Silk damask tablecloth to Quilla top

I’ve been busy sewing but not much blogging, which I thought I’d better rectify.

Some time ago I was given a set of three vintage tablecloths (from the 1950s or 1960s perhaps) made from silk damask; a little one, a medium one and a big one. They are exquisite, but they’ve seen some good times and were covered in stains. I washed them and thought I’d make a top from the medium sized one, only to find that many of the stains hadn’t come out. I didn’t stress too much and pushed on.

I’ve never sewn with silk damask before, only cotton. Some research showed that it originally hailed from Damascus (makes sense) and spread to Europe through the traders on the silk road. The following is taken from “It  is a unique reversible weaving technique made with one warp and one weft yarn. Damask can be made with silk, synthetic fabrics, cotton, wool or twill—though some believe that silk is the only “true” fabric for this luxurious technique. Traditionally, all damask-woven textiles were monochromatic, with patterns appearing from the contrasting woven threads. As technology has evolved, so has the damask technique. Today, damask is made on computerised Jacquard looms and can incorporate multiple colors in a single pattern.” This tablecloth is obviously made with a computerised loom, given the multiple colours.

I’ve just realised that I spend a lot of time trying to determine the right and wrong side of damask and now, according to this, they are the same! Having said that, I feel as though this particular damask has differences between the two sides.

The top is the Fibremood Quilla, which is a fun pattern to make. It’s described as challenging, but it wasn’t really too difficult. It’s quite cropped, but easy to lengthen, and people have made dresses from the pattern. The neck is quite high and I’m wondering whether I should have lowered it, but it’s not uncomfortable. The facing is all in one and Fibremood has quite a tricky method of sewing it. They use it on other patterns, so I have mastered the method, but this time I used the burrito method as recommended by my friend Hélène. This is a really neat way of finishing off the arm holes. The side panels have an elasticated top. I finished up taking 3cms off the recommended length of elastic on each side and would probably make it even shorter if I were to make this top again.

The flowers are an integral part of the tablecloth but I decided that I wouldn’t place them centrally. I quite like the slightly offset symmetry I managed to achieve.

I did place the flowers in the centre of the side panels though. Aren’t the colours just delicious?

I snuck an “upcycled” label on, which sits discreetly in one of the side folds. You can certainly see the beautiful sheen in this close up photo.

Having finished the top I gave it a gentle scour in sodium percarbonate and all the remaining stains vanished. I will scour the other two cloths before I use them, this was a bit nerve wracking!

Finally, a little movie of Miss G; she does love the Wiggles!


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