Tag Archives: natural fibers

Sewing with Vietnamese Silk

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Sewing with Vietnamese Silk

Golden Threads

Blogging has been really good for me; I’ve completed so many set aside projects that might have otherwise been relegated to the bottom of the “unfinished projects” bin had it not been that I needed something to write about.  This jacket definitely falls into that category.  I began it at least two summers ago and  got it up to the final sleeve before hitting a road block.  I thought about finishing it many times, but I think the fact that I didn’t have any pants to wear with it was part of why I never followed through.  Recently I found a nice rayon, that while not a perfect match, complements the jacket quite well.

 The jacket is made of a laundered shimmery rayon suiting and accented with the most beautiful silvery-green iridescent Vietnamese Silk.  I treasured this piece of silk and held it for a long time before deciding to cut into it.  I don’t often see this kind of silk; it’s a rare treat to work with.  The front is faced with washed duppioni silk and I used a metal button with a Celtic knot motif for a cultural paradigm twist.  Seams are a modified lap which, if I were making again would have been done in French seams (my new favorite technique).

unfinished jacket with silk scraps

It really didn’t take much to finish up the jacket and I’m quite pleased with the result.

rayon Tribeca jacket with silk trim

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Sewing Classic Summer Apparel

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The Season of Casual Comfort

linen casual wear

I came across an old pattern in my pattern library from 1998.  I remember making the vest and not finishing it, because I didn’t like the fit…or lack of fit is more accurate.   I am always intrigued how something I once didn’t care for can take on a new life and become a new favorite; whoever said fashion is fickle was certainly onto something.  Rediscovery is always a good thing; it means I’m changing and growing and open to new ways of thinking.  I like that!

McCalls pattern

 I began with Mcall pattern 9278.  I used updated constructions methods which I talked about in my last post by eliminating the facing and using French seam applications on all interior seams and sleeves for a streamlined look.  To give support to the buttonhole areas I created small uniform patches and fringed the unfinished edges.
button patches
Behind the fashion button, I sewed a small support button to reduce wear on fabric.  You could also use small beads in a different color to add interest and artsy elegance, especially if you plan to wear the garment open.
button application
The hemline and center front edges were turned under 5/8 inches and stitched.  A bias binding made from the fashion fabric was applied to the sleeve opening and neckline.  I used a linen open weave pattern for the top applying the same constructions techniques.  It was quick and easy very versatile.
finishing detailslinen casual wear

Sewing Tutorial – Making An Underskirt

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It’s a cold, gray and intermittently rainy day… so typical of April weather in the Pacific Northwest.  I am so tired of the damp and am dreaming of sunny days that will soon be here.  I will be ready for the warm weather once it arrives, now that I have completed my underskirt to go with my white linen dress.  It turned out just as I had hoped; it’s pretty, it adds interest and best of all it has the practical purpose of providing a lining to what is otherwise a very see-through dress. See-through dresses are… well… embarrassing and while wearing a nylon slip under a natural fiber sundress might sound like an option for some, in my world slips and sundresses somehow just won’t do.  And so you see, I really had no choice other than to make my own cool underskirt.

1)  I started by searching through my pattern library for something I could modify to my needs.  I found what I was looking for in this skirt pattern by New Look.

2)  I chose a rayon lining which is perfect for warm weather, because it breaths, and doesn’t cling, and is quiet (I don’t like to hear a rustle of fabric unless, of course, I’m in my tafetta gown at the cotillion).   I stitched the side seams and serged the edges for a clean finish.

3)  I determined the length and width of the “fashion” fabric (fashion fabric is meant to be seen) I wanted to attached to the bottom of lining (lining is meant not to be seen).  I didn’t want it to be a full ruffle, so I eliminated much of the width from the original pattern piece.

4)  Then the side seams were stitched and serged.

5)  After the side seams were completed, I stitch three rows of machine basting (the longest stitch setting on your machine).  The first row was stitched at  3/8″, then at 5/8″ and the last at 3/4″. Once the three rows of basting were in place, I began to draw up the threads to create gathers, securing the end threads on a pin.

6)  With the ruffle gathered to the desired width, I pinned it to the lower edge of the skirt lining.

7)  I then sewed the ruffle to the skirt lining using the 5/8″ gathering line as a stiching guide.  Once the ruffle was attached, I removed the 3/4″ line of basting .

8)  Next I created a casing at the top of the skirt to run elastic through.  I turned down enough fabric to allow for room to slide my elastic through plus a little extra so I could tuck the raw edges under the fold to create a finished edge.

9)  Then I stitched the casing leaving a space open for elastic insertion.

10)  Then using a bodkin (a sewing tool designed for pulling elastic or cording through a casing… a safety pin will work in a pinch) I inserted the elastic pre-measured to fit my waist.  Once the elastic was through the casing I stitched the ends together and stitched the casing closed.

11) And here we have the finished underskirt ready to be worn on the first warm day that comes along.  I think this might be quite a versatile piece and I may be able to wear it with some other things I have.  I’ll be making a visit to my closet to see what else it might go with.

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