President Obama is on the African continent (have you ever tried to list all the African countries you can? I torture my interns every year and make them try. For the record, I can only do around 20 out of near 60 myself). I thought it might be fun to recount the fabric I got in Ghana two years ago and what has happened to it. I bought about six pieces. Which, in retrospect, is more fabric than I’ll ever buy on a trip again. But, I couldn’t contain myself 🙂
Here’s a slideshow of some of the garments I saw on the Ghanaian women.
I made this dress for a fashion show that the model ended up buying, BWOF 8-2002-11
First, I made this maxi dress
Then this green dress
I gifted one piece to Trena
And a second piece to Christina (photo courtesy of AssortedNotions.blogspot.com)
The rest, remain in the stash
While in Ghana I also made my own wax print
I got my hair braided there, but this is sadly the only photo I have 😦 But, was so excited to find those earrings after two years missing.
And, my favorite photo from the trip
The sewing room. Nothing has been done. Nothing. But, I’m definitely not painting the knotty pine
As for the ‘dating life’ question. Thank you for the feedback on both sides. I have new great responses and recognize why I get asked. Obviously not all people mind it nor think it’s rude. Which I’ll remember the next time I’m asked. *I* don’t like being asked because if there isn’t anything going on, it’s generally not a topic I want to touch. And, I’m such a blabbermouth, that if something is going on, I’m like the town crier.
Now I really want that July 07 issue!
Oh, wow, I had somehow missed your batik post! It looks like so much fun. Is that beautiful Andes mints fabric still in your stash??
The photo of the woman carrying the Singer on her head is priceless!
As for relationship questions, I am so sick of people asking when I’m getting married again. I’ve been divorced 6 whole weeks, after all.
Holy. Cow. LOL.
Love those fabrics and the resulting clothes.
Oh my gosh. I would never be able to limit myself to just 6 pieces. The prints are so beautiful and what an experience getting to learn how to make the prints. How lucky you were to have such a hands on experience.
The garments you made did honor to those fabrics. Gotta love that picture. Did you try to carry things on your head like that? Much more difficult than it looks, isn’t it? lol
Plus, I think it’s goon enough to be able to name 20 african countries. Many people consider Africa as a country and cannot name one single african country as a consequence.
If you bought six pieces…sewed two pieces…gave two pieces away…you only have two left. That’s not bad! BTW, did you ever fix the zipper on the back of the green dress because you look soooo cute in it!
Fabulous pic of the woman with the sewing machine on her head. Oh my, can you imagine the neck muscles required, not to mention the balance issues?
I’m with Carolyn and Gigi, not bad that you’re 2/3 the way through the six pieces, And, I think the questions about personal dating life are just plain rude. I got them too. Hey Gigi, I was divorced and single for 14 years before remarrying…people do get on and quit asking after awhile.
I was looking at the First Family’s photos and thinking that I loved that fabric! What a great experience you had!
The photo of the woman with the sewing machine on her head is great. The fabrics are really wonderful, as are the dresses made with them.
I love the green dress most and the headwrap. Majestic!
Love, love, love African and Asian fabrics! I just started sewing and am already plotting fabric purchases the next time we go to India. In fact, using those fabrics was one reason I started sewing. I think 6 pieces was quite moderate. I agree with the others, that green dress is my fave.
What a great photo of the lady with the machine on her head.
I’m embarrassed to say that I could only come up with 12 countries. Now where is that atlas…
Hi Renee, my suitcase was so heavy!! LOL. Also, they came in five yard increments and were about 30 -40 each piece. So, I just spent more money that I thought I would. But, compared to the prices in the US, I did quite well!
Hey there. Are you a teacher by profession? You mentioned your interns. If so, in private or public setting? Very nice fabric. Can’t wait to see some of your book reviews. I’m a book a holic myself–and didn’t waste any time collecting once my interest in sewing re-sparked. 🙂
Hi JC, no, I’m not a teacher. But, I work in international affairs. So, many of my interns are still in college. I had a soror who was Nigerian and she was quick to point out to me that no one is ‘African’ that there are many different countries — and it stuck.
I love African fabrics. There is a seller in Sydney now so I could be tempted
Every time I see that green dress, I want it. I love that fabric. I’m also enjoying your book reviews, because I love seeing things I wouldn’t otherwise be bothering to look at. Last year I carried 12metres of silk upholstery fabric throughout Malaysia and Thailand. I ended up buying three extra pieces of luggage on that trip
Love the photos! I purchased six different fabrics when I was in Tanzania last year and haven’t done anything with them yet, so your photos give me some good ideas! I love buying “local” fabric when I travel, but sometimes there’s nothing to be found that’s manufactured locally.
Beautiful fabrics, and the braiding is stunning!
Lovely fabrics, and cool to see all the things made from them grouped together. Did you make something out of your own tie-die?
In 6th grade geography, my son studied all of Africa. He certainly didn’t spend a week or even a day on every country, as they were grouped geographically, but at least he did learn about the continent as a whole. For the record, that’s the same way he learned about Europe this year: by geographic regions. He knows more than many adults about his world now, and for that, I’m proud.
The question is rude. If a woman has a boyfriend, husband, or kids she usually brings it up much more quickly than does a man. Part of it reflects the social pressure to be in an “approved” category. I don’t know what the correct response is,and it probably varies based on the situation, but you should not hesitate to display your surprise/dismay/disapproval if the feeling moves you.
Especially with people of a certain maturity, it’s hard not to interpret the question as a dig. It is not simple curiosity. And your job is not to satisfy their curiosity, which is being expressed in a passive aggressive form. If they actually have someone they want to introduce you to, that’s different.
A great place to buy African fabric is from a non-profit group out of Edmonds, Washington called Fabric for Life.
By purchasing fabric and other handicrafts you are helping teach a Mali girl new sewing skills so she can be independent and have her own business.They have a store front now and gift shop and their fabrics have been featured along with Ricky Tims in Quilting seminars.
Love your green dress and head wrap too….so regal and so beautiful….you and the dress!!!
I am really sold on Ghana. First it was by http://www.sikadesigns.co.uk/index.htm (Sika designs), then your trip there and now the latest news. Being South African, by 6th grade we knew all the African countries and their capital cities. I still have to remind myself that some names have changed like, Zaire changing Democratic Republic of Congo. But Ghana is definitely going on my list of countries to visit.
PS. Love your blog always — it’s such a joy to read.
Sika is awesome. There are many upcoming and established African designers. Maybe one of these days, Mrs. Obama will don one of their outfits so they can get some spotlight.
Also, if you are looking for African Wax Print fabrics here in the US, you can check out Fire Republic. We sell fabric in 6yd pieces but you can request lesser yardages.
6 pieces – I admire your restraint! When I went to Nigeria, I think I bought an entire suitcase full. I was admiring them the other day – I easily have 20 pieces… (I have no regret at all about this.) Love the dresses! (And the timing of the post, I’m working on a dress right now with African fabric…)
Reethi, did customs hassle you on the way out of Nigeria? lol… they tend to when they see loads of fabric!!! (or loads of anything, really!)
I love your complilation of photos with the fabric from Ghana. I have a great stash from Ghana — my daughter was in the second group of NYU students to study there for a semester. I told her to buy 3 yards of any print she liked, then my husband went to visit and teach for a month and I told him to buy 3 yards of anything he could visualize as a shirt. I had 14 or 15 cuts of fabric and have used a number of them, but now I need to round up all the pieces and put together a collage as you did.
About a year ago I had group of pattern review friends over for a chat session and I got out my boxes of African fabric stash … what a treat to share a prized possession with a group of sewers who could appreciate it and see the possiblities.
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