Hey… what’s this…? I’ll give you three guesses! A shirt I brought over from America? NOPE! A shirt I bought in the used clothes piles here in Benin? NOPE! A shirt made with the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern with fabric sent over from Susan and Miss Lulu? YES! Also, is that knit…. made on a treadle…? YEP! Hooray! I have been wanting to sew with Sewaholic patterns for a very long time, but they aren’t offered in .pdf form (Or else that Robson coat would be mine RIGHT NOW) so I wanted to wait until I was back in the USA to place an order – but Susan and Miss Lulu included a sewaholic pattern in their care package, so I was able to get a head start on my sewaholic sewing plans!
After I cut out my pieces I was so amused by how stretchy it was that I pulled a piece to see how much it would stretch… but then it curled and stayed curled and no amount of pressing would keep it flat! LESSON LEARNED! By the way I sewed this “cold turkey” and didn’t do any research or whatnot… just jumped blindly right in. What can I say, it’s my style, I know I’m going to mess up anyway for my first try, so why bog my head down with too much theory and information at the beginning? Also, lack of fast internet and libraries kind of contributes to that mode of thinking.
Thankfully once I stay stitched the edges shut they remained flat.
The instructions call for twill tape. Susan and Miss Lulu sent me clear elastic… but I decided to use this bias tape they sent me instead.
Yay for stabilized seams! Would the elastic have been a better choice?
Here is the binding for my V neck. Unfortunately mine came out wonky (as you’ll see later) but I don’t mind.
I’ve been busy busy! CIAMO is hosting a girl’s computer class since most of the time only boys participate in computer classes.
There are some new volunteers (new friends!) helping out. Though, they aren’t Peace Corps – they’re with the Humanity Exchange.
The girls learn Word, Excel, and a bit how to use the Internet.
Ooooh what’s this? It’s me posing and explaining at the same time. Renfrew in action!
I fully admit these photos were staged.
But I really was helping!
Just not here. The shirt is so so so comfortable.
It’s exactly what I wanted to wear when I’ve got a busy day and am running around.
Next door in the music room I peeked in and saw a dance class being taught by the duo Asha and Nicola from the USA. They were here with the American Cultural Center and came to Ouidah for a day to perform and teach.
Then I scurried to yet another classroom where CIAMO was hosting a teacher training in the arts.
Count yourself fortunate if you have a high school education from the states. Here art isn’t a priority, and there are some simple basics that many people aren’t aware of. Such as color theory (red + blue = purple) or perspective (vanishing points) or figure drawing (geometric shapes). So Pascal (my co-teacher) and I had a weeklong session about basic art principals as well as art related games and activities to do in the classroom with students. Busy busy busy busy!! And we’ve got round two coming up as well in a few weeks!
Then I ran back to the CIAMO building and ate some riz au gras. Oil rice? Tasty. I collected all the bones for Bosco, heh!
Then the afternoon computer session begins.
Kudo azo! Bon Travail! Good work!
Once the class is finished we all headed out to the Python Temple. Well not in, just in front of – there’s a dance performance!
Up first are the CIAMO kids.
They put my dancing to shame.
Then Asha and Nicola took the stage and performed their dance “What I thought I Knew.”
So nice to see some contemporary dance.
While the local dance here is amazing and fun to watch, after seeing nothing but that for 10 months my eyes are happy to other forms of dance.
It’s also good for the locals. Look at the crowd that’s gathered!
I myself want to learn swing and go to lindy hop once I’m back in the states!
I won’t attempt stuff like this though.
Wooow! Look how straight her arms are, even down to the fingers. It was fun watching the Beninese reactions to their dancing.
It ranged from “what’s going on…” “oh she’s dancing…” “wait that dance is different…” “WOAH what was that twirl she just did…” “WOAH…” Actually those are just my personal reactions. I’ve forgotten what non-Beninese dance is like and to see them dance was another bit of reverse cultural shock.
At the end a local dance group took the stage.
They invited Asha and Nicola to join in. Looks easy, right?
I cannot squat and dance at the same time. But they can!
Then the kids joined in. The End!
The dancers left, the stage was cleared, and then I took the stage with the renfrew! I gave my camera to one of the Humanity Exchange volunteers and asked him to help me photograph my shirt.
The facing was “flimsy” ? Too big? I don’t know what happened.
I don’t even know what this problem is called.
But I’ll surely learn later – right now I’m just enjoying the fact that I made such a nice soft t-shirt!
Here’s my hem. I love it!
To be honest I felt like I was sewing with a jelly fish. This fabric was blue and it had about as much structure as a jelly fish. But I made it! I made my first knit t-shirt, and on a treadle too!
Bonus photo shoot of the other Humanity Exchange volunteers with their host sister.
Back shot, yeah!
Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew 1201
Fabric: Blue Jersey