My name is Amanda (@pinkmandarin.handmade). Since I don’t have an active blog, I am so excited to be guest writing on Sarah’s today as part of the Art Gallery Fabrics Rayon Blog Hop. YAY!!!
I have to admit before I get started here… that I’m sort of geeking out over being part of the AGF Rayon Blog Hop with so many awesome sewists!!! I consider myself a sewing newbie, who has been learning through a lot of trial and error, so to be included in this stellar group of makers is super awesome! For any other sewing newbies reading this post, I am the girl for you, so take note if you’re looking for a great weekend project *wink wink.*
When trying to decide what to sew up, I had just found out I was pregnant, so I knew I wanted something that would be comfy and work with a growing baby bump…and I am in love with these choices. I am pretty sure I am going to be living in this buttery soft PJ and robe set for the next couple of months and even once baby arrives.
I chose the Simplicity 1563 pattern for my robe. Mostly because my sister-in-law had sewn one up for me as a bridesmaid gift a while back and I liked the fit and style. It has been well used since then and I decided it was time for a new one. I am in love with it in the AGF rayon fabric! I never want to take it off because of how soft and cozy it is. The print is Rivercane in rayon by April Rhodes from her Heritage collection and I really like how it almost comes off as neutral because of the color choices and repetitive geometric print. Plus it reminds me of when I lived in Arizona 🙂
For the PJs, I had been eyeing the Grainline Studio Lakeside PJ pattern for quite some time and I thought it would work great with a growing bump because of the open criss-cross back design. I chose to use Dana Willard’s Floret Sunkissed rayon print from her new collection Blush. It has such a great retro vibe to it and the colors are so rich and saturated.
So I have to admit to all those newbies out there like myself… about a year in a half ago I sewed up a rayon skirt, not having any background knowledge on how to use rayon. I don’t remember the fabric details but it was my first attempt at using rayon and I think I was sweating through the whole entire process! It turned out looking awful and I vowed NEVER to sew with rayon again……That was until I got my hands on AGF’s rayon. It was love at first sight and at first touch! What I learned was that quality really made a difference in how your garment turns out. One of the many reasons I love Art Gallery Fabrics. It also helps to know a few tricks along the way too. Here are a few that I have found to be super helpful in conquering my fear of sewing with rayon and now making it my favorite fabric to sew with.
1. Rayon is slippery, which makes it hard to pin and cut out. I use giant washers as pattern weights and I love my mini Fiskers rotary cutter to get crisp clean cut lines and points.
2. Speaking of slippery… I found that when cutting straight pattern pieces, like the Lakeside PJ shorts waistband, it was actually easier to just measure the pattern piece and cut it out using a long ruler and rotary cutter to prevent all the slipping. Again, ensuring a straight, even cut which makes attaching the pattern pieces easier.
3. One skill I am still working on perfecting are those tricky darts. I have found that drawing out the lines before I pin is probably over kill but it has ensured that they look great in the end. I use my Pilot erasable frixion gel pen which disappears once I iron.
4. Another life saving tip has been serging my raw edges on my serger before I hem. This has made all the difference in how my hems look in the end. Everything seems to just fold over so evenly and the serged edge helps me eyeball how wide to make my hem (because lets be real who likes to measure that, haha)
When I purchased the Simplicity Robe pattern I saw that it said it could be sewn up in 2 hours…hmmm I was curious about that one… Even though it was a quick sew, by the time I cut out the pattern pieces, and fabric pieces, and then sewed the whole thing together it was far from a 2 hour sew. I would say a day project for sure (though I could just be slow too). It had the easiness of a 2 hour project, how about that 😉
In the end the only changes I made to the pattern were that I cut off a number of inches in length to make it above the knee and I used a smaller seam allowance (1/4in.) so I had a bit more room to fit my belly since I did not size up. What I wish I had done was raise the pockets in the robe by 1 to 1.5 inches. They are very low (and I have long arms)… so for next time I would adjust those. Otherwise, this was a very straight forward pattern that has a great fit.
How luxurious does it look in this AGF rayon too?!? (cue all the heart eyes!)
Like the robe, the Lakeside PJ pattern is another day project (Just think, if you sewed Saturday and Sunday you would have a whole new lounge look by Monday!) The tank is a breeze to sew up and using bias tape around the edges and for the straps makes it go super fast! I chose a punchy berry color in bias tape from Joann Fabrics to accent the fabric. I actually ended up using 1/2in. bias tape instead of 1/4in. like the pattern called for since they had limited colors in the 1/4in. tape at my store. I am so glad this happy accident happened because I actually like the bolder look it gave. I ended up adding 1in. in length to the straps of the tank since I tend to need a bit more length between my shoulders and bust (I am 5’6” with a long torso). The tank was a perfect fit this way.
So, in all honesty the shorts took a bit more figuring out for me. I am very much a visual learner so I do better having someone show me something in person then I do reading the directions on how to do something. I wish I had a good suggestion on how I figured them out but I really just walked through each step very slowly (like painfully slowly) and once I figured out the one leg and saw what was going on with the bias tape it was a breeze. Luckily, there were a few pictures in the pattern instruction to help this process along. I also suggest that once you sew up the elastic waist band to sew a line down the middle to help prevent it from turning and flipping when you are putting them on or take them off (cause we all know how annoying it is to try and straighten out twisted elastic) just remember to pull it taut as you are sewing.
In the end, these were two great patterns for a beginner/advanced beginner who wants to try their hand at sewing with rayon, as well as two great options if you also happen to have a bun in the oven 😉
If you’re looking for more sewing/rayon inspiration check out #AGFrayonbloghop on social media and be sure to check out what the other talented bloggers, who are part of the tour, have been up to.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 9 – CRISTY @LOVEYOUSEW_ | Blog here