Ankara style outfit

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

Ultimate Trousers
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

Jacket + top + trousers = I look like I’m wearing pajamas.


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.


24 thoughts on “Ankara style outfit

  1. This is absolutely lovely. I love wax cloth and have a length one ofy friends brought me back from Senegal when she went home. Know what you mean about being too precious to cut into. I haven’t really found anywhere up here that sells much in the way of wax cloth. This is where we need a Scottish equivalent of Goldhawke Road. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely. I want a market or somewhere I can touch fabric before buying it. Whilst we have a few nice shops up here for fabric they aren’t terribly ambitious with stocking alternative stuff – but then maybe sewers up here aren’t interested in different fabrics?


  2. Thanks for posting this, this was an interesting read. I love wax prints but dont own any. I know what you mean about not wanting to cut into your fabric though!!! The end result is lovely! I havent made that top yet but it is on my to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like it! Fits you really nicely and the fabric is lovely.

    Sorbetto is a personal favourite. Quick sew and doesn’t use much fabric. I hadn’t thought of using it in a finer fabric, but double layer sounds like a really good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the outfit with the jacket right way out. I think it looks awesome. And yes, perhaps a statement necklace and some red lippy would help you feel like it’s not pjs, but I certainly didn’t get that vibe in the slightest.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been to Edinburgh in August many times and you could definitely get away with wearing this! This outfit is tame! I absolutely love it! I’m sure you can make so many outfits from all the parts. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this outfit! The fabric is gorgeous & I am always in such awe of people who can sew their own trousers! I’ve just made my husband shorts from some very bright African Wax fabric, there’s some left so maybe I should make myself something too.


    1. If you can make shorts you can make trousers! And definitely make something for yourself from the wax print- just maybe don’t wear it at the same time as your husband (unless you’re into that kind of thing!)


  7. I’ve been thinking about ordering African wax fabric and making a dress or overall for a while now, but I’m so pale I thought the loud print would devour me. Then I see your post, and you look fabulous in this outfit! Thank you for helping me make that bold (literally) decision.

    Liked by 1 person

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