I was quite nervous about sewing with this absolutely beautiful 100% Silk Crepe Fabri
c, what if I ruin in? What if it's too difficult to handle?
It's an ex Armani so you can image how amazing the quality is, you just can't stop touching it!
I decided to make the Nina Lee Bloomsbury Blouse
, which is a high neck, back closure blouse with ruffle details, and I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this make.
My first dilemma was whether I should wash it, it says that you shouldn't (as most silks do) but so many people had told me that they wash their silks with no problem.
I knew that if it was a top that I couldn't launder, it would get hardly any wear, so I decided to risk it and pop it in the washing machine.
I washed it on a delicate setting and put it inside a delicates laundry bag, and it came out just fine, obviously different fabrics can have different results with different washing machines, so be sure that your happy with the risk if you plan to do the same.
The next obstacle was cutting out, silk is so drapey and soft so it moves about when trying to cut or pin. I researched how to get around this problem and it's simple, you just need to give it some temporary stability, you can do this as follows;
Lay a large piece of pattern paper on your cutting table.
Lay the silk on top as a single layer (do not fold for double layer).
Lay the pattern pieces on top of the silk and pin through all 3 layers.
Now cut out the pattern as normal, but cut through all 3 layers.
Remember that as you are cutting on a single layer, you will need to flip the pattern pieces when cutting the 2nd set.
This method gives the silk temporary stability and it cuts out like quilting cotton! Amazing.
Now I did think twice before doing this as it's cutting through paper with fabric scissors (the ultimate sin), so I decided to use an older, less valuable pair, again it's your choice whether you risk using your scissors but it really does help with cutting out the silk, someone said to me that cutting the silk will have a bigger impact on the scissors than cutting the paper, but I'm not sure if that's true.
Now that everything was cut out I began to sew. I have recently got myself a vintage Bernina record 830, and I'd read that this machine is amazing at sewing silk, and oh my how amazing it was!
I sewed the whole project on the Bernina, the stitches are perfect, there was not a single skipped stitch and the biggest difference from my newer machines is that there was no examples of the fabric getting sucked into the feed dogs, not even when sewing right near to the edge when stay stitching, I was so, so happy.
I decided to change the side seams and sleeve seams to be French seams rather than the standard overlocked 5/8” seams as this gives a much more professional finish on silk. It is so simple to do, just follow the instructions below.
Place the fabric WRONG SIDE TO WRONG SIDE.
Stitch at 3/8” seam allowance (SA).
Trim the SA in half and press open.
Now place the fabric RIGHT SIDE TO RIGHT SIDE (enclosing the SA that you just stitched) and press.
Now stitch at 1/4” SA.
Give the seam a final press.
I hand gathered the ruffles as I didn't want to risk fraying the fabric by using machine basting stitches, it takes a little while longer but it gives you so much more control and you won't get snapped threads.
I honestly didn't have a single problem at all sewing this silk, yes I had to take my time and yes it took full concentration, but for me that made it a really enjoyable make as it was challenging me a little.
I do really like the pattern but I'm not sure if the large ruffle is a bit too big on my small frame, I ended up tacking the ruffle to the sleeve at the shoulder seams as otherwise it looked too broad. So maybe next time I will opt for the smaller ruffle.
The other thing that I wasn't too keen on was that there is no button closures on the back yoke part of the top, it felt a bit too gapey so I ended up adding an extra button.
All in all I really enjoyed this project and I love the blouse, it will get lots of wear and is easy to dress up or down.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing another make next month.