Orchid Midi & Tips for Gathering Delicate Fabrics

Chalk & Notch released the Orchid Midi in collaboration with Ensemble Patterns. We share our version and our tips for gathering delicate fabrics.

The Orchid Midi by Chalk & Notch released today so I finally get to show off my tester version!

    This pattern was done as a collaboration between Chalk & Notch and Ensemble patterns.  Celina released the Parasol Jumpsuit & Trousers, which can mix and match with the Orchid to make a wide range of looks.

    I made my midi dress with a beautiful rayon challis from Art Gallery Fabrics.  It is soft and drapey and just luscious!  Rayons really are perfect for this dress.  They drape beautifully in that wrap front and on the skirt.

      The pattern is drafted with either these dramatic flutter sleeves or long bishop sleeves.  I made the flutter sleeves in my tester version but I knew that they really weren’t me.  And long sleeves would limit this dress to wintertime for me, and I wanted it to be a yearround dress.  So after my tester version was done and photographed, I ripped off the sleeves, finished the openings with bias binding, and made it a sleeveless dress!

          MUCH better!  For me anyway.  I think it still retains the dainty, feminine character of the pattern as drafted but sleeveless is just much more wearable for me.  I can wear this as is in the warm season, and layer it under a cardigan in the cold season.  My love for sleeveless garments knows no bounds!

            The Orchid midi features pretty gathering on the front and back bodice, which can be tricky to execute nicely.  So here are my top 3 tips for gathering delicate fabrics like rayon:

            3 Tips for Gathering Delicate Fabrics

              Tip 1: Use at least 3 lines of basting stitches

              I used to be lazy and try to get away with just one line of basting stitches, or maybe two lines.  But if you want nice gathers on delicate fabrics like rayon, you really need 3.  It is amazing how much more even my gathers are when I add that extra line of stitching.

                Tip 2: Basting stitches outside the seam allowance

                This goes back to my laziness.  I would always try to get my basting stitches inside my seam allowances so I didn’t have visible basting stitches to rip out when I was done.  But again, the gathers are so much nicer and more even if you just resign yourself to ripping out some basting stitches and make sure that the last line of stitches is outside your seam allowance.

                  Tip 3: Take your time

                  Go slowly over the gathers to make sure the fabric is all laying correctly.  Whenever I rush through gathers, that’s when I end up with wonky gathers or missing fabric from my seams.  On the Orchid and Parasol, the gathers are in relatively small areas, so take your time with them!

                    Bonus: a Giveaway!

                    As a bonus for our lovely followers, we have a copy of the Orchid Midi to give away!  Hop on over to our Instagram post today to see how to enter.

                    And for a bonus entry, leave us a comment below telling us about your favorite collaboration in history!


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