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DIY little Ankara dress

DIY little Ankara dress

When it comes to fabric, I’m typically drawn to solids. Nothing too complicated! just a great quality fabric that will stand the test of time.

But a while ago my SO who happens to be African gave me a bag filled with fabric. The most beautiful prints and color all in one bag. I’m still trying to decide what I plan to make with the others, but this dress was one I thought would be perfect.

If you’ve never worked with Ankara, it’s a crisp thin fabric with a wax-like coating that sews, cuts and irons like a dream. The only downside for me is zero stretch. So when I see these elaborate tight fitting Ankara dresses, I’m really in awe. How the hell are they walking is the first thing that comes to mind.

This dress was made using vintage Mcalls 8755 withe the following pattern alterations.

-Added a puffy sleeve

-A 3 1/2″ band at the hem of the dress



    June 18, 2020 / 10:46 pm

    Dress looks great and great for summer that breezy fabric will keep you cool .. Also wanted make a shout out to that coat you made a while back using that grey wool/blend fabric and bemberg lining .. i got the pattern off of ebay and plan on making it making some the same adjustments, i’m 5’10 and a guy so i think it will work for me … but no on seam pockets, welted pockets that are easier to reach and more accessible. it was such an awesome looing coat.

    • admin
      June 20, 2020 / 5:46 pm

      Thank you Corey 🙂 it’s really light and super comfortable.

      I get you on the side seam pockets. I personally prefer pockets that can’t be seen, unless I’m feeling fancy. 🙂
      Would love to see your finished make.

  2. June 19, 2020 / 1:23 am

    Beautiful as always! Love it.

    Just a note: This is adire fabric. It’s a resist-dyed fabric traditionally done by Yoruba people using indigo dye (like you have). There is a great company, Adire Lounge (https://adirelounge.com/) that makes adire in different colours and on silks, jerseys, etc as well. Usually it’s found on the tightly woven cotton, as is ankara.
    Ankara is a wax-print fabric but it’s made differently and the patterns are different.

    As you noticed, they usually have NO give. So they are really sewn to measure. I think we (Nigerians) are just used to working with these non-stretch fabrics – adire, ankara, lace, aso-oke. They usually fairly tightly woven but get a bit softer over time.

    • admin
      June 20, 2020 / 5:43 pm

      Thank you for the clarification. Clearly I’m new to this fabric. I was told because it has a wax coating that it’s Ankara.

      I definitely want to get more, so thank you for the link. I’m going to check it out.