Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Silk Shells

Here's the deal. I am a fabric hoarder. Sure, but aren't all sewers? But that's not the worst of it. I am a fabric SCRAP hoarder. If there is a quarter yard, I will keep it. Who knows when it may come in handy! Most of the time, this leads to bins of chaos that eventually need to get purged. But sometimes, inspiration strikes, and I really actually do use those scraps. This, my friends, is called justification. Because I used some scraps, once or twice, I convince myself to keep alllll the other scraps.

But anyway. This is a top I made sometime this winter, using two different weights of silk I purchased from Dharma Trading Company. The yellow is leftover twill from the lining of this coat, handpainted and therefore could NOT be tossed (obvi). The white is leftover habotai from the lining of this skirt

This was a self-made pattern, very simple and straightforward. I used french seams for the shoulders and side seams, and the neck and armholes are bound with self-bias tape. The hem was carefully handpicked and catchstitched. I sewed this on my Singer Featherweight, a new acquisition from my aunt, and it is seriously the dream everyone has always said it is. Sewing on that machine is perfection. It has a myriad of clever feet and folders that I haven't played around with yet, but I'm sure they would've saved me hours on this shirt if I had. So much handsewing!

I really love that this shirt is two different weights. As you can see, the back is so flowy and drapey, displaying the absolute best characteristics of silk fabric.

I was so pleased with how this turned out that... I made one more!

Now this was leftover silk twill from the lining of a dress from my senior collection. It's also fabric from Dharma (my absolute favorite source for silk), dyed with fiber reactive dyes that my mom had on hand. (She's got an amazing collection of supplies and I'm so lucky she lets me play with them!) I had the most difficult time getting this color -- it originally came out emerald, so I overdyed it. I know the mantra of hand-dyeing is "love what you get", but it took me a while to love this fabric. Still, I had a fair amount leftover (COULD NOT TOSS), and it wasn't until I made it into this top that I truly began to love it.

I'm going to be honest, I don't think this was cut on grain. I made do with the scraps I had, and because of this, the bust darts are... funky. But, you know, not enough to give me cause to redo them.

I am especially pleased about the fit of the armholes here. They are sized to still give me movement, but there's really no awkward gaping or bra visibility.

Again, french seams, self bias binding, sewn on the Featherweight. I still haven't finished hemming this - I turned up the hem once and machine stitched it, and haven't mustered the ability to sit down and handsew the second turn of the hem. I may never.

Don't even ask about the scraps leftover from these. Okay, fine, yes, I still have them. They might be useful someday.


  1. so pretty! the second shirt is my favorite :) also, have you lost weight?? (is that a rude thing to say? not trying to be rude!) I love seeing you blog again.

  2. Thank you!! I have been (quietly) following your blog & pregnancy, and I am so so excited for you and your husband! And no, not rude at all-- thank you for asking! I have lost about 30 pounds since January, using weight watchers and going to classes at the gym. It's been quite a learning curve, and so great to be able to learn about getting healthy. So thank you for the kind words!!


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