China silk is something I’d heard about for years, but hadn’t tried until very recently (scroll down a bit and look at the Rosella dress — the aqua accents are all China silk!) I was delightfully surprised at how responsive and easy-to-use this traditional lining fabric is. For one, it’s super lightweight and yet manages to maintain a decent amount of body. It’s slippery, but not uncontrollable; crisp yet sinuous. Holding a pile of this fabric is a bit like holding a cloud.
Because it’s a lining fabric, it’s also a little see-through. That was just about perfect for the Rosella dress (the green undersleeves really needed to be somewhat sheer) but with a little help, nothing says this lining fabric can’t become a star fashion fabric in its own right!
So, when we were commissioned to make Coral this lovely little frock for a Christmas Eve fête, I couldn’t help wanting to use China silk! Here’s the inspiration photo:
Coral is fond of gray, but this dress was to be a more purple, “dove” gray than the original inspiration dress. So, with the aid of the internet, I found a china silk in just the right shade and cut it in a double layer. We were off!
Isn’t that fabric just delicious! We could have used a taffeta, or possibly even a silk duppioni (both very crisp fabrics) — but the china silk does a fabulous job of holding the pleats while still retaining a gentle fluidity. Mmm mmm. Love that fabric… what would it look like if you layered it over, say, cotton shirting? Or gathered it into bubbles? Or…?