In this guest blog post, Elke (aka @sewthreadbear) has sewn the Bob pants by Style Arc in this beautiful African print fabric from Dovetailed London. Elke 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!
I love bold prints. Who could not fall in love with the colourful and vibrant African Wax Print fabrics and the beautiful garments made up with them, I wasn’t confident about using these striking fabrics in the modern boxy shapes that I love to wear, which tend to have more of a Scandi vibe.
I was therefore super happy for the opportunity to be a Brand Ambassador for Dovetailed, and try out a bold African Wax print on one of my favourite trouser patterns – the Bob pants from Style Arc. The Bob pants are perfect for a strong geometric print which really shows off the interesting shape of the leg.
My chosen fabric has a large geometric design with an irregular element to it so I knew pattern matching was going to be a challenge! Geometric designs usually make cutting out and matching seams much easier, but this design has a dark blue overlay, like a pattern on top of a pattern, which needed closer attention and consideration on where to place the pattern pieces. I washed and line-dried the fabric, which left it lovely and soft. It works well for summer trousers and is light and drapey. It will work equally well for dresses, skirts and blouses.
The first consideration was how to place the pattern pieces onto the fabric to make the most of the striking design. I decided to place the hem of the trouser legs to finish above the dark blue design running across the width of the fabric. I felt this gave the best distribution of the whole pattern across the trousers but each fabric design is unique and you just have to play around with it a bit until you’re happy. To enhance the shape of the trousers I used the dark blue lengthways design down the middle of each leg. By aligning both leg pieces at the bottom hem, the rest just fell into place!
The Bob pants come with side pockets, but I much prefer a slanted pocket and it is not difficult to adjust the pattern for that. There are video tutorials showing you how to do this. A useful tip for pattern matching is to lay the pocket piece over the front leg when cutting out, and then cutting out the slanted pocket opening separately. This leaves a piece of fabric to pattern match the pocket piece to.
I focused on pattern alignment rather than perfect pattern matching as the dark blue design repeats at a much larger scale than the rest, so perfect pattern matching would have required a lot more fabric. I paid attention to the key lines that run across the design, like the small circles and the short thick lines, and made sure that these are matched up.
The fabric was a joy to work with, and is a great feature for Ankara Appreciation Week!
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.