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Made By A Fabricista: Challis Season

Warmth is in the air, the grass is turning green, and the days are growing longer, all signs that we're heading into my favorite season of the year, challis season! You're probably thinking "what is challis season?" Challis season is that wonderful time of year when the weather is warm enough to wear tops and dresses made of rayon challis without having to pair them with bulky extra layers. 

As a rayon challis enthusiast, challis season is my favorite time of year! If you've been keeping an eye on Fabric Mart's New Arrivals section of the website then you'll notice all of the beautiful rayon challis that they've stocked lately. With so many beautiful new rayon challis prints and solids, I just couldn't resist stocking up on challis fabric to make two new dresses to wear all season long! 

As a new mom, I'm still working out how to dress for breastfeeding. Dresses haven't been the easiest to wear, and yet they are still my favorite to wear. Since many of my go-to dress patterns from the past aren't the most functional right now, I set out to make a couple of dresses that would carry me from early spring through to early fall, the peak of challis season! 

For the first dress, I used a pewter blue, black, white, and coconut speckle print challis. I loved the pewter blue color with the abstract speckle design, so I ordered 4 yards of the fabric to make a Sew Over It Penny Dress. 

I've made this pattern before and loved it! The fit is very forgiving as it has a boxy bodice cinched with an elastic waist, which is then finished with a circle skirt. The dress also has a button-down bodice which makes it perfect for breastfeeding. Isn't it wonderful when you can grab an already assembled pattern off your shelf and get to sewing right away? That's exactly what I was able to do for this pewter blue Penny which meant that it came together quickly. 

After a few nap-time sewing sessions, I had a beautiful new Penny Dress complete with vintage copper buttons. I am planning to wear this dress to church on Easter Sunday as it is such a lovely shade of blue, perfect for spring! 

For the second challis season dress, I couldn't resist ordering 4 yards of fandango pink rayon challis printed with little kiwis. The kiwi design was just too cute to pass up! 

McCall's recently re-released a vintage Laura Ashely pattern from the 1970s that I fell in love with and knew I had to make. M8358 is unique in that it has a reversible front and back. The front has a square neckline and the back has a low v-neck/ wrap style. I'll admit that McCall's patterns aren't my favorite to sew because I always feel like I should trace my size first to preserve the pattern. The tracing always takes forever and I don't always have the patience for it. 

When a pattern is cute enough though, it's worth the extra effort. I ordered enough fabric to make version B, the version without the ruffle. I totally spaced out while tracing the pattern and ended up tracing version A. Halfway through cutting out version A in my fabric, I realized my mistake. Unfortunately, I didn't order enough fabric for a ruffle like the one shown in the pattern so I had to make do with the fabric I had left after cutting the main dress pieces. I got three large strips of fabric cut out of the remaining fabric, which made for a much less full ruffle on the skirt. 

Due to my lack of fabric, I used a premade lilac single-fold bias tape I had on hand for the elastic casing around the neckline and sleeves. If I could do anything over, I would have picked a color that matched the wrong side of my fabric a little bit better. The sleeves tend to shuffle/slide around a bit while wearing the dress which causes my lilac bias tape to show. If I get a chance, maybe I will unpick the lilac bias tape and replace it with a pale pink handmade bias tape at some point, but for now, the dress is wearable as is.

When I finished the dress, I wasn't sure if I would like it, because it didn't end up looking how I envisioned it. But then I tried it on, and I liked it a lot. I prefer the v-neck/ wrap style worn as the front better than as the back. With the v-neck/wrap style worn in the front, it will also lead to easier access for breastfeeding.

I'm excited to now have two new dresses to enjoy wearing throughout challis season! The pewter blue Penny dress will be perfect for Easter and other spring events, while the fandango pink kiwi M8358 dress will be great for summer! Stocking up on rayon challis dresses now has me ready for challis season! Be sure to grab some beautiful rayon challis from Fabric Mart for your own challis season makes!

SHAINA   @shaina_sews 

Unfortunately Fabric Mart Fabrics sell out quickly!
You can find similar fabrics by shopping the following categories: LUXURY BRITISH BRAND & LAWN.
You can also shop our selection of Sew Over It Patterns HERE.


  1. Nice to see M8358 made up as a dress, especially with Julie's free sewalong going on now ! I've had so many "space outs" when cutting or sewing in the past and it's completely understandable. Sewing helps us adapt to our circumstances and teaches us to "mend and make do." Great job !

  2. Sew glad Chalu season is here I love the feel of it!


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