GBSB, Tops
Comments 50

Sewing with Heather and Silk – The Reveal

Remember I went on a sewing with silk master class with Heather Jacks from the GBSB? Well I have finally finished my silk blouse!  Not without a few choice words, a few tweets to Heather and quite a few moans of exasperation!

The sleeves had me and more than once it could have easily gone in the bin!  I usually sew sleeves in flat, then sew the side seams after.  I can’t remember ever using ease stitches for anything.

I sewed 2 rows of ease stitches at the end of my sewing lesson but didn’t have time to set them in.

Here’s what happened when I got home, after I’d bought some Janome blue tipped needles that Heather advised, and plucked up courage to tackle easing in silk sleeves!

#GBSB silk top sleeves 16

Firstly I sewed my ease stitches too big – I’d already rushed ahead before Heather told me to use small stitches.

#GBSB silk top sleeves 14

Even though things weren’t looking too good I went ahead and basted the sleeve in place.

#GBSB silk top sleeves 15

Not looking too good, the sleeves weren’t supposed to be all gathered and puffy like this!

#GBSB silk top sleeves 13

I unpicked everything and re-read the instructions. It was then I realised I had only sewn ease stitches between the dots and not the notches. You can just about make out the holes where the ease stitches were.

#GBSB silk top sleeves 12

Here are the ease stitches all the way to the notches. They’re 2.6mm in length, and I also took more care making them parallel to the edge of the fabric.

#GBSB silk top sleeves 11

Pinned! (yes mum I do have some!!).

#GBSB silk top sleeves 10

Basted! I’m feeling much better about it this time.

#GBSB silk top sleeves 9

from the wrong side basted – just checking it’s looking ok!

#GBSB silk top sleeves 8

Phew! Stitched!! These are going to be french seams, so another very deep breath taken!

From here on things went swimmingly!  I’m no longer afraid of sewing with silk.  The hems on the bottom and on the sleeve were a doddle.  Heather said to run the overlocker round the bottom to give a neat finish and make the edge easier to work.

#GBSB silk top sleeves 5

Not 100% sure if it really was the right thing to do, but I just folding a couple of mm past the overlocked edge and pressed.

#GBSB silk top sleeves 4

Then pressed again, about 1.5 cm – I just eyeballed it, no ruler sorry!

#GBSB silk top sleeves 3

And it turned out super neat!

#GBSB silk top 5

For the sleeve hems I turned over the second time just a little bit more than the first, the finished hem is only about 5mm.

I really love how it’s turned out!  It’s not really something I would normally wear as it’s a bit on the plain side, but I’ll definitely make more now I have the confidence to sew with silk, and other challenging fabric.

#GBSB silk top 9

The only thing I will have to change is to chop off the loop I made for the button and to make a smaller one as the button keeps coming undone.

#GBSB silk top 8

Here’s a few more photo’s shower the finer details:

#GBSB silk top 4

The french seams on the sleeves weren’t as neat as the other straight seams. It was a bit tricky to press them.

#GBSB silk top 6

Love how the wide end of the bust dart disappears into the french seam.

#GBSB silk top 1

No gathers, nips or tucks in the sleeve head!

#GBSB silk top 7

The inside is as lovely as the outside!

#GBSB silk top 3

Is it acceptable for facings to be visible like this from the outside?

#GBSB silk top 2

Close up of the button and the loop. I’ve never sewn a loop like this before by hand – I’ve always cheated and made a pretend one on the machine by sewing a small zig zag stitch over four threads.

So there you go!  My offerings from my first ever proper sewing lesson!  Thanks Heather!  I loved it!  Not just the sewing bit, the whole day!

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I sew and play golf. I blog about my sewing as I don't think you'd want to read about my golf. It's bad enough watching it on telly! Contact me via email -


  1. Great job! It turned out fabulous. I can imagine the difficulty dealing with silk, but the final results are worth the effort. šŸ‘—

    • The really tricky bit was cutting out accurately, but after that it was plain sailing. Haha! Who am I trying to kid! It wasn’t too bad, I’m just used to sewing at a faster pace and this just needed a bit more time and patience than what I’m used to. Worth it though!

  2. Hi, your top looks fab. I’m very pleased with mine too. I wore it last night for my local WI meeting. They very kindly paid for the course for me. They pay for 4 or 5 courses for members every year. You have to apply and the committee decide. The only proviso is that you give a little talk to the group about what you did. I modelled the top and told them what a great day it was and what an interesting person Heather is. I got some great comments so I’m feeling quite pleased with myself…. And so should you!

      • Yes I will but I’ve had to wash it first – splashed it with chutney making a cheese and chutney sandwich last night. I could have cried! But it all came out and now all I’ve got to do is iron it before photos. I’ll be more careful in future. Sfunny but you never do that to an old t shirt you’ve been walking the dog in.

        • Haha…no, it’s only ever the hand wash stuff! Mine needs washing and I’ve not even warn it for real yet! Managed to get make up on it and it looks a bit grubby!

  3. Ali, this is gorgeous! You should be proud indeed. As I have yet to hem my rayon challis top that drove me to distraction, I am very impressed with your beautiful pink blouse!

    • Thanks Jen! The longer you leave it the harder it will be! It took me over a week to pluck up courage and find the time to finish this and now I don’t know what all the fuss was about!

    • Thankyou! I’m definitely learning to slow down. Gone are the times when I thought I could make a frock in a day! I try and enjoy the experience of making new clothes now!

  4. Well done! You managed to subdue the slippery silk and created a pretty top which will be a great reminder of your workshop day.

  5. Hey Ali, you did a grand job lass. I sew with silk a lot and this looks like a fantastic result. Well done hun! Love it! Nee Bee xxx

    • Thanks Nee! It’s the thought of sewing with it that was worse than actually doing it! Looking forward to being a braver sewer! xx

  6. springystitches says

    Great job! Your blouse looks as lovely on the inside as it does on the outside – so neat!! You should be really proud. šŸ™‚

  7. Fa-fa-faaa-bu-lucious!!! Better you than me, as this sheer silk I wouldn’t even dream of touching. Yes, it’s fine for those facings to show! And the inside is just a beautious as outside – love it!
    Now, for dressing up, how about a long anything-coloured velvet skirt? Or a velvet or heavy shot silk evening suit – short skirt & jacket? Oh – do a velvet jacket to go with the long skirt.
    You can wear this with jeans & a Morris, too. šŸ˜‰

    • Thanks for the lovely comments Del. I think it’ll be jeans and Morris… not going to a posh do anywhere soon, well I am tomorrow but the jumpsuit’s having an outing!! šŸ˜‰

  8. ooooh, very nice indeed! Those seam finishes are exemplary – you’ve done Heather proud! And I think a few more in some more vibrant fabrics would be right down your street!

    • Thanks Chris, I’m looking forward to making something more like that, and i think a patterned fabric will be more forgiving when I’m pressing those pesky french seams!

  9. What great results, definetly worth the extra efforts on this one! Looks tricky, like this as it is, but should think it would be pretty easy to ‘jazz’ it up a little šŸ™‚

    • Thanks! I thought of adding a bit a subtle bling but then decided against it, I feel more likely to frame it rather than wear it!

    • Thanks! It’s amazing what happens with some guidance and a little patience! Looking forward to pushing myself again in the future.

  10. I love this picture tutorial. I am TERRIFIED of sewing with silk. I’ve recently bought two different silk fabrics for my stash, but I am totally intimidated. But this really makes me want to try! I love the top – the sleeves came out great. For the loop, you could also make a tube with the fabric and make a loop for the button that way. Not sure it would be easier though – I always have trouble flipping those right-side out. Fantastic job!

    • Thanks! I think a little fabric loop would look good but it would have to have gone in when I stitched the facings I think. I do like them, they’re just a bit fiddly. I’ve some silk in my stash too thats been there about a year, hopefully won’t be there for much longer now!

  11. Bekki Hill says

    WOW! Well done getting to grips with silk. I look forward to many more patterned slinky silky numbers šŸ™‚ Lovely clear tutorial – even to me šŸ˜‰

  12. Looks like you did a great job with all the little details which is just as well as the fabric is so sheer! I always do ease stitching on the machine with the longest stitch length – with a bit of practice you could do that with silk too.

    • I rushed into the sleeves and didn’t read the instructions properly or listen to Heather until it was too late!! I could always just make sleeveless tops in the future, lol! šŸ™‚

  13. Carolyn says

    Oh my gosh, congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment! I think I am going to have nightmares about those sleeve photos – so much to ease in such a delicate fabric! I haven’t tried sewing with silk as it doesn’t really fit into my lifestyle (walking everywhere with a huge backpack), but I’d still like to learn one day. Thanks for sharing this adventure. šŸ™‚

    • Thanks for the lovely comments Carolyn! You never know, my first Archer might be a silk one! I’ve still not gotten round to it, despite pattern been traced and ready! šŸ™‚

  14. I’m so impressed with this the inside is perfection, so is the outside, I wish one day… And well done insisting on the sleeves, it looks frustrating through my phone let alone in reality ! Top top!

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  16. corrineappleby says

    Oh wow, this top is lurvely! And because it’s see through you couldn’t get away with the kind of sewing I do! A massive ‘well done’, you’re braver than me!

      • corrineappleby says

        The wedding is a fortnight today but the dress is almost finished. Just the hem to go. It’s why I’ve gone a little quiet in blog land because I’ve been sewing matching bags and sashes and the like which I can’t really talk about yet! I’m really pleased with the dress – brilliant choice of fabric!

  17. Just seen this…it’s lovely. It is plain but I think will be so versatile. I bet it feels great to wear.

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