I’ve been doing a bit of sewing and experimenting with rayon fabrics. Rayon is a cool/breathable summer fabric. That said due to the pandemic, I’ve had to order everything online which makes picking out fabric feel like russian roulette. I don’t have nearly enough knowledge to really understand what I’m getting before it shows up and I can actually touch it.
With that in mind – this rayon fabric was a bit of a surprise. It was way more drapey than I expected. I decided to turn it into a cute loose summer dress.
This fabric has a repeating print with a distinct edge and you call this a panel. I tried my best to position the peices nicely and cut them so that it would be symmetrical. In order to achieve this, I cut the fabric “flat” instead of “on the fold”. Normally you can lay out the fabric and fold it in half to get two of each piece -but by laying the fabric flat and cutting individually you can have more control of lining up each piece.
For this dress, I used the StyleArc Pixie Dress pattern. I really like StyleArc patterns, I think they fit well and have accurate sizing. That said -the directions are pretty hard core. They usually only include one or two pages of mostly text and very few pictures so you really have to have an idea of what you’re doing already. I don’t think I could have used them immediately as a beginner but now I do love only needing to look at one page of instructions the whole time.
Well I pinned and pinned and hand sewed away and then before I knew it all the fringe was in place and one of my best friends was willing to join me to party it up!
I finished the bottom hem of the dress with a hand rolled stitch. Overall this dress included: machine sewing french seams on the sides, machine sewing bias trim finished neckline and arm holes, hand stitched fringe, and hand rolled hem!
I think this is the first evening dress I’ve ever made and it is possibly my best work yet.
I got a bunch of compliments at the party and it was so fun! To make the night even better my plus one was my best friend from third grade!!
The party was super fun and you can really tell because almost none of these are official sewing pictures. I actually put my outfit on in the morning to try and get a few pictures that show the details better. Those are the ones where my hair is not combed lol
Here is a morning video:
Also my jewelry for the night – an old juicy couture pearl and chain necklace and an alexis bittar fox pendant!
Happy holidays! Now it’s time to start working on my chanel jacket again.
Did I post this already? Not sure what is going on. Either way… here’s an update on my 1920s outfit!
I flew back from San Francisco on a red eye and got in on Saturday – I had to do something to stay awake all day, so why not go fabric shopping to start my 1920’s dress? The weather was horrible on Sunday too so Saturday was a perfect time to go to the city and explore a bit!
D came with me and first we got lunch at Cafe China. It was pretty good and cute. We got Dan Dan noodles, wontons, and cumin lamb. Next time we may order a few things we saw other people order lol – there was a really good looking lobster, pepper chicken, and beef shortribs. yummm
Back to sewing! After lunch we went to Mood! It is always fun and we got to say hi to George. We then went to the wool section and got a theory fabric which will become a nice pair of pants one day.
I also picked up a black silk charmuse and a black silk georgette with a 4 inch fringe trim! I studied a bunch of dresses online and decided to make a flapper shift dress.
Here’s the plan:
I will make this with french seams.
Update: I forgot to post this… so here’s how the rest of the project went!
I made the slip! And then I tried to make the sheer outer layer to hang wider over it… but it didn’t look that good. I decided to sew the fringe onto the charmuse and call it a day.
Turns out -this is hard to do!
The fringe is really static-y and heavy and so it started to be very challenging to keep in place. I finally started pinning it everywhere!! And this started to work.
First let’s be clear, this is sewing so everything is fine.
Second! This fabric has been very runny so it is a danger to avoid converting to a pink wardrobe in the future.
Third, I’ve decided to try a new pattern. This could be considered dangerous because it will require new fit adjustments and breaking away from some of my standard designs. I think I’ll be able to make a nice dress if I extend down the length of view D
I also managed to cut everything out and this is always the point where I feel a second of hesitation regarding whether the plan will work out. But! It’s not the time to give up – it’s the time to start sewing!
After the navy dress, I felt a little hesitation starting this dress. I wanted to make a style that would be unique and push my design skills a little.
I had also been inspired by some of the Dries van Noten dresses which had panels which hung down past the hem. As I made the dress, I also decided to do it without sleeves so I can layer it over a turtle neck.
It was fun to put this together and the fabric is SO SOFT!
I also made sure I used the direction of the stripe threads to make the fabric face the same way throughout the outfit.
First I made a normal dress with a standard back zipper. From there, I played around with the plaacement of the front panel. To add flexibility to the fabric and give it a looser drape, I cut it on the bias (diagonal)
Last but not least, a great friend was in town from Saskatchewan and we got lunch! Afterward the Equine Immersion Program was having an even called Trail to Zero with NYC police officers and veterans to raise awareness and help prevent veteran suicides. They were riding 20 miles through the city because every day approximately 20 veterans across the country die by suicide. It was very neat to see them have such a unique event and it was great to talk to the people involved.
It was a great day! Now it’s time to kick off the process for a few new back to school dress shirts. Stay tuned!
Here was the game plan! I was so excited to whip through this dress and make a really nice classic look… but… it’s only been going “sew sew” (is that a pun? It’s supposed to be)
The first challenge was that once I was home, I wasn’t 100% sure if I liked this fabric after all…
It felt very classic and sort of like a polo/golf vibe. It’s a cotton men’s shirting fabric. I thought it would be neat to have a striped shirtdress in my wardrobe, but then I started to question if I actually liked it.
At first, I gathered the skirt but it had too much volume. It was not very flattering 😦 there is no picture of this, but beleive me, it happened and wasn’t good.
I tore it off and really thought about a way to achieve a less busy look. After some time, I decided that pleats could be the answer! I hoped the pleats will be flatter yet still break up the stripes and make a nice A line silhouette. It started to get better! I used an inverted box pleat.
Last but not least! I visited F&S fabric store to pick up some unique buttons and made a sash on the bias to finish it up. I also actually hand pick stitched the collar too as inspired by my sewing friend George who showed me a jacket he was working on that used this technique!
With the pleats, it was much easier to align the stripes between the collar, bodice, and skirt! This also makes the sash pop a little bit more since those stripes go diagonally.
Overall, I feel like I achieved the look I set out to create, but I will be a little more discerning with my in-store fabric choices so that I hopefully feel more confident throughout the project.
Last but not least, I’ve learned that the two daughters of my husband’s coworker have visited the blog and are going to be taking sewing classes! Just wanted to say HI! They are about 10 and I really can’t wait to hear about if they like their class!!! They have a very cool Mom for encouraging them too!
I made this over the weekend and didn’t take any in-process pictures. Oops… this is another version of the Vancouver Dress (although I acquired the Simplicity pattern in Chicago).
This is one of the lates fabrics I got at Mood. I wanted to make a dress with a slightly more businesslike print.
It’s hard to tell but I also beaded the collar and edge of the bow with little white seed beads. (Continuing to slowly use the remainder of my wedding veil supplies)
Since I didn’t take any action pictures, let’s do another quick vocab session. At least in my understanding of sewing so far, the design on a piece of fabric is called the print. The guided paper shapes that you trace to cut the fabric is called the pattern.
Within a print, there is something called the repeat and this is how often the design on the fabric copies itself across the whole piece. These can be direct copies or they can be put on slightly staggered placements to make it harder to tell the shapes are repeating. Another neat type of fabric which I use for scarves all the time is a panel. This is a single square or rectangle in which all the elements of the print design are tucked inside and it usually has a clear border. You have to be more careful with pattern placement.
It’s all fun stuff!
I made this dress so quickly, I am thinking I want to try and add some challenging pattern modifications to my next outfit. I want to keep improving my techniques.
As mentioned it was tons of fun to visit the local fabric stores and explore using my father in law’s sewing machine. He was the sewist in the family! Next time, I will take a few pictures of his projects!
I wish I had taken even more in progress photos but overall this was my first project drafting the pattern from scratch for someone else. It is so exciting to have an opportunity to try sewing for someone else and to see how different adjustments can make the design better for each of us.
It was really exciting to see how much my mother in law liked this dress! She is very into accessorizing – and I see why – she’s fantastic at it!
See more pictures below! And thanks for being such a great muse!