Making your own clothes is a satisfying and empowering endeavour. It affords you the option of designing something totally unique that suits you perfectly.

At Empire Textiles, we specialise in traditional African fashion and materials in a wide variety of patterns and colours. Whether you choose an African brocade, one of the wonderful subtle shades of 100% cotton dry lace, or one of the enviably chic motifs offered in Swiss Voile, making a basic African dress couldn’t be simpler.


d4e3b5c3e219b844b4d0a8227eb955efBefore you begin, you’ll need:


– A trusty sewing machine

Р Your choice of African cloth

– Pins

– A pencil

– Scissors

– Yardstick

– A measuring tape


African dress making in 8 easy steps!


1: Your first step will be to take some measurements. It’s handy to have a friend to help with this.

2: Measure the circumference of your chest at its largest point. Double this measurement and add 13 inches. This gives you the width of your fabric.

3: So now you have your width, you will need to measure the length. This goes from the nape of your neck to the back of your heels. Add two inches to the measurement and note it down.

4: Using your yardstick on the wrong side of the cloth, pencil out a rectangle shape that correlates with your measurements. Cut the cloth accordingly.

5: Create the hems by folding a 1/2 inch edge all around your material. Pin and tack it and once you’re ready, remove the pins and sew it with your sewing machine.

6: With the wrong side of your dress facing you, line up the middle of the top hem with your breasts and place the material against your body underneath them.

7: Wrap the cloth fully around you and cross the corners in the middle of your back. Bring them back around to the front.

8: Now pull the corners over your breasts and cross them once more at your neck. Tie the corners in a halter-neck style or like a boob-tube top – whichever you prefer.


Now all that’s left to do is congratulate yourself on having made your first beautiful and simple African dress, you could be the next big fashion designer!


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