As much as I’d like to spend my time on Sarah’s blog today talking about how much I adore sharing spooky stories around the sewing machine—(get it, sewing machine?!) I’m here to talk about one of my newest loves, RAYON!
If you’ve ever been to the Southwest, specifically Albuquerque, New Mexico, you’d understand that the weather around this time can be very… hard to prepare for. The mornings around here can be really cold. (OK- I could be possibly exaggerating here, but in my mind, it’s like the Ice Age all over again.) But, if you dress warm, like you feel is necessary, you’ll be regretting that flannel shirt you wore to work because it will be sunny, and 80 degrees by noon. This was a key factor in choosing my project for Art Gallery’s Rayon Blog Hop. I wanted to wear something that was suitable for the warmer weather, but could easily be paired with booties and a sweater for those cooler mornings. So, before you think that sewing a summer dress was predictable for a rayon project, think twice! I plan to wear this year-round.
Being that the purpose of this blog is to share my sewing secrets when using this substrate, let me start off by sharing with you that I am a very new garment sewer. This is great news though! This means I know you can do simple projects like this one, and without great fear of being cursed- (Oh come on, I just had to!)
Here are a few simple tips when sewing with Rayon:
1. Being that I am a quilter at heart, the idea of prewashing fabric has always been a personal preference of the quilter. While I don’t typically prewash my quilting fabrics, I always prewash my garment fabrics!
Have you ever bought a top, and you loved how it fit, until you washed it and dried it? At first, you start debating that chocolate donut you had 10 minutes ago, until you realize the dryer shrunk your new top. Well, that top you just bought found a new home in the donation pile. It’s a bummer. So, to avoid that, I always prewash my garment fabrics. That way, I will know that it has already shrunk, and it won’t shrink more after I spent all that time creating it. I typically only run the rayon through the washer and dryer once before sewing with it, but it won’t hurt if you do it a couple of times, just to be on the safe side.
When I washed my rayon, I washed it on the cycle that I plan to wash my dress in. So, I washed it using the delicate cycle on my washing machine, and I machine dried it using a low heat setting. I wash a lot of my clothes this way, so it will be easy to just toss it in with the other delicates that I have without fear of it getting ruined.
2. Cutting rayon should not spook you- just remember to have a drink first, take a deep breath, and use a rotary cutter with pattern weights on a flat surface.
I don’t know about you, but having a drink makes just about any intimidating thing a little easier. My favorite obsession is currently Sam Adam’s Octoberfest. Also, don’t get too wrapped up in finding fancy pattern weights. I just use whatever I can find in my sewing room- whether that may be cones of thread, a basket of wonder clips, or even that empty beer bottle- just as long as it holds the pattern in place. Cut on a flat surface with a rotary cutter with a mat. I had a table big enough, but you could use the floor.
3. Remember, it is not necessary to own a serger when sewing a garment- or rayon! However, it is necessary that you pin your fabrics, and use the indicated seam allowance.
Rayon is so silky and smooth, which means it can be slippery. If you know me, you know that I HATE pinning with a passion. But it is so, so, SO necessary with rayon. I pin every few inches to make sure those pieces are not going anywhere.
When I sew my pieces together, I always sew with a straight stitch on my sewing machine first before I even think about finishing the raw edges. If the pattern calls for a 5/8” seam allowance, I sew a 5/8” seam allowance with my machine. Then, I can go back serge the raw edges at the end. You may even choose to use a zig-zag on the raw edge, or a French seam method, but make sure you adjust your pattern or seam allowance as necessary to accommodate such method.
It helps if you use a slightly smaller stitch, but only by a little. If you are worried about matching stripes or patterns, I even suggest using a walking foot on your rayon to ensure that the pieces are going under the needle as together as possible. The walking foot can be used for a lot more than just quilting.
Thanks for stopping by and taking time out of your day to join me! A special thanks to Sarah for allowing me to be a guest blogger on her wonderful blog. Happy sewing!
Xoxo, Danyella Nava
Continue the fun! Join all of our other Creator’s on Art Gallery’s Rayon Blog Hop!