My batik dress

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!variegated colours in fabricSo I have the fabric – and I also have a pattern.  This pattern belonged to my grandmother.  Simplicity paper patternShe 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.Dordy wearing batik dress 1971So 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.dress showing pleats in skirtStupidly, 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.correcting bodice problemsNow 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.working on the sleeveTime 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?working on the collarI 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. making a pocketI’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.working on the collar facingThe 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.Pleats in back of dressThe 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.skirt liningSo here is the finished dress!Katherine trying on dressNow to experiment with what I can wear with it!!Katherine trying on dress with orange cardi

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Lost - and found.

11 thoughts on “My batik dress”

  1. Well, I have to say, you look great in that dress as opposed to the dress in different iterations !! Always tricky re doing things…ask me how I know 🙂 Guts woman, you got guts!


    1. It did take a time to get things right with this dress, Susan – part of the fun, but also part of the challenge (I got very dispirited at times :-(( ) – whatever, I’m really pleased with the result!


  2. I do enjoy and approve of your sewing process! It is a great result and suits you very well. The cardie is perfect with it too. Style away, handy sewist!


    1. Thank you, Rebecca – it was the first dress I have made from start to finish for several years, and my approach was so different to what it used to be – so much more exploratory, and forgiving. At the moment I’m having an orange “moment” – so pleased when it’s the right colour for what I want to wear!


  3. Wish I’d read this before coming, as I would have asked to see it modelled! By next time you will have made more gorgeous creations and we’ll both have forgotten about it. It’s fabric alchemy.


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