séverin adjovi the mayor of ouidah + butterick b5555

severinadjoviouidahfabric01Would you ever wear a fabric with giant ovals on it? Personally – no for me, but this fabric is an exception. And you’re about to find out why!

severinadjoviouidahfabric02Mr. Séverin Adjovi is the mayor of Ouidah. I don’t know much about his policies or if he’s a good mayor or whatnot… but he is a very good at self-promotion. He owns a cement company and thus has a lot of money. Money used to purchase gifts for the people of Ouidah – with a caveat – they’ve always got his face or his name on it. It is near impossible to live here and not know who he is because his name is written everywhere. “Gift from Séverin Adjovi” “Donation from Séverin Adjovi” “Land donated by Séverin Adjovi” “Séverin Adjovi wishes you a happy new year!” I mean look at this notebook he gave to all the students in Ouidah – he automatically associates his name to education and these kids will forever remember him as the one who helped them out with their school supplies. Genius.

severinadjoviouidahfabric03Here are some calendars he distributed… with his face positioned strategically in it as well. Because he puts his face as well as his name on everything, it means that everybody knows who he is.

severinadjoviouidahfabric04Anyway! Remember that teacher training I did a few weeks ago?

severinadjoviouidahfabric05One of the teachers showed up wearing this. My eyes couldn’t stop staring.

severinadjoviouidahfabric06Who, on her the back of her shoulder, was looking back at me? Why, Mr. Adjovi himself – he had fabric made and put his face on it! For the locals this is very special commemorative fabric. For me it was just ridiculous. So ridiculous is crossed over into “I love it and I want it” territory for me. I mean, is there anywhere that this guy won’t put his face on? What can I say, different culture, different way of seeing things. Regardless I needed this fabric.

severinadjoviouidahfabric13You see this fabric was to celebrate the opening of the new mayor’s office – where construction began in 2008 and just finished this summer of 2013.


So the fabric has a drawing of the building, of course. On the left is his face and on the right is the moment where they put down the first stone.

severinadjoviouidahfabric07I immediately went to the mayor’s office and bought it. I mean, how could I not own such fabric after having lived here for almost a year? It was 1,000CFA (2USD) a yard but only sold in six yard blocks so I had no choice to get a lot. I sold one yard to Gabriel, the Humanity Exchange volunteer who was teaching the computer class at CIAMO.

severinadjoviouidahfabric08I kept the rest of the five yards for myself to make Butterick B5555, which is yet another lovely pattern from the Susan and Miss Lulu care package!  It’s a good thing I kept so much…. I needed it. Because I was very particular about where I wanted those ovals to hit.

severinadjoviouidahfabric09As you can see, laying out my pattern pieces took a lot of strategy. My rule for a fabric like this is that I do not want the ovals hitting the chest, the crotch, or the rear – Those areas do not need a giant bulls eye directing attention toward them.severinadjoviouidahfabric10Like this student’s dress. It’s such a nice dress, but I cannot figure out why her seamstress decided to put a huge purple bow in such a awful location. There are many other places that bow would have worked beautifully, but just not there. Every time I saw this girl my eyes were automatically drawn south – placement matters. And I was determined to not have this same problem, thus why I needed the full five yards to avoid the ovals landing on the bust, butt, or crotch.

severinadjoviouidahfabric11Sigh… if only I could keep my table as clean as I do for when I cut fabric. Once the cutting is done the chaos always returns to my table.

severinadjoviouidahfabric12Anyway… once done, I headed to the mayor’s office for a photo shoot! Where else would I’ve gone?

severinadjoviouidahfabric14Sorry you can’t see the outfit very well, I want to show off the real building as much as possible.

severinadjoviouidahfabric15So yeah! Bragging time. How many of you guys can have spontaneous photoshoots at your local town hall without the police chasing you away? And wearing an outfit with the building on it? And to top it off, the mayor’s face as well? Hmmm?? Only in Benin.

severinadjoviouidahfabric16I suppose the Obama “YES WE CAN” t-shirts are the closest thing we have… but it doesn’t come close to this fabric! Did we have presidential candidate fabric? Does Obama or Romney fabric exist, and I just had no idea? In fact, is there even President fabric? With the white house? And Obama’s face? It must exist, right? Or maybe I’ve been living abroad for too long. While I’m at it is there city specific fabric? Texans? Tell me there is texas fabric. Austin fabric? Dallas? Arlington? Fort Worth? Anywhere…?

basiliquefabric01Quick tangent. This is no ordinary outfit, look at the bottom tier of her dress…

basiliquefabric02Why, it is a picture of the Catholic Church in Ouidah! 100 years of a church means special birthday fabric of course.

basiliquefabric03And tada, here’s the real thing in case you want to compare. I have decided that when I turn 50 I will have Cathy fabric made and distribute it among my sewing friends! Hehe! Don’t ask me how serious or not serious I am about this idea, I don’t know yet.

severinadjoviouidahfabric17Back to the Mayor’s office. Here’s a view from the top. No point in visiting the building if you aren’t gonna climb up!

severinadjoviouidahfabric18Since one yard wasn’t enough for Gabriel to make a shirt, I gave him my scraps after I finished. I had a lot of scraps leftover because of my picky pattern placement.

severinadjoviouidahfabric19Meet Alfreida, she is Gabriel’s host sister. A sweet girl who helped me out by carrying my backpack for the photo shoot so I wouldn’t have to be photographed with it.

severinadjoviouidahfabric20Gabriel joins in.

severinadjoviouidahfabric21Let’s talk placement! I had to cut my pieces so the logo would be on my arms, side waist, and near my knees.

severinadjoviouidahfabric40Close up of the bib, where I made sure to avoid any logos.

severinadjoviouidahfabric41I also cut the text border for the collar.

severinadjoviouidahfabric42As well as the cuffs, except I made them upside down. Oh well, doesn’t bother me enough to redo them.

severinadjoviouidahfabric22I also used the text border to make the belt. As for the back, I made sure the logo was near the top to make sure it could be easily seen and read.

severinadjoviouidahfabric23I’m so happy with how it turned out! I tried to put my hair down but it was too hot, so this is the only photo with it down.

severinadjoviouidahfabric24And of course… when one visits such an official place, one must make a speech!

severinadjoviouidahfabric25Hello, I am Evita!

severinadjoviouidahfabric26Or maybe I am the Pope!

severinadjoviouidahfabric27The Queen of England?

severinadjoviouidahfabric28Whoever I am, hear me speak! For I am on the top of my palace podium!

severinadjoviouidahfabric29Some of the staff joined in on the photo shoot fun.

severinadjoviouidahfabric30Walking down the stairs, titanic style.

severinadjoviouidahfabric31The Beninese are taught not to smile for photographs – the opposite of us.

severinadjoviouidahfabric32I think there is supposed to be a tree or something growing out of that cylinder… maybe in a few more years.

severinadjoviouidahfabric33Here’s Gabriel’s shirt.

severinadjoviouidahfabric34Here’s the back.

severinadjoviouidahfabric35Of course an obligatory photo with the Beninese flag is a must.

severinadjoviouidahfabric36If I have not convinced you how awesome this fabric is… may I please direct your attention to this photo taken in the middle of town, next to the Python Temple.

severinadjoviouidahfabric37“Our Father Christmas of Ouidah wishes you a Merry Christmas 2012! And a Happy New Year 2013!”



Fabric: Severin Adjovi Hotel de Ville Fabric

Pattern: Butterick B5555, from a care package sent by Susan & Miss Lulu

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