Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sew What?! 1930s African Loungewear

I take quite seriously the requests I've received asking me to include more sewing/design posts into the mix.  But ever since Mary started her new career as an air hostess, I have been hard pressed to wrangle that gadfly, rarely able to find a time when schedules can be coordinated for fittings, finishings, and photo shoots.  Lest you think that Mr. Tiny's Workshop has taken down its shingle, please be assured that I have continued to slave away at my trusty Bernina, churning out multiple new looks just waiting to be captured on camera.  So, be not dismayed; finally, the stars have aligned, allowing for Mary, Mr. Tiny, and Fabian to all be in the same place at the same time!  Here is a Sew What?! about which I think all involved can be proud.

See!  What a proud moment...
Behind the scenes is sooooo glamorous.

In last year's mania for African-themed ensembles (see here, here, and here), I picked up four yards of a beautifully-printed African cotton at the thrift store for less than one-dollar per yard.

Wanting to avoid full-blown African overload, I sent this lovely, if temporarily
woe-begotten, fabric to the foothills of my fabric Kilimanjaro for a full calendar
year until it was ready for a return trip to the summit.

Making the ten-minute trek from our house, we did our best to scout a location that would be a suitable Serengeti stand-in (bonus points for not requiring those pesky antimalarial injections).  In the glow of Southern California's late-afternoon sun, Fabian worked his mystical, moody photographic magic.

Fabian Fitoto Photography
The two-piece ensemble consists of a six-gored, maxi-length trumpet skirt and a cropped,
bateau-neck top with flutter sleeves and an oversized, self-fabric rosette at the neck.

Fabian Fioto Photography
The pieces were created with a definite nod to both the silhouettes of 1930s loungewear and the economy of '30s-era sewing; four yards sounds like a fair amount of material but not as much when one considers that a full-length skirt on Mary measures fifty-two inches long .

Fabian Fioto Photography
Styled with an armful of metal bangles, gold platform shoes, tousled hair and a
coordinating head wrap, Mary gave the look something completely modern.

Fabian Fioto Photography
And what's more modern than flying?  I ask you.

Fabian Fioto Photography
Speaking of flying...
The flutter sleeves were achieved by isolating the pattern of
conjoined circles in the print, finishing them with a satin stitch.

Fabian Fioto photography
And so the sun slowly sinks on wacky tacky summer fashion

fabian fioto photography
"Why don't you take a picture, it'll last longer?"

Um...we did.

With a huge vote of gratitude for artist and model, I anxiously await our next collaboration.  You can bet that there is at least one autumnal ensemble in the pictorial pipeline!


As is custom, we concluded the day with our usual jump shot.  I'll give you three guesses which one I am.


Mr. Tiny


  1. I love your "Sew What" blogs. I admire your sewing skills and amazing ensembles you create! Mary also makes for an ideal model. Beautiful all the way around.

    1. Oh, thank you so much! Hopefully, we'll figure out a time to take more photos soon - so many outfits that haven't been worn!

  2. Perfect in celebration of National Sewing Month!

    Pinned the first image - lurvs it ~

    1. Thank you! And thank you for hepping me to National Sewing Month; I had no idea. I'm glad I was on trend for once in my life!

  3. LOVE this ensemble, I can definitely see the long lines of the 1930's in the inspiration/finished product. It looks SO GOOD. Am now catching up on your other African inspired creations. OH MY GOODNESS THE ZEBRA ONE. :o Killin' it as usual, nice work!

    1. Thanks, Lisa!!! I am so inspired by these amazing African prints I've been finding. And it's always open season on animal print!!!