Good morning, everyone! I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I’m just gonna come out and say it – it is HOT right now, y’all! Summer is in full force down here in Tennessee, and showing no signs of letting up – if anything, August will be even hotter. Those 90+ degree days might be reasonably bearable if humidity wasn’t a factor, but it is – and we be sticky now. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind the heat, and I definitely prefer it to the cold. But in order to beat the heat, you gotta dress the part. For me, this means lots of breezy/floaty clothing in natural, breathable fibers.
I love all natural fibers, but my very favorite one to wear when the mercury starts rising is definitely a soft rayon. Like Marcy said so eloquently yesterday, it feels like cool water against your skin. This rayon challis from Mood Fabrics website is long sold out (I actually bought it last year when it was on sale, and have been waiting for the perfect pattern since!), but there are a few other fun rayon options online right now! I love rayon challis for it’s silky smooth drape, which usually has a little less body than a silk crepe (and is a bit more cool in the heat to boot). Some challis can be a bear to sew if it’s too thin, but this particular one has a nice weight to it that made it easy to cut and stitch up.
My pattern is a modified Kim Dress from By Hand London – I left off the lining (too hot!) and drafted a simple facing instead. I also changed the straps so that they tie at my shoulders, which is a look I’ve always loved (and, let’s face it – also means you are guaranteed to have those straps at the perfect length, since they are adjustable!). The pattern features back and front princess seams, a soft gathered skirt, and 3 rows of pleats above the hem. I size up a little so that there is some space between me and the dress – besides wearing a breathable fabric, I find it essential to also have as little touching me as possible when I’m sweating. It’s nice to have your own mini-breeze inside your clothing, ha!
I finished all my seams with classic French seams – very easy with this fabric, since it was agreeable to work with and responded to pressing well. One thing I noticed about this rayon is that it doesn’t wrinkle quite as badly as some of the ones I’ve used in the past. Even leaving the dress in a heap on my sewing table didn’t mar it very much with deep wrinkles, as some rayons love to do. The one downside to rayon and linen is that it doesn’t really travel well (unless you are ready to either bust out the iron when you get to your destination, or embrace the wrinkles), but this one might be the exception!