In this guest blog post, we feature Angela (aka @sew.ange) in this beautiful African print fabric from Dovetailed London. Angela 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!
One of the main reasons for me entering the Great British Sewing Bee was because I wanted to get out of the rut of sewing girls dresses for my 3 adorable granddaughters. OK – I admit my favourite sewing project is still girls' dresses so I was delighted when I was given the most gorgeous African wax fabric from Dovetailed London and took Adaku’s advice as regards making something for myself. I have worn bright colours and patterns since I turned 40 as I remember looking in my wardrobe and everything was black and somewhat boring – a combination of work clothes and spending time and money on keeping the then kids looking good.
Then another of my passions came into play. I have lots of patterns. Lots and lots of patterns!! Some are ones I have had and used for years so much so they have come back into fashion. Also I love a good charity shop and this is where I think I found Vogue 1786, a shirt pattern. Love that a medium size is 12-14. Spot on. I thought I would challenge myself as I knew I would have to pattern match the front fastener which I’ve not done for some time.
People always ask how we manage to make garments so quickly on the Great British Sewing Bee. One reason is that you don’t have time to sit and contemplate, make a cup of tea, hoover, pick a few weeds out of the garden, come back and look at the pattern. If the weather allows I put the fabric on the washing line to look if there is an obvious one way pattern. I don’t always prewash fabric but it is recommended that African wax is prewashed.
I sat and looked at the fabric for a while as it was 41” / 104cm wide so I had to put a couple of tucks in the back piece but it was still plenty wide enough. I did not put a back seam in either – Esme Young repeatedly told us not to put in a seam if it didn’t need to be there. Lining up the fabric for the centre front to pattern match was not as difficult as I thought it may be but it was still a relief when it all matched up so well. One quick tip when the fabric is printed on both sides is to put a couple of pins on the right side of every fabric piece. Also look at the selvedge for a clue as to which is the right side.
I just love the big sleeves and the pattern describes them as two piece lantern sleeves. I thought the sleeves would give structure to the fabric. The cuff is deep and I used buttons from my stash – yes another little passion of mine. I mentioned hand sewing at the beginning and it was lovely to do some hand sewing and stitch down the yoke, collar and cuffs in that old fashioned way -or is it old fashioned and just gives a lovely neat finish?
I’ll admit to a mistake. I made the buttonholes horizontal and then looked at the pattern and they should have been vertical but I managed to get them to still be able to hide under the button fly. I’ll read the pattern properly next time!
I hope there will be a next time as I have a beautiful shirt that is different to anything else in my wardrobe. I also have learnt new skills (like blogging) as it’s good to keep the brain cells ticking when retirement is rapidly approaching.
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.