Shop Open Days at
The African Fabric Shop

It's hard to believe, but it's been almost a year since our Grand Open Day celebrating our move into the Old Post Office in Meltham.

Since then, our monthly Open Days have been a great success, with textile fanatics travelling from as far away as Cambridge to browse through our tempting delights.

Why not spend the day with us here in Meltham? We've got several places in the village for lunch: from Café 33 for great snacks and really great coffee to the Ivy Café for more traditional snacks, plus two sandwich shops and a couple of pubs.

Saturday 31 October: Meet our special guest Steph Saward

Local dyer Steph Saward will be on hand with her lovely hand-dyed yarns, threads, shawls and silk scarves: great for some early Christmas shopping!

Saturday 31 October - Guest Steph Saward
Saturday 5 December - Christmas Shopping

Bob, Magie, Alison and Isobel at one of our Shop Open Days
Steph Saward's hand-dyed yarns

The African Fabric Shop is in:

The Old Post Office
24-26 Holmfirth Road
Meltham, West Yorkshire

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

NEW Bolga baskets online now

Online orders have been very brisk of late, so your choice of shape, colour and design was a bit depleted for a while, as baskets flew out the door to delighted customers around the country.

Well fret no more.

Bob has just photographed and uploaded to the website a great new selection for you to browse through.

You'll find great colours and great designs across all the sizes: from cute little 8-inch round baskets to brilliant large pot baskets.

View and buy:

Round Barket Baskets - Small

Round Barket Baskets - Medium and Large

Pot Baskets

Nyariga Baskets

Oval Shopping Baskets

Aniahmame Ahugre weaving another perfect Bolga basket!

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

NEW Shwe Shwe Colours range from South Africa

Traditional Shwe Shwe designs:
Great NEW colours

Traditional Shwe Shwe Indigo fabrics have long been a favourite: in South Africa for dressmaking and clothing and cherished worldwide by patchworkers.

We've just returned from the Da Gama textiles factory in East London with their latest exciting range - Shwe Shwe Colours.

Plus: while you're browsing, we've just added 20 new patterns of traditional Shwe Shwe Indigo.

Even more perfect for patchwork!

View and buy: NEW Shwe Shwe Colours

View and buy: Shwe Shwe Colours bundles

View and buy: Traditional Shwe Shwe Indigo

Great value: Stil at 2014 price

Get 3 Fat Quarters FREE: All the Colours Bundle - 25 Fat Quarters

NEW South African fabrics now on the website

View and buy: Amafu hand-dyed fabrics from South Africa

NEW 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

NEW fabrics and textiles now on the website: Why not have a look?

NEW limited edition batik adventure packs: colours galore!

Magie and Isobel have just put together some great new adventure packs of hand-dyed batik, mostly from Ghana.

These are all NEW designs and combinations. For many of these packs, stock is limited, so: the early bird catches the worm!

View and buy: NEW African fabric adventure packs

Kuba cloths from the Congo

Kuba is one of the truly unique and astounding African textile traditions.

These cloths are hand-woven using raffia palm in the Congo.

They demonstrate a variety of textile techniques, such as: patchwork, appliqué, embroidery and embellishment.


View and buy: Kuba Cloth

Ghana Bead Culture on YouTube

Magie is a member of the Ghana Bead Society, which works to promote the Ghana bead culture and industry within Ghana and around the world.

This short but fascinating glimpse of Ghana's bead culture was filmed at a recent Society Bazaar.

Enjoy: Watch Ghana bead video

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

Magie Relph

Tuareg Bag

Magie's latest creation replicates the leather bags carried by Tuareg nomads as they cross the Sahara by camel caravan.

The Tuareg carry with them all of their meagre valuables, including verses from the Koran and silver.

Magie's bag is made from bark cloth. It contains a full set of 21 Agadez crosses which Bob bought from a Tuareg silversmith 30 years ago. The crosses represent the principal trading towns of the Sahara, including Agadez.

View whole bag

View detail

View: Bark Cloth

Click to enlarge

Tuareg Bag
© Magie Relph

Helen Cowans

Indigo Quilt

Helen Cowans is an inspired artist and an inspiring teacher based in Northumberland.

She made this quilt using a variety of our indigo fabrics for her mother.

Excellent, Helen!

View: Full quilt

View: African hand-dyed batik fabrics.

Click to enlarge

Detail of Indigo Quilt
© Helen Cowans

Annie Marsters

Isipathi Zwamanzi

'Safe water saves lives': and international aid organisation Just a Drop is providing just that across Africa and the developing world.

In support of a water project in rural Kenya, Annie Marsters created Isipathi Zwamanzi - 'The Water Carrier'.

She used polymers to harden and sculpt our Amafu fabrics and dress her figure of a woman carrying water. Wonderful!

Even more wonderful, her piece raised £1,000 at auction which went directly to the Kenya water project. Well done, Annie!

View: Amafu fabrics from South Africa.

Click to enlarge

Isipathi Zwamanzi
© Annie Marsters

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.