Learn. Choose. Change.

I pledge to learn the true cost, to people and the planet, of what I eat, wear, drive, use and do every day. I choose to consume justly and to increasingly change my habits.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Just Sew: Congo Confection

When it comes to candy, chocolate is the only choice for me.  Even when I was a kid I would pass on all those sickly sweet fake fruit flavored candies.  At our house we have committed to eating only fair trade chocolate for the past few years.  Of all the industries out there exploiting children and imposing forced labor on adults, cocoa is one of the worst offenders.  The majority of the world's chocolate is grown in the Ivory Coast and Ghana.  Most of the workers are "recruited" (often kidnapped or lured under false pretenses) from the surrounding poorer countries.  Once they arrive on the cocoa plantation, many are devastated by the long fourteen hour work days, the poor to non-existent living conditions, and the harsh treatment they receive if they do not meet their quota, not to mention sustaining injuries from their machetes.  Theo Chocolate is a fair trade company based right here in Seattle.  They do lots of cool projects, and we are always happy to support them.  When Project Run and Play announced a candy inspired theme for the second week of this season, I knew right away what to choose.  Theo is sponsoring cocoa farms in the Congo to stimulate the economy and raise awareness, both about fair trade and the current conflict in that country.  As I mentioned last week, I am sewing this whole season for my new niece, who is waiting in the Congo to come home to my little sister.
I began with some thrifted clothes.  The (very wrinkly) pants are a size 5T in a nice, lightweight brown corduroy.  I knew I wanted some brown to represent the chocolate.  The top is a 2T long-sleeved onesie, with My First Birthday (oddly enough) embroidered on it.  Other than being the right shade of pink, this isn't exactly what I wanted to start with for the top, but I just couldn't find anything in my stash or at the local thrift stores to match my vision.
As you can see I resized the pants down to 2T, even managing to save a cute ruffle and bow detail at the hem.  I also ended up cutting out the embroidery (after trying to pick it for about an hour) and doing a reverse applique of the sun and triangles from the wrapper.  The bottom of the onesie was chopped off and finished with a rolled lettuce edge hem to make a big girl shirt.  
I have to admit I do not love the results this week.  I really struggled with how to best interpret the printed design with fabric.  Anything I tried with the sun's eyes and nose, which look so African, came out kind of creepy looking in my version.  And, to add insult to injury, the applique is slightly off center.  It's kind of driving me crazy.  I will most likely cut it out and try again, but definitely not in the thirty minutes before the linky party closes!

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