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.
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.
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.
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.
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…