Skip to main content

Made by a Fabricista: Sewing Silks with Ann



Silk charmeuse.  Aahhhh.  Just the thought of it brings me bliss.  Is there anything as light as a feather, shimmery as a star, and fluid as a mountain stream?  All wrapped up in one glorious fabric. Sometimes I look at the prices of clothes in the stores, and wonder "Why am I sewing?” But one touch of silk charmeuse and I remember. This is the stuff that you can't buy a top made from silk for less than $200, but you can make it for $50 or less.


When I saw this stylized animal print silk charmeuse at Fabric Mart, I grabbed up 3 yards of it right away. One of silk charmeuse's best qualities is its drapability, and I'd been looking for a fabric with fabulous drape to make a crossover draped front blouse pattern from Style Arc- the Dotty Blouse.


Dotty is really designed for a fabric that looks the same on both sides, as the pattern piece for the front is just one piece that flips at the hem.  Since my fabric is different on the reverse, I decided to split the pattern piece into two at the hem level, add a seam allowance, and sew them together.  Now, when it folds back on itself, you'll see the right side of the fabric. 



Cutting silk charmeuse can be tricky.  Here is my go to method:


1.  Lay a layer of tissue paper underneath the fabric, and pin the fabric to the edges.  (Save all that tissue from your gift bags!)

2.  Use fabric weights that have pins at the bottom of them to hold the pattern in place.   These are by Olfa. I don't think they make them anymore, but if you ever see them at a garage sale or eBay, snap them up, as they work remarkably well!

3.  Change the rotary cutter blade to a brand new super sharp one. Silk fibers are very strong, and if your blade is not 100% sharp, you'll end up with uncut fibers.   

4.  Cut firmly through all layers. And voila! You have a beautiful cut edge.


Hemming slippery silks can be a bit of a challenge.  I hemmed the back bottom edge using a technique called the Baby Hem.  It's my favorite way to hem delicate and slippery fabrics.  





Since Dotty is so loose fitting, I needed something form-fitting on the bottom.  I found this soft black and tan stretch denim at Fabric Mart to go with Burda 6879- a skinny pant with pockets and a back yoke.   



The faux fur vest is made from Burda Style pattern magazine issue 11/2012, #103.  The vest is lined, and really quite warm. I bought the dusty pink faux fur from Fabric Mart a couple of years ago. It's super soft and fun to wear. I love combining it with the silk draped blouse for a contrast in textures. 

If you’ve been tempted by the silk sales at Fabric Mart, give some of these techniques a try, and you’ll find that sewing with silk is very rewarding. 

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!  Stay warm, have fun, and have a wonderful New Year!

-Ann





Comments

  1. Gorgeous outfit. I love every bit of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ann, this is lovely! Well done and thanks for the tips on sewing silky fabrics!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! All comments are reviewed before posting to help us eliminate spam. Your comment will be posted within 24 hours.

Popular Posts You Might Like

Made by a Fabricista: Summer DIY Print Mixing

Hello Gems! It's still summer and it's a hot one! I'm not a shorts and t-shirts type of gal, as you all may know by now. That is, unless the occasion calls for it of course! I'm more of a casual chic, flirty two piece, with a little bohemian vibe on top type of gal! So you can find me beating the heat in these last days of summer in this cool and comfy backless tiered flounce sundress. Oh, and let's not forget the puff sleeves!  This whole vibe sums up the summer! And nothing says it better than zebra and tribal print! I coordinated the rayon rugged Tribal print crinkle challis with this rayon zebra print challis. These two prints look absolutely amazing together. They are both very drapey fluid fabrics that fair well as summer garments. They are breathable and feel so light and cool against the skin. Challis fabrics make great flounce and it's not too light weight that you have to line it. I absolutely adore both of these prints. Zebra print is one of those pr

Made by a Fabricista: Fast Sews and Cool Summer Fabrics

Happy Friday everyone! Today I'm sharing a few things made with my favorite summer fabrics - cotton, linen and rayon - and as an added bonus these are all super quick sews. Each of these projects took me no more than 2-3 hours to sew. My house gets too hot to sew some summer days, so projects I can whip up quickly are great for that limited amount of time that I have.  The first two items I made up as a set, but of course they can also be worn as separates. The top is the I Am Patterns Gaia tank made with a stunningly gorgeous cotton challis. Call me naive but I had no idea cotton challis was even an option! I'd only ever seen challis in rayon. This cotton though is simply a dream to work with, and if you run across it I highly suggest snagging some. The top is a simple V-neck with a facing but what makes it special are the gathers at the shoulder, made by simply adding a bit of ribbon or fabric in a tube. The combination of this pattern with this light cotton fabric is the per

Made by a Fabricista: Summer Ain’t Over Yet

All of my fellow Fabricistas have been looking toward starting their fall wardrobes. But this year, I’m riding my summer vibes right until their official end in mid-September, because I’m doing something a little different: going on a beach vacation after Labor Day! Now is as good a time as any to tackle my first swimsuit, and I have to say, it was a great experience. And of course, I’d need a cover-up too. Fabric Mart had everything I needed to try my hand at a swim suit. I knew I wanted a bright, colorful patterned suit that was more likely to hide any construction flaws, so I picked this really fun nylon/lycra and it just screamed summer fun. Since I wasn’t sure which lining would work best, I ended up picking up the plain black swimsuit fabric to line with, since I read that you can line with swim fabric. It ended up being thicker than I imagined, but for me, I felt like this worked great because the recovery of the two fabrics together is excellent. The fabric is great quality. I