Recently Laney and I received an exciting surprise in our inbox, an email from Vlisco! EEEEEE!
Vlisco is a Dutch company that has been producing wax print fabrics since 1846 so you can imagine why we were so tickled. I’ve been a lover of this fabric genre since my first encounter at G Street Fabrics. With vibrant colors, bold prints, and graphic patterns how could I not fall in love (evidence 1, evidence 2)?
It wasn’t long before this delightful package arrived at my door. Fabric mail is really the best mail don’t you think? Vlisco selected the fabric for us which made me a little nervous at first, but this was silly of me. After 160 years they know what they’re doing. I did a little poking around the Vlisco website and learned that they make all their colors in house which I think really shows. Can I just gush a little over the beautiful periwinkle color? I want everything in periwinkle now! The print is called Rolls Royce and is part of their bloom collection.
Laney introduced me to this great article on wax prints which have a pretty fascinating history. Pardon me while I nerd out a bit. So wax prints, talk about an international fabric! The method of batik dying used to create African wax prints was actually developed in Indonesia. Wax or resin is applied to fabric which is then dyed. In Indonesia the wax was applied by hand then the Dutch colonized the area and modified this tradition with the use of machines. Machine applied wax introduces imperfections in the dying process. Although, these imperfections were not well received in Asia or Europe, they played a big part in this fabrics popularity in Africa where the imperfections are valued for making each piece of fabric one of a kind. Dutch produced wax print fabric became extremely popular in West Africa and the interplay of cultures has created new prints that have become part of traditional events in Ghana. My favorite example of the integration of this fabric into west African culture is the “you fly, I fly” print featuring a bird escaping from a cage. This print is worn by newly wed women as a warning to their husband. Brilliant!
Okay, enough history lesson lets talk sewing.
Above are a couple of inspiration images (Sea Bomber, Della x Urban Outfitters) I used when planning this project. Other influences included the label Stella Jean and summer sewing events the Two Piece Setacular and Oonapalooza.
My shorts are made from the Prefontaine Shorts pattern from Made with Moxie. I love this pattern because it is so comfortable to wear and at the same time totally of the moment. I’ve been noticing fancy interpretations of athletic wear all over the RTW runway and in stores. The Prefontaine Short pattern is different from most patterns in that it provides a sizing chart with finished measurements rather than body measurements. It is up to you to decide on the appropriate ease and size. I actually made a muslin in a size 4 because I thought this style should be fairly loose and easy, however this size just turned out frump city in cotton and I ended up using the size two. My only alteration was to shorten the length by 1.5 inches.
The pattern goes together well, but I wish there were placement notches for lining up the pocket piece with the short front. I found that it was possible to accidentally angle the pocket piece when aligning it with the edges of the short front resulting in slightly uneven pockets. However it was easy enough to use a seam gauge to double check the distance from the pocket side seam to the front pocket edge. Just a little detail to watch out for if you sew up your own pair.
The bomber is the Rigel Bomber from Paper Cut Patterns. XS, no alterations, gotta love that! It took a little searching, but I was able to find both a metal zipper with purple zipper tape and purple ribbing which made my heart happy. I went ahead and added a lining because I anticipate wearing this bomber open most of the time. I think it looks much neater to have a full lining rather than floppy facings when your coat is open. It was pretty easy to draft a lining pattern using the facing and jacket pattern pieces. Because of the ribbing at the bottom of the jacket I couldn’t bag the lining and had to hand stitch the lining at the sleeves and bottom. A little bit of a pain, but when all is said and done hand sewing doesn’t add that much extra time plus it can be done while watching the Great British Bake Off. Gosh I love British reality shows!
So two new pieces to add to my wardrobe. I probably won’t get too much wear out of the shorts until spring, but the bomber pairs well with jeans and a tee or collared shirt. A little injection of joy for dreary fall days.
Happy Sewing!Vlisco wax print, Rigel Bomber pattern, Prefontaine Short pattern, 1 inch elastic, 14 inch metal zipper, 1/2 yard ribbing, 1 yard interfacing, 2 yards purple quilting cotton, thread. Styling: Ear cuffs gift, Boy Shirt J Crew, Jayden sandals ShoeMint.
* Disclaimer – the fabric for this project was provided to us for free by Vlisco. All opinions and gushing expressed in this post are my own.