February = Pink


February = Pink

You may disagree, as Red is definitely a nose-to-nose competitor.  But, Red has so many other times where it is in the spotlight- in December with Red and Green, and in the United States, both May and July are saturated with Red, White and Blue.  There is also the long shot of Purple, with Amethyst being the birthstone.  Sorry, Purple, but I give Pink the spotlight in February.  It's just what we in the northern hemisphere need to brighten up the short cloudy days of the shortest of months.

So, for February, I needed to make something pink, and I found this beautiful "dragonfruit" pink silk at Fabric Mart. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to make with such a luscious fabric, and went back and forth several times on what it would eventually become.  I was sooo tempted to make a dress with it, but I knew that if I made a dress, it would be something that would languish in the closet, worn only once in a blue moon.  I really wanted to make this into something that would be wearable in an everyday casual setting, not hidden away waiting for a special occasion!  So, I decided to make a "casual" silk top.  Is that an oxymoron?  I hope not!  I really want it to be a thing.  I know that I won't be doing the dishes, or digging in the garden in my "casual" silk top, but I do think that I can wear it at home, at work, doing light office work or watching TV!



While I was contemplating what to make, I did the unthinkable- I washed it in the washing machine! I knew that it would change the fabric somehow, but I also knew that no matter how hard I try not to, I always end up spilling something on what I am wearing.  So, into the washing machine it went.  And luckily, it came out beautiful.  It was still vibrant, had a soft sheen, and a slightly more crinkled texture, which I loved.  I can't say that I recommend you do this to all silks, but if you are like me and don't want to dry clean, it's definitely worth a shot to at least wash a small square and see how it goes. 

At that point, I found McCalls 7251- a tunic pattern with a shaped neckband that reminded me of a sweetheart neckline- perfect for Valentine's Day!  I could definitely see this style of tunic worn with some casual pants, and it had some interesting pleating details that would show up well in a solid fabric.

I wouldn't say that this is a beginner project- just working with this type of fabric is a challenge- all the way from cutting it out, to hemming it.  But, I just tried to take my time and enjoy the process.
This particular silk is what I would call a featherweight silk- it's like the whipped cream of fabrics, although whipped cream probably weighs more.  It is just light as air, which poses some interesting challenges when sewing with it!  Here are a few of my tips with working with featherweight silk:

1.  Some people swear by cutting only a single layer at a time, but I've found that if I lay tissue paper underneath a double layer of silk, and then use a rotary cutter, that this works most of the time.  I just use tissue paper from the dollar store, and lay it out under the full length of the fabric that I'm cutting.  I make sure that my blade is very sharp.  Any nicks in the blade will cause sections that will pull and not cut.

2.  Block fuse a section of your fabric with a featherweight fusible interfacing.  Then, when cutting out pieces that need interfacing like neckbands and plackets, cut the interfacing and fabric at the same time.  You know how instructions usually have you interface one side of a band or collar, but not the other?  I will fuse both sides, as otherwise, it can be a nightmare to try to sew them together.  As long as you use a featherweight interfacing, it doesn't get too heavy.

3.  Use the smallest needle that you have for your sewing machine.  For mine, that is usually a 60-70.  Otherwise, the needle just overwhelms the fabric.  This small of a needle can be a pain to thread, so wind a couple of bobbins first, so that you don't have to rethread it a second time! 

4.  When hemming, the only way that I've found to work consistently well is to do a baby hem.  This involves stitching a line around the edge, then pressing the line to the inside of the garment.  Trim close to your stitching, and fold again, one more time before stitching the hem in place.  It sounds like a lot of work, but in the end, it's less work than ripping out your first try when you realize that it looks bad!


For something to wear with the tunic, I was lucky enough to snag a couple of yards of this wonderful pebble printed crepe knit. I had tried on a pair of ready-to-wear crepe knit pants that I loved the feel of, and I had been on the hunt for some crepe knit to make my own.  Crepe knit has a heavy drape, and kind of a spongy texture to it.  It's not a thick fabric, but not sheer either.  This print had just a hint of pink in it, which I thought would work with the silk.

I knew just which pants I wanted to make- Butterick 6389.   They had a loose fit that I thought would work with this fabric, as well as pockets, and a combination interfaced front/ elastic back waistband.
I really love how these pants turned out.  They are super comfy, quick to make, and I think that the print will work with quite a few tops.  I highly recommend this pattern for pants if you like this style.


 I hope that you are having a wonderful February, and will make something Pink!

Happy Sewing!
Ann

8 comments

  1. Such a beautiful ensemble on you! I LOVE how colorful the pants are.

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa! I love printed pants!

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  2. Beautiful outfit! Love both your top and pants. Thank you for those tips re silk. I'm another silk fan and have been thinking about all the silk I have in my stash which I seem to be "saving" for something special. I keep thinking the same as you! Why not use it for everyday wear?

    I always wash my silk and I'm quite cavalier about it (even 4 ply I don't care) - into the washing machine, regular wash, into the dryer, regular dry. I am NOT going to baby fabric. I don't care what it is. I figure you might as well go for it right away and see what you're dealing with. After the garment is made up I often hand wash it lightly :) I value my work more than my fabric.

    And you know what? All the years I've been sewing I've never had a problem with silk! It washes like a dream (I think you have to buy good quality though - probably?) I've had more problems with other things ie rayon which has come out of the wash like a limp rag. I usually end up relegating rayon for practice runs if I get any at all which is rare. In my experience most good quality fabrics wash up just fine. And why sew with anything that isn't the finest quality? My time is too precious to spend it on making things I won't love to wear :)

    So I'm off to get out some of that lovely 4 ply I bought to make myself a nice kimono to wear whenever and wherever I want :)

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    1. Thank you, Kathleen! I agree- our time is so much more valuable than any fabric. I have had the same experience with rayon- it's so soft and tempting to buy, but wears out so fast. Silk can be tough as nails, even though it is lightweight!
      Please do make that kimono out of the 4 ply! I have some black 4 ply too, and a kimono is sounding pretty nice!

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  3. BEAUTIFUL color. It really pops and looks fantastic on you.

    I sewed my first bit of silk last year and I think it's pretty awesome to handle most of the time!

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    1. Thanks, Nakisha! I find that there is a pretty wide variation- the lighterweight, the more challenging to sew- at least for me. But if sewing wasn't challenging, we wouldn't be doing it, right?

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  4. I really love the colour!- it suits you well. The tunic goes well the pants. It's a perfect outfit for winter:)

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