The Great British Sewing Bee (GBSB) is back! This week’s episode on West Africa has been published and in this week, the spotlight shines on the mesmerizing tapestry of West African fashion. In this blog post, we'll explore the boubou , an iconic garment steeped in history and cultural significance. But that's not all! We'll also unveil the exciting feature of a fabric that was used and sourced from Dovetailed London, adding an extra layer of excitement to the episode.
In this episode, we saw patterns inspired by the batakari, a transformation challenge using a wide range of Nigerian adire fabric and lastly the final made-to-measure round which included the boubou! Amazing smocks and garments were made by all the sewers and you can learn more about the history and cultural importance it has on West African history in our previous blog posts.
In the made-to-measure round, Lauren had made a boubou inspired by her mum using the 'FANS (ON GREEN)' African wax print Ankara fabric by Dovetailed. The boubou as we know is sometimes symbolic of a story and Lauren mentions how her mum has a “slight obsession” with fans as she buys them for the family when the weather is hot. This fabric is fabulous and tells a wonderful story. With the fans, it is a nod to a bygone era when fans would have been all the rage in West Africa and taken pride of place in many a middle class household. Let's all channel her inner fan-atic and beat the scorching UK heat this summer!
Lauren decided to embellish her luxurious boubou with a diamante trim and a feather trim on the sleeves which is paired with a lovely headpiece sticking with the theme of occasion wear which turned into a stunning garment!
While the judges offered a gentle critique about the colours not perfectly aligning, they were captivated by the light-hearted story woven into the fabric. The boubou became more than just a garment; it perfectly incorporated a personal narrative. Laurens’s ability to infuse the piece with a funny story elevated it to an artistry that left a lasting impression on us!
At the end of the episode, Garment of the Week was awarded to Lizzie. Congratulations to her and the rest of the sewers who captivated the essence of West African garments!
We can’t wait to see what the rest of the GBSB entails and we hope Lauren's mum loves the fabric with the fans on it!
Want to have a go at sewing with African fabric yourself? Shop here.
Looking for a range of sewing patterns designed specifically with African wax print fabric in mind, shop here.
Want to buy ready-made in a selection of Dovetailed garments? Shop ready-made here.