January 26, 2018

African fabrics

Several years ago, some friends gifted me their collected African and South Asian fabrics; you can see what I did with them here. More recently, other friends were cleaning out their basement in preparation for a move, and hoped I could might want the African fabric they had collected over many years.  Of course I said yes!  It includes a wide variety of styles and colors. 

The fabric had been in their basement for many years, and smelled badly of mildew. I put it through multiple washings, and finally got it to the point where the fabric could be used.

Some of the fabric is in yardage, some is clothing that I cut up.  There was just one large piece of yardage that they were reluctant to part with, but knew they would never do anything with themselves; they had been thinking of it for a tablecloth.  I offered to make a tablecloth for them, in gratitude for the gift of the fabric.  Deal!  I finished the tablecloth yesterday.  Their table is six inches wider than mine, so the drop will be less than you see here:

I had to seam together two pieces of fabric to get to the width I was aiming for, and the seaming was more challenging that I had figured on.  After trying alternatives, I decided that the seam was less obvious if I changed the direction of the triangle bases, rather than having them all go in the same direction.  And though I had thought I would cut and machine stitch, I realized that joining with appliqué would give me greater control, so that's what I did. Here's a close-up of the seam (down the center vertically)--success!

I finished the edge of the tablecloth with double-fold binding made from the same fabric.  I didn't have enough to make bias binding, so I was pleased that when I tried some out cut on the straight of grain, it worked. The fabric is a close weave, and I didn't think it would "want" to go around a curve, but I'm glad it did.  The binding makes a very nice edge finishing.