jill scott as precious ramotswe (wearing shweshwe by designer jo katsaras) on & courtesy of hbo (click to go to text & video clips)
Some months ago Anne (Compulsive Seamstress) and I were back-&-forthing about fabrics, and she suggested we do a swap. What a grand idea, I thought, and we’d been sending suggestions and photos back and forth since.
We had finalised things before Anne went off on her vacation several weeks ago. Just before she left she wrote, ‘maybe I’ll have something for you from my vacation.’
I had fun visualising her typing this out just before flinging herself onto a plane and zipping off to somewhere sunnier & warmer than Blighty. I had no idea she would be gone to South Africa for almost a month. Whee!
As you can read in her first returning post, and I do hope you’ll read it, she brought back a suitcase full of fabric for family & friends, including one for me. WOW!
The pattern she chose is a lovely piece of traditional Shweshwe cotton in a favourite colour: orange. Starting with the photos and references in her post (hope you’ve read it!) I began to find out more about Shweshwe and the pattern.
I love orange, and have made pumpkin pie from scratch rather than canned, so I’m especially pleased with the colour Anne chose, and I located the name: Cee Dee Pumpkin.*
Ended my research by finding this clip which shows & tells more about this fabric than I could ~ hope you enjoy it & the companion clip at the end of this post ~
Shweshwe starts at 36” wide before washing (and shrinking),which is very different from what I’m used to working with. That would definitely influence my decisions. But first, I wanted to understand what it is; i.e., the history behind the fabric, and how it’s used both now & in the past.
I want to respect the history and integrity of the cloth as I decide what to do with it, and Anne made sure to point out where I can get more if I need to ~ huge THANK YOU!
After all, we fabric lovers wanna know these things, right?
Here’s a repeat of Anne’s references with one or two more I found along the way, and a lovely wrap-up from South African morning telly to close. Hope everyone will enjoy learning more about this wonderful fabric.
researches . . .
Da Gama Textiles ~ Their site notes they do not sell directly to the public, but they have a good About Us page.
The Africa Fabric Shop (UK):
Then I wanted to see who the designer was (Jo Katsaras) & what they’d done with Shweshwe:
If you want to watch The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency on HBO
Also available on YouTube (and in original book forms by author Alexander McCall Smith in libraries & online sources).
The first lady detective in Botswana is Mma Precious Ramotswe, and her experiences form the core of this series, one of several series of adult and children’s books created by Mr. Smith. Jill Scott is pictured at the top of this post in her role as Mma Ramotswe.
* About the orange colour: I know from reading one of Smith’s books that Mma Ramotswe loves pumpkin, and it’s a widely grown & eaten vegetable in Botswana. Americans think of it as a special dessert for Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas; however, in Botswana it’s a vegetable.
Finish up by watching this delightful video clip of more fashion from the same designer, Palesa Mokubung of Mantsho, and a different presenter. Warning ~ they are talking very fast in multiple languages, so don’t worry if you aren’t understanding everything they’re saying.