We do love unusual fabrics here at Ray Stitch and were incredibly excited when we recently acquired some grainy-look silk dupion in warm earthy colours. Lovely to sew and with a beautiful finish, this fabric is ideal for some of the more simple structured patterns we have in stock.
Silk dupion is one of the most widely known silks, mainly manufactured in India on hand and power looms. But did you know that dupion gets its characteristic slub from two silkworm cocoons entwining? Sweet! It achieves its lustrous surface and tightly woven look by weaving different threads in the warp and weft; the warp is woven using fine thread, and the weft is woven with the uneven entangled-cocoon thread.
Because dupion has a crisp, and sometimes fairly stiff texture, it is often used in bridalwear where 'sculpting' a shape is important. We think it's equally good for everyday wear. If you've not used silk before, have a go, because it's stable and not too light this would be a good one to start with. The beauty of making your own clothes is that (once you feel brave enough to cut!) you can experiment with fabrics and shapes. Here are some modern styles that we think would translate well to the structure dupion can offer:
Try a pencil skirt to jazz up a work outfit, or pair with a silk blouse for an evening out to dinner - New Look 6107, or By Hand London's Charlotte Skirt. Or perhaps a gathered circle skirt with waistband to make full use of the stiffness like Colette's Zinnia.
We like the possibilities of a close-fitting dress because generally, they are so versatile that they suit both soft and heavier fabrics. Despite the fact that dupion feels stiffer, it is still lightweight and so can be nicely lined for a practical cold-season dress, or left unlined for that fresh cool feel on your skin that silk offers. Make up Sigma from Papercut with its options of a gathered skirt and sleeve lengths for work or party. Or Colette's shapely Peony or Lily Dresses.
Our perennial favourite is the Camber from Merchant and Mills. Easy to make and easy to wear, the Camber is so versatile we’ve made it in flannel, poplin, chambray and double gauze... We think its high-time for a Dolce-style cropped t-shirt in one of our fancy silks!
Words by Steph.