Regency Meets Wax Prints



Anasazi Brewton


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

I love Ankara/Dutch-Wax fabrics and always feel that they look rich and extravagant with their intricate patterns. I thought this was a perfect choice for the character Miss Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park, as she was very fashionable and extravagant especially compared to our heroine Fanny Price. I was inspired to use African print fabric because I love the Victorian statues by Yinka Shonibare and the way that these bold prints look on the historical costume. I thought I would like to also use this seemingly African but so very globally influenced cloth to make a costume for a book that is also widely travelled! Taking dyeing techniques from Asia, these cloths were manufactured in Europe and then sold in an African market, flown to the US to find their final home in a Regency costume!

Outline the construction…

Materials: I used a cotton Ankara/Dutch Wax fabric for the majority of the pieces, a satin liner fabric for the jacket, buckram and felt for the bonnet lining, and lace and ribbons (and fake flowers) for floofy goodness. And THIMBLES! Thimbles to the rescue!

Techniques: I used a sewing machine for the main seams; and I finished by hand the understitching on the jacket sleeves and the rolled hem, gathering of lace, and attaching my decoration.

Challenges overcome: Working with the liner fabric was new for me and I learned that it is important to change to appropriate needles as my lining began to rip and run when I first tried to sew the satin with the same larger gage that I used on the heavy cotton. Sleeves are challenging. Getting the gathers in the right place on the sleeves took a few tries and a lot of patience. I also think that I bit off more than I needed to by deciding to make a bonnet from scratch, instead of using a hat as a base. I tried to figure it out and jumped in without doing enough research. After making a separate inside and outside, I watched how-to videos about how to make a bonnet. They all seemed simpler compared to my method. Still, I am very proud and happy with my tidy rolled hem joining the two unnecessary parts together!

Resources that helped you: Mccalls 7493 for the jacket. Youtube for understitching and rolled hems videos.




  1. Avatar Emily on March 11, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    Wow! This is absolutely beautiful and I LOVE the vibrancy of the African wax print!

    • Avatar Rebecca on March 29, 2021 at 12:14 am

      this is a beautiful ensemble. your choice of fabric and your text- and history-based reasons for it are so smart, and it works so well– strong and striking and intricate. good luck! (from icarus!)

  2. Avatar Daniela on March 11, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE every bit of your costume! Sleeves truly are difficult and your work payed off!

  3. Avatar Diana Nichols on March 11, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Oh this print is stunning and this is gorgeous. I love the idea of Mary being so daring and fashion forward. Amazing work!

  4. Avatar Sarah on March 11, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Such a great idea and result!

  5. Avatar Jocelyn Lofstrom on March 12, 2021 at 2:10 am

    Beautiful job, so finely sewn. I really like the wax prints for their beauty to reflect Mary Crawford’s extravagance. But also I admire that the prints reflect the theme in “Mansfield Park” of how the Caribbean plantations and slavery supported the Bertrams and many wealthy Brits of the time. Poignant and effective costuming. This is a home run.

  6. Avatar Chapeuzinho on March 12, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    The honesty of your challenges to complete the second half of your piece gives even more reason to appreciate it. This is often missing from a stunning, impressive piece of work. It’s good to be reminded that with hard work, determination and grit, you can bring dreams to life and learn new skills! Thank you for sharing it all.

  7. Avatar Leah Christlanda on March 12, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    this is so stunning. I love the print and colors.

  8. Avatar Lindsey on March 13, 2021 at 1:24 am

    Gorgeous, and I can totally imagine Mary Crawford wearing this

  9. Avatar Gabrielle Amey on March 13, 2021 at 3:03 am

    This is gorgeous!

  10. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 13, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    I love that the flowers are beneath the brim of the hat, where the wearer can enjoy seeing them as much as anyone else! Your work looks meticulous, and your fabric choice seems spot-on. Very nice.

  11. Andrea Painter Andrea Painter on March 13, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    I didn’t realize that this type of fabric was manufactured in Europe! It’s such a beautiful textile, and you’ve used it so well — the short jacket and bonnet look SO good! At first I thought that your hijab was part of the bonnet — they go together *so* perfectly! The lining and ribbon match is also lovely — it gives it a pop for brightness that works really well. Great sewing on this!

  12. Avatar Alice Markey on March 14, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    EVERYTHING about this is amazing! The print works so well with the structure of the outfit. I can tell you grew a lot creatively and technically from this project. Nice job!!

  13. Avatar Jeanie Gilroy on March 14, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    One word…STUNNING!

  14. Avatar Whats Sewing On on March 16, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! I love the fabric choice, well done!

  15. Avatar Clara on March 17, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Dear Anasazi,
    you already know that I love your finished costume, with its colorful glory and the Ankara/Dutch fabric! But I also want to compliment the neat sewing job you did! The ensemble fits you perfectly and you look like royalty wearing it 🤩

  16. Avatar Mandi on March 20, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    I have collected almost 100 yards of wax print from Congo and Uganda that I am saving for my daughter when she gets married. She was born in Congo. This is a gorgeous example of what can be made with this gorgeous fabric. Your creation is stunning and I love it!

  17. Avatar Laura on March 23, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Love this idea! Excellent tailoring! Styling is fabulous! Am I allowed to say, the model is so sweet? 💜
    Seriously been wishing someone would make a historically inspired piece with wax print fabric. Thank you for making this and letting us see it!

  18. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 27, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    I love this! The print is so gorgeous, and I love the global and cultural elements which you incorporated into your work, everything is beautifully put together and finished, so well done, you tackled the challenge of learning new techniques magnificently!

  19. Avatar Annie Bartholomew on March 28, 2021 at 5:27 am

    Just flawless! Love the floral designs and color palette. Those hems look so tricky. Amazing work!

  20. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 28, 2021 at 5:33 am

    Wow, this is my first time encountering this fabric. So wonderful! I love every bit of it! Thank you so much!

  21. PK Reynolds McKnight PK Reynolds McKnight on March 29, 2021 at 12:05 am

    So beautiful – great blending of cultures and styles

  22. Avatar Peta Pendlebury on March 29, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    Oh my goodness. I am in love and sooo want this jacket and bonnet. I too love African wax print – the designs are so bright and fun. If that’s your first bonnet bravo – it’s fabulous. And the jacket fits so well. I especially like the pattern placement on the back of the jacket.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.