Hot! The “Batik at It Again” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Batik print from Treasure Island Flea, $5
Pattern: Advance 6055
Notions: snaps, fastener, fabric paints, $10
Year: c. 1950s
Time to complete: About 2 1/2 hours
First worn: March 2012
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: Originally $35

Okay, so last week I didn’t budget my time well. Lesson learned and I started working on my green creation early on in the week. So if I was a good little seamstress, then why did I end up sewing on a Sunday night and taking my photos this morning? Well, the original dress that I diligently started on Monday turned into a frumpy mess. One day I may save it, but not today. And although I had accepted that I was going to sit out this week, I just had another dress in me. So, last night, after dinner I began working on this week’s creation.

Since I was working with a border print, I knew that I could pull a dress together rather quickly. After all, a long rectangle as a skirt is probably as easy as it gets. All I needed from the pattern was the bodice pieces and the band. This sort of dress is so easy to put together that I can describe the steps right here:

  1. Cut bodice pieces and make darts
  2. Cut band for straps. Fold over, stitch, turn inside out and attach to bodice.
  3. Cut long strip for the bodice band, fold it over and sew on the wrong side. Flip over and tack.
  4. Cut long rectangle of remaining fabric for skirt, gather and attach.a
  5. Oh, and insert zipper.
  6. Hem

When I write out the steps, it seems a bit more complicated. But seriously, a dress like this just sews itself!

Oh, and despite my protestations that I would never wear a batik print dress, this happens to be the second one I’ve made. I’ve got to stop hating on the batik.

And since this week is all about green for St. Patrick’s Day, I have to share a little anecdote from my photo shoot. While I was taking photos in the park, there was a group of people — an American woman and an older couple (her parents?). I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation which went something like this:

Woman: I’m amazed by how racist he was being.
Older woman: What was he saying?

Woman: Well, he said “that’s such and Irish thing for you to do.”

I have to say that’s the first time I’ve ever heard “Irish” described as a race. I tried to listen more closely to hear just what Irish thing they were doing, but, alas, that will remain a mystery forever.

And, I’m totally proud of myself for making the sash in such a way that it forms this little pattern at my stomach!


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. I’m so envious of how quickly you can whip up a dress! This one is fantastic! I love the interesting print :-)

  2. Very cute! And like Jennifer I am very envious of your speedy sewing skills. :D

  3. I love your work, this dress is great. You look gorgeous as usual!

  4. It’s so cute! Just perfect for your figure! The little pattern that you made in the centre of the belt with your fabric looks a bit like a snake in an Irish manuscript – something a bit earlier than the Book of Kells. Perfect for St Patricks day!

  5. Ha, I’ve definitely heard “Irish” used as a descriptor – usually of something silly, along the lines of an Irish joke.

    Lovely fabric!

  6. Very cute dress, Mena! The fabric is fun and doesn’t look overly batiky. The colors and patterns are very interesting and work well with this style of dress.
    I hope they weren’t referring to you in your green dress posing in the green park. But if so, here’s a retort: “No, it’s not an Irish thing to do specifically, it’s what we do every week on The Sew Weekly! We come from all parts of the world to share and express our love for sewing.”

  7. I thought you had monogrammed the sash on the dress! Which I also thought was a little strange, but now I see the design. i go back and forth about border prints. I like them when i see other people make dresses out of them, but I never buy yardage. I have to say I’m the same with Batiks.

  8. Oh, Mena, I share your disdain for batik, but this dress MAKES IT WORK. I love what you’ve done with this, so pretty, so well cut. Nicely done. I love it.

  9. I love this dress. It’s just as cute as crowd fave red border print (2010?) that you made. (I loved that one, too, way back when.) You are cuter than a button! All the border prints I ever see are juvenile or holiday or just not suitable in some way. Your fabric finds and execution are amazing!

  10. Oh..I love the dress! So gorgeous! I love your hair, in the first picture it looks like it has a redish tinge to it. So very cute! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  11. What a beautiful cut to the fabric design. It really works beautifully with the shape of the dress.

  12. All you batik haters are CRAZY! (I admit, I have a bit of an obsession….)

    Beautiful dress, and I’ll bet you’ll get a lot of compliments on St. Patty’s Day.

  13. I love this one too – the style really suits you, as does your new hair!

  14. The way you’ve spliced & lined up sections of that print is incredible. I don’t think I could have seen that potential. Fabulous!

  15. I had to come back again to admire the cut on the bodice. It’s fantastic.

  16. Whaaaat? I’m lucky if I can get the pieces cut out in an hour, let alone the whole thing sewn up in not much more time!
    The design made at your stomach is awesome. Very well done as always.

  17. I have felt the same way about batik, but after seeing this dress…I don’t know, Mena, you may have made a convert out of me! It looks great!

  18. What an awesome print, and you used it so well :) I really want to make a dress like this style!
    Maybe you’ve never heard of Irish as a race because you live on the west coast? RI is mostly Italians and Irish and the Irish were often persecuted. I even worked on a play written in order to exonerate the last man executed in RI – an Irishman. The prosecution used Irish stereotypes to convince the jury.

  19. Major victory! I just adore this pattern and the Batik fabric! You should seriously consider Batik’s since you’ve had two AMAZING Batik creations! There’s something about a border print that gets me every time! Lovely make, FABULOUS photos!

  20. Mena, it’s stunning! I love the bodice, and the whole print is fantastic! It makes your hair look a little redder, which I completely love :)

  21. What a gorgeous dress, I LOVE the fabric and the cut is so flattering on you.

  22. Wow cute dress but I am in awe of the cutting and pattern matching ability going on there!

  23. How could you ever hate on batik prints when they turn out like this! Excellent eleventh hour improv, Mena.