Category Archives: chiffon

Authentic 70’s cold shoulder blouse

I’m calling this authentic because the thread and the fabric were both picked up at an estate sale. It’s plausible that the fabric is from the 70’s. It certainly looks the part.

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To be perfectly honest, most of the fabric I find at estate sales is truly awful. There’s lots of old, rough quilting remnants, ugly home deco cottons, and dusty poly knits. The pricing is often absurd too, clearly valued by people who know nothing about fabric and sewing. I walk past a lot of rubbish. However, every now and then I find a gem and a bargain.

This fabric was a part of several bundles that I found at one particular house several months ago. Each bundle was $1-3 and contained 3-5 remnants of varying lengths. I was immediately apparent to me that some of the fabric was of high quality, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the exact fibre content of a fabric without a burn test, particularly with “nicer” synthetics. So I nabbed three of the more appealing bundles and took them home to inspect more closely.

Subsequent burn tests revealed a LOT of silk in that bundle, including this absolute gem. Needless to say, I popped back to the sale later that day and grabbed the remaining decent bundles. I ended up with several long lengths of pretty silks, two really long lengths of Liberty of London (one was a wool blend), and a few nice poly and cotton florals. Some prints are old fashioned, but even so, are still delightful for the right project.

I was able to determine that this particular floral fabric was a synthetic. It doesn’t press. It definitely melts (please don’t ask me about this!)! It’s stiffer than a silk chiffon. It’s not my kind of fabric at all, but I LOVED the 70’s vibe of the print. It was going to make the perfect partner for my suede mini and flares.

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I wasn’t planning to spend much time or effort on a horrid poly like this but I didn’t have a lot of choice. I needed to bind the raw edges somehow. Self-fabric binding would have been beautiful (but an awful job with a fabric that won’t hold a crease). My solution was to use some sheer pink, silk organza that I already had on hand. Obviously, silk organza presses well but I’ve never used it for bias binding before. It’s a very crisp fabric to begin with but after several washes, silk organza turns super soft. It was the perfect compliment to this sheer blouse.

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Just another twirly skirt

There’s not much to say about this skirt. It’s simply made by layering panels of gathered polyester chiffon to a waistband. The fabric was chosen by one of my girls when we were shopping at Jo-Ann, although I’m still not sure what possessed me to purchase it…perhaps my daughter’s big blue eyes, or maybe it was the $3/yard price tag.

 
 

 
 


I’m pleasantly surprised by how this skirt turned out. I can make my girls the coolest culottes and tops, but the thing that lights up their faces the most is, without fail, the simplest of gathered skirts.  

 

New Look 0906 in sheer silk

Firstly, I just want to say thank you for all the lovely comments you guys make. I LOVE reading them and always answer every single one….although I often later realise that I’ve only answered some of them in my own head. So please forgive me if I don’t always reply. But I can assure you that we always have a great chat in my brain.

I also love that I can ask  you guys for advice on Instagram, particularly when I start second guessing myself. I’m talking specifically about these buttons. The overwhelming vote was for the pretty little gold-rimmed, black ones. I actually agree with this. Those buttons rock and would have looked fabulous on this top, but in the end I decided that I didn’t want my buttons to pop or show up at all. I wanted them to be invisible, with just the placket stripe showing against the sheer. I rebelled this time and chose the dark navy option. But I did take your advice the next time, on hubby’s shirt placket. Thanks guys! 

So I made the decision to refashion this dress I made earlier. I’m in love the end result, but in doing so, I was left with a reasonably sized portion of silk from the skirt. It just so happened that Lori from Girls in the Garden had also recently posted about a top she made in voile. It was like she had been reading my mind. Seeing her post saved me an awful lot of time trawling Ebay and other pattern websites to find what I was seeing in my head!

 
 

I used New Look 0906. I mixed and matched their options to come up with the simplest possible version. My version consists of a graduated hem, no pockets, no pleats, and a collar band. I did  like the pleat option, but my fabric just didn’t stretch that far.

The fabric I used for my top is a very beautiful silk chiffon. As far as silks go, it isn’t very slippery, but it is flimsy and prone to morphing off grain with even the slightest puff of breath. I used a medium weight fusible knit interfacing for the collar band and plackets. At the time, I would have preferred a lighter weight interfacing, but I only had one black option on hand. White interfacing would have shown through.

  
 
 
 
 

 
 

I realised I was a little short of fabric halfway through cutting out my pieces. I was about to throw my hands up in despair when I looked around and noticed my silk organza press cloth hanging off the ironing board.


If you don’t know this already, silk organza is the most fabulous press cloth. I used to have a white one, but black works just as well. It is completely sheer so I can see exactly what I am pressing or fusing underneath. It doesn’t scald or burn ever. It lasts forever, even if you are lazy and can’t be bothered to finish the edges. It’s also perfect for the odd back yoke lining if you are slightly short of fabric for another project. So yes, I used my press cloth to line the yoke in this top. It worked perfectly, actually better than perfect, because if I’d used self fabric, I would have had overlapping dots.

Knowing that this top is completely sheer, I will normally be wearing a black tank underneath it. For the photos, I just wore a black bra. I feel a little bit rock star wearing it in this way with my leather blocked leggings. It’s probably the closest I’ve come to baring my tummy skin in seven years and I don’t feel overexposed at all. I’m perfectly photoshopped with chiffon. 

Kimono jacket in gauzy silk

I warned you all that another kimono jacket would be on it’s way soon. It all happened a little quicker than anticipated because I remembered this beautiful silk remnant from Tessuti that I had in my stash. It was such a beautiful length of silk, nearly 2m of it in total. It’s another of those fabrics that photos just cannot do justice. It’s beautifully light and gauzy like chiffon. There are also shiny charmeuse bits through the chiffon that add surface texture, but it is difficult to see this in the photos. The fabric is super sheer, as you can see when I hold it against a window.

  
But enough on this beautiful fabric. I’m guessing you’d like to see what I made with it? Remember my yellow kimono? I used the same pattern, but eliminated the cuffs and facing. I also shortened it to fit the length of fabric I was using.

 

 
 
 

The sheerness of this fabric demands French seams, so I used them throughout. I finished all the edges (including the neckline) with a narrow hem. It’s such a simple pattern but I think it suits the fabric perfectly. Anything more in terms of design would simply be lost on it.

I’m pretty happy with my new kimono. It makes the perfect cover up for a hot summer evening, and it’s already on hot rotation in my wardrobe. I love that it adds a splash of colour to my white jumpsuit.

 

Leather jogging pants, check!

Sometimes I read something or see a post that I just cannot get out of my mind. One of these such posts was about a particularly HOT pair of leather jogging pants, created and styled by the ever-inspiring Nikki on her blog, Beaute J’adore. Now to put this all into perspective, the thermometer here is currently wavering around a sweltering 30 degrees on most days, and yet, I still couldn’t get these pants out of my mind. So these are my version.

 

Now you will have to forgive me a little for the eclectic get up in the photos. Apart from these leather pants, my wardrobe is somewhat lacking in the winter-wear department. So I found it a little difficult to put together an entire outfit. Nevertheless, I will certainly have warm legs this winter (in about six months time mind you)! And on the side, the top I am wearing is made from a little leftover modal from hubby’s birthday present. The ruffle is black silk chiffon…oh, I do feel so very chic wearing leather and silk together!


But back to those fabulous pants now. I decided to make a wearable muslin first using Vogue 8909. I chose View B because of the elastic leg bands and slightly cropped look. My plan was to make a wearable muslin first, using some cheap chambray fabric I found online.
 


I chose a size M based on my measurements, but I am slowly learning that when I make unfitted or knit garments, I really need to choose a size below my measurements or the item turns out way too big, as I found out with these pants. So, I ditched the ankle bands and relegated these delights to my pyjama drawer! They are ever so comfy but a little too baggy as you can see in the photos. They were also a little too short for the pants I had in mind.



This particular fitting mishap did teach me a few things though. After fiddling a lot in front of the mirror, I estimated that I needed to lift the crotch seam by about 1cm and take the sides in by about an inch each. This was basically the same as going down a size, so I chose this option instead and it worked out a treat.

This was my first time working with leather, and perhaps that was also part of the reason why I was so excited about making these pants. I purchased the leather lambskin from Tandy as this was the same leather used by Nikki for her pants. I know I could have found a similar product in Australia, but given this was my first leather project and I had no idea what texture, feel, look, or weight I was looking for, the shipping expense was well worth it for the education.

I chose to interface every single piece in the pattern. I attended a lecture on interfacing a while back and recalled the speaker saying all leather should be interfaced. I ummed and aahed over this for a long while, because the leather was just divine as it was and I really didn’t want to change it’s hand at all. In the end, my fear of a baggy bottom and knees won out and I chose to interface it with the lightest possible knit fusible I could find. It seemed to stick well and didn’t affect the feel of this gorgeous lambskin too much, if at all.

I partially lined the pants with rayon lining fabric. I also added an extra two inches in length for version B and added a seam in the front legs and an extra two seams in the back legs. (The extra seam in the back legs was purely an accident after I attached one to the waist seam  by mistake and had to trim and re-cut pieces to solve the problem!) For each seam, I opened it up and edgestitched both sides before trimming. This worked beautifully in keeping the seams flat and neat.

 

 Although, this was very nearly irrelevant as I nearly tore the leather when making the holes for the drawstrings using metal eyelets for the very first time. But I am very pleased with the professional result in the end.


The most difficult thing about this project was inserting the elastic into the casings. In hindsight, I should have increased the casing sizes a bit in the waistband because I forgot to account for the fact that leather is a thicker material. I actually had to pause this project overnight because my poor fingers and hands were hurting so badly. But I have to say, the end result is well worth it.


Would I sew with leather again after this? Absolutely! I have to admit, it isn’t my favourite material to sew with. I much prefer fabrics, but I am still so pleased to have expanded my skills.

I’ve gone all Zsa Zsa

I’m not usually one for animal print, but I have seen a bit of it around at my favourite haunt this season. I resisted temptation several months ago when there was some gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana printed silk crepe de chine on display at Tessuti Fabrics. Unfortunately it sold out before I could make up my mind. So when I saw a remnant of similar print in silk chiffon, I simply had to take it.

I used my Satsuki pattern from Victory Patterns. I’ve made a lovely top in the past using this pattern (as a gift for a very good friend), so I was confident it would turn out well. The only modification I needed to make was in lowering the neckline by about 1.5cm. It’s a very simple pattern to follow with only two main pattern pieces, but the element of difficulty was increased by my choice of fabric. I used French seams to keep the insides tidy and machine stitched a narrow hem on the bottom and sleeves. The neckline is finished with facing only.