Silk dreams

Silk printed with olive paisleys on a burgundy background
In my mind this was all sorts of browns, but getting it out
again it's prettier than I remembered.
When Mr Robot and I went to India, one of our souvenirs was two metres of incredible block-printed silk. And this stuff was pricy. I decided I wasn’t going to do anything with it till I had the skills to do it justice, but have been keeping my eye open for the right pattern. Well, now I've found one! It’s exactly the sort of thing I like. While not a 60s pattern, the simple shape and scarf collar definitely have that sort of vibe, though it probably needs to be a couple of inches shorter. (An easy pattern tweak.)

And that's got me thinking about what I'm making again. I’ve started reading Jasika Nicole’s ‘Try Curious’ blog after seeing a post she did on Instagram. She’s been sorting out her wardrobe and looking again at colours and styles that suit her, because sometimes what we make and what we wear are very different things. I think I really need to do that. I'm pretty good at choosing things I like and will wear nowadays, but still get distracted from time to time, especially now I'm not limited to the choices in the shops. My dresses are fine – there’s not too much mixing and matching to do with a dress – but I’m seriously considering yanking out all my separates and going through them.

simplicity pattern S9045; a sleeveless top with scarf collar
That silk, this top!
A lot of the bloggers I read are very good at getting rid of things they no longer wear; that’s very difficult for me. Part of me longs to be ruthless and say “THAT’S NOT ME!” about things I don’t know if I still want to wear. But there’s another part that says “YOU MIGHT NEED THAT!” and also “YOU’RE THROWING YOURSELF AWAY”. Not sure I need to listen to the latter voice; we all change sometimes gradually, sometimes dramatically. So I think I need to look especially hard at the pieces I possibly no longer want to wear and ask myself what might make the difference, what will make me want to wear them again. A new top? The pieces that spring immediately to mind are my classic wool skirts, pleated tweeds and tartans. I loved those skirts. And the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced the answer is not to get rid of them, but to make new tops to go with them.

I’m not a fan of modern jersey fabrics. They’re so flimsy. Seriously, take a T-shirt from the 1990s and compare it to a modern one. And a lot of knit-fabric tops sold by womenswear departments are even worse. They show every lump and bump, every bra strap. I can’t be doing with them. So I’m looking at my beloved me-made sleeveless shirts and thinking “The pattern is perfected; why don’t I just make these in several colours?” And aside from “lack of time” there’s no good answer to that. I’ve already got emerald green linen in my stash. Turquoise, navy, mustard, white… a few more would make a massive difference. And they’ll be good for pinning brooches to which is always a massive bonus.

To be honest I'm not sure what I'd wear the silk top with, beside my beige tweed trousers. But won't it be pretty?


  1. Totally agree that this silk will look fabulous in a sleeveless top. And such a cute pattern!, it looks easy to shorten it a little bit to make it suitable to be worn with skirts. And I've been having similar problems to wear my fav skirts because of a lack of adequate tops in my wardrobe. They can be difficult to find!.

  2. That top will look amazing in that gorgeous block printed silk! And I'm sure it will be fabulous with your beige tweed trousers, and perhaps with some of your skirts. You'll have to try out what works and you might be surprised! I seriously need to organize my wardrobe and cull some of my hardly worn stuff, but like you I'm hopeless at getting rid of things. And when I finally do, I often regret it later. I've just spent part of the afternoon looking for a vintage jumper I've probably sold or redonated. xxx

  3. I think whatever you made in this material would be gorgeous! I think you're spot on about new tops to go with the skirts. I find it pretty tricky to find the right top for a skirt but the thing is once you know what works you just repeat it in slightly different variations of colour, length etc!

    Look forward to seeing your makes...

  4. If you have nice tweeds/wool skirts don't get rid of them-they will change with your style. I wear mine differently than I did ten years ago, but am so glad I kept them.

  5. Knowing what you love and what looks good on you (which, as you point out, can be two different things!) is the hardest thing when it comes to clothes. I see lots of beautiful things when I thrift, but certain styles look better on me than others - it's just the style. I keep on buying them, though, which drives me crazy about myself, ha ha!

    That is one GORGEOUS silk - I would easily put this with a plaid/tartan, any shades of brown, burgundy/wine, olive green, even orange or a brighter red! I love the pattern that you have shown - it seems to have a lot of variants that would make it look different! How exciting!


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