Show and Tell


Guess what?  I have some new/new-to-me things to show you today.

For awhile now I’ve been on the search for some African fabric (wax prints, specifically).  I’ve been paging through the Vlisco website as well as Etsy.  I already have one piece of fabric that is a Dutch Wax Print that I love.  Someone gave it to me a few years ago when they were cleaning out their craft supplies, and I’ve been contemplating what to do with it ever since.  Then I started to see these wax prints showing up on the runways and in online stores and on Pinterest and I was struck by the way the patterns created dramatic looks when they were taken out of their normal context and incorporated into American (and other non-African contexts).  It’s like when you see someone create something you’ve looked at before but with materials you hadn’t considered previously–it reinvigorates whatever form you are looking at and makes you see it anew.  Here are some examples from my Pinterest boards:

Anthropologie.  Note fabric design just peeking out inside of skirt.  Dutch Wax Print.

From Anthropologie. Note fabric design just peeking out inside of skirt. Dutch Wax Print.


I love those pants.

OK, but maybe now you want to see the goods!  Here is the piece I already had:

wax print with birds (Pattern and Branch)

wax print with birds (Pattern and Branch)

I love the one repeat from selvage to selvage (something that I love Marimekko for, too) and the circular design with the birds flying through it.

Even though I love the graphic impact of a lot of wax prints, I sometimes have trouble finding prints that I love for themselves (Because shouldn’t we love our fabric for who it is and not just what it can do for us?).   😉  Sometimes I find a print I love, but can’t always find a color I love.  Well, I had been trawling the internet, when I discovered that a new African store had opened up in a nearby mall.  I walked through and saw super-fancy laces, but not wax prints, and the owner was busy, so I didn’t want to interrupt her to ask about wax prints.  However the next time I went in, I talked to her and she had a good selection that I had completely overlooked.  I found that I liked her fabric better than what I had been seeing online, the prices were better, and I could see and touch the fabric in person, which is a big plus for me (also no shipping costs).  After thinking about it for awhile, I went back and got this:

wax print (Pattern and Branch)

wax print (Pattern and Branch)

I really like it.  Great geometry, love the colors, great feel, and no fading in the wash.  I tried to ask lots of questions about how to choose good quality fabric because I’m new to this whole genre.  The owner told me that wax prints are always good.  London wax is probably a mid-grade, and Dutch wax is the best.  She told me that some African fabrics will lose their dye in the wash, but wax prints won’t.  I did a little test, soaking a strip in salt water to prevent bleeding, and just washing some in the washer.  All of them came out with no fading and no difference between those that were air-dried and those dried in the dryer.  This fabric came as a six yard piece (which is typical), so now I’m daydreaming about all the cool things I can make with this fabric.  You may see it pop up in finished projects here from time to time (at least I hope so).  If you know more about wax prints (or if I got something wrong) leave the information in the comments.  I want to learn more!

Finally, my last show and tell (for today) is a light I found on the side of the road.  I grabbed it for my husband’s reading nook, but it turned out to be too big, so that means I get to keep it for my sewing station!  Woo-hoo!

Industrial lamp (Pattern and Branch)

This thing is a beast!  The bottom is cast iron, so it is HEAVY, but the casters work great, so it’s easy to roll around.  It still works, but isn’t super bright.  Still, it’s great over my sewing table.  It looks like a medical lamp to me.  What do you think?  Some of our friends theorize that it is from the old and storied mental hospital that used to be in a neighboring town, but has since been shuttered.  Wherever it is originally from, thank you to my spring-cleaning benefactors!

I’ve got more to show you, but it’ll have to wait until next time.  I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend.






About Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch)

I love sewing and taking pictures! Pattern and Branch is my sewing blog with periodic photography posts (and occasional other side wanderings). It's a journal of my creative practice that I hope will add to the wider community and serve as a personal record to help me remember the details of my projects (because sometimes I need help with that). Welcome to this space! Join in the conversation!

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