We often get asked how to work with some of our various wax prints so we thought today we could hit some of our top tips for working with our fabrics.

Choosing a pattern

Simple patterns from the Filtex Atampa range

Choosing your pattern is one of the biggest and most important choices for any first-time wax print sewer. For your first dip into working with wax prints, you should choose a pattern that won’t look too out of place if it doesn’t line up correctly. We can suggest simple wax prints like the Filtex Atampa Range to get you started.

Busy patterns should also be left alone for garments that bunch up in places as this makes the fabric look puffy and stick out in places where you don’t want it to!

Washing Wax Prints

This is quite a controversial subject because wax fabric is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s wax embedded into fabric, being made from 100% cotton too, they are prone to shrinking. If you decide to prewash or wash your fabric then we would recommend washing on a short cold wash and let the fabric dry naturally to preserve as much of the wax as possible.

People who often work with wax fabric also say that setting the dye before washing is a good idea. This can be done by soaking the fabric in warm water with a few tablespoons of white vinegar overnight before washing.

Any washing of the fabric will remove some of the stiffness of the fabric so bear that in mind before you wash any wax prints.

Removing Labels

All genuine wax print fabrics will come with a label of authenticity. These normally tell you where the garment was made and what the fabric is comprised of. These labels are stuck directly to the fabric and can sometimes be a pain to remove.

A wax print fabric from Vlisco with labels directly applied to the fabric

If your label is stuck fast then soak it in a little warm water, just enough to wet the label and not the fabric. Leave this for a few minutes and the label should peel right off.


Wax prints are dual-sided!

Wax prints are sometimes just as beautiful on the underside as they are on the front. You can use this to your advantage by using the underside as a contrasting hem, pockets on oversized shirts or use the underside as a mirror image of the main print.

Be bold

Wax print fabric is bold and beautiful. 

Use this to your advantage, if you are making a garment that you want to stand out in, choose a louder fabric such as these from our Wax Print Section

The outfit can always be toned down with accessories and the right pair of shoes.

African wax prints are all about standing out and what you choose to do with your fabrics is up to you.