This was a real third time lucky project. A while back I became all fired up with the idea of having a rainbow selection of silk vests, so I would never be short of a top to match any skirt. I’d drafted my own silk vests previously, but really liked the fact that the Sew Over It Silk Cami was finished with a facing, and also not cut on the bias. So in a spirit of practical productivity I rushed to Goldhawk Road, the London home of affordable silks and picked up a brown, a fuchsia and a sandwashed black. I purchased 1m of each even though the pattern states more, because I’m short in the body and tight in the purse – and it was just about enough.
Having used a couple of SOI patterns previously and found the fit remarkably good, I ploughed ahead muslin-less and cut all three consecutively, ready to batch-sew them up. First I stitched up the brown, French seams and all – it was too tight across the bust. Then I stitched up the fuchsia, smaller French seams and all – it was still too tight across the bust. I looked at the black … and in rage bundled it down into the bottom of my fabric chest.
After calming down slightly I figured that the dartless front of the SOI cami simply wasn’t ever going to work with my front. I gave the brown and pink camis to my (smaller) sister and forgot about the black. But then a couple of days ago the pattern pieces magically resurfaced in the chest of their own accord (ok, so I may have been having a long-overdue tidy) and I decided to give it another go, French seams and – actually, no. No French seams. Overlocking!
With the tool of wonder that is my overlocker I whizzed together the pieces in no time at all. I’m still in the honeymoon period with this machine whereby it can do no wrong (even that time I spent an hour trying repeatedly rethreading because there was something wrong with the upper tension, before noticing I’d knocked the tension dial way off… even then my love did not diminish). And joy of joys, the cami fit!
(Ok, when I say it fits, I mean I can put it on and it feels good. There’s some terrible pooling happening in the back, but as I’m most likely to wear it tucked in or with a sloppy cardigan that doesn’t bother me as much as perhaps it should. I will however attempt to solve the problem before producing the dreamed-of rainbow of vests.)
And guess what, I felt so much love for my finished cami that I stuck leftover Valentine’s roses on my head in its honour.
You were wondering why I’d cropped off my head in the other pics, weren’t you?
There is in fact a bit of backstory here. I’m quite a girl for headpieces – hats, hairbands, bows. But I’ve not been able to find anything in the trend for floral headpieces that is remotely flattering, well-fitting, or affordable, except when I’ve used fresh flowers. Then, after finishing my cami, I wanted to take photos right away – I know that dusk is far from an ideal time for amateur photography but this was a gorgeous violet-hued evening and I couldn’t resist. I figured potentially grainy photographs of a black vest weren’t going to be much to look at, so hunted around for some props to liven things up. And that’s when I had the idea of pinning my fading roses into my hair.
Owing to the terrible light you’ll just have to take my word for it that the velvet of the rose petals did complement the matt suede-look of the sandwashed silk. I’d never used sandwashed silk before but I’m completely converted – I love its look and feel.
It’s much more ‘daytime’ than glossy silk and in black managed to make me feel positively edgy. Which is probably in turn what gave me the courage to attempt a crazy headpiece. That, and this piece by the fantastic Emma Gannon, on wearing what you want and being bold with it.
I’m actually really taken with the look and plan to create more fresh flower garlands from now on, instead of futilely searching for an overpriced silk version. Does anyone else find sewing a trigger for more experimental or creative looks? x