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.  

25 comments:

  1. When I saw the first pattern I thought - mmmmm not your normal silhouette. Then as I read on I understood the inspiration and the interpretation. It's a lovely skirt and it is you! Also love the background for the pics!

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    1. Right?! I agree about out of my normal silhouette- though as I was making it, I thought "ruffles? How is this *not* me."

      This backdrop was up in the 80s on the west side. Very private!


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  2. This works so well!! All of these pictures are fabulous and I love reading your thoughts about how you match a fabric to a pattern ;o)

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    1. Thank you! I'm surprised I was actually able to convey the mishmash of thoughts on this one :)

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  3. Love your skirt! I want one!

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    1. well thankya! It's well within your reach, this silhouette is being offered by multiple pattern companies!

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  4. I love it. And I love that you used Emily's creation to inspire you. I love reading both of your blogs because you obviously have a passion for sewing. So even if we all have different tastes in fabric etc, we can all agree that this is the very best thing to do with any extra time we have. Happy sewing!

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    1. My sentiments exactly! I love that our shared passion lends itself to admiring all kinds of styles.

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  5. Stunning skirt, suits you beautifully!

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  6. Not your color!? Honey, EVERY color is your color! Beautiful!

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    1. haha! I reeeeealllllyyyy wanna say pastels are a no go...but I guess never say never...

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  7. Nicely done! I follow your and Emily's blogs too, and this skirt from a dress pattern is a real inspiration!!

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    1. Thanks! I love to look outside the pattern lines, but I really didn't see this option till Emily's variation :)

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  8. Looks super cute! Love your version, and I don't think I'd consider making this skirt based on the inspiration or pattern images. The print you chose brings the pattern out of western-wear and into urban cool-girl wear. ;) Love it.

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    1. Thanks Adri! Though now I wish I'd worn it with my fringed cowboy boots...that is SO happening this autumn...

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  9. Oh Marcy, this is so gorgeous though! 😍 I'm thinking any linear African prints would look superb in any kind of flouncy skirt tbh.

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    1. Thank you, and yes I agree, any linear ankara would work great! I like that this pattern doesn't have the smile/frown lines that a more circular shape would produce.

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  10. Love this skirt! But, did I just see you in an "Adopt US Kids" commercial?

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    1. Yep! First time ever in pearls and a twin set ;)

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  11. LOVES it,, it is a skirt shaped pile of joy and triumph!

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  12. Perfect! I have been curious about what you would end up doing with that fabric. Good choice. And thanks for pointing the way to Emily.

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    1. oh, she's wonderful! Yeah, that fabric...those bodices almost did it in!

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  13. Best Alternative Fabric Choice
    I love this. I would have totally swiped left on that gingham business. Mind-blowing in kente. Don't know how you do it.

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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!