Learning African Dress Techniques

Minda told me the design, structure and techniques of the four African mud cloth dresses would blow my mind. They did, seriously. I almost couldn’t believe she wanted me to alter them. I am about to share some of the smartest sewing techniques I have ever seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I noticed that the cotton dresses were structured so they didn’t wrinkle. A quick peek inside the dresses told me that each one was under-stitched (stitching each piece to another piece of fabric) to either a broad cloth, organza or course cotton fabric.

Another thing that was amazing about the dresses were how they were created so they could be let out up to 6″. Each seam was sewn together at the edges but had 3″- 4″ of seam allowance on each side.

I then applied these techniques to my Maker Dress. Every year I choose a different local fabric shop for the “maker dress” because it makes so many more fun memories and builds community. This year I chose Sew A Lot.  I narrowed the patterns down to two and then went with retro Simplicity 3533. I have been using this pattern in my pattern reading and layout classes for years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cut – I laid all of my pieces out on the fabric grain line. I made a couple of alterations to use my newly learned skills. I cut a larger size and shortened everything so I could have more seam allowance just like that beautiful African dress.

The underlining – The difference in underlining and lining is simple. Underlining pieces are sewn to each piece of the outer garment making two pieces into one. Lining is a separate sewn garment from the outer shell.

I chose a broadcloth poly cotton blend that is light weight, doesn’t wrinkle and breaths. I pressed each underlining piece to the outer shell piece it went to with the wrong sides together. Then I pinned and baste stitched all around them.

Next, I sewed and serged all of my pieces together. I left as much seam allowance as possible to be let out if ever needed. It’s a good idea to try the dress on and check your fit as much as possible.

Every time I wear this dress someone tells me how cute it is!

Behind the scenes~

Last week it was our 17th marriage anniversary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was honored that a little girl at the Finding Frida art show in Middletown drew a picture of my dress. Her drawing made my day! The show is over for now and I pick up my dress on Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!

 

 

 

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Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh is the owner of Tracy’s Sewing Studio LLC.
Tracy McElfresh
By |2018-07-16T06:20:42+00:00July 16th, 2018|1960s Style Fashion|0 Comments

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