Alice & Olivia in Silk Georgette (Vogue 1245)

I celebrated every success with this top! My “sewcation” is over and I have two things left to blog – this blouse being one of them. Both items are redos of earlier failures.

Back in early 2018, I wrote about my attempt with two soft silks. In late June, I decided I wanted to finish a UFO- this time the teal silk georgette off the shoulder blouse from Alice & Olivia. The version I had started was wonky and stretched out. I thought I had enough fabric leftover, but I was a bit short. After a couple of hours, the teal was in the trash.

But some how, I got it in my head that I really wanted this blouse. I didn’t want to order new fabric; after a search through my stash, I found this stunning silk georgette in royal blue from Gorgeous Fabrics. I think I purchased it in 2016, but it wasn’t in my spreadsheet. A single layer layout later I was ready to start.

I noticed a difference immediately between this fabric and the teal (from a discount retailer). It felt more luxurious. It didn’t shed when I cut into it.

Still, I didn’t want to ruin the fabric so I researched the options for stabilizing the fabric. I finally settled on spray starch (I did each edge right before sewing). I tested before to see what would happen- staining while working with it, but not permanent as it washed out in cold water.

I still got a little rippling and distortion, it mostly pressed out. I did have some issues with very thick french seams under the arms and keeping the edge stitching even at the top. But in general, stabilization meant this was an easy and fast make.

I love it! And it has received compliments. I have paired it here with the pattern runway white shorts.

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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.

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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).

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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.