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Topic: Pa'u Hula - Black & White Hawaiian Dance Skirt  (Read 206 times)
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EriChanHime
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« on: July 30, 2019 12:58:38 PM »



For my Hula group, I recently made two reversible, two-layer pa'u (skirts) for dance costumes. They are identical, and were made by measuring and playing with the one my teacher had already made. All seams are hidden between the two panels, so that it is a double-layer black with black and white overlay on one side, but flipped inside out is a solid black (but still neatly and fully finished) skirt. I made one for myself and a second one for a Hula sister who doesn't sew at all.

For the curious, here's a nice description of some of the thoughts behind pa'u construction/purpose: https://www.realhula.com/making-a-pau-skirt

The skirts I made are not ceremonial but are performance costumes. I finished the night before a show we did for a local retirement community. We were very warmly received, with many people sharing their own memories of visiting Hawaii or even of different kinds of dances that they love.

Using my teacher's skirt as a pattern, I spent a LOOOONG time measuring sections, hems, overlaps, skirt circumference, etc. as she hadn't written anything down when she made hers! Once I constructed the first skirt and verified all my measurements, I re-wrote the "pattern" and instructions on a new piece of paper to keep for future reference. Here you can see the "notes" version vs. the "to keep" version. Grin



To make the 2 skirts, it took 4 yards of overlay fabric (split in half-width down the full length of the fabric), and 6 yards of black fabric, split into 1 yard sections (3 per skirt).



The fabric tubes were overflowing the sewing machine and table and took quite a bit of wrangling.



This is the first time I have used a tearing technique to make my fabric segments (rather than cutting). Since all the pieces were rectangular, and I was already super tired, I bit the bullet and just started tearing! It worked perfectly! I was so relieved. Cheesy It also saved me at least two hours of cutting time, given the lengths of fabric I was working with.



The sewing for these types of skirts isn't complex, just insanely time consuming, as there were two ~4 yard hems for each skirt plus the fold over at the top, and then the 4 elastic casings to sew. The hemming on these suckers nearly killed me... But I was a good girl and actually measured and pinned everything before sewing, especially since one of these skirts was for someone else.



Once everything was sewn in place, I inserted my elastic. In the past, I've done each channel separately (can take the length of a movie), but one of the other ladies in the class said to just buy more threaders and do them all at the same time. I still ended up one threader short (my teacher's skirt was constructed slightly off from how we usually do them, and I wanted the ones I made to match hers exactly), but I made one out of heavy-duty galvanized picture wire. While it was still an annoying process, it took WAAAAAY less time to do them all together--maybe 20 minutes--so I will definitely do it this way going forward.



And here's the finished skirt! (The one pictured here is mine; I had already handed over the other one at class before I finished taking pictures.)



And a close-up of the finished gathering with little top ruffle (next to a painting I did for my Grandmother a few years ago and just recently got back after she passed away).



And an action shot! This is the skirt I made for my classmate, and her dancing, which is why I covered her face for privacy. Wink For anyone wondering, we are dancing with ipu (hollowed gourd drum); the song is Hi'ilawe.

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faemystique
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2019 09:53:46 PM »

how nice!  great fabric too
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Mistress Jennie
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2019 12:05:31 PM »

Beautiful work!
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EriChanHime
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2019 12:51:14 PM »

how nice!  great fabric too

Thank you. Fortunately my Hula teacher picked up enough fabric the last time she went to Hawaii to last for all of us, even though the actual skirt were constructed by 3 or 4 people over about 7 months! Smiley

Beautiful work!

Thank you, Jennie! I am now tired of sewing tubes! (Ha. For now...)
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2019 07:01:03 PM »

Oh my gosh, all that stitching. My back and my eyes hurt just thinking about it. What a labour of love!
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EriChanHime
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« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2019 01:54:00 PM »

Oh my gosh, all that stitching. My back and my eyes hurt just thinking about it. What a labour of love!
It definitely made me sore for a couple days after. Grin Worth it, though. This style of skirt is my favorite to dance in, and there's something really exciting about coming together as a group and all matching. Smiley
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