Why everybody needs a white silk camisole in their life | Just Patterns Kate bias top

Why everybody needs a white silk camisole in their life | Just Patterns Kate bias top

I have been craving a white silk camisole since forever.

Ok, at least since May this year.

My red silky Diana cami was in heavy rotation in 2018. So I felt there is definitely room for more such tops in my life and my wardrobe. I love my burgundy Diana, but it’s 100% polyester and felt I should treat myself to the real thing, i.e. some luscious, wonderful silk.

But what pattern to choose this time?

Now, I am a very contrary person. Whenever loads of people rave about something, I just tend to dig my heels in and refuse to jump on the band-wagon. I’ve never seen Titanic. I refused to read Harry Potter for years (luckily, I have seen the light since). I never owned Ugg boots.

And I never bought the Ogden cami pattern. Nor do I want to. Not that there is anything wrong with it, I’m sure all these people can’t be wrong, but not a day goes by when I don’t see someone wearing it on IG.  So I’d rather not add my pics to that as well.

The Diana cami was the result of my rebelling against the Ogden the last time I wanted to make a cami. I think it’s a great pattern and I was half tempted to reach for it again.

Just Patterns Kate Bias Top White silk camisole

Just Patterns Kate Bias Top White silk camisole

However, the Kate bias top from Just Patterns came on my radar and I really wanted to try it out. This was because I read really good reviews about it, but also because I am a massive fan of Delphine personally and of the brand and her ethos and incredible transparency. Read this very honest post from Delphine and you will understand what I mean.

As to the fabric, this is one of my best finds of the year. In April, I was invited to a Bloggers’ Event at Fashion Capital, a very interesting organisation in North London. They have a production line for brands and designers looking to produce small runs. They also run a fantastic training facility for people who want to learn industrial sewing skills, helping young people to train and get ready for the workplace. And lastly, and this is the best part, they also have an end-of-line fabric shop where they sell fabric leftovers from the work they do for their customers. The prices are great but more importantly for me, this is overstock or deadstock fabric, so it’s a more sustainable source of fabric. Check out this great article on Indiesew to understand more about why it’s better than new (milled) fabric.

Why you need a silk camisole in your meaningful wardrobe

If we go back to my list of what a meaningful wardrobe is, a silk camisole, made by you or even a very good quality shop bought one, pretty much ticks all the boxes. And it looks and feels awesome too!!

 Quality and durability

Silk is a very long lasting material. It’s the strongest natural fibre, so properly taken care of, you would be able to enjoy it for a long time to come.

Silk has high resistance to deformation, therefore maintaining its shape even with regular use.

In the case of my me-made cami, I have ensure I used the best techniques, such as French seams, to also ensure it will last a long time without fraying.

In terms of emotional durability,  its classic shape will not be subject to fads of fashion. In a plain colour, it can be easily mixed and matched with a lot of items in my wardrobe, so it always feels like a new garment.

Also, as a me-made item (if you end up sewing one), I hope there will be a lot of emotional attachment and therefore I will hold on to it for even longer.

Silk is a little bit of a diva when it comes to maintenance though. I have hand-washed this cami with a mild detergent a few times now, though I had pre-washed the fabric in the washing machine on a low-spin programme. Be aware that it looses 20% of its strength when wet. And of course, especially for light colours, make sure to wash with similar colours.

Wearability

A camisole is such a staple in any wardrobe, and can be worn in any combination, on its own under a jacket, or almost as underwear in winter.

As I have already experienced, it is extremely pleasant to wear, especially in a bias cut that moulds to your body without being too constrictive. Silk has good insulation properties. It’s warm in winter, cool in summer (as I have discovered during this summer’s heat wave). I am planning on wearing it under jumpers in the winter to test the warming properties as well.

As you will see when I reveal the 10×10 outfits very soon, a white silk cami pretty much goes with anything. Culottes, skinny trousers, skirts, not to mention as a layering item under jackets and blazers, and even jumpers and cardigans in the colder weather. So I am not worried at all about my rule of matching with at least 5 other items in my wardrobe. Nor are the 30 wears under question, as I have already wore it 7-8 times since I finished it in July.

As to how much I love it? I would say a 9/10, because I think the ties are a tiny bit too long. But guess what, I’m a sewer, so I can fix that in a giffy and make a 10/10.

Sustainability

As I mentioned above, this was made with an overstock fabric, so although it was new to me, it was not milled new, but reused and hopefully saved from landfill. This is for sure not the most sustainable option – I could have shopped my stash instead – but I did not have any silk and I think the wearability and longevity qualities will make it a more sustainable garment in the long run.

I have saved all my scraps and I am contemplating what to do with them. If you have any ideas, please let me know in the comments. I hate waste, but the pieces are very irregular and small (I only got 1m on purpose).

Silk does not pose particular sustainability concerns, but it does raise ethical issues. Vegans avoid it because it is of animal origin. Also, usually the silk worms are killed to extract the fibres. I don’t really know much about where my fabric comes from, so that’s another minus.

So, about sewing this silk camisole…

Pattern

If you have not sewn with Just Patterns before, they are not anything like regular indie patterns (or Big 4 for that matter). They are aimed at experienced sewers who do not need hand holding and very detailed instructions. I’ve seen a few industry instruction sheets for productions at work and that is what the pattern reminded me of. They are not even called Instructions, but Information. Everything you need to know is included, but there are no step-by-step diagrams.

This is a very simple pattern so the only reason for checking out the information sheet was to make sure of the seam allowance, as they differ from step to step. This is again a very industry thing to do, as for efficiency and to remove the need to reduce seam allowances, they tend to work with much narrower seam allowances.

If you are more of a beginner, there are resources available on their website, for example, if you don’t know how to sew a French seam, there are a few links to tried and tested tutorials.

Fabric

This is one of the very few fabric pieces I bought this year and I feel it was a fantastic choice. It was £8/m for real silk! I mean, that’s a no-brainer! It feels amazing against the skin. And one meter was more than enough to sew this pattern. Thought I have to say, garments on the bias feel incredibly wasteful, so I will be bearing that in mind. I was left with a lot of little pieces that will be really hard to use. Btw, if anyone would like them, I’m happy to ship (or meet if you are in London) if they want to cover the cost.

Just Patterns Kate Bias Top White silk camisole

Construction

The construction was very straightforward. I had some fitting issues because I cut the wrong size (2 sizes too big, duh!) so bear in mind my tip about the negative ease. Had it not been for Delphine picking up a random comment on IG, I would not have figured it out.

I ended up cutting it back to size 38 (instead of 42) and it worked perfectly. I would also advise basting the lining together first, to make sure you got the fit right before sewing the French seams. I would definitely not want to be unpicking that if you need to make tweaks.

The construction is very straight-forward, but because the cami is lined, you will need to sew everything twice, which is a bit tedious. I will be posting my top tips for sewing with silk soon, so I will not go into too many details just now. I followed the instructions and French-seamed the sides, as well as doing a baby hem on the bottom.

BTW, I did not have any issues with sewing silk at all. I’m not sure if this particular one I used was not too slinky or it was my machine’s walking foot, but I might as well have been sewing with quilting cotton…

Also, remember this is a bias top, so don’t forget to let it hang for a bit before sewing the hem.

Alterations

As you may have noticed, I made the spaghetti straps into ties, as inspired by a top I had seen in Cos (my friend dragged me, I am still not shopping). I also took a bit (0.5 cm) out at the armpit as it still felt a bit too gappy in that area.

Just Patterns Kate Bias Top White silk camisole

Wear and style

I wore this at least 5 or 6 times already since finishing it at the end of July and I did not find anything to tweak, which is always a plus (though not something I take for granted).  I wore the straps straight a the first time, but I didn’t like that they tended to fall off and I had to keep readjusting them. So I thought about crossing them and that is definitely my preferred option. This makes them uneven, but I don’t think it’s an issue when they are tied. I want to experiment with some other ways of tying them, well, because I can…

Just Patterns Kate Bias Top White silk camisole
Just Patterns Kate Bias Top White silk camisole

On the silk side, I have to say that it is definitely all that is cracked up to be. IT IS AMAZING! I am not a polyester detractor by any stretch of the imagination, I love it for many reasons (not least of all the crinkle free part). But the silk on my skin in this very very hot summer was something else. It kept me cool and I felt fresh all day long.

In terms of styling, this cami is part of my 10×10 capsule that will be revealed next Thursday (you can see daily outfits on my IG if you just can’t wait). I wore it loads with these culottes but I especially like the combo with my midi skirt. To be honest, that was one of the reasons I wanted a silk cami, to pair them together.

Silk camisole | Details recap

Pattern: Just Patterns Kate Bias Top, size 38
Fabric: Silk plain weave, from FC Fabric Studio;
Notions: none
Alterations: Ties instead of straps;
Next time: make the ties a bit shorter

Just Patterns Kate Bias Top White silk camisole
Just Patterns Kate Bias Top White silk camisole
Just Patterns Kate Bias Top White silk camisole

HAVE YOU SEWN WITH SILK? DID YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT? WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS THAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW WHEN WORKING WITH SILK? PLEASE COMMENT AND LET ME KNOW.

SEWRENDIPITY BLOG SEWING | STYLE | SUSTAINABILITY
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12 Comments

  1. 24 August 2018 / 12:38 AM

    I am nuts for silk 🙂 Honestly just like you, the feel against my skin is pure heaven. Love your cami – just had to say! It’s beautiful on you Alex – BEAUTIFUL. It depends on the type of silk re difficulty. If its very wiggly then I lay out one of those old fashion plastic, flannel lined, checked table cloths (you can buy one on amazon fairly inexpensively especially now we’re sort of near the end of picnic season 🙂 ). Laying the flannel side up, I pin silk and pattern to it setting the pins a good distance from the edge then cut out pattern and silk only (I know you probably know this but I just thought I’d better say that). That table cloth holds everything flat and stationary like a boss 🙂 I’ve been known to spray it too with a stiffening agent like Terial Magic which I can buy by the gallon locally but you could use a good quality heavy duty spray starch or even soak it in Corn Starch and water and hang it to dry. All those methods will stiffen it like a board making it like paper to sew. These things just rinse out after your done. I also throw my silk in the washer and dryer before sewing. Just to make sure there won’t be any surprises after it’s sewn up. I won’t dry clean anything I wear against my body so it might as well get used to tough treatment straight away and I’ve never had a problem. Yay for silk!

    My husband bought me 4 m. of this incredible olive 4 ply for my birthday last year and I was just playing around with it earlier wondering what on earth I’m going to make with ALL that lusciousness.

    I’m considering maybe jumpers – one shortie (the Endless Summer Tunic which is one of my favourite patterns) and another longer, midi length. 4 ply has incredible drape but it can be super warm. That’s concerning for something like a blouse for example. As a jumper it’s not against my body and I’m thinking it would look pretty cool with a Tee under it don’t you think? I’m rather tickled with the contrast of a this insanely luxurious silk and simple white Tee under it 🙂

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      30 August 2018 / 7:58 PM

      Thanks for your fab tips, Kathleen! I didn’t know the one with the table cloth! I have a feeling I might be hand-washing this one forever, although I have pre-washed it in the machine.

      That sounds like a nice plan! And yey for the husband buying you such amazing fabric! Was it his idea or did a little bird whisper it to him? 🙂

  2. 24 August 2018 / 10:15 AM

    Rebels unite Alex!…I’ll never buy the Ogden either, because I love to do the opposite of everyone else… and be unique 🙂
    You camisole looks delicious and I can imagine how fab it will be with your black midi skirt too. Coincidentally I’ve been working on silk chiffon this week.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      30 August 2018 / 8:05 PM

      Great minds think alike, D! I saw your lovely blouse on IG! It made me think of one of those fabulous silk scarves… Gorgeous!

  3. Rachel
    24 August 2018 / 1:59 PM

    I think this is beautiful! The crossing in back and extra long ties, do look more like a design detail. I haven’t bought the ogden cami either, but I need bra strap coverage. Ca’t wait to see your 10×10.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      30 August 2018 / 8:07 PM

      Thank you! I like the ties because I can choose how to style them (crossed or not crossed, high bows, low bows etc). I am wearing a beige strapless bra in these pics. A good strapless bra really is priceless. I am 34D, so I guess I can get away with it, a bit harder for ladies with more ‘assets’. 10×10 coming on Sunday!

  4. 24 August 2018 / 7:18 PM

    Oooh I’m all blushing and stuff on this side of the ocean!! Thank you so much again for your kind words and your support. Your cami looks absolutely amazing!!!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      30 August 2018 / 8:08 PM

      My pleasure! Well deserved, it’s a great pattern.

  5. Elaine Marsh
    24 August 2018 / 9:13 PM

    The cami looks lovely on you. The only type of cami I feel comfortable wearing as a stand alone item is one that has more structure in the bust area. I use cotton camis under shirts that are of a see thru type and also as a modesty item under cross over dresses. I’m afraid they are a bit too flimsy for me now. But I do like silk next to my skin, it’s very comfortable.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      30 August 2018 / 8:10 PM

      Thank you Elaine! Yes, I know what you mean about more firmer camis. This is the first year I’m wearing a cami on its own, but it really stays in place (and I’m wearing it with a very good strapless bra). It was very hot this year, so that’s what swayed me.

  6. 26 August 2018 / 11:10 AM

    love it!!! I’m sure you’ve been nominated loads already but I’ve also nominated you fir the Mystery Blogger Award…no pressure to do it unless you want, I just thought you deserved it! Xxx

  7. sewrendipityalex
    Author
    30 August 2018 / 8:11 PM

    Thank you so much Sarah! You are super kind to nominate me! I will answer the questions on IG as my blogging schedule is super tight at the moment and I don’t want to wait too long to reply!

So, what do you think?

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