Silk baby yeah…

Silk baby yeah…

I’m planning on making a silk dress for Frocktails on September 7th in Melbourne, so this week I’ve been experimenting with silk.

Experiment 1 :  A silk scarf

My first foray into using this luxurious fabric resulted in a scarf.


The square scarf has a double folded narrow hem.  The first fold was secured by machine and I hand stitched the second fold with a double strand of vintage cotton purchased from Luccello.


The golden thread is a subtle highlight and one of my favourite colours.  Also, when I think of tall ships, I think of pirates and searching for treasure (gold).


The scarf is a little quirky, but I love it, and it feels very me!

Pattern:  My own.
Size:  Finished scarf – 26 inches x 26 inches
Fabric:  Tall ships silk crepe de chine (on sale!) from Emma One Stock.  Purchased last year before international shipping rates sky rocketed.
Alterations:  None

Experiment 2 :  A modified Simplicity 5547

After gaining some confidence with the scarf, I decided to tackle a simple top that I could wear to dinner with some sewing buddies.  You know, something that could hide a multitude of potential errors!  I agonised over the pattern, and in the end decided on a slightly modified version of vintage Simplicity 5547.


I’ve made this top before and after wearing it a few times I got very annoyed with the draw-string and how badly the neckline sat, particularly at the shoulders, and I promptly sent it to the op shop.

This time around, I eliminated both the front seam and the draw-string and added elastic to the neckline casting.  I really struggled with the last change.  I was worried that the elastic would cheapen the gorgeous silk, but it sits well and I think it works.  Also, the other option, which was to gather the neckline and finish it with bias binding, was a non-option on my first silk garment!  Enough said.


I used a combination of fusible fine stay tape and stay stitching to stop the neckline raglan sleeves from stretching.  This was after all, an experiment in silk!  The stay tape did it’s job perfectly, but was too bulky for the french seams (which I used throughout).  The stay stitching caused a bit of bunching (I might need to have a bit more of a play with the tension setting on my machine) but overall it was a better option for this make.

I finished hand stitching the hem only an hour before leaving for dinner last night.  It was my first hand stitched hem, and although it took FOREVER, I love the finish.  I’m a hand stitched hem convert!

Here’s the final outfit I wore to dinner last night.  Mr Blogless Anna said WOW.  Those heels really do pack a punch!


Pattern:  Simplicity 5547 (vintage)
Size:  Size 18 (Bust 38″)
Fabric:  Silk remnant from Tessuti
Alterations:  Removed front seam.  Replaced neck-draw-string with elastic.  Removed 1/2 inch from the sleeves.

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  • Treasure!! I absolutely LOVE your tall ships fabric- what a find 🙂 I love incorporating quirky little accessories like this into an outfit, they make everything more fun & playful. Beautiful handstitching there too- I tried Sashiko earlier in the year & realised that I really don’t have the patience for detailed needlework like this, so I’m officially impressed!

    I wasn’t sure if Frocktails was still going ahead or not as I hadn’t heard anyone mention it in a while. Have there been any emails that I’ve missed out on or has it just been all quiet?

    • I really like quirky too. Now the question is what to do with the remainder of the tall ships silk? No Frocktails emails, but I assume it’s still a goer. Do you have a frock planned?

      • With both you and Nicole going silky, I’ll be rounding out the three! I’ve got some chiffonny-type stuff with gold lurex that I’m planning on making up into the 1940s dress I was playing around with recently. Feeling pretty nervous about the whole thing but hopefully a couple of drinks will help me relax this time :p

        How much of the tall ships do you have left? Not that you need any encouragement with scout tees (!!) but I reckon that could look pretty cute. Or maybe a Wiksten tank or something similarly floaty. Something simple anyway, to let the fabric shine 🙂

      • You are a brave woman Jenny. I know you can concur chiffonny-type silk and do that 1940s pattern proud. I’m also leaning towards to a tall ships tank. Now to finish tidying my sewing room and start on some pattern testing.

  • Lovely! I especially love the scarf – it is such great fabric, and beautiful hand-stitching. I had such a good time at dinner!

  • I concur with Mr Blogless Anna, wow, for both of these. I have silk that I am too scared to cut into but I may start with a scarf. Thank you for the tip about securing the first fold by machine stitching and then finish with the hand stitching.

  • excellent work! And I adore your scarf!!! I might need to approach you for tips – I’m paralysed with fear re.cutting into my silk chiffon that’s been earmarked for my frocktails frock since I first bought it! I do have some lovely scarves – but an actual garment has the fear factor!!! 😉

    • A silk chiffon dress sounds amazing, but yes, a little scarey. It’s good to push ourselves and try new fabrics and techniques, but I always look at it in terms of learnings and not success or failure. Although, this is harder to do when $ fabric is involved 🙂 Good luck with the chiffon and see you on the 7th!

  • Love the scarf Anna – the gold stitching is just perfect. Dinner was lovely, so nice to chat to like-minded people who don’t think me odd for discussing fabric and patterns!

    • Dinner was such fun. I love talking patterns, fabric and upcoming sewing plans with other sewists. A good laugh until you cry never goes astray either! Let’s do it again soon.

  • Oooh I love the contrast yellow thread! And such neat, accurate stitches, too. It’s beautiful 🙂

  • […] off to my sewing machine, I’ll leave with you with a couple of notable accessories – my silk scarf and Belle Bag – that have also been on high […]