I’m a magpie for big and colourful prints, so naturally I’ve been stalking the Vlisco website for quite some time. Vlisco are a historic producer of Dutch wax print fabric, which is particularly popular in Africa (it’s sometimes known as “African wax print” as a result). When I lived in Malawi, well before my sewing days, I loved it and was duly amused by novelty prints like Princess Diana faces and household implements – sadly past Jenny didn’t have the presence of mind to buy it all. What a mistake.
I was a little hesitant to buy some Vlisco because of the 6 yard minimum (which I heard has just been reduced), but then I saw Sonja’s Vlisco Grainline Alder Shirtdress and Dixie’s gorgeous sheath dress and IT HAD TO BE MINE. In fact, exactly the same pattern, just a different colourway. Those ladies, they have good taste.
Let me present: my Vlisco shirtdress
It’s a pretty classic pattern, with a separate button placket, waistband with belt loops and a traditionally constructed collar. It comes in bust sizes, which, while only going up to a D (the American average is a DD…), is still a sight better than the traditional B cup I have to contend with. For this version, I used the full skirt which is pleated at the top. Weirdly, though the fabric is a bit stiff it doesn’t like holding pleats, so the whole thing just expands out like a psychedelic mushroom.
In an effort to get a decent fit, I used the 20D size and FBAed by an inch, then used the size 24 waistband, and for the skirt graded from the 24 down to a 22. To make the 20 bodice fit the 24 waistband, I didn’t sew up the waist darts, and I did a little less gathering at the back. The resulting fit is…. alright. There’s a bit of tightness across my high bust, as I was potentially a little optimistic with the 20. The skirt is ginormous so no problem there, and the waistband is nicely skimming, meaning I can actually breathe and sit down in it. Yay for sitting and breathing! Feminism in action.
The puffy back is a slightly peculiar design feature of the pattern, and I’m not entirely sure what I think of it. The plus side is that it makes my waist appear to nip in a lot more than it does!
I wasn’t sure if I was sold on the fit-and-flare silhouette, but it’s growing on me! Plus I love digging my hands into the pockets and puffing it up like a puffer fish. Clearly I made no attempt at pattern matching, but the pattern itself is so insane I figure I’ll probably hypnotise any passers-by before they notice.
Have you tried using wax print fabric? It’s a lot stiffer than I’m used to, though it does soften a little with washing. What else do you recommend making with it? I want more ideas so I that I can justify buying more crazy patterns!
And I shall leave you on a spin:
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