It is such a joy to be asked to make a garment for the incredibly talented artist Iris Grace. Beckford Silk partner with Iris Grace to print her beautiful art work onto their silk. I have always loved seeing these silk prints in the Beckford fabric shop, the pretty designs teamed with the delicate nature of the silk is just stunning. I’m so excited to make this garment and I hope Iris Grace loves wearing it.
Raining Cats – Silk Fabric Print
The print is called ‘Raining Cats’. It is so beautiful with layers of colour and pattern. The muted colour pallet is just gorgeous and will translate so well into a fashion piece. The dress pattern I am using is called Stevie from Tilly and the Buttons. I am a big fan of Tilly and the Buttons patterns as the instructions are so detailed and easy to understand whatever your skill level. I think the fabric is going to look lovely in this easy tunic shape.
I have Iris’s measurements to ensure I make up the garment to her size.
The Starting Point..
Once I had cut my pattern pieces, I took a step back and really thought about how I wanted the different parts of the silk fabric print on the garment. I knew when looking at the print I wanted the stunning deeper blues to be at the hemline, gradually fading to the lighter colours at the top of the garment. To do this I needed to make sure the colour and section of print matched at the side seams. So the colours looked the same at the front and back of the garment.
After giving this some thought and roughly placing my pattern pieces out. I placed tins on the pattern pieces to hold down the fabric ready for cutting. Once cut, I always like to grip my fabric and pattern pieces together with clips.
Stay Stitching the Neckline
My first piece of sewing was to stay stitch the curved edges around the neckline. I used iron on interfacing to strengthen the neckline facing. I always line my ironing board with paper when using iron on interfacing. It is so easy to get the glue on the ironing board. Once I had all my pieces cut, I zig zag stitched all the edges to stop fraying and give a neat finish. I then stitched the shoulder seams.
Adding the Tie Fastenings
Then I was ready to sew the tie fastenings which sit at the back of the garment. I used a measuring tape to make sure I was stitching them at the right width all along the piece. As they are quite long thin pieces it was easy to get a few millimeters out. I snipped the corners of the ties so they would sit flat when turned right side out. To turn them right side out I used a blunt knitting needle. Once pressed they sat beautifully flat and neat, so its worth taking your time on these.
Working on the neck facing was fairly straight forward. It was then time to attached the neck tie fastening. This took a little time to get it in the right place, but once in it looked very neat. When the neckline and facing were stitched together, I snipped into the seam of the curved neckline. This allows the fabric to sit flat against the body. I understitched the seam allowance to the facing. Then the neckline was pressed. The seam rolled slightly to the inside of the garment so the stitching wasn’t visible. This gave a very clean edge to the neckline.
The pattern instructions called for the facing to be top stitched to the garment to make a feature. I made the design decision not to go ahead with this step. Because I felt this would not suit the silk fabric print I was working with. Instead I chose to secure the facing by stitching in the ditch at the shoulder seams. The facing was also secured in the yoke seam, so it did not move around.
The final steps
One of the last steps to the garment taking shape was the side seams. I stitched then pressed open the seams. The silk always behaves so well when pressed with a hot dry iron. It is a dream to press!
The last step was adding the lovely cuffed sleeve detail. I stitched the cuffs to form a band, then folded wrong sides together. I then attached them to the garment raw edges together. Once attached it just required a couple of hand stitches. This made sure the cuff details sat well and didn’t expose the raw edges.
Nearly finished! The last step was the hem. I chose to fold over the hemline to encase the zig zag edge, as I felt with the fine silk it would be neater. For heavier fabrics this might be too bulky, but I felt it was best for the silk.
Overall a real pleasure to work on this project. Stunning print, simple contemporary shape and I just know it will look beautiful when worn.
If you would like to know more about Iris Grace and her paintings which we have translated on to silk fabrics. Then do go to our website – Click Here The collection is stunning and would look beautiful made into any style of garment.
Below is Iris Grace in her dress made from Raining Cats in silk crepe de chine.