I love Liberty Art Fabrics. All kinds. All prints. All qualities. I have quite a stash of tana lawn and some wool, but I’ve never handled any of their silks. Until DD1 set eyes upon this dress from Burda’s February 2013 issue. It’s called the “City Dress”, and DD1 liked it because it’s modeled in red. After hunting through my stash and going back and forth about the fabric, I noticed Burda mentioned Liberty as the fabric source. So I searched through Shaukat, which their website claims is the largest stockist of Liberty fabrics in London. Well, they had the design, Xanthe Sunbeam, in the red colourway, but in a satin crepe de chine. I decided to splurge for my DD, and I don’t regret it. It’s a gorgeous tightly woven silk with the most delicious hand. There’s even a little left over for a top or blouse.I went down to my local Mokuba to look for the petersham trim, and was shocked at the price per yard. Five to six dollars per yard for petersham ribbon? Does anyone else think that’s absurd? I decided I could order rolls by the time I purchased the almost 3 yards required for this dress in the selection of colours I wanted to have from which DD could choose. So I bought a collection of reds-pinks-purples from TheSewingPlace, which were a lot more reasonably priced, even with the shipping, than paying what the local brick & mortar store wanted per yard. What can I say? I enjoy being a personal shopper for my kids. :) Besides, multiple choices mean more stash. *smug wink*I cut a straight size 38, and made no changes since the dress is so loose-fitting. Except for that 3-inches-from-the-waist deep front slit. Burda suggested putting a hook & eye closure at the top, and then again 5 inches down – probably about bust point level. I cut and finished the slit as prescribed, since it’s a design feature. See? It’s open clear to the waistline. Then I added a strip of fabric behind the slit for modesty and decency’s sake. Besides, wearing a slip or camisole under this would not be DD1’s style.And I lined the skirt. Because lining skirts is, imho, the proper way to make a skirt. Linings make a garment modest to wear, ensure the garment hangs well, and contribute to a long life of happy wearing. Besides, who wants to wear a silk crepe de chine dress that’s unlined in the skirt? And, like I mentioned above, slips are not a first choice. The lining is rayon bemberg from stash. Not quite a good match, but it’s close enough to do the job. All the seams are sewn as French seams to keep things neat and tidy.
I’m still struggling with the colours for my silk drapes, but I need something over those windows for now. So I made up some sheers. This is a gorgeous Belgian linen with woven stripes, and it was 118″ wide! It is railroaded, which, in drapery speak, means the design runs sideways down the length of goods. It also means I needed about half the yardage to make up these sheers as I had originally calculated.
I chose box pleats for these because it’s clean and simple, and the silk drapes will have box pleats. Good idea to keep them similar, I’m thinking.
The only hand sewing in these was the tacking down of the pleats and slipstitching the linen into place over the buckram heading. Everything else is machine stitched, so it was a rather quick project. I always find calculating the pleats in such a way that is even and pleasing the most complicated part of making drapery.
So, this is my second attempt at mixing colours and stenciling the silk, and I am not happy. I just cannot get the colours to work. They are too opaque, and therefore too garish a contrast with the silk. I tried mixing basic textile paint alone (right panel), with opalescent white (bottom centre), tried several other combinations and am not happy with any of it.
I do like the newest stencil (Anna Damask), on the right, better than the original (Verde Damask). I have one more stencil to try, and I’m going to try it with my wall paint, which is Farrow & Ball Brassica. I want to see if the muddier colour looks better on the silk, and I’ll try it in the last stencil (Anastasia). I’m also wondering if the chalk-based F&B paint will work on the textile. If the Brassica colour works best but the F&B compound doesn’t, then I’ll mix acrylic paints, use a fabric medium, and try again.
I often ask DD1 if she needs anything on a seasonal basis, and if so, what she would like to have in her closet. Well, this little number from Burda’s February 2014 Tough Love collection caught her eye, and after looking at laces around town, we gave up on it because we just couldn’t find the perfect mix of mesh-lace-knits or what have you (Burda suggested two layers of mesh, but I – being mom – suggested something more modest.)
Then, around Hallowe’en time, I wandered into my local Fabricland, and there was a remnant of this lovely spider web lace draped on a mannequin over fluorescent orange satin, and I grabbed it for $5, brought it home and had her look at it. She loved it, and I made up the mesh overdress with the side ties pronto. (As an aside, there was a bolt of this lace the first time we were looking for fabrics and she didn’t like it; I thought it was perfect because she hates flowery lace and this is so unusual. But she’d forgotten she’d seen and dismissed it by the time the remnant came home….. :D ) I bound the neckline and the sleeve edges with bias silk chiffon. The side ties are bias tubes, inserted through channels created by sewing narrow strips of fabric along either side of the side seams. They can then be pulled to create ruching as the wearer desires.I left the hem edges raw, and the seams were double stitched and serged, pressed to one side and topstitched down in order to give some strength to this very holey lace. The shoulders have channels with ribbons tacked down to create ruching, too.Then the overdress sat waiting for the perfect underdress fabric, which I eventually found on EOS. It’s a rayon-lycra doubleknit in two shades of grey. I wanted this to be reversible, and decided to do a flat-fell seam with raw edges. I don’t own a coverstitch machine, and this would have been the perfect project for it.The sleeve edges and hem were simply turned up and stitched with a stretch stitch, and the neckline was faced with a narrow strip of self-fabric cut on the cross grain, turned to the inside, and topstitched. After pulling it on and off the mannequin and DD1 for fitting, I’m starting to see little fuzzy bits of yellowy-beige fibres (which must be the lycra) along the unfinished edges. Here’s the dark side.It’s a perfectly respectable T-shirt dress on its own, although DD1 says it feels like a nightgown when she wears it without the overdress. *whatever* Here’s a couple of pics to show the light and dark side of the
I am trying to replicate a drapery fabric that is long out of production. I have lucked out in finding silk duppioni in a lavender-thyme colour way, and am now trying to stencil this damask design from Nobilis, a fabric mill in France. Here’s my inspiration:I found these magnificent stencils on Cutting Edge Stencils, which ship to Canada very reasonably. No one in Canada, BTW, carries these because they are so reasonably priced directly from the US website.Then I sourced fabric paint from Dharma Trading. My local art supply store carries these, too.Here’s my first go. I’m not 100% happy with either the stencil or the purples, so I have ordered another set of stencils to see if I like a different design better, and I will be mixing paint colours to come up with one that I really like.There’s a lot of metallic in the Lumiere paints, and I’m not so sure that I like it. I’ll be trying this again with flat paints, and perhaps adding a bit more red/magenta to the violet. I like the idea of the stencils being imperfect, with gradations of gold-violet-purple everywhere.
BTW, you would not believe how much doing this myself is saving my pocket book. When this project is done, I’ll crunch the numbers.
Leather soles. Fleece uppers. Giraffe, of course, although I admit it clashes with the Sherlock coat. Gotta have some giraffe in a pup’s life, right?Grosgrain and velcro closures. No pattern used – just trace the paws, measure and make it up as you go.
What the heck am I going to be asked to sew next?
I made a hat from remnants of various Harris Tweed projects that have been languishing in my scrap box for the last few years. Just a little project to ease myself back into sewing after the holiday lull.
The pattern is Vogue 8440. I stole the idea of turning up the vent edges and adding the flower/trim from a review on PR, since it adds a lot of interest to this very basic pattern.
I chose to underline it with washed muslin, so it has a softer silhouette and feel than a felt hat. I lined it with a heavy-ish rayon bemberg, and didn’t bother to put petersham ribbon around the interior band. I’ve worn it several times, and it’s so toasty warm! It’s also super happy to repel snow and sleet and all other kinds of wintry precipitation.