African Fabric Shop
moves to new premises

We've had a great 18 months in the old post office in Meltham. But for several reasons, it was time to move on.

Thanks to a Herculean effort by our friends and neighbours, we are now moved into - and above all ORGANISED - in our new location. We're just around the corner from our old place and still in the centre of our wonderful Pennine village, Meltham.

Our new space is bright and airy, with plenty of space to spread out our fabrics, beads and baskets for you to admire.

Sat 13 February 2016
Shop Launch & Open Day

As at the post office and previously when we operated from home, we don't keep regular shop hours. However, you are welcome to visit by appointment. Please call or email first to make arrangements.

Even better: join us for our Shop Launch & Open Day, 10 am - 4 pm, Satuday 13 February.

We'll be just back from Ghana with a freshly unpacked shipment of fabrics to make you drool!

We'll also have new fabrics from our recent trip to The Gambia, which we're busy unpacking now.

Please note: As our new space is upstairs, we do not have wheelchair access - sorry. Also, the reserved parking is for other building tenants. But there is plenty of free on-street parking right out front on Greens End Road and on adjacent streets.

33B Greens End Road
Meltham, Holmfirth, HD9 5NW

Fabric hunting in The Gambia, December 2015:
Magie Relph with batik artist Neneh Jallow in her compound.

End of a long day shopping:
Magie and Bob in Basse, The Gambia
with our friend and helper Mamadou, the boatman.

NEW quilt kit now on website

Ndebele Huts Wallhanging

Our good friend and fellow 'clothaholic' Pam Stallebrass is a designer, dyer, quiltmaker and artist extraordinaire.

In her fantastically producive studio in Somerset West, near Capetown, Pam creates the most amazing hand-dyed fabrics.

If you've met Pam at Festival of Quilts, you'll know what we're talking about. You'll never forget her fabrics!

Pam also designs and hand-prints a variety of delightful 'limited edition' panels.

When Magie saw these distinctive Ndebele hut panels, she new immediately she wanted them.

Magie paired Pam's designs with hand-dyed batik fabrics from West Africa and presto: our Ndebele huts wallhanging kit.

It's easy to make and as you can see - simply gorgeous!

Buy now: Ndebele huts wallhanging kit

Only £18.50

Detail of Ndebele huts wallhanging

Kit design © Magie Relph. Ndebele huts fabric © Pam Stallebrass

NOW on website: NEW Bolga baskets
Plus NEW Hand-painted batiks

We're just back from The Gambia and a visit to one of our most treasured batik artists, Neneh Jallow.

Her work is truly astounding: have a look at our new collection of Neneh's Hand-painted Batiks - with a 10% discount when you buy a whole piece!

PLUS: We've just stocked up the website with pile of new Bolga baskets: very tempting!

Helping Musa's Clinic: spending £3,900 at Sukuta Health Centre, The Gambia

Thanks to the creativity and generosity of a gang of quilters and self-confessed African fabric fans, we are honoured to be the 'trusted custodians' of £3,900 raised to help make improvements to the local health centre where our friend and fabric-dyer Musa Jaiteh volunteers.

Spending this amount of money is a serious task and we want to spend it well, with input from the clinic staff and the community helping decide how do to this.

On our December trip to The Gambia, we met with head nurse Rose Mendy and her clinical colleague Morro Yarboe to discuss the many options. Also, with Musa's help, we made a presentation to the village elders, who are now also contributing ideas for future spending.

Our initial expenditure has focused on hygiene issues. We've bought cleaning equipment and supplies to help the volunteers keep the environment clean. Plus: we have funded a major overhaul of the clinic's damaged sanitation and septic system. Soon staff, patients and visitors will have working toilets and drainage again!

On the clinical side, we have begun a relationship with a local pharmacy and medical supplier, where we purchased digital thermometers, a digital blood pressure monitor and a nebuliser for treating asthma.

The 'backstory'

Press report: Huddersfield Examiner

More info: How the 'Buy a Plank' project raised £3,900 for Musa's clinic

With Magie Relph, Musa Jaiteh invites village elders
to partricipate in spending plans at Sukuta Health Centre

Left: Technician Nfarama Gitteh tests for malaria parasites.
Right: Magie and head nurse Rose Mendy with village elders.

World Textile Days 2016

Every year - along with our fellow world textile experts - we tour the UK with a new one-day exhibitiion of fair trade world textiles: all there for you to ogle, handle, admire and even buy!

Entry is FREE, with a modest £2 charge for our morning and afternoon presentations.

This year our theme is:

Rites of Passage: Birth, marriage and death through textiles

We're very excited about our guest speakers and demonstrators, plus our new venue in Oxfordshire. Please join us!

19 March 2016

11am PRESENTATION. Diane Gaffney - A Matter of Life and Death: Batik & Ikat in Indonesian life.

2pm SHOW & TELL. Plus two short talks with our world textile experts.

View & print info [PDF]

7 May 2016

Bob Irwin - Bury Me Well: African funeral textiles and rituals.

2pm SHOW & TELL. Plus two short talks with our world textile experts.

View & print info [PDF]

14 May 2016

11am PRESENTATION. Susan Briscoe - Kimono Kitsuke: How to dress in formal Japanese kimono.

2pm SHOW & TELL. Plus two short talks with our world textile experts.

View & print info [PDF]

4 June 2016

11am PRESENTATION. John Gillow, world textile expert and author - Dowry textiles in north west India and Pakistan.

2pm SHOW & TELL. Plus two short talks with our world textile experts.

View & print info [PDF]

18 June 2016

11am GUEST SPEAKER. Andrew Haughton, The Nomad's Tent, Edinburgh, oriental carpet and kilim specialist.

2pm SHOW & TELL. Plus two short talks with our world textile experts.

View & print info [PDF]

10 September 2016

11am GUEST SPEAKER. Christopher Spring, Curator of the Sainsbury Gallery, home of the British Museum's Africa collection.

2pm SHOW & TELL. Plus two short talks with our world textile experts.

View & print info [PDF]

1 October 2016

11am PRESENTATION. Diane Gaffney - A Matter of Life and Death: Batik & Ikat in Indonesian life cycle ceremonies.

2pm SHOW & TELL. Plus two short talks with our world textile experts.

View & print info [PDF]

All about World Textile Days 2016:

Why pay 5p for a plastic bag?
Check out our recycled Trashy Bags from Ghana - COOL!

From 5 October 2015 most shops and all supermarkets in England must - by law - charge you 5 pence for a plastic bag.

Why bother?

The truly smart choice is one of our Trashy Bags made from recycled plastic water bags in Ghana.

Despite their 'Trashy' label, these bags are far from trashy.

Yes, they start out as trash: the discarded purified water sachets that litter West Africa.

But beyond that sad beginning, these bags are truly astounding.

  • Brilliant, practical designs
  • Light and flexible
  • Strong and durable
  • Washable
  • And very cool - at least we think so!

Plus: The Trashy Bag project now employs over 50 Ghanaians - most of them women.

View and buy: Trashy Recycled Bags

Our Trashy Bags range of recycled plastic bags from Ghana

Read about us in the Huddersfield Examiner

Reporter Hilarie Stelfox has really captured the spirit of what we do. Great pictures, too. We're really delighted!

Read the full story online: The Dazzling Colours of Meltham

Kola nut & indigo: Musa has been hard at work

Our great friend Musa Jaiteh is a true champion of the traditional dye stuffs of the Senegambia region: kola nut & indigo. His hand-dyed fabrics and panels are beautiful beyond words, so we won't even try.

Musa Jaiteh at work in his compound in The Gambia

Click to order kola and indigo fabric

View and buy:
Kola & indigo fabrics

Click to order kola and indigo fabric

View and buy:
Kola & indigo fabrics

Click to order kola and indigo fabric

View and buy:
Kola & indigo panels

Click to order kola and indigo fabric

Exclusive African Fabric Shop discount price

African Wax Print: A Textile Journey

African wax print holds a very special place in Magie's heart. When she first ventured into the chaos of an African market in 1984, African wax print fabric just grabbed her. It hasn't let go since.

Not only does Magie use African wax print fabric in her work as a textile artist, she has done extensive research into its history, manufacture, design, use and importance as an icon of African style.

So here we have it: the only book devoted exclusively to African wax print fabric!

Tick box to select item. You can change the quantity after clicking "Add to Basket"

Book only, unsigned £10.00

Why not have your book signed and gift wrapped in a fat quarter of colourful African wax print fabric?

Signed copy - gift wrapped in African wax print fabric: £12.00

I love this book. It is interesting, informative, funny, thought provoking. The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Spring 2011.

Magie and Bob took me on a magical journey to Africa through not only their words, but the images and inspirational textile art that illustrate their story. A fabric feast to make your mouth water. Janice Gunner, stitched textile artist and author of Shibori for Textile Artists.

Only £10.00

Now on YouTube: How to reshape a Bolga basket

When we post out our fantastic made in Ghana fair trade Bolga baskets, we send them flattened and wrapped in bubble wrap: 'Flat as a hat,' in Bob's words.

Our baskets are so well made that reshaping them to perfection is easy and only takes a few minutes.

To show you how, Bob has just published on You Tube a short video: How to reshape a Bolga basket.

View: Bolga Fair Trade Baskets

The African Fabric Shop Supports the Dream Children's Home in Kenya

Africa is very important to us and we travel there as often as we can to source new fabrics, beads and baskets. In addition to supporting small-scale craft producers, we try to give a bit more back to Africa by donating to small African charities.

On Magie's latest trip to Kenya she visited the Dream Children's Home in the Ngong Hills near Nairobi. This inspiring project provides shelter, food, clothing, medical care, counselling, education and hope for needy orphans who have nowhere else to turn.

We are now supporting the Dream Children's Home directly through our own modest donation programme. For every sale of our Safari and Skin Print fabrics and Safari Print Adventrue Packs, we donate a percentage to this very worthy cause.

Find our more:

And donate directly:

Using African Fabrics

What can you do with African fabrics?

Answer: Visit our customer gallery, aptly called Using African Fabrics.

From quilts to wallhangings. From bags to clothing. You're sure to be inspired by what our innovative and creative customers have been working on.