You’ve Got A Friend (who sews)

I had a little sewing session at my place one evening this week. I set up Stella and Ellie on the dining room table and helped some friends fix up some African tops and skirts that they had purchased. Wow! Am I ever glad that I sew! Having to fit purchased clothing is hard! I kept telling them it was easier to sew from scratch.

But the fabrics…



Some of the sewing techniques are things I have never seen before. Darts sewn into main and lining fabric together.


inside this dart is the heavily embroidered fabric So lumpy!

I understand that techniques vary by community and country but some of the practices don’t give the best results.


This is the seam allowance…

Instead of underlining by basting the fabrics together, they stitched them and turned them right side out. What this means is you have thick seams in your seam allowance when you stitch front and back bodice pieces together. Sort of like stitching pillow cases together.

They also left a HUGE seam allowance. Maybe this is to allow for weight fluctuations but some of it is turned up inside. Very strange. And lumpy. I would think it was a one-off except my friends got their outfits from completely separate places and they both have these strange features.

Here I am wearing my African cotton retro dress with some friends in their African outfits!  The outfit on my friend on my left is one I helped to alter.


Still haven’t blogged this dress but I will. Have you seen African outfits up close? Can you explain the totally different techniques used?

Here is an adorable song I heard on a Masterpiece show this week!  “If I had a needle and thread…”


5 thoughts on “You’ve Got A Friend (who sews)

  1. Another Sewing Scientist (from Montreal) might have something to say. Her work involves research in Africa, she’s been a number of times. I love the embroidery (and colours!) on her dress, it’s lovely.

  2. Isn’t that bizarre? I do wonder the why of things, and I’m curious to know whether there is a legitimate reason for these techniques 🙂 The fabrics are quite beautiful & looks like you helped your friend get a great fit!

  3. Pingback: Let’s Play Catchup | Falling Through Your Clothes

  4. I’ve seen a number of Nigerian garments because that’s where my family is from. Most of what I’ve seen is well made, lined, and durable.

    Custom tailors there work FAST. As in, a fully lined and finished garment in 2-3 hours. Also their regular (local) customers have very, very high standards….but if they think they’re sewing for someone who will settle for less, it’s possible they’d cut corners.

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