Tuesday, December 23, 2014

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





2 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

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