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silk crepe de chine

  • Finished: Fabric Store Diva Silk Kimono

    issa Inspiration: Silk tunics by Issa.

    I was going to start this post off by writing how I try to sew easy, simple pieces during the warmer months so I can spend less time sewing. But then I thought, who am I kidding? I opt for the simple stuff all year round now. Keep the design details to a minimum and let the fabric do all the heavy work, I say!


    Case in point, this très simple silk kimono top I just made in only a few hours, from cutting-out to final pressing. (This is so easy you can make it without a pattern, but I cheated and used Butterick 5790.) It’s very similar to this wool version I made last fall, which received many compliments every time I wore it. I call it my Fabric Store Diva Kimono, because I feel very divalicious when I wear it to work. It floats behind me when I walk down the aisles! You can dress it up by pairing it with a little black dress or a pair of silk pants, or down by wearing it with white jeans and a tee, which is my Mood outfit.

    Mood has the most gorgeous silk panels in-store and online, and I was aching to sew something with them. I found this silk crepe de chine black-and-peach print panel at our NYC store. Two panels were all I needed to make this kimono. In fact, two panels are all you usually need to make most dresses, tops and tunics.

    Tip: Panels are sold by the yard and by the panel. A panel is like a piece of art that has to be sold in its entirety—you wouldn't buy half a painting, right? Panels vary in size, but most are a little longer than a yard. If you can, bring your pattern pieces with you to the fabric store so you can lay them out on the panel and see how they will fit. If you're shopping online, note the size of the panel and compare it with your proposed pattern layout.

    Bottom line: Immense payoff when compared with time invested. This kimono cape is now a favorite addition to my spring and summer wardrobe. You should sew one too! Be a Coachella style icon and make one out of white lace that you pair with a tank top and cut-off jeans shorts. Or make one out of a cotton voile print that you can drape over your bikini as a coverup. Or go the silk panel route. Whatever your style, this kimono delivers maximum impact for minimum effort. silk-tunic-detail
  • Finished: Placement Print Tunic from Thakoon Silk

    Inspiration: Boldly printed silk shirts by Erdem, Just Cavalli and Etro. Available at Net-a-Porter. Inspiration: Boldly printed silk shirts by Erdem, Just Cavalli and Etro. Available at Net-a-Porter.

    What is it about the warmer weather that makes me go a little cray-cray over prints? Once the temperature gets above 60 degrees I shed my blacks and neutrals and flock to bold prints and colors. This is bound to have something to do with spending my formative years in color-saturated, perpetually warm places like Los Angeles, New Orleans and Dallas.

    So when we got in these gorgeous Thakoon silk prints at Mood Fabrics, of course I had to nab some for myself. I went to Style.com and took a look at how the designer himself used these prints in his spring 2012 collection, and really liked his shirts and the way he mixed prints and colorways. Blatant rip-off time!

    Thakoon-top-side-view The gold colorway is a luscious, 4-ply silk crepe, and the black colorway is silk crepe de chine. Both are still available at MoodFabrics.com, but don't wait long to order as our stock is getting low. Thakoon-top-front I made this shirt from a circa 1980’s Simplicity pattern I bought on Etsy, combining the long and short versions to make my bi-level top. It’s blousy and tunic-y, which is the easy summer look I was going for. Plus, a loose fit means fitting time can be minimized. I’m a sew-and-go kind of girl these days! Construction was easy and straightforward. Where I spent the most time was in determining print placement. You can see with big paisleys like these that it’s gonna make a difference where you place your pattern. I relied heavily on fashion images showing how Thakoon placed the prints himself. Thakoon-top-back-view Thakoon-top-detail Bottom line: I like this top/tunic. It’s a really bold print for me but it works well with jeans and heels. More silk tops to come!
  • Made It: Silk Top à la DVF

    Sewing inspiration: I thought something like the DVF top shown above would be the perfect top for the warmer months. It looks breezy-cool to wear and like a breeze to sew. I mean seriously, who wants to be inside sewing on a warm spring or summer day? Not me, so that's why I gravitate toward fast and simple projects from May through August. Pattern: Butterick 5463 is a basic tunic pattern that comes close to the unstructured-ness of the DVF inspiration top. I tried View D, with the elbow-length sleeves, and shortened the sleeves and the bodice length. Fabric: Bright green silk crepe de chine from our store in NYC. Have I mentioned how much I love silk crepe de chine? I swear it's one of the most versatile fabrics out there. It makes great tops, pants, flowing skirts and linings, and it's easier (I think) to work with than silk charmeuse. We have silk crepe de chine in all colors in our NYC and LA stores, and tons more at Moodfabrics.com. Finished top:
    Butterick 5463 in green silk crepe de chine; paired with a turquoise necklace.
    I love it when minimal effort delivers maximum results. The finished top was easy to sew, fits me perfectly, and the color is flattering and looks fantastic with jeans of all colors, especially white. I'm calling it the "Ann top," after Ann in our silk department. (Originally I was going to make this out of a gray silk crepe de chine, but Ann persuaded me to go with the green and I'm so glad she did.) Do you have any favorite top patterns for the spring and summer? Have you ever made a top out of silk crepe de chine? Leave a comment here because we'd love to hear from you!

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    Save 15% on Mother's Day gift cards! If I didn't already work here I'd want my family to get me a gift card from Mood Fabrics for Mother's day. Seriously, what a great gift for fabric-holics like us. Hurry, the fifteen percent savings on online gift cards only lasts until this Thursday, 11:59 pm ET. (Online only; not available in stores.)