First two Shwe Shwe dresses complete!

Posted by Claire Smith on

eternal magpie South African Shwe Shwe print fabric dresses for adults and children

I have to say that I've really enjoyed working with these fabrics. They arrived very quickly from The African Fabric Shop (thank you Magie and Bob!) and were lovely and stiff and bouncy. That's characteristic of Shwe Shwe fabrics, which have to be very heavily starched before they're printed. A quick trip through the washing machine and the fabrics had shrunk a tiny bit (about 2%, which is nothing really) and a little bit of colour had leached out, but they were lovely and soft. 

My sewing machine and my iron absolutely loved this densely-woven cotton. It handles a bit like quilting cotton, slightly thicker, and with a tiny bit of a stretch. Thoroughly well-behaved!

eternal magpie South African Shwe Shwe print fabric dresses for adults and children

This glorious purple is a size 12-14, and it's been shortened to a tunic length. I nearly came unstuck with the narrow width of the fabric (it's only 36" wide instead of the more usual 42") but I had just enough to squeeze out full size pockets! You can see a clearer photo on its gallery page

I will have to alter the pattern ever so slightly to fit my largest sizes onto the narrow fabric, but these dresses are so generous that I don't think anybody's going to miss an inch or two off the width of the hem.

eternal magpie South African Shwe Shwe print fabric dresses for adults and children

This little orange dress is age 3-4, and required a quick message to double-check which way up the recipient wanted the print to go! It's called "Fandango", and you could easily wear it this way up, like little fans, obviously, or the other way up, like little mermaid scales. (I quite fancy making a lovely turquoise one with the print running the other way.) Again, you can see a clearer photo, including a close-up of the fabric, on the gallery page

Next up is a BRIGHT PINK dress that I'll be keeping for myself. Watch out - I might even attempt to take some more selfies when it's finished. Hopefully they might come out better than my last attempt! 


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