Something Old Into Something New

I’ve accumulated a LOT of bits and pieces of silk fabric that I’ve tried different techniques on, didn’t work out the way I expected but pretty nonetheless, and scraps I couldn’t bear to throw out, bits and pieces of thrifted silk shirts and blouses I had dyed, color discharged, and shibori’d (is that a word?). What do I do with them? I organized a bunch of remnants and odds and ends and started playing around with them. I liked what was happening so I sprayed them with a cornstarch and water solution (that’s the white chalky residue you can see on the dark purple piece) and pressed them to stiffen them up a bit to be able to cut straight edges and then pinned them to a tissue backing. (a spray starch would work, too but I didn’t have any and didn’t feel like running to the store. Always up for DIY when I can!). Thinking in terms of a jacket, I wanted that big dark purple nebula-in-outer-space-looking piece to be the focal point on the back and I built out from there.

After these silk puzzle pieces languished for basically months while I was wrapped up with a wedding and then the holidays, I got back to it. How to join the pieces? I didn’t want seams, thinking the wrong side was going to show inside the jacket. I finally decided to use a satin stitch. Several spools of black thread later, it was all put together into one big piece of fabric. Kind of lumpy and wavy in places, I had a hard time keeping the pieces lined up in nice straight lines, but I kind of like the non-precise result. Finally getting up the nerve to take a scissors to it I figured out where to cut and sew for the jacket shell. I used a scarf I had dyed that had some flaws but came out that gorgeous periwinkle color for the sleeves. The neck and front band is a piece of shibori. I’ll probably add a strip of that to the bottoms of the sleeves, too.

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I’m thinking about adding embellishments of stitching, beading, embroidery, etc. to some of the panels and I’ve decided to put in a lining of black cotton blend just to stabilize it so hopefully it hangs better. It might require some quilting to anchor the silk to the lining. That will be the final step in my experimental pieced jacket. This one is trial and error, but I think it’s coming along pretty well and I’m excited to have some options for all those beautiful little bits and pieces that deserve to be shown off!!

So the next time I do this I’m going to stiffen the pieces with more starch or even gelatin so they’re easier to handle. Another option would be to position the pieces on top of a base fabric and basically quilt them in place. Lots of possibilities!!