Spring Suede and Silk
I've worked with suede knits a couple of times before. They have a wonderful brushed surface that is so smooth on your skin. I chose this goldenrod one for my dress which is sold out but there's several other colors like this gorgeous raspberry. It has a good spring and bouncy recovery not unlike ITY.
Suede knit tips
Unlike actual suede leather, suede knits are much easier to sew. Here's what I found to be helpful when you work with these knits:
- Choose the right needle: A 75/11 H-S stretch needle is a good choice. This is my favorite all-purpose needle for knits, but after experimenting, I actually got better results with a 80/12 jersey ballpoint needle. Experiment. Different machines work better sometimes with different needles.
- Take advantage of draped elements: These knits are magical in that they're opaque and yet lightweight enough to handle gathered and draped elements like the cowl and twist on this Burda 2-2008-103 dress.
- Interface the hems: These knits do NOT like to be topstitched on. If you want to avoid skipped stitches and get a hem that hangs nice, definitely add some interfacing to the hems. Something like the SewKeysE tape is a great choice.
As for me and this dress, it's been on my list for forever. The February 2008 issue of Burda World of Fashion (yes, before Burdastyle!!) was my first Burda magazine ever and it's the one I love so much I might have to will it to my daughter. I've had a goal to make all of the jackets in it but this time I had to go for what has been labeled the "Tippi Hedren dress". This suede is just right for this pattern.
I typically avoid wraps, but the twist on the skirt is really interesting. Still, for modesty purposes, I'll probably always wear this with tights. When I make it again, I'll make more of an overlap on the underskirt. I'm up and down all day long with my kids, so I never want to have to think about if I'm flashing someone!
Silk taffeta jacket and skirt
Working with silk taffeta
I've been drooling over Fabric Mart's silk taffetas for longer than I'd care to admit. There's so many beautiful colors to choose from! I could pass up this olive/pistachio/cream taffeta no longer. If for no reason than pistachio olive cream sounds like a pretty sweet cake!
The sheen, the body, the movement, and even the crispy sound of silk taffeta are some of the things that make this special fabric just beautiful. But this will not be a quick sew. There's some things to consider :
- Pick a simple pattern. There's 3" squares on this--that's HUGE, and you have to match all of them. Be nice to yourself and pick a simple pattern like this boxy Burda jacket and Ottobre A-line skirtI chose. The silk is going to be stressed by close fitting princess seams, so avoid them.
- Cut single layer. I know, it's a pain, but again there's 3" squares. Take your time cutting and it will save you when you need to match all the seam points.
- About those seam points: when you're sewing, match the squares by sewing about 1/2" on either side of the intersection with a long basting stitch. This way if you miss the intersection, you can quickly pull out the stitches without damaging the silk. Plus, if you match the pattern this way, you won't have to use pins at all when you sew the seams!
- Be delicate with the iron: use a pressing cloth and don't get aggressive with heat and steam. I learned this the hard way on one of my underarm seams which now has a couple tiny puckers I can't get rid of!
As for closures, I used covered snaps. It's a couture touch and a smart choice to keep the sharp edges of the snaps away from the delicate silk.
I lined the jacket and the skirt both with a polyester lining from my stash. The jacket is interfaced with silk organza which is perfect for the taffeta and makes it light as a feather. I used an ultra fine beading needle and silk thread to hand baste the silk organza to the fashion fabric to avoid making any holes in the silk.
Mom life + silk
With 4 young kids, I've avoided silk like the plague. I've always been convinced that someone would either throw up on me or that I'd rip something in the rigors of my day. All real concerns at many points of my Mom life! But now my youngest is nearly 3 and people are a little more independent, and I've started thinking about working at least occasionally with silk.
All that everyone says about silk is true. Yes it slows you down in your sewing process, but then you have this absolutely ethereal thing to wear. There is no substitute truly! So even if the extent of my fancy is going to the grocery store with my toddler, I'm going to wear my silk!
How about you? Do you enjoy wearing and working with silk? Have you ever made anything from suede knits?
~Sew something creative