Chinese Silk Blouse

This is another fabric find with a story …. My customer had this piece of fabric in her closet for 10 years. Received it as a gift from her sister. Who brought it from China. An original piece of Chinese silk. WOW! Drapes beautifully, very soft and flowing. I get these olfactory sensations when I iron fabric. Whatever is hidden in the fabric – lavender from the closet, softener residue, mothballs, perfume… you name it! – comes out when the hot steamy iron hits it. This pieces smelled, well: traveled, faint scent from faraway lands. I love it! I now had approximately five yards of fine Chinese silk in my hands and a challenge in my head. What to best make of this. We ruled out a jacket because of the delicacy of the material (lining it would have destroyed the texture). So I went to my thousand pattern books to find something that would lend itself. I also wanted to give it a slight Chinese feel and decided on a mandarin collar and looped buttons.

For an additional challenge, my customer had decided to lose 30 pounds rather fast, which meant I had to come up with a design that would work even on a slimmer woman. The winner was a tunic-like design, long around the hips with slits a the side. I wanted to fit it well around the shoulders and then allow for the fabric to drape around her. After putting in the darts, the fabric looked like two panels of different color. The fuchsia in the middle and the green on the side. Rather interesting. At fist, I had some rounded plain purple buttons in mind – they would have looked way too boring for the interesting pattern. After much deliberation at Josephine’s (one of my favorite fabric and button places), I settled for square glass buttons. Twelve of them.

There it is!


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