Inside my Fabric Book: Silk

As I mentioned in my previous post I got a start on my Fabric Book, one of my New Years Resolutions. I mentioned near the end of last year my useless fabric knowledge and it seemed, based on your comments,  that I was not alone. So this week I implemented my plan and started my Fabric Book.

Here is my first page:

Hand writing out the facts I have collected from my sewing books and online is the best way for me to retain what I have learn’t about each fabric type and it makes an easy reference for me to go back to. I stitched in a little snippet of fabric  for added touchy-feely-ness.

I thought as I fill up my book I would share my pages with you and we can all learn together. I can’t promise any order or regularity to these posts since I’ll just be adding them as I use or buy new fabric but I’ve created a category so you can look them up later on.


Women striking and preparing silk, painting by Emperor Huizong of Song, early 12th century.

  • Strongest natural fibre – a steel filament the same diameter will break first
  • Used in China since 27th century BC
  • Delicate in appearance, it’s triangular prism-like structure gives it the shimmering appearance
  • Absorbent, crease resistant, holds in body heat
  • Hand-wash or dry-clean only, dries quickly
  • Iron garments inside out on low setting
  • Weakened by sunlight and perspiration
  • Protein fibre and usually burns readily, not necessarily with a steady flame, smells like burning hair
  • Thread should ball up and turn to ash when lit. Ash is crispy/brittle, easily crumbled
  • Thread should not continue to burn after flame is removed

The main silk roads between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D

I’ll be keeping the definitions in my book short and succinct but if you’d like to learn a bit more about the history of silk the images above link to an interesting Wikipedia article.


Oh the heat…and the nerdyness

Sigh, no new magazines to report I am afraid…Patrones 300 should be here since I know Jacquie has hers but our postie seems to take his time for some reason…it’s kind of a blessing really, I have far too many magazines to catch up on sewing-wise.

If you follow any other Perth bloggers you may have noticed a common topic popping up in amongst the sewing chatter…the weather. Perth is going through a heatwave right now, we have had over 20 consecutive days in the 30s (86F) and at night is hasn’t dropped below 20 degrees (68F). I like a nice hot summer day but what’s made the last few weeks worse is the complete lack of a breeze and the sticky, unrelenting humidity. It is not pleasant and it makes sewing not a lot of fun.

I’m frustrated because we have a single tiny under-powered air conditioner in our rental which is idiotically installed in our kitchen, right above the oven (oh for the day when I have my own house!). It takes all day to get even the smallest temperature drop in my sewing room and it is just simply unbearable to try on items and do fittings, let alone even sit in you sewing chair or just generally touch anything. The heat sucks all my energy out of me and even thought I am sleeping at night, I wake up feeling like I haven’t slept at all so during the day I feel like I am barely clinging on to what energy I have left.

So last weekend I got my Kasia and new Patrones top 99% finished but I just couldn’t bring myself to put them on for the final fittings. Instead I crashed out in the lounge and unleased my frustration as Gaming Nerd Kiwi, playing PS3 for the rest of the weekend on the couch.

I am really looking forward to adding these two items to my wardrobe and excited to show off the first item I have made out of silk but I feel thwarted by the weather. After living, breathing and sewing only my wedding dress for 3 months I have all this sewing mojo bursting out of me but no energy to actually sew with.

We have had some very pretty sunsets however

So pink!

Ok, enough winging. On a more positive note I did start one of my big New Years Resolutions, my fabric book. Here is my first page, because I am working with silk for my Patrones top I began with that. I got some information online and some from my sewing books. I also stitched in a sample of the silk so I can touchy feel. I’ll post the text up soon and build up some fabric definitions for you to follow.

The second thing I actually achieved this week is also related to a New Years Resolution.

Caution: What follows it exceptionally nerdy, those of you with a weak geek tolerance should click away now!

So I keep my fabric neatly folded in some Ikea shelving in my sewing room. I really like storing it this way because I can see it easily and I think it’s really pretty. The problem is that I have a lot of fabric (ok, not “a lot” compared to some serious stashers that I know) but still it’s hard for me to remember what I have and when I see a pattern I like it’s extra hard for me to see if I already have an appropriate fabric in my stash.


I love every piece of fabric that I’ve bought, I’m quite particular in what I buy, and I truly do intend to use every piece for clothing. As much as I love looking at some of the beautiful prints I know that ultimately I enjoy them more when they get shaped into something I can wear and I really take pleasure in that moment when an item is finished and I know I picked the perfect fabric for that pattern.

Hence my nerdy plan.

What prompted this plan was the day I pulled out a pile of fabric to look for a particular piece and I saw an beautiful print I had completely forgotten I’d purchased, which had the domino effect of reminding me of the pattern I decided to use it for…

How could I achieve my other New Years Resolution of doing some serious stash busting if I can’t even remember what fabrics I own? So I set a new personal goal of trying harder to remember the patterns I have attached to my fabrics I love and want to make. Unfortunately this all gets lost in my head along with all the other junk I store up there. So my idea is for a new Evernote notebook of just my fabrics.

If you haven’t heard or Evernote, here is my previous post, I’m quite a fan.

The plan for this notebook is to photograph each of my fabrics and put them into individual notes, then I can add fabric info and images of appropriate patterns that I want to use that fabric for. In most cases I expect there to be only one pattern or two and in some there might be more, or none at all. The great thing about Evernote is I can access it from any computer and even from my phone.

Evernote “Fabric” Notebook

Here are two examples that I’ve done already, the first is the Galaxy dress that everyone seems to have made, I hope to make it in the next year, it’s kind of high priority but I hope to slot it in as a longer term project in between my everyday item sewing, and the second is a dress I’ll be making in the next few weeks, perfect for this weather! 😉 (UPDATE: Here is that dress!)

So we’ll see how it goes, I am pretty sure this will work well for me and since all my patterns are already in my Pattern Notebook I can link between them and pretty soon I should have a few beautiful projects that have been on my list for a while actually sewn up.