Sometimes it’s all about the fabric

I don’t lead a very glamorous life, but I think I’m going to have to find some sort of glamorous event to go to, just to wear my new top.

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This is made from a sumptuous silk velvet from Les Coupons de Saint Pierre.  I’d been looking for some silk velvet for ages – not really with any concrete project in mind, just for stroking – but it’s quite difficult to find.  I’m not sure where I came across this website, but I thought 3 metres of 150cm wide fabric for €45 – about £35 at the time – was very reasonable.  There was a good range of colours as well, it took me a while to narrow it down to this chartreuse / olivey green.  When it arrived the price seemed even more reasonable – this stuff is seriously gorgeous.

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I originally took these photos to show you my new Ginger jeans, but when I look at them the top just takes all the attention, so we’ll do the jeans another time.

Obviously with a special fabric like this, it took me ages to identify the perfect pattern.  I still haven’t really, this only used just over half a metre, so I have plenty left for a proper project.  I was flicking through an old notebook and came across this picture I must have ripped out of a magazine years ago.

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I quite fancied a similar top, and then remembered one of Burda magazine’s ‘non-patterns’ from the July 2012 issue.  This issue included a number of patterns designed to use silk scarves as the base fabric, including this little number (sorry for the crappy phone photo…)

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It’s literally two silk scarves, with two leather pieces for the shoulders and two straight seams for the sides.  I suppose at least Burda charges a fiver for this stuff, Nicole Farhi seems to have done pretty much the same thing and flogged it at £250 a pop!  Anyway, I thought it was a good approximation of the inspiration piece, and promised to be pretty straightforward – I wasn’t sure how easy this velvet would be to sew with.

The ‘pattern’ calls for two silk scarves at 51cm square – it seems a pretty pricey way to buy fabric, unless you got incredibly lucky and found two identical scarves in your local charity shop – and it only covers Burda sizes 34, 36 and 38 whereas my usual size would be a 40 or 42.  I took a scientific approach guessed that a 55cm square would probably be about right, so I cut two squares from my precious length of fabric, and hemmed each edge.  I was pleasantly surprised at how un-tricky this proved, there was pretty much no fraying, and I used my walking foot which prevented any weird shifting of the fabric, making it a simple process.

The shoulder pieces were cut from some soft leather scraps I picked up for £5 at Edinburgh Fabrics – Burda provide a pattern piece for these, a diamond which you fold in half and glue to make triangles.  These are then sewed to the top of the two squares, slightly in from the edge – this is what it looks like from the inside (left) and the outside (right):

Then it was just a process of carefully measuring guessing how much of a gap I needed to leave for the armholes, and sewing a 1cm seam allowance down the two sides.

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Possibly the easiest top ever, but very effective.

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The leather is pretty much exactly the same colour as my skin, which has the unintended but cool effect of making this look like it’s mysteriously floating along my collar bone.

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So, any suggestions as to a suitable glamorous event I could attend?  Maybe I’ll just have to wear it to work in the absence of a better offer….

13 thoughts on “Sometimes it’s all about the fabric

  1. This is beautiful. The colour is amazing, and I can only imagine what it feels like on. i think you need to wear it to the next meet up so we can stroke you for a bit. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Burdastyle velvet dress – Mrs Whiskerson

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