Of soft silk, bias, and failure

I really wanted to make a soft, feminine blouse to wear with linen trousers on a date with my husband this week.  I usually default to tailored tops, or tees, so something more romantic was in order.  Of course, romantic also can also be an appeal to the idealized, heroic, or adventurous.  And, I had some idealized or imaginary ideas about my skill level – sewing soft silks was/is an adventure.

Oscar + Milly: Vogue 2712

My first attempt was the Oscar de la Renta off the shoulder ruffled blouse (Vogue 2712, published 2002), in Milly silk chiffon.  The chiffon is very light-weight.  I had no trouble stitching the french seams on the body of the blouse or the lining.  I practiced the baby hem – which I’ve done many, many times on silk CDC, cotton and linen – several times on scraps of the chiffon.  No success – too heavy, stiff, wonky.  I did gets loads of advice from the Goodbye Valentino RTW FB group, but I decided to set it aside to work on a simpler project and get more practice.  (The best advice, I think, was the fusible thread in the bobbin, but I haven’t tried it yet).

Alice+Olivia, Vogue 1245

So I jumped straight in to Vogue 1245, view B, from Alice and Olivia (published 2011). Should be easy right?  Four pieces… I calculated two nights.  And I decided on a lightweight teal silk georgette.  The first thing?   The shoulder/top of the sleeve is cut on the bias, with french seams.  I jumped in got those French seams done, and moved to the second, the baby hem on the sleeves.

Slow down.  First mistake – not stabilizing that shoulder seam first.  It grew by 2 inches while making the french seams. I didn’t notice until I went to do the baby hem – which I probably should have let hang first.  And then, I decided to use the instructions for the baby hem – which are different from how I learned… and wow, that didn’t work.  Should have used Schaeffer’s method.  A mess.

So, while the pattern is theoretically easy, it can’t be rushed.  And I really did only have two nights to make it.  I have enough fabric to recut the sleeves, so I will do it later.  In fact, neither is a complete failure, since no fabric was completely ruined.  I can finish them, when I’m not rushing.  But I need more practice before I attempt either of these again.



4 thoughts on “Of soft silk, bias, and failure

  1. Narrow hems on silk chiffon? Oh, boy! I’ve made the A view of the Alice + Olivia pattern and really liked it once it was done, but you’re right, it’s not a project to rush. I look forward to seeing both of these pretty blouses when they’re finished.

  2. Baby hems are the easiest thing in the world with fine fabrics. All you need is ban roll (without the glue attachment – can be found at WAWAK). You take off several rows of the tape, so that it looks like a comb. If you need, use a ruler and a rotary cutter to make sure all the teeth are the same length. Then, sew the comb onto the fabric’s right side just short of where the teeth meet the tape. Flip 180 degrees, iron, flip again 180 degrees, iron and then sew the fabric together. Then, you pull out the ban roll. Sounds crazy, I know, but works like a charm. I did it on some silk georgette, and it was simple and consistent. I think Oliver and S has a tutorial. : )
    good luck

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