Friday, 23 August 2013

My take on the Peplum top.

Hello people in cyberland. Hope you had a great day today. I had an absolutely lovely one. It rained heavily through last night and I had the most lovely sleep imaginable. A lot of mothers confirm that they hardly sleep at all once little ones come along. This is especially true for me. I can't even remember a time when I enjoyed sleeping most nights. I think the entire family had a good one because even the littlest person in the house slept in. Despite a great deal of uncertainty at the moment, I am immensely grateful for all that is wonderfully good and unexpectedly pleasant in my life. Today was not much different from the rest. I spent the day with my daughters, my sister, my cousins and my parents. Completed one sewing project and started another... this time, an item for my sister. I have enough fabric and ideas to keep me busy for a good long while. I'm happy to see that with each little sewing challenge, I'm getting better at this craft. Some days you wake up smiling and not knowing exactly why. When this happens just go with it and enjoy your day.

Today I'm going to be showing a top that I have been making for some time now. It has taken me a couple of months to complete because I have gone through the works trying to get it just right. I am just now warming up to peplums. I used to think the cut was too girly for me and not quite my style, but pairing a peplum top with skinny trousers seems to work really well with my boyish frame. I like it so much that I've already planned to make another one as soon as I finish with what I've already started at the moment. This top is cut from 1 meter of Hitaget African cotton print cloth in lime green, yellow and orange. I copied the top half of a dress I have and combined it with an oxbow shaped  pattern which I adjusted to form the pleated peplum, making it fall a bit lower in the back. Once I had put in the facings around the front, arms and racer-back, I put in a band at the waist, added the peplum with four pleats in the front and four in the back, then I worked on the zipper. Putting in the band and the zipper turned out to be my biggest challenge as the zipper kept puckering up in the back. I had to take out the zipper, undo the band and shorten the back pieces, then I reassembled all the pieces again. Once it was done to the best of my ability, I wasn't sure weather or not to hem the peplum edges. I left the top alone and was beginning to think I wouldn't get to wear it at all, until my mom suggested that I get the hemline finished with zigzagging in a matching coloured thread. This I did and here are the results, paired with dark orange skinny trousers from H&M, and tan lace-up heels from InWear.

African print peplum top in lime green, orange and yellow.
African print peplum top matched with H&M skinny trousers and lace-up heels

Simple two-strand twists updo

Simple two-strand twists updo

Friday, 16 August 2013

Spotted in Kumba: Pin-tailed Whydah

Yesterday it rained all morning in Kumba and the grass was wet with shallow pools on the rear lawn. When the rain finally ebbed to a very light drizzle, the sound of beckoning birds encouraged me to go looking for this little black and white songbird with a noticeably long tail and fiery red bill. After googling the description, I learned that it is a breeding male Pin-tailed Whydah. I had seen it a few times before, darting about in the long grass around our neighbourhood. Pointed it out once to my daughter while taking a walk, in a bid to distract her from a tantrum that had been brought on by a momentary fixation on acquiring sweets from the local corner store (to her there is no such thing as a casual stroll just for the sake of it. When the corner store is in full view, a stroll must surely be worth some sweets)! Catching this pretty little bird on camera was as good a treat as any. I couldn't get close enough for any satisfactory shots but I'm happy I can finally share this glimpse with y'all! Enjoy!

Breeding male Pin-tailed Whydah

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Look: Zebra print with a touch of ethnic.

Animal print adds a little bit of excitement to any wardrobe. Mine especially needs more of it since I almost always admire it on others when I see it. Numerous times, I've purposely gone window shopping for articles of animal print that I can wholeheartedly commit to but the only items I can boast of presently are a pair of leopard print pumps, leopard print silk top, zebra print trapeze top and this zebra print jumpsuit that just "jumped" at me in Zara last summer (seem to be partial to leopards and zebras)!  I got it on sale for about 70% less than the original price. A totally steal! I have a couple of shopping rules but the one that applied during the decision period of this particular purchase was simply this: "if you really like it but it happens to be out of your budget, make it". When it first showed up in the store, it was definitely out of my reach, so I had resolved to making this garment as soon as I could find the time to go scouting for the right fabric. Imagine my pleasure when the price was cut to next to nothing by the end of the season. I've worn it once with a bright pink cardigan, gold jewelry and a thin black belt. Links to other bloggers who rocked it are here and here. I gave it a touch of ethnic with some coloured bead jewelry.

Zara zebra print jumpsuit.

 Tube rope multi-coloured bead necklace from Newlook, matched with Masai bangles/bracelets.

It may be possible to still find this jumpsuit on Ebay or on other resale websites. I haven't found it in the same print anywhere, but you can get it in a ditsy floral print here.

Accessories List
Tube rope multi-colour bead necklace (Get it from Newlook)
Masai bracelets (Gift from Nairobi Masai market)
Burnished silver chunky bangle (Chinese art store off Broad Street, Birmingham)
Black heels (Zara)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Pencil Skirt in block print

With this cloth I didn't have to look around for inspiration. Making a pencil skirt with it just made sense. I'm just recovering from Typhoid fever (fairly common in Cameroon) with long sleepless nights characterized by high fever and hallucinations, so my energy level has been very low. Good thing this skirt was not much of a challenge since I've made several of them already. I copied the cut from a pencil skirt I bought for £5 early last year. The fabric of the original skirt has a little stretch to it so I had to make sure the cut on this one had enough give. I put in a slim waist band, aback zipper, a top button on the waist band, and an overlapping kick slit in the back. This particular cut I love because it fits perfectly and drops to just below the knees, making it great for work, or a really nice dinner. It can be dressed down with a tank top, a denim shirt and flats; or dressed up with ablouse, a cardigan or blazer, jewelry and heels. The sun came out after almost two weeks of continuous rain in Kumba. Just the kind of day for some colour, I thought, so I paired my newly made skirt with a rather feminine red racer-back blouse with frills, and red medium heels. I've been wearing my hair in medium twists for more than a week now. Did an up-do to tidy it up.

Pencil skirt in African print fabric.

Accessories List 
Red racer-back Blouse (Vero Moda)
Red sued shoes (Peter Kaiser)
Jewelry: Pakistani gold necklace, bracelet and ring (Gift)
Gold flower earrings ( can't remember where I got these)
Chain and charm bracelet (Juicy Couture) 

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