Rooting around in my fabric stash, I found that I had quite a surprisingly big piece of teal-blue batik fabric left over after making myself a skirt several years ago. This is one of my favourite fabrics, and it came from one of the best fabric shops I know, Truro Fabrics.
There are lots of things I like about this fabric – I find the simple geometric patterns and the streaks of colour change particularly pleasing. In places there are yellow streaks, as though I’ve spilt my coffee on the fabric – I just love these variegated shades!So I have the fabric – and I also have a pattern. This pattern belonged to my grandmother. She liked to wear very simple straight cut dresses. I don’t think the dress she was wearing below was cut from the pattern I’m using, but it’s very similar.So I have fabric and a pattern – but the finished dress isn’t at all what you’d be expecting!
First of all, I cut through the paper pattern at bodice level. Then I cut a skirt nearly twice as wide as the existing skirt pattern, and I fitted it to the bodice with four pleats in the front and six on the back.Stupidly, I cut the front bodice without thinking – (but as the pattern dictated) – in two pieces. Unfortunately, the central join looked stupid – the pattern just didn’t fit. So I added a central placket to take the eye of the mismatched pattern. It looked a bit better.Now I’m toying with the sleeve lengths. I’m not sure whether to go for elbow length or shorter. And I don’t like the way the inset sleeves are puffy where they join the bodice – hmm, that doesn’t appear to happen on the original pattern. Out come my pattern-cutting guidebooks to help me work out how I can get the smooth inset sleeve that I like.Time now to play with the neckline! I’ve cut it right down from the original pattern as that was too tight round my throat. Would I like to add a collar? Small or large? Or perhaps use some other fabric for the collar?I want to add pockets, but they’re not included in the pattern, so I have to get out another dress that has good pockets to use them as a template. I’ve decided to scrap the idea of adding a collar, but I can’t used the original facing that came with the paper pattern as I’ve cut the neckline down so low.The back of the dress is a bit “bustley” – it looks as though I’ve got a tail, or a bustle (as they wore in Edwardian times). So I’ve stitched down the skirt pleats at the back in a fan shape – the central pleat stitching is longer than the side pleat stitching.The only trouble with this fabric is that is stiff. I guess it is because of the residual wax from the batik printing. Consequently, the skirt doesn’t hang very softly. Luckily, I’ve got a lining left spare from a skirt I’ve taken to pieces for patchwork. This lining is a soft rayon, and it’s cut on the cross. It fits perfectly! It doesn’t make the dress to swishy (I hate it when you can hear your skirt/dress lining swish as you walk along), but just adds to the soft hang of the whole.So here is the finished dress!Now to experiment with what I can wear with it!!