sewing saturday! heather gray maxi dress

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Sewing Saturday! Today, I finished a sleeveless maxi dress using rayon stretch fabric in heather gray.

Most likely, the number one lesson I learned from this project is this. I HATE SEWING WITH STRETCH KNITS. Let that be said. The (100%) rayon was hard to press (and apparently dangerous to do so), hard to fold, hard to lay out for cutting, impossible to tell the right side from the wrong. I love the feel of cotton.. it irons out flat and you can tell which way the grain is going, when it's laid out correctly, everything.

Let it also be said that while this dress didn't turn out exactly as I would have hoped, I will probably wear it more than any other dress I've finished. I don't like sewing with rayon fabric, but it's absolutely wonderful to wear.. thin, drapey, so soft. And the color and cut are ideal for the summer months. I encourage you all to grab a few yards and try a similar pattern out - you'll probably have more luck than me and love your dress just as much.

But man alive. I hate stretch fabric.

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The sewing pattern was a discontinued Vogue notion from the 1990s, and it was pretty easy to decipher.. only three pattern pieces in all, and I just needed two of them. The pattern calls for three yards (which is generous, I only used about two) of moderate stretch fabric.

First, I trimmed the pattern pieces and adjusted them (I folded them at the petite and shorten lines so they'd fit me a bit better), ironed them flat, then folded the fabric lengthwise (right sides in), matching the selvedges. I laid the pattern pieces out, pinned, and cut.

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I then sewed the two front pieces together at the center seam and did the same to the two back pieces. I attached the two at the straps and then at the sides, making it a point to serge all seams, since it's stretch fabric.

Then, I trimmed the neck and arm openings to about halfway through their 5/8 seam allowance, serged the ends, and sewed the serged edges inwards. I did the same with the hem of the skirt.

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That's it! It's a pretty fun project.. but next time, I'm using a nonstretch fabric to see how it turns out. Maybe cotton gauze? That has a bit of stretch to it. I just finished the dress yesterday afternoon and already, I've worn it out twice. Lightweight summer maxi dresses are the best.

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Shop update tomorrow! I'm preparing a good number of handmade pieces this week with my new fabric, which should hit the shop a week from tomorrow. Stripes and ivory muslin and chambray and navy polka dots. Hope you had a great weekend!