Kids and silk: should you go there?

Y’all know how much I love silk, particularly crepe de chine. You know I use my silk scraps to make clothes for my girls, and I’m pretty sure at least a few of you think I’m slightly nuts for doing this, particularly when it’s white silk! But seriously, silk CDC makes the most delicious, little, swishy skirts.

As a part of my ongoing quest to create more silk addictions out there, I’m going to show you some evidence that it is indeed as hard as nails. I’ve said it before, they make parachutes out of this stuff, so surely it can withstand the rigours of preschool play.

 

Remember this skirt I made for Miss Four in February this year. The waistband is a quality viscose jersey and the gathered part of the skirt is silk CDC with a pure white background, both from Tessuti Fabrics. So let me do some calculations for you. Conservatively speaking, this skirt has been worn at least three times a week since the start of this year, and on the days when it isn’t on this child, Mummy Bear (yes I have a bear named after me) wears it. I wash it after each wear (by child, not bear) because my children are grubs. I throw it in with the light colours and use normal clothes wash and fabric softener. Because it is a ‘favourite’ in Miss Four’s wardrobe, I simply do not have the luxury to put it aside so that it can wait to share a wash with my delicates. I don’t usually put it in the dryer, but it has, in emergencies, been dried in this manner too.

So, after approximately 80 wears and washes (and this is no word of an exaggeration), this is how the beloved skirt is looking.


The knit waistband is looking a bit pilled and faded, but this isn’t a problem. The skirt is otherwise pristine. There are no stains, no discolouring, no tears, rubs, or pulls in the fabric. If I were to iron it, those creases would disappear and we would have perfectly smooth silk. But who irons kidswear? Certainly not me! Seriously, apart from the waistband, this skirt is indestructible. Mum breaths a sigh of relief.

A dress for Indie Month: Cracked Glass Anna

I was waiting for the right opportunity to sew another Anna, so when I saw the criteria for the first week in Indie Month, it was a no brainer. A dress, you say? Just a dress?! Well, hello! I was already raring to go on this one, with the perfect fabric and a tested pattern lined up on my table. I was just waiting for the right incentive (or a tough pill) to go and get cutting.


Some of you may have seen my gorgeous Cracked Glass silk on Instagram already. I fell in love with this fabric the minute I saw it. It’s a beautiful crepe de chine from Tessuti Fabrics in Sydney and I really do need to send out a big thank you to the lovely Colette for sending this amazing treasure my way. I am one exceptionally lucky and ever so thankful gal!

I’m sure you will all recognise this dress as an infamous BHL Anna. But you can probably also see that I’ve made a few changes to it. Given the quality of the fabric I was using, I felt this dress deserved a lining. I fully lined both the bodice and the skirt in China silk from Mood. To do this, I kept the facing pieces and simply lined them up to trace over the remaining bodice pieces that would attach to it.


Other changes I made were:

  • dropped the front neckline by 2cm
  • dropped the armscye. I wanted a looser, drapier look around the armscye. I’d also drafted cuffs to attach to them but I chickened out on this at the end. I was seriously TERRIFIED of ruining this dress! I still have the cuff pieces and can still attach them if I change my mind.
  • lengthened the bodice by 1cm
  • ditched the skirt and drafted a simple gathered skirt instead. Of course, I added big in seam pockets too because every skirt needs pockets!

And that is it. I love the longer, tea length in dresses and skirts right now. And I love the pretty, whimsical feel of this dress. It is magnificent to wear and it meets the strict princess criteria set by my three girls. Hubby is going to have to take me out on a date now so I can wear it!

 
 
 
 

Two little scrappy skirts and a pair of matching bike shorts

So this is it, my very last Australian make…for the time being at least. It’s amazing what you can do with scraps, and silk crepe de chine no less! You might recognise the fabric from my recent Meissa. But I think it also works perfectly as a swirling, twirling, ballerina skirt.

 

I only had awkward lengths of bias cut silk from a previous disaster to work with. The best I could do was gather two very odd skirt pieces and then layer them together. The great thing about making little scrappy pieces like this is that I don’t feel scared of experimenting. I’ve shamefully only been using one or two stitches on my serger. So this was a great opportunity to discover how ridiculously simple it was to make nice, neat, narrow and rolled hems on the serger.

I used my last bit of viscose jersey (from here) to make the waistband, with just enough left over to make a pair of matching bike pants for her handstand sessions.

 
 

And finally, here is a little teaser that I upcycled from a pair of white linen pants. I’m going to smuggle it to Kansas for Miss Five for her birthday. More photos to come.



The mini maxi skirt

Well this fabric has been through quite a bit. You might remember it here, as my first fabric dyeing experiment. I made it into a sundress for myself but was never quite happy with the shape of it. Then I made it into a maxi skirt for myself with a hi-lo hem. The shape was beautiful, but the style a little too boho for my taste. And I couldn’t quite get past the fact that there was a zipper and seam down the centre front (don’t ask!). I never wore it, never planned to, but I just couldn’t part with the beautiful fabric. It wasn’t even worth photographing.

Finally, after gathering dust in my ‘alterations’ pile for some time, I decided to have a last shot at turning this fabric into something better. And at long last, I can count this final effort at repurposing as a success. In fact, it has turned out to be one of the best things I have ever made for Miss Five. I LOVE this little mini maxi skirt. It is super cool and a little bit girly, but not too grown up. And Miss Five absolutely loves it. 

The fabric is silk crepe de chine and I know this is way too luxe for a five year old. But this type of silk is surprisingly hard wearing (hubby pipes up and reminds me that parachutes are made out of silk!). In the past, I had a few little scraps of a pretty floral crepe de chine that I pieced together to make a simple gathered skirt for Miss Four. It was gorgeously swishy, she wore it every second day, and I machine washed it as regularly. The cotton waistband wore out before the silk. Now, I generally don’t choose to sew my children silk gowns, but on the odd occasion that I have little spare bits, seeing them swish in it almost gives me as much pleasure as if I was wearing it myself.

Hand dyed Hannah

Remember my first fabric dyeing foray here? Well, I finally found a use for the smaller remnant. I always had a top in mind for it, but it took me a while to decide on exactly what to sew. But the other day I stumbled across Salme Sewing Patterns and the lovely Hannah top. Immediately I was smitten.

My fabric was silk crepe de chine from Tessuti Fabrics, which worked beautifully with the design. This particular top was also a muslin of sorts for me since I wasn’t ‘in love’ with my dye job and figured near enough would be good enough with this loose fitting style. However, now that it has been put together, I really like the pattern, especially the way it comes together on the back. 

My Hannah is a fraction too big for me (just in that little area between my bust and armpits) but nothing I can’t get away with, especially if I stand up tall and stick out my bust! I will definitely sew this top again (maybe with the last little bit of my fabric splurge!) but I am not sure if I should do a small bust adjustment or perhaps nip in each side seam by about 1/5 cm each. Doing this might lift the armscyes a little too which wouldn’t hurt. What would you do?

Spring frock dyeing project

So this is it. I modified a pattern I drafted for a little linen top last summer and turned it into a swishy floaty summer frock with a graduated hem. It feels beautiful on…and my little middle chickee loves it so much that she has put in an order for a hi-lo hem on her next dress. 

It is possibly a little sheer on the bottom as I didn’t want to line the skirt with anything less than silk for fear of affecting its floatiness. However, I figure I can get away with nude underwear on a normal day and a light slip if I ever planned on attending a dressy daytime function. The silk crepe de chine is beautifully cool and swirls with funnels of air when I walk. I am pretty happy with the way the dye job turned out ,but I will still be interested to see how it will wash and wear.

This style of bodice was actually a bit fiddly to make with such a light and slippery fabric. As always, there is the matter of front access for me to consider (I am still feeding my not-so-bubby chick. Not that I am encouraging all day access, but those strong little fists manage to destroy any neckline in her way). Hence, the ever present invisible zip down the front of my dress. Buttons down the back or an invisible side zip would have looked so much better. I am dreaming of the day I can make myself a boat neck button back tank top!

In any case, I am looking forward to some hot days at the end of the week. You will most likely find me swishing elegantly around the backyard with my smallest peeps. Once again, thank you Sallieoh for the fabulous dyeing inspiration!