I’m forging ahead in my silk blouse saga by adding more difficult features with each garment (Silk Blouse 1 & 2). With this top, I took on a more challenging fabric – silk crepe de chine. I decided to use the ‘gelatin method’ to stabilize the fabric during cutting and sewing. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I bought WAY too much gelatin because I don’t pay attention when ordering from Amazon and tend to order whatever has the lowest price per unit, which means I end up with a lot of units. Another case in point, I bought 250 paper bags for the wedding when all I needed was 30.
I read every set of instructions for how to use the gelatin before trying it out, but ended up primarily following posts from Lena, Threads, Anne, and Jo. It’s actually really simple to do – I highly recommend it! Unfortunately I didn’t take any before & after pictures and I’m not going to explain the process any further – the others have done a more than sufficient job explaining it.
Here are, however, my thoughts/recommendations on using gelatin:
- I had 2.5 yards of this 45″ fabric and 3 liters was just enough to cover it all. Next time I’ll make more of the solution.
- Let the fabric air-dry as straight as possible. I folded mine selvage to selvage before drying to save space and the fabric at the fold didn’t retain the gelatin as well, making it more unruly, especially when the rest of the fabric has a different stability.
- Ironing and sewing was a breeze. No gunk build up at all. I didn’t use any steam while ironing for fear the gelatin would dissolve.
- Remember to keep a sample of the fabric before adding the gelatin so you know if you’ve washed all the gelatin out at the end. Also, so you can convince yourself that it made a difference in the first place!
- Your fabric won’t be stiff by any means. You’ll still have to work with it carefully. In the photos below I believe there is still quite a bit of gelatin in my blouse and, at least in my opinion, it looks fine.
- Gelatin reduces fraying!
I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Light fusible interfacing. I followed the directions and fused on the silk/low wool setting, first from the wrong side, and then again from the right side. Everything was great and fused until I went to wash the finished garment. I hand washed it in lukewarm water with a few drops of normal laundry detergent and almost immediately I could see bubbling under the fabric. I stopped washing right away and let it dry overnight. The bubbles, and gelatin, were still there in the morning but after ironing out the wrinkles, they have mostly disappeared. I don’t doubt that they are there however and will re-appear after a second washing. I’m not sure if the bubbles were just from ironing at a low heat setting with incomplete fusing, or maybe the fusible adhered to the gelatin which then dissolved, reducing the adherence. Either way, I’m going to be VERY careful to not spill or get this top dirty, because I don’t want to wash it and ruin it again. If you have any thoughts on the interfacing issue I’m very interested to hear – I don’t want to have this issue again!
I used McCall’s 6436 to make a classic button-up blouse (minus the pockets). It had a few more challenging features for my growing silk skills: collar stand, collar, cuffs, button bands, two-piece sleeves. This pattern comes with multiple front pieces for A/B, C & D cups. The difference between my high bust and full bust is exactly 2″, which put me right between A/B & C cup sizes according to the pattern. For unknown reasons, I decided to go with the C cup front even though BMV patterns are typically B cup and fit me fine. I should have gone with the A/B cup. The darts are too long and end right near my bust apex. I considered adding the pockets to cover the darts but I don’t like how silky bust pockets end up drooping so much. Thankfully, the fabric has relaxed since washing and my boobs aren’t quite as pointy anymore.
I sew with McCalls/Vogue/Butterick often, but I found this blouse had fit issues I haven’t encountered in any other pattern before. The shoulders are too wide. It’s tight through the hips. The sleeves are long (but they are long on the model as well). It’s tight across my upper bust. I removed 2″ from the bottom before hemming and it’s still on the long side if it isn’t tucked in, which is how I’ll wear it.
Yes, I should have made a muslin. I’ll continue to wear this top anyway, because I don’t think it’s much different than what I would find in RTW, but take note those of you considering this pattern!
I am really happy and proud of the finishes on this top. I spent a lot of time making sure I did the right techniques and took my time instead of skipping corners. Fingers crossed the bubbling doesn’t reappear and ruin my hard work!
Since the sleeves are two-pieces, the sleeve opening is made by turning under the seam allowances and top-stitching.
I’ll be continuing with my silk saga…but am taking a short break for a few fast and easy projects :)