Summer of Silk Crepe

Sew Well - StyleArc Dotty in #MoodFabrics silk crepe de chine

It’s been a summer of silk crepe for me.  First there were last month’s Polly tops, and now there’s this loose, fun wrap top made from Mood Fabrics’ pinstriped silk crepe de chine.  The pinstripe in this particular fabric reminded me of something you might see on a man’s shirt, but the softness of the silk felt very feminine.  And, while I could easily imagine it as a Grainline Archer, a pattern I’ve previously made and wear all of the time, I wanted to play up the softness of this fabric a bit more, so instead I chose the loose wrap Dotty Blouse from Style Arc.

Sew Well - StyleArc Dotty in #MoodFabrics silk crepe de chine

The pattern features a wrap front created from folding the front piece back on itself.  A silk crepe de chine is a perfect fabric for this type of top since it’s the same on both the front and the back.  The neckline is meant to be tacked where the right side and the left side cross, providing a bit of modesty, but I’ve left it open for now and am instead wearing it with a nursing tank.

The pattern calls for sleeves, but at the encouragement of my husband, I decided to go sleeveless for this version.  It has been a warm August after all!  I used my favorite sleeveless blouse, the Sewaholic Pendrell, to help me figure out how to cut the armhole.  In case you’re curious, I had to remove about an inch at the top of the shoulder, add a quarter of an inch at the bottom of the armhole, and blend everything in between.  I ended up binding the armhole with self-bias binding for a nice, clean finish.

Sew Well - StyleArc Dotty in #MoodFabrics silk crepe de chine

The pattern also features a longer back with a rounded hem, and together with the shorter, blousier front, the effect is reminiscent of the trendy I-can’t-be-bothered-to-fully-tuck-my-shirt-in look.  I quite like it!

Sew Well - StyleArc Dotty in #MoodFabrics silk crepe de chine

As an aside – while silk crepe de chine is lovely to sew, and even more lovely to wear, one question I have is how to keep the wrinkles out of it?!  After an hour in the car and on the ferry to get to Bainbridge Island for a weekend with friends, and I might as well have pulled this top out of the hamper instead of off the ironing board! Is that just the way of it with this fabric? Any tips or tricks for keeping your silk crepe de chine looking its best throughout the day would be greatly appreciated!

Sew Well - StyleArc Dotty in #MoodFabrics silk crepe de chine

I used a matching ivory silk crepe de chine (left over from previous Mood projects, but similar to this one) for the inside yoke to limit distracting lines showing through the semi-sheer fabric.  I also used a bit of bias binding around the back neckline, just as I did with the armholes, to neaten the seam.

The neckline facing didn’t get the same treatment since it was just an extension of the front piece.  The facing isn’t supposed to be stitched down, but I misread a diagram in the instructions and stitched it down fairly early in the sewing process.  Since I was worried the holes left from the needle would show if I ripped out the stitches, I just left it as is.  It meant the wrap didn’t have the lovely neckline drape that the pattern intended (see Thewallinna’s version made out of a gorgeous red Mood silk crepe de chine).  Instead, the front piece wanted to flop open when sewn into the side seam as directed.  So, I unstitched the bottom portion of the lovingly sewn French side seam and tried pinning a bit of this and a bit of that until I got a look close to what was originally intended.

Sew Well - StyleArc Dotty in #MoodFabrics silk crepe de chine

I ended up with a front wrap piece that met the side seam right at the bottom.

Sew Well - StyleArc Dotty in #MoodFabrics silk crepe de chine

To make the front wrap meet the side seam right at the hem, I had to fold up and hand sew the front piece with a bit of extra wrapped around the back.  The insides are no longer as pretty as they were when there was only an unadulterated French seam, but it’s worth it for a nicely wrapped front neckline.

I also decided to hem the back of the blouse using more of the self-bias binding.  I just couldn’t get the curve the way I wanted using either my machine or my hand to roll the hem.  The bias binding worked perfectly!

Sew Well - StyleArc Dotty in #MoodFabrics silk crepe de chine

I’m pretty excited to have yet another fun summer top to ride out the remainder of summer.  That said, I think I only have one or two more summer garments left in me this year.  I’m getting excited for fall!

Sew Well - StyleArc Dotty in #MoodFabrics silk crepe de chine

How about you?  Are you still stitching for summer (or winter, as the case may be!), or are garments geared for the next season already starting to fill your sewing queue?

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Comments


  • Ginger
    August 19, 2014

    This looks great! I was a bit turned off by the sleeves on this pattern, but I love how this looks sleeveless! It’s really, really pretty.

    • Amy
      August 20, 2014

      Thanks! I’m glad I took my husband’s advice to make it sleeveless. It’s perfect for summer but will easily carry through to fall with a cardigan. Hooray!

  • Amanda S.
    August 19, 2014

    I don’t know why some silks wrinkle and others don’t. I just washed a big piece of silk charmeuse and can’t for the life of me iron the wrinkles out! But other silk charmeuse fabric that I’ve sewn with doesn’t have this issue. It’s a mystery. The top is lovely on you. I’m really into these feminine and flowy tops lately.

    • Amy
      August 20, 2014

      Thanks! As for the feminine and flawy tops, they’re all I’ve been wearing this summer. Also, sorry to hear about your silk charmeuse. Hopefully a few more good presses will work. Or, as Peter suggests, steam?!

  • Male Pattern Boldness
    August 19, 2014

    This has a lovely 1920’s vibe — I could see it paired with a simple straight skirt. Have you tried steaming the wrinkles out?

    • Amy
      August 20, 2014

      Thanks! I thought of steam, but I was able to get it looking pretty good on my ironing board using a bit higher heat than suggested. It’s just that I was all excited to get photos while we were on the island, and I didn’t think to bring anything to press/steam out the wrinkles after the hour of travel. Maybe it means I didn’t press it enough before leaving? The light is bad in the basement where I’m currently working. Or, maybe that’s just the way it is after sitting in a seat for awhile? Likely it’s a bit of both! But, I’d sure like it if there was something you could do while pressing/steaming that would give the silk a bit of resilience throughout the day.

  • Bella
    August 19, 2014

    Lovely top. I’ve just ordered this pattern so I’m keen to see other versions.

    • Amy
      August 20, 2014

      I’ve seen a few lovely ones out there. I linked to Thewallina’s above, which I think shows off the lovely neckline drape when done correctly.

  • Jennifer N
    August 20, 2014

    I lobe the color and the print. Great summer shirt. I have no tips for keeping silk crepe unwrinkled.

    • Amy
      August 20, 2014

      Thanks! I was hoping to have it ready in time for our get together, but things happen much more slowly around here these days!

  • Sallie
    August 20, 2014

    Great top Amy!! I love flowy silk tops for summer. So easy and breezy, yet chic! As someone who sews and wears A LOT of silk (but far from a silk expert) I think silk can just get wrinkly sometimes. Especially with long car rides and sweat. But it doesn’t detract from the finished look, in my opinion.

    • Amy
      August 20, 2014

      Thanks for the tips! I do love all of your silk tops…

  • Katy
    August 20, 2014

    I love your combination of pinstripes and a flowy top.

    Btw, do you knit? Bainbridge Island has a great yarn/tea/needlework store called Churchmouse. Definitely worth a visit. It’s near the ferry in Winslow.

  • DebB
    August 20, 2014

    Your finishing work on this top is lovely! Beautiful summer look. Just go with the wrinkles – its silk, so it is chic!

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    August 25, 2014

    Wow, that looks so dreamy and comfortable!

  • Fiona
    August 30, 2014

    Loving the wrap style of this! The fabric is perfect for it too, very wearable but with a bit of interest. Thanks for the detailed interior pictures, always nice to see how it comes together!

  • Lori
    September 8, 2014

    This is such an elegant top, perfect with jeans but can go to the very dressy look, too. The look and lines of the top kept me from even seeing the wrinkles