Oh baby, this one was a journey! This fabric has been sitting in my stash for a while now, maybe a year. I bought it in midtown on a whim, and because it was a steal: $10/yard and 60” wide of pure silk! It was black and white, and has been quietly sitting on my shelf since I purchased it. At some point, I got it in my head that it would be more wearable if I dyed it pink. I’m blaming this dress by Rixo. So, you know me, I waited til the middle of the night, and got to dyeing silk in my kitchen sink with Petal Pink Rit dye.
I was hoping to squeeze out a dress, but that was ambitious. So in the eleventh hour, I switched gears, went digging through my pattern stash, and pulled out this gorgeous pattern. I love vintage pattern illustrations! This is from the early 70s. The pattern only has 5 pieces, including the facing, but the sleeves alone took up almost half my fabric - just look at them! The generous cut and soft silk makes it super luxurious. I feel like a young, glam rock Lestat!
As is sometimes the case with “simple” patterns, and always the case with light weight silk, this was tricky to sew. Every piece is cut on an angle, on bias, or a curve, or has a rolled baby hem. Oh, and the fabric was fraying like crazy. I had to stay focused. I usually French seam silk blouses, but this silk was wildly unruly, so after sewing each seam, I used my serger to 3 thread narrow overlock the seam allowances together. I only have so much patience. For the facing and (self made) bias binding, I used 8mm silk habutai (aka “China silk”). I realized I’d need it the day after I did my dyeing, and I regret not dying it too, but life goes on!
I always love to carefully place a print for maximum effect. I centered the tiger print on both front and back. Luckily, it didn’t eat up too much fabric to do so. My only pattern modifications were to lengthen the bodice 1” as always (but then I shortened the finished blouse 5/8”), and I pieced the neck ties - they are cut on bias and I didn’t have enough fabric to cut them as one piece. You can’t even tell with the busy print. There is some tricky hand sewing in the interior neck band, but I feel like I nailed it.
Overall, I am happy with how this came out! It’s been a while since I sewed with slinky silk, and I felt out of practice. Sewing will keep you humble, and always learning, and I value that. With this project, I needed to slow down and take things one step at a time. This is a bit of a frivolous piece for my closet (I don’t think you can layer those sleeves with any jacket?), but I know I’ll wear it quite a bit. I’m looking forward to more fall sewing! XO, Martha