When we were having lunch at El Centro during the NYC meetup last week, we started talking about sewing hits and misses. I confessed that I still feel like too much of a beginning sewist to cut into my precious shwe shwe from Cape Town, so it sits unused in a storage box. I realized how ridiculous this is, because even if I did completely botch it up, I'm going to be back in South Africa and Botswana in February and can always get more for a few $$$.
Full of renewed enthusiasm (and new patterns), I pulled out this Butterick 3509, AKA Rita Thomas. A nice simple pattern like this would work well with the very complicated print of the shwe shwe. I don't know who brought this pattern at the meet-up, but my money is on Marina. She brought loads of great vintage patterns.
Shwe shwe is printed on the reverse as well:
So I cut, remembering to try to match the print. There wasn't quite enough yardage to match exactly, but take my word for it, it's pretty damn close. As you can see in the first close-up above, there are 8 elements that repeat, and I just about went blind last night trying to figure out which element went where. Then I lay out the pieces to get an idea of how it will look.....
.....when I realized I could switch the side panels to show off the reverse print. I've seen this many times in S.Africa, but I'm not sure which option looks best. Also, to be frank, would I look ridiculous in a skirt that said, "Designed for African Women"?!!!?
So this is where I need an objective eye: I like the idea of alternating panels because it looks more authentic to my eye, but I think that the matching panels would look better on me... less costumey.
What you do think?