IMG_7170Well, I finished another project.

If you will remember, the last time I went to the market, I purchased some material that has adorable little turtles and peppers on it. It also had an entire swath riddled with holes, but one makes do with what one has. (Note for the future: check fabric for holes before buying. Negotiate for a discount)


The last time I was in Cotonou, I attempted to find the bookstore that sells Burdastyle magazines. I was unsuccessful in my quest, BUT the bookstore that I did go to had this little gem. “La coupe simple et rapide 2” “The Cut: Fast and Simple 2.” I feel like that could probably be the title of a movie.



Anyways, the book gives us instructions of  how we can measure and mark and cut our fabric in order to make simple pieces of clothing. I went for the “Jupe Droit” or straight skirt and drafted up the pattern according to the instructions for my size.

I made sure that one of the pepper bands was on the bottom and off I go!

Then, I drafted a waistband from the other pepper border, and set about calculating my ruffle.

IMG_7127I had seen a woman with a skirt with a lovely asymmetrical ruffle and decided I could probably do that without too much trouble. So, I decided that the long side should be about 30 cm long and the short side should be 10 cm long and the whole thing should be double the length of the hem. So much for math. I calculated and drafted a long sort of triangular rectangle and then realized that that didn’t work at all. Because of circles or something. So I had to redo the ruffle. It should end up sort of a lozenge, big in the middle and small on both sides.

Then the interminable hemming and gathering of the ruffle. Yards upon yards!

But the skirt is done. It’s not exactly something I can ride my bike in, so I can’t wear it everyday. But Friday we made plans to go to the art museum in town, and I was running late so I needed to ride a moto anyways…. so, I debuted the turtle skirt.


By the way, Fondation Zinzou in Ouidah and Cotonou is an excellent little gallery. It’s in a restored 1920s mansion in the middle of town that is just gorgeous and airy and open, unlike my blocky little house with only one set of windows, and some of the spaces have air conditioning!

The exhibits are modern artists, the oldest works were probably from the 1950s, some photographs from Cameroon, and the newest works are contemporary. There are pieces from artist from Benin to Ethiopia to South Africa. It’s very nice.

There’s also a nice little boutique. (Family: I know where your Christmas gifts are coming from)

And a cafe, which we had heard has excellent chocolate cake.

IMG_7177Turns out they have ICE CREAM too! Hooray hooray! I’ve found my ice cream spot in town.

I had: mango, chocolate, and “chap-chap”

Chap-chap, the waiter refused to take a stab at describing the flavor to us, and who can blame him? Flavors are hard to describe, I know. But from the moment I tasted the chap-chap, I knew what it was.

IMG_7175Guanabana! AKA Soursop, AKA corossol

So after we paid, I went up the waiter and asked: “So, this chap-chap, its big and green and has little pointy bits and the inside is white?”

Which he confirmed.

Guanabana, doo doo dadoda!

IMG_7171 IMG_7173










My only sadness with this skirt (besides the fact that I can’t ride my bike in it) is that there is a seam down the center back and the center front.

In my original plan, this was not the case, but after I cut the pieces out, I realized that two of the turtle motifs were directly on my butt cheeks. So, I cut the pieces in half and paired one “front” with one “back” and solved the problem. But it’s not as perfect as it could be.



2 responses »

  1. Nancy Quinn says:

    You are so talented, Abby! Your skirt is cute.

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