Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Half a-Cold Shoulder


Like many of you when Vogue bring out their new season’s patterns coupled with a 4 day sale at $4.99 each  (cheaper if you’re in BMV Club) I just have to take advantage. My problem is that I buy the patterns I like and then procrastinate for months and months before I get round to actually sewing them which is usually the following season!


For UK and EU customers – it always pays to purchase 3 patterns at a time: postage is $15 whether there’s 1, 2 or 3 in the parcel; 4 patterns and the postage goes up to $25.

DSCN6989This started as Vogue 1516 with some fabulous and expensive Italian printed silk chiffon from the hallowed Joel and Son. And just for the record, it was bought in a sale and probably a remnant, in case you thought I’d won the lottery. On a purple background, there’s red, yellow, pink and olive green – luscious.

The silk has large hand-painted watercolor-type flowers and I wanted a pattern that didn’t cut into them – so something simple. The Tom and Linda Platt pattern has a loose-fitting pullover top with side seam slits, topstitching, and three-quarter length bat-wing sleeves. I went for view A: where the front and back yoke extend into sleeves with slits. View A has sleeve slits from shoulder to end.

V1516Now, I say this started as V1516 and it did but a few “design” (Corecouture) alterations happened along the way…..partly because of fabric and partly just because….

I’m not that keen on boat necklines for myself so the first thing I did was scoop the front neck. One issue creates another and the new scoop neckline creates a natural drop shoulder issue – bra straps on show! If you are content with this then there’s no issue at all. Hooray for being over 50!


As always, I never seem to have enough fabric because sometimes I buy fabric and then decide what to make: I would strongly suggest that you decide what to make and then buy the fabric,  but anyways, the sleeves were elongated with deep cuffs – narrower and more fitting than a loose sleeve. Also it gives to option of wearing high towards elbow or low down to wrist.


The silk chiffon is translucent and that’s part of it’s beauty however, I would always have to wear a cami underneath – is there an alternative?


Yes. Buy a small length of coordinating plain silk chiffon and line the top. Due to the seam along the above-bust line this was the perfect location for a slip stitched red chiffon,  leaving gaps for the sleeves. It was cut long deliberately so that it hangs below the top and adds an extra dimension.

And it works a treat – no see-through but the top still retains the ethereal silk touch.


The shell fabric was hemmed with a hand-rolled hem stitch and the lining was  finished with a deep hem, slip stitched in place.


All internal seams are Frenched but there’s top stitching in yellow along the front and back yokes to emphasise the arm slits.


I wasn’t that enamoured with total sleeve slits so these are shortened from shoulder to long cuff – there’s a bit of upper arm on show but not everything – bingo arms and lower arms are covered.

The neckline was also treated to some extra attention. I cut a bias strip of ivory silk organza and this became the facing (binding). Machine stitched first, then turned inside and top-stitched in place, it adds the perfect neck-line finish that’s almost invisible.

A wee bit of hand tacking (basting) really doesn’t go amiss here. If you are going to splurge on silk organza then my advice is to always choose ivory instead of white, it’s so much more versatile and will blend with many, many more colours.


Silk chiffon shifts; sometimes it’s square and sometimes it’s wonky – learn to live with this quality. I really and truly measured the hemline but when wearing the top it moves and is organic – different hem lengths mean just that……


And what do you do with those teeny tiny silk leftovers? Well you don’t throw them out that’s for sure; those poor silkworms had to spin for hours and hours – you utilise every inch…… Grab some cheap plastic/wooden bangles and wrap them in silk.

Fold the leftover fabric in two to hide the raw edges and wrap around and around, glue in place or stitch to secure. Always make three – two is not enough and four is too many.

This particular top may appear to be an orphan but wait…..there’s more to come and everything will fall into place (promise) …








56 thoughts on “Half a-Cold Shoulder

  1. Fab- I made a shifty fidgety silk chiffon top from a ridiculously small [and pricey] piece a couple of years ago- I opted to completely hand sew it and underlined the body in habotai. I love it to bits. This looks sexy and chic, perfect. Go you!

  2. You look lovely Ruth, and I just love the red chiffon lining – superb.

  3. Lovely top! I’ve been trying so hard not to check out what Joel & Sons have on sale, but when you throw caution to the winds you wind up with a garment it was definitely worth the trouble to make.

  4. You are so creative! that is beautiful.

  5. This purple and red combo is chic and you look great!

  6. Gorgeous top – and so clever to line it with a bit more silk. Those custom bracelets are brilliant, just what I need to do with some lovely scraps of silk I have. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who can’t bear to toss silk scrap. And I am absolutely loving those red shoes! Perfect style, perfect color.

  7. Love the red pop at the hem. Perfect touch! This style of an open sleeve is my favorite.

  8. such a nice post 🙂 you are really brave to work with these fabrics – I love the red peek-a-boo lining. Really inspired. You’re looking great, by the way – very trim for spring and summer!

  9. 1. Brilliant “slip” idea. To go with your brilliant pants-slip idea. My mind reels with new possibilities.

    2. How the $%^#&* do you cut this kind of fidgety silk? Do you size the fabric with gelatin or do you just use witchcraft?

    3. It is fascinating how fabric drape influences fit in multiple, hard-to-adjust-for ways.

    Scooping the neckline would have worked differently with a handkerchief linen or voile, maybe. Luckily, it worked out with the silk. Also, georgette skims the without shaping seams, but even a smidgen more rigid fabric would immediately require darts and closer fit around the arm pit.

    4. Thanks for the tip about ivory organza! I’m just about to order some tricot fusible interfacing, but now I may opt for the ivory instead of white.

    5. Fabric and patter never enter my life in the correct sequence. Ever. (Oh. And having the pattern in hand while scouring the earth for the right fabric can take forever, too.)

    • Sankati I’ve read about soaking silk in gelatine to stiffen it first but I’m too impatient and just want to get on with sewing.
      And why is that you can never, ever find the right fabric when you’ve got the perfect pattern?

  10. Ruth, I love the top that fabric is so beautiful. But I really love the red shoes, where did you get them?

  11. Your top looks simply gorgeous, love those colours together

  12. Really fantastic combination of colours. This top sums up exactly WHY we sew – style and individuality and the chance to choose colours and patterns that reflect our creativity.

  13. This is gorgeous. You look great 🙂

  14. It looks fantastic. What fabulous fabric gorgeous colours.

  15. Absolutely luscious, love the colors, drape, pattern. Actually, what’s not to love !!

  16. Really beautiful! (Or as they say in my language…’regtig pragtig!’ )

  17. Perfect. Love everything about this. Specially your improvements to the pattern.

  18. Love this one! Especially the sneaky way you attached the lining to get just the right amount of modesty. I like the way let it peaks out at the bottom too. Brilliant.
    You didn’t mention the complimentary red shoes which makes your look downright sassy!

  19. Beautiful outfit. I love the purples and reds together.

  20. Oh my goodness, I love this top! The fabric is absolutely gorgeous, and the red underlayer is genius! Also, I love your shoes. I’m hoping the “more to come” is your jeans, because that looks like purple denim, and if it is, I need to know where it came from!!

  21. What gorgeous fabric. Of course you’d pick that up! It’s just a bonus that it was on sale. 🙂

  22. Ruth that is the most divine top and cami. Silk organza is difficult to work with and you have done brilliantly. I just might have to fly to Britain to steal it off you! Love the red shoes

  23. I especially like the split sleeve–not quite as obvious as the cold shoulders we’re seeing so much of this year. Beautiful!

  24. That’s a stunner Ruth. Love that pattern. The bangles are a great idea. Did you end up paying import duty as well? X

  25. The way the center of the top yoke disappears when you scoop out the neckline is so cool..OK call me crazy, I notice lines and seams and what they do. The motif placement with the yellow flowers is so perfect and the colors work so well on you! Despite the sliding effect, I am sure you will wear this blouse very often and get so many compliments. Genius adding that red long lining!

  26. Looks to me like you have a perfect outfit there! I’ve had that sort of shifty fabric before. It just adds to the design! I love the red touches. Thanks for the sewing tips!

  27. I love the blouse. Its quite a bold print and the effort of the pattern placement and the red underlay is perfect.

  28. Gorgeous colours in that top Ruth – and well done scoring a bargain at Joels (although I suspect it would still be a price to make you wince). Your jeans and red shoes look great with the top. Definitely not an orphan 🙂

  29. Pingback: Sewing Goodness Extracts | Lin3arossa

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