Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

What would YOU do?


Imagine this:

Somehow (the actual facts are unimportant) someone sent you a length of Italian print 100% silk satin.


You know it’s expensive and precious but in your eyes, beautiful. It has 1% Lycra so a slight stretch, otherwise it’s a “roll around naked upon” type of fabric and taking a pair of scissors to it brings you out in a cold (or hot, depending on your age) sweat.

So what do you do with it?

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The fabric has pagodas, flowers, swirls and leaves: it is multicolored but if waterboarded, you’d admit to pink and green.

So come on – you’re all brilliant at sourcing patterns and style, get your thinking caps on and send me answers.

Here are your Herculean hurdles:

Nothing above the knee – if it’s a dress or skirt

preferably with sleeves of any length

And you only have 1.8m (1.5yds) and 148 (55″) wide

I’d thought of StyleArc’s Lea but I am perfectly content to be proved wrong.LEA-DRESS


And edited for Mrs Mole: (god bless her meticulous attention to detail) – pagodas are on the sides and a swirly thing runs downs the centre – no archetypal architectural constructions on my ass! (if cut on the fold, I may add).

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60 thoughts on “What would YOU do?

  1. Are the pagodas across from each other or at opposite ends of the fabric? Do you need a pagoda on your butt or bust? Can we have a photo with the fabric laid out flat, please?

  2. Your wish is granted, my dear.

  3. I would make a kimono!

  4. Ooooh heavenly delight! Want! What would I do? Lick it. You might want to check your yardage figures, yards are shorter than metres, you may have to switch there. Plenty of opportunity for BAD pattern placement though…liking the Style Arc idea.

    • I just guessed the yardage as I couldn’t be bothered to get a calculator out – but I def have 1.8m. There will be half pagodas for sure no matter what I make! Thanks Elaine.

      • I was just flicking through the new Sew Today, and there are quite a few summery whatnots that would work. But on the Style Arc theme- the ‘Dixie’ is a beautiful top for showcasing special fabric..and it takes very little yardage, leaving enough for you to make hankies for all of us!

  5. Love love love the fabric.
    Why not vogue 9021, the pattern you suggested to me for my drapey highly patterned fabric? Cape-y top with sleeves ( and bonus underarm side boob exposure if you’re not careful), simple skirt. It’s a knockout design for highlighting patterned fabric

  6. Unless you are very tiny you don’t have enough for that dress – and thedemented fairy is right about yards being shorter than metres.

    I think I would go for a swirly skirt – but what are the pattern repeats like? Is all of the fabric included in the last photo?

    • Hi Brenda, the StyleArc dress only needs 1.5 as I can get away with a Aus size 10. I’m concerned about putting zip in such a fine fabric so thought a wrap would be better. Thanks

  7. Fabric. Lust!!!! Make a hanky and send me the scraps! Sheath dress- cap sleeves, square neck.

  8. Ok – so I’m jealous of the fabric! 1.5 yards is only 1.35 metres. 1.5m would be 1 2/3 yards. It’s a very busy print – I would be tempted to make a long swishy skirt or maybe a blouse that needs a drapey fabric….. Hmmmm

  9. I remember seeing another blogger, Fadanista? sewing beautiful kimonos out of large scarves. Just a couple of seams and she was done. I’m not sure how the drape is on your fabric but the design should be showed off at its best!

  10. I’m with prttynpnk…make that hanky and split the rest between the two of us. But seriously, a killer swishy skirt like Sarah suggested and if you have a few triangles left over, line them with a solid color (along with a solid shell top) and drape them over one shoulder like a neckerchief. Thank you for the full view of the pagodas!

  11. Would you wear a kimono? I hardly wear them so it would be sad if you use this wonderfull fabric on a garment you wont wear. A very simple loose tunic- dress would be wonderfull using this fabric. As for the wrap dress I would find it too challenging. Will you need a lining? Is there enough fabric? Does it work with nonstrech fabric?

    • YOu know, I never even got as far as thinking that I would need lining Anon, I’ll certainly need very good and very smooth underwear though!

  12. I would probably make a blouse with a cowl neck cut on bias and bias cut sleeves, or if it can be squeezed out, similar thing dress length. The Style Arc wrap dress is almost identical to a New Look OOP pattern I churned out umpteen times for DD. Similar to cowl job, its a perennial winner. Or you could make the hanky and send us the rest.

  13. My head does think “kimono!!!” as soon as I look at the fabric, it would drape so beautifully! But at the same time, that’s only a good suggestion if you would actually wear one, god knows the weather here in Ireland isn’t always practical for something so light and flowy…

  14. The fabric looks shiny, slippery like. If you do that wrap dress, maybe it would be difficult to keep the crossover closed because of the slippery-ness. But then you could get creative and maybe put some buttons on an angle to keep it closed at the opening above the tie-belt. Just something to think on. I’m currently working on a silk dress. Like you I was terrified to chop into it. I used my muslin, which was a nice fit to underline the bodice so it isn’t so slippery. Good luck, I really enjoy your blog.

    • I was even thinking of a slip that would deliberately show at neckline and legs Susan to avoid the ‘forever-holding-the-wrap-closed” syndrome. Thanks for your encouragement

  15. WHat ever you do make , use pattern weights as well pins . It makes a very big difference to stress levels when cutting out satin . It’s beautiful fabric . Inthink a simple tunic worn with black silk narrow leg pants ?

  16. Kimono or similar jacket…

  17. What about this for inspiration?

    Kaleidoscopic treatments of prints and solid fabric. Very current; and as a bonus, adding solid color segments at waist or in panels could both add durability to key spots as well as extend your print fabric. You’d have enough for a dazzling skirt & boxy top combination or even a dress!

    Safer would be a showy lining in a great jacket that you’d wear all the time. A French cardigan jacket, or a reversible jacket with stretch cotton sateen or wool sateen on the reverse, or a cropped jacket to wear over dresses

    If not a jacket, then a plain shell or blouse, possible with pleats at the neck line. The fabric does all the work for you.

    The wrap dress would be nice, but the collar would make it a bit casual for such an elaborate fabric, and I wonder if it would get enough wear to justify this special silk.

    You’ll have fun no matter what! And we’ll watch. So will Donna Karan, apparently.

    • Retrying the link I sent with earlier post. Test.

      • I guess the comments software blocks links from Pinterest. Sorry about the missing photos then.

    • Thank you Sankati for all your suggestions. I’d thought of using it as a jacket lining but it’s too nice to hide away. I’m off to Pinterest where I’ll probably spend all my time and not sew anything!

  18. I know my suggestion is not a dress as you would like, but it is a gem from Paco Peralta.

    • Thanks Patsjean, I have this pattern from Paco and have made it many times and I love it. But it’s cut on the bias and then all my pagodas would be wonky… I think the pattern matching is going to be hard enough. This skirt is a gem as you say and everyone should have it in their pattern collection.

  19. Hope I’m not too late.

    Have you seen designs my Mary Katranzou? She uses similar colours and patterns so maybe look there for inspiration.

    I like Sankati’s board above. I saw similar skirts in TopShop today – long and light pencil skirts with a simple slit at centre back – so I was going to suggest you too look at some yoof stores for ideas to steal. It’s a style that would suit you, definitely, with your long legs and feminine shape.

    Re: kimono. I have a kimono pattern and because of the sleeves much more fabric than you’d imagine is required.

    I was looking for a pattern for a wrap dress but didn’t find the modern DVF look till I saw your Style Arc idea. It’s perfect so thanks!

  20. I was thinking Katranzou too, but didn’t know how to spell it. I love this fabric and think a slim one piece dress with minimal darting is the way to go. agree with CarmencitaB – go with a sheath dress .

  21. How about kaleidoscope pattern work?

  22. As you have limited fabric, what about Vogue 1390. You could pick out the best plain matching contrast fabric for the yoke, side panels and hem. I have made this and been very pleased with the result. IMO it is one of those patterns that is underrated, but looks far better in real life than on the pattern photo. The V neck option without the pleating is best.

    • Thank you Sheree. I must admit that the envelope photo is not that flattering though I can see lots of possibilities with the pattern. I think I’m back to square one!

  23. Ooo! That fabric is gorgeous! I don’t have any suggestions, I’m too busy admiring the carnations on the print, but I do like the idea of a wrap dress. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about matching the print. Good luck with whatever you make!

    I would give it to me and then I could make this!
    Click on the links above.

  25. This beautiful fabric is a very intense print. I’d make pillows or some use in my home. I think it would be overpowering as a garment other than a costume.

    • Sorry Linda, this fabric cost more than £70 p/m and I intend to wear it – much too expensive, soft and pretty to have a bunch of men lolling about upon it treating it like it came from Ikea. I just have to find the right pattern……

  26. Pingback: The Ponte Club | corecouture

  27. It is screaming kimono, but also see the Burda dress I made titled Dress Memory on my blog.

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