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silk organza

  • Duopioni vs. Shantung

    Silk. We know that silk has long been regarded as one of the most luxurious of fabrics. It was once exclusive to aristocrats, First Ladies and royalty, being that it was and still is expensive and ever so tedious to produce. There are many different types of fabrics derived from silk fibers such as Georgette, Chiffon, and Organza to name a few. But lets start with a little background on the fiber itself.

    Princess Diana in a blue silk gown by Versace himself, 1996. Princess Diana in a blue silk gown by Versace himself, 1996.
    First Lady Jackie Kennedy in a silk zibe(r)line dress by Oleg Cassini.  Photo: Art Rickerby/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images First Lady Jackie Kennedy in a silk zibe(r)line dress by Oleg Cassini.
    Photo: Art Rickerby/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
    Bombyx mori Moth a.k.a.the domesticated silk moth. Compliments of xsilk.com Bombyx mori Moth a.k.a.the domesticated silk moth.
    Compliments of xsilk.com
    Sericulture refers to the raising of silkworms for the production of reeled silk. Silkworms are the caterpillars of the Bombyx mori moth. These caterpillars must be fed a proper diet of the white leave mulberry to ensure the filament can be unwound from the cocoon in a single unbroken strand. To ensure that the pupa inside does not emerge as a moth and mar the filament, they are stifled with steam or heat. In many cultures, the silk worms are then prepared in different ways as a local delicacy.

    After harvesting the silk cocoons, they are brushed and cleaned in preparation to be unwound and spun into yarns, which would later be woven into fabric. Silk doupionini and silk shantung are widely recognized as the golden standard of silk, but are often misinterpreted.

    Silkworm cocoons. Compliments of www.artofsilk.com Silkworm cocoons.
    Compliments of www.artofsilk.com
    Marc Jacobs Pale Gold Silk Midweight Dupioni Marc Jacobs Pale Gold Silk Midweight Dupioni via Mood
    Doupionini (Dupioni) is Italian silk of a fine caliber finished with a substantial hand. Originally, Doupionini was named for having been produced from double cocoons that are nested together. The double cocoons account for the uneven and irregular slubbing. When silk was once produced from wild cocoons alone, this would have been the most expensive due to the fact that this double nesting is a rare naturally occurring coincidence. Today this fabric type can be produced from man-made fibers such as polyester or acetate.

    Shantung silk is Chinese and originates from the Shandong province of China. The slubs are less textural in shantung, however it does have visible striations. Overall shantung is slightly thinner and less irregular than doupionini. Shantung is considered the midpoint between a drapable silk charmeuse and a stiff doupionini. Each fabric has a rough surface although neither is unpleasant.

    Pale Aqua Solid Silk Shantung via Mood Fabrics. Pale Aqua Solid Silk Shantung via Mood Fabric
    Duopioni featured in Pale Gold;Shantung featured in Pale Blue Dupioni featured in Pale Gold
    Shantung featured in Pale Blue

    An unfamiliar hand may not spot the difference between the two right away, however a quick trip to Mood Fabrics will have you putting your knowledge to the test. After collecting some swatches you can conduct a side-by-side comparison until you are dreaming of silk amid your sheets. Although each material is alluring in their own way, doupionini and shantung possess different properties that result in different intended uses. Doupionini creates a similar sound to taffeta and will not work for applications that require a textile with superior drape. At times silk shantung can almost appear to cascade and it has an easier drape than doupionini. Each can be fashioned into exquisite ensembles for any special occasion, however you must consider which lends itself better to your intended project.

  • Mood DIY: Personalized Halloween Napkin Rings

    Halloween is just around the corner, and it's such a fun holiday for adults to embrace their inner kid -- the dressing up, the copious amounts of candy, it all equals fun!

    Having guests over to celebrate? Well...you may want to try a personal "spooky" take on the traditional holiday settings. It's quick....it's easy....and it makes for a great keepsake: Personalized Halloween Napkin Rings. Just head over to Mood like I did and grab some organza ribbon, felt, and some fabric paint...and you're ready to go! Mood DIY Halloween Napkin Rings Mood DIY Halloween Napkin Rings

    SUPPLIES: felt, silk organza ribbon, fabric paint, straight pins, scissors, and a print out of all the images you want to use (I used Google Images to find some cute ones!!!) Mood DIY Halloween Napkin Rings HOW-TO: 1. Find silhouettes of pictures you want on Google Images, and print them out the size of about 1/4 of a page or less, then cut them all out. 2. Take your organza ribbon and cut a piece for each of your place settings (Note: be generous so you can have a nice size bow -- mine were each 31 inches long). 3. Using straight pins, attach each image to your felt. 4. Carefully cut out your images. 5. In the spot you'd like your ribbon to run through your felt "character," make a tiny incission (about an 1/8th inch) with your scissors. 6. Take the nozzle of your fabric paint, and carefully spell each name of your guests. (Note: I would practice first to gauge how fast paint comes out when you apply pressure to the bottle, because in the event you mess up, you don't want to have to start all over). Let dry for a few hours. 7. Slip your organza ribbon evenly through the incission you made in Step #5, and you're all done! Mood DIY Halloween Napkin Rings

    Brandhyze Stanley is the chief voice of the award winning blog, Frugal-nomics.com; a platform designed to share with women how to live and look fabulous on a dime. A DIY girl at heart—Brandhyze has been featured on The View, The Early Show, The Today Show, InStyle Magazine, Essence Magazine, and MTVStyle. A Wilhelmina Model for over a decade, with a Business Degree from Loyola University Chicago, Brandhyze provides DIY content to the popular How-To Site, eHow; and was a Fashion & Style Writer and Video Contributor for Newsday Westchester. Brandhyze is a huge thrifter and a lover of all good deals, follow her on Twitter @MyFrugalnomics and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Frugalnomics.

  • Finished: The Textured Bomber Jacket

    Bomber jackets found on Net-a-Porter: l-r, Isabel Marant, Maison Martin Margiela, Maje Bomber jackets found on Net-a-Porter: l-r, Isabel Marant, Maison Martin Margiela, Maje

    My first sewing obsession of the new year was to make a bomber jacket. Every time I saw a  bomber jacket added to Net-a-Porter or read some fashion editorial about varsity jackets as the latest thing, I decided I had to make one for myself.

    So, hmm, I knew I wanted to make a black bomber jacket, though I didn't intend to make a textured bomber jacket. But readers, even though I work at Mood Fabrics and fabric is my business, I GET OVERWHELMED TOO! I was wandering around our silk department, pattern in hand, and I was an indecisive mess. Drool was practically coming out of my mouth, I was in such a stupor over which fabric to choose. But then our wonderful, longtime sales associate America thrust a bolt of newly arrived Marc Jacobs wool-blend brocade at me and said "Here, this is your fabric." Actually, I think she just wanted me to quit taking up space on the sales floor, but I grabbed a couple yards of it and scurried back to my office downstairs.

    bomber front 1

    And this cotton brocade turned out to be a delight to work with. Don't you just love it when fabric behaves? When a seam presses open perfectly and your stitches disappear into the fabric? We still have some of this brocade available at the Mood NYC store: call 212-730-5003, ask for America (or the silk department) and tell her you want Meg's bomber jacket fabric; $50 a yard and worth every penny.

    bomber detail

    Above, a better glimpse of this textured fabric and some of the jacket details. You can see I opted to use elastic encased in silk satin rather than the called-for ribbing at the waist and cuffs. I tested a couple of knit ribbing options first, including a neoprene, but wasn't happy with them. I do like the contrast of the smooth satin with the textured cotton.

    The zippers are pick-stitched rather than machine-stitched; I think that's a little more elegant. I wish I had gone with a more expensive zipper rather than these ordinary YKK zippers, and that  I had played a little more with zipper treatments before going the exposed zipper route, but oh well, live and learn.

    bomber inside

    I chose not to line this jacket. The cotton fabric would have been fine without a lining but I decided to flatline it instead with some silk organza, just to give it a little wearing ease and a neat appearance when you see the inside of the jacket. (Flatlining is a technique where the fashion fabric and lining fabric are treated as one fabric, rather than constructing the garment first and then attaching the lining.) I basted the silk organza to the cotton brocade pattern pieces before I sewed the pieces together. Which pattern, you ask? It's BurdaStyle 7210, and you can buy it from Simplicity.com; yay, no tracing involved! This pattern is very well drafted in the sleeve area and overall. The only adjustment I made to the pattern itself was to narrow the sleeve width slightly (personal preference), and to omit the front and back flaps. Other construction details: - Seams are either Hong Kong-finished with satin bias tape or serged. - The neckline finish consists of a silk satin bias piece that is lined with some neoprene I had around, just to give it some fullness. - I hate when the zipper tape shows on the wrong side, so I covered it with satin bias tape (handstitched). - Pockets are made from black silk charmeuse I had in my stash.

    bomber inside 2

    Bottom line: Really, really pleased with this jacket, though it ended up being a little more structured in appearance than a typical bomber jacket. I wear it unzipped over a t-shirt or turtleneck, and with jeans or black or tan pants. Sewing construction actually was easy and it all came together fairly quickly. In fact, I'm now working on another interpretation of the bomber jacket, this time in ivory neoprene with lace overlays....

    Thinking about making a bomber jacket? Really, the fabric options for this type of jacket are endless. I'd consider lighter-weight fabrics with some body, soft hand and relaxed drape, maybe a medium-weight satin. Take a look at bomber jackets in stores and online and see what fabrics work best, then go for it!