Why You Need African Fabrics in Your Life

Everything you need to know about African Fabrics before investing in them for your home.

I know you’ve probably seen me talking about African fabrics a lot in the past few months. Whether it be here, or over on my instagram account, and definitely on my pillow shop account… I just can’t get enough of them.

Not only are they really beautiful (really) but they have such a cool story behind them starting with the fact that none of them are the same. They’re authentic. They’re natural. They’re real. And there’s real people behind them – the artisans that have a hand in make these fabrics really play a part in their uniqueness. So I wanted to take today to share a little bit more about the African fabrics that I’ve been working with and why you need them in your life!

First things first – There are two types of fabrics that I have selected from Africa. Mudcloth and Indigo.


These are the blacks and whites that you see a lot of. They are hand stamped and they’re typically thicker than the indigos. Mudcloth comes from Mali, Africa where it is handspun and handwoven into strips. The strips are stitched together and stamped with their patterns. These can also come in different colors, I managed to snag a burnt yellow one and I can’t wait to size it out.

African Fabrics - Black and White Mudcloth African Fabrics - Yellow Mudcloth


These are the blue fabrics that you see. They come in all different patterns and looks. This is from the dying pattern and technique. The white patterns are dyed into the indigo fabric so there is usually a negative of the pattern on the back of the fabric. The indigo color is also dyed onto the fabrics so the coloration definitely varies from piece to piece. From my experience, Indigos tend to be thinner and more delicate than mudcloth.

Now that you know a little bit about the origin of the fabrics and how to recognize them, let’s cover how they get in my hands. It’s important to note that these fabrics are stitched together in strips, to create a piece of fabric about the size of a throw blanket. These seams are stitched together by hand and are usually very delicate, which is why they need to be reinforced in order to hold the structure and quality when repurposed into something such as pillows.

I’ve always loved the look and feel of these fabrics. I knew I wanted to be a part of the movement to work with these fabrics and repurpose them to create something beautiful and pillows are the perfect use. I get my fabrics in California when they come in from Africa, I have a friend who I work with out there to source them for me and I am very much involved in the selection process for every shipment I get.

The fabrics I get are authentic and all from Africa – this means they will have slight differences and unique details so no pillow will be the same as another. I’m so excited to be launching these pillows in my Etsy shop!

xo, Emma

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Hi! I'm Emma, a twenty-something interior designer living in Charlotte, NC navigating life as a first time home buyer. I love a good house project and cocktails on the patio. I hope you can find some inspiration while you're here!


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