Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Peplum silk blouse

I've been dying to share this silk blouse with you all!  As a resident of the Bay Area, I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be collaborating with Britex Fabrics as a Guest Blogger, and this is my first official project!  I remember my first trip to Britex in San Francisco; after spending decades shopping at big box fabric stores, it was completely overwhelming (in the best possible sense of the word) to see so many beautiful fabrics. And  fabric actually intended for apparel! I don't get into the "big city" very often, but after my most recent trip and using some of Britex's fabulous fabrics, I made this cute dress and silk top.
Since I'm a part-time instructor at a local community college, I try to step up my wardrobe a little bit; I’m young-looking and a small person, so I have to make an effort to not look like a student!  I had been wanting to recreate a ready-to-wear top that fit well, and the partnership with Britex provided a great opportunity to work with one of their incredible solid-colored silks.  I won't lie; silk is waaaay out of my comfort zone, but I was excited for a challenge.  I chose this Italian-made geometric jacquard because I loved the modern look of the woven pattern and the bright pink color was so vibrant.  I have to stand in front of a classroom full of students, so I don’t want to blend into the blackboard!
For the pattern, I traced around the individual pieces of my ready-to-wear top, without disassembling it.  The cap sleeve is created from both the front and back of the bodice, as well as a sort of gusset-meets-princess seam side piece.   On the inside, the neckline is faced and the sleeves and hem were finished with a hand-stitched rolled hem.  It took a bit longer than machine working the edges, but for this particular top, I didn’t want to see visible stitching from the outside. 
My fellow bloggers described several of their tips for working with silks here and here, and I have a few of my own to add to the list.  Kristin suggested Microtex needles, which I used and found to be wonderful, but I also purchased extra-thin straight pins for cutting out the pattern and during construction.  As much as possible, I tried to keep the placement of my pins within the seam allowance to avoid pulling the threads of the fabric or creating holes.
To be honest, when planning the construction of this top, I was most concerned about insertion of the invisible zipper into such a light weight silk.  Truly, I woke up worrying about it! 
However, using a ¾” strip of lightweight, fusible tricot interfacing along the edge of the fabric made zipper insertion a complete breeze!
I'm looking forward to wearing my new silk top to class, and now that I've spent some time working with silk fabric, I fully intend to expand my wardrobe with some new pieces!

Summary of resources:

Britex Fabrics: Starburst Fuchsia Silk Jacquard
Pattern: based on a ready-to-wear top from my closet
Zipper: Coats & Clark invisible zipper 20-22", in Red Rose (which matches the fabric color perfectly)


  1. Amazing top! Haven't seen such a clean invisible zipper insertion in a while. Great project. Thanks for your contribution to the Britex Blog!

    1. Thank you! It was a treat working with with such gorgeous fabric!

  2. New to posting comments. Love the style and color of the top. Could you post a pattern and tutorial for us to be able to copy and use?

    1. Thank you for your interest! I don't have plans to post the pattern, mostly because it's based on a RTW top, and it isn't my own design. But I may do a post on how to copy your own items of clothing... :)

  3. Anonymous12:28 PM

    What a lovely treatment of the cap sleeve. It appears as if the side panel becomes the square base of the bottom of the sleeve. Correct?

    1. You are correct! It was a design I hadn't seen before, so I wanted to recreate it.