Sunday, 3 December 2017
Fancy Festive Outfit: Flint Pants and Anjelica Huston Top in Emerald Silk
I've been working on something rather special recently, and while simple a little more involved. This is an outfit made especially for my friends' wedding where the dress code was "smart but colourful". I'm not sure how smart this is, and it does definitely feel and look like luxe pyjamas, but it is colourful! I wanted the jumpsuit look, but without the impracticality, so decided to match up the Flint pants with a drapy cowl neck top discovered in the back of my Famous Frocks: Little Black Dress book.
I've been hoarding this emerald green silk from Goldhawk Road for ever (although I feel like the last time I was in Classic Textiles it was still there). I had initially intended to make a Colette Licorice dress, using the matte reverse of the silk, but went off the idea (I'm still torn about whether I want to make that dress- maybe in a dark crepe with full length sleeves and no waist tie it might be more me?).
I was debating whether to use the reverse for this outfit too, but the idea of special occasion shininess won out. I've not worked much with silk before; the one time I did it was raw and slubby so the rougher texture made it easier to cut and handle. This time I tried to follow all the best practice tips out there: I starched when ironing to lose some of the slipperiness; cut everything out on a single layer using a fresh rotary blade in my cutter; I bought some silk pins especially and used the tissue paper method to stop the seams slipping through the machine (which was equipped with a fresh and fine microtex needle).
I French seamed most seams too, although I did use the overlocker where necessary but I'm not as keen on this finish as the navy thread looks a bit shoddy, but I wasn't going to rush out and buy 3 cones of matching green thread - especially when I'd bought the original thread ages ago with my original sewing plan in mind. I tried to avoid handling the pieces too much as well to minimise distortion (although I'm sure there was some). I think all this worked in my favour, but I may have stretched out the back neck a little for the top.
These are the Flint pants, which I chose for the luxe Miss Fisher-esque 20s pyjama look, but also because I thought my first go in silk should be in a relatively simple pattern that I'm confident with the fit. This is the flat waistband version, but instead of adding buttons I decided to sew in four tiny polyester snaps to keep the front smooth and avoid any pulling. I made a couple of tiny tweaks - one to add more space over my "rump apex", another to pinch out a swayback ripple just under the waistline, and another to smooth the rear crotch curve. I also shortened the legs, but in trying on during construction I preferred the longer length so just did a baby hem to preserve as much of this as possible.
I swear the adjustments I made were tiny, and all but the swayback should have added rather than taken away space, but the net result seems to have been that these are a little tighter than planned! Eep. Not sure whether this is to do with the linen I made my first pair in being more relaxed weave and dropping to accommodate my curves, or whether the tweaks were a bad idea, or the French seams made the fit a little closer; or somewhere between all three! I've not dared to let anything out because of the potential needle scarring on the silk. For my next pair I might add in a wider seam allowance over the hips and see if this fixes some of the other issues...You can really see my belly and bum threatening to bust the seams in the images above and below! The silk does really show everything though, including the pocket outlines in some shots, so I guess I'll have to just suck it up (and suck it in!).
The top is the variation pattern for the Anjelica Huston inspired dress from the Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress book and I made no adjustments at all. It's quite loose fitting but in a way that I think speaks to 1920s elegance; plus it's a pull-on top so can't be too close to the body. It's my first ever bias-cut make, and the cutting out was definitely the lengthiest part of the process, otherwise it was very easy and I think quite flattering. I'd certainly consider making it again, and I like the way it pairs with the Flint.
All in all though I am pleased with this outfit, even if I have to remember to suck my belly in and stand very straight! The upside of it being silk is that i could very comfortably sleep in it if I stumbled in late after a night of festive merriment. I'll leave you with my demonic face from the image below, don't have nightmares kids...!