Monday, 5 December 2016

Sand-Washed Silk Vogue 1247 Top (and bonus sewing for the home!)

I adore the skirt I made from the ever popular Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 pattern and have been meaning to make up the top that comes with it for ages. In fact the top was what interested me in the pattern in the first place. I finally got my hands on just the fabric I had first envisioned the top in when Stoff Stil got in touch a few months ago to see if I'd like to try out some of their fabrics. The silk section is one that I gravitate towards whenever I'm checking out a new fabric site as I just love working with it and Stoff Stil did not disappoint with a particular gorgeous colour range of sand-washed silks among other things.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 Top in Sand Washed Silk from Stoff Stil

For those of you who have not come across sand-washed silk before it's a silk (usually satin) which has been washed with the addition of sand or small stones. This gives the satin side of the fabric a texture and lustre that is hard to describe but it's much softer in the way that a brushed fabric or peach skin might feel touch. You might say it has a more casual appearance than a satin as it doesn't have that vivid sheen but it certainly feels just as luxurious to wear! Its one of those fabrics that I can't resist stroking in the shops. I chose this sand washed silk in 'nature' and as it was 135cm wide ordered 1.25m for my blouse.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 Top in Sand Washed Silk from Stoff Stil

The pattern definitely gives you a good challenge with all those seams to line up across the front. In this pale, solid colour any mistakes are really going to show up too! As I was using a lightweight silk I opted to use french seams throughout which not only pretty much doubled the construction time but made getting the intersection of the seams to match accurately even more difficult! I was really pleased with how this turned out to begin with (full story on why they aren't so beautifully matched now coming shortly!) and made a real effort to get as small a french seam as possible.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 Top in Sand Washed Silk from Stoff Stil

Despite being as lightweight and fluid as a satin the sand-washed finish of this silk gives it a bit of grip against itself which makes it easier to handle and sew. It also presses beautifully which was massively helpful to me when trying to create neat little french seams. As it has a matt lustred finish to it you don't need to worry about damaging a satin sheen when washing so I just throw this in the machine on a delicate 30 degree cycle. It's a really good quality silk that also comes in a lighter weight but I stuck with the regular because I wanted a little body in my blouse and didn't want it to be too sheer in this pale colour. The nature colour is lovely as it's bright but a little kinder on a pale skin tone like mine than a pure white.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 Top in Sand Washed Silk from Stoff Stil

A feature I really love about the pattern is the pleats at the shoulders; the top hangs beautifully in this area because of them. I am particularly proud of the neckline binding. Many patterns I've used before that include using binding as a facing don't instruct you to under-stitch the binding before turning it to the inside. This pattern does and that extra step makes such a difference. I first did this when binding the armholes on my flannel Alder Shirtdress and it was a revelation to be able to get binding that neat! I knew I was in for a challenge trying to get binding that narrow even in a silk with so much movement but it was surprisingly well behaved when given a good steam!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 Top in Sand Washed Silk from Stoff Stil

The only thing that proved tricky in this fabric and therefore turned out not quite as neat as I had hoped were the sleeve cuffs. I do really like the technique used in the pattern but it means you can see your under stitching on the outside once they are turned back and mine was a little wobbly on the shifty silk!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 Top in Sand Washed Silk from Stoff Stil

I was warned that the top for this pattern runs large but I stuck with the size 12 as that is what I cut for the skirt which fits beautifully. I quite like the oversized look in a top this style particularly when using such a lightweight fabric so was hopeful that it would turn out the glamorous little number I had in my head. Unfortunately when I basted up the side seams it drowned me! I didn't so much mind the excess of fabric as the silk hangs so nicely I didn't feel overwhelmed; the problem I had was the size of the neckline which was, in proportion with the rest of the top hugely deep and wide. The top does look to have a very relaxed fit on the pattern envelope and the neckline is wide but no where near as deep as mine turned out and I didn't want to have to wear a vest underneath. I hadn't bothered to make a muslin as I figured any problems in a style like this could largely be rectified by taking in the side seams but the rather revealing neckline scuppered that plan. The only way I could see to save it was to take it in down the centre front seam but that would undo all my beautiful seam matching! I took the plunge in the end after mulling it over for a day or two and took it in a whopping 2" on the double down this line. It has turned out better than I thought it might have but the seams don't match as well as they did to begin with and that bugs me. I feel much more comfortable in it now but next time will take that width out of the sides before cutting. I'd love to try it in a cotton voile or lawn, something where you can get really crisp, sharp seam lines.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Cushion Cover in Tropical Leaf Print Brushed Cotton from Stoff Stil

Stoff Stil are based in Denmark and as well as a range of dressmaking appropriate fabrics they stock a great selection of fun home furnishing prints and brocades. I seized the opportunity to spruce up my flat with a few fun new accessories and first selected this tropical leaf print brushed cotton to make some cushion covers with for my outside chairs. My flatmate and I appear to have serious issues with keeping plants alive so I figured why not sew my own foliage! Now winter has descended the cushions have moved inside and I love how they fit with the rest of the room.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Cushion Cover in Tropical Leaf Print Brushed Cotton from Stoff Stil

I could not be more pleased with this fabric choice, it's the ideal weight for a cushion cover or other kind of soft furnishing and has a truly gorgeous brushed finish. I gave it a good hot pre-wash and the print has lost none of it's vibrancy at all. Such good quality. I deliberated over adding a contrast flat or corded piping to the seams but in the end decided to let the print speak for itself and kept it clean and simple, using an invisible zip to fasten them.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Oven Gloves in Pineapple Brocade from Stoff Stil

My third choice of fabric was a pineapple brocade which is unfortunately no longer available but there are hundreds of other designs along these lines on the site. I couldn't resist picking a fun pattern as they really hit the right balance being modern and too kitsch or twee. I made a few pairs of these oven gloves as Christmas presents a few years ago and the fact that I had a much easier time making them this time around must be a sign of how much my sewing skills have improved over those years! The binding is a lot neater this time around and I chose to make my own rather than using shop bought. I learnt from my previous experience with the binding to trim the insulated wadding right down within the seam allowances once the layers were basted together as it means the binding has a lot less to stretch around and it applies more evenly. The use of the walking foot on my machine made the quilting stage much easier too, I didn't have that wonderful little tool last time! Looking at the pineapple print hanging over my oven door makes me smile every time, it really brightens up the kitchen. The fabric is so nice I don't want to dirty them though!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Oven Gloves in Pineapple Brocade from Stoff Stil

There is so much I want to say about the website itself but I'll keep it as brief as possible and just focus on the fabric part even though they stock much more! I do have some qualms about buying fabric online as I'm definitely someone who likes to touch the fabric and assess the suitability of it for my project by judging it in person but this site makes it as easy to buy online as I think I can be. Individual written descriptions about the weight and drape of the fabrics are perhaps a little lacking but each fabric type is given a thorough explanation and they use other means to give you a good idea of what to expect. Each fabric page shows images of that fabric made up into different things and I love the thorough care instructions including how much shrinkage you should expect when pre washing so you can factor that into the amount you order. The fabric selection is excellent with some surprising inclusions. I'm intrigued by their rainwear fabric and soft shell but my favourite section is 'design pieces' which includes one off large scale prints in various sizes, some of which are designed to be the ideal shape and size to be made into a particular cushion, bean bag or even doll.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 Top in Sand Washed Silk from Stoff Stil

I am thinking about making some kind of colourful throw or quilt for the bottom of my bed and and will definitely be coming back for more of their bright and unusual prints when I do. I'm not normally so keen to jump at the chance of trying a new company then writing such a long and praise filled review when I do but the Stoff Stil range really grabbed me with their fresh and modern designs that really appeal to my home decor tastes.

10 comments:

  1. Lovely top! I've made that pattern a few times, 3x as a top and once as a dress. For two of the tops I modified the pattern slightly for the same reasons as you - on the first one I took it in down the CF seam and the next time I modified the pattern itself, slashing diagonally from the armpit to the neckline and overlapping the pieces slightly at the neckline (about 1.5 cm) to reduce the neckline depth. It worked really well, I actually picked up that tip from Amy at Cloth Habit. For the dress version I used a silk crepe and it was fine with no adjustments, something about the way the silk flowed, I think. I absolutely love the design though and your finished top looks very chic!

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    1. I think I saw your dress version! What a great idea. I might try that in a rayon or lawn for summer. Would be amazing on really hot days!
      I am definitely going to give that alteration a try next time, thanks so much. It sounds like exactly what I need. The volume of the top in such a fine fabric didn't bother me it was just that neckline

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  2. Lovely top ! Looks really chic!I

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  3. The first thing I noticed about your beautiful Navigator Blouse is how high the neck is. It looks absolutely fabulous on you. I have made this blouse twice, both times in silk, and the neckline is so low, that I must wear a tank top underneath. Recently, I read on someone's blog that she altered the pattern to raise the neckline by two inches. That is what I am going to do next time.

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    1. It's so good to hear that this was a common problem with other people too! I really wanted to avoid wearing another top underneath this as the silk drapes so beautifully and feels so nice against the skin on it's own. Raising a neckline is a very good idea if you want to keep the volume

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  4. Your top looks fantastic!! I made this in a floral poly chiffon, and it was a beast to get it looking good. I have always meant to revisit the top in a solid, opaque fabric that presses well, though, the lines are really great. A neutral white like yours is certainly a good option!

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    1. Oo I bet in chiffon this was a real beast! it was tricky enough in this silk which was actually remarkably well behaved for something so fine! I though something this voluminous would need something with a very soft drape but I actually like the idea of something crisper now which might give a boxier effect and really show off those seamlines

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  5. Absolutely stunning! I love sandwashed silk. Wish it wasn't so expensive!

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    1. Thanks Charlie! The feeling is mutual over here! I just love how it feels

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!