Saturday, January 3, 2015

A visit to Dowa Crochet Boutique, the maker of The Saks Crochet Bags

Following my previous post on my visit to Dowa crochet boutique in Jogja, Central Java, Indonesia, here are some photos from the trip. This article is not about the success story of the company but more about what I learned from my visit to the workshop. To read more about the company please visit its website at http://www.dowabag.com/new/content.php?page=aboutus

Dowa bags according to the person I met in the workshop are exported mostly to the US. In the US it is sold under the brand name The Saks. Interestingly, I actually own a purse which I purchased in Dallas not knowing it was from my own backyard hehe #feelingamuzed


Beautiful bloom at the entrance.


 Dowa boutique at Godean KM 7, Yogyakarta. 


Sweet mint candy and other local treats provided to the guest at the waiting room made you feel so welcome to the shop. The room has a nice sofa and chairs where husbands or kids can wait and chat while the wives enjoy the shopping.


Some crocheted bags on display.



A  varieties of the sling bags. Notice how the stitches different in the front and the back of the brown bag on the left.


Crochet cushion covers in neatly done single crochet stitches. The price of Dowa's is ranging from USD 4 to USD 160 a piece. I treat myself  with one of these.


Zigzagging double crochet tapestry bags reminding me of  similar bag in single crochet by Carol Ventura.


Everybody from of all ages seems to enjoy their time in the shop like these children admiring the keychains and brooches on display.


Flower power. Crocheted keychains and brooches and on display.

The Neat Lining
Now that we have seen all of those beautiful photos of crocheted bags and accessories, let see the most fun part of this tour. How do they do their super neat lining? I am grateful to all the employees and management of Dowa for allowing me to photograph and videotaping this process and for being so kind in sharing their knowledge and expertise with me. Two thumbs up for them.


All Dowa bags is crocheted by the women surrounding the village where the company is operating. Dowa use its own type of nylon yarns to produce their bags and accessories and the yarns is not available for sale publicly.

Some bags were created in one solid piece, some were created as separated pieces which will required further assembly. Every single bags arrived at the workshop were placed under scrutiny for its quality. Mistakes will be corrected at the repair center at the workshop. Some of the bags can undergo major repair from cutting and reattaching the handle and some will require reconstruction of some part of the bags. It seems intense labor and time consuming to me but the ladies at Dowa is crocheting at the speed I have only seen done by the winner of the fastest crocheter recorded by the Guinness of Record on Youtube! I asked one of the repair women how long she has been crocheting and how can she crochet so fast, she said she has been doing this job for 6 years. How many hours would that be if she crochet 6 hours a day. 


An employee at the workshop gluing the interfacing into the upperlining fabric.

At first the inside of the bag (the wrong side) was covered using the underlining fabric in the same color of the yarns used for the bag. If necessary Some area around to upper side of the bag is cut to match the contour of the fabric and glue is used in some places to make the underlining stay in place.  The purpose of this process is to cover the spaces in between crochet stitches to prevent the interfacing to be seen through the fabric. A certain area of the bag such as the handle, buttons and clasps is reinforced using a stronger underlining fabric.

The upper lining is sewn separately as a bag insert. Pockets and the zipper is stitched into the upper lining during this process. The  type of material used is unknown to me but the softness of the fabric is similar to those used in the tailored suits and jackets.  



Workers returning to work after a lunch break.




Short video  interview  about the production and QC at the Dowa workshop.


Several type of nylon yarns and work in progress at Dowa workshop, Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

Hope you enjoyed this short article. See you in my  next crochet adventures in the other part of the world InsyaAllah. Happy crocheting.

Visit Dowa website for detailed product info.

Source: Personal interview and UKM success story.

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