African Wax Print Pants…


I look pretty calm, right? Well, it has been interesting – my first experience with an African wax print.

As background, I’ve been enjoying Zoona Nova’s  blog and pics on Instagram so much. She lives, works, and plays in Malawi, and her stories and projects are fascinating. The local handicraft projects with which she’s involved (and pending pattern releases from her own design studio) include garments made with African wax prints. The fabrics are stunning – such variety, gorgeous designs, and so colorful! I just had to try some.

Since I can’t visit the local markets in Malawi, I ordered two pieces from Fabric Wholesale Direct.  They have an wonderful selection of African prints, their prices are so reasonable, and they ship very quickly. I like the latter – I’m impatient when I order something. I want it now, please 🙂

Top: McCalls 7597 in bleached muslin.

I had no idea what to expect – stiff, waxed, starched? Well, in reality, both pieces were a bit stiff and rather shiny when they arrived. So, starch or some similar resist material. And drenched with color, all the way through. I wasn’t sure how to wash them or care for them. After a lot of research, and many opinions, I just threw up my hands and put them in a warm water wash with mild detergent, and then in the dryer on the delicate setting. They both came out fine, great in fact. No running or loss of color, and no discernible shrinkage. I was amazed!


Sassy pants! I made these with Vogue 9217, Kathryn Brenne’s dolphin hem pants (original post here).

v9217 lines

With such an ‘active’ print, I left off the curved side vents and just cut a straight hemline, with an additional couple of inches to make them really long. I did keep the bound finish though. I think it adds nice balance to the print.


Top: Grainline Studio Scout Tee in cotton seersucker.

Great project – I feel like my world has expanded, as though I’ve been travelling, and I’ve learned so much. I love my pants, and, yes, that second fabric is already in the loft, ready to be sewn 🙂

Ciao! Coco


16 thoughts on “African Wax Print Pants…

    1. Thanks, Rosemary. This particular fabric doesn’t really wrinkle at all! At most it gets a rumple, as might occur with denim and bottom weight twill. Lighter cottons – e.g., calico, cottons suggested for dresses, not pants – will wrinkle.


  1. Very nice! Love the prints. In HS one of my favorite art mediums was doing wax printing. Not only is the fabric unique, but it was also an awful lot of fun to make.
    BTW, my Charlie Caftan pattern is on the way. Worth a go even with that cut on sleeve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. good times. When my kids were little I made some using crayons! and when I was craft director for Girl Scout summer camp in the mountains of Virginia, we all did tie dye tees in a big old iron pot. That caftan…bet you’ll like it. I’m working on one now and watching Wimbledon.


  2. Glad you have had success with the wax print Coco. I was also concerned about colour running and the stiffness with mine but,like you,have been pleased with how they performed.These trousers look great!

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  3. I love these prints, Coco! I have been wondering about wax prints, so now you have informed me. Is the base fabric just cotton? I think the pants came out very nice. And they colors look fabulous with your hair, so no worries on that score. You look good in color! And I don’t believe I have seen that McCalls’ top before. It’s very cute. So a great outfit all around.

    I also appreciated the email I received from you about health issues and living your best life. It was the perfect time for me to hear that, it touched me in a good way, and I appreciate it very much. I aspire to live my best life, and I look up to people like you who do in spite of challenges. My challenges are different from yours, but they make life “interesting”. Thank you for sharing, and I certainly wish you all the best.

    Make up that second pair of pants so I can see them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, Becky. Yes, it’s cotton. I’ve seen some advertised, on the Chinese manufacturing sites, that are polyester. Too hot for Florida. But FWD gives the fabric content, mine are cottons. And thank you also re. my email…hope all is well with you.


  4. Beautiful fabric! I love the print & colors. The pants are superb, perfect easy breezy style for our Florida weather. Love the tops with it too.

    Liked by 1 person

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