There is some kind of jedi force you start to feel tapped into the longer you’ve been sewing. Maybe it’s the days you spend reading about sewing (guilty), or the hours you lose shopping for fabric online or in person (*sigh* guilty), but I think many of us we can start to identify fabric from a mile away. Especially when that fabric is sumptuous 4-ply silk crepe.
Lauren was the first person who peeped me to this stuff. It’s not widely available in Montreal except for one insanely expensive couture fabric store in the ritzy part of town that gave me serious wrong side of the tracks/Pretty in Pink anxiety the one time I went there (I see $120/yd pricetags and I’m terrified I’m going to leave greasy fingerprints all over everything).
So this stuff. It has the same hand as regular crepe, that sort of rough texture that helps it cling together when you’re matching seams, but it has a weight and a palpable luxury that turns the silk crepe knob to 11. I found it last year in San Francisco at a place called Fabric Outlet . They had a huge table piled with silk for under $10 a yard and I think I terrified the staff and customers with my rabid dissection of its contents. I knew this was 4ply the moment I laid eyes on it, and clutched the scant yard to my chest like a toddler with a security blanket. It had a slight faded line on a portion of it (perhaps sitting in the sun for too long at some point in its lifespan) but I didn’t care. It was $8 and one of my favourite colours and I would Make It Work.
Fast forward a year later. In dire need of some breezy summer tops, I bought the Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank with the intention of hacking a high-low hem to cover my butt for lazy legging days. I was sure I could squeeze the pattern out of my remnant, but quickly discovered this was not the case. A quick search of the pattern stash revealed that I didn’t own a single top pattern that can be made for less than a yard and a half. After futilely moving the pattern pieces around in abject misery, trying to will more fabric into being, I realized I was only going to Make It Work by getting creative with the shears.
I dropped the back hem by about 5 inches and cut the back piece into two parts. This created two additional seams – one running across the small of my back, the other running vertically to my butt. Breaking up the pieces let me eke out what I needed; I only had a few measly scraps when I was through. I honoured this noble material with french seams throughout and a tiny rolled hem, along with the suggested bias tape at the neck and arm openings.
The fit is divine. Perfectly drapey with my favourite scoop neckline, it is flattering while giving my chocolate belly a little room to breathe. I didn’t even have my usual back neck/narrow shoulder gaping, probably due to the drape of the fabric. A summer workhorse staple!
Photos by Guillaume Gilbert