My next post as a member of the Britex Fabrics Guest Blogger Team is up today over on the Britex Blog, and I’m sewing with SILK! This gorgeous navy and ivory flocking bird print was completely irresistible to me, and I was so excited to make a beautiful flowy top out of it for my sister Laura. I’ve never sewn with silk before so this was quite a challenge – I had a lot of research to do before I started. The result is completely worth the extra effort I think!
I started with one of my favorite adult patterns, the Wiksten Tank. As I’ve done before, I decided to add three quarter sleeves, which gives the shirt a bit more substance and slightly more formal look, while maintaining the ease of the pattern.
Today I’ll show you my method for adding the sleeves.
First of all, if you’re working with silk, here are a few general tips I picked up. You’ll want to sew with silk or cotton thread, using a microtex sharp needle, so make sure you have those. Next, you’ll need to reflect all of your pattern pieces so you’re not cutting on the fold, but just a single layer of silk.
When you’re ready to cut, head over to my fellow Britex Guest Blogger Jen from Grainline Studio’s tutorial for cutting silk. It worked amazingly well! I cut between two layers of Swedish tracing paper with a rotary cutter and it was a frustration-free experience.
Now, to create the sleeve pattern.
1. Lay your pattern on the right side of your tracing paper and trace around the armhole curve
2. Lay your ruler down at a 90 degree angle to the pattern grain, mark a line as far as you’d like the sleeve (use another shirt of yours for length reference)
3. This is what your pattern will look like so far
4. I added a little extra loft to the shoulder curve to give myself room for a puff sleeve and to add a seam allowance. Draw a slight S to finish the arm curve, then draw a slanted line to the same length as your top line, connecting them with a vertical line (the lighter curve is my original tracing, darker line is my final pattern)
If you’ll be cutting silk, trace out your sleeve again with plenty of room to reflect the pattern so it’s just one piece. If making this out of cotton, you can just use the pattern on the fold. Cut notches where indicated to guide gathers (on your silk, mark these with chalk).
Sew two rows of gathering stitches between your markings, then sew the long sleeve seams together. I chose to serge each side of the seam allowance and press them open, as I thought french seams might be too bulky. Set each sleeve in, gathering what’s needed to match the armhole opening and sewing inside the tube. I then serged the seam allowances together to finish the armhole.
Finish the tank per pattern instructions – for the silk, I used a baby hem and navy cotton batiste bias tape to finish the neckline. You can either choose to hem the sleeve with a baby hem, or a wider one and thread some elastic through to hold it at your elbow.
Enjoy your pretty new silk (or voile, or batiste, or vintage sheet, or rayon) shirt! Thanks for modeling, Laura!!
Head over to the Britex Blog to see my post and leave some love over there if you’d like, and while you’re there be sure to peruse their sale section. The drape and beauty of this silk just can’t be beat (it goes on sale Feb 1).
**Britex Fabrics is a sponsor of this blog and graciously provided the fabric for this project.**