Osei-Duro is a brand that I have been a fan of for a long long time and even more so for their storytelling. This is especially because of their use of beautifully designed handmade batik fabric in their pieces. The brand was founded in 2011 by Maryanne Mathias and Molly Keogh and is based in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Accra. They produce textiles and garments in Ghana, India and Peru, applying traditional techniques to simple contemporary designs.

Having pioneered the use of West African batik on fabrics like silk and rayon, Osei-Duro continues to focus on developing new and hybrid materials.

Their pieces are contemporary and wearable and at the same time elegant. Do have a look on their website www.oseiduro.com for more of their work and to learn about their ethical and sustainable approach to fashion.

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Saskia and her family are holiday and summer ready with these colour popping rucksacks.

How funky are these?! The colours, the patterns, the backdrop. Love it. Thank you Saskia so much for sharing your wonderful creations with us.

All the prints Saskia has used in making the bags are printed in Ghana, two she purchased from urbanstax. The Orange and Yellow Nsu Bura and the Brown, Turquoise and Pink Circles.We are loving the summer and holiday makes so please keep them coming!

And a final peek at the rucksacks!

 

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We really do have the best and most interesting customers. Daniel has recently taken up sewing after inheriting an old sewing machine. Check out the beauty below. (A tip from Daniel is that you can get spare sewing machine parts and the like for older machines from Helen Howes)He has started off by making these fab totes in order to hone those sewing skills. You can see more on his flickr account.

He has used a few prints from urbanstax, the Yellow and Pink Highlife print, the Orange and Green Wings print and the newly arrived Citrus Network as well as some other fabulous wax prints.

The colours are so delicious and looks to me like he is off to a flying start. I especially like that the fun doesn’t end with the outside of the bag but the bags are also lined with eye popping wax print too.

Here is  a sewing tip from Daniel, the handles on the totes are padded with interfacing. Sturdier construction and longer-lasting. I am really looking forward to seeing more of his upcoming projects. Thanks for sharing with us. You can get in touch with Daniel via email danlomas[at]talk21.com

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Turquoise and Yellow Ankara

One of the many cool things about wax prints fabric, especially when they are from the same manufacturer, is that different designs often have the same colour palette.

Here at urbanstax we are fans of the print on print look. You may have a project where you don’t want to stick to just one fabric design and a great way to do that is to stick to the same colour palette.

Yellow Lipstick Ankara

Here is the first in our Mix It Up series of suggestions. These two prints work well together. One with a large pattern and the other with a much smaller pattern. The colour palette of turquoise, yellow and dark maroon work well together.

 

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Kelly Louise Preece

I’m so excited to be blogging for Urbanstax about the Sew Over It Lola Coat I made with their amazing fabric! Anyone who follows me on Instagram or my blog Sew and Style Lou will know that I love a big, bold, colourful print. I always describe my style as ‘classic shapes in contemporary prints’ – for me clothes and fashion are about fun, and I’ve never been all that shy and retiring. So the brightness and beauty of African Wax Print seems like an obvious fit.

I had been lusting after an African Wax Print Lola Coat ever since I saw Emily Maust’s beautiful version on Instagram. The trouble is, the access to African Wax Print fabric is limited in rural Devon. So when I went to Great British Sewing Bee live last October I was hoping I would be able to find some. And right at the end of my first lap of the stalls, I found Urbanstax. I debated over several prints, but decided to go all out with boldness and chose this yellow and red Ankara print in the shape of old vinyl records.

Some months later when I finally got around to sewing Lola I realised I didn’t buy enough fabric. What. An. Idiot. Luckily, Urbanstax still had some on their website so I was able to top up my stash with enough to make my much lusted after Lola. Phew.

Pattern pieces cut out, the real challenge of sewing my Lola coat came with pattern matching. Now I’d read that Lola was a fairly simple sew, but whilst that’s true the construction of the side pieces to create the waterfall effect is a little mind boggling when you are trying to negotiate which pieces need to be pattern matched! With a print this big and bold, pattern matching was an absolute must for me. Luckily Emily vlogged about her version so, with some careful rewatching and well timed pauses as screen shots, I was able to figure out that I needed to match to maintain my sanity. Although it would give it a more professional finish to match everything, I’m a home sewist and not a fan of creating extra work for myself so I don’t pattern match seams you won’t see. (For reference, I matched the upper and lower side panels and pocket bag with each other, and the whole these created with the back sleeve panels.)

And as reported, once the pieces were cut out Lola was indeed a quick, and simple sew. I realised as I was sewing that the pattern repeat on the fabric isn’t exact, but unless Patrick and Esme were scrutinising it on the Bee I’m sure no-one would notice! (And actually, the first time I wore my Lola was to a TEDx Talk Patrick gave about Community Clothing, and if he noticed he didn’t say ;).) With a print like this, my coat needs to be the focus of my outfit. If I’m at work I like to wear it with a grey pencil skirt and a shirt, and with jeans at the weekend.

I’m really lucky to have a sister-in-law who is a photographer, so when I finished Lola we popped along to the studio and took some photos. The white background really lets the colours, and the print, pop. I used to be a dancer so we always have a bit of fun with our photos!

Now I’ve conquered Lola, I’m definitely wanting to make more statement garments in African Wax Print. I’ve fallen in love with this Turquoise and Brown Lattice Ankara on the Urbanstax website. Maybe a Kimono? A peplum top? A Sew Over It Lizzie Skirt? Decisions, decisions…

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Urbanstax in Love Sewing Magazine

Woo hooooooo! What a pleasant surprise. Urbanstax gets a mention in the latest edition of Love Sewing Magazine. It is summer time and the perfect excuse to incorporate some bold colours and patterns into you handmade wardrobe says Love Sewing and we totally agree.

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Mustard and Teal Fat Quarters

The fabric pick for this week is actually a colour combination rather than a particular fabric design. In our latest arrivals of wax prints, we have the gorgeous colour combination of mustard and turquoise, sometimes teal.

There is a butterfly print, a wave print, a circle print and an animal print. I have to say the butterfly print is my absolute favourite.

Click on any image to see more of a particular fabric design. All these prints are made in Ghana and printed on 100% cotton.

 

 

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Rain Queen Creations is a South African fashion brand founded by Keboetsoe and is based in Gauteng, Johannesburg. A lot of their pieces are made using shwehswe fabric and give it a modern, wearable and fresh look. Check out more of their work on www.rainqueencreations.co.za

 

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Looking regal in a shweshwe dress at the recent wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel. Princess Mabereng Seeiso of Lesotho is a member of the Royal Family of Lesotho. She is the wife of Prince Seeiso of Lesotho and the sister-in-law of King Letsie III of Lesotho.

Want to know a little bit more about the wonderful shweshwe fabric? Check out our What is Shweshwe post.

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This is the first in our exploration of prints and patterns.  We, and by we I mean I, will be honing my sewing skills whilst  experimenting using African fabric to make interesting sewing patterns.

I often come across great sewing patterns, with Pinterest and Instagram full of completed garments by avid sewers. I thought it would be interesting to see what some of these garments would look like in African prints and batiks. My guess is they could be very interesting! Handmade wardrobe, here I come.

The Tamarack Jacket by Grainline studios is one of such projects.

The finished item is far from perfect but I LOVE it. It is made out of our Colour marble batik fabric hand-dyed in Southern Nigeria. I think it is a great choice as the fabric has not specific motifs. I didn’t have to worry about the direction of prints or anything of the sort. I did go a bit crazy with the lining, the sleeves are red and the back and one of the front linings is a print with fingers. Yes, fingers. It is the Hands Motif ankara fabric.

Colourful Batik Fabric

Red and Blue Snail African Fabric

Hand motif Ankara

It is the kind of thing that keeps me secretly entertained as I go about my business. I love interesting linings.

The pattern is a joy as you see the pieces coming together.

Have you made anything from our colourful marble batik or have you made the tamarack jacket out of African fabric? If you have do share!!

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