Eyelet sisi | DIY lace kaftan

White lace bubu and social navigation

Heya!

So last summer, I got to attend a wedding as my boyfriend’s date which was super grown up to me but apparently is something regular people do…who knew? For the traditional wedding, the colors were all white with red accents so I figured this may be a fine opportunity to make my dress. The dress ended up being a pretty simple project, fold in half, cut out a neck hole, sew up the sides a few inches in to create the waterfall arms and add a collar! Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

In addition to just being excited for a new project, I knew I was probably only going to know maybe 3 people at this wedding, I figured it might be a conversation starter. Now the catch is, I suck at bringing up my sewing in conversation (lol) and I’m also really awkward around new crowds. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about the ordeal and perspiring heavily.

I see people who move effortlessly through crowds and are able to completely be themselves from the first conversation and they baffle me. In a good way of course but baffled nonetheless. No don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate meeting people and I don’t spontaneously combust into flames of anxiety and frustration when posed with the opportunity to face people I don’t know. My main concern is usually that I have no control over the version of me they meet that day and following up as my regular self just gets harder from that point. For some reason, when I meet new people, my voice gets a little high pitched or my accent sounds a pinch more Canadian. I can never hear it in the  moment but I can read it in the reactions of others who either try to mirror my accent or who question whether I grew up in Canada.

Honestly I think my real undoing starts with the introductions. I don’t have a very common name so even growing up in Nigeria, I got pretty comfortable with my name being mispronounced. I wonder if anyone experiences as much stress as I do when people ask me what my name is. I now spell my name on autopilot just to save people the trouble of calling me Enai. For the record, my name  (Enang) is pronounced as follows: EHas in Canada eh!Nangas in bang with an N. I think it may be too late for some of my friends now because like I said I got so used to mispronunciations that I’d settle for good enough.

So between awkward introductions that always last too long and involuntarily starting conversations in a Canadian accent that I can never seem to reign in on demand, this is my SOS. All my socially savvy readers, how do you do it??? How do you navigate the crowds and finesse the awkwardness?

Pictures by Willyverse

 

Ode to Summer – DIY Chambray Romper

DIY Chambray playsuit

Summer is coming to an end friends and I have not been very present here. No excuses just acknowledging my absence and letting that hang in the air for a few seconds. Alright now shall we?

Soooooo…I may not have blogged as much as I would like this summer but I haven’t left my sewing machine to rust and croak. Presenting my new and dare I say improved take on a romper. You may remember a couple years ago now my first successful attempt at a one piece with leg holes 🙂 ahh simpler times ❤ . Anyhow now we have grown and started adding zippers and trimming and bias tape like it’s not a thing!

Putting this together went relatively well however, no project is without it’s challenges so I will be remiss if I didn’t mention the challenges of sorting out a fly zipper. This is a newly acquired skill for me so I have to follow along with the YouTube tutorial. Between watching the screen and flicking away at seams with my seam ripper, I may have knicked the fabric once or twice (or four times). All things considered I am pretty happy with how things turned out.

To finish off, I will leave you with a quote that’s been getting me through the last few days of summer, amidst trying moments and moments of fear and trepidation:

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” – Isaiah 26:3

My prayers are with all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and many others around the world displaced by war, nature or economy. I pray for perfect peace.

 

Stay Breezy | DIY Floral Jumpsuit

Happy Canada day guys!

floral jumpsuit

I am beyond delighted to be sitting at home typing this on this gloriously rainy day. I have taken a walk, had breakfast and now sipping a cup of chamomile as I watch the rain fall. Could there be a more perfect day?

4c long hair

Well maybe not more perfect but the day I made this jumpsuit was pretty high up there. This is so comfortable and breezy and rather chic if I do say so my self. I attempted making a jumpsuit a few years ago and to say that didn’t go well would be a huge understatement. So starting off with this project I was very cautious and tried to give a bit more allowance and it certainly paid off.

jumpsuit for summer

To cut, I used sweatpants and a chiffon camisole that I have. I cut out the pants first and made sure I could slip them on with absolutely no resistance. This is an important step because if the pants are even a little bit snug you may not be able to enter into your jumpsuit at all. Also consider that my fabric has no stretch so I really couldn’t risk not having the allowance.

jumpsuit outfit

For the top I cut it in three pieces; one front piece and two back pieces. I did this so that I could have the key hole opening I created here. This also allows me enter into the jumpsuit, again as the fabric has no stretch to it I had to really consider my entry and exit points.

floral summer outfit

To finish things off, I connected the top to the bottom with a waist band and added an elastic band with a zigzag stitch to give it a bit more shape.

Jumpsuit details

Added straps, strings to tie the back and finished my neck line and voila!

Vibes by willyverse
bag available on Willyverse.com

Say hello to the summer uniform 😛 The floral print really drew me to this fabric and I was absolutely thrilled with how this turned out 🙂

Pictures by Willyverse

Brown Girl Blue Thunder | Off-shoulder summer dress

gypsy mini dress

Hi Guys!

Presenting the most comfortable dress I ever made! I’m still twirling in delight as I type this!! (okay not literally but I’m pretty excited as you can tell).

Off shoulder dress

On the summer inspiration menu today is an extra simple but super on trend dress! For this dress you just need to be able to cute two rectangles, hem and add elastic to it! Trust me it doesn’t get much easier than this.

diy off shoulder dress tutorial

Now it shouldn’t surprise you too much that I wanted this dress to be multi-functional. I believe that an outfit truly earns its place in my closet when it can be worn a couple different ways (which reminds me, I’m due for a closet purge >.<).

ibegan Enang Ukoh

If I had a thicker chest or if I made the shoulders tighter I could have worn this as a strapless dress as well but oh well 🙂 one-shoulder would have to suffice.

4c afro hair

This would be perfect for all of the summer barbecues because you can eat to your heart’s content without looking like you’ve been stuffed into your jeans. And you can probably sneak a treat or two away in all this volume 😀 (JK. please don’t say I sent you to do that oo!)

ankara off shoulder dress
Yes those are pockets for extra treats 😀

So if you would like to DIY this dress here are a few easy peasy steps to follow. Even if you don’t sew, fabric glue should work just as well.

brown skin and afro

  • Figure out how long you want the dress and the overlay to be.
  • Cut out the dress rectangle, add about 4 inches to the width for some extra room.
  • Cut out the overlay (this should be 3 times your shoulder width or 2.5 depending on how much volume you want).
  • Seal off both rectangles with sewing or fabric glue.
  • Center the bodice under the over lay. (This might be a good time to cut out arm holes for yourself).
  • Attach the overlay to the bodice with a zig-zag stitch or your fabric glue.
  • Fold over the top edge to create a case for your elastic to go through. (The elastic should stretch comfortably around your shoulders.
  • Using a safety pin, feed your elastic through the hole and sew the ends. (I would recommend sewing this part just for added security.
  • Close up your hole and hem any raw edges.

ankara dress

There you go! A summer dress made by you ^_^

Until next time, let me know if you try this out! 😀

bags by willyverse
Bag available June 8th- http://www.willyverse.com

Pictures by Willyverse

Wavy

Ankara duster coat

Wavy Coat

Hi Guys!

Another spring day, another slay :). This coat is the prelude to my bomber jacket that I promised. The sleeves are made of a fleecy fabric I got a long time ago, don’t remember what exactly it was called but I’m fairly certain it’s the same fabric used for sweatshirts. I lined the entire coat with it as well for added warmth.

Ankara Duster Coat

The ankara used for this coat is a Vlisco print, it may be older or out of stock but the fabric was gifted to me by my mum and I just knew this fabric was made to do beautiful things!

Ankara jacket

The raglan sleeves made this a slightly easier project than my bomber jacket, so much so that I had to go back in on my bomber jacket and change the sleeves. I picked up the ribbed cuffs at King Textiles when they had a sale on them.

Spring Outfits

The only thing I might consider doing differently on this coat is adding shoulder darts. This is something that I discovered randomly as I was scouring the internet for inspiration one day. Making a raglan sleeve could sometimes create a wider neckline depending on the fabric so shoulder darts just allow everything sit nicer on your shoulders 😀

Vlisco spring coat

I have worn this coat with a few different outfits and I get compliments on it every time. However, I was sooo feeling myself in this outfit. Got these pants from the thrift store and I had my doubts on whether I would be able to pull it off but once I chucked this belt on it I knew I had found a keeper!

Spring OOTD

Spring time is all about the wishy-washy weather, cold in some spots and boiling once you turn the corner so it’s nice to be able to whip this coat on and off depending on what I’m feeling. It also helped that the wind had me looking extra fly ;p

Duster Coat Outfit

More spring vibes on deck so stay chuned

Pictures by Willyverse

The Nigerian Woman | Rooted

Yosola Paul-Olaleye

Hi Guys!!

YossiePaul

Back again with another amazing Nigerian woman! I remember growing up how the instant rebuke for doing less than your peers was “do they have two heads?!”. I am however convinced that Yossie does! 😀 How else do you describe someone who is a published author, working on her Masters degree and gearing up for a PhD. and of course maintaining the daunting responsibility of being entertaining on social media!! Always true to her Yoruba roots and an all round pleasure to talk to and learn from, I know you would enjoy reading about this Nigerian Woman just as much as I did!

Who are you (What are the things that make up your identity, likes, interests, quirks)

You’d think people would be comfortable with this question given that we are supposedly self-obsessed, but I still struggle with it. In any case, I’m a 22-year old wearer of many hats – at least, I try to be. I feel it’s my duty to be able to do many things for myself, and this is probably to my detriment.

At the moment, I am studying for a master’s degree in Communication Governance at LSE. In my spare time, which is technically no spare time at all, I work on an online publication with friends and I try to build platforms that will potentially change the way we discuss issues concerning Africa and ‘development’.

I am also an aspiring writer, and I published my first book in September 2015. It is a collection of essays and poetry about home and various experiences of womanhood. It is dedicated to my grandfather, the man whose influence shaped my life and work.

Two things make up my identity, really, and those are books (by which I mean words and everything about them) and Nigeria. This is because everything I do finds its way back to my love for words, language, and literature; and whenever I think about my work and my goals, I think about ‘home’.

What do you feel being a Nigerian woman means?

On a very simple level, I think of it merely in terms of our places of origin, our names, our histories. But I am also interested in how the above shape our identities and influence our character.

Being a Nigerian woman for me is about knowing where I have come from – which I understand as my name and my family’s lineage – and leading a life that glorifies that history. I come from a long line of women who have changed their environments and the lives of the people around them, and I feel it’s important for me to follow that path and do something meaningful for Nigeria/Nigerians, especially girls, perhaps in education.

Maybe being a Nigerian woman, for me, is about contributing positively to the growth of our home?

Has your identity as a Nigerian ever been questioned? Why and how did you respond?

No, it hasn’t. If anything, my identity as a Yoruba woman has been questioned, but that’s because I don’t like pepper (read: hot food). Sometime last year, a friend generously went out in the night to find some food for me. He came back with Nando’s and I didn’t think much of it because I figured we couldn’t go wrong with chicken. Wrong. At some point, I realised my mouth was burning and so I asked him if he got extra hot. He turned his face away from me and said, “You have a Yoruba mother.” I was like: Yes, and so? That I have a Yoruba mother doesn’t mean I eat pepper, please. So I had this dramatic moment of, “Please don’t kill me o!”

It was quite hilarious. I actually love the look on people’s faces when I say I don’t like super hot food. It’s like, “ah ahn. You sure sey you be omo Naija like this?” Yes, I’m sure. I don’t understand what people enjoy about tapping their heads while eating because of pepper.

When did you become conscious of your identity as a Nigerian woman?

I think this happened sometime last year – I think I fully came into myself in 2015. I had always known that I was ‘Nigerian’, insofar as I was born and raised in Lagos. I had always known my full name, and I had always been aware of the influence my childhood experiences had on my person. But, last year, I started to think about my childhood, and my relationship with my grandfather, who, in many ways, tried to make us all aware of where we came from, of our names, of our history. This is why I dedicated my book to him and why I wrote the short essay about home and my grandfather.

I started to think about what my name means, and how to make sure it drives me, and that’s when I started to feel strongly ‘Nigerian’. That said, being away from home makes me feel somewhat removed from the reality of Nigerian living.

What are you most proud of when you think of Nigerian women?

Ooh, the fighting spirit! I mean, it could also be described as shakara (especially if you’re Yoruba), but I think it’s wonderful. And it’s also not restricted to Nigerian women. I think African women all over the world share this, and it’s what makes us – our grandmothers, our mothers, all of us – remarkable. Don’t worry, no feminist propaganda here (although that wouldn’t be amiss). 😉

Where can people find you and your work?

All over the web, literally. I have placed all my digital footprints in a central place for ease: www.about.me/yossiepaul

 

 

Kilikili

One dress multiple options

kilikili vlisco

Hi Guys!

Back at it again with a green dress :D. This fabric breathes nostalgia~the beating of wooden drums and little girls *cough* me *cough* popping on stage with our waist beads and kilikili wrappers. I remember this fabric as yellow and red but I am definitely feeling the new versions cropping up.

diy dress

This dress doesn’t really have a front or back per se, it can be worn both ways. Wearing it in reverse allows the option of wearing it as  a summer dress. Alas as winter lingers on I have respected myself and worn a sweater with it.

ibo star fabric

Lining was important for this outfit because I believe it gave a bit more structure. I used a v-neck dress that I currently own as a pattern and extended the neckline  for one side.

In hindsight, as opposed to cutting on the fold, it may have been better to cut four pieces and have a seam down the middle.

green dress

Good to note that while this dress may appear to be very straight, cutting it as such was a mistake. I had to go back in and taper  the top a bit to avoid looking like I was wearing a barrel :/

Other than those points I think it was a simple enough dress with plenty of movement and versatility.

Pictures by Willyverse