Bali and Beautiful Batik

Like a dream come true

One of the little extras you get from having visitors is that they often come bearing gifts.  Sometimes it´s stuff that you´ve asked for like Wasabi Paste or spices you can´t find in Andalucía and sometimes it´s little surprises.

This summer I have been very lucky to receive two batches of fabric for my dressmaking.  One batch came from Singapore and the other from Bali…via the UK and my friends.

These fabrics are very beautiful and unusual but do tend to come in quite strange lengths.  Not the usual dressmaking widths.  I expect that are probably just the right measurement to make some wonderful typical Balinese or Singaporean outfits, but because I am rather more robustly built  than the ladies from these beautiful places, I had to give a little thought as to how I would make the most of the fabrics.

Fabulous Fabrics

I decided to go “off pattern” and just sort of drape them around my dressform, Marilyn the Mannequin.  Who incidentally, after forking out a great deal of cash and waiting ages for her to arrive from the UK, is not really all that useful.  I was so focused on buying an adjustable dress form that I could “expand” to my curvy chest measurements that I didn´t look at how big her bottom was.  Poor old Marilyn has got a much bigger bottom and hips than me, even when she is at her smallest setting.  Normally looking at another woman´s bottom and deciding that it was larger than mine would give me some small sense of satisfaction (I know, I´m horrible…but you´ve got to boost your self esteem when you can).  In this case, she´s useless for making fitted skirts, dresses or trousers, as they won´t go round her and I have to just pin them to the front!

Anyway, after much pinning, trying on, adjusting, re tacking and finally sewing I made a pencil skirt with a zip and waistband.  I use the word pencil loosely as I am probably closer to the shape of a magic marker. 

Pencil-ish Skirt

Flushed with the success of this effort I went on to make a simple v-neck top with the rest of the scraps from the same length of material.  Please note that I will not be wearing the skirt and top together or I may be mistaken for an escaped Batik Wall Hanging from a museum of ethnic art.

Voluptuous Top Half Needed To Fill This Top

Finally, I made a sort of A-Line skirt with a drawstring waist.  Very forgiving on days when I feel like my bottom matches Marilyn´s.

Hurrah for drawstring waists!

And as a little thank you for getting this far into my post if you were expecting a tasty recipe (sorry, not today), and for thinking that the black spots on Marilyn were dirt on the camera lens and not a horrible plague of flies that decided to join me while I was taking photos…..here are a few snaps from when I visited Bali as part of my Round the World Trip in 2005.  Far too long ago…

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47 thoughts on “Bali and Beautiful Batik

  1. Hi Chica. Ooooo! Lucky you! Gorgeous fabric. Dont throw any of the tiny, tiny little pieces away. Remember you have a friend over the mountain! lol! Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing.
    Regards Florence x x

  2. Wow, I didn’t know you sewed, too! Beautiful stuff; it looks like wonderfully cool and comfortable fabric. And the photos from your trip…stunning.

    Let’s hear it for all us ‘robust’ girls over 40!

    1. Aah thank you! I only really dabble in sewing, but I love doing it. The trip was amazing, it was nice to look at some of the photos again. And “yay”..real women have curves!!

    1. Says the man who made that amazing kitchen table! it´s nice to turn your hand to different things every now and then. Glad you liked the photos, it was amazing to see everything “for real”..I was very lucky.

  3. You clever girl you making such lovely clothes – “bummer” about Marilyn not being the right size though so kudos for working around that.
    Bali must have been such a blast!
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. Damn that Marilyn for being so “hippy”! Bali was amazing, and despite it being pretty rainy when we were there, we still loved it and got around quite a bit. You have a lovely day too!

  4. Thanks for taking us with you to Bali! I am the reason they make double-sided sticky tape… not at all handy with a needle… Sad really, no Marilyn would be of any help in my house (unless she had arms… I can always use an extra hand!). I am (once again) impressed!

    1. I do confess to have stapled hems at work in the past…so don´t feel so bad about the double sided sticky tape (although it did make me laugh!). Glad you enjoyed the little trip to Bali 🙂

  5. Such beautiful fabrics and now such beautiful garments. Impressive! Bali has always intrigued me. Perhaps I’ll make it there one day.Until then, I’ll look at pictures like these and pretend.

    1. Oh, I´m so jealous! We stayed in a small resort called Tanjung Benoa and our little hotel (lovely about 60 USD a night in 2005) was next door to an amazing restaurant (where I took the dancing girl picture) called Bumbu Bali – can highly recommend a “tasting meal” there and they have a cooking school! The temple photo was taken at Puri Tanah Lot which is meant to have amazing sunsets (but it was a cloudy eve when we went). Very beautiful. And you must go to Ubud – inland and the Moneky Forest (near Ubud) and nearby the Neka Museum. Hire a driver for the day (or stay there overnight) it´s an amazingly cheap country and the people are so lovely. Very gentle, very kind. I hope one day to go back.

  6. I have an antique dress making dummy, I mean really antique, you can borrow her if you like.. I wish I could add photos to comments so you could check out her bottom!!! her name is esmerelda. I found her in an old lady’s attic! she was throwing away her old stuff, I just opened my arms!! I also collect fabrics from around the world, but i can only sew one thing, a skirt. I can also knit a scarf. You on the other hand are multi talented. Clever girl. c

    1. Oh you luckky thing to have Esmerelda! AND a stash of fabrics…when can i come over for a rummage?! Bet she´s all delicate and tiny waisted like “proper” ladies were way back when. Would love an antique dress making dummy just for the thrill of draping her in jet beads and silk scarves and talking to her (along with the dogs)…or am I just tipping over the edge now into complete madness?!

  7. Madness indeed! I want to go to the Monkey Forest! The trip must have been out of this world! The material… I love, love, love it, the colors…I will trade you two for one…you get the two! Just lovely what you have made and I love the design on the front of the skirt and the top is amazing! Each and all are perfect. I do not have a Marilyn or as Esmeralda, but I would love one I am sure she is almost as good as another set of hands… you have a wonderful little (hippy) helper! ….RaeDi

    1. Well, a little bit of madness is ok I think! The trip was indeed amazing – I have a short post on it here – but my heart was still in Spain! the fabrics were lovely, I´m a lucky girl and the trade sounds a bit unfair to you. I´ll throw in some sun dried tomatoes and raisins too!

      1. Okay, I had wanted to ask you for a few grapes (they would not last in our home until Christmas, hardly until Halloween,) they looked so good and too would be nice to have some dried tomatoes, just used up the last of the store bought, I know your homemade have them hands down. It’s a deal! ….RaeDi

  8. Me encantó tu post. Las fotos son geniales y puedo ver tu talento en el corte y confección : )
    El maniquí es muy gracioso… Una idea, por si te queda tela todavía y para lo que podrás aprovechar tu maniquí: Una falda estilo pareo anudada a un lado, resulta muy versátil y da igual el tamaño del bottom de Marilyn.

    1. Eres muy, muy graciosa…¡gracias! Yme encanta tú idea de hacer una falda estilo pareo. Creo que me queda tela para hacerla…y como mi “culito” no es tan grande como lo de Marilyn…:)

  9. You are so my idol! Not only are you amazing in the kitchen, live in a dream location and you sew! I adore fabrics, I’m always stopping to admire different blends and colors, wishing to create with them. I use to sew alot but haven’t for years. Reading this just tugs at my heart and I’m loving that dress dummy! Wow, if I had one of those! Really you’re very talented and I just love what you made with your material.

    1. You are so kind – I´m not really very good but I have the time to play around with stuff like sewing and also a little space I can use as a work room which makes a huge difference as you don´t have to keep packing stuff away! Thank you for your lovely words!

  10. You’re so handy!! I really wish I could create my own outfits sometimes.

    I love your pictures from Bali. I can’t wait to head out further East someday!

  11. Chica!!! Que fabuloso!! You are amazing! These clothes are lovely!! I really really admire your handiness. The photos from your trip to Bali are beautiful. You must have had a lot of fun!!

    1. Gracias! I just love keeping busy and being as creative as my limited experience allows me to me. And yes, the trip was amazing and so much fun. I went with my best friend after we both turned 40 – it was a life changing year for me starting with this trip!

    1. Well…not that talented, but the good thing about making things yourself is that they actually FIT…yay! So, yes, they do tend to look a little better on than some shop bought stuff 🙂

  12. Oh my word, how I covet your exquisite fabric! You make me feel like I should haul out my sewing machine and try sewing again….or maybe not!

    Now – what would I bring you from South Africa??!! 🙂

    1. It would be so hard not to like Bali – although some of the more touristy places held less appeal. And as for dressmaking – cutting is the worst bit. I think a lot of people dislike it..it´s the point of “no return”!

  13. Just found you! Love your pencil/magic marker comparison. I too am a ‘magic marker’ and have a dress form where the lower half has been tightly bound (with an old stretch horse bandage!) in order to make it more closely resemble my own ‘unique’ shape.
    Keep sewing (and cooking!)

    1. Thank you for visiting! And love your tip about binding up my Marilyn – I think this might just work, am going to give it a go tonight as it´s so frustrating to have a mannequin that is only “half” useful !

  14. Fabrics… I can spend hours in a shop looking at them. Yours are just wonderful. And you have certainly put them to good use. Envy you your mannequin – I just haven’t got enough room for one. But when we have built our house,…. I’ll be able to have a separate room for my sewing activities. Believe you’ve got one, haven’t you?

    1. Yes, I´m lucky to have a space that I can leave all my stuff out. It was a large porch walking out the back door which we closed in with glass “walls” and sliding doors so now we have a “sun room” I can use all year round. It makes such a difference as I don´t have to keep putting everything away 🙂

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