I needed something to wear for an evening reception and decided to make something to go with an existing printed silk skirt from M&S. I picked the duckegg colour from the print and chose a matching colour crepe de chine from Beckford Silk. Luckily the amount I needed was just under 1mt so I didn’t think it too extravagant.
I self-drafted the pattern referring to Winifred Aldrich’s gathered bust seam and cap sleeve. Adding a button back opening and a front keyhole detail.
It should have been a simple top to sew up but being silk the seam allowances needed special treatment.
I did French seams on the shoulders and used self-fabric bias strips to bind the edges of the curved front seam and the side seams. If I had thought about it before cutting out I would have made the seam allowances wider than 1.5cm so that I could have trimmed one side down and then folded the other over. I machined the bias strips on, folded over the trimmed seam allowance and hand stitched down. I had sewn the shoulder seams first but if I were to do again I’d use the bias strips on the shoulder seam rather than a French seam.
I used silk organza to interface the back opening. I was tempted to be quick and use lightweight iron on interfacing but knew it was worth the extra time to do it properly.
I used self-covered buttons which I found in a box which must be at least 20 years old. I used to use them all the time and bought them in boxes of 100 from the local haberdashery shop. These still had the price on of £8.75 for the box. Not sure what they’d cost now. (Just googled here, £13.20 inc VAT so not that much change in 20 years!)
I bound the front opening with a narrow bias strip and then used bias for the neck opening. I made the bias strip using the 2 pin method, it works really well. It’s explained here in a blog post by Pattern Pandemonium, quite simple really but in the past I would have just burnt my fingers with the iron.
I’m going to make again in a Liberty Tana Lawn which should be much quicker as I don’t plan to do all that hand stitching for seam finishes. Before I do I need to add a couple of cms to the hip width, when tucking in it fits fine but wearing it out over jeans I needed to leave the bottom button undone. The fabric was really lovely to sew and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.