This is the last Maasai ensemble post, I promise! (Though I don't promise you won't see more Maasai-made stuff on the blog... I am a huge fan of their work!) The last piece in the ensemble I want to talk about is the piece that started it all: the shuka skirt!
As I talked about in my first post, my sister gave me this blanket when she came back to the U.S. for college. Although I used it mostly for sitting outside, I wanted to do something with it that would give it more of a dignified practical use. Obviously, clothing is almost always my answer to that! Why keep memories on a shelf tucked away when you can WEAR them?!
I didn't want to have to deal with lots of stripe-matching, and I needed a pattern that was as fabric-efficient as possible. I went with a 1950s pencil skirt pattern that I have made up before because it's essentially one long rectangle with shaping created by lots of darts. I also liked the faux hip pocket detail of the 2nd view.
While I am overall quite happy with how the skirt has turned out, there is one major thing I would do over again if I could: I would underline it. I started the skirt, apparently, at too late a time at night, and even though I knew I should underline it to keep the shift loose weave in place... I somehow cut it out and sewed up all the darts before I realized I skipped a step. I was afraid the loose weave would get messed up if I tried removing all the darts, so I switched to a sort of lining-underlining mashup technique. I pleated the lining material were the darts were in the fashion fabric, and I basted it onto the skirt-rectangle. I then sewed up the back seam and waistband as if the two layers were one piece of fabric. I hemmed it up and called it good.
The weave is very shifty, so the lines are, admittedly, not quite straight. However, that's something that the vast, vast majority of the world is never going to notice, so I'm going to put it out of my mind!
I also saw the hip details as an opportunity to tie in the blouse fabric as well as to make a more dramatic hourglass silhouette. The flaps are made of the black wool material I used on the blouse, and the buttons match the self-covered buttons that are found on the back of the shirt as well. The diagonal, dark flaps also add some width to the hips. While not everyone would go for that idea, it's a common 1950s skirt trick to make the waist look smaller in comparison, and I like it!
I paired the skirt with a beaded leather belt I bought in Kenya. I LOVE this belt, and it adds to the Maasai beaded layers look.
If you'd like to get this look for yourself, I found a couple shops that can help. As I mentioned in my blouse post, I've tried hard to pick ethical shops that benefit the communities these designs originate from, so you can buy with confidence knowing you aren't ripping people off.