In this guest blog post, Amy Brownrigg (aka @the.hero.of.this.story)
has sewn the Flirt Skirt by Gracie Steel in this beautiful African print fabric from Dovetailed London. Amy was gifted this fabric in exchange for a blog post as part of the Dovetailed London Ambassador Program. Want to read on, get a cup of your favourite drink and enjoy!
African wax is one of my favourite fabrics, so I jumped at the chance to become an Ambassador for Dovetailed London. The fabric is a delight to sew – so stable and soft once pre-washed – and the prints are always joyful and interesting. This wasn’t a fabric I was automatically drawn to based on seeing it online only, but it’s so much fun in person, vibrant and colourful.
I spent a while working out what to make once I received the fabric from Adaku. I knew I wanted to make a skirt, but finding one that would highlight the print was the tricky part. A lot of skirts, unless they’re straight pencil skirts for example, use gathers or pleats to create shape, which isn’t necessarily what you want when working with a very graphic print.
I then stumbled on the Flirt Skirt by Gracie Steel and felt that view B would allow me to show off the fabric design best. However, once I had bought and printed the pattern, I realised that the main skirt pattern pieces was designed to be cut in such a way that it wouldn’t easily work with a directional print like this one, and would also be cutting off a lot of the circles. So I went back on my original plan, and decided to make view D which is pleated. I felt that the fact the pattern has both a waistband and a yoke meant there would a nice contrast between the pleated skirt, and the rest lying flat and showing the print in full. Plus, African wax is actually pretty much the perfect fabric for pleats as it has so much structure and body, and is so stable while you are working with it.
The main issue I had when sewing this skirt – aside from finding that, as per usual, I had every type and length of zipper other than the one I needed* – was that, once I had marked and basted the pleats, based on the width given in the instructions, I found that the yoke was too long, so I had to play around with the width of the pleats, mainly at the sides. Being fitted around the waist means you need to get it pretty accurate, so it is a bit of trial and error. But at least African wax is a fabric that is very easy to unpick and make adjustments to.
*Realising I didn’t have the zipper gave me an excuse to book a ticket to the Stitch Festival in Islington, London, where I got to meet the lovely Adaku in person and of course buy some more fabric from her!
I really like the skirt - it’s fun and great for twirling - and I am planning to make more versions. I also already have another project ready to cut out with more African Wax fabric, this time a boiler suit using one of Dovetailed London’s new floral prints.
Want to make something gorgeous on this fabric? Shop here.
Want to sew with African fabric? 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.
Want to make your own with a little help? Shop workshops here.