On my recent holiday to Ghana, I was surprised by how easy packing was, and this is rarely the case for me. It helped that we were going somewhere where the weather would be consistenly hot rather than the UK or European holidays I’m more used to having. What was extra pleasing was that I noticed for the first time that my suitcase consisted of I’d say 95% memade clothes. So I thought that was blog worthy 😊
I’m going to just walk through what I took on holiday and comment on how suitable each garment was. I’ll talk about the things I took which weren’t me made and I’ll also talk about what I learned from this me-made holiday wardrobe.
We went to Ghana to celebrate my mum’s 80th birthday and unfortunately we were only there for a week. Apart from the dress I wore for my mum’s party, I didn’t make anything new for the trip, I didn’t think I needed anything new. And most of the rest of the gear I packed were firm favourites, worn many a time. That was pleasing because I’m not in the business of making a wardrobe that doesn’t get worn because it doesn’t fit with my lifestyle. I do think carefully before I take on a sewing project about the wearability and practicality, my garments need to earn their place in my wardrobe.
Let’s start with my outward bound airport fit, which left a lot to be desired! I didn’t think this one through very well, I just knew I wanted to have a white shirt out in Ghana as a throw-over and I wanted layers to make the transition from cold October London to hot, sticky Accra. But the look I achieved with my vintage Gucci bag made me feel like Paulo Gucci in the House of Gucci film- not very well put together! My trousers and jacket are me made, the shirt is from H and M and a lovely friend made the crochet vest for me.
The next day we were travelling from Accra, the capital, to Kumasi, the second main city. We were travelling by road and comfort was key.
I chose to wear this simple faux wrap dress in a really light cotton and it was perfect. The journey was really long and frustrating but it gave us the opportunity to soak in some of the surroundings.
Saturday was the day of the party and we spent much of the morning and afternoon by the pool. I wore a pretty old tankini which I love, even though it is a bit bobbly. I have considered making my own swim suit. I am not a bikini fan, but I like a two piece, and halter neck or racer backs are my favourite. I’m happy to hear your suggestions for swimwear patterns.
The evening was party time! I had spent 3 weeks leading up to our holiday frantically sewing up 4 outfits for my sister, two daughters and me. I ran out of time to sew for my husband and brother in law so a lovely sewing friend of mine stitched a band of fabric and a pocket onto white shirts for the guys. We all chose different garments which I sewed in matching printed kente ankara cloth. It really was fun sewing to each person’s specification.
Traditional kente is the cloth of Ghana, worn and designed originally by the Ashanti and Ewe people mostly. It is heavy, woven in strips on a loom and then hand stitched together. It is expensive due to the process and often uses silk along with cotton. I opted for a printed cotton version as it was a cooler fabric for us – and a lot cheaper! We all had a ball and my parents loved the party. The dress code was white and Kente. In Ghana, white is the colour of thanks giving and kente represents wealth and celebration.
Sunday was church and my mum didn’t tell me that it was a thanksgiving service and that we all would have to go up to the front at some point and be prayed for. Oh well. It was really lovely though, we joined a few other members of the very large church that day who were wanting to give thanks to God for something special. White was the order of the day but I didn’t know that and was wearing my all time favourite dress in bright yellow. I don’t actually own a white dress but now I really want to make one so I will always be ready for a Ghanaian thanksgiving!
On Sunday evening we all went out for a meal, my brother, his girlfriend and son had also travelled out. We enjoyed a lovely time as family. The restaurant served excellent food and had a wonderful atmosphere.
I wore a trouser set, the Saguaro Pants set by Friday Pattern Company. The deep v-neck top can be worn either way and I found that I really liked it with the v at the back, no cleavage issues and the higher neckline looked quite classy.
Monday was a bit of slow pool side, a bit of being tourists before heading to have dinner with my parents. I started off the day in my Tilly and the Buttons Seren dress, but the crepe fabric was not very breathable and I felt very hot and uncomfortable.
So I changed into a simple cotton shift dress, the Stevie by Tilly and the Buttons. It was very comfortable but that day was hotter than the others and I was also mercilessly bitten so in many ways it was still a very uncomfortable day.
Tuesday was market day, again unbearable hot. We navigated the large market in Kumasi looking mostly for fabric and shea butter. I wore my Jessica dress by Mimi G Style, which is unfortunately a little tight now. I was quite a hot, sticky mess by the end of that day. I love the Jessica dress though and I definitely need another for next year.
On Wednesday we spent most of our day in the hotel relaxing, packing and hanging by the pool. I wore a simple slip dress made from the True Bias Ogden cami bit I didn’t get a picture of it. My parents joined us later at the hotel. It was so good to spend that time with them. I got changed for dinner and wore a Mimi G for Simplicity dress. This dress is a newer one and hasn’t been worn much, but I really like it. The ankara fabric has glitter worked into some of the print which makes it feel quote dressy, not to mention the dramatic puffed sleeves and low back.
And so the week was drawing to an end and it was hard saying bye to my parents. I was nonetheless so pleased that we’d been able to get out there even if it was for just one short week.
On the Thursday we were heading back, firstly to Accra to very quickly soak in the city before heading back to the airport for a night flight to London. We flew to Accra this time, the journey taking a mere 40 mins rather than the 6 hours it took by road! I am not good in aeroplanes, for one, I always need to take sickness tablets and I am also scared of flying. This little internal plane was a terrifying experience for me, I had my eyes closed all the way and offered many prayers! But I had a cute dress on so that was good 😆.
We met a friendly photographer while we were in Accra and he kindly took a family photo for us.
For the night flight home, I changed into my Homer and Howells Lennox boilersuit. I didn’t get any photos of it but you can check out my previous blog for details. My homeward bound airport fit was more put together!
I didn’t deliberately choose a mostly African wax print wardrobe, it just so happens that most of my summer outfits are made from wax print. In Ghana you’ll find people mostly wearing jeans and t-shirts like everywhere else. Wax print you’ll tend to see more of on Sundays and for events. But I couldn’t possibly face wearing jeans in such heat!
The clothes I make tend to be quite fitted because I like that fit on me but I felt that I could do with more floaty, voluminous dresses that allow air to circulate around the waist and under the bust. I’ll be doing some research on patterns I could make that fit the bill, it’ll be tricky because I don’t like that sort of shape on me, I feel my body looks nicer with fit and structure.
I also really loved wearing my Saguaro set for an evening look, that pattern needs repeating. I noticed aswell that many of my dresses had v-neck and faux wrap, that’s obviously a neckline and cut I like on me.
Well, thank you for coming on this little trip with me reflecting on my holiday wardrobe. I’m not sure why it feels so good to have a me made wardrobe that really works for me, so much so that I mostly don’t need shop bought stuff, but it really does feel very good!
4 thoughts on “My Ghana Holiday Wardrobe”
I so enjoyed your vacation post! Lovely dresses and outfits! And glad you had a wonderful time.
I haven’t made swimwear, but have read raves of both the Helen’s Closet and Closet Core Patterns which seem to fit your style. I’m with you on liking some fit, I’m considering the Fringe dress as the bodice is more fitted – if that helps.😊😊
Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’ll certainly check out those swimming patterns and the Fring dress .
Thank you for your post about your holiday wear. I love the patterns and fabric you wear. Very stylish tropical wear!