Do your research Marley

Now that I had all of my pattern cut and ready, it was time to start sewing! That being said, I was a bit apprehensive about sewing a non-cotton fabric, and the fabric I chose was rayon challis after all. I’ll admit, I never heard of that exact type before purchasing but how hard can it be? Anyway, I decided to do a bit of research in the hopes of finding some tips for handling and sewing this type of fabric.

This was the first website which happened to also be a blog. I started reading… “it tends to be a bit more difficult to sew with than a cotton voile…Rayon challis is a great fabric for the advanced beginner, intermediate, or advanced sewist.”

giphy5Courtesy of Giphy.

There were a few good tips, such as how to carry the fabric from sewing machine to iron while working with it. Since it is such a lightweight and flimsy fabric, it shifts quite easily.

I visited a second blog, and one of this bloggist’s tips was to make sure to wash the fabric twice. Now, growing up it was common knowledge to wash fabric twice to ensure any kinks or shrinking possibilities were out of the way before sewing. However, in the past couple of years, I have worked on some quilts, so have chatted with a few sewing experts in those fields, they say that is a myth, that washing it is unnecessary. Companies now pre-wash fabrics and it just adds an extra step to the sewing process. So I didn’t wash my rayon challis, and besides, it is a flowy, patterned-fabric dress, so should hide any shrinkage that happens. Another tip this same blogger gave was to use a smaller stitch- I even know how to do this on my machine. Woohoo!

The third blog I checked out actually answered one of the questions I had. It said to use a lot of pins when sewing the fabric. Since rayon challis is so flimsy and light, I wasn’t sure if pins would make permanent holes in the fabric or not, so I only used one or two for each pattern piece (thanks to my trusty chickpea weights). Now that I know I can pin away I will be using a lot. A.lot.

Lastly, all three blog posts stated these same tips:
-be very careful not to stretch or pull the fabric when stitching, let it flow naturally and sit flat
-after you finish the whole garment but BEFORE hemming, put it on a hanger and let it just hang for a few days, this will prevent a wonky hem. I guess the fabric then gets time to sit and adjust to all the seams.

I guess rayon challis really is delicate.

giphy6Image courtesy of Giphy.

One thing that was missing however were some inspirational quotes to encourage me to keep trying even when I inevitably get confused or have to rip out some stitches. I like things to go the way I have it planned in my head and when they don’t, with sewing anyway, I can get quite discouraged.

I guess this could apply to my sewing too?

I feel like I’m writing an online serial. On the next instalment, maybe I’ll actually use my trusty Brother.


4 thoughts on “Do your research Marley

  1. Sounds great Marley!! I hope it turns out! You are definitely brave to be starting on such a delicate fabric. I’ll be doing cotton and flannel and I’m nervous! Can’t wait to see the finished product!


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