Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sewing and Silk.

This week l've dusted off the sewing machine to make a couple of projects and hoped you might like to share them with me. Usually when  l'm inspired to sew something l head for the back room where l have a pretty large stock of vintage fabrics, trims, braids and cottons etc.This allows me to not only recycle, but also to create something unique. As the weather is getting cold l decided to make some armwarmers which are great to tuck up under 3/4 sleeves or even longish short sleeves.

To make them l've just found an old top and cut the sleeves off. The sleeve seam is cut open to allow all the trims to be sewn on flat. Here I've used vintage heavy lace, and 3 rows of pale cream lace which has been pleated as l've sewn.Then added ribbon to hide the messy stitching. The seam is then resewn to fit and elastic added to the end that tucks under your oversleeve, so they don't fall down..... Voila!! easy.

l was on a roll, so found a large piece of vintage curtain fabric and cut around the shape of a top l like the shape off. Just sewed the shoulder seams first then sewed some heavy lace along the front neckline and then added the neckband. sewed all the side/arm seams and added the sleeve and waist bands. The sleeves are a wee bit tight but will be o.k in the warmer weather, without sleeves underneath.

Sometimes the library has great books and a few weeks ago l borrowed this lovely book called Silk. (Jacques Anquetil). l took  some pics of my fave's which l'm showing here.

Pics. 18th century emboidered silk bodice, and silk court shoes.

18th century French brocade and pekin (fine soft silk) on frock.

Left. 18th century brocaded lampas (type of fabric) silk.
Right. Chine velvet patterned 19th century chair.

Peacock tapestry 1773. Silk brocade owned by Russia's Catherine the Great.
Right. Damask drapes with lampas silk border.

19th century French portrait of Rose Caron wearing satin and silk chiffon frock.

Over the years l've been able to collect a few silk embroideries, they often also have some form of handpainting.

l'm pretty sure these are both machine done but still beautifully done and typically Asian.

Gorgeous bed linens using a variety of fabrics from Bellanottelinens

Have a wonderful relaxing weekend, til next time.


  1. Hi Bron, its a little warmer the last few days. Hope your daughter doesn't freeze in Newy, although it should get as cold overnight as it is on the coast. Does she now follow the Newcastle Knights? That's Carls favourite footy team!

    Love the arm warmers, they would need to be wool down here though. And the lacy top is really pretty.

    How gorgeous is the silk...might have to try and find a copy of that book its looks beautiful.

    Have a lovely weekend also, Tam x

  2. Bron I love the colours you've used for the armwarmers and what a great idea for the lace top... and you make it all sound so easy!
    I can't wait to see them on you.

  3. Tam...l asked my daughter last night and she tells me she only follows State of Origon and is excited about Wednesday night's match. Re; the armwarmers yeh they'll be a bit cold in Winter here also, just have to layer them. Hope you have the book in your library too, its definitely worth a peek.
    Shel. Thanks for the kind comments, hope they actually look alright when l put them on...we'll see.

  4. I swear it's just too bad you live so far away. We would be the best pals. We do the exact same kind of projects. I love to borrow my mom's sewing machine (though I've only sewed pillows and curtains so far) and I love haunting the public library for books. The arm warmers you sewed look straight out of a costume archive. I seriously think you should go into costume design professionally. Maybe you are already? Also, the ribbons on the Rose Caron dress are so beautiful it makes me want to weep!

  5. I love silks, brocades, velvets, etc. I love luxurious fabrics. And, Bella Notte is absolutely one of my favorites for bed linens!

  6. Magpie..If you can sew curtains/drapes you can sew anything, they are the pretty much the most annoying of things to sew, all that measuring and cutting huge amounts of fabrics arrghh!l'm not in costume design but have earnt a living sewing many years ago and really loved it. l go to the library cos l think it lowers my blood pressure hahaha!! the most relaxing place in world except for maybe a market.
    Lush; Yeh fabrics... are such a joy arn't they. and the Bella Notte linens are indeed gorgeous.