Added Mar 10, 2014
I bought this fabric during a work trip to Jakarta in October last year. I’ve had a bit of a love affair with batik ever since I discovered Novita’s blog some time in 2009-2010 and was introduced to the beauty and variation of the Indonesian batiks (far beyond that of the typical ‘batik’ we see in chain stores). The fabric came in a set, designed to be made in a skirt-top (or baju kurung as it’s known locally in Singapore and Malaysia) combination.
I did a lot of ‘research’ on Pinterest and online, collecting images to inspire me as to how, and what I might make. Since the fabric had a panel-print, I knew from the start that I needed a pattern that was cut on the straight grain and would really allow the print to stand out. After seeing Iewa’s I decided to give the wrap skirt pattern a go.
I made 3 main changes to the original pattern:
1) I lengthened the (longer) skirt of the original by 4 inches so that it would fall to the fattest part of my calf (I’m around 165cm tall). Since the fabric has a border print, and a neatly overlocked edge, I chose not to do a hem on the skirt’s bottom edge.
2) The original pattern called for two light-weight fabrics that were layered during construction, thus not requiring any facings. Since I had a reasonable-weight fabric that already was very beautiful, I decided I did not need this extra design feature. This meant that I needed to draft a facing for the waistband. I chose to use the fabric typically allocated to the top (in the set) for the facing and used interfacing to give it additional structure (I’m curious to know if Iewa used facing for hers as well as I didn’t see a second layer in her skirt either). I cut the facing at a very generous 6 inches deep from the original pattern. This meant that I needed to carefully stitch all of the back darts into this piece also (unlike a typical skirt facing which would be drafted as the final finished dimensions as the skirt outer—I think!). I stitched this in last after I had checked the fit of the outer skirt.
3) The last change I made was to add a dart to the skirt front on the flat side of the panel (the side opposite the waist tie). When I tried on the skirt outer I realized that the fit could be improved with a little more shaping (I’m a bit curvy in the waist) and also it would help to position the feature of the panel at the centre front. I replicated one of the back darts on the front panel, and then in the front facing also.
I stitched the second tie (the front one that pulls the skirt across) on last, so I could make sure I had the best fit.
I’ll add a better photo of me in the skirt when I wear it on Friday. Batik Friday is an Indonesian custom—practiced in Jakartan offices—where batik garments are worn. In Indonesia batik is considered to be formal, so it’s a little the opposite of the oft-practiced ‘casual friday’.
Polyester printed batik bought from Batik Keris, Jakarta as a set with a blue fabric for a top and a scarf; blue polycotton thread; iron-on interfacing.
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Sewing & Techniques
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