African Queen


The finished dress!

I’m pretty much a newbie when it comes to wearing Senegalese ensembles. I’ve done it for special occasions and I wear wax prints often, but not usually the full deal from head to toe. But I’m getting more into it so decided to take the plunge.


Wrap it up, ladies!

My friend and I went fabric shopping when the Foire (FIDAK) was in town in December. After a good bit of looking and debating, I decided on this hand tie-dyed thioup fabric from the town of Matam in eastern Senegal. The vendor was the woman who made it, so she was able to tell me how it’s done and a bit of the fabric’s story, which I loved.

In the end, we each bought six meters of thioup and paid 12,000cfa and 14,000cfa for them (about $25-30).


Thioup fabric from Matam

The next step was to decide what to have made. Much harder than it sounds! My friend had hers made into some really cute pants, a flowy wrap-skirt and some headbands. Normally I would have done something similar, but I really wanted to try for a Senegalese ensemble. I asked a friend for advice and she suggested a ‘boubou kepp‘ which is a simply cut robe worn over a wrap skirt with a head scarf.


The headscarf fabric was nice and stiff, which made tying it a lot easier.

There are several advantages to this style:

  • The simple cut keeps the focus on the fabric and any embroidery you have added.
  • It works well for a maternity style and can be altered later, including turning the wrap skirt into pants.
  • If you get bored with it, you can have it remade into another style because the fabric is still mostly intact!

So I gave the fabric to my tailor with a budget of 15,000cfa (about $30) and he worked his magic! I now have an outfit that makes me feel like an African Queen.


“I believe I can fly…”


3 thoughts on “African Queen

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