Vintage mud cloth possesses amazing hand made attributes. Classic mud cloth, or Bogolan, does not usually have fringe details. On the other hand, African Mossi, pronounced moe-shee, can be found with many different fringe designs. When I find a vintage African indigo Mossi with an unusual fringe detail I always buy it. I can repurpose this detail for a pillow or poncho. Above is one such example. I couldn't resist the small hand knots at the base of the long fringe since it was perfect as a pillow front focal point.
Vintage African textiles are available in an endless range of textures, details, and colors. Simply consider how large the continent is and it is easy to understand why there would be so many variations. Above is an example of combining two vintage African fabrics. A colorful antique Fulani and a vintage indigo Mossi were pieced together to create a one of a kind global-style pillow. This type of project is my favorite. It's satisfying to give new life to these fabrics.
Repurposing these antique African textiles into apparel is not new. After all, the vintage Mossi was originally woven to worn as a garment. Sometimes the mud cloth and indigo was made into simple pullover ponchos. The modern version seen here was made from one very large vintage African indigo. It was so wide, I was able to use four side panels to create a kangaroo pocket. A separate scrap was used for the fringe patch at the center front.
Occasionally I find an African shibori dyed indigo with fringe and embroidery. I do not like to cut these vintage textiles because they have survived for many decades. It seems a shame to cut them apart. This blue and white African indigo has the addition of a decorative tribal pattern stitched on top in black and red. A textile like this works well as a scarf or wrap. All I had to do was clean it.
When indigo Mossi is first woven, it is natural in color before it is dyed indigo blue. I find these undyed natural cotton textiles on occasion and usually they are quite dirty. After cleaning, the remaining textile is beautiful. Some have simple fringe while others have a decorative stripe detail woven into the cloth for visual interest. If over dyed with indigo, the contrast is barely visible. But when left in the natural state, the detail becomes a stand out feature.
Because I purchase hundreds of pieces of African mud cloth and indigo I don't always catch the non-repairable damages. Other times I am not able to eliminate stains or repair torn areas I thought I could fix. It is these textiles that still have beauty to share so I cut them into smaller scraps for repurposing. Clever makers create one of a kind accessories like makeup bags and sunglass cases.
It's all about the details for me. When you look closely you will find the lovely hand made details in vintage mud cloth and indigo are worth preserving. Find vintage textile pillows and mud cloth grab bags in my Etsy shop.