Vintage African Fabrics

I shared a bit about these fabrics in March, but I only showed them made up into two of my Gretchen quilt blocks. I have a precious group of these Shwe Shwe blues that I pulled out a few years ago and snapped a photo of. I acquired these 44+ years ago when I lived on the Dark Continent in Swaziland. What do you think?

Authentic African Shwe Shwe cloth
I used many of the blues in a class sample for my Gretchen workshop. I combined them with other red fabrics (also from Africa). I shared these in March.

4 Gretchen blocks in blue
And the reds:
4 Gretchen blocks in red
I put my blocks together into this lovely Gretchen quilt and used more precious (vintage) African prints for the borders.

Gretchen Quilt using my authentic (and vintage) African fabrics
I made a special cloth bag for my youngest daughter several years ago. She scanned my entire stash of fabric and latched onto the blues. I took a deep breath and said: "Yes, of course!" Isn't this a lovely print?

Drawstring bag made for my daughter
I recreated one of my patterns about 11 years ago for Blank Fabrics. Their Ethnic Echoes line begged for some Adinkra symbols. Do you remember this? I made it a Block of the Month awhile back.

African Adinkra Quilt. 10" blocks. 60" x 60"
Here is the first Adinkra quilt I made. Many of these fabrics are authentic and came from Africa. This was published in Quilt Magazine around 2005. I since donated it to an African American museum here in Virginia as a teaching tool for students. I know she's happy to be treasured there!

Original Adinkra quilt using many authentic fabrics from Africa
Hope you enjoyed these vintage fabrics. I still have quite a few and am inspired to use them. I mean, after all: what have I been waiting for all these years?!!


  1. Beautiful fabrics...loved them all.

  2. I don't blame your daughter for liking the blues. The print she chose is beautiful (as is the bag).

  3. Hi Debby! Ooh, I love your Gretchen quilt. Those fabrics!! That block is a variation on the Hunter's Star block, perhaps? And the bag you made for your daughter is gorgeous. I hope she's still enjoying it! ~smile~ Roseanne

  4. I do like those blues! What wonderful fabrics to have. I have some golds and purples from probably 25 years ago. A woman who vended at Road to California used to go to Africa just before, each year, and bring back fabrics and baskets. I have a wonderful framed piece made from very thin wooden strips - it's a brown village with a woman dressed in red walking through. I don't have any idea if she still goes, as I haven't been to that show in at least 15 years, but I have good memories! Thanks for the reminder. And I do remember Adrinka!


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