The silk that almost got the better of me

Hi everybody! How’s your Sunday going? I’m posting this with one eye on Game of Thrones (don’t worry, no spoilers) to bring you something I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while but just never got round to it. Part of my Me Made May pledge this year was to finally cut into some blue silk I’d bought from the Man Outside Sainsburys at Walthamstow Market last year. Well, I may not have blogged about it at the time, but I am still a woman of my word and I completed a new Sew Over It Alex shirt well before my 31 May deadline.

 

Front

Thought I’d change up the location today – this is the ground floor courtyard in my building and an attractive water feature.

I’ve covered the Alex dress and shirt before this year, so I won’t say much about the pattern – just assume that I made it in the same way, yes? You’d think that by my third attempt on a pattern everything would be plain sailing, but no! From start to finish, this Alex was a pain in the proverbial.

I had originally planned to make an Alex dress out of this, thinking I had bought more than I did. It turned out I only had 1.5m, so I had to settle for the shirt instead. Even then I had to do some pattern Tetris and single layer cutting to eke it out of the length. If that had been my only issue with the fabric I think I’d be ok with this make, but sewing it turned out to be a massive ball ache.

Side

I wanted to treat the fabric nicely, so I went out and bought sharp needles and some proper silk pins. Turns out I needn’t have bothered. The pins were super difficult to push through the layers, and when I tried sewing a scrap, my machine let out a big fat ‘nope’. I don’t think it managed to sew a single stitch. I tried several different needles and finally settled on a 70/10, which was the best of a bad bunch. The machine was still skipping stitches so I ended up taking things reeeeaaally slowly but there are a few places where I had to go over the seams more than once. All this made me wonder whether the Man Outside Sainsburys was mistaken in telling me it was a silk, but I did a burn test and it looks like he was telling me the truth.

Anyway, since the fabric and hardware weren’t playing ball, I figured that I’d probably have issues with sewing the buttonholes. I ended up only doing them on the button tabs and even then I had to unpick a few times. I didn’t want to risk it on the placket, so I ended up just sewing the buttons straight through. I can get it over my head without any bother so they don’t need to be functional.

Back

Despite my issues, I do still like the finished result. It was worth the extra effort to go slowly, I’m pleased with how it looks and it does feel nice to wear. Now that we’re in the middle of summer, it’s a little too warm for me to wear it right now, but I’m sure it’ll be in heavy rotation once the autumn arrives.

 

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9 thoughts on “The silk that almost got the better of me

  1. Caroline Joynson says:

    Hey Jo, your final shirt looks amazing. Sorry to hear it was a PIA to sew. The finished garment looks brilliant though. I am 3/4 way through making the Alex shirt dress myself – I chose a viscose fabric which is occasionally being a pain to sew with also!

    • Jo says:

      Oh cool! Can’t wait to see it! I love viscose, but hate how it slips and slides everywhere. Might be time to crack out the spray starch?!

  2. Lynsey says:

    Looks gorgeous and I love the colour. I’ve never attempted to sew silk but imagine it wouldn’t be easy. It was worth it though 👌👌

    • Jo says:

      Thanks! I think the lesson learned here is that not all silks are the same. We’re taught that silk is super delicate and needs careful handling, and while that might be true of some, this one definitely needed a stronger hand. If you do go down the silk road (pun intended) I’d recommend testing out some needles, pins and stitches on a scrap first.

  3. Leigh says:

    This is lovely, Jo. Worth the extra effort to sew. Also, you’ve got some really lovely places for photos in your apartment building! The sultry photo of you is fab too.

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