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Feb 4, 2013

Silk Chiffon LOVE + Vogue Winner!



Readers, do you ever wonder what the neighbors are thinking when they look into your windows or do you generally draw the shades?

Oh, the joys of silk chiffon.  But wait: first, our Vogue Patterns Magazine Giveaway winner is....

Mrs. Garment Farmer!!!



MGF, please shoot me an email (peterlappinnyc at gmail dot com) with your mailing address and I'll get your magazine out to you ASAP.  Congratulations!

And now back to silk chiffon.

Please recall that on Saturday at the flea market I stumbled upon two yards of black silk chiffon and four yards of pink silk chiffon in a pile of old fabric and clothes.  OMG, I love this stuff!   I cannot believe I wrote this post five months ago about sewing with chiffon without ever having experienced silk chiffon.  I mean, the difference between poly chiffon -- which is admittedly fun and pretty cheap -- and silk is like night and -- you get my point.

Silk chiffon:



Poly chiffon:



The poly is thicker and has much less drape.  The silk is clingier, stretchier, and as floaty as soap bubbles.

Yesterday I hand washed my fabric: wet, it had that slightly fishy silk smell, but it dried very fast.



Then I ironed it at the low silk setting.



It came out gorgeous.





For me, silk chiffon brings to mind classic Hollywood glamour:

Elizabeth Taylor in Helen Rose (from "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof").



Grace Kelly, also in Helen Rose (from "To Catch a Thief").



Marlene Dietrich in Jean Louis (from her stage show).



Rita Hayworth, also in Jean Louis (from "Down to Earth").



I found these vintage beauties on Etsy.









I'm not sure what I'll be doing with this silk chiffon other than dancing around the living room, but I know what I won't be making:

1) a muscle tee shirt



2) Valentine's Day Boxers



3) Pajama pants (with a light coating of Crisco)



Color me conservative, but I'm not a fan of silk chiffon menswear.  It's a little...what's the word?  Tacky.

Readers, I must prepare for my big number.  Have you ever sewn with silk chiffon?  What did you make?

Have a great day, everybody!

39 comments:

  1. I was walking behind a very tall, very broad woman in my neighborhood, who had on a wonderful shirt, with a chiffon back, and lace insets. It was really striking. When she stopped and turned around, I noticed that she wasn't a "she" at all, and it was STILL fabulous!

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  2. Loving your photos of extreme silk chiffon happiness!

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    Replies
    1. Those are some wonderful photos!

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  3. I'm pretty scared of such diaphanous fabric. I have this great length of emerald green and Kelly green polka dot poly satin stuff I have been wanting to use for two years. It's feels heavenly and I want to use it with Vogue 2787 but I'm nervous about sewing something that I won't really wear. Plus I have to get new needles for the machine... Blerg, I'm pretty much a cotton kind of gal. If a small child could ruin it with one grabby hand I don't make it or buy it. I'm just not to that point in my life yet. Aaaaah the glamorous life of a SAHM. Screw it, I really want to make it. Good luck with the chiffon! I can't wait to see what it becomes!

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  4. My oldest sister had a bright blue prom dress of silk chiffon. Unfortunately, my mother didn't care for it properly, so by the time I wanted to wear it five years later, the fabric was coming apart from not having been cleaned or stored properly.

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  5. do your homework about how to cut out a pattern (pin it to paper as well as the pattern, and cut all layers), and how to make narrow hems (practice, practice). It does take patience but my silk chiffon dress is such a love to wear. have fun.

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  6. Peter, Peter, Peter!
    Good luck to you kiddo with that chiffon...... plan it very carefully and be sure your in the perfect 'mood' because you're going to need it! I tried cotton chiffon once......and that was enough! I had exactly half a nerve left after my efforts and tossed the project into the trash.......nevermore!!!! LOL!

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  7. I love silk chiffon but you can't breathe when cutting it out. I remember the first time I had to during a design course at community college and I had laid out my fabric perfectly and went to grab a pattern weight and came back to find a student that did even sew yet (she wasn't in the class ) had sat down at the table and pushed aside my fabric so she could color with markers. Foot stomping and death stares ensued.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry, but she might have gotten a "Joan Crawford" slap if it was me! LOL!!

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    2. OMG! I would slap the taste out of her mouth for even touching my fabric, hahaha

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    3. Oh, we are a rowdy bunch here at MPB, aren't we!! Lol!!

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  8. the guys shirt & lounge trousers (pants) are OK. maybe better in a slightly thicker/heavier weight as, as is,why bother wearing them at all. mind you it helps if you look like the guys in the advert (or either of you two, of course)
    but I agree those boxers are UGLY!!!!
    still I guess they could be fun gag gift.

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  9. Silk chiffon is stunning and worth all the effort, but it can completely work your last nerve. When you cut it out and lift it away from the table, it will seem to lose all shape. In school I was taught to make copies of the pattern, pin to chiffon (or charmeuse, etc...), cut it out and leave the chiffon pinned to the paper, then do the seaming and tear the (now perforated) paper away. It really saved my mind that semester.

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  10. I made a top for my daughter in chiffon. I went on You Tube and got some tips on how to sew it.
    I used tissue paper, and I think there is even some kind of tear away paper. Luckily my daughter was only 6 at the time. I would never of attempted to make an adult garment. I used my new gathering foot to make gathered strips.
    I used the tissue paper for these as well otherwise my machine would of eaten up the fabric. It wasn't too bad but I think I would pull my hair out if I was making something like that lovely dress. I used the remainder and gathered it to use as an overlay. I don't sew many clothes now I prefer to make crafty things. Photographs are lovely though.

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  11. You see, we told you so when you were making your harem outfit, that silk chiffon was a whole multiple orgasm better than polywolly. The way it ripples in the air, *sighofjoy*

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  12. Silk chiffon is gorgeous, I agree, but I really can't stop laughing at those black mens' pyjamas!

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  13. Love the silk chiffon. Haven't sewn it yet, BUT have a few LOVELY pieces, including floral on a dark background. All from charity shops. I just happened to be reading my notes on "Bias Bags" (making smaller pieces of bias into oragami type folds, sewing, and cutting out - an idea from India. I have some notes from a sewing list in India, and more in an article I was sent from England, by Samina Mirza (originally a Threads article, June/July 2003). I was drooling over a chiffon overdress, on top of a charmeuse underdress, when your blog came. If the maths makes you crazy, it is well explained, and you could also make 1 seam pants, loose, or gored skirts....Cathie, in Quebec.

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  14. Silk chiffon is a dream to play with and feels so soft against the skin, it is a new love for me too. I did find it hard to cut out without slipping.

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  15. Yeah - I love silk chiffon and have made a couple of tops. But it is annoying. Next time I am going to try the gelatine tip I read on PR - soak in a mix of gelatine and water, dry over your shower rail,then sew. Worth a go!

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    Replies
    1. I read somewhere that Japanese tailors used to dip thin silks in a starch solution (I can't remember if it was rice starch or potato but it was from food not the can stuff) and dry before cutting and sewing.

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  16. I've read good things about the gelatin as well. But I had to comment that you gave me a good giggle for the day with your dancing around the room with chiffon pic. Thanks, I needed that!

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  17. definitely pin to tissue paper and sew through tissue paper.
    ...and I highly recommend starching the chiffon with hairspray!...makes it easier to handle, and it washes out.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I did this as well as the tissue paper. You just reminded me. This I got from You Tube as well.

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  18. I used some when I made my wedding gown and have some godets cutout for a 1930s gown. Right now I'm getting ready to cut into their funky Anna Sui black floral silk chiffon to make myself a spring dress.

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  19. Re: The Video. I have read Oscar Wilde's Salome, in which the focus is materially different and truly terrifying. The written play contains no description of the dance itself (would love to have seen how Mr. Wilde staged it), but Salome is a young teenager, totally spoiled yet naive in her own way.

    I do not know if she wore chiffon.

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  20. Those boxers are really disturbing for some reason.

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  21. And THIS is why this is the first blog I read each day (and sometimes the only one). How fun is dancing around the room with chiffon? My kids went to Kindermusik classes when they were young, and one of the favorite activities was dancing around with these giant (chiffon) scarves. I actually bought some so we could do it at home. Congratulations for channeling your inner child....and making me wonder where those giant Kindermusik scarves ended up. Oh, and those chiffon menswear--WAY too Fredericks of Hollywood for my taste.

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  22. I've made SEVERAL gowns. From silk and from poly. Draped the fabric on bodice (similar to the green dress) and what not. And I've never ever used any "help" mentioned above. My advice - fast sewing without pins.

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  23. Yup, nothing drapes or flows like silk. Once you've had the silk, the poly stuff just seems cheap and nasty.

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  24. It's probably not enough for the Ginger Rogers dress you wanted, is it?

    But no, that wasn't chiffon (I think) but it was definitely silk.

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  25. My favorite fabric to sew with and wear is cotton,then come the knits , but now I want to buy silk chiffon just to dance in the living room with.
    Sadly, I don't think my front neighbors would even notice.
    Thank you for the fun pics so great to start this gloomy weather day.

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  26. This blog post has it all- joy, humour and style. There is a reason why I keep coming back!

    Oh, and for the record, definitely a 'blinds open' kinda gal- hang the neighbours... how else will you get flattering light?!!

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  27. Starch is good, but also make sure you use a brand new size 9 needle & change it the minute it threatens to snag. At grad school (Costume Design at SMU, Dallas) we were taught that you should change your needle every 5 hours or so anyway - which means a new one every morning for me.
    Now I'm off to do battle with a rabbit costume........Hoppity hop hop

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  28. I have a silk chiffon scarf about 1/4 of the way finished with hand rolled hems. I really should get back at that project. That's the only experience I've had working with silk chiffon.

    I haven't seen the "sew with tissue paper" tip until now, just the "cut with tissue paper" one.

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  29. I have zero creativity. I have to see something and copy it, pretty much exactly. I wish I were more inspired, but I leave that to more creative folk like yourself!

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  30. a tip for cutting your precious silk chiffon. Sorrry, it's going to involve spending more money on the right supplies. Get your hands on a serrated edge shears. Gingher makes one that I bought while I was in school. Don't ever let anyone else touch them and for goodness sakes don't ever drop them. Best always, Karen

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