One night this week (since my sewing area is totally dismantled, due to the work being done on the floors), I googled “African Fabric” and found, among other things, a book entitled “African Fabrics: Sewing Contemporary Fashion” and I ordered it on my Kindle. I’ve been thinking I would make a skirt or sundress out of some of the fabric I bought in Senegal.
I posted about the fabric I bought here:
In reading this book, I learned a few things! First of all, the reason the shopkeepers had 6-12 meters of fabric is that African women typically buy in 6 yard increments because that it what it takes to complete s full, three-piece traditional African set of women’s clothing, which consists of a tailored skirt or wrapper, blouse, and a second wrapper. If they buy the 12 meters, the second 6 meters is given as a gift to someone, or used to make matching children’s or men’s outfits.
In Africa they also sell ‘fancy prints’, which are cheaper and may or may not be waxed. I originally thought that what I bought were fancy prints and thought that I’d been ripped off, because these typically sell fo $4:00 tp $5.00 a yard, and then I checked..I was delighted to find I bought waxed prints, because it is impossible to tell which is the right side up (as in American cottons) because the two sides are identical. And waxed prints are more expensive, usually about $12-$15 dollars a yard, so I actually got bargains. I spent about $6 or $7 a yard for all of mine!
Waxed prints are from Ghana, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire (which is where mine were from), and Nigeria.
And mine is of good quality; the dye lots are consistent, there are no variations in the colors, and both sides look the same.
Wax prints can be washed or dry cleaned. Wash them in either cold or warm water. They can be ironed and there is no particular way to store them.
So I ordered online and bought this skirt pattern:
It’s OK. I haven’t sewn an item of clothing perhaps since 1973, so this will be a challenge!
But learning about these fabrics was fun and I like a new challenge. And, if it doesn’t work out, then at least I tried.