Monday, September 3, 2012

Silk Ikat Blouses for Elizabeth

Today we are shipping a custom order. We really love how it turned out, and I would like to write about it. 

...All of our customers are very important to us, valued and special, but Elizabeth will always stand apart. She was our very first customer on Etsy. Elizabeth found us in the spring 2012, when we just opened; she placed a custom order, and ordered a number of pieces from us since then. Her reaction to the items she receives from us serves as a great incentive for further improvements and a wonderful support. Her first feedback was as follows:

'...Exquisite, gorgeous - I cannot describe how beautiful this set is. The fabric is stunning and the design modern, comfortable, and attractive. It is also perfect fit, thanks to Eugenie's excellent communication with me and Irina's amazing skill and eye for design. I am already planning on another custom order!'

You can imagine how happy we were to read this! I translated it to mother, and I think she learned it by heart. Of course we are blessed to have Elizabeth as a customer and we treasure our relationships. 

Recently Elizabeth asked us if we could suggest some blouses with relaxed fit and short sleeves for her. She wanted them made of khan atlas - that is pure silk satin, smooth, cool and luxurious, with traditional ikat pattern. My mother has drawn four sketches:

...and Elizabeth has chosen the two on the top - one with a split neckline and the off-shoulder one. These were our preferences, too. 

Mother made custom patterns based on our customer's measurements. She never uses ready made patterns. For each new customer she makes new patterns from scratch to ensure that the clothing will fit. She believes that this is what custom made clothing is about. 

The split neckline blouse was relatively simple in terms of fit, whereas for the off-shoulder one she decided to make a model first - to sew it from a piece of cheap cotton first to see how it comes out. That cut is more complicated because it should be off-shoulder without slipping further and making you feel uncomfortable - in other words, that shoulder looks like falling but it is supposed to stay in place firmly. Besides, the bottom hem is supposed to be even and not skewed. And the fabric chosen by Elizabeth for this top was extremely beautiful, rare - a vintage piece - and valuable. So, mother produced this model, roughly sewn but fully in line with the pattern of course:

She looked on it, tried in on the mannequin, tried it on herself to see that the balance is good and then, satisfied that it fit perfectly well, she cut the silk ikat fabric.

The model was not needed anymore. Actually I quite liked it and said we should not dump it. I could tea stain it, put some lace, buttons, ribbons, old Lego pieces, coke tabs, etc. on it and sell it as a truly unique Boho one of a kind tribal ethnic magic wearable piece of art - Etsy is full of them. Unfortunately my mother did not appreciate my idea and told me to do something useful instead of talking nonsense and distracting her. You see, she is hopelessly practical and believes that clothing should be professionally made, beautiful, stylish and long lasting. (I might sneak this model away though to alter and list it to see if it will be popular).

So, as a result, mother made these two blouses (tops, tanks, tunics - you choose).

We consider them to be really good. They are bright and bold, but can be easily balanced by solid color coordinates. They can be worn with blue jeans - especially the off-shoulder one, since it has so much blue - or with black, gray, slate, dark green or white pants of various lengths and proportions. They will look great with both capri and pencil pants, and there are more options possible, depending on personal preferences. 

This ikat fabric has one very valuable feature; it is extremely flattering, making the wearer appear much slimmer. We call it 'our instant slimming silk'. This is especially true about the blouse on top; those areas with more narrow pattern on the sides creates a strong visual effect of a much slimmer body. I have a green and black ikat tunic myself, and I look almost too thin wearing it.

I hope Elizabeth loves her blouses. My mother did her best in making them, and I did my best to take pictures as true to life as possible.

We now offer these models in our shop, both the ikat top with split neckline and the off-shoulder silk blouse. They will be made based on each customer's individual measurements. And of course something totally different can be designed and made from scratch. We have lots of lovely vintage silk in different colors (some are here), and we can always offer additional choices.

My mother loves this work. She keeps singing while working, and that makes me happy.


  1. This was extremely interesting to me, since I always wondered how to make custom cloth things on i-net. So you sent the model to Elizabeth, didn't you? And only after her approval you made the blouse, am I right?

    1. No, Galia, we did not send it. It would be too time consuming and costly. Mother just made it to test the pattern, studied it carefully, made small adjustments and then cut the silk.

  2. I like these blouses! Maybe I will buy one for me for next summer)

    1. Thank you :) I would find whatever colors you like for you, to make you very pleased with your purchase :)


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