Saturday, February 14, 2015
Made by a Fabricista: Romantic Rayon Challis Rose Dress.
I threw around a few fabric/pattern combinations, but ultimately decided to use this amazingly soft and prettily rose printed rayon challis. (Hurry if you like it, there are only ten yards left at the point I write this post.) Picking out the dress was proving to be more of a challenge, though. I know rayon challis is best for floaty dresses with minimal closures (I toyed with this Burda magazine pattern), but I kept thinking, "I need longer sleeves so I can wear this in winter!" One, because longer sleeves mean more arm coverage when it is cold outside, and two, because I wanted to be able to hold the bottoms of the sleeves with my hand when pulling on coats and cardigans (I hate it when 3/4 or shorter length sleeves get caught in coats and cardigans in the winter).
Well, I ordered this very pretty Vogue pattern from an ebay seller, but it didn't arrive until a week later, and I *needed* to get to work on it, so I just gave up two days before it arrived and went with Simplicity 2246, a lovely Lisette shirtdress pattern with multiple views. It did not have a long sleeve view, but I also knew I could add inches to the sleeve pattern to get that, so I wasn't worried.
In order to make this straighter silhouette work for my frame, a pear shape, I knew the top of the dress would have to be cut in a 10, while the bottom bit would need to be made in the largest size in the packet, the 14. I basically manipulated the pattern the same way I did for Burda 7137, so take a look here if you would like to see how I adjusted this pattern for my larger lower half.
I did make sure to staystitch all the neckline/shoulder bits, and that definitely worked to keep Miss Rayon in her place. Also any bits that I interfaced, like the collar or placket, definitely behaved, but I didn't want the entire dress interlined since I wanted to keep the drapy character of the fabric present.
The sleeves are long, as you can see here. The are slightly bell-shaped, since I chose to lengthen the sleeve by adding three inches to the hem of the sleeve versus at the "lengthen/shorten" line on the pattern. Ultimately it was a design choice since I wanted a slightly boho/romantic look to the dress. Shirtdresses can look very severe and tailored, and I felt like a flowier sleeve would give a sweeter look to the dress, especially in view A.
I found this fabric in my remnant pile (it also served as the back of my Grainline scout tee/tunic), and this fabric was a much better choice since it had a firmer structure, but was much more lightweight than the sateen.
The buttons were a find! I have a source for vintage buttons near me here in Virginia, and after inspection of a few candidates, I realized these plastic pink/grey versions were the most perfect choice. Because the bigger button was 5/8", though, I had to increase my placket width by a 1/4" on each side to accommodate the extra width needed (the pattern calls for 1/2" buttons). Because I had already cut the plackets, I just decided to slim down the seam allowances from 3/8" to 1/4", and in the end, that was enough to get the buttons to properly fit.
The smaller button, btw, is for the *fake* collar stay closure. I didn't have a ton of room there for a larger button, so I used the wee button instead.
I have a serger, but I know that on wovens I have a really tough time serging around curves, so I *never* serge those kind of seams with my serger. I even had a little serger mistake on one of my straight seams owing to the very lightweight feel of the material (I had overlocked a bit of the dress while finishing the seams since I didn't feel the bottom layer even though I was trying to be careful!). In the end, the mistake was not that big of a deal, but it definitely kept me from wanting to try and serge the set-in sleeve seam's raw edge.
I hoped that maybe someone out there had written up a tutorial on how to French seam a set-in sleeve seam, and yep, there was one done by the folks at Grainline. Woo! Definitely use that to help you do it for yourself on any of those fabrics that are so delicate and fine that serging is not an option. I only French seamed the armscye seam allowance, but the tutorial is good for all seams. I also photographed as much as I could of my own seaming so you could have some visuals of what I did. :-)
All the girls loved it. I tell you, if you want to feel good about your sewing endeavors, hang out with second-grade girls. They swoon every time I tell them I have made something. ;-)
I did not have to wear a slip, btw. The challis did not stick to my tights as I feared it would. I think as long as you make sure there is enough ease in the pattern you choose for what you do with the challis, it will properly drape and float away from the body, and it is silky enough that it won't stick to most other fabrics.
I had no problem with the sleeves getting caught in this coat, either, but I will tell you to grasp the cuff firmly since I tried getting the sleeves in the sleeve of the coat without grasping well and it definitely got caught on the coat sleeve.
(Am I the only one who gets bothered by this? Upon writing this post I realize I have spent a lot of time on this topic, lol. I did find this, which made me chuckle.)
Okay, that's all from me. I hope everyone out there has a very festive Valentine's Day, even if all that means to you is wearing something festive. (That's what I do, anyhow!)
~Dina from My Superfluities.