There’s wisdom in picking your competition shrewdly, my spine bone will testify to this.
I once lived in an Asian country. I decided that I wanted something to do in the evenings after work, preferably an activity that killed two birds with one stone- entertained me and kept my body fit. So, I signed up for yoga classes, because I’d always been curious about it. I liked the idea of Yoga, besides, a regular gym was oh! so basic (I love how bourgie that sounds).
Ok, I’ll confess. The truth is that the treadmill actually looked like a weapon of torture to me. I was quite intimidated by it. How fast would it go? Would I stay on it? Would I fly off it? Many questions that have now been answered since I finally stepped on one 8 months ago.
I still remember my friend’s remarks upon learning that I’d signed up for the classes.
Friend: “Yoga? Why?”
Me: “Oh, why not? I want to be flexible”
Friend: “Ooooh! Really? Nice! Flezzeebeelity! *wink, wink* Karma Sutra sturves”
First class, the instructor showed us a pose that seemed almost humanly impossible. Then, my rubber-bodied classmates responded by smoothly replicating the pose without breaking into a sweat. Like they were born to do this.
Now, Asian women are naturally small, I suppose that given a genetic disposition to minimal body fat, effortlessly elastic joints would come in the anatomical red bow package.
Me? I winced inwardly and thought to myself; These women are my competition, I mustn’t appear to be anything less than a professional Olympic contortionist in front of them. After all, I dressed to impress before leaving home that day, you know they say people will address you according to how you dress.
Likewise, I would stretch to impress, perhaps people gauge one’s resilience to life’s challenges by how far they can stretch their body?
My thoughts were rudely interrupted by the mythical cherub flapping on the left side of my head called “Envy”. It said to me in a harsh whisper “Ah! If she can put her head behind her buttocks, so can you. I mean, does she have 2 heads? After all, she’s a woman like you. C’mon, DO IT NOW!”.
The other cherub floating on the right side of my head named “Reason” gently cooed “Hello sweetie, hmmm, you know that your joints have been stiffened by years and years of consuming hot eba. Do this thing a little at a time, you mustn’t go all the way today. Perhaps your head at your waist today and gradually at your buttocks next week”.
Well, here’s the thing, the human body has a malicious way of retaliating after being literally bent against its will. The day after I bullied my body, it sent me a strongly worded memo. What started like sharp twitches along my backbone, gradually escalated to a painful squeezing feeling with each breath, and finally a shaky-shaky fever.
Afterwards, it got better. I was training my body to learn to sit, roll-over and catch. Day by day, I improved at the yoga poses. Turns out the human body is rather malleable. Ha!
I find that on the one hand, Jealousy is outrightly full of bitterness and negativity, on the other hand, while Envy does have strong undertones of resentment, the irony is that Envy can be gently coaxed and transformed into positive motivation.
Jealousy says “Why does she have to have all that?” Envy says “Hmm, That looks great, I want mine!”
“Envy can be a positive motivator. Let it inspire you to work harder for what you want.” – Robert Bringle
Anyway, I was feeling rather envious. Everyone but me seemed to have the funky iro and buba, I decided to make mine jare, abi do they have two heads? 😀
Iro and Buba is inarguably timeless, the classic tunic blouse and wrapper has been given a modern twist, with silky fabrics, revamped shape of the buba, and the twisted style of wrapping the iro in a tulip knot (why do I feel like I just wasted a good pun opportunity?). Now, younger women find it more appealing.
I sewed a blouse in the traditional buba style, and rather than make the traditional iro (a little over 2 yards of fabric tied around the lower half of the body), which technically is a wrap around skirt, I chose to make a pencil skirt.
It was delightful to discover that fabric can be purchased per yard at the Woodin store, why become saddled with 4 extra yards when you only really need 2? This also gives one the flexibility to mix prints and colours, which is what I did. I picked a yard each of Bottle-Green and Wine coloured fabrics in the same print.
The original model (Iro and Buba v 1.0) is really simple to make and can be sewn in two hours. I made a buba muslin first, the sewing steps are very easy to follow:
- Measure the hip width [W]. Divide this by two [W/2]
- Important: Add 3 to 4 inches to this for wearing ease, plus another 1 inch for sewing allowance.
- Decide on the desired length [L], for mine I chose 24 inches.
- Cut out fabric with the following dimension; Length is derived from step three, multiplied by 2, and Breadth is derived from step two.
- Fold the fabric, width-wise and then length-wise. The width-wise fold removes the need for a shoulder seam.
- For the neckline, measure a 4.5 x 4 inches rectangle, at the corner with the folds and cut out a curved line.
- The sleeve circumference [SC] ranges between 17 to 20 inches for a small to medium size.
- The sleeve length [SL] depends on the desired style. I opted for a 3/4 sleeve and used 14 inches.
- For the iro wrapper, cut out 2 yards of fabric and hem the likely to fray edges by folding twice and sewing.
The skirt is fully lined with a medium weight, tightly woven cotton fabric for added volume. The skirt was hemmed with satin ribbon and hand sewn blind stitches, I passed the needle underneath one-eighth of an inch from the edge of the satin ribbon to achieve discrete stitches.
The skirt lining was hemmed by binding the edge with bias tape. The neckline, sleeve hem and side seams of the buba were finished by binding with bias tape. The buba hemline fell tidily on the fabric selvage, and since it was cut on the grain-line, I didn’t bother hemming it.
I didn’t want visible stitches at the neckline and sleeve hem, so I first sewed the bias tape to the fabric with the right sides touching and then turned the tape inward to the wrong side of the blouse and slip-stitched by hand.
I passed the needle underneath the machine sewn stitch and then with a vertical motion into the bias tape, taking care to catch no more than 2 threads on the tape. This required quite a bit of patience but the tidy discrete finish made it worthwhile.
I was very pleased about the tailored finish of the skirt, as I put quite a bit of work into it. I will pair it with a chiffon blouse the next time I wear it.
An owambe party would have been the perfect finale. 🙂