Friday, 20 May 2011

Blouses, silk, pressing - the internet is for inspiration!

Blouses has been - and still are - a huge gap in my closet, so in preparation for Me Made June I've been mulling patterns, fabrics and sewing blouses.

How about something like these patterns?

Holksleeves. Some sort of open pleats around the waistline (to reduce the bulk at the tuck-in). Either a simple roundneck with buttons down the back, or a button-front with a soft collar. Comfortable in hot weather, fits under a cardigan during night (and during the rest of the year), and flattering - at least in theory, I guess it depends on how a succesfull pattern I make =)

So what about fabrics? I can't believe how long it took me to think of silk! Drape-y, thin, cool. But apparently a nightmare to work with, according to some. Others swears by it, and recommends it for everything. A round up of some posts I've happened upon while trying to figure out how best to sew in this fabric:

A fashionable stitch - Tips and tricks on working with silk
Gertie - A couple tips for Sewing Slippery Fabric
Tasia - Tips on sewing with silk
Colette Patterns Blog - About silk
Casey's elegant musings - 30s sweetheart, some tips and lots of inspiration

I'd love to read more tips and tricks concerning silk, so please leave a link in the comments if you have some reading-tips for me. Or leave your own tips and tricks, I'd love to hear them!

From Sunni at A fashionable stitch, I followed a link to Gorgeous Fabrics. It's about pressing, and let me tell you, I had missed a great deal of her tips. I've always pressed the seams open while sewing (not leaving for a final pressing), but the rest was news to me. And it really makes a huge difference! Can't wait to try it out! I wonder though if makes the same big difference for linen or thicker cottons that it does for the silk in her example... I see a load of trial and error in the future for me =)

After all my reading, and my understanding that silk is slippery, delicate to press and wash, tricky to pin without leaving marks etc, the thing that still scares me the most about sewing with silk? Adjusting the thread tension. One of the reasons my machine sews like an absolute dream: I've never changed the tension. It's perfectly balanced and has worked on everything from tents to thin cottons (ok, not great on thin cottons, but ok and a lot better than most other machines I've used). I feel a bit like I'm taking a blind leap into a dark void here... But there's a silk out there with my name on it, so into the void I go!

Have a great weekend! I'm off to start some patternmaking =)
Love, Erika


Tasha said...

I think that would be a lovely blouse! I am partial to blouses and need to start sewing more for myself, too. I so far have been too scared to work with silk. I have a rayon challis which isn't silk but I feel would act similar... easy to mark with pins (I don't think I have thin enough ones, anyway), slippery, hard to get the right tension. But I still can't bring myself to sew that up, either! Good luck! I look forward to seeing what you decide on.

Brittany_Va-VoomVintage said...

One thing that my grandma always tells me about sewing with slinky fabrics is to put on a brand new needle before you begin. It will help prevent snags in the fabric and sewing will be easier. I have a serious blouse gap in my wardrobe too! I've been thinking about making a few silk blouses but so far I've gone with other silky type fabrics. With a toddler and a newborn, silk is a bad plan for me at the moment! :P

Erika said...

Tasha; Thank you for the encouragement! I think the trick is to first try in a fabric that's slippery but not so expensive. After that I'll just resort to my sewing mantra "How hard can it be?" =) After all, I won't know if I can do something until I've tried! Good luck with your sewing!

Bittany; That's a very good piece of advice! I had planned to use my old needles, but you're perfectly right: I'll def get new, fresh ones for the silk.
I wonder that so many of us have a blouse-gap? Maybe because skirts are easy to sew and dresses are fun to sew and wear? Shorts and pants are challenging and therefore fun. It does leave the closet short of handmade blouses, and for me it's hard to find RTW-tops that fits unless it's knits.
Lol! Yes, with two so young I'd focus my energy and sewing time on something a bit more durable - and washable - than silk =)