i made this: Simple Silk Shirt

The other night I was toiling away in our sewing room, when my housemate paused outside the open door to say, “Oh, are you sewing?” To which I groaned in reply. Actually groaned, like, “Uugggh.” May have also rolled my eyes. I was in a state because the answer to Housemate’s innocent question was no, I was not sewing. Instead I was re-working, for the umpteenth time, a pattern that I really, really wanted to be sewing. But instead I had put a stupid amount of work into tweaking the pattern, this way and that; I was basically redrafting the thing!

Housemate tried again: “So…you’re working on your coat?”

“Sort of.”

“Okay, cool.”

But it was not cool, which is why I said, “Well. There’s not much joy in it at this point.”

Sure, after reading today on Lauren’s blog that she worked through SIX muslins in order to complete her latest make, I feel like a baby admitting I was pouty after only 2.5 muslins, but I totally was. When this convo with Housemate caused me to realize I was no longer having fun with it, I officially put that project aside. Then I needed a brief time out. But before the day was out I returned to the sewing room. (How lucky am I to have a sewing room?! So lucky.) There I launched a fun project to counteract some of the ill-effects of that  boo-boo pattern that I’ll probably not be using. Like, ever.

photo 11This project was super fun to make! Let me tell you why. First off, it took me the length of Howl, the movie, plus 1/2 of Iron Lady (I ❤ Meryl), to prep my fabric for cutting, cut it, French seam the shoulders & side seams, then press & pin the neckline and sleeve hems in preparation for hand sewing. And then there was hand sewing! SILK! That was fun. All told, the Simple Shirt came together in something like four hours.

photo 22The fabric is some that I’ve been hoarding for over a year now. I purchased it on a trip to San Francisco, back when I was living in Oregon. As I am now living in San Francisco, it seemed high time I take the lovely silk out of hiding and figure a way to get it on my body. The fabric is the most lovely dusty-greyish-mauvey color, and I washed it to take down some of the shine, which brought out a more crepey texture in the fabric.

photo 1The pattern was drafted using the rub-off technique on a favorite shirt from my closet. Lots of sewist around the blogosphere have been talking about their desire to sew more wearable clothes, and I think copying the clothes you know you love to wear is a great way to achieve this. I read about the basic procedure in Steffani Lincecum’s book, Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit. Craftsy also has a couple courses on the subject. There’s a few different methods you might use to get the basic information from your garment onto paper. Once you have that, you need to know some drafting basics to get you from tracing to pattern. It’s a fairly straight forward process, at least with something as simple as this shirt! I’m excited to try again with something a bit more complex. This original garment was purchased at a fast-fashion shop and made of a totally decent rayon. Needless to say, silk > rayon.

photo 4Here’s me basking in the joy of being swathed in silk…. I’ve got the shirt layered over a silk tank dress I bought some years ago. It’s super cosy, but a little more revealing up top than is ideal on the average day. Layering my new shirt over it was just the thing! You know you’ve made a good addition to your closet when the new item is not only wearable in and of itself, but also makes the things you already own more wearable!

photo 5         photo 3

And finally, there’s this: I had a bit of a camera malfunction when I went out shooting. As a result, I ended up shooting video. So I took the opportunity to mess around with iMovie and came up with this clip below. It’s dorky, and I won’t be winning any Oscars for my editing skills! But I made it and figure there’s no harm in sharing. If nothing else, it does a great job communicating just how glorious silk can be!

Have you ever sewn with silk? This was my first time, and now I can’t wait to try again!

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12 thoughts on “i made this: Simple Silk Shirt

  1. That video is total fabric porn! The movement of that silk is so beautiful. And the way the neckline and hemline of the top echo each other is totally inspired. I’ve got some powder pink silk sitting in my stash that I want to turn into something exactly like this top. I hope your other pattern turns out, I find the ones that take the longest and cause me the most amount of grief are the pieces I love the most (if I manage to pull them off that is).

    • Hah, fabric porn! I love that. Thanks for your vote of confidence on the other project. I will return to it, and hopefully conquer it. Just have to pace myself.

  2. Easy silk tops are probably the most necessary thing I own (after PANTS of course). Feel so good on the skin and immediately make you feel pulled together. Love the cut of this one and the colour is great!

    • Thanks Heather! You’re so right about the wearability of silk tops. It’s almost criminal that something could this comfortable and still soo good look’n.

  3. Beautiful top, I really want to make some simple silk tops like this! I love being able to see how the fabric moves and flows in the video, really pretty! I find that still photos don’t always capture how great a garment like this can look in person.

    • Thanks Kelly! I absolutely recommend making a few silk tops for yourself. They’re so comfy and wearable, yet still feel special and stylish. Plus: super easy to make.

  4. Ensconced in silk! It’s beautiful. Isn’t that the perfect solution when you are laboring on something to stop and make something easy? Love it! I’m doing the same thing. But my gut told me to stop and rethink things. I was making so many changes that it was becoming a such chore and i hadn’t even cut the fabric. I got a new pattern now, which is turning out to be far more perfect.

  5. Great work in the end though. I hate reworking myself.. just the mere thought of it is daunting.. 🙂 But the final work is always a joy!

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