Sewaholic Saltspring Maxi Dress in Shibori Rayon Crepe

    As a child of the Spring season, I am thrilled to be entering my favorite (a.k.a. birthday) season.  The days become longer with each passing hour, the weather begins to warm up, and the flowers begin to bloom; so much promise in this one season! It’s especially nice because here in VA because it kicks off “Maxi Dress Season!” (that’s totally a thing, right?).  This is my first attempt at the Sewaholic Saltspring Maxi Dress pattern (or any Sewaholic pattern for that matter) and I could NOT be more pleased with the outcome.  And this Shibori Grey/White Rayon Crepe takes this dress silhouette from already something great to something SPECTACULAR!

          So many options – what to make??

          When Michelle of Style Maker Fabrics invited me join in on the Style Maker Fabrics Spring Style Tour I was both flattered and paralyzed.  Have you ever felt that way?  That moment when someone offers you open choice of a host of things you want – and you just can’t make a decision?  That was me – for a LOOONNGGG time!  I may in fact have been one of the last bloggers to select a fabric – which would be completely becoming for being the second to last blogger on the tour (Erin of Sewbon is up next – though I think she was more decided than I)!

              If you haven’t sewn with Rayon Crepe yet… Get on it!

              While I couldn’t put my finger on what fabric to sew (check out the new arrivals here – yes, the selection is MASSIVE!) – I knew four things:

              1. I wanted to make a maxi dress because – I love non-fussy dressing and the layering possibilities/transition options into summer and Fall
              2. I was going to make something with pockets, because…  POCKETS MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER (PMEB for short)!!!
              3. I wanted a neutral color fabric to ensure I could pair any sweater/accessory/color with it (typically for me that would be solid or monochrome in this case)
              4. The fabric properties would be most important – I wanted a breathable fiber with excellent drape, yet it also needed to be more structured to make the sewing a breeze

                In a case like this – rayon challis is typically my go to – but Rayon Crepe was intriguing.  I had sewn with it once – in a kimono that I completely botched – but remember really enjoying the process.  This fabric from Style Maker exceeded my high expectations and then some!  It is SO high impact (I’m not typically a fan of tie dye, but I think Shibori Dye has a bit more of a refined air to it) – and eye catching.  Michelle recommended that after washing and drying the fabric that I shouldn’t iron out the natural crinkles.  I will admit, there are some preventative construction steps I should have taken since I wasn’t going to iron the fabric flat, but all in – I would call this a considerable success.

                Sewaholic Saltspring & Modifications

                Before deciding to create this specific pattern, I combed the internet for clarity and tips on how to make my first version a success.  What I could gather was that I would want to make a couple changes in advance:

                • Eliminate the back zipper – it wasn’t necessary to get in and out of the dress given the ties and the elastic waist – and some zippers I saw were, um, tragic(?) – I couldn’t allow my gorgeous dress to meet that same fate
                • Shorten the bodice (I ended up taking out my normal 1.5″ at the waist line on the bodice lining, and then 2.5″ on the outer bodice.  This meant an additional 1″ was removed from the outside fabric.  From what I had read, you still get sufficient blousing that way without it being too blous-y (yep – it is DEFINITELY possible to have too much of a good thing) – that would just be too much fabric for my petite frame

                      I also ended up making some changes on the fly as I continued to sew the garment:

                      • Substituted 3/8″ elastic for the 1/4″ – and used a more sturdily constructed elastic
                      • Evening out the hemline by hand and than narrow hemming – the fabric grew significantly as I sewed due to the crinkling (next time I will plan better (see below)

                          Observations on adjustments I would make for next time:

                          • Staystitch whenever using a crinkled fabric – and possibly than recut the pattern pieces to make sure they haven’t grown
                          • Reduce the length of the shoulder ties – I am waaayyy too short and short torsoed (5’2″ tall) – and I could cut off at LEAST 4 inches from those ties and be ok.

                            Overall – LOVE IT AND TOTALLY understand the hype now!

                              Have you been following along with all the Spring/Summer Inspiration?  I feel like I will need to step my game up next time I’m in such accomplished company!

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