Skip to main content

Made by a Fabricista: Colorful Silk Crepe de Chine



Have you ever sewn with silk Crepe de Chine? I had not. I wasn’t even sure what it would feel like, but the name sounded very delicious. As part of my sewing journey, I like to learn about all types of fabrics, so I decided to order some real Silk Crepe de Chine from Fabric Mart.  



Since we are going into fall, I wanted something in a deep rich shade, and couldn’t decide between a deep periwinkle and a deep teal, so I ordered two yards of each. The teal was sandwashed, whereas the periwinkle wasn’t, so I was curious as to what the difference would be. While I was waiting for it, I went to the J.Crew outlet that is nearby because I knew that Fabric Mart also carried some polyester crepe de chine from J. Crew, and I wanted to compare it to see if there was enough difference in quality to warrant the price difference. The polyester version sells for $6-$7 per yard, whereas the silk version sells for $20-$25 per yard. 



When I got my order, I could definitely tell the difference from sandwashed and non-sandwashed, and the polyester type. The sandwashed silk crepe de chine had much more texture- a little pebbly and seemed heavier. The non-sandwashed was smoother, but both of the silk fabrics still had an interesting way of absorbing and reflecting light. Compared to the polyester crepe de chine, they were softer and richer feeling. It's hard to capture this quality in photos, but here is one that kind of shows the light reflection:



I could tell that this was going to be a challenging fabric to work with, so picking out a pattern with simple lines was going to be important. I wanted to make some simple tops that could be worn to work with either skirts or pants, and I tried out a few patterns with some inexpensive fabric to make sure that I would get a good fit before cutting into the good stuff.   


I decided on Butterick 6187. It was a slip-on style, so I could skip buttons or zippers, with a nice v-neck for wearing necklaces and an interesting hemline. This is one of the Connie Crawford patterns that advertises modern ready to wear sizing, and sure enough- I made a large straight out of the envelope with no alterations, and it fit wonderfully. I didn’t have to do any of the adjustments that I normally do. After making this, I immediately went out and bought all of Connie’s other patterns that are still in print! Here's a peek at the construction from the inside.  The facing is caught in the shoulder sleeve seams to hold it in place. 


Working with the crepe de chine was easy- it didn’t roll, took pressing well, and didn’t stretch out of shape. However, it does have some downsides- wherever you touch it, it will wrinkle, and you cannot hide any mistakes that you make with it- little tucks or waves show up prominently. I’m generally not a very precise sewer, but with this, I had to take my time, and be super careful.  

It also does show water spots. I started out using steam in my iron, but then saw a couple of places where the water had dripped from the iron, that were still visible even after it had dried, so I turned off the steam for the rest of the way. Working with a print would have been way easier. I am a little concerned about perspiration stains with these, so I found this interesting article online about how to get perspiration stains out of silk which uses cream of tartar and aspirins of all things!

To transition these to cool weather, I tried them on with a few cardigans. This cardigan is using a Fabric Mart knit from last year that had a Missoni-type weave.



I didn't make the grey cardigan below, but you might recognize the fabric that I used from my pants in this picture from this post about the convertible skirt.


I'm excited that I learned about a new fabric, and got some great new tops in the process. I will probably be hand washing these in cold water with a drop of baby shampoo for future care. 



If you are thinking about trying silk crepe de chine, I would recommend starting with a simple design, and go slowly. Definitely fit your pattern by making a muslin out of a cheaper fabric before you start sewing with the real stuff. When you are sewing with it, make sure your sewing area is clean and dry so that no spots show up inadvertently. 



Do you have any tips on working with silk crepe de chine? Do you have experience working with the polyester crepe de chine as well? If so, please share!


Happy Sewing!

Ann

Comments

  1. Lovely tops and outfits and a helpful post, thank you. I've so far been a bit terrified of using silks but might think about it now; I need to get used to them for the dresses in making for daughter's wedding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anne. Good luck with the wedding dresses! That sounds like a big project!

      Delete
  2. Lovely tops! Great looking colors!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely tops. I prewash my silk fabrics on the delicate washing cycle thus eliminating the water spot problem and have never had any problems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great tip! I will definitely try that on my future silk projects!

      Delete
  4. Beautiful tops! If you prewash your silk before sewing you shouldn't get water spots. Silk washes beautifully with just a drop of shampoo like you mentioned for hand washing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautiful tops! If you prewash your silks before sewing you shouldn't get water spots and it is much easier to clean them later. Just use a drop of shampoo, as you mentioned, and then sew away. Dupioni will become softer when washed so it will depend on whether or not you want to change the hand of your fabric if you chose to wash.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the tip. I think I will try washing them now before I get any stains on them if the prewash makes it easier to clean.

      Delete
  6. Lovely colors and I love it that it works with your existing wardrobe. Sometimes I sew a garment and then realize it does not coordinate with anything in my closet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sandra. I've done that too, but recently, I've narrowed down my sewing to a color palette that works for me, so that I have more mix and match items.

      Delete
  7. Lovely tops and great styling ! I've had a love/hate relationship with silk for years. I bought some double silk georgette in both black and brown from Mood and have yet to decide what they'll be.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, you sure have created some lovely tops to pair up with the rest of your wardrobe. Nice job!

    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: ITY Dress

Hi sewing friends - Andrea here from Happy.Things.Here over on Insta with this week’s post – I’m sharing about a favorite fabric and pattern today!  So… the last two months have almost gotten the best of me. We made a somewhat unplanned decision to move homes and life has been just insanely busy and hard to find time to sew. But sewing  is such a joy and a stress reliever for me, so I fit in this fun and easy sew amidst the chaos and it made me sew very happy! Sneak peek – how could this print NOT make someone happy? First, let’s talk fabric. ITY , or Interlock Twist Yarn, is one of my all-time favorite fabrics for sewing clothing. Fabric Mart did an Instagram post with a video on this fabric and I highly recommend you check it out if this fabric is new to you. Three things I love about ITY – 1) it’s easy to care for and rarely wrinkles, 2) it’s easy to wear, great for drapey pieces, and works all year long, and 3) Fabric Mart gets great deadstock prints and colors from fashion design

Made By A Fabricista: Summer Separates in White Eyelet

To me, eyelet fabric suggests warm weather and sunshine.  I can envision myself sipping lemonade, while swaying on a porch swing with a gentle summer breeze on my face, all while wearing a lovely eyelet dress.  Hello Sewing Friends! It’s Sharon with Sharon Sews here sharing my latest Fabricista make with you.  This time I sewed some separates using a summer staple, eyelet fabric.   A quick search online revealed eyelet being used in more than just dresses this season, ranging from romantic dresses to flirty tops to wide-leg pants and matching camp shirts.  I even saw a man’s white eyelet top on a high-end shirt designer’s website.  There are so many options for using eyelet fabric, but I liked the look of eyelet pants with a matching top. Both fabrics were designer fabrics – I LOVE that section on the website! A white 100% cotton geometric floral embroidered eyelet lawn, and a baby pink/white 100% cotton embroidered pinwheel floral voile.  Both are so, so lovely!  I also took advantage

Made By A Fabricista: Breezy Summer Style with Rayon Challis from Fabric Mart.

Hey there my sewing friends!  Summer is here and I am all for it.  It has been exceptionally hot here in Southwest Florida. We have had temps in the high 90’s.  I want to keep cool and comfortable and still look pulled together this summer.  That’s why I chose rayon challis for this month’s summer make.   Rayon Challis is lightweight, flowy, soft and extremely comfortable to wear. It’s an excellent choice for summer outfits.  It has a beautiful drape making it an excellent choice for maxis, tops, dresses, and shorts. The fabric is lightweight and depending upon your sewing project you may need to use a lining with this fabric. Also use a lightweight interfacing when working with rayon challis.  If you are a beginner at sewing, you may find the fabric a bit fiddly to work with, but the end result is so worth it.  Fabric Mart has beautiful challis fabric to choose from. I chose this fun tropical print on an off-white background. This summer season vests are in.  I love the ease of wearin