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John Kaldor Silk Jacket

Hi everyone!

I was very lucky to be asked to test the amazing John Kaldor Silk & Rayon Fabric. The colours are amazing and the fabric is the softest I’ve touched ever. This fabric print is part of the John Kaldor Blossom collection. It’s quite lightweight but it drapes beautifully. I was very excited (and scary) to work for the first time with a silk based fabric.

Although at first I was a bit afraid to cut into it, in the end I went for it and chose to make a kimono style jacket. I chose this pattern as I wanted the fabric to be the star not the design of the garment. Because the fabric has a directional print, all the bodice pieces had to be cut in the same direction, which means I was not able to save enough fabric to make a cami top to as well.

As the fabric is quite precious, I’ve done some research online to see what tips I could find that would make working with silk easier. The fabric, although, very soft and light is sliding like there is no tomorrow and I did not have the courage to use stiffener on it due to it’s 60% silk content. That meant I had to invest in some white tissue paper to place the fabric in between before cutting. Also, I used extra fine pins to make sure I did not snag the fabric as I worked with it.

My sewing machine is pretty good at sewing with lightweight fabrics and I did not feel the need to use tissue paper (to avoid the fabric being pulled into bobbin housing) for all the seams. I only used it to start and turn the corner on the ties.

Initially, I intended to do French seams on my jacket, but then decided against it as that meant extra work and I really did not want to faff about too much with this fabric. I was afraid that if I made any mistakes that needed unpicking, I am not sure I could have done it without ruining the fabric and I had none to play around with. As as result, I have finished the seams after sewing them together on the overlocker/serger and reduced it to about 1 cm from 1.5 cm.

My research online advised that when pressing silk it’s very important that you press without steam as water can mark the fabric. I found that the silk setting on my iron is perfect as the fabric presses beautifully with the right amount of heat.

Due to the lightness of the fabric I chose to use cotton lawn (which is more stable) in my stash for the neckline and cuffs and adds a little interest to my jacket.

I felt that it was better to hand-stitch the hem to make it as invisible as possible. Before I overlocked/serged the bottom edge and then turned over twice and sewing the hem in place by hand.

I love, love, love my new jacket. In the past year I’ve made a few, but this one is my favourite mainly because of the fabric. It’s so soft against the skin, it feels like a caress. It does mean I tend to wear it with sleeveless or strapless tops, just so I get the most amount of skin to be covered by this silk rayon.

Here are a few of my tips for working with this fabric:

  • remember that this fabric is dry clean only so do not put it in the washing machine

  • consider using tissue paper when cutting the fabric and sewing the seams

  • as a beginner it might be prudent to choose a simple pattern

  • test, test, test! Test the needles – you’ll need to use the smallest you can find. I used a size 9/65. Test the seam you want to use on your project on fabric scraps. Use super fine pins.

  • when pressing do not use steam and set your iron on the silk setting. Water can mark the fabric and to much heat will ruin your fabric.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. And please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts and/or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.


Sewing Adventures in the Attick

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