TBT: You get a skirt and you get a skirt...
Time for another throwback to a bunch of sewing I did a while back! I love sewing clothes to wear on regular days, but I LOVE sewing for an occasion. When my sister had twins a couple of years ago, I was really excited to make them ALLLLLLL the things. Sewing clothes for their naming/outdooring ceremony was basically at the top of my list. So you might be asking yourself what a naming/outdooring ceremony is. Well, my mom is from Ghana. One of the traditional things you do when you have a new baby is have a ceremony where they are named and presented to friends and family and you ask God to protect the baby, etc.... kinda like if you had a debutante ball for babies at your house. My sister gave me the go ahead to make some cute outfits for the babies to wear for the ceremony, and I decided to make some stuff or my sisters, my other niece, and I to wear as well.
So I really really love wax print fabric. You can do some more googling if you want to get into all the history, but wax print fabric is very prevalent in West Africa and comes in all sorts of super vibrant gorgeous prints. Another nice thing about the fabric is that there is no wrong side to it. the pattern is vibrant on both sides (this would be great for a high/low skirt). I hit up a local shop that sells wax print fabric for under 5 bucks per yard and set to work!
Project 1: Baby Dresses and Bloomers
My aunt had offered me some real kente cloth from ghana but it's very thick and very expensive. I opted to go with kente print for the bloomers and dress collar, and gold kona cotton for the dresses. I can't remember where I found the dress pattern but it snaps all the way up the back so it's easy to get on. to decorate the front of the dress I used my Brother SE400 (apparently the newest model of this machine is the SE600) to embroider some adinkra symbols on the dress. I found the patterns for them on Etsy, and I think they turned out great. Each symbol has a meaning, and I tried to pick ones that were good wishes and guidance for someone who is new to the world (If you're curious, from left to right they're the symbols for: family unity, God's omnipotence/omniscience, child of god, wisdom/learning from the past, hope/belief/providence). I think the outfits turned out really cute. I used some of the extra kenta print to make baby headwraps, which were adorable.
Project 2: Skirts for Everyone!
So if the babies were going to be dressed really cute, I felt like the rest of us should get our act together as well. My mom, of course, has tons of Ghanaian clothes to choose from. All the men also have a much easier job getting an outfit together for these kinds of things. I decided to help the rest of us out with some nice wax print outfits. For my two sisters and older niece I decided to make skirts I used a pattern from Mimi G that sews up really easily and did the skirts for my older sister and her daughter above the knee.
For my younger sister (the mom of the twins, I made a really pretty maxi skirt with a higher waist. It was roomy enough that she felt comfortable and confident as a new mom.
I made myself a dress from a French pattern I found online, but unfortunately the site where you used to be able to get it seems to have disappeared. I'm happy with how all of it turned out!
The best part of ALL of these skirts/my dress. POCKETS. You can see what I mean about how gorgeous the colors are.
PRO TIP: If you are buying wax print fabric, there are a lot of patterns that are super popular and that you can find anywhere (if you do some looking online you can usually figure out the ones that are easy to get). In other cases, what you find seems to be all there is... anywhere. So my advice would be to get what you need and then some if you really like a fabric. I have never been able to find my dress fabric again. I actually purchased that one online, and I wish I had ordered an extra 2-3 yards just to stash. My younger sister saw the skirt and decided she maybe wanted a head wrap, but the local shop had sold out of the fabric, and there was no way to get more. If you like it, GET EXTRA.