Sunday, 22 October 2017

Navy Rayon Crepe Lois Dress

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

The recently released Lois Dress from Tessuti was an instant purchase for me the moment I saw it! I loved the clean lines and easy wearability. Really classy and contemporary. I'm not surprised to have already seen a fair few versions pop up across the blogosphere. As tempting as it is to pick a beautiful bold flowing print to pair with such a simple design I've learnt over the last couple of years that my most worn garments tend to be solids so I went on the hunt for a beautiful fabric in a winter appropriate colour that I could wear with tights.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

Coincidently at around the same time the lovely team at The Fabric Store got in touch to see if I'd be interested in being a brand ambassador for them over the next few months and sewing up some garments with my pick of their fabrics. It's no secret that I love getting fabric from them (I've sewn up too many items in their merinos and linens to list) so of course I jumped at the chance! I want to use the opportunity to branch out and try some of their more unusual fabrics (I mean it's a shame it's not summer as they've recently started stocking Liberty swimwear) and headed straight on into the rayon section. This rich navy blue crepe was just what I was looking for for my Lois.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

I cut the size 8 and had a bit left over from the 2 metres I had. I could have actually made do with 1.5m as it is designed to be a proper midi length dress but on my petite frame it felt a bit overwhelming so I lopped 6" off the hem. While I like the loose figure skimming fit I think if I made it again I could perhaps do with going down a size. I did debate between the 6 and 8 for a while but was worried the 6 might be a touch too snug. However I have lost a bit of weight recently so it could well end up fitting better in a couple of months! The only other thing to comment on fit-wise is that the neckline is cut quite low but because of the clever design the v neckline sits nice and close to the curves of the body so when wearing the right bra I don't feel too exposed at all.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

It's a deceptively simple looking dress with some great little techniques I've not come across before, which at this stage in my sewing game is quite unusual! It is the first Tessuti pattern I've used and I'm defiantly intrigued to try more as the new experience really pushed me and forced me to concentrate. I'd lost my sew-jo a little as I haven't had time to sew for a while and felt a bit overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to catch up on. I actually thought a fairly straightforward, mindless make would be what I needed but actually the surprise of this being more challenging than expected really got me fired up to sew again.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

I'd definitely recommend having a bit of sewing experience under your belt for this one; especially if you're going to tackle it in a slinky silk or rayon. It's not overly complex and the instructions are great (including clearly annotated photographs) but some of the techniques are quite fiddly and and understanding of how things will come together eventually would be beneficial.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

One of the techniques I'd not come across before was the use of tearaway stabiliser along some of the seams which had the potential to stretch out; like the neckline. You stitch it on before assembling the seam and then tear away the excess. I didn't have any stabiliser of this kind so instead cut narrow strips of lightweight fusible interfacing which has worked out great to give the rayon a bit of strength where it needs it, but you can of course see it in the inside. As a result it's not the most beautiful inside of any garment I've made...yet because of the techniques involved I still feel like it's well finished. If that makes any sense!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

Aside from the relaxed kimono sleeves which are finished with wide bands I have a couple of favourite features of this design.  Firstly the cut of the bodice. The waistband angles up in a v shape to meet the point of the neckline in a style reminiscent of a 1930s tea dress. It's really flattering and skims the body in a lovely way. You topstitch along the waistline and around the neckline right on the edge; worth taking your time over as it looks super professional and lovely when complete! Whenever there is topstitching involved I always take that as an excuse to machine stitch my hem too.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

The other really clever part of the design is that the side seams of the skirt are actually set around towards the back and the shaping over the hip at the sides is created with darts. This means that the side seam zip runs down into the dart which I've never seen before! It was the first time I've put an invisible zip into a side seam in this fashion, starting a few inches down from the closed underarm rather than running right up to the top. I was a little daunted but by following the instructions I got in to go in nice and smoothly but unfortunately couldn't get the waistline seam to match up AT ALL. I'm not quite sure what happened as it matches up perfectly on the side without the zip. Perhaps the rayon got stretched out of shape.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

Also worth a mention is the finishing of the neckline which is dainty, neat and really well thought out. A slightly different technique again to any I have used before but it has resulted in a perfectly crisp and tidy centre front point. Aided of course by the fact that this rayon presses and holds a crisp edge so well! The fact that there is a waist seam is what really helps keep this style flattering. You can see in the picture below that I still have a waistline before the flare of the skirt. Thanks to the winds of storm Brian for illustrating this so beautifully!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tessuti Lois Dress in Navy Rayon Crepe from The Fabric Store

I absolutely love making and wearing dresses in rayon. This style suits something lightweight with lovely movement. Despite the fact that I'm now craving one of these dresses in a rich autumnal print (check out Sallie's for a bit of inspiration) I'm really pleased with my fabric choice. The only thing I would say about it, as is often the case with rayon and viscose crepes, is that it is a little bit see through in direct light. Over thick tights it'll be fine but in the summer I think I'd have to wear a slip which is a shame as rayon is so smooth and cool against the skin. Perhaps I should add making a couple of rayon or even silk slips to my sewing queue!

20 comments:

  1. This is a gorgeous dress, and I haven't seen this pattern before. Lovely fabric too.

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    1. Thanks Lynne. It's a really great pattern, very interesting project to work through. I think it would suit you!

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  2. A great make. I'm sure you'll get a lot of wear out of this dress.

    I too pounced on the pattern when it came out as I love the style of the dress. However, on reading the pattern it does sound a bit advanced for my sewing skills so it has been put to one side for when I have more practice under my belt or I find a crazy cheap (but nice) fabric to practice on. I own a few Tessuti patterns and they do love to use Vilene tear away at seams. Luckily I stocked up on some the last time I visited Melbourne.

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    1. Thanks Charlotte. Yes hopefully it will become a bit of a wardrobe staple!
      I really like the idea of the Vilene tearaway. I'm sure if you took this nice and slowly you could manage it, especially is you choose a lawn or fabric that's easy to handle

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  3. That’s beautiful. It looks so elegant and luxurious and yet very wearable.

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    1. Thanks Catherine! It feels luxurious, you found the word I couldn't think of when I was writing the post!

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  4. Hi I'm assuming you live in the UK. Do you have no problem ordering fabrics from the USA? Do you find it cheaper? I'm just starting out and begin a fashion design course after Christmas. But I want to get some practice in now and looking for the best outlets. Can you advise me please?

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    1. Hi I do indeed live in the UK!
      I don't know that I have actually ever ordered fabric from the US (aside from fabrics I was sent as part of my Mood Sewing Network allowance) so I'm not sure I can advise. The Fabric Store where I got this viscose from is based in New Zealand. Their delivery is always surprisingly quick and the fabrics good value for money but the thing I like the most is that they tend to be fabrics that are tricky to get hold of in the UK like merino (aside from the Liberty fabrics obviously). Their delivery is free over 150NZD which is amazing

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  5. Love the class Ines of this dress, Fiona, it looks really expensive. There are some lovely versions around, but I was a bit worried about the low neckline, and you've reassured me so I might have a go.

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    1. Ah thanks Mags! I think it must be the rich navy that gives it a luxury feel!
      Yes I was worried about the neckline and it is definitely low but does sit quite well. A low neckline doesn't bother me if it fits right but if you prefer to be a bit more covered up you might want to think about raising it slightly or wearing a slip. Maybe make a quick muslin of the bodice!

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  6. Lovely dress and it suits you too. The coolour is gorgeous! Tessuti do love to use tearaway stabiliser... I usually do what you did, and if my fabric isn't too shifty I'll just stay stitch. As for slips - I highly recommend a silk slip - I made one a couple of years ago using one of those very full gathered 80s skirts with yoga waistbands and a 50s panelled pattern and it has been one of my most useful makes ever! Under merino and wooly dresses, it is light and not-there but does the job whilst feeling luxe:).

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    1. Definitely adding a silk slip to my sewing queue then Francesca! I'm sure I must have a pattern somewhere in my stash that includes a slip as part of it
      Thanks very much

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  7. I love your version! When I saw the pattern was so tempted and didn't buy as I thought it would be perfect for summer but now I've seen your version, its perfect to for a party as well.

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    1. O yes its definitely not just a summer dress! Although I must admit that I can't wait for summer already so I can make this in some summery colours and prints
      Thank you

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  8. Thank you for your fantastic review of this pattern! I must say that at first I (naively) thought that this pattern would be TOO simple and too similar to other patterns out there to be worth purchasing, but your review has totally changed my mind! I can't wait to try all those little fancy details and up my game.

    I love your fabric choice, I can see how you would want to wear this every day!

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    1. O it's definitely not too simple at all! There are some great features and the cut is beautiful. One of those that looks simple but is actually doing a lot of work!
      Thank you!

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  9. Such a great interpretation! I bought it at the release as well, sent it to the copyshop and ... it went into my stash... I still won't sew it right away (winter is coming), but your version is a great inspiration!!
    Greats from Germany, Anna

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    1. O you can certainly make this for winter and layer it up! A nice fine wool would be great. I'm going to wear this with tights and merino cardigans!
      I hope you enjoy making it, I really did

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  10. This is stunning! Your dresses are always particularly beautiful, and this one is amazing!

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    1. Thank you so much! i do love making dresses but have to restrain myself when it comes to patterns for them as I don't know how many my wardrobe really needs! Haha

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!