My First Experience with Dutch Cloth

Ankara, Dutch wax prints, African prints, it's all the same, or is it? Well, that's one debate that can get heated quick, fast, and in a hurry, so I will not lend my attention here because, regardless, we still use it to create our wears with . I mean, really, it hasn't stopped the large majority of us from buying it. It is popular now than ever before. Speaking of, this photo popped up in my timeline today.

Model pictured: unknown. circa 1992

I designed this two-piece ensemble for my first fashion photo shoot 26 years ago when my oldest son was just a baby. This fabric was given to me by a military friend of my husband who went overseas for a tour and brought back this fabric. She presented it to me as Dutch cloth. At that time I had no clue what Dutch cloth was. All I knew is that it was the most beautiful piece of fabric that I had ever seen. Like many of my "special" fabrics, I was scared to cut into it for fear of ruining it. It was too precious to ruin. However, I took a leap and cut into it creating this ensemble. I must say I was very proud of it, and delighted at the outcome. Now, ask me where  it is today and what happened to it. I can only believe that I gifted it to someone....yeah, that's what happened. At least, that's what I tell myself. So, here's to a try back down memory lane.
Today, we see that everyone is using this wax cloth for any and everything... clothes, home decor, accessories, etc. There are so many prints available, and so many companies selling this wax print, more commonly known as Ankara fabric. Here is one perspective on the history of this ever popular fabric... African Wax Prints .
Many of this fabrics are sold by independent online vendors, several of which I've seen within the sewing community. I'm sure there are many great vendors out there, however, this one vendor is the one that devirginized ( Is that a word ?) my Ankara fabric love, that is none other than Femi Gordon-Bailey of Lee Lou Designs African Fabrics + .    Outside of the above Dutch cloth a.k.a. wax cloth a.k.a., Ankara fabric, I had not sewn with it. I really had no desire to do so. It wasn't until I was asked by my Mary Kay Director to create maxi Ankara skirts for our unit, that I even gave the fabric a second look. I scrolled through Femi's , then Facebook group, and saw all of the beautiful prints she had to offer, and I was smitten. I was no longer a wax cloth virgin. I know own several pieces of LLD 720 African Prints+ fabrics. And, I'm proud to say that I am a VIP member , LOL!!
Below are some of the pieces I've made from the fabric that I've purchased from Femi.

I created my  skirt and one shoulder top ( S8380-hacked).

Jean pockets lined using Ankara fabric. See earlier blog post here  About the jeans... 
Bomber jacket created during one of SMT's sewing challenges. Read about it HERE .

Below are a couple of skirts I made for my Mary Kay unit....
Ankara print from Femi's Botanical series.

I had fun creating and wearing this pencil skirt to a friend's 50th birthday party.

This African print was purchased by my client from ...

I had the pleasure of creating this for Maly ( a local real estate agent and her daughters).

This is not , and will not be the last of the Ankara prints that I will sew. You see, I have about 4-5 pieces in my stash now. But, for now, I will continue enjoying the creations from this beautiful fabric as I bounce around the sewing blogisphere! Until then,

Happy Sewing,


  1. Love all the pieces and the blog! Sew creative!

  2. I love the post, I always enjoy seeing your creations! I want that double flounce skirt, adding that to the list! I hope you do a tutorial for the flounce skirt.

    1. Aww, thanks! I'm taking notes. I can definitely do a tut on the skirt!

  3. Nice blog post and interesting information on African Fabrics.

  4. I am sew excited to "see" you here Ms. Alethia. Then to find out I am just "down the road" from you! Seems there are myriad of sewists in Georgia; wow, who knew! I just finished listening to your show with Gentleman Jim. You know I am blown away. I did see a couple videos with featuring Ms. Victoria and the Gentleman. Again, Georgia sewing talent galore.

    Via my IG I stumbled upon your upcoming event this summer. I work for an ambulance company, open 24/7 so not sure that I can attend the weekend. But you know, maybe even if I can just do one or some? I will definitely be on the lookout for 2019 as it looks to be something I should not miss as one desiring to nurture an online sew-for-hire venture. I am determined to offer modest skirts for "women who desire to dress like a lady". It's gotta/gonna happen.

    Thank you for all that you share. Sew on, my lady.


    Ladie Lair

    1. Hey Lyric! I don't know why I am just seeing this comment, almost a year later, WOW! We are actually, getting ready for our annual meet up. We are having this year's sewing retreat in Atlanta, GA. DM me on Instagram for more info! Thanks for commenting here!

  5. I welcome you to use our products which is also the best.

    Fabric USA Inc


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