Lena wearing 'Yanta' overalls by Helen's Closest using African print fabric from the Sable Subscription Box by Dovetailed London.

February Sewing Subscription Box : What Lena Made.

In this blog post, you can read all about what Lena (from @thatlenaking) made with your February Sable Sewing Bee Subscription Box.  Did you manage to grab one of the February boxes and what did you make? Sit back and relax with your favourite drink and get ready to be inspired! Enjoy!

'What are your thoughts on fabric subscription boxes? If I’m honest, I approach them with care. I like the freedom to explore and choose my own fabric when, and from where I like. It makes me nervous that I may not like the fabric chosen for me in the subscription box, and then what would I do? So it was with some trepidation that I accepted Adaku’s very kind offer to gift me a subscription box. I knew I was on fairly safe grounds because I would be receiving wax print (Ankara) cotton and if you know me, you’ll know that this is my favourite fabric. I also know that Dovetailed stock good quality wax print in fantastic designs.

When I received my box, I was pleasantly surprised. The Sable Sewing Bee subscription box contained two pieces of fabric: 4 yards of one design, 2 yards of another. There was matching thread, a box of needles, some chalk, a sewing hem gauge and some chocolate. So much more than what I was expecting. The fabric was just gorgeous, in the softest cotton wax print, it almost felt brushed. The colours were yellows, oranges with some blue and maroon/brown. I knew straight away that they would be put to good use, and I was eager to get going.


February's sub box which had an orange theme including threads and notions.

I decided to make the Yanta overalls by Helen’s Closet patterns with the 4 yards. It is a popular pattern and I have stalked the Instagram hashtag for a while. I hadn’t seen any made in Ankara but I just knew the fabric would be perfect for them, fun and funky. The print of the 4yards piece reminded me of a pair of Lucy and Yak dungarees I very nearly bought at the start of the year, it felt so much better to be making my own.

Some things to consider if you would like to make a pair of overalls/dungarees in African wax print. Firstly, Ankara fabric comes in a narrow width of around 45”/115cm. The bib and trouser leg for the Yanta overalls is one piece, and originally I wanted the design to run vertically, but I couldn’t fit the pattern piece on that way so the design is running horizontally instead, which I am totally fine with.

Secondly, pattern matching. Ankara fabrics with their bold prints can be a real challenge to print match. Are you the type of person who has to get your print matching perfectly along all the seams or are you not bothered? The yantas have a centre seam joining the front pieces and joining the back pieces. I was very keen to get those seams well matched as they would be really noticeable. I cut the pattern pieces in a single layer to make pattern matching easier and more precise. I can give myself a pat on the back for getting those seams well placed. The side seams however, that’s a different story, they are not matched at all. I didn’t really have enough fabric to make this work, (ahem, a bad worker always blames her tools!) But because I’m not precious about print matching, I shall not be losing any sleep over those seams.

Another thing to watch out for with some Ankara fabric is the subtle change of tone running through the pattern, which was the case with mine and I’ll admit, I didn’t notice at first. The colour gets darker moving across the fabric and I was able to play with this, you may notice that I have made half my dungarees in the lighter shade and half in the darker. I’ve cut the pockets in 2 different shades too. African wax print is fun to work with and this fun fabric definitely suited the vibe of the yanta overalls in my opinion.

Not only does the wax print make for a fun pair of overalls, it is also so comfortable. Not all Ankara fabric is overly waxy or stiff, as I said before this piece was really soft. I would highly recommend using wax print for overalls like the Yantas, it will showcase your fabric beautifully, and be super comfy to wear.
I was quite indecisive about the buttons for these. I was torn between yellow, orange or dark wooden ones. I bought several to try them out and ended up with the yellow ones. But who knows, I might change my mind at some point and try one of the others!

So, I loved my subscription box, it wasn’t scary at all. The fabric was beautiful. I’m not too sure what I’ll do with the 2m piece, a bag maybe or a blouse. It has large blue motifs on it and I want something that won’t break the design too much. I’ll see.'

Shop Sewing Subscription Boxes here.

Shop African print fabric here.

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