I love mustard. Both the condiment and the colour. I also love barkcloth – I have some legit vintage stuff here that I’m a bit scared to cut into, which is very unlike me. Usually I’m all ‘Fabric is for cutting, you guys!’. But you know, this one is special and super old and it was still on the bolt.
I know you’re asking ‘what the heck is barkcloth?’, so to save you a Google I’ll steal from Wiki:
Barkcloth is a versatile material that was once common in Asia, Africa, Indonesia, and the Pacific. Barkcloth comes primarily from trees of the Moraceae family, including Broussonetia papyrifera, Artocarpus altilis, and Ficus natalensis. It is made by beating sodden strips of the fibrous inner bark of these trees into sheets, which are then finished into a variety of items. Many texts that mention “paper” clothing are actually referring to barkcloth. Barkcloth has been manufactured in Uganda for centuries and is Uganda’s sole representative on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Today, what is commonly called barkcloth is a soft, thick, slightly textured fabric, so named because it has a rough surface like that of tree bark. This barkcloth is usually made of densely woven cotton fibers. Historically, the fabric has been used in home furnishings, such as curtains, drapery, upholstery, and slipcovers. It is often associated with 1940s through 1960s home fashions, particularly in tropical, abstract, “atomic” and “boomerang” prints, the last two themes being expressed by images of atoms with electrons whirling, and by the boomerang shape which was very popular in mid-century cocktail tables and fabrics. Waverly, a famed design house for textiles and wall coverings between 1923 and 2007, called their version of this fabric rhino cloth, possibly for the rough, nubbly surface. American barkcloth shot through with gold Lurex threads was called Las Vegas cloth, and contained as much as 65% rayon as well, making it a softer, more flowing fabric than the stiffer all-cotton rhino cloth or standard barkcloth.
The barkcloth I used is from fellow Aussie, Gertrude Made. What’s really special about the Outback Wife range is that the fabrics are named after rural women and each one has a story. I like that. The fabric itself is delicious and feels luxurious. It is on the more expensive side (if you’re used to buying quilting cotton), but keep in mind that it’s 150cm wide. I ordered 2.5m and got this dress out of it (and circle skirts are fabric hungry!) plus a little bit leftover.
Pattern: Christine Haynes Emery Dress
Fabric: Outback Wife Elaine from Layered Creations
Petti: Hell Bunny
I was late to jump on the Outback Wife bandwagon, even though I’d admired it since its release – but I just wasn’t sure about the floral print. I’m generally not huge on them, but I do make exceptions. In my uncertainty though, I missed my chance to grab the green colourway. It all sold out very quickly. Apparently there’s a new release coming soon though. If you like it, I’d advise you to jump on it. In the end, it was mustard for me. Which is cool, because I dig it.
So, my dress. The bodice is a straight up Emery, perhaps my favourite pattern in the whole world. Since my shape has changed a bit lately, I had to cut a new version of the bodice. It’s a 10, graded out to a 12 at the bust. I should have done a FBA, but I’m lazy and honestly the fit of this is pretty damn great. I’m happy with it. The circle skirt is from another pattern. I just lined the pattern pieces up to make sure they’d fit together properly. It was all very simple.
There is very little else to add about the Emery! I’ve made at least 10 of the suckers and there’s a reason for that – they fit well, I love the shape and they go together really easily. Now what else is a grown woman supposed to do with a circle skirt?