7.05.2018

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

My apologies for the smirky faces--I shot these with a timer on the side of the Henry Hudson Parkway, trying not to laugh at myself as cars just below me buzzed by in confusion at the lone chick twirling in twenty-two colors.

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

Before I wander too far down the path of run-on alliterated sentences, lemme change things up and talk about the garment. I'm all talked out for the moment about everything else. So. Sewing talk, yes? OH LET'S DO.

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

This skirt was borne out of the need to do something with a six yard cut of wax print, done in a traditional Kente pattern. (The fabric hails from Mood, as part of my fabric allowance for the Mood Sewing Network.) When it arrived, I was surprised at the amount of forest green and royal blue running through the print, which are not my colors at all! (Which is why I put it in my cart? Which is why I own a royal blue crop top?) There seemed to be little hope of getting just the warm tones on the bodice...but I tried to force my original plan of a strapless maxi dress with a circle skirt anyways. After FOUR unsuccessful attempts to cut a pleasing bodice, I abandoned ship and put the rest of the yardage away before I got into rage cutting. 

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

As I mulled over some really great suggestions on piecing the bodice, it occurred to me that the planned circle skirt would definitely produce some frown lines in such a linear print. Y'all, I hate frown lines of all kinds. (Smile lines, in the cloth of humans, I'm good with.) This was quickly moving into the realm of Fabric Regret.


Emily Hallman's pink gingham skirt popped up in my feed back in May, and like many of her gorgeous creations, I wanted it, but in my colors. Our styles are completely different, and yet I so admire everything about her vibe. 

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

It occurred to me that this squared Kente print had the same linear feel as Emily's large scale gingham print, and the prospect of using Kente to copy a gingham inspiration seemed pretty delicious--a southern gal in a traditionally casual, picnic gingham, and a city chick in Kente print, traditionally reserved for royalty, both sporting the same style lines? HOW COULD I NOT TRY IT. And as that ruffle came to be, a Spanish Flamenco vibe drifted on into the mix, and I pronounced it the ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente skirt. I can barely walk in it without lifting the side and pounding the pavement to the music in my head.  

Is any of this making sense? As I said earlier, I'm all talked out about everything, BUT, the gist of these multicultural fragments floating around in my head concerning these sistah-from-anotha-mistah skirts is: Melting Pot. The sewing community has it.

McCalls 7745: The ¡Ay, Caramba! Kente Skirt

Like Emily, I used McCall's 7745, skirt portion only, adding a waistband with long extended ties, with an opening on one side to make it a true wrap skirt (Emily went with hooks & eyes for closures, and a shorter tie length). I also made those ruffles wider than the pattern called for, which was delighting me to no end until I tried on the finished skirt...as patterned, the ruffles extend the full length of the hem, which meant a great big piece of gathered fabric was hanging out on my hip right under the wrapped portion. Emily wouldn't stand for it, I thought, and so, out came the seam ripper. To reduce the bulk, I removed the gathering from the "underskirt" portion from waist to mid-thigh, and cut a curve into the (de-ruffled) ruffle, tapering up to the waistline. It's probably not an issue when sticking to the width of the ruffle as patterned, but next time I'll do this right off the bat anyways.


Because there will be a next time! I love the shape of it...and even more, I love the the great big memory stew of it.