Be it man or...fabric.
In my case it was fabric. Maybe I didn't fall in love with enough "Bad Boys" in my youth so I am trying to make up for it now by falling in love with "Bad Fabrics" Who knows? I just know that I was bound and determined to make this stuff work!
So I set out to tame this slippery, slidey fabric that wanted to disintegrate at the slightest touch. I searched the archives of PatternReview.com and the CMNewsletter. I re-read my favorite books on the subject: Sandra Betzina's More Fabric Savy and Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide
Both great references for working with any kind of fabric. I was going to go into this fully armed.
After some trial and error, I found that I needed a VERY gentle hand in every stage of the cutting and construction process. From the finest needle, to the lightest of pressure from both the iron and the pressure foot.
I even replaced the standard needle in my BabyLock Evolve with a very fine Microtex** to do Kayla Kennington's rolled hem technique. I feared that even the finest ELX705 needle would just shred the silk and, if not immediately, would eventually just pull away from the edge. As you can see here, it worked beautifully:
Notice how the look of braiding was achieved by the use of different colors of Rayon threads. To get this look I used a very dark Peacock Blue in the upper looper, Lt. Peacock Blue that almost dissapeared, in the lower looper and a lovely and unexpected Golden Tan in the needle position.
Where two seams were attached to each other, I used a multi-stitch zig-zag with a verigated metalic Sulky thread in shades of Aqua, Gold and Lavender.
At the seams with the greatest stress, like the shoulders and where the ties would go, I fused silk organza strips along the edge prior to serging, in the hope that it would keep the seam from slipping.
Next up~ Softening up that print...
**A word of warning: ELX and Microtex needles are of different lengths, I believe the Microtex are a smidge longer. I asked my dealer about the advisability of using the Microtex in my Evolve and his response was "Well, if your not hearing anything funny or having any problems, I don't see why you can't" While I wouldn't exactly call that an endorsement, I, personally (nor did my machine) suffer any ill effects from using them in my Evolve for this project. Your mileage may vary...
Be it man or...fabric.