I have exactly one silk dress – a vintage Laura Ashley shift that I have owned for 15 years and worn only 3 times. Silk is one of those precious fabrics that I knew only from reading about how it was dear and the preserve of the wealthy. Then when I started sewing I’d read about how silk was a beast to sew with and you needed to be extra vigilant when working with it so naturally I stayed away from silk. To me it was the most luxurious textile not to be trifled with.

Lately, I have been deepening my sewing skills and with that came the realisation that I had yet to sew with silk. In the spirit of facing my sewing fears I decided that with the new academic year I will sew silk fabric. Once fortified with resolve and willpower I searched for silk fabric on Minerva and found this Lady McElroy Horsley Silk Crepe de Chine Fabric in Black.

Reasonably priced for the gorgeousness that is this 100% silk crepe de chine, I knew I had found the perfect material for my first silk sewing project. It has a smooth, soft texture that is not slippery. It has a fine hand and drape which makes for elegant dresses or tops.

The properties of silk (apart from its beauty) that makes it desirable include: its low conductivity which keeps you warm in the winter, while its great absorbency wicks moisture away during summer.

The weaving on the material creates a subtle diamond texture that catches the eye enhancing the fluidity of the fabric. It’s a beautiful fabric to look at and to touch.

Sewing Pattern

I used a simple dress pattern from Burda 12/2018 #109. I liked the straight line cut style with a fun flounce. There is some shaping in the form of bust darts and back shoulder darts. There is a centre back zip as well. I felt that the sleeveless style with the v-neck meant I’d be able to wear it layered with a roll neck in colder weather.

Sewing Construction Details

I prewashed the silk by hand before sewing as I had read that it is not recommended to machine wash silk. I kept my iron on a low to moderate setting and used a pressing cloth during garment construction.

I used a sharp needle since the fabric is so fine and finished the edges by overlocking.

I interfaced with a medium weight woven interfacing. With hindsight, that was perhaps a tad heavy for the silk especially around the armholes. I’d recommend a super light weight interfacing instead. I found that the fabric had to handled with care during the sewing process as it frayed due to the weave. It was altogether a new sewing experience for me.

Verdict

The material moves like a whisper on a summer’s breeze and is cool to the touch. Having worn 2 silk dresses in my life I get it now - the feel of silk fabric is unmistakable: smooth and luxurious, the fabric ripples like the surface of water. I am very pleased with how my first foray in sewing silk turned out. It certainly won’t be my last as I have realised that there is still much to learn about sewing with the most luxurious fabric in the world!

Thanks for stopping by!

You can find me dancing on my YouTube channel or my blog saturdaynightstitch.com

Hila