ShweShwe Fabric

blue, brown yellow double sided shweshwe durban
blue, brown yellow double sided shweshwe fabric from Durban, SA
green, blue black double sided shweshwe group fabric
green, blue black double sided shweshwe fabric

The arrival of the indigo cloth emerged after the 1652 establishment of a seaport at the Cape of Good Hope. Natural indigo dye was obtained from the Indigofera Tinctoria plant.

In its raw form, the 100% cotton fabric was heavily starched in order to protect it from the damp as it travelled across the ocean in the holds of ships sailing between Europe and Africa. The Xhosa were the first to adopt the fabric from the settlers and they soon began adapting it to give it the uniquely African feel that it retains to this day. It was the Xhosa women who gave it the name “Shweshwe”, imitating the swishing sound of their skirts as they walked.

Original Shwe Shwe carries a watermark on the back and is now available in a large variety of colours – blue, red, brown, aqua, green. Some of the ranges available are: Three Cats, Three Leopards, Fancy Prints, Coral Tree and Toto Shweshwe.

Shweshwe has a distinctive prewash stiffness and smell due to the starch which was previously used to preserve the fabric. Shweshwe fabric fades with washing in a manner similar to denim.

More information: http://www.shweshwe.co.za/story.html

History of Shweshwe

And here are a few of the special things I have made out of South African sourced ShweShwe.

Madiba cushion covers
Madiba cushion covers

Madiba shweshwe fabric from SA to make cushion cover

African shwe shwe blue fitted mini skirt
African shwe shwe blue fitted mini skirt

red shweshwe to make purse

It’s Crafting Time

As I have a few more hours “free time” during the day, I’ve been planning sewing and craft projects. I’ve had a couple of busy weeks sewing  items for my Etsy shop, and I still feel like there isn’t enough hours in the day. So many plans…. never enough time to get them finished!

So my plans for the next 2 weeks are:

– create a couple of interesting purses using this fabulous South African Shwe Shwe fabric to sell on Etsy – MadeByNomes.Etsy.com

red shweshwe to make purse
Red Shwe-Shwe fabric

– Design and plan the construction of my first ever patchwork quilt using this beautiful Liberty fabric, which I bought in London before I moved to Prague. It looks as though I will have enough fabric for a single bed cover … so hopefully it wont take me months to complete!

liberty print bundle for patchwork quilt
liberty print bundle for patchwork quilt

– Buy some modge podge (or is it mod podge? somewhere in Prague …Any ideas??!) and cover these boards with some interesting tribal or geometric fabric. Yellow doesn’t really work in my apartment 🙂

yellow boards to be covered with modge podge and fabric
Wooden boards to be covered in fabric

– Create a wrap around skirt pattern (or something similar) for a reversible skirt. I have doubled sided Shwe-Shwe fabric that I think would look great if both sides could be seen and worn.

green, blue black double sided shweshwe group fabric
green, blue black double sided shweshwe

– Sew a cushion cover using this Shwe-shwe Madiba fabric. I’d like to find a complementary fabric to use on the back, and have Madiba’s face just on the front.

Madiba shweshwe fabric from SA to make cushion cover
Madiba shwe-shwe fabric from SA

And here is something I finished today –
Appliquéd hippo on a cushion cover. It’s so cute. I think I’ll give this cushion cover away as a birthday gift next month 🙂
hippo blue cushion

I’ve also started taking pictures of fabric and products I like and putting them on Instrgram.
Made By Nomes   Instagram