When Feathers and Silk Call Your Name
This was supposed to be a post about a large scale print wrap-skirt.
I walked into the Mood Fabrics LA store with a vintage, peacock-printed, maxi-wrap skirt in hand. I was intent on finding a large scale print to make myself a new wrap skirt and I needed the vintage one to estimate the yardage needed—depending on the width, it was looking like 5-6 yards. Nian (like Diane with an “N”) offered to help me find what I was looking for. On our way to the printed fabrics that can stand the wear and tear of a summer with four kids at home, she offered to show me some designer, large scale silk prints. Being the non-biased fabric lover that I am, I was happy to do a little window shopping in the “completely impractical for a mom like me” silk aisle. That’s when I saw it. This Roberto Cavalli-silk-feather-border-print. I immediately fell in love. Then I saw the price: $75 a yard. Even with a Mood Sewing Network fabric allowance, this fabric was way out of my price range, especially for a 6 yard project. I had to move on.
For the next hour, I browsed and browsed, trying to find the perfect print to make my new wrap skirt, but no fabric seemed nearly as fabulous as that Roberto Cavalli-silk-feather-border-print. I walked back to it. I swear I could hear it calling my name. It was soft and cool to the touch and felt like liquid pouring over my skin. I had to figure out a way to make this fabric mine. I had to change my plans. My new plan needed to use less than a yard of fabric. A shirt would hardly do the print justice. A dress. Yes, a dress.
I left Mood that day with 5/8 of a yard of the Roberto Cavalli-silk-feather-border-print for a dress front and 1 yard of a rayon blend jersey for a dress back, hoping and praying that I could make it work (and yes, I said it to myself in the voice of Tim Gunn). If you can’t make it into Mood Designer Fabrics store in LA or NYC, you can find a beautiful selection of designer silk prints and rayon jersey in every color of the rainbow at Mood Designer Fabrics online.
Starting out with a thrifted Simplicity pattern from 1978, I folded, tucked and taped until I came up with a piece that would fit on the piece of fabric I brought home. For the first time in my life, I actually made a sample out of cheap fabric from the stash to make sure I had the pattern just right before I cut into that Roberto Cavalli-silk-feather-border-print. I changed the needle on my sewing machine and got out a brand new package of extra fine pins I bought just for the occasion. I was pretty sure I would ruin the whole project at some point, but it wasn’t going to be at the hand of a dull pin or needle.
There were so many variables that could have made the project go awry–the slipperiness of the silk, the pairing of silk with jersey, the gathered shoulders, the tiny hems, the elastic waist that everyone seems to hate (just joking), or the drape of crossgrain cut pieces, but i took a deep breath, cut with care, pinned often, pressed with patience and it all went smoothly (except for that pesky jersey hem hanging lower in the back…I mean don’t you just love the subtle and totally planned “high-low” hem?).
I now have a beautiful (and totally impractical for my mom life) Roberto Cavalli-silk-feather-border-print dress. And I love it.