Sewing for Me: Yellow Silk Tunic

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Being of Asian descent, I’ve always taken it as gospel that I can’t wear the color yellow because the natural undertones of my skin would shine like a beacon and make me look jaundiced. I’m sure it was from some random Seventeen magazine or some such I read when I was about 10. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn this sunny hue near my face (t-shirts for school events come to mind).

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So I was hesitant to sew with this SILK (need to capitalize that – if you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that I avoid any kind of slippery fabric). But this is more on the mustard side of the yellow spectrum, and I just really like it. It has a subtle plaid pattern with moss green, rust, orange and grey lines. As you can see above, the fabric was a remnant, and you can bet your life savings that my mom did not pay $27 for this. I don’t think she’s ever shelled out more than $3/yard for any fabric. Ah, the joys of living near the Los Angeles fashion district…I have one more separate cut of this same fabric, and I’m saving it for something summery – maybe for K.

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I don’t know why I’ve been so scared to sew with silk. Sure, I wouldn’t win any precision cutting contests because it does like to shimmy and slide a tad, but really, it wasn’t bad at all. Besides, I don’t think I would win a precision cutting contest for any fabric.

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I just made sure to use extra sharp needles, and kept the iron setting fairly low (though I found I could go a little higher than the recommended “2″ without scorching the delicate fabric). Doesn’t the back look familiar? Yep, I modified the dress from last week. The pattern is from this book. I sewed the size 11 that is considered a medium in Japanese sewing, which fits surprisingly well and I’m happy to report that I did a much better job with the tricky underarm bits. I have another dress cut out, but I wanted to experiment to see how it would look as a tunic. I have to say I’m happy with the results. I chopped nine inches from the hem, and made other changes too:

1. Lowered the neckline by 1.25 inches. I lost the v-neck with the way I cut it, but I don’t mind.

2. Widened the sleeve openings a touch. When the sleeves rode up my arms on the dress, I noticed they cut off my forearm circulation. Sausage link forearms, it’s a hard look to pull off.

3. Used bias binding for the neckband. Also made the neckband half the width. The original pattern calls for a neckband cut parallel to the grain and I wasn’t too keen on the thicker neckband. It would have been nice to get my thinner neckband to lay flatter, but I’m not terribly picky.

Here they are, side by side:

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I think I’m about to sneeze in the photo above. I could have put in more effort with styling, I admit. These are my I-feel-icky-and-can’t-be-bothered-loose-jeans. They are so comfortable. Love ‘em. And I grabbed my tough girl boots just because they were there. Were I to miraculously conceive a child, this top would also serve double-duty as maternity wear as so many of my clothes do. But because the silk is slightly sheer, floaty and, well, silky, it feels luxe and comfortable. A win in my book.

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I know it doesn’t seem it like it, but I am sewing for KCW, though I’m scaling way back. Also, I’ve cottoned on from past KCWs that trying to get photos of K during the week is a traumatizing affair for everyone involved. So I plan on showing you what I get around to stitching up on Monday!

21 Thoughts on “Sewing for Me: Yellow Silk Tunic

  1. Hello sunshine! Hello spring! Very pretty and I like the changes you made, the neckline looks nicer than the original in my opinion. I don´t see any reason why you could not wear yellow and I love the though girl boots!

    • Thanks Ute – I think I’m a bit flushed from my cold so I might not be looking as yellow as I normally would ;-) And the boots are awesome! So comfy.

  2. So pretty!! I don’t see why you can’t where yellow either, this looks great on you! I like the changes you made as well to the neckline. And I know what you mean about taking pictures during the week….it was like pulling teeth to get some good shots of my daughter the other day! I had a lot of eye rolling and complaining going on ha!

  3. I must’ve been reading the same magazine, ’cause I heard the same thing! Yellow is one of my absolute favorite colors and it looks great on you!!!

    • I think all Asian girls must grow up with that message somewhere. I do think bright lemon yellows aren’t very flattering on me, but the mustard variety seems to be okay…thanks, Venus!

  4. Kristi Andres on January 30, 2014 at 8:31 am said:

    I think the shirt looks lovely and very comfy! :) And it makes me think that spring is coming!!!

  5. I like this version better than the first though I am scared of dresses (to wear). I like the changes you made and think the fabric is great! We have a Britex in SF (I believe it is the original one?), and I’m glad it’s far enough downtown to keep me from going to browse the remnant section every week. Even their remnants are expensive and it adds up!! A beautiful store though.

    • I never wore dresses before, Alana, and now I love them! :-) I’m pretty sure my mom got the fabric at some outlet/discount place in Los Angeles for dirt cheap and not at Britex, which is fabulous. I’m so glad I didn’t sew when I lived in SF because I most certainly would have spent whole paychecks there!

  6. I love it! The back on the original was my favorite feature and I think the new scooped neckline is great. Plus I’m all about the tunics these days. Dresses and nursing is an awkward combo :)

  7. greta clark on January 30, 2014 at 11:35 am said:

    I think this version is perfect!

  8. For the record, I think you look lovely in yellow. The contrast with your dark hair is gorgeous. And hooray for floaty tops, love ‘em :)

    • Floaty tops are the way to roll, Sonya! Thank you :-) The jury’s out on whether the yellow is not competing with my complexion, but I do like the top!

  9. Lucinda on January 30, 2014 at 2:26 pm said:

    I always thought the same thing about my daughter wearing yellow, and then when she did one day – I was surprised by how much I liked it! You wear it well, Sanae – and that fabric . . . so envious of your mom’s amazing thrifty discoveries.
    As for the sunny color, it’s exactly what this Midwestern girl needed to see on this dreary Polar Vortex day. This will carry you well thru the winter and into the spring that will hypothetically arrive one day. Love the modifications you made from the original dress!

    • My mom has thrifting superpowers, Lucinda! She’s always horrified to find out how much I’ve paid for fabric…Yes, it’s so so cold! Though I’m a wimp, and probably would not be able to survive in your neck of the woods for more than a minute. And I can see you daughter looking lovely in yellow. Despite being a grey/neutral lover, I do like cheerful colors on kids :-)

  10. I’ve also been staying away from yellow, but may have to reconsider after seeing this post (although I’ve also got some Swedish pastiness mixed in.) Anyway, this color is really quite nice on you, and I like the design changes you made to the tunic. Excited to see your next dress with this pattern!

    • I think you can rock pretty much any color, Morgan! I’m thinking of making the next one a bateau neck and wearing it backwards as a commenter suggested. We’ll see how that works out…

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