Designing a Simple Batik Skirt
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If you are a long time reader here at Blog, She Wrote, then you know that our 10th grader, Rebecca, has been sewing since she was eight years old and is a fabulous designer. I thought it would be fun to start catching up on her projects as I add them to her Sewing Projects page. Last summer, Rebecca had the opportunity to display a design of hers in a curated art show at the library. To prepare for the gallery opening night, she wanted to make a new skirt to wear that evening. Today’s post is all about Designing a Simple Batik Skirt.
Elements of a Skirt Design
Skirts are probably the easiest garment to design on your own. You have a few decisions to make and you can get started right away. Here are a few of the things to think about:
- Style– Will your skirt be a pencil skirt, straight skirt, or an A Line design?
- Fabric– This may be dictated by style and design in some cases.
- Length– Long like a maxi, long like mid-calf, knee length (or just above or below), or mini. Rebecca prefers hers long to maxi because short skirts are high maintenance.
- Waistline– You could do a tailored waist with a zipper, an elastic waist, or Rebecca’s favorite, the yoga waistline made from a recycled t-shirt.
- Details– You can have layers to your skirt, detailed trim, pockets, plus almost anything else you can imagine.
When Rebecca teaches her sewing classes, skirts are a fun project that allows the participants to make some choices while still learning some basic drafting principles. For her own sewing, she much prefers to design and make the patterns versus using a commercial pattern.
Some Things to Know about Batik
Do you know what makes a batik a batik? They have whimsical designs in a variety of colors. Not every fabric that looks like a batik is one.
- An authentic batik is usually more expensive because of the way it’s made.
- The dying process involves melting wax and stamping a design on the fabric with the wax.
- The wax is used as a resist and a dye is applied.
- Once the dye is set, the wax is removed.
- You can tell a real batik because the design is the same on both sides of the fabric.
- A fake, printed batik will have a right and a wrong side.
We’ve started making our own batik fabrics using the techniques we learned in a class from Craftsy. The class is called Fabric Patterning with Wax Resist and we’ve gone through the process of putting the wax resist on our fabric. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product and using the fabric we’ve designed in a sewn project.
If you choose to try out this technique, one of the most important things is to use a looser weave fabric. If the weave is too tight, the wax can’t work its way into the fabric and it won’t provide a resist on both sides of the fabric for the dying process.
One of the great things about the class is being able to use household products as the stamp for the wax. Our first design is a pattern using a bell pepper cut in half.
Resources for Skirt Design
These are a few of our favorite books for designing skirts. Skirts are easy garments to make and experiment with as you try new techniques and figure out your favorite style to make and wear.
Sew Serendipity– We love this book for its flair! You’ll find fun details and fresh fabric choices with each design.
Sew What Skirts– This is a drafting book for skirts and provides the tools you need to get the job done and design your own skirt. You’ll find several skirt designs which allow you to customize the look easily.
How to Make Sewing Patterns– Rebecca loves this book on drafting and though you need some experience to use it, it has helped her to grow her pattern drafting skills over the years.
Other Sewing & Design Posts at Blog, She Wrote
Sewing & Design is a major part of Rebecca’s high school curriculum. Each year we design a one credit course where she learns new techniques and meets new goals she sets for herself. Below are some of the other design projects I’ve written about with more to come.
Jules Verne: Literature, History, & Fashion– in which Rebecca studies the work of an author and begins the design of a doll sized steampunk gown.
Steampunk Fashion Design & Drafting– The design, drafting, and construction of the steampunk doll gown.
Eco-Fashion Design Project– Rebecca entered a refashioning with denim contest and received honors and the invitation to participate in a curated fashion show along with Cornell design students and other professionals.
The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Sewing in Your Homeschool– A collection of resources and posts on working with kids who want to sew (even if you don’t).
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