Since I’m a part-time instructor at a local community college, I try to step up my wardrobe a little bit; I’m young-looking and a small person, so I have to make an effort to not look like a student! I had been wanting to recreate a ready-to-wear top that fit well, and the partnership with Britex provided a great opportunity to work with one of their incredible solid-colored silks. I won’t lie; silk is waaaay out of my comfort zone, but I was excited for a challenge. I chose this Italian-made geometric jacquard because I loved the modern look of the woven pattern and the bright pink color was so vibrant. I have to stand in front of a classroom full of students, so I don’t want to blend into the blackboard!
For the pattern, I traced around the individual pieces of my ready-to-wear top, without disassembling it. The cap sleeve is created from both the front and back of the bodice, as well as a sort of gusset-meets-princess seam side piece. On the inside, the neckline is faced and the sleeves and hem were finished with a hand-stitched rolled hem. It took a bit longer than machine working the edges, but for this particular top, I didn’t want to see visible stitching from the outside.
My fellow bloggers described several of their tips for working with silks here and here, and I have a few of my own to add to the list. Kristin suggested Microtex needles, which I used and found to be wonderful, but I also purchased extra-thin straight pins for cutting out the pattern and during construction. As much as possible, I tried to keep the placement of my pins within the seam allowance to avoid pulling the threads of the fabric or creating holes.
I’m looking forward to wearing my new silk top to class, and now that I’ve spent some time working with silk fabric, I fully intend to expand my wardrobe with some new pieces!
Summary of resources:
Britex Fabrics: Starburst Fuchsia Silk Jacquard
Pattern: based on a ready-to-wear top from my closet
Zipper: Coats & Clark invisible zipper 20-22″, in Red Rose (which matches the fabric color perfectly)