A Crafty Mix

Menu

Give Me An African Easter – Making a Shweshwe Bunny

Hey there, it’s that time of the month again when a group of International bloggers get together for the monthly IBC challenge. Last month was all about love and this month we’ll be focussing on Easter. As a South Africa blogger, I feel really honored to be part of the IBC. We often get excluded from the international space because, sadly, we’ve gained a bit of a reputation for being corrupt and the wounds of apartheid are still fresh in many people’s minds and hearts. That being said, our country has so many incredible things to offer the world and one of them is Shweshwe. So for this month’s challenge, I thought I’d showcase this beautiful fabric by making this little shweshwe bunny for Easter.

Add a touch of Africa to your Easter decor with this little shweshwe bunny. Easy to make #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

Isn’t that print just WOW!!! Many of the designs are symbolic and I believe this one is a “Lesiba la pikoko”, or feathers of the Peacock. So apt don’t you think?

A Brief History of Shweshwe

Shweshwe, also known as seshoeshoe or isishweshwe, was introduced to South Africa almost 200 years ago by German settlers. Back in the day, the fabric was only available in blue and white, and it was used extensively by our local women to make dresses and skirts. Legend says that the name shweshwe comes from the sounds the skirts make when you walk 😀

Add a touch of Africa to your Easter decor with this little shweshwe bunny. Easy to make #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

The fabric is very distinct. It’s quite rigid and smells kinda waxy.  It’s stiffened to an inch of its life and dates back to when the fabric had to endure the long sea voyage from Europe to South Africa. After washing, shweshwe becomes beautifully soft. You can identify shweshwe by touch, smell, and taste – it’s salty 😉 But if you’re not a touchy-feely, sniffing or tasting kinda person you can always look for the three cats logo on the back.

Add a touch of Africa to your Easter decor with this little shweshwe bunny. Easy to make #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica #Threecatslogo

Twenty-odd years ago, Da Gama, a textile company based just outside King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape, bought the rights to manufacture shweshwe locally, making them the only original producer in the world. You can go have a look at their catalog to see all the different prints and colors. From far the patterns just look like swirls and twirls but up close, the details are just stunning. Like most things in Africa, you have to look closely before you can truly appreciate how incredibly special this continent is 😉

Add a touch of Africa to your Easter decor with this little shweshwe bunny. Easy to make #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

The amazing and iconic Nancy Zieman actually did a program on shweshwe in 2011. So if you want to know how to pronounce it and see some more, go have a looksee here. Okay, let’s get back to making the little shweshwe bunny.

What You Need to Make a Shweshwe Bunny

For this easy Easter craft you’ll need:

  • A piece of wood and our free bunny template
  • Jigsaw if you’re cutting your own bunny
  • Shweshwe fabric or any other heavy printed cotton
  • A piece of fabric in a contrasting color
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint (optional)

How To Make the Shweshwe Bunny

Start by tracing the bunny template onto a piece of wood that’s at least 5 cm wide (2”). Use a jigsaw to cut along the outline. If you’ve never used a jigsaw here’s a handy tutorial that will help you get started.

Cutting a bunny using a jigsaw #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

You can also buy little wooden bunnies at most craft stores if you prefer. Lightly sand any rough edges and place the wooden bunny onto the wrong side of the fabric, before tracing around the edges. Remember to flip the bunny over before tracing the other side.

Add a touch of Africa to your Easter decor with this little shweshwe bunny. Easy to make #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

Measure and cut a strip of contrasting fabric that’s a little wider than the width of the bunny and fray the edges.

Add a touch of Africa to your Easter decor with this little shweshwe bunny. Easy to make #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

I chose to paint my little bunny before mod podging the shweshwe fabric onto the body. Just in case the fabric didn’t cover it properly 😉 I found the best way to apply mod podge is to use one of those foam brushes and brush it on in thick, even coats.

Add a touch of Africa to your Easter decor with this little shweshwe bunny. Easy to make #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

Gently place your fabric onto the wooden bunny cutout. Carefully push it into place so it covers the bunny completely. Using your finger, smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles, working your way from the center outwards. Since unwashed shweshwe is so stiff it’s a dream to use in a mod podge project. Apply the contrasting strip of fabric on the back of the bunny, in the same way, making sure to squish it into all little nooks and bends.

Making a Fabric Pom Pom Tail

What’s an Easter bunny without a tail, right?!! For this little one, I used strips of the contrasting fabric to make a pom pom. I still do it the old fashioned way with cardboard circles. But if you have one of those fancy pom pom makers, you can use that too. 

A cute little tail always attracts a lot of attention.Click to Tweet
Easy to make fabric pom poms #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

Glue the pom pom tail onto the bunny and you’re all set.

Close up of the shweshwe bunny's tail #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

I love the pretty colors and all the detail in the shweshwe bunny.

Add a touch of Africa to your Easter decor with this little shweshwe bunny. Easy to make #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

To complete the picture we made a few eggs with Play-Doh and dipped them in nail polish. Don’t they look too cute nestled in the little bird’s nest made from coconut fiber?

PLay-Doh, nail polish dipped eggs.  #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles

I hope you like the shweshwe bunny. Does your country have a special type of fabric? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

And if you like it, don’t forget to pin it for later.

Add a touch of Africa to your Easter decor with this little shweshwe bunny. Easy to make #easterdecor #shweshwe #easterbunny #DaGamaTextiles #SouthAfrica

Oh and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more creative craft ideas to share with you 😉

100% rayon challis Black n white African print BINTU
Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish for Fabric (8-Ounce), CS11218
Wind & Weather GO7683 Meditating Rabbit Statue Garden Sculpture, Brown
Sale Play-Doh Modeling Compound 50- Value Pack Case of Colors, Non-Toxic, Assorted Colors, 1-Ounce Cans, Ages 2 and up (50 Cans - 1 Pack)
Sale Seams Unlikely: The Inspiring True Life Story of Nancy Zieman
Sale Nail Gel Polish Soak Off UV Gel Varnish Green P219

Until next time, hope you have a beautiful, creative week and don’t forget to see what my friends from the IBC have done with their challenge.


Made with love by a Crafty Mix

Categories:   Craft Tutorials, Holiday Crafts, Home Decor Crafts, Int'l Bloggers Club, Quick & Easy Crafts

Tags:  , , ,

Comments

  • Posted: March 1, 2019 18:50

    Marie

    Gosh, love the bold colors and print and the fabric bunny tail is adorable too! Pinned :) Made me smile how the shweshwe got its name. Thankfully Ellen DeGeneres is bringing a lot of attention to the beauty of your country and its people with her Gorilla sanctuary project.
    • Posted: March 3, 2019 15:22

      acraftymix

      Thank you Marie. The beautiful people in South Africa have such a way with words. We're a pretty emotional, feely bunch of people and when you say shweshwe it all makes sense on so many levels. I'm glad you like the fabric 😘 and so happy that Ellen and Portia have bought into our continent. Those gorillas are amazing and deserve to have someone famous to take on their cause
  • Posted: February 26, 2019 22:31

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    What an adorable little bunny! I love the beautiful fabric and the unusual pattern. That pompom tail is just too cute! The history of the shweshwe bunny is very interesting. Thanks for sharing!
    • Posted: February 27, 2019 09:21

      acraftymix

      I was actually lucky enough to speak to one of the ladies who works at Da Gama. What a lovely person, she was so helpful and gave me loads of information about Shweshwe. It really is a beautiful fabric
  • Posted: February 25, 2019 16:59

    Lea

    Oh my goodness that is such a special idea. Kea leboha 🇿🇦
  • Posted: February 21, 2019 14:19

    Jas @All that's Jas

    That's the most beautiful easter bunny if I've ever seen one! Loving all the patterns in that catalog, I'd have a hard time deciding which one to get. Once again, you leave me amazed at your project, my dear friend! You're like a bottomless well when it comes to crafty inspirations. Looking forward to the next thing you have up your sleeve! XX
    • Posted: February 21, 2019 14:40

      acraftymix

      I know right. Every time I see shweshwe at our local fabric store, I'm like a kid in a sweet factory 😁 I can never decide which one to get. They're all so lovely
  • Posted: February 21, 2019 12:36

    Debbie-Dabble

    Michelle, So pretty!! Love it!!! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your well wishes!! I hope it takes some of the pain away because I can hardly walk! Hugs, Deb
    • Posted: February 21, 2019 13:35

      acraftymix

      💓 Thank you Debbie and I do hope the drain works today. I'll be holding thumbs for you and sending lots of love your way.
  • Posted: February 19, 2019 00:53

    Sam - Raggedy Bits

    What a little cutie pie!! I loved reading about the history of Shweshwe too so very interesting. The fabric is just beautiful and love the bright colours. Perfect for Easter craft!
    • Posted: February 19, 2019 05:23

      acraftymix

      Thanks so much, Sam. I loved doing the research for this challenge and finding out all kinds of interesting things about shweshwe. Here in South Africa, you see so many people wearing it and it really is the most beautiful fabric to work with.
  • Posted: February 18, 2019 20:40

    Diana Studer

    That is sad. I have never been excluded from blogging because I am South African. If anything I become the token 'blogger from Africa'. There is a new exhibition at the Norval Foundation using African fabric.
    • Posted: February 19, 2019 05:53

      acraftymix

      Ahhhh Diana, I can totally understand why you're not excluded. Your gardening posts are stunning and you share such real-life tips on water conservation. I would love to see that exhibition too. I see it's running until August, so maybe we'll get a chance to go down to the Cape sometime soon.
  • Posted: February 18, 2019 19:01

    Pili

    I love our IBC because I learn so many things from other countries. I have never heard about that fabric but it is gorgeous. I guess that company employs a lot of people in SA. Also your eggs are stunning, what's that of dipping them in nail polish? All the vignette is so beautiful
    • Posted: February 19, 2019 05:31

      acraftymix

      I know right!!! That's what makes the IBC so much fun. 🤗 Getting to know a little bit more about where us bloggers live and seeing the real picture. I believe that Da Gama employs about 700 people but they're under threat from cheap Chinese imports, as are many of our local companies. Sadly we just can't compete with the low prices.
  • Posted: February 18, 2019 18:37

    Katrin

    I love that fabric Michelle, it looks amazing and the shweshwe bunny so adorable! I'd love to visit, you know we are so close to your continent, but have never crossed!
    • Posted: February 19, 2019 05:34

      acraftymix

      😘 Thanks so much Katrin. Africa is a very special place. I've been very fortunate to visit quite a few countries on our continent and every single one of them is unique in it's own way. I hope you step over the water one day and come visit. We'll always have a place for you to stay.
  • Posted: February 18, 2019 17:18

    Mary

    Michelle that pattern is incredible. Love the bold colors that are used together to create the fabric. I took a peek at the website and they have such vivid beautiful patterns. I would love to hold it in my hands after reading the description. I love making long swirly skirts with fabric like this. Give me blues any time!! The bunny is absolutely adorable and that tail is perfection!!
    • Posted: February 19, 2019 05:39

      acraftymix

      They sure do push the boundaries when it comes to colors choices. They're so vibrant and full of life 💓 It's free and uninhibited. Originally the fabric only came in blue and white and people often refer to shweshwe as the denim of South Africa. I'll send you a batch of the blues anytime Mary. It's only around $4 a meter, which is a bargain, given the exceptional quality of the material.
  • Posted: February 18, 2019 11:12

    Salome

    Ek is mal oor daai material. Dis so 'n mooi kleur. Ek gaan beslis kyk of ons winkel hier in die Kaap daai spesifieke patroon het
    • Posted: February 19, 2019 05:42

      acraftymix

      Yay, ek is so bly jy hou daarvan Salome. Die mense by Da Gama is baie behulpsaam, so as jy sukkel gee hulle 'n luitjie. Ek's seker hulle sal jou help. En jy's welkom om my te kontak as jy rerig sukkel en ons kan 'n plan maak.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

shares