Monday, October 26, 2009

Nelson Mandela Blouse

 On my recent trip to South Africa I bought some cotton fabric like the local woman make their dresses from. The brand is 3 cats and the fabric is called shwe shwe. The print has an oriental look and is a very sturdy fabric. They use an excess of dye when printing the fabric so it required two washings in Synthropol to remove excess dye and sizing. Off the bolt it felt like it had been heavily starched. Once washed it had a nice hand. I was taken in by the people's love of Nelson Mandela so decided I needed to incorporate some of the Mandela fabric into my finished garment. I designed and drafted a shirt pattern to use the three different prints and made the pockets from the Mandela fabric. As a contrast I used a red print to edge the front, pockets and sleeves.

Local South Africanwoman with brown print dress and yellow pearl cotton hand embroidery. She is very elegant, I think.  For more on shwe shwe go to

Label on genuine shwe shwe fabric