Hey there, it’s that time of the month again when a group of International bloggers
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 😀
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.
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 😉
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.
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.
Measure and cut a strip of contrasting fabric that’s a little wider than the width of the bunny and fray the edges.
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.
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.
Glue the pom pom tail onto the bunny and you’re all set.
I love the pretty colors and all the detail in the shweshwe bunny.
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?
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.
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 😉
Until next time, I hope you have a beautiful, creative week and don’t forget to see what my friends from the IBC have done with their challenge.