Monday, June 7, 2010

Embroidered t-shirts and new banner photo

So I figured it was high time to give our blog a little face lift. The current photo on our banner is a project that I've been working on for the last couple of weeks and just finished this morning! It's a hand embroidered t-shirt in the traditional Moroccan embroidery style called Fesi. The women of the cooperative are working super hard to finish their Mushmina t-shirt order for Heather to pick up next week. Below is a close up of a sleeve of one of their expertly embroidered shirts.

The relationship with Mushmina started way back in April 2009 when the owners of the company, Heather and Katie O'Neill were traveling around Morocco looking for groups who where making things that could fit into their high-end accessory line. At the time, my ladies where making table clothes, napkins and pillow cases, so of course I packed up some smaller pieces and met the sisters in a nearby city!

At this time Mushmina placed an order for strips of fabric embroidered in any style and colors the cooperative ladies wanted to make. Heather and Katie wanted as many strips as the women could produce by the time I went to Marrakesh for our in-service training in mid June. Below are just a few of the designs the coop ladies came up with.

When Heather picked up the fabric strips in June she gave me several t-shirts to have the women embroider on. She consulted with her sister about what colors and designs they wanted on which color t-shirts, drew up some sketches, and placed their order for embroidered t-shirts. Below is a picture of Hafida (center) with Katie (left) and Heather at the Marché Maroc Craft Fair in Fes in October 2009. These shirts are two of the first ones that they made.

The t-shirt fabric turned out to be quit a challenge to embroider on. Though absolutely beautiful in their own right, these t-shirts are particularly thin, soft, and stretchy. There was a bit of a learning curve, but the women did a great job! Below is a photo of Aicha working on one of the shirts this winter. Notice the gloved hand and thick coat...not even frigid cold temperatures can slow down these girls!

All other projects are on hold for the moment while they finish this current order, so I thought I'd show my support and embroider a shirt of my own! The following pictures shows the canvas mesh that is used to help stabilize the fabric, as well as provide the necessary grid format for doing the embroidery.

Afterward, the mesh is unraveled and only the stitches show!

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