Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Bamboo Jersey Bodysuit

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Bamboo Jersey Bodysuit with Mood Fabrics

Spring finally seems to have arrived here in London, which is a good job as I jumped the gun a little hoping for the warmer weather with my most recent handmade ensemble for the Mood Sewing Network! This gorgeous abstract printed silk georgette jumped out at me from the computer screen back at the end of last year and I couldn't resist using that month's allowance to snap up a few yards despite my plans for it being a garment more suited to the warmer months! It's exactly the kind of organic and non-descript print that I like; to me it looks like a kind of blotchy pixelated floral. In reality the colours are a bit more vivid than it comes across in these garment photos and it's got a gorgeous smooth hand and drape. The picture below does the print a bit more justice.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Bamboo Jersey Bodysuit with Mood Fabrics

If you haven't come across a silk georgette before I always think it's like a chiffon but heavier. Most have a slight crepe-like texture to them, as this one does, and while not as sheer as chiffon they are not opaque. Bearing this in mind (and knowing I would end up making a summer dress or skirt from it which would be worn in bright sunlight) I ordered a couple of yards of this Theory dark green stretch silk georgette to line/underline it. I deliberated over this choice for quite some time as I wondered it choosing a lighter or brighter colour for the lining would bring out the colours more but when it arrived I was delighted with the colour match and weight of it when combined with other piece. This georgette is slightly different to the first as one side of it has a satin like sheen which makes it lovely to wear against the skin.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Bamboo Jersey Bodysuit with Mood Fabrics

I had initially thought I would make a fairly simple dress with a flared skirt but a couple of days of sunshine reminded me of my ongoing love for maxi skirts in the summer months and also got me thinking about a vintage maxi skirt pattern which I've had in my stash for a while; Style 4218 from 1973. I knew these two fabrics were going to be a fairly tricky combo to sew with so the simple four panelled design and waistband looked like a perfect choice. Because each panel is so full at the hem I only just managed to squeeze my pieces out of the 2.5 yards I had ordered and therefore thinking about pattern placement wasn't really an option! I had thought this wouldn't be a problem as the pattern is so abstract but in fact the majority of the colourful blotches run closer to one selvedge than the other so as I could fit two panels across the width of the fabric one panel ended up darker and less colourful than the other. As the print is fairly uneven throughout I don't actually mind how it looks assembled in the end but I wish I'd had a bit more fabric so I could have played around with the spread of the colour. So there's a lesson for you all and one I won't forget again...when working with a print of any kind it's always worth ordering a little bit extra!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Bamboo Jersey Bodysuit with Mood Fabrics

As georgette is semi-sheer I debated using the dark green as an underlining so all the seam allowances were concealed beneath both layers rather than between the two. But in the end I decided the top layer was opaque enough to prevent any of these insides showing through and used it as a lining. I'm really pleased that I kept it separate to the top layer as having it hanging free gives some really gorgeous extra fullness and movement to the skirt...although it did mean I had two huge hems to contend with!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Bamboo Jersey Bodysuit with Mood Fabrics

When sewing I used a size 70 sharps needle in my machine to prevent any snagging and actually my machine handled both of these delicate and rather slippery fabrics pretty well. To preserve the delicate silks I used french seams throughout with the exception of the side seam where the zip is inserted, which I overlocked the edges of before assembling. Apart from pattern placement the one major challenge I encountered with this project was levelling off the hem. I popped it on my tailors dummy overnight and by morning the hem had a dramatic handkerchief effect! It actually stayed put for a good week longer as I just couldn't face trying to get it even. In the end it was time consuming but not too painful. I tackled the top layer first and finished it, before cutting the lining ever so slightly shorter. I used my rolled hem foot which I have found to be by the far the speediest way of hemming delicate fabrics such as these and love the fluted effect it gives to the two layers together. I actually hemmed both layers before sewing up the final seam where the zip is. This is a technique I often use when doing a rolled hem as starting and finishing at a raw edge is so much easier than along a continuous curve. Then I sew up the seam and tack down the seam allowances at the hem by hand.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Bamboo Jersey Bodysuit with Mood Fabrics

One of the interesting features of this pattern is the deep waistband which is 3" wide when assembled. I did use the dark green georgette as an underlining on the waistband pieces to provide an extra layer of thickness and structure and hand basted these together along with a layer of silk organza as interfacing. I think this width of waistband could actually do with a bit more structure, and I'd probably add this to both the main band and facing next time. Construction wise I assembled the waistband and attached the facing, under stitching the top edge, before attaching the top layer of the skirt to the bottom of the waistband and the lining to the bottom of the facing. Once the zip was inserted I stitched in the ditch by hand to catch the bottom of the waistband and facing together and help keep things sitting correctly.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Bamboo Jersey Bodysuit with Mood Fabrics

The top is actually the Nettie Bodysuit from Closet Case Files which I think the close fit of makes for a great pairing with the high waist of this skirt. I've been wanting to sew with some more bamboo jersey ever since I had such success with it on my version of the Bronte Top so I ordered a small amount of a couple of colours from the selection on the Mood Fabrics website (this is the black solid which is now unfortunately sold out). This particular bamboo definitely lived up to the high expectations I had after my first experience. It's dreamy to sew with. I chose to sew all my seams with a narrow zig zag stitch for accuracy and strength and then finished them off on my overlocker as I really like this professional look inside. Both my regular machine and overlocker loved this jersey, it pressed beautifully, didn't shift as I cut it and for once I hd no trouble with my twin needle which I used to finish the sleeves and topstitch around the neckline and leg holes. I want to make all of my knit projects out of bamboo now; it's so soft and snuggly to wear to boot! I actually managed to squeeze two out of the 1.5 yards of the black I ordered (the second having long sleeves and a different neckline) so I am planning to do a more detailed post about my experiences with the pattern itself in the next week or so.

I'll probably be wearing my Nettie with more seasonably appropriate skirts and jeans for at least the foreseeable future but I'm dreaming about wearing this skirt in the summer sunshine!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Bamboo Jersey Bodysuit with Mood Fabrics

36 comments:

  1. This is just gorgeous, so elegant

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    1. Thank you Kestrel, what a lovely compliment! It feels so luxurious in silk

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  2. Gorgeous. I love that print! Any tips for the rolled hem foot? I haven't had much luck with mine although I think I need more practice!

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    1. Patience! Haha! I do find the worst bit is starting. I tend to roll the first few centimetres by hand and press it then as I stitch that bit like normal, underneath my rolled hem foot I slowly start to pull the raw edge into the little loop. Then I just take it nice and slow. I think the key is mastering how much fabric needs to be turned through the little loop and then maintaining that so it stays even and tidy. I absolutely love mine, although on some fabrics it just refuses to play ball!

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  3. Ooo! This is gorgeous! What's not to love about a swishy maxi skirt. I love this fabric, and it's good inspiration for the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt (I thought that's what this was at first), as I got that pattern last summer and haven't made it yet.

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    1. The fullness of this does remind me very much of the Gabriola yes! In fact halfway through making this up I thought 'oo maybe I should have done that instead!'. Definitely add a Gabriola to your list for this summer! I love maxi skirts for feeling so comfortable and yet so glamorous at the same time!

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    1. Thank you! It's such a gorgeous print I couldn't go much wrong!

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  5. Your skirt is absolutely stunning. Using this print as a maxi was a great idea. I love a lined skirt For modesty and feeling sexy. Bravo on the look!

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    1. Thank you! I wanted to find something to make which would show off an expanse of this lovely print so I'm glad you think I made the right choice!

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  6. This is lovely, and just in time for the warmer weather finally hitting London! I think I'm going to make a maxi skirt/ dress or two for this Spring/ Summer.

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    1. I'm not sure it's quite warm enough yet to get this baby out, the mornings and evenings are too chilly at the moment but I can't wait for sandal weather to hit! I live in maxi's come summer so I highly recommend adding them to your sewing queue!

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  7. That is a great outfit! With such a swishy skirt you have to go dancing.

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    1. Thanks Bobbi! I'm definitely planning to!

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  8. I love maxi skirts in the summertime, this looks so beautiful and airy!

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    1. Thanks Ashley! They are may favourite thing to wear too and the silk does feel gorgeous yes!

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  9. What a beatiful fabric, I love what you have done with it :) Great skirt! :)

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    1. Thank you! It was one of those fabrics that I saw and just could not resist! Didn't even deliberate it!

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  10. This is so lovely! I love a swishy skirt. We'll have to get some Spoolette dancing organised so you can twirl in it.

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  11. This is absolutely stunning and a beautiful summer outfit!

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    1. Thanks Carolyn! I'm so pleased with how it turned out and how little trouble I had with the silk, especially along those long seams!

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  12. Both pieces are fabulous, can't ever get over how much a bias hem can grow! would love to try out some bamboo jersey so now going on-line shopping!!

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    1. Hooray! I hope you've found some and that you enjoy working with it! It's definitely been my favourite type of knit to sew and wear to date

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  13. Gorgeous! Absolutely fab! I was wondering where you had gone to (for some reason you haven't been coming up on my feed) and came looking for you...and there you still were, with all this fabulousness! This sort of outfit really suits you. Plus you've reminded me that I still haven't made that Sewaholic maxi (can't remember what it's called but I've had the pattern for ages).

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    1. Ooo the Gabriola! It's gorgeous that pattern. I was thinking about using it for this but it needs a lot of fabric and I was working with a fairly limited amount! I've not had much time for sewing over the last few months so I've been a bit missing but I've cut out a whole load of projects over the weekend so will be back with a vengeance soon!

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    1. mwah! I'm feeling the 70s for this summer Re!

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  15. Lush! That swish is great and not a pucker in sight. Gorgeous

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    1. I'm so proud of the lack of puckers so I am absolutely delighted that you've picked up on that Amy! I really enjoyed working with the georgette actually, I had less trouble than I've had with other silks previously

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    1. Thanks Olga! I'm pretty in love with it too!

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  17. Oh my goodness, I have this same fabric! Bought a year ago at Truemart in Manhattan... Now I finally have an idea for what to do with it!

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    1. Ooo how spooky! It's absolutely perfect for a swishy skirt or dress. You'll have to let me know when you've sewn yours up, I'd love to see what you make!

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  18. I am in awe of this combo. Gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks Michelle! A maxi skirt and bodysuit is rapidly becoming my new favourite combo!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!