minute accessory that she then almost refused to wear! HA! Can't wait to see your outfit!

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  16. gorgeous Heidi and a great start to your series... I need to get busy!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Suz! I know you've been busy with the super cute new pattern of yours! :)

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  17. So beautiful, Heidi. Love all the details.

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  18. very nice Heidi, Jana loves it too

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  19. Way to kick off the series Heidi! That outfit is perfect for your little one, headpiece and everything. I did not know the Trinidad & Tobago flag is black, white and red. That is one of my favorite color combos, and it was nice seeing that translated into an outfit. Great job!

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  20. Well done! I love the collar and the puffed sleeves on the under-dress.

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  21. Such an amazing dress and story! Thank you for sharing with all of us!

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  22. Oh my goodness - how precious is she?!! Beautiful.

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  23. This is just so beautiful Heidi. You never cease to amaze me!

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  24. Wow! Beautiful! I love this outfit! My favorite part is the underdress. What lovely sleeves and collar.

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  25. Absolutely lovely! I love how you cleverly fused the two cultures into one outfit, Heidi!

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