Category Archives: Gorgeous Fabrics

A second scrappy Christmas skirt

This is my last little Christmas gift catch-up post. It’s another scrappy silk skirt, made in exactly the same way as the one in my last post. This is also the last of my beautiful butterfly silk CDC (which you’ve now seen more times than I care to remember).
 

 

And the best thing about this skirt is it’s swish-factor.
 



Refashioned: butterfly kimono jacket

I’ve made more than my fair share of kimono style jackets this year (here, here, and here). The style is just so versatile, especially at this time of year when I’m trying to prolong the wear of my Summer gear by layering them upon everything.

 
 
 
 
 

Once again I used B5409 and modified it in the same way as earlier versions. My butterfly silk CDC lived an earlier life as a floaty maxi dress. It was lovely. I loved it, but then I moved on, and there was just too much beautiful fabric in that dress to lay dormant in my cupboard.

 
 

This time round, I used goose biot feathers to fringe the kimono for a fancy, ‘festival’ look.  Google defines fringed kimonos as festival. Who am I to argue with Google. I’ve paired it with my leather shorts and floral bustier for the photos. And if I was headed into Summer, I might have even taken this outfit out for a spin. In real life, we are headed into cooler days, so I want this kimono jacket to wear over my matching, Chanel-inspired dress and pants. I’ll be unpicking those glorious feathers because I don’t think they will fare so well on the school run. But you know me. I’ll use them again for something else.

Layered pant Chanel style

So a little while back, I made an amazing Anna dress. And it really was a fantastic dress. It was my second Anna (my first was a wearable muslin), so the fit was great, the style indisputably pretty, and the fabric, beyond amazing. I’d even drafted a full lining attached to the facing, handstitched some of it’s innards, and took more care than usual in it’s construction. I ended up wearing it three times, to date nights and the like. I got compliments from strangers who noticed the pretty style, or the stunning fabric, or the way the modern graphics of the print were slightly at odds with the feminine style of dress, but at the same time so perfectly matched. But each time I wore it, I always felt like I was wearing someone else’s dress.

I had inklings of this when I was making the dress in the first place. I remember observing, as I was cutting the large portions of fabric required for the gathered skirt, that I could relax because they would be large, undamaged panels that I could cut off and re-use later. My head was telling me that the fabric deserved an Anna, but my heart was telling me to do something a little more uncharted, something a little more me.

Well, it’s the best of both worlds for this most special of special crepe de chines from Colette of Tessuti Fabrics. It lived a wonderful, yet short life as an Anna. And now I’ve had the double pleasure of remaking it into something a little more exciting (twice in fact, if you saw my first remake of layered trackie dacks on Instagram).

So this story needs an intermission now, with a few inspiration shots from the Chanel 2014/15 Cruise collection *swoon*. Let’s call this the triple P collection. It had me Panting, Pinning (Pinterest), and Planning knock offs. There was layering and blending of beautiful fabrics and prints that quite simply left me breathless. Skirts layering pants, culottes layering pants, beautifully shaped 3/4 length sleeves, and all in gorgeous colours and shapes. Here is a taste of my inspiration. Be still my beating heart…

Chanel | Cruise/Resort 2015 Collection via Karl Lagerfeld | Modeled by Magda Laguinge | May 13, 2014; Dubai | Style.com
I love that every look in this collection is a skirt over pants!  my favorite silhouette lately.
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 56 - CHANEL
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 50 - CHANEL


 The dress I made is a simple, slip-over-the-head affair. It is self-drafted, mainly because I had a very limited length of fabric to work with and no patterns on hand to match what I wanted. It is unlined, un-faced, and beautifully light to wear. I didn’t have enough fabric to make a facing or create bias binding so I fused bias stay tape to the neck and armscye edges and then turned them back as narrow hems. It worked beautifully. I also wasn’t sure whether to add the waist elastic or not, but I’m glad that I did in the end. This is now a beautiful summer frock that I can see myself wearing a LOT.

 

 

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to Mr Lagerfield, I was also now desperately in need of a pair of matching fancy pant trackie dacks to layer with the dress. So that I did. Once again I used Vogue 8909 (you’ve seen my other versions here and here). But this time I eliminated the yoke, faux fly, and pockets to create a more simple, streamlined pant that could be worn better for layering.


I love the way pants look layered with a simple dress and I also love both items as separates. I’m wondering if I can pass them off as a bit of matchy matchy for Ada Spragg’s Two Piece Set-acular. But before I finish up on this style, I borrowed that kimono for one last go at some print mixing a la Chanel.


Butterfly kimono robe


I am desperately in love with kimono jackets at the moment. This is the third one I’ve made. I used B5409 again. My other versions are here and here. I made the same modifications to the pattern as before, but simply added a contrast panel and straight hemline this time.

 
 

 
 

 

The fabric in the body of the kimono is a stunning cotton/silk from Tessuti. I picked it up as a remnant many, many moons ago. Oh how I miss my favourite remnant table in Surry Hills! I used up my last little bit of butterfly silk (seen also here and here) to add a little bit of contrast and weight to the robe. The colours match beautifully.

In my photos, I paired it with my white man-shirt and a very sneaky RTW purchase of high waist flares. I see so many pairs of fabulous jeans out there in blog-land, but I just don’t feel motivated to go down that road myself yet. I won’t say never though. I never thought I’d sew myself underwear either, but I changed my tune on that a few weeks ago. Proof of my knicker sewing is on Instagram and will remain exclusively there until my six year old develops more arty and discrete photography skills

I actually made this kimono robe as a surprise for somebody special. I won’t mention her by name in case she ends up reading this post. I styled the robe as a jacket for outerwear in my photos, but it can also be worn as a featherweight dressing gown, to be slipped over pyjamas on cool Spring mornings (or nights feeding bub). I’ll always remember the pretty pair of pyjama pants my best girlfriend gave me after the birth of my peep number three. I love baby clothes as much as the next mum, but it was so nice to be given something beautiful that was just for me. Besides, the thought of sewing a baby onesie right now makes me want to poke needles in my eyes. But let’s just go with the first reasoning. It makes me sound so much nicer!

Butterfly Badminton set for Miss Four and a little on turn-of-cloth

Here’s a little deja vu for you. It’s not only a repeat of Miss Six’s Badminton skort and top, but I’ve managed to use up a lot of the remaining scraps from my Butterfly Maxi dress. I was left with several long, thin lengths of the Gorgeous Fabric after making that dress, but they were awkward lengths that weren’t wide enough for any adult stuff. I had just enough width in them to make a teeny, tiny pair of shorts, a gathered skirt and the little top you see.

I made a size 5 skort for my taller than average Miss Four, with exactly the same modifications that I did for Miss Six’s version. I chose to make a size 6 for the top, but I could have easily stuck with a size 5 here too. Sometimes I overestimate the size of my little whippet. This time, I left off the front band and tie.

Unfortunately, the only suitable contrast fabric that I had on hand was some yellow cotton sateen which is much heavier than I would have liked for the yoke. It is a bit structured in feel now, but it will do. Next time I’d also take the time to add that front band. I think it adds a little special something to the top.

As to the virtues of those shorts beneath the skirt. Miss Four was determined to show me proof of their workings with some serious twirls.

Sadly for me though, she has now decided that shorts (even if hidden beneath a skirt) must only be worn with ‘running shoes’, so whenever we see her wearing her lovely butterfly silk ensemble, she is also wearing a big clunky pair of less than pristine, hand-me-down sneakers that are still an inkling too big for her, with her white socks pulled up to mid calf of course. There’s a good visual for you!

Once again, I can only sing praises for Oliver + S patterns. However, I would like to point out a wee little finicky thing to do with understitching and ‘turn-of-cloth’ that you are bound to encounter in this pattern. When I understitch a seam, I lose length on the fabric because it rolls towards the lining when pressing the facing/lining under. Obviously, this is what you want. You don’t want any chance of the lining rolling out to be seen on the outside when you are wearing the garment. I’ve tried to demonstrate this below.

White fabric and yellow lining

White fabric on the left has been cut a little longer than the lining. The seam has been stitched (crookedly…sorry!). You can see the excess white fabric on the left. The lining and fabric line up perfectly on the right.

Both pieces have been understitched identically

And now they have been turned to the right side and pressed. You are looking at the yellow lining. See the tiny bit of white fabric rolling towards the lining on both pieces. This is what you want! But then look at the bottom. I overestimated the turn-of-cloth when adding a little to the white fabric length on the left, but it’s easy to trim it off, and much better than it not reaching the edge at all.

And from the top side. I didn’t adjust for turn-of-cloth with the white fabric on the right. See how the fabric doesn’t meet the lining anymore.


So the amount of fabric length you lose is pretty much related to the thickness of the fabric. A silk CDC will have a very tiny turn-of-cloth and you will hardly lose any length (although there still might be a few mm difference). A thick wool would make a considerable difference. Where you run into problems is in matching up the bottom of the lining with the outer fabric. Suddenly you have a difference in length of between 2mm and 1cm, and this can cause problems. If my pictures don’t do it for you, there is also an excellent article in Threads Magazine that explains turn-of-cloth beautifully.

An easy solution is to simply lengthen the lining pieces slightly, rather than keeping the lining and fabric pieces the same. In this pattern, the lining pieces for the waistband and the yoke are the same as the outer fabric (no surprise really), but the pattern does specify understitching. The first time round, I ended up having to narrow both the waistband and the yoke in order to adjust for this as I was sewing. The pattern still worked fine with the narrower results, but not everybody likes to problem solve on the fly. With this version, I added a few mm to the width of my lining pieces and voila, perfectly matched fabric edges and seam allowances throughout. It’s a much more pleasurable sewing experience when all the edges line up!

Butterfly maxi dress

I would like to introduce you to my butterfly maxi! I’ve been dreaming of this dress for years, so I’m super delighted to have finally made it. The gorgeous fabric is exactly that, silk crepe de chine from Gorgeous Fabrics, and last I checked, they still had plenty of it left!

 

When I stumbled upon this fabric, I knew it was destined for a maxi dress. I had an image in my head, but I didn’t have the pattern. I started by trawling ebay and etsy for vintage patterns, but after a long and fruitless search, I settled on a copy of McCall’s 6555. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I thought I could modify it a little to appease my senses. Even so, I just wasn’t feeling IT enough to start the process of making it.

Weeeeell, that was before I saw Oonaballoona’s dress. Some would say that I’ve shamelessly copied her, and yes, there may be truth in that. But I promise you, this WAS the vision I had in my mind. And so if I didn’t copy her, then I tell you, watch out for that Kalkatroononian, and beware of her supernatural, mind reading greatness. In any case, as soon as I saw my vision in the flesh (or should I say, fabric), I could no longer settle for an inferior version. M6555 got ditched, I got off my lazy horse, and got stuck into doing what I should have been doing all along. Out came my calico and my Alice, and I set to draping my pattern until I had, in my hot little hands, the design I REALLY wanted.

 

And this is it. Pure summer floaty deliciousness. There is nothing quite like silk crepe de chine for a maxi dress. It’s super light and cool, and ever so swishy (not to mention as tough as nails, for when I accidentally step on it). There is a whopping 7 yards of fabric in this piece of pretty.

 
 

The design is pretty simple. I faced the entire neckline with self-fabric and then stitched a casing line in the front and one in the back. I ran the back straps through the front casing (like a pillowcase dress) and secured a band of thin elastic through the back. I’m thinking now that I could have dropped the back down lower and used an elastic waist stay to keep it in place. There’s always next time!