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).

African Hair threading

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”.

Envy won…

African Hair threading

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.
Woodin mixIt 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 under two hours. I made a buba muslin first, the sewing steps are very easy to follow:

Irobuba 1

  • 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.
skirt finishing

Skirt pattern | Fully lined | Skirt and lining hemming

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.

Buba finishing

Buba | Bias bound neckline | Hong Kong seam finishing

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.

Sleeve finishing

Sleeve hem | Attached bias tape | Discrete slip stitches

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. 🙂




  1. It looks gorgeous… Looking forward to seeing you pairing the skirt up with a chiffon top…You really did crack me up with the yoga story…
    Envy really good motivation to do/achieve more…but really taking it a step at a time makes the process more enjoyable.
    Nice one Nedoux!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Christy,

      Thank you so much!

      Indeed, doing things at one’s own pace might be a more focused approach to learning, plus a little competition to spice things up. 😀


    1. Hello,

      Thank you so much for reading, liking my posts and your kind words, it means a lot to me! 🙂

      Best wishes for the rest of the week.


  2. I laughed so hard this morning! I like how envy prevailed.

    Another very articulately written article. You are a gifted writer. Loads more grease….


  3. How?! How did it go from Yoga to a life saving opinion on envy, to iro and buba? How?!! Just how do you do this thing don Allah?!

    You are one hell of a fabulous wordist and I absolutely love every bit of your expressions.


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nedu, i just love you more! Where do i start from? The hairdo, the stylish and trendy iro and buba, the red lips which is almost becoming my signature look and your simple yet a perfect compliment to the outfit. All i see is creativity (I just made a peplum top and midi pencil skirt with a lace fabric and its out of this world)
    Now i envy!!! and i will definitely have my own stylish iro and buba

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Nkem

      Thank you for your sweet words.

      Whoop whoop! You finally sewed something, that’s great, well done! I love how you’ve taken pride in the your own creation, “out of this world” put a huge smile on my face. 😀

      Oh! Iro and Buba is so easy to make.


  5. Men! You are so pretty! The outfit is fab too. But I can’t just get over how pretty you are!
    I agree with you about envy.
    Sometimes, I get jealous and when I feel jealousy, I am a monster. I have worked on that so I don’t feel it any more. xxx
    Have a fab evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Surprised to see I haven’t commented on this post before but I’m here now.
    Your iro and buba remix looks awesome. I particularly like making pencil skirts. Does this have a pocket by any chance? And a midi pencil skirt? Fabulous (on you). I would make one myself except I don’t personally want a midi pencil skirt. I’ll probably just make one for my cousin 🙂
    My current love is this material- collezioni- the bubble wrap plain one. I’m completely in lust.
    Btw, we are biding our time but more stories of Singaporean adventures will be told, hmm?
    I knew you’d agree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for always reading Uju. 🙂

      No pockets on the skirt o. I like the midi pencil silhouette a little too much.

      I actually had to google this, do you mean the Daviva Collezioni? Ah! since it is lust-worthy I will definitely check it out at their store. Thanks for the tip.

      Have a happy day!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Why are you like this?! How did we go from yoga to Iro and skirt?! I cant with you! I have tried, but I cant! LMAO
    That bit about “envy” is actually quite deep. I am interestingly learning that EVERYTHING is about perception! If you do not think people and the stars are out to get you, you cant be gotten! Everything that happens, good and bad, you will be able to easily take it in stride and move on. It is a very life-changing concept to grasp, really! Not easy to get there, but life-changing once you do, nonetheless.

    You should have seen how excited I got when I went to a Daviva shop and learnt I could buy in yards! I almost went crazy! 2 yards of that lime, 2 of the orange, 2 of the one with leaf motif, 3 of the elephant one. Our God is a great God who has good eyes for arts & its provisions……amean, lookachew!!!! Nwawupawpaw men! Yawwwww!!!! (Whatever that means)
    BTW, which Asian country did you live in?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehehe! I like to find ways to link my musings to the sewing projects. 😀

      I really love your point of view, indeed “Everything is about perception”. Life is really quite simple once we learn to focus on the basics.

      Honestly, the sale by yard option in these stores is so convenient

      Lol, Your compliments are the best! Thank you for your kind words.

      I lived in Singapore.

      Enjoy the rest of the week!


  8. Hello,

    For some reason, I read the title as ‘Iro Ni’, which is Yoruba for ‘It’s A Lie’, which will have been quite ironic against the text of the post, titled Irony. I can’t remember where I was going with this.

    That last line is dope!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Chuma,

      Now that I think of it, there’s a perceived connection between irony and lies 🙂

      I imagined a party blasting Shina Peters’ music.

      Enjoy the rest of the week.


  9. I learned pretty early to make envy a propelling force to be a better version of me rather than let it eat me up or make me do something crazy.
    I had no idea that you’re the “Nedoux”- I’ve visited your blog several times from Berry’s but have been too shy to say hello.
    You look fabulous in this version of iro and buba and you’re giving me an idea of how to rock one. I wore one for the first time this year and felt weird!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Adaeze,

      “Envy as a propelling force to be a better version of oneself” I really love your perspective.

      Awww, thank you so much for visiting, I am glad that you finally said hello. 😀

      Lol @ weird. The next time that I make this, I’ll sew the traditional wrapper, I quite like how “womanly” it looks.

      Have a lovely rest-of-the-week!


    1. Hello dear Tamie,

      I sincerely appreciate your kind words, you comment made me smile.

      “The joints you were forcing to be malleable” XD

      Aha! there’s a book that I’d like to recommend- ‘Dress Pattern Designing; The Basic Principles of Cut and Fit’ – Natalie Bray. It’s a great book and breaks down the science of pattern drafting wonderfully.

      I hope you’ve enjoyed the long weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. *sigh* If only my body were that malleable. I would have accomplished the full split by now. But the fear of pulling a hamstring has kept both my feet together. Or maybe it’s old age : )

    You wear the Iro and Bubba well Nedoux. I’m positively envious of your sewing skills. Maybe my envy will coax me into starting my lessons.. : ) have a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey SEG,

      You have the anatomic advantage of minimal body fat. XD

      Thank you my dear, I like your type of envy, sewing is a great skill.

      Have a lovely weekend!


  11. Nne, I’m loving this look…From the hair to the outfit! You rocked ’em so well!

    “Envy can be gently coaxed and transformed into positive motivation.” –Real food for thought right here! Well done.


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Blame it on eba! Who knew cassava flakes were anti-yoga? Pele. 😱

    Lol @ waist today and buttocks next week! Oh, Reason! No wonder Envy won. After all, that woman doesn’t have 2 heads. Lol @ shaky shaky fever. Memories o …. “Mummy, Daddy is shaking!”

    So envy can be converted to positive energy? I’ve learnt something new today. 😆

    I love the pencil skirt. It looks like it’s versatile enough for work. Wine colored blouse maybe? Don’t worry, that owambe will come. 🙂

    P. S. You didn’t tell us where you took the picture. Art gallery maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi dear,

      Eba glues the joints! lol

      I knew you’d remember that advert! “shaky-shaky Daddy” XD

      Yes, if one takes time to separate the wheat from the chaff, when dealing with Envy, they would end up with positive motivation.

      Thank you so much. You’ve given me a great idea for styling the skirt, a drapy wine coloured blouse would be so elegant.

      Yes o, that owambe has to come.

      Oh! not an art gallery, it was a reception area. The painting is rather nice.


  13. *sigh* This woman sha! You will just be making me jealous sha.
    Lol. I love the way this post evolved. I feel like previous comments articulated how I feel succinctly.
    Now Nedu, why didn’t you find a party to crash? Tsk tsk

    P.s; there’s a woodin store where you can get materials by the yard? What have you been waiting for then? Sew my skirt jor. And I have been exercising patience o. *huffs and puffs*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Lady Liz,

      Thank you so much for reading.

      Ah! this outfit was just begging to be danced in, Lol

      This skirt that I’ve been owing you for a nearly a year now, the interest has really accrued. XD

      Have an awesome week!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Great story…..and great laughs. Great tutorial…..I am going to have to add the blouse to my list of makes.

    Kudos to you for hand-stitching…..I despise

    Well done…..beautiful inside and out.

    Oh and your hair “gorgeous”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Timeka,

      Lol, thank you so much! The buba blouse is pretty easy to make, it looks really great when a drapy, flowy fabric is used.

      I know you hate hand-stitching XD

      Aww, thank you, I’m really enjoying rocking the hairstyle.

      Have a beautiful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You look beautiful in these outfits, Nwanyi oma! You are beautiful anyways. 😉

    The thing about envy…sigh… Best to convert that energy into taking responsibility and ACTUALLY doing something better about one’s issue of concern.

    I love your fabrics……:*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Duchess,

      Now I have a belly-ache and it’s all your fault. There was too much sweetness in your comment. Thank you so much! 😀

      Your perspective made me nod my head in agreement, Indeed, it is best to focus on one’s own self, because you never really know the other person’s actual reality. The truth underneath the facade might be quite different from public perception.

      I think it’s human nature to do the comparison thing once in a while, so far it doesn’t end in negativity.

      Have a great week!


  16. I had always thought of envy as an extreme form of jealousy.
    Glad to know it can also be a postive motivator.
    That part of stiffness from years of hot eba cracked me up….i was moulding said hot eba while reading this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Mizraph,

      There’s a fine line between the two, both are rooted in negativity, but Envy can sometimes be redeemed.

      I laughed so hard at “moulding said hot eba” XD

      Thank you for reading. Have a nice week!


  17. Oh lucky you, I wouldn’t even give yoga a thought… I’m convinced I’m too stiff to attempt it. And the irony of life, while you were making your buba, I was busy converting the ones I have.

    Lovely outfit and mix of fabrics on a lovely lady!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Abeni,

      Your comment cracked me up XD

      Really? It’s nice how the buba style doesn’t interfere too much with the fabric, it would be easy to recycle the fabric.

      Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

      Have a lovely week!


    1. Hello Cara,

      Yoga is great way of building strength, muscle tone and flexibility.

      Thank you so much 😀

      The buba blouse is the quickest sewing project that I’ve ever undertaken, it’s pretty simple.

      Have a super nice week!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh I couldn’t agree more. Envy can be a positive motivator and vice versa. When I think of some people I grew up with and where they are in their lives and what they do, I beat myself up so badly one would think I was suffering lol. But like you said n like I say, they dont have two heads so all in due time Gracey, all in due time.

    Love your outfit and you do look like an Asian woman in these pics hehe..


    Touch Of P!nk

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Gracey,

      I love and admire the honesty in your comment.

      It’s only human to do the comparison thing once in a while, it’s quite healthy even, as it means that one is mature enough to tolerate self-criticism and become motivated to devise a strategy for self-improvement.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you, all in due time 😀

      Thank you so much my dear.

      Have a fantastic week!

      Liked by 1 person

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