Ever since I received some of the Art Gallery rayon lawns in my shop I’ve been wishing to make something for myself from these super high quality fabrics. I chose the Simplicity 8384 shirtdress pattern because it had a floaty skirt and an easy-fit summery feel.
Husband Scott and I visited the Elisabet Ney museum
, former studio of the celebrated 19th century sculptor that made her home in Austin, Texas. The museum is crafted of hand hewn Texas limestone and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Well worth a visit, the museum houses a permanent collection of Elisabet Ney’s works in sculpture and portraiture. The grounds also have some great locations for photo taking!
Onto the review!
Based on the pattern recommendations I should be sewing a size 12(!) Seriously? Knowing better, I cut out a muslin in size 8 and found several issues. The first and worst were the fussy front bands and collar. The collar never quite resolved between lying down or standing away from the front neck; a problem that resulted in the opening flapping and catching on my neck and chin – something that I knew would drive me nuts. The other issue was the sleeve drafting. I tried out those elbow length sleeves and the sleeve cap must have been drafted a full two inches larger than the sleeve opening. Nope. Not even trying to ease that in! I also had an issue with the elasticized back. Front and back waist measurements were basically the same, yet only the back was elasticized which resulted in the side seams slanting to the back. On the pattern envelope they must have altered the back, probably removing the elastic altogether and pinning into shape.
Still, I wanted a little rayon dress for the summer and I really wanted to try out some of that Art Gallery rayon. I used the basic bodice shape which fit fairly well. I drafted a simple shirt collar front and left off those sleeves.
I used the skirt without the handkerchief hem deciding that I would get more wear out of a more traditional hem. I cut my modified dress out of the lovely Winterberry Pine making sure to use a one way layout – this print has a definite top and bottom.
I’m 5’2″ and this dress at calf length took about two yards.
After I basted the dress together, I discovered that the waist area was too large and took in the sides by about 2″. Altogether a frustrating sew. I won’t be making this pattern again but I’ll definitely include more Art Gallery rayons into my wardrobe. This stuff was a dream to sew, cooperative, nice and flowy, and a harder finish than rayon challis, making this a bit more sturdy and able to handle frequent wear.
p.s. That’s a graffiti rendering of Ms. Ney.
p.p.s. Although the pattern was a bust, Alice’s Sewing Corner, is a great Etsy pattern shop with quick delivery and great customer service.
p.p.p.s. I know that hem looks crooked. It is not.