Natural color African mud cloth has gained in popularity over the past several seasons. When you consider that the new pieces of African mud cloth are loaded with texture and hand-made goodness, it's not wonder it's become a designer favorite.
Photot: Fixxt Collective, Vancouver, Canada
The pillows in the photographs above are made with new pieces of African mud cloth imported from Mali. The color is not optic white. "White" mud cloth is actually the color of natural ivory cotton fibers. Mud cloth is full of slubs and seeds that add loads of character to the textile. I describe the look of white mud cloth as vanilla bean ice cream.
Vintage African mud cloth comes in the same range of ivory and oyster white shades. The main distinction is that the vintage pieces of white mud cloth have the added detail of hand-knotted fringe. If you're cutting pillows, the fringe isn't really necessary. But if you want to use the African mud cloth as a throw or bed scarf, the fringe makes a much appreciated design detail.
Photo: Morrissey Fabric
African mud cloth in natural oyster white can compliment any color story. You can keep a calm, monochromatic white theme. Or, you can pair the white mud cloth back to the beautiful indigo blue textiles from Africa (or other distant lands) for a clean, crisp coastal look.
Photo: Fixxt Collective
Because African mud cloth is hand made, it comes in a variety of sizes and textural variations. The vintage white mud cloth textiles tend to be loomed with a much finer yarn. The older the white mud cloth, the lighter weight and more refined the African textile is.
photo: Morrissey Fabric
When I received my last water bill, I noticed my water consumption had gone up considerably over the past twelve months. I knew instantly is was because I had been doing dozens of loads of wash filled with vintage African indigo. Living in southern California, using too much water is a problem due to drought. But when I take these delicate African indigo textiles to a fluff-n-fold, or commercial laundry, they aren't given the care required to keep them in good condition.
You might be wondering just how dirty can these African indigo textiles can be? The piece shown above required two separate washings, more spot cleaning, then a third 24-hour-soak in textile detergent/water to get it into shape. It was full of dirt, wax, palm oil, and who knows what. I had to ask myself if it was worth all the water and energy required to revive it? But when I finally see the original beauty of the indigo cloth I know it's absolutely all worth it.
photo credit: Morrissey Fabric
Then there are the white pieces of vintage African mud cloth to clean. I do my best to preserve the hand twisted fringe on these textiles. Some of the Oyster white vintage African mud cloth also requires multiple washings, spot cleanings, and repairs. When I send a vintage African textile to a new home I know it will be well-received because it has been restored as thoroughly as possible.
photo credit: Morrissey Fabric
So when you are looking at the African indigo listings in my on line shop or my Etsy store, you will understand why my mud cloth textiles may cost more than some other retailers. It's quite simply because you are paying for quality and the care that went into ech African Mossi cloth.
Be sure to take a look at all the lovely African indigo mud cloth I carry in my Etsy shop. If you don't see one you like, you can always message or email me with a special request.
photo credit: Indian Tan
Vintage Chinese indigo with intricate batik patterns is almost always sturdy enough to make pillow covers. The five pillows seen above are just a few of the examples of Chinese batik patterns to be found in the market. Pillow covers are a great way to repurpose vintage Asian indigo, especially if it has areas of wear or stains.
photo credit: Thread Tooth
New versions of Chinese batik indigo fabrics can be found in the market. But I prefer to use vintage indigo textiles when creating something. The hand made details and uneven fading add a personality that can't be had with new indigo fabrics.
Vintage Chinese indigo can be found in every shade of blue. Faded or crisp clean blue and white, Asian indigo batik fits into most every color story you can dream up.
photo credit: deshapeacock
The wing back chair above has been upholstered by a skilled craftsman using vintage Chinese indigo with a classic batik pattern. Asian indigo is also called paste resist because the decorative pattern is applied to a white or natural base cloth of hemp, linen, or cotton blends. The cloth is then dipped into a vat of indigo dye. The dye does not penetrate, it resists, the dye wherever the wax or paste has been applied.
Photo credit: juxtaposition home
An attribute of Asian batik indigo fabric is that it so easily coordinates back to other indigo cloth. The faded Chinese batik pillow coordinates nicely back to the deeper blue African indigo pieces on the couch.
Photo credit: Amber interiors
please visit my online store or Etsy shop for a nice selection of vintage Chinese batik textiles. Message me if you don't see one you like. I may be able to locate just what you're looking for.
photo credit: Morrissey Fabic
African indigo fabrics like the one above begin their life as garments worn by the indigenous people. But with the current desire by stylish consumers to repurpose vintage items, the 100% cotton African indigo textiles have become a bohemian must-have.
In the western regions of Africa, the indigo dyeing tradition is as old as Japan’s and continues to have strong roots. Many of the dyeing pits have been used for centuries. Morrissey Fabrics sources their indigo products from Mali as well as the Ivory Coast and other western regions. The majority of Morrissey Fabrics offerings are vintage rather than new indigo textiles.
The top and vest in the photo above are created with vintage African indigo. The wide leg trousers with a resist dye pattern stripe are crafted from new indigo textiles.
The most understandable use of vintage African indigo is to wear it as a shawl as seen displayed above. When you consider the price of a new, hand made, one-of-a-kind scarf, an authentic vintage African indigo piece is quite affordable. I carry them in the shop at prices ranging from $75 to $160 depending on the rarity, condition, and shade of indigo.
Next time you are feeling uninspired by your wardrobe, look to vintage African indigo to add some classic denim blue with a boho-style twist. DIY an amazing jacket, top, or pant. If you don't sew, wear a fringed African indigo as a scarf or wrap.
You can also contact a maker such as c_o_a_t_z to view and purchase one of their unique African indigo shorts, tops, or jackets. The possibilities are endless.
Please be sure to visit my shop or my Esty store for one of the largest selections of authentic vintage African indigo available on line. Every piece I list has been thoroughly laundered, spot-cleaned, and mended for your convenience.
Guatemalan textiles can be repurposed for any number of design projects. I prefer the vintage Guatemalan fabrics that come from huipils (tops), Cortes (skirts) and Nahualas (sashes). These vintage Guatemalan textiles are full of the same warm personality and charm that artisan who made them embodied.
Pillows are by far the easiest item to create from these colorful decorative fabrics. The pillows make unique accents when placed within a monochromatic space, or mixed with multiple patterns for a bohemian style statement.
Photo credit: Drift & Nest
Guatemalan vintage fabrics can be easily pieced back to denim, indigo mud cloth, or linen if you don't have a large enough piece of cloth. The pillow above could be duplicated by using a Guatemalan Nahuala (sash) in sewn together with laundered denim or a vintage indigo mud cloth remnant.
Photo credit: Thread Tooth
A Guatemalan Nahuala Sash would be just the textile to use as a pillow center. You could also use this type of Guatemalan vintage fabric to make one-off pockets for a denim garment. Or why not use as it was originally intended? The 102-inch length will wrap around most any Boho-style blouse or denim trench coat.
Vintage Guatemalan Corte cloth complete wit randa detail sews up into a unique and pet-friendly doggie bed. One piece of Guatemalan corte cloth typically measures 3.5 yards long by 39/40 inches wide, so there would be plenty in one corte cloth for such a project. This little guy looks right at home on his Guatemalan textile bed by KaKaw Designs. Find a wide range of Guatemalan corte cloth fabric in my shop or at my Etsy store in the link below..
Of course one of the simpler projects would be to make yourself a tote. I have plenty of simple ikat corte cloth in the shop. The pieces are often very large, so I do offer half-pieces of vintage Guatemalan ikat. The ready-to-wear tote bag above, or similar, is available from KaKaw Designs.
Whether it's upholstery or apparel design on your to-do list, be sure to take a look in my shop to see if one of these vintage Guatemalan textiles catches your eye. Or you can message me if you are looking for a particular global textile you don't see in my store.
Vintage African indigo lends a casual and colorful appeal when placed outdoors. The inviting setting above shows just how easily you can pull together a cohesive resting spot while the weather allows. All of the cotton textiles are reasonably durable and washable which makes this project very do-able.
Don't sew? Or simply don't have the time to upholster several floor pillows? You could purchase seat cushion foam at a discount fabric shop like JoAnn's, then wrap them in Vintage African indigo mud cloth. Several sizes are available. To attach the African indigo, secure on the under-side with large safety pins. When you party is done, throw in the wash to clean.
Photo credit: Indian Tan.
The chair seen here is completely covered with African Indigo textiles. Fantastic blend of casual style done with a trending boho fabric. African shibori mud cloth are typically durable enough to handle the wear-n-tear needed for a family room chair. The trick is to select pieces of African indigo that are not thread-bare or overly worn prior to the upholstery application. I work with many designers, individuals, and upholsterers who can't feel the hand or thickness of the indigo shibori fabric, so I'm always happy to suggest Indigo mud cloth pieces that will be appropriate. And equally important, I always contact my customers to let then know when a African indigo piece isn't going to wear well if they plan on covering bar stools, chairs, and so on.
Photo credit: Mixedupholstery.com
African indigo shibori floor seating works indoors as well. The classic denim blue color that has been washed hundreds of times over the decades will not rub off onto the white rug. The newer pieces may still release indigo causing dye-transfer, so vintage African indigo mud cloth is a safer choice.
Photo credit: Boho by Ash
Is African indigo mud cloth in your next design project? I've got a large selection available in my shop at all times. You are welcome to contact me to suggest shibori mud cloth pieces if you are unsure of how to select the right pieces.