Its been awhile. Life happens. Let me tell you that 2017 sucks for me and has sucked for me since the 4th of January. I'm getting through.... kind of. I'm putting all my energy on my hobbies and interests to keep from falling into depression. I swear they are keeping me from cracking up.
This dress is the beginning of a new trend for my wardrobe. I'm incorporating more African print patterns into my wardrobe. The reason I'm doing this is because of one of the interests I have is Ifa. Even though I swear I'm not a religious person, religions intrigue me. Not so much that I want to practice. But enough that I want to learn. I have been studying with an Ile. I really love certain aspects of the lifestyle. And as a person who is descended from people who practiced this lifestyle, it feels a bit like I've come home. One of the aspects of the culture (which falls with the definition of culture) I adore, is the clothing.
I've worked with enough African clients to understand that there are only a few traditional garments. And they are worn for ceremonial reasons. The clients who want African outfits of special events or just for social reasons, they just want clothing that is pretty ordinary. So I've made African clothes for African people, using regular patterns. So... why cant I do that for myself?
It brings up another point.... Africans feel some kind of way about African Americans wearing African fabrics. Which I find ironic because wax printed African fabrics are usually made in India. Their argument is AAs don't have the information on wearing the garments correctly. That we wear them at the wrong times. That we mix patterns that shouldn't be mixed. That we aren't really African anymore and AA wearing African prints is no different than white people wearing them. And I don't like to see white people in African print.
That puts AAs in a weird limbo. The Africans are correct in what they are saying. But we have a stronger link to Africa than white folks do. And it's not our fault that our heritage was erased during slavery and Jim Crow times. Even now, when we have our DNA analyzed, we find that we are from all over the continent and other places in the world. African Americans are TRULY swirled... more than any other collection of people in this world. I feel strongly that I can... should... and will wear whatever I want. Not only am I from 5 different African countries, there is European(Irish), Indian (from India) and Pacific Islander within me. I am making the concerted effort to learn more about African culture. So why can't I wear the clothes? I've made party dresses for clients. I party. I've made church dresses for clients. I occasionally go to Ifa services. I've made casual outfits. Who doesn't do casual?
The bottom line is Africans sell the fabric to anyone, and I'm waiting to meet that bad mf'er who's gonna make me stop.
I originally bought M6920 to make a denim dress. I decided to go with a different pattern for the dress and ended up with a wadder. I'm still trying to figure out how I can rectify the wadder. It was a really nice piece of denim. I wanted to make this dress for our anniversary. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to. I'm working now and have some other drama happening. Life... So I made it as soon as time freed up for me.
The way this dress is supposed to work is it is supposed to be a transitional garment. Something to wear in the spring and fall. It can hang in the closet year round. And a year round wardrobe is always a goal. Especially here in the south where winter is so short and mild. My original plan with this dress was to have one panel of the African print in the front and the rest be knit. I was also going to change the collar so that I can pull it over my head since most of it was going to be knit and omit the zipper and facings. And I was going to lengthen it 3" for refinement. Well.... That didn't happen. It was because of the direction of the stretch and the way the fabric was cut.
I've learned my lesson with regard to the direction of stretch. The fabric had only 1 direction of stretch. If you cut a garment in the wrong direction, then the garment is no longer stretchy. So I knew that the garment had to be cut in a particular way. The problem is the direction of the stretch didn't correspond with the yardage... if you get my meaning. The stretch went in the direction of the length not in the amount of yardage I purchased. I didn't know that when I bought the fabric. That has never happened to me before in the 30+ years I've been sewing. So the way I HAD to cut the dress wouldn't allow me to cut the entire dress and maintain the stretch. I had enough of the African print to use it in the back. But.... that means the I wouldn't be sure if I could pull it over my head since now half of the garment would have NO stretch. And since I had a lot of fabric left over, I used the facings and added a zipper. But I didn't use interfacing. Since I had to use more fabric than I intended, I didn't get to make the African print headwrap that I wanted.
Also.... the African fabric was short (36"). So I wasn't able to add the 3" to it like I planned. Initially I was going to try to piece 3" at the bottom. But I didn't like the way it looked. As Michael Kors would say, "It looked Becky home-ecy." So I just went with the length I could get. It comes slightly passed the knee. That is the bare minimum of my refinement. I can wear it with tights and boots. But I just got these new clogs and feel strongly like I want to wear the hell out of them. So I'm wearing them with footless tights. When the weather warms, i wear them with the clogs alone and when it really warms with sandals. See? Year round wardrobe!
Pattern Description: Misses'/Miss Petite/Women's/Women's Petite Dresses. Of course I cut the biggest size, as usual. I planned version C with the short sleeves and not the cap sleeves
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes it did
Fabric used: African waxed fabric and ponte knit
Time? Took 2 hours from start to finish. Even with all the hiccups
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I was planning to make plenty. But in the end I made none
Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn't use them
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I would on both questions
Conclusion: It's good to not have a wadder for a change. And sewing is keeping me sane.
I've kind of been on a diet. It's beginning of the year and I've decided to lose 25 lbs a year (and keep it off) for the next 4 years. The ultimate goal is losing 100 lbs. Apparently, I've been losing weight. the dress is really big on me. It's more like a tunic. I plan on making this dress in turquoise for the summer. I'll cut a smaller size then.