Monday afternoon I was heading uptown to a meeting and, with half an hour to spare, decided to pop into the hit-or-miss fabric store "It's a Material World" on 39th Street in the Garment District.
I stumbled upon a large selection of African wax prints -- $5 per yard or $4 per yard for ten yards. I'd seen these kind of fabrics before and always admired their vibrant colors and intricate designs. (More about African wax fabrics here and here.)
I decided to purchase three different prints. My intention was to launder the wax out and, if the fabric was soft enough, to make some summer shirts, loose pajama-style pants or...I wasn't even sure. Yesterday morning I threw the fabric in the laundry and, as I'd hoped, they came out of the dryer soft enough to wear next to the skin, the colors still vivid. I can't speak for all African wax prints, but my particular fabrics felt like medium weight muslin, with about the same weave.
Naturally we all wanted to drape ourselves in them.
I opted to make a short-sleeve shirt out of the oversized red and yellow diamond print (draped on Michael above). There's nothing very interesting to report about the process so I'll just skip to the results. (The pattern I used is vintage McCall's 3995 from 1957.)
Ideally I would combine some of these prints like the designer Stella Jean does, but I'm not sure these would work together -- or maybe I just need to be more open-minded!
How about you? Ever experiment with African wax prints?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!