Okay - I've decided on the dress I'm making for my niece's wedding. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the candidates from my vintage pattern collection here. While I love the 50's vintage look, I'm going with the Belinda Bellville 1970s wrap dress. And I've decided to make it from silk - so my next choice is what type of silk fabric? I'm not sure if I'm going to dye it myself, but I ordered the silk sample pack from Dharma to get a feel for the different weaves. Mmmm - it's heaven to thumb through all the different silks! I cut several out of the running for being too sheer or for being velvet. I love velvet, but not for this dress! That left seven possibilities.
Silk Habotai 16 mm - This is the basic "China Silk" in a heavy weight. It's very soft, lightweight, and lustrous. This could have a nice drape for a wrap dress, but I'm a little worried about the "cling factor." I'm not fond of having a fabric hug my body!
Heavy Crepe de Chine 30mm - This has a soft sheen and a soft drape that seems perfect for this dress. It's known to be a forgivable silk when it comes to sewing and it doesn't fray - big pluses. Crepe de Chine has a slightly wavy texture from reverse twisted weft threads (one's twisted one way and one's twisted the other way). I also got a sample of stonewashed Crepe de Chine that I really like the texture of, but it's thinner (16.5mm) - a little too thin. If I could find a heavier stone washed one, it might work.
Silk Noil - This is thicker than the other silks and still has a good drape. Silk noil is woven from the short fibers that are leftover after carding and spinning silk. It's not supposed to be as durable as other silk, but I don't think that would be a problem in this case. It's supposed to sew easily and resist wrinkling. The texture is great - there are little nubs all over it. On the down side, it doesn't look a lot like silk! More like cotton - but it does feel wonderfully soft like silk.
Silk Dupion 19mm - This is shimmery silk with lots of texture - raised silk slubs and intermittent shiny threads. It's crisp, though - a little like taffeta. I'm not sure this is the best choice for a wrap dress ... but it is gorgeous. It also seems to ravel a lot, which would make for tough cutting and sewing.
Silk Satin - 12mm - This is a yummy, shiny, silky fabric. Probably too much cling factor, though.
Sand Washed (sueded) Charmeuse 19.5mm - Another shiny, sensuous silk. Probably great for lingerie, not for this. Cling factor again!
Silk Twill 12mm - This fabric has a smooth texture, but you can still see a diagonal twill weave. I think that twill weave would make it a little too stiff for a wrap dress.
Hmmm .... right now I'm thinking a heavy Crepe de Chine. But I am intrigued by the texture of silk noil. And after savoring all these silk samples, I'm coming up with more silk sewing projects for the future!
Happy Creating! Deborah