A Trio of 6 Ply Silk and Lace Camisoles
Can I just say that between the silk, the lace and all the hand sewing, this for me, is the perfect garment to make, the one I could spend my life making over and over again.
I actually have a couple of store bought basic camisoles that I love and wear often, but have always wondered if I could make some that could elevate the basic while still keeping them functional...
and these work perfectly, they look great with jeans, smart under a blazer and summery with shorts, so I'm sure there will be more this year.
Rather than buy such an simple pattern, I thought I'd put some of my draping to use and make one, keeping it on grain and adding the smallest bust dart I could get away with, so that the shape would look more t-shirt than lingerie.
I also tried to keep the more casual theme going by using 6 Ply Silk. While I know that sounds somewhat ridiculous, 6 Ply is a completely different fabric compared to a Crepe De Chine or Charmeuse. It's thick and heavy - think Silk Velvet or a medium weight Sateen... it has a much duller finish and a lot of subtle texture and it's so much easier to sew than a thinner slinky Silk because it's stable and substantial.
It's a little harder to find than most silks and so I've got into the habit of looking in every fabric store I visit. Last year I happily found a small supply tucked away in the silks at B&J Fabrics, basic colours but such amazing quality that I bought some of each for the stash, knowing it would get used quickly.
And because I wanted to give these Camisoles longevity, I added French Seams which while easy to do in such a stable fabric, can be a little bulky if not trimmed down to a millimeter or two.
Of course, in theory this bulk should make it easier to feel and follow the cut seam once flipped, but for some reason I never find it that simple, often slightly nicking the seam or coming out a millimeter to far...
So recently I've started taking an extra few minutes to baste a line right on the edge as a guide. I sew just inside the blue thread closest to the edge and know that it's as small as is possible without leaving those awful hairy threads once turned.
I've been collecting small amounts of lace for such a long time, always imagining adding them to a silk camisole or dress and this stash has finally proved invaluable.
The first, on the white silk, is a French metallic gold lace which has a double edged selvedge on a 36" width. Gorgeous, very fine, with a slightly stiff hand and some stability, this was fun to sew with and held the cut outs so well.
(The pink is the basting thread used as a guide, the gold is the permanent thread).
I don't tend to finish the cut outs with a seam fray or similar on a silk this thick, finding that stitching close to the edge takes care of any minimal unraveling that may happen.
This next lace lace was a lovely find in Sposabella , a very delicate Alençon in the most unusual blush/mauve. It's one of those rare hues that work with a vast range of colours and I hoard each and every scrap of this knowing I will never find anything quite like it again.
The strong repeat of this lace really dictated which layout would work best for this camisole.
and because of the lovely thick flowers, it was easy to embed the stitches so they disappeared.
A simple snip and a flower took care of the excess and covered the seam nicely.
and by trimming the silk so it lay behind the scalloped edge, it finished the whole look nicely.
The third, a yummy very delicate Chantilly from B&J Fabrics was perfect to make a more subtle top.
The black on black merged so well, that I added extra cut outs along the side seams for extra visual interest, as well as a half lining so they could be seen when wearing another colour below.
These thick silks are a little tough to get into tiny straps, but with some major steaming they do get quite small...
I cut a few 1" strips of Bias and then pinned them to a form leaving them to hang for about a week in total. Most of the silks grew between 4 and 10", each colour stretching differently....It does makes me wonder if that has something to do with the grounds or the dye, becuase they are all the same weight, same finish and same origin.
Sewing the straps is easy but slow, I like to then fold them in half, pinning about every 1/4" before basting them in place so that they remain exact before sewing them with a 1.0 stitch (pull them as taunt as you can while sewing to incorporate the maximum bias)
Once turned, I steam them to within a inch of their lives while pulling the length as taunt as possible before pinning and leaving them on my ironing board to dry overnight.
This produces the smallest, strongest spaghetti straps ever... which are so comfortable to wear and don't slip off at all.
And after adding a matching lining in a very light Crepe De Chine to finish, these were ironed and hung for a few days until everything settled.
Overall, I think the pattern works well, although I might shorten and shape the next batch so that I can wear them with skirts.
And I can't believe its already 2017. I really got out of the blogging habit last year, although I did have a fairly prolific sewing year.....so I will be playing catch up as my only resolution is to get this back on track with a regular Monday post.
Wishing everyone a healthy and happy New Year, I think it's going to be a creative and interesting one to say the least!