Monday, 22 August 2016

Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt & Charcoal Renfrew Tee

This little outfit has been another favourite in my wardrobe this summer. But frustratingly one of those that it is incredibly difficult to get decent pictures of that reflect how much you love it in reality. Ah well. You'll just have to take my word for some of it! One of my favourite pieces of fabric I brought home from my trip to the West Coast of the US last year was this amazing piece of mustard rayon from The Fabric Store. I've gushed about my love for this shop previously as I was so delighted with the carefully curated selection of dressmaking fabrics on offer. I really was spoilt for choice. I love wearing garments made with rayon and there were some beautiful prints so my instant draw to this solid mustard took me by surprise. It was such a great vivid shade with a touch of lime to it and top quality rayon too.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

It's taken me nigh on a year to get around to turning it into something wearable. Purely because it is one of those pieces that I knew I'd never get my hands on again and I didn't want to waste it on the wrong thing. I'd bought 1.5 yards as I had a feeling I wouldn't want to make a full dress out of it as it can be a tricky colour to wear, particularly next to the face with my colouring. Separates were the way to go. The solution hit my slap in the face when I spotted a girl walking down a road near my flat  looking absolutely amazing in a floaty pair of midi length mustard culottes. Rayon is made for summer wear and that was the perfect way to wear mustard in summer. I didn't have enough fabric to go with a super wide pair of culottes so opted to imitate the look with a simple skirt instead.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

As it was such a simple shape I decided to get creative and draft it myself. I wanted the skirt full enough for the fabric to billow in the breeze but not so full that it became impractical to handle. I opted to go with a rectangle for the front and a rectangle for the back with the fullness coming from pleats into the waistband. I'm not a fan of gathers around my waist and liked the idea of how wide pleats would look.

To establish the width of each rectangular piece I measured my waist, divided that by two and added on 3cm for seam allowance (1.5cm at each side). Then I worked out how many pleats I wanted and how deep they should be and added twice the depth of each pleat times the number of pleats. You need to add twice the depth as the fabric folds back on itself within each pleat. A really easy way to do it without too much maths is to slash and spread your skirt pattern piece at each pleat position by twice the depth of the pleat. I cut the length of the skirt as long as my yardage would allow and adjusted the length to suit once it was sewn up.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt

I inserted an invisible zip into the side seam to keep the look sleek. Finding a zip to match this unique shape proved an impossible task! I quite like the little touch of neon but maybe I should try the trick of colouring my zip pull with nail varnish! I'm a fan of a fairly narrow waistband and used the By Hand London Holly Trousers pattern piece as a guideline for the size as I really like how that one sits. As the rayon is really delicate and prone to distortion I interfaced the waistband with a fairly sturdy fusible.

Rayon is notoriously shifty and this was one of the trickiest I have tried to cut. Getting nice crisp rectangles was a challenge. It does press amazingly well though so those pleats really hold their crease despite being a little tricky to iron in evenly. It comes out of the washing machine looking like a totally different fabric to after a good press! I wash my rayons on a 30 degree delicate cycle in the machine by the way. The only unfortunate thing about the fabric is that it does wrinkle quite badly and quickly. By the time I've done the morning commute it's looking pretty rumpled. It does look quite lovely like that in the way that linen does but sometimes I do wish it could look as chic and put together as it does when I put it on first thing in the morning.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I wasn't a fan of the midi length when it first came on trend and really didn't think I could pull it off with my petite proportions but now I can't stop wearing it! I think it's all about getting the hem length to hit at just the right point, getting the volume of the skirt right for your fabric choice. I'm so glad I went with a simple garment. I think when working with a special piece of fabric I sometimes have the tendency to overthink a project and try and make something spectacular, particularly when it's a solid colour. Really there's no need. A simple design lets the fabric speak for itself and that's certainly what this does. It really shows off the beautiful drape and flow of this rayon to it's full potential.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I had a couple of tops in my wardrobe to work with the skirt but decided I really needed a classic slim fitting tee to wear with it. Something which my wardrobe could still do with a few more of. I turned to the trusty Sewaholic Renfrew Top pattern as I've had great success with it in the past. It was really satisfying to return to a pattern I used quite a long time ago as it really showed me how much my sewing has come on. I had this one whipped up in a matter of a couple of hours and I think my finishing is the best yet!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I had just (and when I say just I mean JUST!) about enough fabric left over from my Turtleneck Top to squeeze this t-shirt out. It's a Heather Grey Cotton Spandex from Girl Charlee and is the perfect match for this pattern. I'm definitely going to be making more t-shirts out of this type of knit. It's a great weight with good recovery and has been washing up a dream. The high cotton content means it presses beautifully so getting that neckband eased in and sitting flat was super easy.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I opted for the round neck and used a slightly larger seam allowance than instructed on the neckband as I like it to be really skinny. I then twin needled around to help everything sit flat. All the seams were sewn with a narrow zig zag on my machine then finished on the overlocker as usual for me. I made sure to stabilise the shoulder seams with twill tape. This takes no time at all and will make a big difference to the longevity of the garment. I omitted the hem and cuff bands as I prefer the simple clean look of a simply turned and twin needled them. I also think this makes the t-shirt a better length for me. I'm pretty petite so don't need the extra length the bands give.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I basically decided to make the top when I saw how great the shade of grey marl looked against the mustard. It was a real whim and I wasn't sure how it would turn out but it's been worn so much already! This is definitely down to the fit. It feels snug but doesn't cling to the body at all. I'm still getting to grips with the effect different knits can have on a pattern and making up more of these tees might be a great way to experiment. The fabric choice makes such a difference when comparing this to my other favourite Renfrew (the navy and white striped version from this post) which is a much more slinky jersey with a bit of viscose in it. It doesn't hug the body in the same way despite being exactly the same size and finished in exactly the same way.

Overall two hugely successful additions to my wardrobe. Let the sunshine continue please!
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20 comments:

  1. Absolutely adore the skirt. It is the perfect colour!! Beautifully sewn too. Cheers, Michele

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    1. Thanks Michele! The colour just jumped straight off the table at me in the store and once I had touched it and seen the beautiful drape I was sold!

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  2. I love this outfit, it looks so summery! I have a length of mustard silk that I've been hoarding, I think I might have to copy you...

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    1. O please do! I could not be more happy with what this fabric turned into. I'm glad I waited so long to decide and didn't rush my decision. Thank you

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  3. This is just such a perfect outfit!! I was really hoping you'd bought that mustard fabric in the UK though so I could go get some! I bottled it on cutting out the midi length for the Brumby I've just cut out & am regretting it now!

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    1. Ah how I wish there was a fabric store in the UK Kathryn! I do find rayons of this quality and in prints/colours I want to wear really hard to come by in the UK, they are definitely always on my list to look for when abroad. I'm sure your Brumby will turn out beautifully but do try the midi length, I was surprised by how much I like it!

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  4. Lovely outfit. Sometimes simple is best, as you say! That rayon is a stunning colour.

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    1. Thank you Sam! I'm so pleased I kept it simple. The fabric is enough of a statement on it's own I think

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  5. I'm loving the midi trend, it makes me feel grown up, your skirt is lush, I love the fabric it's gorgeous and I think I might give drafting this pattern a go. Your too looks fab with it

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    1. I am surprised by how much I am enjoying the midi length Lynsey! I've worn this so much and you're absolutely right it feels grown up and ladylike to wear. It's so easy to draft, just two big rectangles, would be even easier to do a gathered one!

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  6. So wonderful! I love how every detail came together effortlessly -- it must have been made to be!

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    1. Thank you so much Helene! I'm really pleased I held off from using this fabric too quickly and wasting it on the wrong thing. A simple skirt it was made for!

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  7. If you were to set a lamp or other similar light source next to your camera. I think you could greatly improve the quality of the photos you take.

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    1. Hi Jason, thank you for your tip. I will give that a try. Photography isn't my strong point, I tend to just use my phone and spend the time on the sewing!

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  8. I cancelled a trip to LA this past spring at the last minute. It was going to be a great work trip, all my favorite people, etc. etc. etc. The thing that most disappointed me about the whole thing is NOT going to The Fabric Store. There's no place like it. I love love love them -- and they're so incredibly nice, too.

    To your skirt. This combination is so wonderful and this particular shade of mustard is perfect. I love this outfit and if I were you, I'd wear it all the time!

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    1. Ah what a shame about your trip Colleen! I hope you get the chance to go again soon. I agree, I'm almost tempted to go back purely to be able to visit that store again!
      Thank you. I do wear it nearly all the time! haha

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  9. I have that very same fabric cut out ready to sew up. A friend of mine brought it at the Auckland store.

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    1. Excellent choice by your friend! It's gorgeous stuff. What are you making with yours?

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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!