This dress is made from some fabric that Archie bought me when he had a holiday in Darwin a few weeks before we did. Imagine my surprise when he produced it, like a rabbit out of a hat, upon his return home!
And imagine my extreme fear of cutting into this precious fabric. I was quite surprised that he chose something so colourful and striking. He liked the fact that it has the Northern Territory colours of black, white and orange, and I think he liked the story behind the fabric. It’s by Heather Kennedy and is called Possum Land and Water Dreaming. This is the description which came with the fabric.
I previously likened the fabric to rock art, but knew I was stretching the truth a bit, I do like the symbolism of the possum and water, as, of course, we have our own little possum family living wild at our holiday place.
I first wore it out for coffee and I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this dress.
It doesn’t usually happen a lot to me, but everywhere I wore it I got comments. People were asking me where I had got it; all sorts of people, including a couple of young girls, which gave me lots of pleasure!
I wanted to show the women at the shop, who Archie said were really lovely to him. Unfortunately they weren’t there when I went for a visit, but I did find another piece of souvenir fabric to buy (just the one piece). I was deeply attracted to that bright green you can see on the shelf, but went for the more muted shade I have in my hands. The shop is called Paperbark Woman and is dedicated to Aboriginal fabric. The quality is excellent and there are some fabulous designs.
However, I did return to the shop on another day and had a lovely time with the lady who worked there. The only photo I got was of me wrangling her baby, who was rather delightful and very smiley.
The dress was duly admired and the conversation was all about what a good job “they’d” done in making it. It took me a minute to say that in fact I had made it, and she was quite surprised. I didn’t want to think about why this was so surprising. I then got the inevitable question about whether I would make for others…
I auditioned all sorts of patterns but decided that I didn’t want to break up the design, so in the end I used the Pattern Union Cora blouse pattern with quite a few tweaks. I made a minor modification to the neckline and drafted a facing which I sewed down in the style of the Lotta Jansdotter Esme dress. I did try to pattern match the side seams but it was really tricky, and not hugely successful, but actually not at all noticeable.
This is not just a close up of the beautiful fabric, but is also me trying to show my pocket. I hand stitched it on so that it would be completely invisible and it just about is!
Here it is. I could only find a spoon to stick in it!
You can just see the edges of the pocket. I’m still pretty happy with it though.
I wore the dress into Litchfield National Park which was slightly risky, but I managed to keep it clean. Trying to show the size of this magnetic termite mound. The mounds rise to as much as three meters in height, look relatively flat and they all face the same direction with their thinner edges facing the north and south like the needle of a compass. This keeps them cool for the termites and other creatures that make their homes in them.
The apartment block where we were staying had a rooftop bar where we could go and watch the sunset. This is the same view as we had from our apartment.
But around the corner the sunset was lovely.
Our Darwin odyssey is coming to an end. We’ve had a wonderful time and even run into one of our holiday house neighbours, which was quite amazing and it was lovely to catch up with her.
I have a couple more blog posts to write on the holiday, so you haven’t heard the end of it yet.