Thursday, December 06, 2012

Rayon Challis: Cut & Sew

a.dose.of.dot

I vow to not use the term High-Wet-Modulus anywhere in today's lesson.  And that is because when it comes to the cutting and sewing of Rayon Challis, we have reached the easy part. Hooray! Let's get to it.

the cutting::
Like any project it's a good idea to start with clean, sharp cutting tools whether that be a rotary cutter or dress shears.  I might put Rayon slightly higher on the scale of likely to snag than cotton, which is almost impossible to snag, actually.  So, sharp is good.  That also goes for your straight pins.  Save some nice, fine, sharp straight pins for your Rayon projects and do not use your giant, dull, quilting pins that have poked through batting and spray basting goo for the last 5 years.  Don't deny it.  You will likely want to pin a garment pattern to Rayon, even when maybe otherwise you would use weights alone or your lucky stars to start cutting.  The same qualities that make it drapey and fluid also make it want to slide off the table.  I actually find the Rayon to have more of a "tooth" to it than Voile though, so it lays against itself in place better than I think Voile does.  So when you are folding it over itself to cut a pattern on fold, you'll have an easier time keeping in place.

needle & thread::
Like most any lighter-weight materials, you'll want to use a universal machine needle, size 11, that is fresh and sharp.  In fact you might want to keep it changed out a little sooner than you might with your cotton materials.  I will offer that I think Rayon is a little slower to recover from dull needle holes than a cotton would be, but a good pressing can remedy that.

I also recommend Coats Dual Duty XP General Purpose which is a smooth, polyester corespun thread.  A material that is semi-synthetic should err on the side of fully synthetic thread.  I think you'll notice how beautifully the fabrics allow the right needle and thread to sink right into the thickness of the material.  It feels as though these fabrics want to be sewn more than they are being told to be sewn, if that makes any sense.  Sorry, that was weird, but for real.

moth.cinch

the sewing::
Anytime you bring in a fabric that is a little different than what you or machine settings are used to, there might be some adjustment to tension, stitch length, and even presser foot tension if your machine offers that (I apologize for the spoiled brat that Janome has made me).  For me to presume I can figure out your particular machine from here would be, well, presumptuous.  However, if you had to make adjustments when you went from quilting cotton to Voile, you might guess Rayon to be somewhere between those two settings.  Just a hunch.

The slight grabbi-ness that Rayon tends to have to itself, as mentioned with the cutting notes, helps you out at the machine, keeping pieces in place as you sew.  Like many fabrics as you guide it through the machine, it will tend to give more on the width than on the length, so keep that in mind and don't over-stretch through the presser foot as you work horizontally across the fabric, for instance at a hem or a neck line. 

What I think you will really enjoy is how multiple layers of this material act more like thicker fabric than they act like bulk.  For instance in the cuff edge of the sleeve above, the shirred edge of the sleeved is encased in four more layers of a bound cuff edge, yet it only provides stability and the top stitching that is holding it all together sinks right in beautifully and marries itself to the weave of the fabric.  For that reason it acts as a really great self facing.  In fact if you had the choice between using an interfacing or a second layer of Rayon I would go with the Rayon.  An interfacing would rarely behave like the rayon would in it's fluidity and give itself away by being more visibly rigid on your body.  If there were specific reason you needed a fusible interfacing, use a woven one.

I do not find these fabrics to fray to much at all, they are similar to the Voile in that sense, so if you normally serge or finish your edges or if you don't, just carry on.

I really hope I'm not forgetting anything in regards to sewing with these, and nothing compares to your first-hand experience.  I'll be back tomorrow with a closer look at a few projects to inspire just that.  I'll also take a look back through some of your questions to make sure I've addressed everything.

g'nite, Anna

28 comments:

  1. I love these posts about your rayon challis. So many great tips. And I looove the dress pictured here. /drool

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  2. susaninfrance7:58 PM

    Looks ah-mazing! what's the pattern of the dress? Do you think it will work for the Socialite dress (I just purchased this pattern).

    xoxo

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  3. I can't wait for the rayon! Is the dress here for the roundabout, or something else you might be releasing? Please!

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  4. Very cute dress, I love the easy flow. Could this dress be made in a cotton? I live in Florida and rayon gets so hot.
    Thank you,
    Lorrie Deann
    puddlesprice.com

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  5. LOVE the dress in the photos...is this one of your current patterns and I'm just blanking on which one, or is this a new creation?

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  6. I love the mix of these two colors. Looks so beautiful together.

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  7. I'd love to buy this dress pattern too... is it in one of your books or where could I but it?

    Thanks for all the information re: sewing of the rayon fabric. Love how it falls.

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  8. This looks awesome. I love the color combo. :)

    Kids Games

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  9. The dress is lovely! The sleeves are what hooked me. I've never sewn with rayon as I make mostly handbags, but this dress may make me give it a try :) Thanks for sharing the great information! Cindy

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  10. I'm loving your instructiion.
    I've been going some of my patterns in anticpation of your Rayon Challis coming out. Two patterns list suggested fabrics as "silk types, crepe and shantung" and another lists "silk, rayon crepe, silk charmeuse, silk babotai" blahblahblah. Does rayon challis qualify as "silk types" or rayon crepe? Sorry if this is a no-brainer, I don't wanna mess it up at the get-go!
    Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Emily, sorry I missed this earlier! I would say that yes, any pattern that calls for those fabrics you listed would do well with this Rayon! xo, AM

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  11. Thank you for answering my questions! And now I have another. How did you hem your dress? I have made several formal dresses for my daughter and the hardest part for me is making the hem look invisible from the front while also finishing the edge of the fabric. (The hem has to look nice from the inside as well.) She likes retro dresses with full skirts so there is always a lot of hemming to do.

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  12. I just came across your blog. You have some beautiful sewing projects that you've done. Thanks for the inspiration and new ideas.

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  13. I really love Rayon and it would be my first choice to wear constantly. However I really struggle with finishing sleeveless tops /dresses or necklines. I have tried binding - terrible! And in the end served it (carefully) and fooled a small hem over. I had to be careful of stretching, but more so of puckering as the neck and armhole are more on the bias. Would live to know your thoughts on finishing these . I don't like flippy facings, have thought a partial bodice lining or a rolled hem??? Can't wait to get my hands on some of your new Rayon Chalkis-beautiful! When will it be released?

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  14. Apologies for all the typos - served should be sewed; fooled should be folded; Chalkis challis-auto correct- ha I could spell before auto correct ;-)

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  15. hi Anna,

    I also want this dress pattern! I'd also love to know which colourway print this is in the collection because for the life of me I cannot find a blue one, only a green? Really looking forward to the rayon releases, but I am also coveting buying the whole collection in cotton for a new quilt too.

    I read your entire blog the other day, and i just have to say, you are such a inspirational woman. Seeing your creativity has really sparked mine and now i have a whole new bunch of projects I want to do. So thank you!

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    1. Hi Vic, thanks for the kind words :) This blue (cyprus) is from the Rayon collection which is just now shipping to stores. We have it now listed here:

      http://store.annamariahorner.com/fistra.html

      Hope that helps and Happy holidays! xo, Anna

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    2. it does thank you! and happy holidays to you too!

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  16. Hi there, is that your one and only portal or you also run some others?

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  17. It look like so cool. I wanna learn it . Can you help me ?

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  18. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Hi Anna Maria,
    I'm keen to get myself some of this and try out a dress. I really like the dress shown above - what's the pattern? And can it be made into a blouse?
    Do you think the Rayon would work with the infamous Tova Tunic? (which is my current go-to pattern when I'm sewing with cotton). i'm a size 14 / 16, so I always have a bit of difficulty finding a comfortable pattern / fit.
    Thanks!
    Ki

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  20. Anonymous12:09 AM

    thanks for share....

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  21. This is very sweet. thanks Anna.

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  22. Anna, is this dress pattern available? It is fabulous!

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  23. Hello. I am thinking about using rayon challis for my next dress. How well does the fabric hold up to heat and steam pressing without the telltale shiny iron marks? I would be using a synthetic setting. I always use a terry press cloth to protect my fabrics. Also, does the fabric fray when sewn and does it wrinkle easily? Thank you for your time!

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