I love it when an outfit comes together the way I imagine it. Lately, I feel like I've been able to hit the mark more with more accuracy than ever before. This is probably to be expected since I've been sewing for four years now, but I'm truly surprised each time it happens.
I get an incredible amount of satisfaction out of sewing my own garments. I love the level of customization I can put into things: fabric type, patterns, size. And, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having access to types of garments that would, otherwise, be out of my reach.
I'm not the type of seamstress aiming to recreate fast fashion garments from Mod Cloth or H&M. I like fancy fabrics and quality construction. My dad has always teased that I have champagne taste and a beer budget; think Holly Golightly standing outside Tiffany's or Carrie Bradshaw's Manolo Blahnik addiction. Fortunately for my bank account, I've never been the sort to spend my mortgage payment or forego food for the sake of a purchase, but it doesn't stop me from looking. wishing. wanting. Sewing makes the things of dreams possible.
I sewed this skirt using a piece of black silk that I'd purchased from my very first estate sale. The estate was the home of two unmarried sister seamstresses. They lived in their Chicago 2-flat brownstone from birth; two generations occupied the space before them. They sewed their entire wardrobes through the 50s, 60s and 70s collecting fabrics, patterns and notions along the way. The home was filled with treasures. To be honest, I was too overwhelmed by my inaugural expedition to fully appreciate the fabrics they'd left behind. I left with an armful of fabrics purchased for a grand total of $3.
To test the content of this fabric, I did a burn test. I'm not an expert, but based on the burn pattern and the slight sheerness of this particular fabric, I think it's a shantung. It's got a gorgeous lustrous quality and it drapes really beautifully. It's been sitting in my stash for a couple years now waiting for me to improve my skills and decide what I wanted to make.
Right now, midi-skirts are at the top of my list for fall/winter wardrobe staples. And, that piece of silk I'd stashed was a perfect fabric for a staple skirt. I considered a few different skirt pattern options, but at the moment, I'm having a serious love affair with my Sewaholic Hollyburn and Renfrew patterns. Soon, I will have a little capsule wardrobe of Hollyburns and Revfrews (MUAHAhahaha). It's really easy to get caught-up sewing these, because both of these patterns are incredibly easy and fast to sew, and the end results are swell.
The fabric I used to sew my Renfrew is estate sale fabric too (<$1.00). It's from a different sale and a different decade, probably the 80s. I'm really uncertain about knits. I'm still in the early stages of sewing with them. I think this is a cotton blend. I also think it's what might be considered a stable knit. It doesn't have a lot of stretch. From my first experiment making the Renfrew, I knew that it wouldn't be a good candidate for the crew neck version of the pattern; I used a fabric with similar stretch on my first version and went MAD trying to get the neckband to lay flat against my body. So I chose the cowl option. And, the final result is pretty fantastic. I would love some pointers on the fit of the Renfrew, particularly through the chest and front shoulder area; otherwise I'm happy with the result. It pairs beautifully with my black Hollyburn, but it's got enough gusto to stand on it's own with a pair of jeans. Both these garments are versatile separates with lots of potential for outfit building.
I did a little looking around the internet. Turns out, silk midi skirts are difficult to come by. Burberry sells this one for $1,003, this Piazza Sempione skirt is $890, and this Honor skirt is still $600 at 50% clearance. I'm certainly not comparing my own sewing abilities with these professional, luxury design houses, but I do have a completely custom silk skirt for a couple dollars and I wouldn't if I didn't know how to sew. That's pretty cool.