I took part in the Monthly Stitch’s June competition which was to make an outfit inspired by a Ready to Wear outfit but only using Independent Pattern Companies – none of the big 4.
I’ve been a bit slow to the table on Indie patterns. They’re generally more expensive. You generally get fewer patterns for your money ie big 4 you may get trousers, top and jacket for about £5. For an indie pattern you’re generally talking £10-13 and just get 2 versions of the same top or trousers.
However I’ve bought a few and generally been very impressed with their fit. They also tend to have lots of useful resources like sewalong tutorials. They’re also very savvy at using social media to create a bit of buzz which I’m not immune to.
Anyway back to the challenge.
I wanted to use a couple of Ankara outfits as inspiration for my outfit. Specifically these ones
I have a relatively healthy stash of African fabric – so you’d think I didn’t even have to buy any fabric for this challenge
Except as it turns out I’m a curator of African fabric rather than a user of fabric. I just couldn’t bring myself to cut into any of my existing fabric.
Because I have to go so far to buy it (and because I’m on mat leave and not travelling currently) I’m very very cautious of using it unless I’m 100% sure I want to cut it. Also I’ve got all my fabric from East Africa which is a much looser weave than the wax cottons from West Africa so you have to treat it carefully.
Thankfully I found this fun African inspired stretch fabric in the bargain bin at the Stitching and Knitting show in Edinburgh for a frankly bargainous £4 a metre.
The patterns I used were:
Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It
Colette Sorbetto top
Simply Sews Jackie O’ jacket
This is the second ever trouser pattern I’ve used and I haven’t moved on since because I think they really are perfect for me.
I cut a 14 but because of the stretch I’ve had to slim it down somewhat. I also reduced the crotch depth somewhat. The final trouser fits me fine for the first 30 mins after washing and ironing at which point the stretch makes them a bit baggy. Because I’m a little self conscious at the moment I don’t mind them being a bit loose.
Jackie O jacket by Simply Sews
I’ve also made a few versions of this jacket before. In fact I’ve got a jacket made from Ugandan kitenge fabric that was apparently the talk of a work conference I went to in Amsterdam last year – apparently I was the girl with the African jacket. Catchy name eh?
The pattern only uses facings but I prefer to line the whole jacket and just use the facings to stabilise the jacket otherwise they tend to flap which annoys me.
I cut another size 14 which is perhaps a little big across the chest (an absolute first for me!) but I’m probably nit picking.
Halfway thru I regretted my choice – I think the jacket looks far better inside out in white with just fabric accents. Unfortunately I used polyester lining so it’s not rigid enough to be the outer of a jacket so I had to keep to my original plan of it being on the inside.
Colette Sorbetto Top
I’m the last person in the universe to use this pattern. I made a couple of adaptions to this. Firstly I made it double layered because the fabric is quite sheer. Secondly I didn’t finish the bottom sem with the pleat. I left it loose to give me better access for breastfeeding.
Comments on the final outfit
So my conclusion on the final outfit:
Jacket + top = lovely
Top + trousers = lovely
I notice in all the Ankara pics on my Pinterest board the ladies look rather fierce with lots of accessories and styling. Perhaps if I want to get away with wearing all of this as an outfit I need more attitude to carry it off.
Perhaps I should practice my Beyonce “fierce” look without peeing myself laughing
Baaaaa haaaaaa haaaaaa!
Don’t worry Beyonce I think your job is safe from me.