Tag Archives: silk crepe

Completed: Silk Rite of Spring Shorts

19 Sep

Hey everyone! I want to thank all of you for your kind words, thoughts and prayers in regards to my last post about my dad. I am overwhelmed (in a good way) by the outpouring of support I received via blog comments, Instagram comments, and emails. I’ve said a million times before how much I love and appreciate everyone in the sewing community, and this just really reinforced this. I sincerely appreciate all the comments and emails, all the kind words and wishes, prayers and positive thoughts, and I am so so grateful for all of you. Thank you all so much ♥

With that being said, I do have a positive update! On Saturday evening, I came to the hospital after getting off my shift at Craft South (which was a whole drama in itself – my dad is in a hospital in Hendersonville, TN, which is about 20 miles from where I am in Nashville. Not a huge deal, however, there is currently a gas shortage here that people are PANICKING over and of course I only had like 1/4 tank when it happened! But I decided not to stress about it and just deal, and that’s when I managed to find gas. A miracle in itself because most of the stations here were completely out!) and they had been able to successfully wake him up out of the sedation! They took the tube out on Sunday morning and have slowly been introducing soft foods and liquids, and he may be able to get out of the ICU and into a normal room within the next day or two – and then home after that (hopefully soon!)! There is still a lot that he needs to overcome, of course – but this is a very good, very positive improvement over last week and we are all so so so happy. I honestly wasn’t sure that he was going to pull through, but I guess I forgot that my dad is even more stubborn than I am. Literally, his first words when they took the tube out were (to my mom): “Your husband ain’t done yet.”

So anyway, back to regular posting – here’s a project I finished a couple of months ago.

Silk Rite of Spring shorts

Pin-up Style silk shorts! You know, totally appropriate to combine in a post about my dad (you know what the other option was as far as photos I had on hand? Bras. Sooooo booty shorts it is hahaha):P

These are the Rite of Spring shorts from Papercut Patterns. Remember when I made a really adorable pair of these a few years ago? I have been wearing the hell out of them this summer – they look really excellent with my Elizabeth Suzann Birdie Crop (mine is the ivory one). I wanted to make a couple more pairs, so I started with this silk crepe (leftovers after making those Silk Lakeside Pajamas).

I’ll just say this right now – I don’t like these at all. I don’t think they are flattering on me – they make me look sort of boxy (maybe they look ok in the photos but I reeeeeeally HATE the way they look in real life!) – and the silk crepe feels just a bit too lightweight to be bottom coverage. I actually wasn’t planning on posting this project at all, however, I think it’s important to share the fails along with the victories.

Silk Rite of Spring shorts

Silk Rite of Spring shorts

Silk Rite of Spring shorts

Why I’m not happy with them, I couldn’t tell you exactly. I think it’s a combination of bummers that makes the overall effect just “meh.” I do love this fabric, but I don’t like it as shorts. While I love the idea of a drapey little pair of high-waisted shorts, these just look kind of… saggy and sloppy, at least on me. They’re also too big in the waist, and while I did take them in a little – it wasn’t enough and I realized I just don’t care to keep futzing with them. I’m not going to wear them. I didn’t even bother to straighten or edit these photos. That’s how much I just don’t care about this project haha.

Silk Rite of Spring shorts

Silk Rite of Spring shorts

Silk Rite of Spring shorts

Silk Rite of Spring shorts

I put some real effort into the construction, so while they aren’t that great (for me) stylistically – they are great in terms of how they were made! 🙂 There is silk crepe piping at the front seams, which is topstitched to help it lie flat. Due to the piping, I opted to just sew + serge the seams (instead of using French seams, which I generally prefer for silks). The waistband is lightly interfaced with a stretch tricot, to help it maintain a little bit of stretch and stay comfortable. The invisible zipper seam is reinforced with interfacing as well, to keep the area smooth and also give it a little bit of strength. I also interfaced the hem, to give it a little of structure and so it wouldn’t be quite so floaty.

To be completely honest, I felt a bit bummed when I finished these and realized that I didn’t really like them. It’s certainly a let-down to spend time on a project, only to be unhappy with the result. These days, I am actively working on focusing on the positive (sorry, I’m big hippy dork ok)- so instead of feeling sorry for myself for “wasting” time on a project, I instead used it as an opportunity to learn from it. Why am I not happy with these shorts? What could I change next time to make the outcome a good one? It’s important to learn from the fails so you don’t repeat them!

I think if I had straightened the hemline so it wasn’t curved (which I had considered doing before cutting the silk, but then decided it wasn’t worth the effort), and made them more fitted at the waist – that would have helped. But honestly, I think I just like this pattern in a heavier weight fabric with more structure. Not necessarily a bottom weight – but definitely not this floaty gossamer weight. My next pair (which will probably be next year, as it’s just too late in the season now to keep making butt shorts) will be in cotton sateen.

Silk Rite of Spring shorts

So, there you go – a sewing fail (at least in a sartorial sense – as I do feel good about the construction of these!) but a personal life WIN. I’ll take them both!

Tell me about your last sewing fail! Did you learn from it, and if so, what was that lesson?

As a side note… if anyone wants these shorts, email me with an offer (I will entertain anything at this point). They are a size XS and the waist is approximately 27″. The silk has a little bit of lycra so it’s slightly stretchy, and it’s machine washable! Seriously, someone take these before they end up in the Goodwill pile haha.

Completed: Silk Chiffon Archer Button-Up

30 Aug

So I guess we are now officially in that time of the year again – when the shops are screaming FAAAAAALLL (Wool caps! Corduroy bottoms! Pumpkin spice everything!) but our temperatures are still firmly stuck in summertime. While I’m not ridiculous enough to pull on my Ugg boots when it’s still 100 degrees outside (LOL JK I don’t own Uggs hahaha) (but seriously, Ugg-watching in 100 degree weather at the ritzy mall is absolutely my favorite pasttime during these months. Bonus points if they are wearing a wool hat, too.), I still want to at least look the part of the changing seasons, which still complying with the temperatures outside. For me, that means colors and silhouettes that give a nod to fall – but sticking to lighter-weight fabrics so I’m not sweating my arse off.

So anyway , with all that being said – here’s another button-up shirt! HAHA

Silk Chiffon Archer

I used the Archer pattern to make a fall-inspired button-up, but with a twist – instead of the traditional plaid flannel (which I lurrve, but again – HOT!), I used a light and breezy wide silk chiffon from Mood Fabrics for the main, and woven silk crepe de chine for the collar, collar stand, button band, pockets, and bias facings. Mood Fabrics carries tons of colors of both of these fabrics, but I went with boring ol’ basic black. In the future, I might go completely insane and try this with a PLAID silk chiffon. Maybe.

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

If you are feeling some major déjà vu about right now, you are absolutely correct – I totally and completely 100% shamelessly ripped off Kendra’s silk Archer from the Grainline blog. I don’t ever think I’ll look as chic as she does, but that doesn’t stop me from trying! 🙂 I followed Jen’s instructions for making the Archer sleeveless (basically shortening the shoulder drop and adding some contour to the back armhole, nothing crazy here) and shortened the length by about 2″. I sewed a size 0, which is what I normally make for this pattern.

Silk Chiffon Archer

While I have made my share of button-ups in tricky fabrics – silk georgette, silk crepe, crazy plaids, and a rayon challis that has yet-to-be-blogged – I did worry a little that this one was going to be a beast to sew. My last experience with chiffon did NOT go well (you didn’t miss anything – this was several years ago), but I think a big part of the problem was the quality of the material I was using (it was pretty cheap poly chiffon). Using a high-quality fabric makes a big difference in the ease of your sewing when it comes to tricky fabrics like this – you know they’re already on-grain (or it’s easy to straighten the grain if you need to) and the natural fiber content means you can actually press them (which, again, makes a world of difference during construction – especially for a pattern like this). With all that being said – I only used a yard of the chiffon to make this sleeveless version, which at $20.99 per yard isn’t really that expensive. I got a yard of the crepe de chine as well, but only used a fraction of that (I use silk bias on everythingggg so I have tons left over for other projects). Even having been made out of silk, it’s fairly economical! And you definitely cannot get a silk button up shirt for less than $50 in retail, at least not new. Plus, I machine-washed all my fabrics before cutting – so my silk is machine washable now 😉

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

Silk Chiffon Archer

So anyway, about that sewing! I didn’t do any sort of prep before getting into cutting – in the past, I’ve used fabric stabilizer to stiffen the fabric so I’d have an easier time cutting and sewing (and yes, it does work – see the aforementioned silk georgette button-up post for my full review on that), but I didn’t bother with any of that this time. It certainly would have been easier if I had, but obviously it was doable without 🙂 I did trade out my scissors and use a mat and rotary cutter to cut this, which was tremendously helpful.

Sewing was really easy and straightforward – I used a sharp 70/10 needle, polyester thread, and a lot of high heat from my iron. All seams are enclosed – the yoke and collar cover most of that, but the side seams are French-seamed, and the arm holes are finished with silk bias facing. The hem is just a simple rolled hem (I usually use bias facing there as as well, but I was afraid the crepe de chine would be too heavy for the silk chiffon). I used a super lightweight interfacing (which comes in black!) for all my interfaced areas – it gives some stability without making them weirdly stiff, which is important when you’re dealing with silk chiffon. The buttons are some vintage glass buttons that I’ve had in my stash for ages. The only thing I’m not thrilled about is the pockets – the crepe de chine sags a bit on the chiffon, so they’re not perfectly smooth when I’m wearing it (or when it’s hanging on the wall, for that matter). And also – they are a bit lopsided! Whoops! I hesitate to unpick them because I am afraid it may damage the delicate chiffon, but thankfully no one notices it – even when I point it out. Of course, that may be all you see now 🙂 Sorry 🙂

Oh, and in case you were wondering – I am wearing a black tank top under this, and I did not make the shorts (I WISH I did, though! Because then that would mean that I had found awesome fabric like that!). They are from Express, but the shape is quite similar to the Rite of Spring shorts. The fabric is a nice rayon challis. I pretty much never buy clothes these days, but these were given to me by my boss while she was cleaning out her closet in preparation for her cross-country move (she also gave me a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Um, I WIN.). Speaking of which, I will be flying up to Rhode Island this week to orchestrate all the unpacking and whatever else you’re supposed to do when one moves cross-country (I’ll be staying here in Nashville and working remotely after that). I’ve never been to RI before so I’m excited to check it out! Wish me luck!

Silk Chiffon Archer

I don’t have much else to say about this pattern that hasn’t already been said to death, so I’ll keep this post reasonably brief. Yay for silk chiffon button-ups! Once we get into full-on winter mode, I think this top will continue to be useful as I can wear it under my cozy sweaters for an extra layer of warmth.

**Note: The fabrics for this project were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

In Progress: Silk Polka Dot Boylston Bra

10 May

sewing with spiegel boylston bra

Hey everyone! I’m back with another bra post… again! This time, I’m trying something a little different though – I have made this bra *entirely* on my Spiegel 60609 machine. If you’ve followed my past bra posts, you will know how much I love using my old standby Bernina 350 for assembling lingerie, especially since the variety of feet that I have make things super easy. However, I was really curious to see how the Spiegel 60609 held up when it involves fussy lingerie sewing, so I used it for this project. And now I’m going to report my findings to you!

A few things I noticed that I think bear mentioning:
– I’m not a huge fan of the way the seam allowances are marked on the throat plate of this machine, as it makes it a little difficult to get a precise 1/4″ seam allowance. However, this is really easily solved by laying a piece of tape or even a Post-it note where your 1/4″ line should be. This is what I did, and it worked fine.
– The feed dogs (what move under your needle to push the fabric along) on this machine are AMAZING. Seriously, I didn’t have to pull my thread tails at all when starting or stopping a seam. The machine just pushed everything through without any snags or chewed up fabric – even with using silk crepe and teensy 1/4″ seam allowances. Color me impressed!
– The one downside I see to this machine is that you can’t move the needle in either direction – which is what I typically do to get accurate edgestitching (on my Bernina, I use the stitch-in-the-ditch foot and move the needle all the way to one side, it gives me a perfect 1/8″ without having to even really think about it). With that being said, I used the clear foot that comes with the Spiegel 60609, and found that the opening off the center of the foot is exactly 1/8″ from the needle. As long as you line this opening with the seam that you are edgestitching, you will get an accurate stitch. It does mean that you need to pay attention and maybe sew a little slower – but the 60609 also has a speed dial to slow things down, so no excuses now! 🙂
– There are a BUNCH of zigzag stitches on this machine!! For elastic insertion (which I’ll go over next week in part 2), I used stitch #226. I found the width to be perfect for what I needed.

The pattern I am using for this bra is the Boylston Bra from Orange Lingerie. This beautiful balconette pattern works for both foam cups and fabric cups, and features self-fabric straps and a really nice rounded shape. I’ve made it a few times in the past, and it’s a favorite of mine 🙂 I am making the size 30D.

For fabric, I am using silk crepe from Mood Fabrics (look familiar? I used it to make a top! Yay for lingerie using tiny scraps, ha!) for the outer, black power mesh from Tailor Made Shop for the back band, sheer cup lining from Bra Maker’s Supply, and black foam bra padding also from Bra Maker’s Supply. The elastics and notions are from various points in the NYC Garment District – I just have a giant stash that I pull from as I need stuff 🙂

I hope you like watching step by step progress shots, because that’s what you’re getting this week! 🙂

The pattern has you start by assembling the cups – there are 3 pieces that are sewn together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t know why, but I don’t have a picture of this step. You’ll just have to trust me haha 🙂 Make sure you backstitch at each end, as it’s really easy for stuff to come unraveled and make your (lingerie-makin’)life hellish!

Making a Boylston Bra

For the foam cups, I cut all the same pieces and remove the 1/4″ seam allowances (more info on this here!). Then you butt the edges up against each other and attach them – in the same order as you sew the fabric cups – using a zigzag stitch.

Making a Boylston Bra

Here is what the pieces look like when they’re attached. Pardon my yellow marking – those are the pattern notch markings (I use wax instead of snipping, since the seam allowances are so tiny).

Making a Boylston Bra

Topstitching the pieces as instructed is also especially important, since a lot of fabrics used in lingerie don’t press very well. Here is what I was talking about in terms of using the foot as a topstitching guide – if you line up the open side with the edge of your fabric, as shown here, the needle will automatically hit exactly 1/8″ from the edge.

Making a Boylston Bra

The fabric straps are folded in half and then sewn to the top of the cups, as shown, with the folded edge facing the center of the bra (the raw edges will be finished with elastic eventually).

Making a Boylston Bra

Next, the foam cup is placed against the right side of the fabric cup, and pinned into place along the top edge. I also like to run that edge of the foam under the serger (with a 3 thread overlock) just to help flatten things a bit more, but that’s an optional step. Sew this seam at the normal 1/4″.

Making a Boylston Bra

After sewing, you flip the foam to the inside and pull the fabric cup taunt to the edges, and pin everything down. This might require a bit of finessing with the fabric, which is normal! It’s also normal to have some excess fabric that needs to be trimmed off. I love how this finishes the top edge of the cup and also catches the strap! Once everything is as smooth as you can get it, go ahead and baste around the raw edges to secure everything, and then trim off any excess fabric so it’s even with the edge of the foam.

Making a Boylston Bra

Assembling the bridge, cradle, and band are similar to assembling the cups – use 1/4″ seam allowances and follow the topstitching guide in the pattern. I chose to line my bridge and cradle with sheer cup lining, because it gives some extra stability to the silk crepe. Also, you can use the lining to encase the raw edges so the inside is nice and clean! You just want to lay your pieces so the fabric is on the right side, and the cup lining is on the wrong side – with the seam you’re attaching sandwiched in the middle. After sewing the seam, the outer fabric and cup lining flip up to cover the raw edges.

 

Making a Boylston Bra

After the cups and bridge/frame/band are assembled, then you put them together (and THEN it really starts to look like a bra!). This part can seem a little fiddly, but it’s doable as long as you go slow and be mindful of what you’re sewing (again, slowing down the speed on the machine helps a lot). I find it helpful to use less pins – since you’re sewing a convex curve to a concave curve, you want to be able to stretch and pull the curves as you approach them (and pinning too much can limit that, at least in my experience). I pin the beginning and end of the seam, and the notch points marked on the pattern. That’s it! Another tip is always start at the center front – it’s very important to get those edges lined up perfectly.

Making a Boylston Bra

Once everything is attached and I’m happy with how it looks, I trim down the foam seam allowance to reduce bulk. Time to add the underwire channeling! 😀 😀 😀

Making a Boylston Bra

I find this step a little weird to explain and even harder to photograph, so here’s a picture of the instructions. The channeling gets attached to ONLY the cups of the bra, right on the seam allowance. Ideally, I like to be right along the seamline that I just sewed, but close enough is good enough 🙂

Making a Boylston Bra

Again, the little notch in the clear foot that comes with the 60609 is perfect for lining up a 1/8″ seam allowance when attaching the casing. Sew all the way around until you get to about 1/2″-3/4″ away from the edge at the underarm, and leave that part unsewn (this will make it easier to attach the underarm elastic).

Making a Boylston Bra

Here’s the casing after it’s been attached! For now, only one side is sewn down – the other side will be sewn once some of the elastics have been added.

Making a Boylston Bra

I think that’s enough bra talk for today! 🙂 Next week, I’ll go over the steps for attaching the elastic and finishing the bra – aka THE FUN PART – and showing my completed Boylston! As always, let me know if you have any questions about this part of the process! 🙂

One more thing! We have a giveaway winner from last week! After some careful contemplation (aka Random Number Generator, hey-o!), our winner issssss….

winner

Yay congratulations, Rosemary!! I can’t wait to see what you make with your voucher! 😀

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway – and big thanks Contrado for your awesomely generous prize donation!

I’ll be back next week to finish that bra! Stay tuned!

Completed: Silk Polka Dot Blouse + Corduroy Skirt

29 Mar

Its time for the ~big reveal~ – my first completed outfit, sewn entirely on my new Spiegel 60609 sewing machine 😀

IMG_2438

I love that this machine is pretty enough to make even a subpar photo look great 🙂 Ha!

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

I covered a lot of ground about the making of these garments in my previous posts, however, I’ll include some notes and highlights in this post in case you missed/skimmed/didn’t care then but suddenly care now 🙂

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

The silk top was made using silk crepe from Mood Fabrics (purchased at the NYC store last year) and a combination of Butterick 5526 (my TNT button-up shirt pattern) for the body of the blouse, and vintage Simplicity 4676 for the tie neck. I used Sullivan’s Spray Stabilizer to wrangle the drapey silk into submission for ease of cutting and sewing, which worked great! The shirt is finished with French seams and self-bias facing at the arm holes and hem.

Full details on the silk top can be found in this blog post 🙂

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

I wanted my first project on the Spiegel 60609 to be something silk, because, honestly – I wanted to see how it could handle working with a notoriously difficult fabric. Of course, stabilizing the whole yardage first definitely helped, but that doesn’t solve all issues (such as when your sewing machine tries to eat delicate fabrics – not a problem with this one, I will add!). I’m really impressed with how the machine sewed through this fabric with absolutely no issues – it even did a great job on the button holes! I do wish that the measurements on the throat plate were marked differently, as it’s hard to get a narrow seam with what’s standard on this machine, but that’s a relative non-issue (I just use post-it notes to mark my seam allowance lines and it works fine). So yeah, Spiegel 60609 + silk gets a thumbs up from me!

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

The mini skirt was made also on my Spiegel 60609! I used the Rosari skirt from Pauline Alice Patterns and some lightweight/stretch corduroy from Mood Fabrics. The skirt includes pockets, bound seams on the inside (for a bit of extra pretty cos why not?) and professionally set snaps down the front.

Full details on the corduroy mini can be found in this blog post!

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I don’t necessarily find corduroy difficult to sew – most of the problem lies in making sure everything is cut and pressed correctly, as not to mess too much with the nap. Sometimes, depending on what machine I’m using, it’s a good idea to use a walking foot to help keep all layers feeding evenly, but I didn’t have any of these problems with the Spiegel 60609. The feed dogs were good enough on their own without any extra help. Always a plus! 🙂

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Corduroy Mini Skirt

Corduroy Mini Skirt

That’s all for this outfit! Stay tuned next month for that project – all I can say is, it’s gonna be FANCY 😀

Silk Top & Corduroy Mini Skirt

Note: The fabric used is part of my monthly allowance from Mood Fabrics, as part of my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network. The Spiegel 60609 was given to me by Spiegel, and it’s awesome!

In Progress: Polka Dot Silk Crepe Blouse

15 Mar

Hey everyone! A little different sort of post for today – instead of showing you a finished project, I want to share some progress pictures and tips. I used to do these kinds of posts in the past, and I’ve missed nerding out on construction talk. Since this is my blog and I do what I want, that’s what you get today 🙂

Silk Tie Blouse

Plus, I’m gonna make it on my new Spiegel 60609 sewing machine! Woohooo! 😀

This is *also* part of my Mood Sewing Network project for March, so you’ll have to wait a couple weeks until the Big Reveal 🙂

Anyway, I bought this fabulous black with white polka dot silk crepe while I was in Mood Fabrics flagship NYC store last November. I decided to make a silk button up shirt with it, although originally I planned to do a shirt with the standard collar (as I tend to do). Right before cutting into it, I thought it might be cool to give the shirt a big floppy bow at the neck instead, just to mix things up a little bit. I have vintage Simplicity 4676 in my stash, which I’ve made before. While I love the way the bow looks, I’m not as big a fan for the shape of the actual shirt – so I just put the bow on my beloved TNT Butterick 5526 and it worked out perfectly! As long as the neck measurements on the two patterns are similar (which for these, they are), then it’s easy to sub one neckline for another.

Silk crepe is one of the easier silks to work with, as the texture gives the fabric some grip, but it can still be quite shifty. It doesn’t have to be a nightmare, though, if you know how to work it! And, honestly, I think the hardest part about dealing with shifty fabrics (this isn’t necessarily limited to only silk, btw!) is getting an accurate cut without the piece morphing into a map of the United States once you move it around. There are tons of ways to accomplish this, but my personal new absolute favorite method is to use a stabilizer to make the fabric crisp, which gives it less chance to shift around. I use Sullivan’s Spray Stabilizer, as I like that I can direct that ~stable flow~ to whatever part of the fabric I need it to (sometimes you don’t need to cut your entire yardage, you know?), and it dries very fast. I have received some really good tips on other things to use for stabilizing fabric, such as gelatin, which I will eventually try! But spray stabilizer is also the bomb.

Silk Tie Blouse - cutting silk fabric

I spray it on evenly, then lay my fabric flat and straight on the table and allow it to dry (I guess you could do this on the floor if you don’t have a table, but my cat thinks that things laid on the floor are a special running obstacle course I have created just for her, so I personally try to avoid that route!). Since the fabric dries into whatever shape you leave it in, it helps to fold it in half and pin along the selvedges. Once the fabric is dry, it will feel like a silk organza – MUCH easier to handle. For pieces that really need to be accurate, such as a collar, it’s easy to reapply a second layer after you’ve cut, just to make sure there’s not shifting happening. Once your garment is completely assembled, you simply wash it out and it softens right back up. I always prewash my silks on cold water, so I don’t have to worry about water spots or shrinkage when I wash the garment.

Silk Tie Blouse - mirroring fronts

When I’m sewing a fabric that doesn’t have a definite right or wrong side, I try to be extra careful that I don’t sew two of the same piece. Unpicking sucks, and it’s even worse on a delicate fabric (that has been French seamed, no less!). To prevent this, I lay my pieces out so they mirror each other, and pin them like so before I take them to the machine. That way, I don’t accidentally sew two right fronts or whatever.

Speaking of French seams, the entire blouse is constructed using them. I love French seams because they are a beautiful finish, and they work really well with delicate fabrics. They do take some extra time because you are essentially sewing the same seam twice, but I think it’s totally worth the effort.

Silk Tie Blouse - sewing French seams

With WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, sew the first line at 3/8″ (this is assuming a 5/8″ seam allowance, which otherwise you’ll want to adjust accordingly). I know, sewing wrong sides together sounds totally backwards and all kinds of wrong, but trust.

Silk Tie Blouse - sewing French seams

Trim the seam allowance down to about 1/8″.

Silk Tie Blouse - sewing French seams

Press the seam allowances open. This can be kind of difficult if your seam allowances are super tiny, so do the best you can. I have a really hot iron and that helps a lot 🙂 Otherwise, you can press both seam allowances to one side – but I think pressing open gives a better end result.

Silk Tie Blouse - sewing French seams

Fold the fabric so the right sides are facing and all the seam allowances are encased on the inside, and press.

Silk Tie Blouse - sewing French seams

Sew again at 1/4″, then press one more time.

Silk Tie Blouse - sewing French seams

You should end up with something that looks like this – the seam allowances beautifully encased 😀

Silk Tie Blouse - bias faced hem

For hemming shirts – silk or otherwise! – I like to finish the hem with a self bias facing. Since the hem of shirts is usually curved, I find this gives me a MUCH easier way to get a MUCH cleaner finish. Contrasting bias is also fun, for a little flash of color! Here’s my tutorial for sewing bias facing. I like this method because you don’t have to pre-press the bias pieces – you press them after they are sewn, and it’s much faster and more accurate. I also used this method to finish the arm holes of my (obviously sleeveless, ha) blouse.

Silk Tie Blouse - button placket

After hemming the shirt, I added the button placket. Since this is one of those areas where you want to be really accurate and careful, I fused lightweight interfacing (I use this stuff from Fashion Sewing Supply, it’s a little pricey but it is 100% worth it in my opinion!) to my pattern pieces and then re-applied the spray stabilizer just so everything was really easy to handle. Honestly, attaching that silk crepe placket was no more difficult than if it were made out of cotton. YES!

I seem to have lost the pieces of me adding the neck tie – whoops! But that was pretty easy. It is cut on the straight grain, and the edges are rolled up to where the tie is attached to the neckline. It’s doubled over *only* at the neckline, and the ends are twice as wide so you can make a nice fat bow. In silk crepe, it’s super floaty and awesome. Love.

Silk Tie Blouse - button hole

The last step was adding all those button holes! I wasn’t sure if the Spiegel 60609 machine was going to come through on this one – button holes can easily look really terrible, really fast – but it did not let me down! The stitches are nice and tight, and the button hole foot calculates the correct size using the actual button. Also, how about those buttons? I found them at the flea market years ago and I’ve been hoarding them ever since for the ~perfect~ project, ha.

The finished blouse:

Silk Tie Blouse - finished!

Silk Tie Blouse - finished!

I am REALLY happy with how it turned out! I think the silk crepe is the perfect fabric for this type of blouse – it skims over the body, and the bow has a beautiful drape. Even with the polka dots and that big neck bow, it’s still not super incredibly sweet looking, which I like. And it feels SO GOOD to wear! I will never tire of wearing silk 🙂

~Big Reveal~ outfit photos to come soon! Next up – the bottom half of this outfit 🙂

As a side note, I’m headed back to NYC for the weekend to teach another Pants Making Intensive at Workroom Social! Just a head’s up that I’ll be a bit delayed in email/comment responses, as I tend to take off from the computer when I go out of town 🙂 I’m excited to go back to the city and get people making some pants, though! This particular workshop is sold out, however, there are still a couple spots open at my Garment Sewing Weekend at A Gathering of Stitches in Portland, Maine! Yay sewing! :DDD

Completed: Boylston Bras; Take 2 & 3

21 Aug

More bras this week! Yay!

Boylston Bra Starting with the prettier one, even though I actually made it second. For both of these bras, I used the Boylston Bra pattern. Guys, I really really love this pattern. I love how it comes together, I love the pretty details (like the fabric strap!), I love that the fabric requirements are so easy to work with (very little fabric, very stable fabric, foam cups, etc), and I just love the shape it gives! It’s a very pretty bra and the pattern is so good. This polka dot bra was the result of a pretty good stash-bust, apart from the foam. Since this pattern is designed for firm woven fabrics – especially with the addition of the foam cups – that means you can make it out of pretty much anything. Sooo I’ve been going kind of crazy with my fabric scraps! I especially thought that this sweet polka dot rayon (the same fabric I used to make my Simplicity mock-wrap dress that I posted last week) would be extra adorable as a bra.

All I had to do was order foam – I had nude and black in stash (from Bra Maker’s Supply, because their stuff is the best). Unfortunately, the Sweet Cups store (the US version of Bra Maker’s Supply) didn’t have any white (see what I mean about limited selection? Wah!), and I wanted white. I bought it from this Etsy shop, which is apparently in the process of closing now 😦 I’m not really sure what “spacer foam” is, but it works pretty well for a bra. It’s a little stretchier than the stuff at Bra Maker’s Supply, and slightly thinner as well (it’s not as cushiony). I read somewhere that you can buy this by the yard at places like Spandex House in the Garment District, so I will probably stock up when I’m there in November. But even 1/4 yard is TONS of foam, especially if you are making teeny little bra cups like what I require hahaha. Heyo, silver lining! Boylston Bra

Other than the foam, this whole project was a de-stash. All the elastics and underwire channeling are from the Garment District, I think, and the strapping is leftover from my red bra kit (there wasn’t enough elastic included to make full straps when I was using it to make a red bra, so I had to buy red strapping. But that’s fine because the amount they gave me is perfect for fabric straps! Yay!). I know the pattern doesn’t call for a bow in the center, but I like the bows! This particular bow was ripped off of a retired RTW bra. Ha!

Boylston Bra Here’s the back. I used a firm white powermesh (also from the stash) for the back band. I like the mix of white and red elastics and trims. I’m getting better about mixing and matching my lingerie trims, I think.

Not much else to say about this one. Here are some detail shots: Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra UGH at those black dots in the cups! Those are my notch markings for assembling the cups – I used a ballpoint pin (I think I got that tip from Cloth Habit) to mark the notches, since you can’t really clip the notches and my usual fabric markers and chalk don’t really write well on foam. Except, I forgot that ballpoint pin is FOREVER and I somehow managed to mark both sides. So that’s pretty lame, but, whatever. Can’t do anything about it now except acknowledge the lesson and move on with my bra making! Boylston Bra

Boylston Bra If you’d like to see a photo of what the bra looks like on an actual person, click this link. I’m not embedding it into the post (or uploading it to Flickr for that matter, yeesh) to cut down on the number of people who see me in a bra, as well as spare any eyes that don’t want to see that sort of thing (um, hi mom! :)). But I acknowledge that it’s really hard to see how a bra fits if it’s not actually on a person – and my dressform doesn’t really fill it out correctly. And those floating ghost bra pics just don’t cut it (plus they are a pain to make haha!). So pleeease do me a solid and don’t post that photo around the internet or pin it on Pinterest or anything like that 🙂 Posting only for science purposes 🙂 Love y’all! OK, MOVING ON. Boylston Bra

Here’s the other bra I made, using the same Boylston pattern. Nude bras are a SERIOUS hole in my summer wardrobe – er, lingerie drawer. I have a couple, but I always need more. I wear a lot of light/sheer colors in the hot weather! So I really need to make more flesh-colored bras to wear under my clothes, so I can rotate them and let them rest from time to time. This particular make is pretty boring and looks downright sickly on my dressform (don’t hold your breath about me modeling a shot of this one because, eeew), but let’s rejoice that I made it nonetheless! I know it doesn’t look very filled out on this dressform, but I promise it fits me just fine and the cups don’t wrinkle like that.

Boylston Bra Another stash-busting bra, I used silk crepe scraps to make up the outside, and my beloved nude bra cup foam + nude power mesh for the innards. The silk crepe is the same stuff I used for the neck binding of this SJ sweater – which was given to me as a scrap bust, so it’s like, extra extra free. And as sickly as the color looks, it’s pretty close to my skin (did you not click that picture link? I mean. No one is complimenting my ~rosy glow~ over here hahaha). So it works quite well for what I need it to do! Boylston Bra

I had someone ask me about the strap assembly – the fabric straps are made with a piece of fabric folded in half and then picot elastic attached to the outside edge to finish it. There is a little bit of elastic at the back, with rings and sliders. The fabric straps are pretty stable in their own right and work quite well, although these particular straps (and not any other Boylston bra I made, for some odd reason) are a tiny bit too long for me. I shortened the elastic as much as possible and they’re still a little more than what I need, so I really need to just dissemble the strap where the ring is attached and shorten the fabric strap by an inch or so. You know, at some point in my life. Maybe tomorrow.

Boylston Bra Again, all the little bits and pieces that make up this bra were from my stash. The sliders and bow were taken off another retired RTW bra. The sliders don’t exactly match, but they “go” well enough. Boylston Bra

Again with the perma-ballpoint marks! Argh! I made this bra before I made the dotted one – and cut them both at the same time. This was the bra I realized the error of my ways on, unfortunately. I also dyed that channeling, all by myself. I used coffee this time, which gives a much less yellow beige than tea does. It doesn’t quite match the rest of the beige of the bra, but it’s close enough for me.

Boylston Bra I tried using the 3 point zigzag stitch for the bottom elastic of this bra. I don’t like the way it looks at all – it’s too busy, especially where it intersects with the underwire channeling. I much prefer a standard zigzag set a little wider (like what you see on the polka dot bra). Also, I know that the elastic is super wrinkled and bunchy looking when it’s flat, but it smooths out really nicely when I’m wearing it. That being said, I definitely pulled the elastic too taut when I was applying it – something I was able to fix with my next bra, the polka dot one. You really only need to stretch the elastic ever so slightly under the cups and at the bridge when applying it – mostly so it’ll turn to the wrong side more easily and look smooth. Not look like the hot mess I have going on here. Boylston Bra

One of my favorite parts about this pattern is being able to add a cute little picot edge at the sides. I love the way it looks!

Boylston Bra

Ok, I think that’s it! I’ve got a few more ideas for this pattern, so I hope you’re not sick of seeing a million renditions of it just yet! Up next, I want to try making some lace versions – I have a couple of gorgeous pieces from the Tailor Made shop that I’ve been waaay too scared to use, but i think it’s time to bite the bullet and woman up a bit! I also want to experiment with changing the straps – maybe leaving off the fabric strap and using elastic (either removeable or sewn on) in it’s place. I wonder if this pattern would work as a strapless? Would it be as simple as smoothing down the top of the cup, adding some boning to the side seams and possibly rubber elastic at the top of the cup? What do you think?

As a side note, I wanted to share an update with my Made Up pledge. My first rendition of a swimsuit was a HOT MESS (not so much the pattern or the construction – more like, I wanted a string bikini and I absolutely hateeeee the way I look in them! Definitely should have done some sneaky try-before-you-DIY shopping for that one, it would have saved me a bit of headache), and I was all set to try pattern #2 when I realized that I don’t have enough fabric 😦 I made an emergency order for a piece of really cool swimsuit fabric, but it doesn’t appear to have shipped out yet. We leave 2 weeks from today, so hopefully it’ll get here soon!

Completed: A (modified) Silk Crepe Saltspring

7 Aug

The Summer of the Silk Dress continues! Today’s offering is one that I’ve had rolling around in my head for… wow, almost 2 years now. Okay, Lauren!

Silk crepe SaltspringI also got REALLY bored with taking pictures in the back yard, and ventured into the garden for these. Our garden is adorable, not that you can tell much from this one little corner. I’m hanging out with my tomato plants and potatoes over here. And I helped build that fence! Drove in those fucking fence posts LIKE A BOSS. boss Anyway, I digress! Silk crepe Saltspring

The pattern I used is the Sewaholic Saltspring dress, with just a minor modification that makes for a major difference in the end result. Ever since I sewed this pattern as a tester, I’ve wanted to make a version without the bloused overlay. I think the overlay is pretty, but I never liked the way it looked on me. I do, however, like little spaghetti strap sundresses and y’all KNOW I love me some elastic waists, so I thought I could switch things up a little to get what I wanted. Too bad it took me 2 years to actually do it. Better late than never, anyway!

Silk crepe SaltspringSilk crepe Saltspring

All I did was use the bodice front & back lining pieces, and omitted the bodice overlay pieces. Because of this, I had to figure a different way to finish the edges and attach the straps – so I just used my ol’ fave, the self bias binding. For the straps, I sewed on enough bias to extend several inches past each end of the underarm, and then continued my stitching all the way to the tips of the bias after I folded it over (this means the raw edges of the bias are exposed on the straps, BUT, bias doesn’t fray so it’s not an issue). For the elastic casing, I just sewed the waistline with the normal 5/8″ seam allowance and folded it under itself a couple times and topstitched to make a casing.

Silk crepe SaltspringThis was a very easy dress to make. It’s SUPER casual (especially with my bright white bra straps hollering out, lolol), but it’s exactly what I wanted. And I personally think that it looks a lot better than the OG version! Silk crepe Saltspring

The fabric I used here is another silk crepe from my stash. Silk crepe is absolutely my favorite silk to sew and wear – it’s really easy to work with and the colors are always so beautiful and saturated. As long as you pre wash and dry that shit in the machine, it’s also really easy to care for. I just throw mine in the wash on cold and hang it to dry (mostly because I don’t like to iron wrinkles out haha. But I always pre-dry just in case it accidentally gets thrown in the dryer at some point!).

I mean, check out that beautiful fluid drape! Ughh it’s so good.

Silk crepe SaltspringThis is another silk crepe from the Elizabeth Fabric Grab Bag. I think this one was from her personal stash, and came dyed that color (as in, she didn’t dye it herself). It feels amaaaazing. I have a bunch left over and I MIGHT make pajamas out of it. Maybe. I kind of want to live in it forever. Silk crepe Saltspring

I think for a first-time make of this rendition, this one turned out really great (and exactly the way I wanted it to look!). There’s not anything that I would change about it, except that I did go back and add some thread belt loops at the side seams. My belt kept falling in these photos and it looks stupid. Now it stays in place!

Silk crepe SaltspringSilk crepe Saltspring

Silk crepe SaltspringSilk crepe Saltspring

Silk crepe SaltspringAs usual, the construction consists of a lot of French seams. I can’t get enough of those when it comes to silk! I wanted to add the pockets to this dress (considering that I always steal the pocket pattern piece to use for my other dresses, it seemed only fair to give it a shot with an actual Saltspring), so I had to figure out how to French seam those suckers in. Turns out it’s pretty much the same as French-seaming anything – just a little more fiddly to iron. But yay for it working out! Silk crepe Saltspring

I gotta say, these silk dresses have been a serious GODSEND for the past couple weeks that I’ve had to drive around without any a/c. Apparently I’m sweating straight through them, but, whatever. It’s not like I can see my back.

As a side note – NYC Fashion Week is next month! If you’re planning on going to the city during the events (oh please oh please take me with you) and want to try something a little different, definitely check out the Fashion Week tours at Seek NYC. This tour sounds massively interesting – learning the history of the NYC’s garment manufacturing & retail industries, visiting fashion landmarks and fabric/trim shops, touring with a professional designer, checking out a sample sale, and learning the evolution of Fashion Week, to name a few highlights. The group tour is $55, and you can take 15% off if you use the code BIRD (offered 9/10/15 – 9/17/15). Not in town during Fashion Week but want to check out a private tour of the Garment District? You can also use that code to take $15 off a private tour, and that’s good all the way through 12/1/15. If you’ve taken one of these tours, I want to hear all about it! I’ve wanted to take one for about a year now because they sound really cool, but each time I’m in the city the weather is either awful for a walking tour, or I’m too busy running around otherwise.