- Hi all,I have just finished a very successful sewing project based on the art of the Kuna Indians of Panama (San Blas Islands specifically). The Kuna Indians create molas (which means blouse) using a reverse applique process. The molas are extremely colorful and intricately sewn. Fabric on top is cut and sewn down to reveal fabric layers from underneath.We used felt squares in lots of bright colors to create a much simpler version of this art form. Students chose a basic animal shape to cut out from the first felt layer revealing the second layer of felt. From the second layer, additional shapes are drawn and cut out inside the animal shape to reveal the third layer of felt. Once all of the cuts have been made and the fabric layers are carefully pinned together the piece is sewn together at all the edges.I have done a paper version of this project before but this fabric version really engaged my 4th and 5th grade students. It took many sessions to finish, but the final product was well worth the time. I definitely learned some tricks and discovered some pitfalls along the way. I am doing a write up for the project if anyone is interested in trying it. I don't pictures yet but will soon.We also did a Japanese braiding technique to create a hanger for the molas that was totally a hit. The technique is call Kumihimo and I had every 4th and 5th grade student braiding all over the school before we were done. The kids chose yarns/fabric that matched the colors in their mola so finished braid/cord was very aesthetically pleasing. I could share the how-to's of this technique as well.Lynn WhiteheadPortland, Oregon
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