Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Sewing - Silk Fabrics

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


  1. Shirley said:
    Thanks for showing us all the different silk and
    the description of each. Thanks for the post.

  2. Have you decided whether you are going long or short? I LOVE the look of the floor lenth! Very elegant, but hey, did you ask, but I thought, why not through in my 2
    Thanks for sharing the different silks, and again, I know you didn't ask, but I agree with your choice of fabric...just in case you wanted to
    Have fun making this beautiful gown/dress.

    1. I'm going with the just under the knee length - I love the long one also, but I think I'll get more opportunities to wear the shorter one!