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Made By A Fabricista: Luxe Rayon Knits

This time around, I used the Fabric Mart website filters to help me sort through types of fabric by content. I knew I wanted to make with knits because we are well into autumn around these parts, so I went to the “Knits” category and narrowed it down by content. I selected 100% cotton, rayon, viscose, wool, and their blends, as these are known to be more eco-friendly at the end of their lives--but it’s important to note that looking only at end of life is not looking at the full picture of sustainability. I also encourage you to look into how various fabric types are produced as you make your fabric decisions. I settled on rayon blends in two kinds of fabric for this post, that are so different, but both feel so sumptuous and comfortable.


I also shopped Fabric Mart’s indie paper pattern offerings for this post. They stock several indie designers, and I chose Sew Over It London’s Heather Dress for this first make. A big reason why I chose Sew Over It is because their 18-30 Size Range is also readily available in paper. Some indie designers have made the move to extend their size ranges, but it appears that a paper pattern isn’t always available, at least not right away. This Heather Dress is drafted for up to a 57” chest and 60” hip, and can be purchased as a paper pattern for those who don’t want to or are unable to go through the hassle of buying the PDF version and printing and taping, or printing large format.

This dress requires stable knits, so I went to the Ponte Knit section of the website, narrowed the content down to what I was looking for and went with two rayon/nylon/lycra blends. The first is a black background with subtle polka dots, and the second is a double faced with pinstripes on one side, and plain black on the other. I knew I wanted to have the side panels and sleeves be plain black, so I opted to get the double faced so I could use the plain side. I envisioned a dress that could be dressed up for the office, but also easily dressed down and lounged in. The combo of the comfort of the fabric and the design achieved just that!

This ponte was so easy to work with because it was as stable, if not more stable, than a lot of wovens I have worked with. The weight makes it great for fall and winter, but is cool to the touch, making it so comfortable to wear. The rayon made it easy to press and its stability really helped me make the cleanest knit neckline and hem I’ve ever achieved. I couldn’t catch a snap of it while taking photos outside because it was so cold I needed to run back in! But you can see it up close when I wore it to work from home - don’t I look proud?

Like I do with all patterns, I had a look around at other folks’ feedback on making and many said they needed to size down to achieve the more fitted look on the envelope and I agree. I measured into an 18, but I made the size 16 to achieve this fit. The only mod I made was grading the sleeves to a 20 from the armscye. I think next time, I might grade the chest up half a size to reduce some of the bunching under the armpit, and take the waist in a bit more. Some reviews also said they had some pooling at the small of the back and did a sway back adjustment. I’ve never had to do one before because of my shape, so I thought it’d be fine to leave this time, but you can see there’s a bit of pooling. I had also read that the long sleeved version was impossibly tight around the wrist. I have larger arms, so I went straight for the size 20 on the arms and I’m glad I did. 

The dress itself was a simple make and has interesting pockets set into the front. I did have to take a pause and re-read the instructions a couple times because I had not installed pockets like this before, but it was easy once I got the hang of it. I definitely recommend slowing down and taking your time on the pockets. The designer also has a sew along video where you can see her install the pockets that might help too. All in all, I look forward to making this dress again!

My second fabric choice was a rayon lycra rib knit in this beautiful clay color. Much like the ponte, this rayon rib knit is cool to the touch, so it’s very comfortable to wear. I’ve already been wearing the dress around the house as chic loungewear with various robes and other layers. 

I have not worked with rib knit before, though I do have some in my stash, and I was a little worried about proceeding. However a few things helped me keep it together while working with this fabric: a walking foot; sewing slowly and readjusting every few inches to make sure the fabric wasn’t pulling on either side of the foot, and pulling the top and bottom threads back away from the machine to guide the fabric. 



I knew I wanted to make the Staystitch Pattern Company Lola dress because of the stylish neckline and their inclusive size range (drafted for up to a 61” hip). The design of the dress really hugs the curves of the body in a beautiful way. Have a look online and you’ll see why this is such a popular pattern--it looks gorgeous on everyone! The pattern is also a simple sew. I did it over two evenings, but I can easily see myself making one in a couple of hours time, at least the tank version. I made a size 12 and graded the waist to a size 14 and it was a perfect fit for me. The dress version goes to just above the ankle, but I shortened it to just cover my knees.

I knew I wanted to make a second piece from the rib knit, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to make when I requested the fabric. I nearly made an infinity scarf to top off the outfit, but then I realized that I might be able to make a turtle neck. Sure enough, I had enough to make the Deer and Doe Mockneck from their Dressed e-book. Unfortunately, the patterns in this book are drafted for only up to a 48” hip, so I have been reluctant to make them (I didn’t know anything about sizing when I purchased the book). However, Deer and Doe have made a commitment to expanding their size range and have been re-releasing existing patterns.

The mockneck came together so easily - I finished it in two hours, and I’m certain I will get faster each time. I made the size 48 and graded the waist to a size 50. The rib knit is so generous that I probably could have gotten away with just making a straight size 48, but this worked out just fine. I shortened it by 1.75” only because I didn’t have enough fabric left to make the full length, but I think I like it at this length. Also, because I have large arms, I went ahead and grade the arms to the size 50. However, I felt like they ended up being too loose and would just make a size 48 arm next time.

I don’t know how often I would wear these two pieces together, but they work great together like it’s one dress. I know I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of the mockneck on its own as well. Even though I shot these loungey photos, both pieces have already made it out to the wild! The IKEA wilds!

Both of these outfits make me feel so luxurious because they feel so good on the skin. I’m glad Fabric Mart makes it so easy to narrow down their wide selection by content. I’ve already placed an order with some more rayon and viscose after this great making experience. I can’t wait to work with these more!



Unfortunately Fabric Mart Fabrics sell out quickly!
You can find similar fabrics in the following categories: PONTE KNIT, DOUBLE KNIT, RIB KNIT, & KNITS.
You can also shop our selection of Sew Over It Pattern HERE.

Comments

  1. Great makes, your finishes look wonderful. Kudos to using Ikea for your pics, the dark green wall and black chair show you off.

    ReplyDelete

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