I know… it’s been awhile!
I’m having a weekend ‘up north’ with Busy Lizzie… potentially shopping for shoes, buying fabric (who me??) or eating ‘high tea’.
After a bout of sensible sewing & lots of knit fabrics, followed by a bit of blog & sewing silence, I’m back with some very extravagant fabric, courtesy of Mood Fabrics, New York.
These pictures were very difficult to take. We have had a lot of rain… and when it clears it is soooooo hot & muggy. It was 30 degrees celcius and very humid…. and it was 4.30pm! Despite being lined, every item of clothing kept clinging to my skin. Fortunately this was not made with outdoor leisure in mind! I prefer to take all my shots outside as 1) natural light is kind, 2) the family happy snap camera doesn’t like playing nice inside, 3) my hometown is pretty & 4) I’m not big on putting my house on the blog – a bit precious I know but that’s me.
I confess I’ve had this fabric for months and the indecisiveness nearly destroyed me. It was so different to anything I had sewn previously and I was a little stumped… and terrified. 2.5m of Carolina Herrera silk metallic brocade from Mood Fabrics NY!
The flowers are enormous… and the fabric shifts quite dramatically between light & dark.
So I spent lots of time draping a fabric over my dressform, wrapping about myself, sewing some small swatches and ironing them helps me better understand what type of garment the fabric might suit best. Then I bombard my sewing friends (thank you in particular to Lizzie, Jen and Susan for their advice) and the instagram peeps!
When I google Carina Herrerra there was an abundance of cocktail dresses, with fitted bodices and full skirts. I think this would be grand… but overwhelm my frame. This fabric would make a stunning sheath dress – which I own rather a lot of as it’s my typical work dress style – they often pop up in my Instagram feed.
I nearly made a Pauline Alice Quart Coat. It would have been perfect… the fabric does crease beautifully into pleats… however I faltered at the last step and suddenly changed my mind.
Due to the body of the fabric and the structural way it fell, I was haunted by the urge to make a cropped flared jacket that emphasised the body of the fabric. I finally settled on Vogue 8145.
This was one of my very early pattern purchases, I’ve long adored the flared back of the jacket.This pattern is an unlined jacket. As the fabric is somewhat coarse in texture I used a lining from the stash. I underlined the body of the jacket and lined the sleeves. I used a bias tape to turn up the hem to minimise bulk.
The sleeves are two piece raglan sleeves with a seam running down the top of the arm which provides some shaping.
I omitted the buttons as it felt ‘busy enough’. I also eliminated the centre back seam in the jacket body piece.
Once the jacket was complete… another bout of indecisiveness followed… should I make a long pencil skirt or a mini skirt?
So I took the very practical approach of wrapping myself in fabric and the was very apparent that a long fitted skirt would be a nice counter balance to the very dramatic flared jacket.
It was very tempting to indulge in a new pattern and I nearly gave in and purchased the Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt. In a rare bout of self restraint I decided to defer to my pattern stash. I really loved the fit of the By Hand London Pencil Skirt – which I had made and blogged way back in 2012.
I lined the skirt with more stash lining and added a walking vent (yes, a lined walking vent no less!) following A Fashionable Stitch tutorials. You can learn how to draft the walking vent here and how to line a skirt with a vent here. Thanks Sunni!
While this skirt pattern calls for fabric with some stretch, the long walking vent makes it easy to walk in – I do have a huge stride (fast walker!) so I’m slightly limited – probably walking in a more ladylike fashion. I actually adore the firmness of the fabric. It feels amazing to wear and I find the high waist is very comfortable.
The top is a Burda 2964. I had this in my stash as well! I picked this up at a Spotlight sale as, despite the rather gawky pattern envelope art, I loved the square neck and princess seamlines. The top is cropped and I think the shapely yet slightly boxy fit suits the fabric and works beautifully with the high-waisted skirt. The top is a slight miracle of pattern cutting Tetris – I wiggled and jiggled the pieces onto the scraps of my brocade.
The pattern is unlined, features a side zip and slits in the seamlines. It also comes with long or short sleeves and in a longer length.
This fabric freaked me out for a while as it was so unfamiliar. However… I’ve fallen in love with silk brocade and would now love a sheath dress! The fabric is just fabulous to wear.
The oversized print is spectacular of this particular Caroline Herrarra fabric is a unique blend of opulent and grunge. It does amazing things in different lights and settings. It’s just gorgeous. I’m never 100% comfortable in ‘pretty’ things however this rather masculine yet feminine blend of colour, print and texture is very appealing to me.
I’d read much about the frantic fraying nature of brocade but didn’t find this fabric at all troublesome. In fact it was one of the easiest fabrics I’ve ever worked with. That’s not to say it doesn’t fray but it wasn’t shedding like a beast.
I would advise lining this fabric.
Slip stitching the fabric is a joy as the stitches just seem to disappear.
The colours of the fabric change quite dramatically – in the first image the fabric looks quite dark & moody. The light is behind me. The other pictures the sunlight is shining onto me, bringing out the yellow gold tones.
I doubt that I would wear all three items together… then again you never know! I do love to dress OTT sometimes, it’s fun! I’ve purchased several suits in my career and usually only wear the pieces together at the most formal corporate occasions. I prefer to mix and match. I love wearing jackets with skinny jeans and heels to more casual events such as dinner and drinks with friends. I also think I will wear the skirt with heels and a loose fitting shirt tied at my waist.
Fabric: Caroline Herrara Silk Metallic Brocade, supplied by Mood Fabrics as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. All opinions are my own.
Pattern, Jacket: Vogue 8146 from the stash
Pattern, Skirt: Charlotte Skirt from By Hand London (this pattern was sent to me in 2012 by the girls. Previously blogged and loved here. All opinions my own). I’ve modified this pattern by adding a walking vent to the back and adding lining.
Pattern, Top: Burda 2964 from the stash
The Quart Coat will happen sooner or later… it’s just a matter of time & fabric…
I love sewing with Mood Fabrics, I’ve tried so many new things – anything you’d like me to try next – fabric or garment?