Its become our family tradition to escape to the South Carolina coast for fall break and I LOVE it- the crowds are next to non-existent, the weather isn't scorching and I get a great excuse to squeeze in just a few last summer sewing projects!
For this trip I knew I wanted a breezy and beautiful dress to go out on a belated anniversary date and when I spotted this Tori Richards palm tree print I knew it would be a perfect choice!
South Carolina is called the Palmetto State and there is even a Palmetto tree on their state flag. My parents are from South Carolina and I spent a lot of my summers visiting that coastline so there's a lot of sentimentality wrapped up in my choice of this gorgeous fabric.
One question/concern I always have when choosing a rayon challis is "wonder if it is see-through?" Or better yet, "Am I going to have to line this dress?" As you can see from these pictures it is not see-through. The bodice is lined but the skirt is not. The fabric is pretty opaque and still maintains a wonderfully soft and substantial feel. I have sewn with a lot of challis and some are thinner and the weave can be somewhat loose, however the weave on this challis is neither of those things!
Challis can be tricky to sew with and many times I have to let the challis dictate which pattern I choose. I used McCall's 7595 for this dress and it paired well with the fabric. I will eventually review this pattern on my blog and I had to make a few changes to get the bodice to fit properly. I have a really small rib cage around my under bust which made for a few challenges.
In general I love a breezy maxi dress like this one, what is there not to love- you fit the bodice and the rest of the garment just hangs. Forget about fussing with a sway back or grading out the hips- there is no need because of all that gorgeous flowy challis.
Now I just HAD to pose in front of this Palmetto tree, you simply can't go to the South Carolina coast with a dress like this and NOT pose in front of a Palmetto!!
I am always chilly in restaurants so when choosing to make this dress I also decided to make a light weight jacket to go along. Although I paired my two makes when out on our date I also wore the jacket with another dress I made for our trip.
For the jacket I used a wonderfully soft rayon/tencel chambray. There's still a good deal in stock and I have to say that this is a great weight for a shirt. Its surprisingly light weight for a chambray and draped well. I went back and forth on whether I should make a wrap jacket or a more traditional button up. Either would have been great but I landed on Vogue 8926 since it could be worn as a jacket or a top.
Another thought I had for this fabric which would be equally awesome is this pair of wide leg cropped pants or McCalls 6885. All of these options would transition into your fall wardrobe beautifully!
The fabric did tend to want to fray some, but not excessively so, just enough that I tried to serge every seam to be sure the jacket would withstand a lot of wearing and washing. I made a few modifications to the pattern to get this look and I love the look that these changes lend.
One of the most time consuming was to add rows of stitching all around the jacket, concentrating mostly on the front. I also added the same rows of stitching to the ties, which I made belt carriers for and tied in the back when it wasn't tied around the front. Another change was to give this top side splits. I think it helped break up the look of the jacket and make it appear more jacket-like.
This is the kind of topper I love to have in my closet, its neutral and goes with just about every loud printed dress I own. Its also great either tied or left to hang open and frame the print on a cute dress. This dress is McCalls 6886 and the fabric was a Julie's pick last year. It was labeled a "techno knit" and I believe its probably very close to being a scuba knit, just a little thinner. It packed and wore like a champ, no wrinkles no fuss.
You can be sure that I will wear this jacket a lot this fall. I plan on wearing it as a top with cute skirts and also with work pants and jeans. I love a wrap anything and am really excited get this one in the fall rotation.
We had a great time at the beach, I can't wait to go back, and I loved wearing all of my recent makes. Now that I have my beach trip out of my system I think I can probably focus on fall sewing! I am already planning and perusing the Fabric Mart site for some great fall pieces, how about you?
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!