When Ankara meets Denim V2.0

...And hair colour committment

Bonjour, Bel Bonjou!

I normally concentrate on fabric stories but today I want to tell the tale of my recent denim make and introduce you to my new “outrageous” hair.

The dress is made or a mix of fabric types: Ankara and denim and high street garments I bought 10 years ago and love.
I copied both in the past, separately with various degrees of alterations but this is the first time they met.

The blue ankara I have had in my stash for a couple of years. Denim was a basic from my remnants.

Denim facts

Blue jeans were banned at certain places like schools, theaters, and restaurants in the ‘50s because they were seen as a form of rebellion against conformism.

The word denim is an Americanization of the French name “Serge de Nimes,” a fabric which originated in Nimes, France during the Middle Ages. In 1864, Webster’s dictionary listed the shortened English version: DENIM.1

African fabric facts

Mathematicians that explored the two dimensional designs of different African tribes have shown that in  their exploration of geometric variations, the tribes have developed all geometric possibilities of repetitive variations of border patterns.

Textiles were also used as a form of identity with each African tribe having their own unique patterns which also made it easy to spot outsiders.

Clash of the titans

Ankara and denim are actually very friendly to each other, behave impeccably well and are a dream for structured makes.
Of course I could have gone much wilder in print and colours for the print, but I love blues and wanted to stay in the denim dress look. More on that later…

The make

Both initial garments (the base of the dress) are now slightly too small for me but having made them many times before, I knew what I had to do to adjust the fit.
The skirt is made of 8 panels, 10 if you count the (impractical) pockets. It’s like a puzzle!

The trickiest bits were the right angles on the pockets and matching my bodice seams with the skirt seams without compromising the fit. For the very experienced “sewist” right angles are a doodle. For me it took a little fiddling even if I knew the principle.

It took countless trials, fits and measurements to get the fit right and I ended up  in my underwear, strapless bra and all very quickly as I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed after every fit.
Pattern matching was not my top priority on this occasion given the size of the print and their direction.


The top half is fully lined in wax, medium interfaced at the front panel and boned.
I didn’t want my front panel to collapse and look miserable down my front. It was important for the overall effect that the shape was strong.

Denim effect

Because the denim is so dark, it was almost impossible to see the various seams on the skirt. I liked the seamless look but i thought it would be best to contrast them more and I decided to top stitch in pale blue. I love a top stitch detail! Simple but effective to catch the eye.

I considered adding jeans rivets but after careful consideration I came to the conclusion that it would be gimmicky. Also I didn’t want it to be too busy.

I absolutely love my dress!


And yes it matches my hair!!!! 🙂 I committed to my favorite colour on January 28th by dying my hair purple (although it appears blue here). I wanted to start the year on a “out of my comfort zone” mood and it paid off. I absolutely love it! But I won’t stay purple for ever. It’s not an easy colour to carry every day.

I love the elegant, ethnic style of my dress. I am very narrow around the hips and this is a great dress to give illusion of fuller hips with the panels on the sides. I will wear it salsa dancing, on a fancy date, and any party. I will first wear it however at a work diner in Manchester.

Not the first time!

It’s not the first time I have mixed denim and prints.

The first time was on the Great British Sewing Bee, Episode 1! Take a peek at the front pocket, with top stitch details, of my colourful dungarees.

I also did for my “textile and Senses” fashion show in October 2016. A denim shirt with a loud print is a smart casual look with bags of personality.


I have a Pinterest board for inspiration…Take a peak:  Pinterest

So there you have it: When Denim meets Ankara. What do you think?!



  1. Stephanie

    Love the new hair style 🙂

  2. Liloo

    THis dress is absolutely beautifull !!! i like it !!

    • GhislaineGazon

      Thank you Liloo. Always good to have enthusiastic feedback.


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