Shirring some African love

Tuesday, July 26

Its a few days to my departure for Spain, and as you can imagine, I am sewing away like crazy. I am almost done with my wardrobe, but I fear I shall not be wearing shorts this summer, as I have not managed to make one. What I have managed to do though, are dressses. Loads of dresses!!!

I have also been keen to use some of the African print I bought the last time I went to Cameroon. Normally, fabric is sold by 5 or 6 yard bundles. You sometimes get them in 12 yards. I went crazy while in Cameroon, and bought loads, but I have not really been using them. I see this trip to Spain as the perfect opportunity to use them, because the weather in Spain is similar to what we have in Cameroon, so in a way, it will make me feel like I am actually in Cameroon. That is untill I want to buy someting, and have to stammer my way through my Spanish phrase book.

Looking around for fast and easy dresses to make, I came across this shirred dress tutorial from The Weekend Designer. Back in 2009, when I had not even bought my sewing machine, I used to read his blog, and I remember downloading every single blog post he ever wrote, hoping to one day make some of the projects. For those of you who don't know him ( very few I imagine), his blog was all about drafting patterns for designer inspired outfits. I say "was" because sadly, he stopped blogging as the Weekend Designer. I have learned alot from that blog, and I suggest you check it out. You will love it. He has another blog now, Bag'n-telle, which is focused on bag making. Another great resource should you be bag making inclined.

As of now, this dress does not have straps, as I am still trying to decide the placement of the straps. What do you think?


Or reguar should straps? sorry this picture is so bad. I was taking the pics myself.

I loved the outcome so much.

It was the first time I was shirring, and I must say it is such an easy thing to do. The machine does all the hard work for you. Well you have to set the correct tension first. With shirring, you use elastic thread in the bobbin, which must be wound by hand. DO NOT stretch the elastic thread while winding the bobbin, as it does not need tension. Doing it the first time might be tricky, I had to do it about 4 times before I was abble to get a good result. There are many tutorials online on shirring. You can look here, or here, or here, or for those who like to learn by observation, this good video on youtube, found here.

Once you start shirring, you won't ever want to stop......strapless floor length gown

mid length
I also have these two unfinished maxi skirts I am making with African prints. This red one needs elastic in the waist.....

And this one needs the waist and hem finished. This type of print is called "Afritude". That is a french word. Cameroon, like Canada, is billingual, and 80% of the population is French speaking. Afritude prints are very popular in Cameroon, as they usually contain images of African symbols.

While we are on the subject of African prints, I will be starting a new series focusing on African fashion, called AFRITUDE ( I just love the name.). Hopefully that should kick off when I come back from Spain. Is there anything you might like to know about African fashion? If yes, do let me know, and I shall indulge.

For the first post in the Afritude series, I am hoping to interview an up and coming Cameroonian fashion designer, Sarah Divine, of Maison D'afie.. These are a couple of her designs.



  1. loved it... Love those beautfil fabrics !!! Can you write a tutorial on shirring pleaseeee

  2. Such fun fabrics!! Love the dresses. I like the halter style but I would move the straps out wider.

    I had a dress in my teens with shirring but have forgotten the technique. A tutorial to help refresh my memory would be a great idea :)

  3. Love the dress with shoulder straps. The colour is ravishing on you. Can't wait for your interview.

  4. Oooo, strapless floor-length gown. That looks gorgeous!

  5. I love all of your fabric and resulting dresses. I bought the Jamie Christina honey girl dress pattern to try my hand at shirring. I truely miss his blog and you have reminded me to go back down memory lane now that my skills have increased. Can't wait for the new feature.

  6. Gorgeous prints! I like your blue dress, and prefer it with shoulder straps. Look forward to seeing the finished article!

  7. All your dresses are beautiful! And the fabrics are gorgeous! Thanks for the links on shirring, and enjoy your hols. (I like the regular straps on the blue dress).

  8. Oh Dibs, I'm so excited about your Afritude series...can't wait! Have a great holiday by the way!

  9. Hello,
    Love you blog.
    I like the dress, however I think you should lose the straps altogether.

  10. Thanks for the input everyone. So regular straps it is then. Or better still, I could make detachable straps so I can also wear it without the straps should I feel like it.

  11. Dibs, can't wait for Afritude! Big up Afrofashion. We have some pretty cool headwear (as a continent, I mean) - maybe you could incorporate some Afritude into your millinery, too?

  12. @Sants
    Santi as soon as I come back I´ll let you know.

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