Tag Archive | rayon

Beachy dress

Apparently I am trying to satisfy some kind of latent desire to live in the tropics with my garment choices of late. Heaven knows nobody can wear this at “the beach” in the Pacific Northwest. We don’t even call it “the beach” here — it’s the coast. And it takes a hardy kind of person to enjoy a day out on the coast, as evidenced by this hilarious commercial put out by a local insurance company.

beach bum

Click to watch the short commercial! You will laugh! Well… I laugh.

I can see the floor-length version of this dress being worn with pretty jeweled flat sandals by a girl with lightly tousled hair and movie star sunglasses as she strolls the hot, sandy beaches of California or Florida. The floor-length version of this dress would not be practical, however, for me as I hike up a steep, gravelly trail through the ferns and firs just to get to my car.

McCalls 6555

McCalls 6555

So, for the sake of practicality and also versatility, I made the knee-length version. My thought was, not only can I wear it during the summer, but in the fall I could put on a cardigan, tights and boots and keep on a-wearin’ it. In fact, that blue Pearl’s Cardigan that I made awhile back might be just the ticket.


The fabric is rayon challis. As you can see, it is a sort of gussied-up stripe print. As you can also see, I paid not a whit to the stripes when I was cutting the pieces. Never even occurred to me to match stripes. I had extra fabric, so I could have matched them. Alas. For some reason, the print never really registered in my brain as “stripe.” I just saw wild swirls and stuff. Fortunately, I think the print is wild enough that I can get away with mismatched stripes. And if not, just nod and smile and play along.

One thing about the print that I’m a little disappointed about, though, is that it hides the pleats where the dress meets the yoke. That was kind of the main design element. The dress also hangs a bit more sack-like than I would have preferred, which I think would not have been so noticeable in the floor-length version. A little belt may have to be employed.

Another small disappointment is that the middle of the back gaps.


This is not the first time I’ve had this problem. In fact, it happens nearly every time I make a dress. Why I haven’t paid closer attention to this phenomenon, I can’t say. But it is apparent now that my back measures narrower than the Big 4 pattern companies think. Obviously, I’m going to have to get a measurement and then compare it to the width of pattern pieces from now on. It should improve the fit quite a bit! What I really need to do is make another duct tape dummy of myself and then make a sloper (a sloper is a sort of base pattern fitted like a second skin to your body, then disassembled and used to adjust the sizing of printed pattern pieces to ensure good fit). All this sewing-your-own-clothes stuff is great and fun, but it’s also a lot of trial and error. I’m glad, though, that there are always new things to learn.


Have you learned anything new lately?

Welcome to the Jungle

We’ve been on a little Guns n’ Roses kick around here lately since Granota decided to start styling herself like Axl Rose (without any previous knowledge of his existence). Now she likes to rock out to various GNR hits and we’ve all had an endless medley playing in our brains. There are worse things.

Ok, so Axl didn’t wear pink ballerina slippers on his black t-shirts.

Last week, I began working on the second of my spring/summer blouses. The fabric is a rayon challis print (possibly my favorite fabric to work with and wear!). Granota commented that I was going to look like a zebra. I pointed at the foliage on the print and said I’d look like a zebra walking in the jungle. I don’t know what zebras are doing in the jungle (you’re gonna DIIIIIE!), but I love how colorful it all is. And really, this is going out on a limb for me. {gasp} Red? And orange? Good thing there’s a heavy dose of teal to balance it all out for me.

The pattern I used is McCall’s 6563. Basically a t-shirt with a drapey front neckline treatment. It consists of two whole pieces. As I was pulling them out I thought, this is either going to be genius or a major mess.

With just two pieces, there’s not a lot of tricky construction. The drapey front is just an extended portion of the front neckline that falls inward. Easy. This style was also a little bit of a departure from anything I’ve worn, but that’s ok because my style — as it were — definitely needs an infusion of visual interest.

All in all, I think I like this top. I made it in a medium based on my measurements, but really, I think I could take it down to small. I ended up cutting off two inches from the hem (not to mention the mullet hem in the back) because it hit me in a weird place. Also, the armholes come down a little farther than I would prefer. I wore a camisole under it today and that made me feel safer.

So here I am, a zebra in the jungle.

(And, as an added bonus, the white eyelet skirt that I made a couple years ago after seeing one in the mall that I liked. Mr. Gren was trying to convince me to twirl, but the deck is insanely slippery and I really didn’t want to end up on my ne-ne-ne-ne knees, knees!)


My sewing machine has been gone since Saturday and I still feel lost without it. Adrift on a sea of unsewn fabric, hearing the whispers of patterns pleading, “Make me! Make me!”

Ok, it’s not that dramatic. I have been keeping myself occupied. Both of my girls need new summer nightgowns, especially Rana. I’ve wanted to learn to smock for a long time, so I found this to be a good opportunity. The girls like to pull their knees up under their gowns, so I’m hoping that the smocking will give it the extra fullness it needs to accommodate little girl legs. I’ll write more about this once I’ve completed one. Right now, it’s not too exciting.

Today was “Make-it Monday” in our house. Each Monday during the summer, I try to have a craft planned for the girls to do to keep them out of trouble. It works for a few minutes. Today’s project was pseudo-sun catchers. The old 1960s craft book I have suggested using tissue paper as the base, but that seemed too fragile to me. We used wax paper instead, and then glued little bits of colored tissue paper, sparkly ribbon and glitter all over it. I drew simple shapes on the girls’ paper and they filled in with all their decorations. At first, Rana requested a unicorn, but I talked her down to something a little less fiddly — we went with a bunny silhouette. Granota made it easy on me and just asked for a flower. The project went… ok. While I was fighting with Granota’s glue bottle cap to get the gunk out of it, Rana opened up her glue and dumped it out all over the table. Thank goodness for the layer of newspaper I had put down. I didn’t take pictures of the process or the finished products because Granota was feigning helplessness and I wasn’t sure I could trust Rana long enough to go get the camera. Suffice it to say that the girls are very proud of their masterpieces which are now taped to their bedroom windows.

And now, so this post won’t be completely devoid of photos, I’ll show you the finished patchwork pillowcase dress, happily modeled by Granota. Just to review, this was made from two thrift store pillowcases + some bias tape I already had + one button from the button jar = $2.

She's not naturally blue; that's sidewalk chalk.

Despite the print, the bodice seemed plain, so I pinned a silk flower to it. Removable for washing. Thinking ahead right there, uh huh. The Minnie Mouse ears are not removable. She evens sleeps with them. Usually we can convince her not to wear them to church.

This dress receives the 3 yr old Twirl Factor Seal of Approval

And next, a grown-up dress. I think I finished this one late April/early May. I wore it for Mother’s Day, then hung it up and forgot about it until last week. I was attempting to go a little out of my comfort zone with the big print on this. Stuck with my favorite colors, though. It was also the first time I sewed with rayon. I’m pretty happy with the fit, but for some reason, if I’m not wearing shoes, this dress suddenly looks like a nightgown to me. Guess that will prevent me from going out barefoot in public .

Little bit of a hippie vibe

I'm not wearing tights; my skin is just that fabulously pale all on its own.


Thanks for checking in today! Hopefully Wednesday will be more interesting!