03 May 2011

New project - B 5355 raglan tunic ... in silk charmeuse!

All those carefully laid (half-baked?) Ren Faire garb sewing plans and corset plans went out the window with Friday's mail.  My son has another sports award banquet scheduled for the 17th, and I have no warm weather nice clothes.  As I've learned more about fitting, I've learned there is just no possible way I can buy clothes at a store that will fit me, so sewing it is!  Besides, I have some really nice fabrics I've scored on sale, that sit and look pretty and inspire dreams of beautiful garments ...

My silk charmeuses are a good example!  I knew when I bought them back in January I wanted drapey-flowy tops of them ... and I have now started on the first one: Butterick 5355 raglan tunic, in this silk charmeuse:
B5355 silk charmeuse
The pattern cries out for drapey-flowy fabric, just as the fabric cries out for a pattern to show off its fluid finery.  And the word "fluid" is especially appropriate for this silk ... it really does want to find its way to the floor!  Getting it laid out is the first major battle on the cutting table, because it loves to slide around on itself, even when folded wrong side together, right side out.  It's ten times worse if you try to fold the right side in ...!

Before I even dug the lovely silk out of its hiding spot, I asked for tips, tricks, and advice on cutting and sewing it in the PR chat room.  Here is what I was told would help preserve what little sanity I have:
  • Make sure cuticles are trimmed and fingernails are filed ... charmeuse snags easily!
  • Get a pinking blade for the rotary cutter, and have a good mat to cut on ... Olfa was recommended by name for both.
  • Silk pins help ... I bought a new (PINK!) tomato pincushion to keep my silk pins separate from the normal ones.  If you are inclined to pin your pattern pieces, do so only in the seam allowances.  I pinned the selvages, then weighted the pieces with votive candle holders.
  • Use cotton thread - Gutterman was recommended by name.  Test on a scrap before sewing to see just how small of stitch looks best - 1.5 to 1.8 was recommended (mm, I *think*).
  • French seams to sew silk charmeuse, which automatically finishes the inside.
  • Quilting gloves called Machingers were also recommended, but I have no way to get them in a timely manner.  I may order them anyway since I do have the two couture silk charmeuses, plus the silk brocades.
  • Sharps needles ... I thought I had size 8, but I only have size 10s.  The size 10 Sharps still sew better than size 8 universals in my test.
I'll spare y'all all the whining and blubbering of the past week ... except to say my son looked dashingly handsome in his rental tux for prom, and we had two and a half days rainfree which included the kids getting to prom without getting wet.

A little more coffee, and I'll go wrestle the silk charmeuse into place to cut the wide billowy sleeves .... then the sewing silk adventure will start!


glorm said...

This is going to be gorgeous. I look forward to seeing the end result. Hopefully this fabric will cooperate as you progress.

Rebecca said...

I can't wait to see your finished top. That is truly gorgeous fabric. :]

Anonymous said...

So do ya have in-progress pics yet? (My turn to pester!) I'm excited to see how this looks sewn, I've got some sitting in my stash too!

dfr2010 said...

I'll try to post some pics today ... it's our anniversary and hubby is taking me out, but now that I've made my mind up on the thread I want to work on this.