Batik is a wonderful fabric for hot weather, and we sure are in the middle of summer right now and it is HOT. We had the hottest day since 1938 in Sydney yesterday, so I am really grateful it was a Sunday and I didn’t have to work. It was so hot that some of my tomatoes got partially cooked on the vine! I spent the afternoon with my little granddaughter playing around in her paddling pool and it was absolutely delightful.

When i spend time with my grandchildren the last thing I want is to have to worry about my clothes. Something that will crushed or show up little sticky finger marks just won’t cut it and batiks are a winner in that respect as well as keeping me cool.

No problem with the fabric then with this tunic, but on the sewing side there was a bit of a history, illustrating the vital importance of proportion. I have had to remake this tunic twice to get it right. I used the Tessuti Lily dress ( which is one of my TNT patterns, shortening it a bit and modifying the cut away armscyes to regular ones, and all should have been well. But unfortunately I fell into my usual trap of trying to use up all the fabric at my disposal, as I hate waste. Much as I think frugality is laudable that was a bad idea in this case, as the tunic ended up not only too wide but also far too long. I could have shortened it and taken some volume out of the side seams, but that would have been too easy. So I let it marinate over winter to see what could be done to improve it.

In the meantime I had seen these dresses with tucks on Pinterest.

That gave me the idea to do similar tucks into front and back to take out length. I angled them a little and made them deepest at CF and CB, petering out to nothing and meeting up at the side seams. Sort of a very shallow moon shaped dart on the outside, front and back. This was not as visible on my batik as it would have been on plain fabric, but I still liked it and it solved part of my problem.

Not all of it though, as you can see in this photo.

I think the tunic is still too long, and the pants possibly too short. To improve the proportions I decided to fold up the hem at the side seam. You make a a small fabric loop at the hem and sew on a button about 15-20cm up from the hem along the side seam, then hook the loop over the button. The front and back hem hang free as before, more or less. You could just stitch it, but this way you can unbutton for ironing, which may or may not be needed at some stage. It also allows me to have one side up and the other down, or both down worn with leggings instead of the wide pants.

(view on the inside with part of the hem folded upwards at the side)

I also relaxed the elastic in the pants so they would sit on the hips, not the waist, which brought them closer to the fashionable new length of just-above-the-ankle.

Its probably not the most spectacular outfit I have ever made, but I am much happier with the proportions now. I will get a lot of wear out of it, precisely because it doesn’t look too dressed up, and I won’t need to stress about a mark or two from grubby little fingers. Even a whole Vegemite sandwich would probably not be too noticeable smeared across this busy batik! 🙂