Mr. 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.
Who, 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.
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.
I 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.
I 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.
As 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.Like 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.
So 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.
I 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…?
And 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.
If 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.
HAHAHAHAHAHA HE DID INDEED HAVE HIMSELF PAINTED AS A GIANT SANTA CLAUS AND PUT IT UP IN THE MIDDLE OF TOWN. YES, THIS IS REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! TELL ME WHAT MAYOR YOU KNOW THAT HAS DONE THIS????????????? I win! Best. Fabric. Hands. Down. Merci Monsieur Adjovi!
Fabric: Severin Adjovi Hotel de Ville Fabric
Pattern: Butterick B5555, from a care package sent by Susan & Miss Lulu