Sunday, October 13, 2013

Completed Silk Saltspring!

Well, the monkey is finally off my back (or baboon off my ass, if you remember my earlier post). I finished my silk Saltspring!

This one nearly did me in! After my first attempt (see link above) I spent a lot of quality time, just me and my seam ripper, completely taking the skirt and lining apart. I spent hours more trying to figure out exactly the best way to re-cut the skirt to avoid unfortunate pattern placement and also work with the fabric that I had.

Pattern: Saltspring from Sewaholic

Fabric: Thakoon paisley silk crepe de chine from Mood Fabrics and black Ambiance Rayon Bemberg lining from Vogue Fabrics.

Construction Techniques and Modifications: I cut a 4 at top graded to 8 at the waist. I swapped the ties for thicker straps and added a skirt lining. I used French seams for the outer fabric and lining, and used strips of the lining selvage to stabilize my zipper edges.  For the zipper, I used the Sewaholic tutorial for covering the zipper end (I love this little detail):

For the skirt, my goal was to create a wall of design noise instead of having a focal point with a perfectly centered pattern (if that makes sense).  To do that, I cut the fabric on the bias(ish), taking care to make sure the pattern motifs were away from the danger zones (In addition to the unfortunate back pattern placement, my first version had one area that looked very much like a diagram of a uterus centered directly front and center. I've managed to avoid that this time around.)  I also didn't worry about pattern matching on the skirt.

One source of inspiration was this dress below. I also saw on other Thakoon outfits using the same fabric that weren't always centered or cut on grain. (Some were, some weren't.) Every time, it just magically worked and I am in awe of his pattern placement genius.

Inspiration for re-cut skirt. Source:

Is it perfect? I don't think anything ever is. And, I've been staring at this for so long it's hard to be impartial. But am I happy? Yes. I'm sure this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I do like the crazy bold pattern.

This project has taught me not to be afraid of working with expensive, special fabric. Fabric that I put up on a pedestal. The worst thing is that I might mess up. Well, I did that. I spent a lot of time trying to correct it, and in the end I created a dress that I would wear.  Boom. Done. Next project.

I have a ton of scraps of this print left! Not enough for a whole new dress, but enough for a lot of small projects. I wouldn't be surprised if I can manage a scarf, top and a whole lot of fancy bias tape out of this.

Now, I can get to all of the other projects I have lined up. I've been very good, forcing myself to not start them until I completed this (the Avocado Hoodie doesn't count because Saltspring and I really needed some time apart.)


  1. I love it! And it's a bold pattern, but the colors are mostly neutrals so it doesn't scream. It looks great on you!

  2. YAY! I'm so glad you got that baboon off your ass, LOL! (That sentence literally made me laugh out loud!) Your dress turned out amazingly. The fabric is so flexible too, season-wise. I think you could continue to wear this all winter, with tights, boots and a chunky sweater! LOVE IT!!

    1. Hahah.. someday I'll have to show you the "before/baboon" picture. I'm too chicken to post that online :) After all this work, I definitely want to wear this as much as possible, and I like the chunky sweater idea.

  3. I love it! I'm terrible at noticing bad pattern placement - I wonder what I haven't noticed about my own clothes! - so it took me a really long time to see the problem in your prior photos. But this looks great - I love the sense of movement created by cutting the fabric on the diagonal. That fabric is absolutely gorgeous and it makes me want to find my own silk and sew up a Saltspring!

    1. Thanks Gina. I'm the same way. To me at least, the prior pattern placement looked great hanging up or on my dress form. It wasn't until I actually put it on that I discovered the issues. Oh well, it's just a learning experience for me to remember to think how a pattern falls on a person and not just on a hanger.