3.07.2018

Four Faux Fronts.

oonaballoona | Four Faux Fronts.

It's been a minute since I posted a What Was I Drinking, but it's certainly not because it's not happening. I'm just not documenting it. Last weekend, however, I had the pleasure of cutting out a center front bodice for a strapless halter dress FOUR TIMES without a satisfying result. I snapped a pic, I threw my arms up in the air, I stomped away before I did more damage. 

Three were cut on the bias to create a chevron effect, one was cut on the fold, all are going in the "figure it out" pile. 


It's a Dutch wax print, actually labeled as a "Kente print" on the selvedge. This printed fabric is very different from a true woven Kente cloth, which hails from Ghana, and is made of interwoven cloth strips (here's a very cool short video on how Kente cloth is woven). It was originally reserved for Asante/Ashanti royalty only. And damn if I didn't end up making some sort of plaid tartan out of it. Not that I'm not down with plaid. Or tartan. Or mixing up cultures and races. Peanut butter and chocolate. Sauvignon and steak. Whathaveyou. I'm down with it. Obviously. 

BUT UGH WITH THOSE CENTER FRONT PANELS. I think what's really tripping me up is that forest green, a color I've never really gone for. So I must have been drinking something super strong when I put this jammie in my cart, because forest green is ALL OVER this stuff.

I'm probably going to cut my losses (a phrase borne out of sewing if I ever heard one, but probably having origins in accounting) and make a voluminous maxi skirt out of it, to keep the green out of my immediate sight. If I can work out how to keep just that orange up near my head, I'll go maxi dress. But that's another great thing about wax print, with all that yardage at hand, you have some room to play...

And play I will, as today looks to be all weather and not much else. I'm thinking of building a blanket fort out of all the ankara I've got. It would be like Planet Color. Where it is perpetually summer. 

Have you experienced a true Kente cloth? I'd love to fondle the real thing someday!

36 comments:

  1. I always stress about the bodice when I'm sewing large prints.

    I like the upper left bodice front best.

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    1. That's my fave too, although it's more the least of all the evils. Luckily I have 5 yards left!

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  2. I like all of your trial bodices. But I like forest green lol.

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    1. it's an important factor!! What was i thinking ?!

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  3. Yes to upper left. No to upper right (two bras?), no to lower right (a highway to where?), no to lower left (what are you pointing at?). (Not that I'm opinionated, but my eyes are twitching.)

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  4. I like upper right the best. Could you insert an orange square at the bottom? Voila, no forest green.

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    1. oo, I have loads left for a recut...if I could get one like that, and maybe the chevrons oriented in the opposite direction, that could work!

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  5. I agree that none of the bodice fronts are inspiring. I think piecing the orange section that you like into an interesting arrangement of stripes and then cutting the bodice piece might yield a fantastic balance for the large print on the skirt. Can't wait to see what you do with it!

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    1. thank you, they really aren't!!!! i love it when we can be honest about that. I like the idea of treating it like a jigsaw puzzle.

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  6. My parents were in the Peace Corps in the late 60s (in Ghana) and brought kente cloth strips home... so yes, I've felt the real thing. Much like tapestry. Lovely stuff.

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    1. Wow, very cool. They must have also brought some fantastic stories.

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  7. If you are willing to fussy cut and piece I think you could create an orange triangle out of the top left to replace the green triangle at the bottom of the top right which would create an overall orange and purple/white diamond effect.

    I actually like the top left one. If I didn't want green, I would try to fussy cut an orange stripe arrow shape to replace the green plaid bottom.

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    1. I'm definitely considering that- i do love piecing ankara. I'm going to see if I can get a full orange/white out of the fabric first!

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  8. I might consider a solid color for the bodice front.

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  9. The purple is so vibrant I’d want to somehow highlight that. I’m excited to see what the outcome is. :)

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  10. I'm voting for version A. Love the lines. And it reminds me of you, somehow.

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  11. Piece the top left one with the orange so you just get a gorgeous chevron of the blue stripe? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG lol.
    About to go blog about my Weimar robe btw! xo

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  12. I like the top left best. Plus it fits the less forest green requirement.

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    1. In a print loaded with forest green, it's my #1 requirement. *headdesk*

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  13. Yes. I had a roommate from Lagos who is also a seamster and textile collector. She showed me a real silk Kente and silk/wool paisley from Kashmir. Her mom used to take her on shopping trips to London so she had fantastic RTW and self made clothes. This was Berkeley in the 1980s.

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  14. Definitely top left!!

    I’m still looking for a source for Ankara prints. Maybe I’ll find some in NYC!

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    1. If you don't mind mail ordering fabric there are lots of Ankara sellers on Etsy.

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    2. Yes, Lynn has found some beauties on Etsy! Was it "House of Mami Wata"?

      Also, in NY there's AKN Fabrics. We have *got* to go if you have time!

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    3. Yes, I have ordered two or three times from "House of Mami Wata" but those last two pieces were from "More Love Mama". Both ship really fast.

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  15. I like the top left best, but I totally get what you mean about print colours that aren’t “yours”! So maybe a skirt is best. Or more wine? Hope the weather has resolved!

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  16. So wish I had a decent editor. The top left with the bottom purple black band from the lower left in place of the green.Did someone say something about a wine background? Ha ha It would make a great jigsaw too.

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  17. I spent 2 months in Ghana last summer, and all. of. the. fabric. was. absolutely. amazing. My pack was quite a bit heavier when i left the country than when I entered as I bought several 6 yard lengths of wax prints. I did see lots of, and handle some, true kente cloth and it was beautiful!

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  18. I really like that top left chevron design. second favorite is the bottom right which is barely favored above the bottom left. Whatever you decide will be amazing.

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  19. Next time you revisit this fabric, instead of cutting and sewing it up, try a quilter's trick - use a frameless mirror, hold it on edge and move it around until you find a pattern you like. Cut out a template for half of the bodice piece for an even closer idea of the results.

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    1. oh my god, what a GREAT technique! Quilters have so many useful tricks for garment sewing! Sourcing a frameless mirror ASAP.

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  20. ooooohh yeah. I believe this is the exact pattern that I used for a school dance in the 90s. Crinkly red satin!
    This start looks great!

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!