Phew, it has been a while hasn’t it?! It’s been a crazy couple of months, and so, so much has changed, some things forever. The last time I popped in, I was sewing for the Great Module Sewalong. That all came to a grinding halt when I got the news that my Dad had passed away suddenly at the end of the first week in March. I got on the next available plane home to South Africa with my girls as support to do what I could for my Mum, all thoughts of sewing left behind.
Then the world went mad. Luckily the girls were able to get home just in time before the barriers came down and the walls went up. I had had no plans to sew much, my thoughts were of paperwork, loose ends (of which there are still many) and support for mum. Naturally I missed my favourite activity, as well as my allotment, which I had to leave just as seeds were germinating – along with millions of weeds.
I had planned on fabric shoping however. But in the crazy first two weeks out here, there was no time for that second favourite activity. Then the government announced a nationwide lockdown, all but essential services allowed to operate, and fabric shopping went completely out of the window. Now we’re into May and a relaxing of the rules, fabric shops are allowed to be open to sell fabric to make masks and winter clothing. Yes, May in the Southern Hemisphere is winter, although with temperatures this week in the mid to high 20s, it’s not anything like a UK winter. Or summer! 😀 Thankfully winter means no humidity, just nice warm sunshine.
Anyway, back to the shopping!! A typical South African cloth is produced here in East London in the Eastern Cape, Shweshwe. I wrote about it a couple of years ago, if you want to know more. The Da Gama factory isn’t open, but the factory shop in town is, so, under the guise of requiring lots of cotton to make face masks, Mum and I went shopping. As it’s “winter”, I decided I needed another couple of pairs of longer than cropped length trousers. I got two lots of 2m of Shweshwe for some Style Arc Kew Pants, I’d bought the pattern in their Easter Sale with the Como Top and the Teddy Top, to go with the Teddy Pants.
But – I’d completely forgotten that Shweshwe is only 90cm wide… 2m will make one trouser leg, not a pair of trousers! Of course, that meant we had to go back! This time I had better plans, get another 2m of one of the fabrics to actually make the pants, and 1.5 to make an Ogden Cami to go under a thin jumper I’d brought with me. But then I spotted a waxed cotton fabric while waiting for the assistant to cut the Shweshwe, and fell in love! So I bought 4.5m of the best bold, but neutral print wax cotton they had. And 7m of Shweshwe with a cream ground with brown and orange print for daughter No1. I hope it all fits into the suitcase… Daughter No 2 has yet to put in her order.
So, lots of shopping, but what about the sewing?? Well, I think we’ve finally reached that part of the lockdown when we’re done with most of the big jobs, and now I feel that I can take a bit of time to myself and make something. Once I’d realised I’d made a boob with the fabric amounts, I thought I’d make a top with one of the pieced I’d bought originally. The fabric has body even after the wax has been washed off, so nothing drapy. Immediately the LB Pullover from Paper Theory sprung to mind. Thank heavens I brought my laptop with me on this trip, so I had immediate access to all my pdf patterns. I just needed to print it off. Now here’s where mum came in useful – she and dad own a stationery shop, complete with everyting I need to trace a pattern, and to print it too! The only downside was having to print on A4, but an evening with the scissors, tape and a couple of glasses of wine made short work of that tedious job.
I made the 16, no adjustments. The 2m was literally just enough to squeeze the pieces onto, and I had to piece the bias cut collar together. There were only the smallest scraps of fabric leftover. It was the perfect choice of pattern for the fabric, and print and I love it! It’s going to fit into my wardrobe at home perfectly, as well as add colour and shape to the small amount I’ve brought with me. It’s very tempting to make another, but I need to keep an eye on the amount of weight of that suitcase, especially if I’m going to be stuck here for another few months…