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The African Fabric Shop

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  • Online shopping only. Shop closed to visitors until further notice. More...

Dazzling batik lengths: perfect for dressmaking

Normally, we’d reserve these special lengths of batik for shows where we can display them properly - alluringly draped so you can really appreciate their beauty.

With all shows cancelled for now, we’ve done something new: photographed our shop mannequin dressed in batik. Now you can really visualise yourself wearing a hand-dyed batik by Esther, Grace or Neneh.

View and buy: Special Collection Batiks

African Inspirations for you

  • Looking for new ideas?
  • Wowed by our fabrics, but not sure how to use them?

No worries. Dive into our newly revamped African Inspirations pages:

African DecorAfrican FashionQuilts and Crafts

Plus: dig into the background of our fabrics and how we find them in African Textile Stories

Genuine Shwe Shwe: the real thing from Da Gama Textiles in South Africa

NEW Shwe Shwe fabrics just arrived from South Africa

We always look forward to Festival of Quilts. Why's that?

First, as the biggest and best quilt show in Europe, it's our most important show.

Second, every year it's where we launch our new Shwe Shwe fabrics.

Alas, this year's Fesitval of Quilts is postponed to 2021. We'll miss it and we'll miss seeing you there.

But don't despair...

Sticking with tradition, our annual shipment from Da Gama in South Africa has just arrived. We've got a veritable rainbow of new Shwe Shwe colours and designs on the website NOW!

View and buy: Shwe Shwe Colours

View and buy: Shwe Shwe Indigos

Don't forget our Shwe Shwe Quilt kits

Courthouse Steps with Attitude | A Day Out in Kruger | Jo'burg Beauty

Baobab Tree wallhanging © Monika Machon

NEW Baobab Tree wallhanging kit

Picture the scene. Gambigo village, across the dried up riverbed from the Baba Tree Basket Co outside Bolgatanga, Ghana.

Late afternoon and a gentle stroll. Villagers heading home from the fields. Bicycles passing. Children fetching water and chasing footballs. And a giant baobab catches light from the setting sun.

Is this the Truman Show? No, it's our Ghana tour last October.

And talented quiltmaker Monika Machon is, like all of us, mesmerised by that magnificent baobab tree.

Now - inspired by that evening stroll - Monika has created our new Baobab Tree wallhanging kit.

And Monika's choice of fabrics? Genuine made-in-Ghana wax prints, of course. With hand-dyed indigo damask by Musa Jaiteh in The Gambia and a touch South African Shwe Shwe.


View and buy: Baobab Tree wallhanging kit.

Kuruwo Sunset © Magie Relph
It's all about the fabrics - thanks, Musa

Kuruwo Sunset Wallhanging Kit: a tribute to Musa

What better way to honour Musa's marvellous hand-dyed kola nut and indigo fabrics, than with Magie's equally marvellous new quilt kit - Kuruwo Sunset.

'Why Kuruwo Sunset,' you wonder. Easy. In the local language Mandinka, kuruwo means ‘kola nut’.

We’ve known Musa Jaiteh since 2001. As far as we know, he’s the last dyer in The Gambia still working with the traditional dyes of the region - kola nut and indigo.

Kola nuts are culturally important all over West Africa. Fresh kola nut is chewed as a social activity. It shows great respect to give a handful of kola nuts when you are received as a visitor. Old kola nuts that are too dry to chew are pounded with a mortar and pestle into a grainy paste, then mixed with water to create a dye stuff. Kola nut creates varying shades of burnt orange.

Musa uses resist techniques like stamping, tieing and stitching to create his designs. He dyes with kola nut first, then overdyes with indigo. The two colours combined give a very dark blue that appears virtually black.

View and buy: Kuruwo Sunset Wallhanging Kit

More: our full range of Quilt Kits

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