The Cape Town Switcheroo
Fabric: double sided shwe shwe from Fabric City, Cape Town (100% cotton, heavily starched)
Pattern: Vogue 8238, view D
Notions: Snaps < 25 cents from a neighbour’s estate sale
Time to complete: ~10 hours, broken down into 30 minute snatches of time over two weeks.
First worn: For photos only, because it’s too nice to wear at home over a 4-day weekend with kids (think finger painting, baking, eating chocolate, cleaning up all the above mentioned stickiness….)
Wear again? Definitely to work this week. I think this one may get heavy rotation in spring and fall.
I get to go to South Africa or Botswana for work every year, but my favourite place by far is Cape Town. It’s one of those very livable cities with everything you could want: gorgeous scenery, wild spaces, delicious restos, cool clubs and boutiques, cosmopolitan people from around the world….oh, and as much Pinotage as I can drink. I bought this fabric in Cape Town over a year ago, and it has sat untouched on my fabric shelf all this time for three reasons: I can’t get shwe shwe in Canada, I didn’t think I would ever be going back to Cape Town, and I was still a relatively new sewintist, so I was afraid to waste this unique double sided print. I decided to bite the bullet and cut into it about two weeks ago.
But it’s been a crazy few weeks. I came back from my last visit to Africa and found that although my parents had been absolute angels to look after my daughter the whole time, they hadn’t managed to do a lick of housework, so my house was a complete disaster area. Usually some messiness wouldn’t bother me, but then I came down with something that we all thought was malaria and I was bedridden for about 10 days. Luckily it wasn’t malaria, but it meant I missed a week of work and that the house fell into biohazard territory and that (understandably) took priority. Seriously, how do the other members who work, have little kids and a house to maintain manage to sew and post every week? I knew it would be impossible for me, so I never planned to, but I’m curious how other members allocate their sewing time…maybe they have partners who do the majority of the household work! ;)
Where was I?
Oh yeah, this shwe shwe is printed on both sides, so I wanted to choose a pattern that would play up this feature. Luckily, this fabric was 60″ wide (unlike most shwe shwe, which is 35″ wide), so I managed to squeeze a full dress out of it. I pulled a switcheroo and used the reverse of the fabric for the yoke and the patch pocket.
This vintage Vogue pattern went together quite easily, if you can get past the yoke attachment. I don’t know if it was me or the instructions, but I gathered, eased, pinned, repinned and scratched my head for about an hour. Then I ignored the instructions and looked more closely at the diagram and realized that the armscye is not round, but squared off at the bottom. OK, now it made sense, and the rest of the pattern came together easily. I did have to do my usual alterations: add 1″ of width to the back, open the front of the armscye by about 2cm and grade up for the hips. I do it without even thinking now. I also eliminated the armscye facings in favour of bias tape (seriously, I hate facings like I hate malaria).
It’s been chilly and grey this weekend, so it’s hard to conjure up the illusion of being in my favourite city, Cape Town.
Is this any better?