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Cape Town to Canada: Venda Skirt

Added Apr 1, 2011

by puffling

Montreal, Canada






I was recently on a business trip to Cape Town and got to spend an afternoon fabric shopping with a labmate. We bought shwe shwe, wax prints, indian cottons and this lovely Venda fabric. I didn’t have much room left in my luggage, so I only bought 1.5m.

Back home in wintery Montreal, I decided that the best use would be a simple pleated skirt. I loved jenniferelizabeth’s Excuse me Miss skirt , so I gave it a try. I wanted a very wide, tight waist band, so I ripped an 8inch crosswise strip, then cut the remaining fabric in half lengthwise and pleated it to the waistband. The pleats extend up into the band to give it the extra stiffness I wanted. This was almost a ripper-free project (I have heard tell of these mythical creatures, but have yet to see one), until I decided to take out the zipper and just do snap closures instead. Oh well, next time ripper-free perhaps!

Oh, and my favourite part?: Can you see the hem in the last photo? I did it on the machine, carefully stitching in the 1mm white stripe. Yes to machine hemming!

Material Notes

$6 worth of Venda cotton from South Africa. I hope to do a “Cape Town to Canada” series using modern patterns and these beautiful fabrics.




Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Garment Type
Bohemian, Classic, Ethnic

16 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • _mg_9130_large

    Oct 18, 2011, 05.03 PMby wildcatspow

    I love this! It’s so cool!

  • Face_large

    Apr 8, 2011, 10.43 PMby Natasha Venzke

    Thanks you. I will post when I eventually get around to making anything for myself :)

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    Apr 7, 2011, 08.46 AMby dodgyzebra

    i love in Cape Town! yay! will have to check out the Obs shop. Fabric City is a common haunt :-)

  • Burda_large

    Apr 7, 2011, 01.02 AMby emilywirt

    I love this fabric! I’ve been looking at South African fabrics on Etsy lately, but it’d be more fun to take a trip there and get some myself.

    1 Reply
    • 028_6__large

      Apr 7, 2011, 02.30 AMby puffling

      Great idea! And I’ve been thinking I need some silks from Laos……. ;)

  • Face_large

    Apr 6, 2011, 05.16 PMby Natasha Venzke

    Great skirt. I’m going to Cape Town tomorrow! Do you remember the names of the stores you went to?

    1 Reply
    • 028_6__large

      Apr 6, 2011, 08.30 PMby puffling

      I got this Venda fabric in Observatory, just east of University of Cape Town medical campus @ Mnandi Textile and Design, 90 Station Road. (They also had a turquoise Venda and lots of wax prints and shwe shwe) Next was Fabric city at 32 Sir Lowry Road; if you go to the back of the store, they had lots of shwe shwe and some other cotton prints. I also went to Lowry Fabrics at 38 Sir Lowry road, but the selection wasn’t huge. Have fun! Oh, and post your creations here please – love to see them!

  • Fb_large

    Apr 6, 2011, 03.42 PMby liliashp

    This skirt is beautiful! I love your use of this beautiful and bold fabric, it is a stunning piece, and it is executed so well. I love to collect fabric while on trips too, they make the perfect souvenirs for later utilization.

  • Img_0885_large

    Apr 4, 2011, 12.03 PMby prettysewinggirl

    The Cape Town fabric – yeah!! Its beautiful, I particularly like the colours :) and the pleated style! Well done and happy wearing!

    1 Reply
    • 028_6__large

      Apr 4, 2011, 01.33 PMby puffling

      Thanks francini – there was this orange or a turquoise Venda fabric at the shop in Observatory. Now I wish I had bought some of the turquoise too…. next trip!

  • Missing

    Apr 3, 2011, 09.03 AMby u120418

    This is stunning!

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    Apr 2, 2011, 06.48 PMby simplyb

    That wide waist band in the best!

  • 028_6__large

    Apr 2, 2011, 02.43 AMby puffling

    Thanks everybody. I have a lot of ideas from my visit, and I hope to have the time to bring them to life!

  • Elizabethicon_large

    Apr 1, 2011, 11.31 PMby biza

    I love this! The pattern of the fabric is lovely, perfect for the skirt. :)

  • Dscn0826_large

    Apr 1, 2011, 08.25 PMby ruthw

    What a superb marriage of fabric and design! That’s what sewing’s all about!

  • Img_0346_large

    Apr 1, 2011, 07.54 PMby sewneenee

    I am crazy for your skirt, the fabric is gorgeous and I love the waistband with belt. Excellent work!

  • Swing_large

    Apr 1, 2011, 07.27 PMby macoskrm

    Just perfect!

  • Berg_march_2011_442__large

    Apr 1, 2011, 06.52 PMby fabricaddict

    Your skirt is beautiful!! so glad you found some fabric in CT, I just love that place!! we think we might live there one day. Those pleats worked perfectly with the design of the stripes – it’s stunning!

    1 Reply
    • 028_6__large

      Apr 2, 2011, 02.38 AMby puffling

      Thanks so much! I bought lots of gorgeous fabric in CT (even if I didn’t get any saris this time as you suggested….next time in Durban ;) A lot of the wholesalers I tried to visit had gone out of business – moved to India or China – same story around the world – but there were a few good ones in Woodstock / Good Hope Arena area.

  • Toutetoutepatate_large

    Apr 1, 2011, 06.03 PMby chichil

    I love your skirt, the fabric is beautiful and you chose a very nice design for it!

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