African clothes come with various styles, designs and even different patterns. The choice of the style, design and pattern has great effect on cultural practices of ethnic tribe. In Africa there are various ethnic groups and each has it own cultural practices and religious beliefs thus making the difference between the choice of clothes patterns, designs and style in their attires. Clothes such as dress, bridal gowns, skirts, trousers, underwear’s and tops even have different patterns. There are various ways of making clothes patterns and some of these methods are:
- Tie and dye patterns – Africans used tie-dyeing to make patterns on their cloth. Tie and dye is a technique that is a resist form of dyeing a fabric thus producing patterns in the areas where the fabric is tied as it prevents the color from penetrating through the fabric. The process of tie and dye is mainly done by binding, folding, or knotting. The tie and dye patterns on African clothes have a certain traditional concept. Each ethnic group makes the tie and dye patterns differently according to their cultural practices and religious beliefs. Tie and dye patterns was mostly used to make traditional African wear for women although as time went by men started wearing the tie and dye clothes.
- Embroidered Fabric – This is basically the art of decorating a fabric with the use of a thread and a needle to create patterns. There are various embroidery patterns that are produced as a result of fabric embroidery. A fabric can be embroidered on top of or through the base fabric. The fabrics and yarns used in traditional embroidery vary from place to place, but the most commonly used are the wool, linen and silk. Embroidery patterns can be machine made or hand made.
- Printed Fabric– Printing a fabric is another way of getting patterns on fabrics. The process is simple as all you need to do is to applying colour on the fabric in specific patterns or designs using ink or dye. The colour is applied using wooden blocks, stencils, pigments or even rollers. The printed pattern can be done by the use of machine or it can be done manually by the use of blocks.
- Batik Fabric – In this method of clothes pattern making the wax is placed on the fabric and the other part of the fabric is dyed and later on, the wax is taken off by boiling water. The best fabric that is used in batik pattern making is cotton. In Batik pattern making the fabrics is hand painted and not machine painted, this allows diverse patterns to be produced. African batik clothes pattern were mainly worn during rituals ceremonies.
- Painted fabric patterns – a fabric can be painted to get various patterns. Painting a fabric is done by the use of dyes, pens, paints to decorate the fabric using any image or anything that comes in your mind. The best material to use when painting is a washable natural-fiber and natural-blend fabrics such as cotton and polyester blends. Painted fabric patterns can be made on wall hangings, tablecloths, and bedsheets and even on clothes as it enhances the beauty of the cloth. There are various fabric painting patterns such as fabric craft patterns, fabric geometric patterns, and fabric floral patterns.
Nowadays there are varieties of African Kente patterns made and each has a certain traditional concept or concepts associated with it. When choosing your outfit ensure that you choose the best colour, design and pattern as the patterns and colors of your African clothing and accessories will put in seasoning and sparkle to any wardrobe.