The “Ankara Peplum” Dress
Fabric: about 2 1/2 yards Dutch super wax print cotton fabric from Vlisco.com
Pattern: Simplicity 2282 (Project Runway)
Notions: invisible zip
Time to complete: about 8 hours (+ more to do)
First worn: just for photos
Wear again: yes
Total cost: about $35
My VIP fabric hasn’t been in the stash long. I’d been seeing these African prints around, but before Kazz’s awesome jacket, I never knew they were called ankara. Inspired by Kazz and pleased with myself for working through the stash lately, I ignored my ban on buying new fabric and actively searched for ankara. Oh well, rules were meant to be broken. I’m sure I could have hunted down ankara in the Garment District, but I was seduced by the e-commerce experience at Vlisco. Even though I had some concerns– why is a Dutch company making African prints? Would it really get here in 2 to 3 weeks?– I splurged on six yards. All their fabric is sold only in six-yard lengths. Factoring in international shipping, my VIP fabric cost about $13 a yard.
All along I had this peplum dress pattern in mind to show off the print. I like how the front piece is cut full-length (no waist seam in the center) so the pattern can continue unbroken. However, it made for some tricky sewing at the corners where the side pieces join the front and peplum, and with pleats in there as well. The center panel across the waist doesn’t quite lie flat as it should. Luckily the print is good camouflage. Since I just made a princess-seamed Simplicity dress a couple weeks ago, I compared the measurements on the pattern envelopes and basically made the same changes to this flat pattern. For the most part, that worked out. I had a scare when I thought I cut the back way too small, but it turns out I still need to take in the zipper/center back in the lower back area. And, as I discovered when we went to take these hasty photos– in the remaining daylight when my husband got home from work as I was making dinner and our daughter was having a spastic fit– I forgot to put the gathers in the second sleeve cap. So I will be redoing that.
I have a lot of this fabric left! I’d like to make a kimono style short robe and maybe a pair of shorts or a jacket lining, but I also don’t want to get tired of the print. Anyone want to trade some ankara?