Category Archives: Today’s progress

Still scared of silk

I’ve been avoiding my Sencha silk for a while. It’s been very easy to do. I told myself that I was busy, but I’m always busy. I was really just scared.

I was scared because the next steps were to sew the ties and the neckline seam.

The ties had been troublesome when I’d tried them in cotton. They were so tough to turn that the chopstick I’d been using popped right through the end seam. How much harder were they going to be in silk?

Turns out they were easier! Once I got the sewn end going, the silk slipped right over itself; and the chopstick did not push through. I was so wrong.

But then came the neckline. In addition to the usual neck curve, it has that crazy keyhole. As I was sewing, I thought, “No more silk for me. This is destined to be a post about tears and heartbreak.”

Well, no tears quite yet. One of the ties was misplaced by a very noticeable eighth of an inch. I had to get out my dreaded seam ripper and try it again. But no problem.

My silk fears all proved to be unfounded: There are no pulls or puckers anywhere, despite the fact that I’ve:

  • Pinned outside the seam allowance.
  • Sewn some pesky curves.
  • Used a seam ripper.

I guess it’s all in the pins and needles.

Before starting this project, I invested in a set of silk pins. (Unfortunately for my fingers, they don’t have glass or plastic heads. Ouch.) They have their own blue tomato so I don’t mix them up with any other pins. I also (as always) started with a brand new needle of a nice small size (7 or 8, I can’t remember what I had on hand).

The only challenges the silk has presented have been cutting and seam finishing, but I’ll have full rundown on those issues when I do the wrapup.

Until then, here’s a peek at my progress.

Does this blouse look scary to you?

But I still can’t wait to get back to cotton!

Bust issue resolved!

I’ve been altering the Sencha blouse pattern from Colette Patterns, and my first attempt was off. I tried to eliminate the riding-up of the front. I eyeballed it at one inch and altered the pattern accordingly.


I pinned the pattern together and it was still riding up. This time I measured using something besides my eyeball, and it actually was riding up one inch. Which means it was originally riding up two inches.

So, where I added one inch in length at the bust point, I added another inch. The excess at the side was taken out with a dart.

Here is the result:

Does this hemline look even to you? Yes? Me, too!

I’m happy to have this issue resolved. Because of the sleeve construction, the side dart is not level. It points up. I hope this isn’t an issue, because I’m going straight to cutting the silk next.

From everything I’ve read, this will be easier if I layer the silk fabric on top of tissue paper and cut both out at once. Time to pull the Christmas wrapping supplies out from under the bed.


Polka dot top: Sneak preview

The polka dot top is almost done. I was going to post progress on Sunday, but I only had the hand sewing left to do, so I wanted to wait until it was all done to do a full writeup.

The handsewing is taking a while. Since I’ve underlined everything, I’m stitching the sleeve facings, neck facing and hem with the catchstitch. This is the first time I’ve done a catchstitch. Boy, does that stitch eat up the thread! Every time I breathe, I’m rethreading my needle. I like the way it looks, however. I also have some snaps to stitch. I’ll be sewing them on with a buttonhole stitch. I don’t remember where I first saw a picture of a snap done with this stitch rather than a whipstitch, but it looked so professional. I knew I had to try it.

Full pictures, inside and out, coming in the near future. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at one detail I’m crazy about:

Look, I made a matching belt! I'm going to be doing a lot more of these. I may even have to lay in the supplies to put in the eyelets properly. How cool would that be?

Once I’m done with the coral outfit, I’ll finally be moving on to the Fall Palette Challenge. I’ve purchased the fabric and supplies for a wearable muslin of my next project. I’m as excited about the prospect of the wearable muslin as I am the actual project itself. Details on that soon as well.

A mystery, thwarted progress and a rescue mission

Off to my sewing area I went today with grand ideas of making major progress on the last few items to finish the polka dot top, starting with inserting the crochet lace trim and attaching the sleeve facings.

Only there was no crochet trim to be found. My first suspect was Sewing Assistant Teacup. Does he look guilty to you?

Who me?

I looked under all the furniture in the bedroom, and all I could find was about a dozen Nerf darts. Teacup LOVES those things. But, alas, no crochet trim. I felt a little guilty blaming Teacup with no evidence, so my current theory is that I accidentally threw it away with some minor scraps.

So, I regrouped and inserted the invisible zipper in the left side. I was relieved to find out you actually can insert an invisible zipper even if you have sewn the rest of the seam. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Even though the result is no better than with the skirt (I still didn’t bother to iron the zipper beforehand.), I’m happier with it. But I think that’s just because I was a little worried the waist seam was tight, but the pin fit was deceptive. With the zipper in, it’s fits perfectly.

Note to self: Pick zipper color like thread color. A little darker is better than lighter.

Then I overcast the hem allowance, and had just enough thread, with some sneaky bobbin-changing, to finish the edge all the way around. But then I was completely out of coral thread. So, I called it quits on sewing for the day.

But I still had a sewing-related task left. I’ve been going through my closet in spurts and starts, eliminating clothing that has hopeless stains. Two sweaters have to go, but not before I rescued their buttons. One set is mundane, but the other set was the nicest part of the sweater:

The sparkly ones will look awfully good on a blouse — soon, I hope.

I tied each set together with heavyweight button thread and put them in this cute faux vintage tin that houses my button collection:

I love faux vintage sewing tins — no rust!

So now that I’m out of thread AND trim, I’ll be heading to JoAnn’s to replenish both before I make any further progress on this project.

But the next project is a silk blouse. I got a little adventurous and decided to prewash the silk in my washing machine on the “handwash” cycle. I figured if I prewashed in the machine, I could wash it in the machine when it’s done. It’s in there right now, making me nervous. Wish me luck.

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