Fall? I’m in denial. I proved it by making an African wax skirt.
I decided to sew up this summer skirt as the temperatures in D.C. dip into freezing for the first time this season. Serious denial.
I’ve been obsessed with African wax prints since moving to D.C. When running errands around town, it isn’t unusual to see someone wearing a gorgeous African print skirt or dress. I suffered from serious garment envy.
On a trip to NYC, I picked up some African wax print fabric and then bought some more at one of my local fabric shops, G Street Fabrics. Both sat prewashed and ready in my stash while I hesitated to sew them up. Was it okay for me, a white woman, to wear a garment made from African wax? Complicating the situation is the fact that my husband is African, but not from a country that wears African wax fabrics. Would people think I was trying too hard? Would those who know of my husband’s heritage think I was woefully ignorant? I iimagined getting serious side-eye when out and about in the fabric. My biggest fear was to get accused of cultural appropriation.
The fabric sat in my stash until Marcy of Oonaballoona fame addressed the issue of white sewists using and wearing African wax fabric. Her take? It’s totally okay. I guess it was the permission I needed because I sewed up this maxi skirt immediately after reading her post.
African Wax Skirt Details
I didn’t use a pattern for this skirt, so there was no cost. (Yay!)
This African wax print comes from G Street Fabrics. Usually, African wax print comes in 6 yard cuts, but G Street had cut this yardage shorter. About four yards were remaining and I bought the full cut. I’m not sure exactly how much it cost. (I need to come up with a system to keep track of how much I spend on individual pieces of fabric.) I think it was about $15/yard.
A few store bought pattern pieces were used to create this skirt. For the waistband, I used the pattern piece my La Masion Victor skirt. My waistband has a seam in the front because I was running out of yardage and had to get a little creative to squeeze out the waistband pieces. I drafted the skirt panels based on the length from my waist to the floor. The pieces flared out at the waist which caused some construction problems. (More about this below.) I also cut pockets using the La Masion Victor skirt pattern.
I did run into a few problems with my self-drafted skirt and probably should have made a muslin first. The skirt sewed up too full. I looked like I was playing dress up. To remedy this, I slimmed down the sides of the skirt. By the time I was done, the skirt was essentially rectangular panels of fabric. As I was making these adjustments, I removed the pockets. Unfortunately, I had sewed the top of the pockets into the waistband, so removing and repositioning them was nearly impossible without taking all of the skirt apart. I decided drastic deconstruction wasn’t worth it and just cut them out. If I make another maxi skirt like this, I will definitely include pockets.
I’m crazy about this skirt! Styled with a RTW tank top and pearls gives it a dressed up feel. I can imagine wearing it a bit more casually, too, with my hair pulled back and my neck bare.
Since the weather here has gotten too cold for tank tops, I haven’t yet worn it out in public. I’m hoping that reactions will be positive!