Completed: Fancy Silk Georgette + Brocade

2 Feb

Here’s something a little different than my normal meat-and-potatoes (mmm… meat and potatoes) sort of dressing – FANCY GARB. YAY!!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Also: SNOW! Like, holy shit it snowed soooo much last weekend! I had a nice snow-in for a few days (it’s true that Tennessee all but shuts down when the snow comes in – but, before you make fun: we don’t have snow tires, we don’t know how to drive in it, and the roads are not properly salted or cleared so they’re actually pretty dangerous. Also, come and deal with our 100* heat in August ffs. Ok, soapbox off haha), which was even better considering that I basically was in a Winter Wonderland. We ended up with a little over 6″ – y’all, I can’t even remember the last time I saw that much snow. Shit was crazy. Also, it all melted within like 3 days, and then the temps went back up to 65*. Yay I love Tennessee and it’s fickle weather haha.

Anyway, I wasn’t planning on taking snow pictures – it was obviously very very cold outside, and so bright that I could barely keep my eyes open (sorry in advance for all the squinty haha). But the indoor lighting was just terrible, so I took one for the team and tromped outside. You are welcome.

Ok, back to the real subject of this post!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I made these two pieces about a month apart, so I didn’t actually wear them together for NYE – although I definitely wanted to. Considering I didn’t start sewing for the party until a few days before the end of the year, I knew that shirt would not turn out nice if it was rushed. So I focused on the fancy skirt, and wore it with a fuzzy black sweater knit Renfrew (you can see a photo of the outfit on Instagram). It was the perfect New Year’s Eve outfit for my plans – reasonably warm, yet stylish, and had these big pockets so I could carry my phone, wallet and flask without worrying about a purse. Which, by the way, my phone ended up leaving my pocket at some point that night (I think it was more that it didn’t *make* it to the pocket, rather than leapt out on it’s own accord). Here’s the New Year’s Miracle, though – someone found it – in a pile of trash on Lower Broadway, apparently – and then returned it to me the next day. How awesome is that?! 2016, you’re off to a promising start! β™₯

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

The metallic stretch brocade that I used for this skirt has been in my stash for a long time – over a year, at least (if not longer). I never knew what to do with it – it’s kind of thick, it has a really heavy stretch, and it’s pretty freaking fancy. I figured a pencil skirt or bodycon dress would be suitable, but I rarely wear stuff like that. When I was planning my NYE outfit, I decided to find a use for this stuff. I’ve been on a circle skirt kick lately, so that’s what I went with. I used my self-drafted circle skirt pattern (I used Casey’s circle skirt tutorial aaages ago, which I can’t seem to get a valid link to now 😦 There’s also the By Hand London circle skirt app, which does the maths for you!), pieced to include side seams and a center back seam. This was mainly due to fabric restrictions – I had only a yard of this fabric. It’s super wide, though, so I was just barely able to squeeze it out. I also knew I wanted an exposed zipper and side seam pockets, which mean seams were necessary. The waistband was cut so the greatest amount of stretch ran along the length; I stabilized it with a piece of stretch interfacing to retain that comfy-ass stretch. Yeah man, it’s comfy.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Sewing was easy, and relatively straightforward. My only complaints are that this fabric frays like a MOTHER, and it’s basically all polyester so it’s a nightmare to get a good press. For the fraying, I serged each seam separately to minimize the fuzz potential. For the pressing, I just used my super awesome, super hot gravity feed iron and then just held the seams in place with my clapper until they cooled. One thing I will note is that my iron has a shoe (basically a cover that acts as a press cloth), which keeps things from melting. If your iron does not have a shoe, you’ll want to use a press cloth on poly fabrics + high heat. Otherwise, melting will happen!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I thought an exposed metal zipper would look cool next to the fancy brocade, so I pulled a metal zip from my stash and used Megan Nielsen’s method to insert it (these are the same instructions that are included with the Brumby pattern, fyi). The pockets are silk crepe, also pulled from my stash. Nothing like using silk pockets to stow your whiskey amirite πŸ™‚

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

This past month, I finally gathered up all my cojones and made the intended matching shirt. Remember when I made Butterick 5526 in silk Georgette? I want to hate that shirt so bad – it’s pretty poorly constructed, I mean, that fabric was EVIL – but every time I put it on, I can’t deny that I like the way it looks. I want more floaty button-ups in my closet. I figured enough time had passed to forget the trauma, and I tried again, this time with much more success.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

There are two major factors that contributed to the success of this version of B5526 in silk Georgette. First of all, I chose the fabric in-person, rather than blindly ordering online. Which means I don’t have a link for the exact fabric I used – I bought it at the Mood Fabrics in NYC when I was there in November. I have since ordered some swatches from the website, and it’s definitely not the same fabric as what I have here. Mine is more like a double Georgette – it’s much thicker, and less see-through (I’m not wearing anything under this top, except a bra. I think it’s a nude bra, but I’ve worn a black one underneath too and no one has noticed, HA!). That alone made a world of difference in handling the fabric. I also prewashed it in the washing machine/dryer (just a cold wash, ma’am!), which helped beef it up a little more. The second factor is that I used a spray stabilizer on my fabric before cutting or sewing. I’ve heard of people using a spray stabilizer – and allegedly, you can also soak your fabric in unflavored gelatin for the same effect, although I haven’t personally tried this yet – but I never cared to try it myself because I wanted to be able to tackle the fabric without any outside help. Also, a can of that shit is like $12, which is way too rich for my blood (says the girl who is currently looking at $45/yard silk faille lolwut). It just seemed silly and unnecessary. I always felt like using outside tools like that almost negated my skills as a seamstress, but you know what? That’s not true. It’s not any different than using a special presser foot to get good edgestitching. Whatever works… it just works. And that’s ok.

I am not going to go into too much talk about using spray stabilizer because this was my first experience with it – and I want to try it a few more times before I give it a big write-up (aka I don’t want to eat my words later haha). But I will say that it REALLY changed how the fabric handled, in a good way. Instead of it slipping around like butterfly wings, it held more like a silk organza. It made cutting things straight much more easy, and the shirt fits better as a result. I think my topstitching looks really good, and all those fiddly pieces weren’t quite as fiddly. Spray stabilizer isn’t going to turn your silk into quilting cotton – you still need some finesse with those fine layers – but it helps tremendously. It won’t work for anything that you can’t wash it out of – such as a coat lining (unless, I guess, you assembled the lining separately and then wash/dry it before putting it in the coat?) – but it’s perfect for this sort of project. These photos are post-washing, so it has the proper drape, fyi. I soaked it in the sink with some lingerie wash, hung it to dry, and then re-pressed. I have since worn the shirt and washed it in the normal wash, and it’s held up fine.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

All that being said, I don’t think there’s much else to say about the sewing of this shirt. I’ve made it like a dozen times at this point, so there’s nothing new for B5526. The shirt is constructed with French seams and I used a very lightweight interfacing to stabilize while retaining that beautiful drape. I added buttons and button tabs to the sleeves, so I can wear this shit into the warmer weather. Yay!

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I finally go to use some of my fancy vintage glass buttons for this top – yay! I didn’t have quite enough, so I had to mix them. There are beautiful black/green/gold Art Deco buttons for the front placket and sleeve tabs, and then solid black faceted buttons for the cuffs and collar. The white buttons you see on the inside of the placket prevent gaping at the boobs (I can’t take credit for this tip – I got it from Emmie and Jane). Speaking of which, if I’m getting boob gape… that probably means I need to start doing a FBA to my pattern. Sigh. Or else just keep adding hidden buttons hahaha.

Silk Georgette B5526 + Stretch Brocade Circle Skirt

I think I’ve run out of things to talk about with this outfit, so I’ll wrap up. What’s your best tip for sewing the slinky? Have you tried spray stabilizer? Hey, how was your New Year’s Eve, anyway?

Note: Fabrics were purchased with my monthly allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. Also, there are affiliate links in this post FYI. Click at yo’ own risk.


44 Responses to “Completed: Fancy Silk Georgette + Brocade”

  1. Caitlyn February 2, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    Your shirt reminds me of a my favorite style shirt from Express, the Portofino, except that your silk version is 1000 times nicer than my closet full of polyester wonders. I’m going to file this post so that when I’m ready to tackle shirtmaking, I’ll know what kind of fabric to use (and how to handle it) to upgrade my RTW to something really luxurious.

    • LLADYBIRD February 5, 2016 at 9:37 am #

      Happy to help! πŸ™‚ I was starting to feel jealous of all the gorgeous drapey button-ups that I see in stores, so I was determined to make my own – especially since I can do silk, which is just soo much nicer (and surprisingly, a LOT more easy to sew) πŸ™‚

  2. Eleonora from Coastal Crochet February 2, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    Gorgeous! And lovely to see photos in the snow! πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD February 5, 2016 at 9:38 am #

      That’s a rare opportunity here! We only get this kind of snow about one a decade – had to document it πŸ˜‰ haha!

  3. Nichole February 2, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    Great skirt, and it’s even more amazing that it has pockets. And cheers to your found phone.

    • LLADYBIRD February 5, 2016 at 9:39 am #

      Thank you! And YAY for the kindness of strangers. That really was a fantastic start to my new year, if only to reaffirm that most people are pretty a-ok πŸ™‚

  4. Meg White February 2, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    So pretty!! Your button-down shirts are so inspiring. I love using stabilizer with my tricky fabrics. I even use it on bemberg and sometimes even on rayon challis if I want to make things easy for myself. I just use spray starch from the grocery store. I either spray the hell out of it and iron it dry, which takes a lot of effort, or I spray it and spread it flat on the floor to dry.

    • LLADYBIRD February 5, 2016 at 9:44 am #

      I thought about using spray starch because it’s so cheap, but I wasn’t sure how it would work out. I am going to have to try it now! Thanks for the tip πŸ™‚

  5. oonaballoona February 2, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    on top of the love i have for this outfit, i must say: meat and potatoes. YES. this is the opposite of frosting sewing, not cake! my brain understands this!

    (and the fact that a flask is a standard necessity in your pocket-as-purse made me laugh out loud.)

    • LLADYBIRD February 5, 2016 at 9:46 am #

      I knew you’d appreciate that! Flasks are CRITICAL sometimes! πŸ™‚

  6. jay February 2, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    Both garments lovely! The shirt fabric is so right for the style.

  7. vintage51 February 2, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    I haven’t tried Silk Georgette yet, love the spray stableizer idea.

    • LLADYBIRD February 5, 2016 at 9:48 am #

      It really works! I definitely recommend it πŸ™‚

      • vintage51 February 6, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

        Thanks for the tip. Love your blog! Cheers, Michele

  8. Anokhee February 2, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    The colour of that shirt looks amazing on you!! PS this is not a typo – up here in Canada colour is spelled correctly. πŸ˜‰

    • LLADYBIRD February 5, 2016 at 9:49 am #

      haha thank you! That teal is one of my favorite colors (sorry, I’m American – gotta drop the u πŸ˜‰ ), so bonus that it looks good on me πŸ™‚

  9. Miss Celie February 2, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

    What a beautiful outfit. I love the brocade of the skirt. That shirt is perfect.

    • LLADYBIRD February 6, 2016 at 10:28 am #

      Thank you so much, Renee! β™₯

  10. Tomasa February 2, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

    Love your festive skirt and beautiful shirt. As for stabilizer, I have tried the gelatin method and it works like a charm. If you go to the Threads magazine website and type in their search field “Susan Khalje gelatin”, you will find a post she wrote about how to stabilize using gelatin. The post is dated Oct. 23, 2012.

    • LLADYBIRD February 6, 2016 at 10:29 am #

      I will have to try this once I remember to pick up gelatin from the store (I ALWAYS forget!). It seems like a really good, budget-friendly alternative to the spray.

  11. Cherie February 2, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    The skirt is lovely – but I love the shirt! I followed your link and bough the stabilizer, I have two silk pieces I have been getting up the nerve to sew!

    • LLADYBIRD February 6, 2016 at 10:29 am #

      Yay! I hope it works for you as well as it’s worked for me πŸ˜€

  12. Clarinda Kaleidoscope February 3, 2016 at 12:04 am #

    What a FAB combination. The brocade is gorgeous and I really like the mixed buttons idea. Think snow was the perfect backdrop for this outfit!

    • LLADYBIRD February 6, 2016 at 10:31 am #

      Thank you! I think it was totally worth taking one for the team and dealing with the cold and brightness, because the pictures did turn out pretty cool πŸ™‚

  13. Becky Thompson February 3, 2016 at 4:05 am #

    Wow. Your skills on that blouse are top-notch! And when I first saw those hidden buttons I was like, “Are those for gappies?” Now why didn’t I think of that? Ingenious! Of course, then I’d have to break the news to the safety pins in the back of my bathroom drawer that their services are no longer needed and I don’t want to deal with THAT drama. I need to check out that stabilizer. I usually shy from floppy fabrics simply because of the attention needed to make them work. You did a great job on the entire outfit. Looks like you are ready for the office!

    • LLADYBIRD February 6, 2016 at 10:32 am #

      The hidden buttons are PERFECT for gappies! It’s so much easier than trying to do the hidden safety pin (which I’m all too familiar with haha). And you should totally try the stabilizer – it really makes a huge difference in how those floppy fabrics handle.

  14. Cinderellis February 3, 2016 at 6:16 am #

    I’ve tried the gelatine treatment a few times, and it works like a charm πŸ™‚ I’ve used it on rayon challis, floaty polyester and on silk, and it makes sewing so so much easier! Details here:

    • redflaminghair February 4, 2016 at 8:17 am #

      Thanks thanks thanks! I made two silk bras and wondered how others do it.. I’ll definitely try gelatine!

    • LLADYBIRD February 6, 2016 at 10:33 am #

      Awesome, thank you for the link! I will definitely have to try that method next πŸ™‚

  15. Jane February 3, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    Longtime lurker, first time commenter…I’ve used the unflavored gelatine method and it’s fab. It’s cheap, gelatine is easy to find, it works great, and the gelatine easily washes out. I used it to make my silk chiffon La Sylphide dress. Susan Khalje posted a great tutorial about it in Threads here:

    • LLADYBIRD February 6, 2016 at 10:34 am #

      Gelatin seems to be crowd pleaser based on all the comments I’m getting πŸ™‚ I will have to try it!

  16. redflaminghair February 4, 2016 at 8:16 am #

    Oh My, thanks for the tips, your blouse is really really neat and lovely, I only have one viscose blouse which has this drapey, flowy feeling and I love it!

    • LLADYBIRD February 6, 2016 at 10:35 am #

      You’re so welcome! I got some good tips and suggestions in return, which I’m excited to try πŸ™‚ God bless the sewing community! πŸ˜€

  17. Grace February 4, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    I don’t think you necessarily need a FBA (can’t tell) but I CAN see that the buttons are not placed so that there is one button level at the apex. If you add another button, you may be able to re-space them to correct this and eliminate the gappage.

    • LLADYBIRD February 6, 2016 at 10:38 am #

      I agree that the button placement probably isn’t ideal (I just used the tissue markings, but I really need to respace them based on my actual proportions). I did try the shirt on pre-buttons and pinned right at the apex, which still gave me a gape below. I think a really small FBA would be the solution as there’s a little bit of straining right at the bust. But I definitely need to address the actual button placement on my next top for sure. Thank you for the suggestion! πŸ™‚

    • kylie February 7, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

      I was going to suggest this too! When I took patternmaking I learned that you place 1) the top button, 2) the button level with the bust point, and 3) all the rest with some really irritating math.

      Shirt is to die, btw. Looks just like my Equipment silk blouse which I scored NWT secondhand but is $200+ retail!

  18. skirtfixation February 7, 2016 at 6:38 am #

    Luuuuuuuve the skirt!

  19. Emma @ A Hand Stitched Life February 12, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

    This is such a lovely outfit! The skirt is gorgeous. That fabric, I’m in love! That shirt is divine too, it’s such a lovely cut and I’m a massive fan of the colour.

  20. My Handmade Space February 14, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    The skirt looks great! Nice snow pictures. At least you temperature went up to 65. We are below zero today in MA.


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