Sweet Carolina… a Mood Fabrics silk metallic brocade three-piece

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?

41 thoughts on “Sweet Carolina… a Mood Fabrics silk metallic brocade three-piece

  1. This is the perfect use of fabric. It looks like it totally suits you in style as well and obviously fit. Welcome back and with such a bang! enjoy your weekend!

  2. Ooh, the drama of it all – I love it – especially teemed with those FAB heels. It is a beautiful fabric and it fits perfectly. Is that a Shag on the post in the first photograph? We get a lot of those here on the South Coast.

  3. How stunning, that fabric is just glorious! I have some Oscar de la renta silk brocade living in the stash because I can’t decide what it wants to be, maybe a sheath dress would be just the thing…

  4. Absolutely stunning. That jacket is just too beautiful & all three pieces together is quite a statement , but a good one. I seriously bow down to your sewing skills. I really can’t wait for your Quart coat, have a feeling its going to be GOOD!

  5. Well Lizzie, this is just amazing. You are so right, this ensemble looks much more stylish than the rather conventional full skirt cocktail dresses. And I just adore the jacket! Maybe it is a bit OTT as a full three-piece, but I think skirt and top play very nicely together and the jacket would look ace grundged down with some jeans.

  6. This is the most amazing home sewn garment(s) I have seen on the interweb in a long long time. Perfect in every way. I don’t think its OTT at all. Super cool, super sexy and beautifully done. You are so clever Mrs Lizzy xxxxxx

  7. Just gorgeous Lizzy. I adore the shapes you’ve put together and I love me a brocade. You completely rock this outfit and I would indeed encourage you to wear all three pieces together every opportunity you get 😉

  8. Wow, what an ensemble! I’m sure it’s fun to match from head to toe, but these pieces will also translate well to mixing and matching. I’ve had pencil skirts and sheath dresses on the mind lately… this is making me want to scratch that itch!

  9. Wow Lizzy, this is fabulous! Very dramatic but also very interesting and sophisticated. I love your choices for this really unique fabric. All the indecision was worth the end result. 🙂 I’m glad your foray into silk brocade turned out so well, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what’s next!

  10. This is GORGEOUS, Lizzy, absolutely gorgeous. The style is perfect for you and the fabric. The scale and the mixture of patterns is genius. I would love to own this original design. Waiting for your next inspiration was worth the wait.

  11. What a gorgeous ensemble! I love all three pieces but together, just wow! I really love the jacket; you have the perfect frame for it. I hope you have many fancy places to wear this and show it off!

  12. Wow Lizzy! Stunning! The fabric is just beautiful. I love that you made separates. They look really fabulous together but I can see how versatile these would be.

  13. This is really lovely. I love the combination of opulent fabric and simple lines. It is such an elegant combination. I have worked with silk metallic before and enjoyed the process and the resulting dress I love mainly because of the lovely fabric.

  14. Absolutely gorgeous, love the dark side of it and the gold reflections and your pattern choices and changes to those respected the fabric quality perfectly.

  15. Flip my egg – honey that is one amazingaballs sew.I am very impressed to how you thought about the light, drapery, techniques, patterns the whole shamoooze. so so elegant.

  16. What a fantastic little trio! I love them all. That fabric is just stunning. It was great to see you again. I hope you had a nice weekend and a safe trip home.

  17. Absolutely stunning – I think taking your time to plan what you did with the fabric totally paid off. I love the shapes of the pueces together. Utterly gorgeous 🙂

  18. This outfit is AMAZING! It could pass for a real Carolina Herrera! Great choice of fabric and yes, a long pencil skirt looks stunning, enjoy it, it’s gorgeous !

  19. Whenever I see that jacket pattern, I am so intrigued by it. I am also always intrigued by big bold prints. I think this really works. The silk brocade looks like a gorgeous piece of cloth.

  20. Hi,
    just found your blog and am amazed!
    All creations are great and this one just blows my mind.


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