What do you do when fall doesn't come around? Well, I am just going to keep sewing for the temperatures. We are fluctuating from 60 degrees to mid-80 degrees, so I pulled out Mood Fabrics' Navy Polka Dotted Rayon Challis and went to work on a great dress that I can wear now and later.
I went with Simplicity 8084 for the dress and I am in love with this style. I have found regular shirtdresses do not do much for my straight figure but with the drawstring waist and the blouson-type top, this one really works. My number one recommendation for this rayon challis fabric is to make sure you have a new needle. Yes, I forgot to change my needle and I had a few thread pulls/runs at the seams. I have to get in the habit new project = new needle! This rayon challis has the best hand and drape, which is perfect for this pattern. One other thing I need to point out, it is on sale! Don't worry if the polka dots are not your style, check out the other Mood Fabric's rayon challis.
Let's talk pattern details and construction details. The most important one is read carefully, this patterns moves from 5/8 seams to 3/8 seams. Next, the length, I added one inch to the length. This may or may not be enough for you, just check your comfort level. I really like the length of this one, the length fits the style and is perfect for the warmer temps. For comparison, I am 5'8" tall and almost always add an inch to all my patterns.
The pattern only has one back yoke piece so I cut two yokes and finished the back yoke in the burrito method (tutorial here).
The front of this dress had a beautiful covered placket and I loved this with the polka dots, no buttons to distract from the front. A covered placket is something I haven't sewn recently, so I folded and worked with the pattern piece until I had it figured out. Another resource is the video tutorial for this dress made by the pattern designer, Mimi G, just check the pattern link above to find the tutorial.
Another thing I changed on the pattern is the drawstring. which you cut two. The pattern has you sew the two pieces together, sew 3/8" seam all around and leave an opening in the center then turn the drawstring through that opening. I sewed the two pieces individually, turned each one and then sewed the raw ends together, overlapping a bit. This is a very long drawstring and I found this to be very simple. The seam is always going to be enclosed in the casing and it made the task much easier turning the shorter pieces. I tied the other ends in a small knot, trimming the excess.
The sleeves have a 4 inch hem allowing for the cuff and button tab. One thing with my challis, it would not hold the cuff, so I stitched in the ditch at the underarm seam. This helped but my cuff still wanted to fall out. I decided to unbutton the tab and stitch the cuff in place under the tab. The tab hides this stitching line and my cuff stays in place nicely now.
I really enjoyed making this dress as it had some different features - the hidden placket, drawstring, curved hem, cuffed sleeves, which combined make a great looking dress. One other tip, when sewing the casing in place make sure it is perfectly even on both sides of center front. The dress will be good when fall arrives here in Missouri, I can throw on a denim jacket, maybe some tights/leggings and keep wearing this fabulous dress. You might recognize this fabric, as Sallieoh recently made a fabulous skirt, which is stunning.
I just want to say..... Happy Fall Y'all!
Disclosure - I receive a monthly fabric allowance from Mood Fabrics to make a garment. These garment are blogged at Mood Sewing Network first and then I will blog here about this garment.