Getting Touchy Feely with Your Fabric
One of my absolute favorite things about fabric shopping is getting all touchy feely with it. I really love texture, so my hands are all over the bolts, pulling out just enough fabric to get a good feel for its texture and drape. This is impossible online for obvious reasons (although you can always order a swatch if you’re patient enough!). CaliFabrics does an excellent job though when it comes to photographing and describing their fabric, so I knew I’d be happy with my choices!
Now this was the first time I was selecting fabric to make myself something reversible. The land of reversible clothing is one I’ve traveled to many times with my girls; there’s just something about wearing two dresses at once that makes them giddy. For myself though, reversible clothing always seemed a bit odd. Why wouldn’t I just want to sew two dresses instead of getting two dirty at the same time?
My question was answered when I discovered the reversible Metamorphic Dress from Sew Liberated. It is absolutely lovely in its simplicity, but it does come with the challenge of finding a fabric that will work for its longer layer. The fabric itself needs to be reversible, and it also needs to be visually pleasing since it stands alone on one side. To amuse myself further I really wanted contrasting fabric textures, so after debating several fabric pairings, I finally decided upon the Dark Indigo Structured Tencel Denim and the Charcoal Weathered Tie Dye Rayon Gauze.
The Dark Indigo Structured Tencel Denim is a light to midweight denim that is 100% Tencel. It has the feel of a slightly heavier chambray, and even after just once through the washer and dryer, it felt much softer than when I first received it. This was actually my first time sewing with any kind of fabric made from Tencel, and I was quite excited about trying it out. According to Tencel’s website, Tencel is a cellulose fiber called lyocell and is derived from sustainable wood sources. It’s biodegradable and compostable, making it a great natural fabric option. This particular denim Tencel was incredibly easy to sew with too, perfect for beginners to apparel fabrics, and I was totally impressed with the way this fabric held a pressed crease! Just perfect for making crisp pockets.
The Charcoal Weathered Tie Dye Rayon Gauze has a crinkled texture that we often see in many ready-to-wear blouses, and it’s beautifully dyed resulting in variations of rustic whites, grays, and blacks, all coordinating well with the dark indigo Tencel. Although this particular selection seems to have almost sold out rather quickly, Cali has other gorgeous rayon gauze to choose from.
Rayon gauze can be just a little tricky to sew with though because of its crinkled nature. It can become stretched out after sewing where you end up with those horrendously wonky seams. A walking foot and light fusible webbing can help with this, but to be honest, I just reduced my presser foot pressure and called it a day since I was making a very casual dress. Also when I was sewing both the Tencel and the gauze together, I merely placed the gauze side down against my sewing machine’s feed dogs, taking advantage of their even feeding.
It is often recommended to let anything made with rayon hang for a few days before hemming. This is because rayon can distort and “grow”, so after doing this, my rayon dress was several inches longer than my Tencel dress! I reduced the length of the rayon dress a couple of inches when I finished the hem with a rolled stitch on my serger, keeping the light and airy look of gauze that I so love.
I am thrilled with my dress and fabric combination to say the least! It fits the bill with texture variation, and I can pair or layer either side of this dress depending on the season. Here I’m wearing it with tights, a sweater, and a knit cowl because it’s pretty brisk out, but I can definitely see wearing this over a swimsuit in the summer!
Have you made yourself anything reversible? What fabric combinations do you like best?