I wrote this more to force myself to find out more about some of the fabrics that I frequently use. This would be fabric number one, Ankara. Then ofcourse I figured it would be great to share!
WHAT IS IT? Ankara is also known as African Wax / Dutch Wax prints, it is mainly made of 100% cotton fabric however, there have been variations that have some polyester content. What makes it unique are the beautiful printed tribal and modern patterns, sealed with a wax layer on top in a process called batik printing. This is just the way this fabric is treated, applying the design onto the fabric using wax and then applying dye.
ORIGINS. It was originally manufactured for the Indonesian Textile Industry by Dutch manufacturers and was popularized in West African countries years ago. It is now commonly worn in special occasions and celebrations.
CARE. When you receive Ankara it has that shiny wax layer that you want to wash off. You want to first of all hand wash it separately from any whites and also to use a cold wash. You will want to remove the label carefully before any washing happens and do this with a steam iron, not too hot. If you want your fabric to have a softer feel to it, wash with salt water.
That said, I mainly enjoy this fabric for the vibrant colours and fun prints it always has. I find it also very easy to work with as it’s not as heavy as other popular African fabrics, namely sishweshwe which is very popular here inMzantsi.