The African Fabric Shop moves to new home: Cat Frank traumatised

We've moved! And our cat Frank keeps wondering where we are.

Astounding as it sounds, our little fair trade adventure - Magie calls it 'the accidental business' - no longer dominates every spare corner of our modest home in the Pennines.

  • No more climbing over teetering piles of fabrics.
  • No more stubbing our toes on heavy baskets of recycled beads.
  • No more tripping over Frank on the stairs.
  • No more shifting mounds of fair trade Bolga baskets just to watch Lewis.
  • And no more sleeping in The African Fabric Shop - Janice!

It's all gone... moved to our new office, store room and occasional pop-up shop (by appointment only!) in the old post office in our village of Meltham, West Yorkshire.

Massive thanks to Isobel, Alison, Graham and James for all their wonderful help and support.

Also, thanks to Isobel, you can follow our move and the latest developments on Facebook.

Isobel, Magie and Bob in our new African Fabric Shop:
Plus Frank - the digital version

The Spirit of the Cloth: World Textile Day West, 1 Nov 2014 in Bristol

Sat 1 Nov. 10 am - 5 pm. Saltford Hall, Wedmore Rd, Saltford, Bristol, BS31 3BY

Our final World Textile Day of 2014 - according to the buzz, that is - is shaping up to be a great day out for the textile fanatics of the west country and beyond.

The concept is simple:

Fill the hall with a FREE exhibition of world textiles - many of them for sale.

Add morning and afternoon lectures by world textile experts John Gillow and Martin Conlan (£2 per lecture, tickets at the door).

Plus home baked goodies by the local community association.

And there you have it: World Textile Day!

More info:

For anyone who loves textiles and costume, World Textile Day is a fascinating and stimulating event... a great day out.

Popular Patchwork

World textile experts share their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm with you - the clothaholics of the world.

Workbox magazine

Admiring a vintage Kente cloth:
World Textile Day 2014 in Norfolk

NEW: Postmaster's Choice Adventure Packs of colourful African fabrics

When our local postmaster James took up patchwork, he asked us for a random selection of our brightest 'rainbow of colours'. His first quilt was a great success and presto: our Postmaster's Choice Adventure Pack was born.

Each Adventure Pack includes these colourful African fabrics, 4 Fat Quarters of each:

  • Hand-dyed batik from West Africa
  • African wax prints
  • Da Viva African print from Ghana
  • Langa Lapu sunprints, hand-dyed in South Africa
  • Amafu screen prints, hand-dyed in South Africa

View and buy: Postmaster's Choice fabrics

View quilt: Postmaster's Choice

Exact patterns vary with stock available. The image represents a typical selection of patterns. Move mouse over image to view another random selection.

They're back! Kudhinda fabrics, screen-printed by hand in Zimbabwe

These fantastic, vibrantly colourful cotton fabrics from designer Ros Byrne in Harare haven't been produced for a few years - much to the frustration of Kudhinda's multitude of fans around the world.

Now, we have great news. Ros and her team of talented printers are back in production.

Better still: we have them right here at The African Fabric Shop.

Even better: with Kudhinda back in stock, it means our fantstic Dorothy Deane designed Kudhinda bag kits are back online as well.

View and buy: Kudhinda Zimbabwe Screen Prints

View and buy: Kudhinda Stripe Bag Kit

View and buy: Kudhinda Zig Zag Bag Kit

Click to order Kudhinda fabrics

How about our fantastic Kudhinda Bag Kits?
Designed exclusively for The African Fabric Shop by Dorothy Deane

Brigitte Ascher

African batik coat

When ever we're in Africa we visit our tailors and have new outfits made, especially from hand-dyed African batiks. They wash and wash and last and last.

Brigitte Ascher had the same idea and created this wonderful coat using fabrics dyed by Grace Adover in Accra and Nene Jallow in The Gambia.

Superb, Brigitte.

View: Hand-dyed African batik

Click to enlarge

African batik coat
© Brigitte Ascher

NEW Kuba cloth: beautiful and collectable

Kuba cloth made from hand-woven raffia palm is one of the great textile traditions of The Congo.

Kuba demonstrates a range of textile art techniques: weaving, patchwork, appliqué, and embellishment.

We have some great new Kuba cloths on the website. Some of these pieces are quite old, quite large and quite collectable. Well worth checking out.

View and buy: Kuba cloth.

Gemma Lambell

Mitumba embroidery bag

Our hand-embroidered panels by Christine Kibuka in Nairobi are beautiful and inspiring - as proven by this great bag made by Gemma Lambell.

Gemma brought her bag to show us at The Big Textile Show in Leicester, along with a very thoughtful thank-you gift for Christine. We'll post that to her in her next package of donated embroidery threads courtesy of generous African Fabric Shop customers.

View: Mitumba embroidery

Click to enlarge

Mitumba embroidery bag
© Gemma Lambell

NEW embroidered panels from Kenya

Christine Kibuka hand-embroiders a beautiful range of pictorial panels. She's just sent us some new bird designs: lovely!

View and buy: Mitumba Embroidery

Click to order Kenya embroidery


Click to order Kenya embroidery

Guinea Fowl

Kola nut, indigo and sashiko

Elizabeth Seville usually works in felt, but here she's taken a diversion - combining wonderful sashiko stitching with our Kola nut and indigo fabrics.

Musa works almost exclusively with these traditional dyes, keeping alive a long textile tradition of the Senegambia region.

He uses a variety of resist techniques - from wax stamping to tie and dye - to create his designs.

See also: Kola and Indigo Panels

© Elizabeth Seville

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

Our acclaimed book

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!

Only £13.95

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.

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.