An African Lady’s Oven Mitt

Eek! How exciting – the very first post on our brand spanking new See What I Made blog. I had no idea quite how much mental energy this would take but I’m hoping that once I get started I’ll be on a roll! This must be how an artist feels when faced with a blank canvas – terrified!  A few weeks ago I was churning out sewing projects like I was on fire, coming up with multiple blog posts a day (in my head) but now, having spent at least three weeks trying to work out how to add a facebook icon to our sidebar, I’m totally over it.
One thing I have not tired of, however, is thinking about what to do with the many metres of African fabric I have purchased in a frenzy this summer. It must be something to do with my African heritage – to look at me, I’m Irish through and through, dark hair, freckles, pale skin, purple veins near the surface – the whole kit and kaboodle, but last week I had a conversation with my Italian dentist which went along these lines;

Me: I’ve got six wisdom teeth and one of them is annoying me.
Dentist: Eet is nat passible, only Africans have seeks wisdam teeth. (He may have done his training in Jamaica.)
Me: ( looking sceptically at my pale freckly arms) No, it’s true, I do.
[After X-ray]
Dentist: hoh ma gatt, you have seeks wisdom teeth!
Me: I know- sure I told you that.
Him: you need to check your family history…

Hmmmm, this may explain my obsession….Anyway,with the first piece I bought, I have made a pencil skirt, my other big love this summer – with trainers, like a middle-aged Eliza Doolittle (the pop-star, not she of the bad grammar and common ways).

African print skirt

I was so excited by the skirt that I decided to make a jacket with what was left over ( I bought a lot – I couldn’t help myself). It’s quite stiff cotton because of the residual batik wax and also the fact that, much to my great sadness, it’s not 100% cotton (although it’s just too cool to lose much sleep over) but it needed a bit of something to make it a bit more substantial for a jacket. I decided to pad it a bit with some very thin polyester wadding and a contrasting blue-poly cotton backing fabric. (Note to self – stay away from naked flames.)  I don’t know how quilters do it; after what felt like two hours of sewing up and down and back up again, I finally had my fabric quilted and ready to cut out.

Padding African fabric                           African print jkt

I made this little cropped jacket but before I got as far as adding the trimmings I showed to my husband, who is actually a very good and much relied upon fashion critic, although only by me. He looked at me in my half made piece of tailoring and tilted his head to one side – a sure sign he was coming up with something witty and amusing (in his own opinion). Eventually his thoughts were complete; ” you look like an African woman’s oven mitt”  What?! All this effort with the flammable fabric,the wadding and the sewing up and down. I was spitting polyester feathers. However, I shall rise above it – my jacket is finished, a fetching orange trim has been added, the whole thing has been bias bound and I am ready for action.

African Oven Mitt

The urge to wear them both together is enormous but l am resisting – unless I get invited to a fancy dress party, in which case I will be there as a Northern Irish Winnie Mandela.


5 thoughts on “An African Lady’s Oven Mitt

  1. Fab lovely lady and I LOVE the jacket and skirt – you just should wear both together sometime soon, what an amazing look!!! Cannot wait to read more of your stuff – well done to the first very good blog. xx

  2. This jacket is lush – ignore the hubby! I also have some African fabric I have no idea what to do with. As I’ve also just been bought a sewing machine I must come to you for inspiration! Thanks for the chuckle!

  3. Emma your jacket is fabulous !! Love the necklace too. This blog about wadding and quilting has brought back memories of me and you in A level art !! The quilt I produced took forever to make and I never did go near a sewing machine again lol x

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