Thursday, October 13, 2011

An African Safari...of Fabric

African Fabric 10-2011 Bold Prints

A dear friend has spent the past year working in Liberia. Liberia has no real mail delivery; everything must arrive by private carrier. She had an emergency need for novelty keychains (no, really) so I went to one of DC's souvenir stores and DHLed her the keychains. I told her that rather than reimburse me for the shipping, she should use the money to buy me some fabrics. She has had wonderful clothes made in Africa and loves shopping for fabric for them.

African Fabric, 10-2011 Bright Colors


She came back with an amazing haul for me! I love bright colors, as you know, and they are to be found in abundance in the markets of Liberia. The prints are also a lot of fun; large scale with nature motifs such as fish and flowers. The fabric on the right of this bunch is unusual in its geometric design. It would make great curtains if I ever sewed such a thing.

African Fabric, 10-2011 Coordinates


Apparently, these packaged coordinates are quite popular, and are used to make tiered styles. I love lime green and my mom loves purple, so I think I will find a way to use both of these sets. The un-printed fabric is a lightweight jacquard weave. The fabric has a plasticky feel and I assumed it was synthetic, but a burn test shows it to be cotton. I am going to have to figure out laundering to get whatever amazing array of chemicals is giving it that hand out of the fabric.

African Fabric, 10-2011 Cool Blues


The peacock print may be my absolute favorite of the whole stunning array. I love blues. The two right-most fabrics are not from Liberia but from Ghana, where the fern and the conch are popular motifs. The fabric on the left would make a great St. Patrick's day outfit!



G Street 10-2011

G Street had a Columbus Day sale where most everything was 25% off. Then they offered a coupon online for 20% off one item already on sale. They have a table of "Novelty Silk" for $7.97/yd (I swear it used to be $6.97, but I could be wrong). With the 25% + 20% off, it came out to around $5 yard. This olive is one of my favorite colors. I could not leave it behind. I believe it is a georgette weave; it is somewhat sheer but not as sheer as chiffon. I have been wanting to make the Burda 09-2010-111 wrap blouse since it came out in the magazine, and this seems the perfect fabric for it. It will replace my beloved silk-cotton McCall 5314 wrap blouse; this was before I knew I needed a broad back adjustment. I is just too tight across the back and the fabric can't handle the strain.

Striped Knit from Cidell 10-2011




When I went to Cidell's to help her tidy her sewing area and she offered me this knit stripe I just couldn't turn it down. I have been wanting to make another Vogue 1020 with a little more ease and I think the stripes would be a fun way to play with the pattern.




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Are you overwhelmed yet? I am! Eeek. I feel a little bit like I'm drowning in fabric. Look for giveaways coming soon. Speaking of which, Aroura, I still haven't heard from you on the khaki knit. t r e n a [dot] b at g m a i l.

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I haven't done any sewing the past couple weeks because I have been ridiculously fracking busy. It is driving me crazy. I won't do much sewing for the foreseeable future either, as I have back-to-back-to-back travel for 3 weeks. I'm going to Ecuador next week! I think the only thing I'll get sewn is a pair of lightweight jungle pants (nothing complicated, just elastic waist--I don't want to sweat it out in jeans or yoga pants) and possibly a pair of shorts, identical to the pants except in length. Let's just hope I get some time to myself this weekend!

Let me live vicariously...what are you sewing?

39 comments:

Another Sewing Scientist said...

Ooooo...what great payback! I love African textiles too (if you go to my blog, you'll see that I'm gradually using all the fabric I bought in Cape Town this year). Re: the stiffness of the fabric: everything I've ever purchased in Africa is VERY highly starched, some so much so that they seem to be plasticized. I just wash them once in cool water and they come out soft and clean. I look forward to seeing the finished projects. And can I just say, Equador? A bit jealous. ;)

AngelatheCreativeDiva said...

Absolutely love the fabrics. Such generosity. Can wait to see what you create with them.

charityshopchic said...

I am jealous! I am fascinated by African fabrics but they are tricky and/or expensive to come by here in the UK. I found a shop that sells similar fabrics mail order but they are geared up for quilters, selling by the fat quarter and charging appropriately. Enjoy your fabrics, can't wait to see what you make with them!

Jenny said...

Very cool fabrics. I tried to make Vogue 1020 in a stripe, and it did NOT turn out well. Hopefully it was just my fabric choice (a small blue and white stripe with not enough stretch for teh pattern) and yours is fabulous. :-)

Karin said...

So much time, so little fabric! It's a bit cruel.
I am sewing a black knit dress, very sensible- I hope!
Have a great time in Ecuador.

Adelaide B said...

Those fabrics are amazing! MMMMM.

I'm currently finishing up another dress that I drafted. Nothing fancy.

Clio said...

Enjoy your trip! The peacock fabric IS eye catching!

Funny you mention doing a dress in a striped knit(and V1020 IS great on you). I'm working on a skirt in a striped knit and it's all cut, but I'm having trouble motivating myself to actually sew it up. I'm worried that stripes on my bottom half may not be... um... advisable. LOL. We'll see.

Amanda S. said...

JEALOUS! I am always asking people I know who go on travels to pick me up some local fabric. So far nobody has! My sister is going to Hawaii in a month - perhaps I can convince her to get me some this time.

LinB said...

W-i-d-e legged Vogue britches, an Issey Miyake blouse in mid-weight denim, sanctuary banners for Advent from 60-year-old discarded choir robes. Have a great time in Ecuador!

Samina said...

I've got no sewing to offer. I do most of my sewing vicariously through you, so we're both hosed right now!

BTW, Google hates me again. It won't let me post this comment through my google account.

redsilvia said...

Ooh lovely African prints! I can only ever find Chinese fabrics in African markets (argh) though I once bought a nice Malawi print in S. Africa...I'm coveting your prints and can see some lovely summer dresses perhaps?

The georgette is pretty and you'll look very nice in a blouse that color, but I don't envy you working with georgette. I shall send you extra patience ;-)

Have fun in Equador and hopefully you'll have time for fun, not just work.

Miss33 said...

Ooh! So beautiful fabrics! A bit jealous too :-)

montanachic said...

The vogue in the stripe knit will be incredible. All the other fabric is so fun! What a great friend.

Nancy K said...

What a fabric haul you got! Wonderful fabrics.

Alicia said...

Wow, those are some awesome fabrics!

Eugenia said...

Drowning in fabric - what a wonderful way to go! And what wonderful fabrics yours are - I am totally jealous - I love African prints. Have a fantastic trip!

Mary said...

Lovely colors and prints. I look forward to seeing them made up in the future. Enjoy your travels...I'll be in Mexico!

Rose said...

Where are you going in Ecuador? I spent two weeks in Quito and didn't wear any of my lightweight clothes. In fact, we went to a market to buy some sweaters, because we were chilly. (Plus the alpaca sweaters were pretty--not quite as itchy as wool and available in some interesting designs.)

I'd love to go back to Ecuador someday; it was an amazing experience. Post pictures when you get back, please!

The African fabrics you have are just beautiful.

Mrs. Micawber said...

My eye went straight to that peacock fabric and I thought "Wow!" (Then read that you really liked it too.)

Have a great trip to Ecuador. Looking forward to your photos.

Summer said...

Lovely fabrics! What fun to imagine what to make with them.

Isabelle said...

I look forward to seeing your creations out of these fabrics.
Have a great trip! Sorry you've not been able to sew. I feel your pain!

I'm about to start on an empire knit dress. Probably Simplicity 3678 - just tried on the winter version I made in 2007 and it looks rather cute on my baby bump. :)

Big in Japan said...

That's a rainbow-riffic haul! Not enough sewing going on here, but I did just finish a cool hat for a birthday gift. Since I've been suffering a cold, my progress was even slower than usual and my VERY simple pant muslin is collecting dust.

Have a great trip to Ecuador!

Frances said...

A quick note on the African prints:

Isishweshwe (which is the traditional South African fabric) has a distinctive pre-wash stiffness and smell. The answer lies in its production and history, when during the long sea voyage from the UK to South Africa, starch was used to preserve the fabric from the elements and gave it a characteristic stiffness. After washing, the stiffness disappears to leave behind a beautiful soft cotton fabric.

Hope that helps,
Frances in Cape Town

emadethis said...

Those prints are amazing. In college I went to a sitar concert at school given by Ravi Shankar (ignorant me at the time didn't realize what I was getting into--I was just getting my recital credit) sponsored by the Indian association. I remember a sea of color in the performance hall of all the women in their saris. It was breathtaking--I imagine a sea of women wearing these fabrics to similar effect.

Ecuador sounds delightfully warm. Safe travels!
I have just the lining to finish up in my Burda 02-2007-106 skirt. I'm glad to have another piece to extend my fall wardrobe. I have a Simplicity 2594 in my thoughts, and I need to get cracking on my coat as our falls are way too short.

Wag Doll said...

Oh how wonderful to receive all that gorgeous fabric, yep I think the peacock print is my fav too. Have a great time in Ecuador. x

Janice said...

Those fabrics are so beautiful! Can't wait to see what you do with them.

Nikki said...

What a fantastic collection of fabrics and colours! I can't wait to see the results!

Lydia La La said...

What a lovely friend. the care and thought involved in this whole exercise is testimony to this. I am extremely jealous, of course!
Have an adventurous, safe time in Ecuador and we'll await your return to your blog.

McVal said...

I'm so jealous of the stuff your stash is growing with!!! Mine is all blech...
Have a wonderful trip and don't forget to check out Ecuadorian fabric shops!

Aroura said...

Wow, those are some absolutely amazing fabrics! I agree about the peacock fabric, that one really stand out as super special.
Safe trip to Ecuador! Post pics (I know you will) :_

MushyWear said...

Wow you have some amazing fabrics there! It will be so fun to see them transformed into clothes. I am still plodding along on my Burda jacket. I hope I finish it this weekend, because I am itching to get at an easy project and have picked up a few fabrics I'm anxious to work with!

Lynn said...

Lucky you, such an array of treasures! Why don't you post a picture of your stash? I am inching my way through Claire Shaeffer's Vogue 8692 for a tailoring class at the local community college. There is a lot of hand work!

Aroura said...

Frances, I'm having trouble contacting you, I attempted through normal e-mail but got an error message. I might be reading your email address incorrectly.
I'm still interested in the khaki knit if it hasn't gone to someone else yet, because I'm so slow! lol. Please let me know. :) Thanks so much for your generosity!
my email is arouramc at gmail [dot] com. Hope to hear from you soon!

Aroura / Linda

Audrey said...

Great fabrics. I love seeing fabrics from other countires. I have just about trained all my family members that travel, to look for and buy fabric. My brother came back from Asia with some lovely thai silks for me. Speaking of silks, yes G Streets novelty silks went up a dollar a yard. I still think they are a bargain. I bought some Friday when I stopped in on my way home from a week long class in Alexandria. I was bummed cause there was no truck from NY to replenish the $2.97 table this week. The clerk said she has customers that come in every Friday afternoon just for those fabrics. Ah well, I did finish a pair of pants and blouse, sewing in the evenings in my hotel room. Have a great trip!

Joy said...

Wow, what amazing fabric. I would have a hard time actually using it, but it'd be a shame not to.

Have a great trip!

Anonymous said...

Our ASG chapter had a fashion show with garments made from African fabric. Sewists are so creative.

June said...

Wow, what a haul! Nice!!!

I'm working on sleep sacs for my younger girls, a handknit cardigan, and handspinning brown Merino yarn.

M Kate said...

I'm also a sucker for bright colors, especially the peacock colors! My beige, fluorescent-lit office and grey skies here in Portland make me lean towards the brights even more. Your new stash is so much fun!

I've recently finished my third version of Simplicity 2564 in a peacock blue, mustard, brown, kiwi and plum print. Can you picture it? I need to resolve camera/computer issues & post a review so you can! Also wrapping up a striped rayon/lyrca knit top (Simp 2520, replacing the high neck with a simple neck band) and next is a Jalie 2679 jacket in neon yellow rainwear with hot pink piping for biking to work ;-). Safe travels to you - I always enjoy your reviews and comments!

millie said...

I also love the African fabrics and have learned to initially wash those with lots of yellow/orange/brown apart from the rest, as they can bleed in an alarming fashion. Look forward to seeing what you do with them.