The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Molly’s Question

Molly asked a question from the Make an Effort blog.

Do you have any favorite patterns for your silk dupioni?

I’ve had 4 m of golden silk dupioni in my stash for a couple of years now, but I’ve been reluctant to use it. I’m worried I’ll pick the wrong pattern and/or style, wasting both its beauty and my investment (it’s not cheap).

What I like about this question is this is very similar to what I get in class a lot.  There’s a hint of it, but first let’s deal with, yes I have some fav patterns for tops.  On this blog are some of my favorite patterns, but here are some others, although I do not know your shape or size, which would make it easier to make some suggestions for you.

Here are some others that I ADORE:

This is a kickin’ pattern with gobs of style and line, but it is HUGE and I mean  gargantuan.  So I recommend some altering to it.  BTW, I’m talking about version A here.  I did a video on the alterations I made to this pattern, so don’t get dismayed, it’s well worth it.

Another good choice is Vogue 1274

This is the top that Stuart did in the Great British Sewing Bee (if you haven’t watched this, it’s a ton of fun – there are four episodes on YouTube, just do a search for Great British Sewing Bee).

It’s view B that I like so well.  And I would like to do some experimenting with that tie or whatever in back to make sure that there’s some shape to this….that means a definite FBA, and possibly 2 or 3 of them. A great one like the one I did on the 1246.

Also consider washing that silk.  What this does is this keeps the fabric a silk formal but makes it more casual.  It’s hard to describe, but it brings a whole new facet to the fabric.  Dupioni is very formal just off the bolt.  Something that I traditionally used for formal wear for my clients.  It has a gob of body and stiffness and structure and yet it has a nice shine – not a hot shine like charmeuse or satin – but a soft sophisticated shine which is great for my debs, brides and moms and grandmoms.  The stiffness is great for my moms and grandmoms and helps me design something for them that holds it’s shape and can sort of help disguise a “aging” figure.

But once you wash this silk, it takes on a completely different attitude – a lot more casual, and a lot softer.  It totally changes the whole look of the garment.  Here’s an example


These are essentially the same pattern – the one on the left is unwashed dupioni, and the one on the right is washed.  The blouse on the left is a lot more formal (even though I did some funky surface treatment [some stenciling] which makes it a little more informal), but the silk on the right looks much more casual, yet I wear it out to dinner in the evening, and to class and to work in during the day.  It dresses me up a  lot more than just a cotton or linen top. And this is not to diss those fabrics – it’s just silk has always been and will always be dressier.

This is just to inspire you to think about what you can do to the fabric to make it more useable in your wardrobe….which gets me to:

The second part of your question – is important too, and I want to get to that in a separate post.



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