Rayon Southport Dress: Maai Design Blog Tour

There’s nothing quite like the release of a gorgeous new European fabric collection to get Aussie sewing bloggers stitching up a storm! That’s what’s been happening this week and last on the Maai Design blog tour with Maai now stocking the See You At Six collection and we all can’t stop raving about this stunning rayon.

southport-dress-sew-rayon-close-front

First though, the make. When Maaike asked me to join the tour I initially thought harem pants ready for summer. I ordered the Strokes Deep Blue but when it arrived I decided the delicate pattern and flecks of metallic gold would better suit a summer dress. I’ve been eyeing off the True Bias Southport dress for a while but trying to be strong in my resolve not to buy online patterns until I’m absolutely ready to sew them. I know we’re all in the same boat with a Dropbox full of PDF patterns we haven’t sewn amiright?!

So this fabric gave me the perfect excuse to sew a cool flowy dress and would work perfectly with the waist cinching tie and blousey bodice.

southport-dress-sew-rayon-front

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Because the dress is fairly loose fitting, size selection was easy with no fitting issues to deal with. My sizing was between a 6 and 8 so I went for the 6 and am more than happy with the fit.

Initially I was worried the short version would be too short and impractical for the amount of time I currently spend bent over picking lego up off the floor.  I added three inches to the length when cutting to be on the safe side but it turns out in this style, length = frump and so I ended up cutting it off when it was time to hem.

The sew went easily without any hiccups. The only thing I would add to the instructions would be to understitch the pockets. I’m a bit crazy about understitching though. It probably doesn’t *neeeeed* it but it never hurts.

southport-dress-sew-rayon-pocket

I made my own bias tape with the lovely rayon and chose to go with the French bias binding method rather than the one in the pattern.  It made prepping and pressing it easier.

So…the fabric. It’s deliciously soft, cool and comfortable.  There was no hesitation for me to try it out given the brand is produced by the same people to bring us the Soft Cactus Collection which I tried out earlier this year with some Carolyn PJs.  I was confident I would love it just as much and I did.

southport-dress-sew-rayon-back

Rayon has a reputation of being difficult to work with and yes, it is more slippery than a standard cotton but the results are sooooo worthwhile. The most difficult part I find is cutting the pattern pieces, but if you find yourself a nice big table or bench to use and bust out a self healing mat and rotary cutter you’re already three steps ahead. Here are a few other tips for working with rayon:

First, pre-wash and pre-wash again. You can’t get around the fact this is a natural fibre and will shrink around 5% after washing. Particularly on the long grain so if you’re making pants and want to avoid them an inch too short, pre-washing is the key!

Press after washing. All those little crinkles will affect the size of your pieces if they’re not flattened out before cutting. It’s oddly satisfying to end up with a beautifully flat piece of fabric ready to be transformed into your amazing creation. Just be careful not to have the iron too hot otherwise it can scorch.

Use pattern weights instead of pins.  Avoiding lifting the fabric once it’s in position ready to cut will save it moving around.

Sew with a walking foot. My favourite presser foot of all time and the perfect way to keep that fabric feeding evenly through the machine to reduce slipping.

These are my fave tips for working with rayon but if you have any others to share, please let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear them!

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So yes, I love it and I know you will too! Maai is offering a 10% discount with the code: seeyouatsix until the 30th of September so you can enjoy all the rayon deliciousness too!

Also don’t forget to check out the makes by the other lovely bloggers (links below)

Happy sewing!

12th of September: Shelley from Bartacks and Singletrack

13th of September: Kate from Sewing With Kate

14th of September: Nicola from Create.nic

15th of September: Anna from Blogless Anna

16th of September: Caroline from Usefulbox

17th of September: Suz from Sewpony

18th of September: Allison from The Tall Mama

19th of September: Toni from Make It Perfect

20th of September: Suzanne from Dressed in Pretty Little Things

21st of September: Natalie from Sew Outnumbered

22nd of September: Jenya from While She Was Sleeping

23rd of September: Maaike from MaaiDesign

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  • Oh Nat, I love this dress <3 it looks stunning in this fabric. I didn't think about using a walking foot while sewing rayon. Will give it a go next time to see the difference 🙂

    • Thanks Jenya! Now I just need for the weather to warm up so I can start wearing it!! 🙂

  • Picking up Lego? That sounds very familiar! Lol! Love the dress, I think I am going to have to copy you now. 😉 Thank you for taking part!

    • haha copy away! Thanks so much for bringing this gorgeous fabric to us crazy Aussie sewers Maai 🙂 xx

  • UsefulBox – Caroline Adams

    Love it Nat! You will live in that dress! xxx

    • Yep! I have a strong suspicion I will Caz! May need to start planning a maxi version now… x

  • Pingback: Rockin’ the rayon! – sewing with kate()

  • Emi

    Wow, what a beautiful dress!! And the color is gorgeous. I have never sewn with rayon before (only a blend), so I am taking note of all your tips when the time comes!

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments Emi! It’s definitely worth trying rayon – it’s so deliciously soft and comfy to wear 😉