rainy day lace colette hazel

lacecolettehazel01Ko ko ko! Knock knock knock! This is my second take on the Colette Hazel and this is how you knock on people’s doors in Benin. The doors here are often left open during the day (heat, airflow, all that good stuff) and when a visitor arrives there really isn’t a place to knock. So they announce their presence by saying Ko ko ko and clapping their hands three times. You basically use ko ko ko anytime you’re about to enter a room and want people to know that you’re there. To then acknowledge the person you reply with mei mei mei so they know you’ve heard their ko ko ko.

lacecolettehazel02Now the question: who is at my door?

lacecolettehazel03Achoutano! Remember the –no suffix in fon means “seller of.” So these are the sellers of achouta.

lacecolettehazel04And what is achouta?

lacecolettehazel05Achouta is all the secondhand stuff that rich countries throw away and send to poor countries. Often I don’t know the correct politically correct term… occidental, western, developed, developing, first world, third world, etc – there’s always something about those words that I’m not comfortable with. So let’s not hide the truth and just say what they are: rich countries and poor countries. What we throw out finds a new home in West Africa.

lacecolettehazel06Achouta includes everything: shoes, belts, shirts, dresses, etc. In this case these achoutanos are selling curtains and shirts (look to the right) and they walk around house to house to see if anybody is interested. Of course they always start with a ko ko ko so people aren’t surprised by their presence. Here my neighbor is trying to decide between lace curtains so the achoutanos hold it up so she can make her decision.

lacecolettehazel07Perhaps this one? Of course this was all happening in April when I was busy making Laurels, sooooooooo…

lacecolettehazel08I ended up buying a lace curtain for myself. I think I paid 800CFA or 1.60USD for these. Except in the end I used a different lace for my hibiscus Laurel so this one was untouched. Until now. The Laurel stash busting continues.

lacecolettehazel09What do make, what to make? I consulted Burdastyle first. That skirt in the top right is too boring for me, and while a shortened version of that wedding dress on the bottom left is cute I just wasn’t feeling it.

lacecolettehazel10I thought about layering the lace with a crazy print fabric, but I wasn’t feeling that as well. Something was blocking me. Nothing at all appealed to me and I couldn’t figure out why.

lacecolettehazel11Then I realized the answer was in front of me. This lace had too many scalloped borders for my taste. There were three total – I realized the problem was with the lace and not with the patterns. I just didn’t like this strange single and double border with a gap in between going in the lace. It made the lace visually heavy and was killing any potential ideas that I had for it.

lacecolettehazel12So I took off those bottom two scallops. Hello seam ripper, goodbye border overkill! Now I had my lovely border print lace, I just needed an idea of what to do with it. Then the thought of looking at Burda again and potentially tracing those patterns horrified me so my mind kept going forward… or backwards to the past rather, to the Colette Hazel. The pattern pieces were already cut out and taped together and ready to use, plus I was very unhappy with my original Hazel so why not try again and see if I could make it work? Project decided then and there.

lacecolettehazel14Now, lining fabric? Remember I am in destashing mode. I’m also in “wardrobe evaluating mode” and I was never a huge fan of this Burda top and skirt I made, so I thought I’d remake it into the Hazel. Plus the peach colored looked so nice with the lace. But there wasn’t enough fabric for the Hazel so I scrapped that idea.

lacecolettehazel13I decided to go ahead and cut out my lace pieces first and worry about the lining later. And look, scrap karma! Once I cut out the skirt pieces, looked how much was left for the bodice – just barely enough. That’s when I knew I had chosen the correct pattern.

lacecolettehazel15I decided to go to the market.

lacecolettehazel16I told people I was going to buy mangos (which I did). But I had a second hidden agenda. I was on the hunt.

lacecolettehazel17Hello Achoutano. Hello children/helpers of the achoutano. Hello my perfect lining. Can you see it!?

lacecolettehazel18Hello! You’re the original lovely color of the hibiscus laurel that washed out, so I knew we were meant to be once I saw you at the market! Does anybody else talk to their fabric? Sorry, I can’t help it – when something is perfect I can’t but help but feel a small connection, even if they are inanimate. [I know I’m supposed to be destashing, but I think it’s possible to destash and buy new fabrics as long as the end goal is the same: use up fabric. In this case, if I didn’t buy, I’d never use up the lace. So buying this was necessary in order to destash. If that makes sense]

lacecolettehazel67I used the eyelet lace tutorial from the Colette Laurel extras e-booklet. Which, by the way, is free and very helpful even if you aren’t making the Laurel.

lacecolettehazel19I top stitched the lace to the lining and then carefully snipped away the excess lining to match the scallops.

lacecolettehazel20And when it came to joining the skirts together I failed in the beginning. Please not you should stitch from the bottom to the top instead of the top to the bottom so that you have more control over lining up the border print. Thank goodness for seam rippers.

lacecolettehazel21Then I ran out of bobbin thread so I wound up a new spool. But… as you can see, I then ran completely out of white thread.

lacecolettehazel22I checked my thread stash for more white thread, but no luck. Sigh, 10PM and no thread to sew with. What to do?

lacecolettehazel23Give Bosco a belly rub with my feet since I can’t use my feet to treadle now.

lacecolettehazel24This dog never fails to make me laugh. Ok we need to talk about Peace Corps Feet. Sorry to shove so many terrible photos in front of you, but you have to know that my feet are in that condition because… well, I live in West Africa! Isn’t that enough? The dark color is a combination of 1) tanned from the the sun and 2) dirt that is caked on from walking and riding my bike around town.

lacecolettehazel25Oh Bosco, don’t you realize the more funny faces you make, the more photos I take? A shower here is nothing like a shower in America. In the US I just stood under the shower head, put some soap on my body, washed it off, and done. Here it’s another story. I have to work in the shower. I have to scrub. The dust and dirt sticks to me because of the heat & humidity as well as all my sweat, so when I shower what I really am doing is scrubbing off dirt.

lacecolettehazel26Bosco, not a fan of the flash are you? Okay I’ll stop.

lacecolettehazel27What? Oh this dog… if ever you stop, he looks you in the eyes, stares into your soul, and makes you feel guilty for stopping the belly rubs. So I end up re-starting the belly rubs. But I’ll spare you the photos of my feet.

lacecolettehazel28A few days later…. DUN DUN DUN.

lacecolettehazel29I call this impending doom.

lacecolettehazel30Hurry back home.

lacecolettehazel31Because the show is about to start.

lacecolettehazel32Well, unless you’re Bosco.

lacecolettehazel33“Bosco!” I yell. He needs to get inside because I don’t like dealing with wet dog.

lacecolettehazel61Because of the scallops I had to attach my facings before the lace. So the order was: attach facing, then top stitch lace. But I forgot about those straps. They’re supposed to go in between the lace and the facing but ooops I didn’t think about that.

lacecolettehazel62So I drew chalk lines of where I wanted the straps to be placed and unpicked the facing stitches.

lacecolettehazel63Oh, it fits perfectly in! And looks much better. However I needed to press the straps first before I stitch them into place. But the power was out because of the storm. Road block. And I wasn’t going to bike in that rain to find a tailor with a charcoal iron.

lacecolettehazel64So I threw it over my clothesline and set it aside until power came back.

lacecolettehazel65In the meantime I decided to do random activities that didn’t require electricity. Such as cutting out pieces for a future project.

lacecolettehazel66Or cutting out .pdf patterns.

lacecolettehazel34DUN DUN DUN.

Back CameraIT’S COMING.

Back CameraHURRY HOME.

lacecolettehazel68FAST FORWARD TO THE FUTURE. there are scattered sunny moments in between all these rainy moments, so when the electricity came back and the sun was out I bought my white thread, pressed those straps, and finished my dress, so now we’ll skip ahead to the future…

lacecolettehazel37Finished! Indoor photo shoot because of 1) knees 2) rain. My hair is a mess so I’m taking it down.

lacecolettehazel38Oooooooooo it’s getting longer and longer!

lacecolettehazel39I tried another top bun (or 1/2 ponytail, rather)… and… well. Does non asian hair do this?

lacecolettehazel40I fiddled with it a bit more.

lacecolettehazel41Ok better.

lacecolettehazel42I miss contacts. My glasses are moldy. This is not an exaggeration. I’ll show you in a few months when I’m back in America with my macro lens. You’ll see the horror that I wear every day.

hazelgapAnyway, back to the Hazel. Unlike my first hazel, I love this one! I still had major issues fitting the bust as it was way too big, but I fiddled around and made it work. Here’s an in progress iphone photo of how much extra space I had at the sides before I took them in.

lacecolettehazel43Fabric makes such a huge difference. This one was soft and drapey while before it was stiff and rigid and scratchy and just plain horrible. A simple change and I’m a hundred times happier! I didn’t do a very good job on the back seam, but oh well – I’m just happy I got them to line up even if they do some strange “pulling” near the zipper.

lacecolettehazel44The best part about sewing is that you can photograph yourself with the pockets turned out and nobody will think it’s strange. You don’t hide pockets from other seamstresses!

lacecolettehazel45Now what is on the ground that is so fascinating to me?

lacecolettehazel46Not what, but who! Woof says Bosco.

lacecolettehazel47Shall we dance?

lacecolettehazel48Cue some music.

lacecolettehazel49…or not. He’d rather just lick my hand.

lacecolettehazel50Oh Bosco. He’s so indifferent to all the abuse I make him go through.

lacecolettehazel51Time to set him free.

lacecolettehazel57TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP. What’s that sound? Rain hitting my tin roof. Glad I’m indoors! TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP.

Back CameraPuddles?

Back CameraNo. Mini lakes are what forms. And nothing sucks more than having to wade through them ankle deep as you sink in the sand.

lacecolettehazel52So glad I went with an indoor photo shoot to avoid the above problems.

lacecolettehazel53I learned from my fist Hazel that those bust darts don’t work for me, so I decided to try gathers. I still don’t have a very perfect fitting bodice, but I am happy with this one and that’s really all that matters right? Perhaps when I make Hazel #3 that will be the one where I nail the fit. Until then, I’ll be wearing this one.

lacecolettehazel54Here’s the hem. I’m so glad I removed that overwhelming double bonus border.

lacecolettehazel55Here’s the hem with Bosco.

lacecolettehazel56And here are the hem photo outtakes. I just love the last 9 photos because it’s such a perfect example of why he’s a great sewing dog. I will act and do crazy movements and poses… and he will just sit there nonchalantly patiently waiting until I’m done and he can go on a walk. Normally it’s the owners that are sane and the dogs that are crazy, but in my case it is reversed.

lacecolettehazel60And the aftermath of all that rain. How would you cross this? It’s just water you say, yeah yeah… but these puddles of standing water do not dry up and instead become the breeding grounds of all sorts of bad things ready to infect you and pass their eggs into your skin. Also I have seen kids pee in these puddles. I’ll walk through them if it’s raining since I know that it’s “new water” but if it’s not raining then I won’t take chances because I’ve heard about too many horror stories about volunteers and schisto, so I will always find a detour.

Pattern: Colette 1021 Hazel
Fabric: Secondhand sheets & secondhand lace

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