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One Fabric Two Ways- A Faux Dress

Hello everyone! I’m very excited to be on the blog for The Rag Shop today, and I hope you enjoy reading all about my project.

When Steph put the call out for guest bloggers, she asked for ideas that may be a little bit different to what you normally make. I suggested doing two garments that could be worn together or separately made out of the same fabric. I had something in mind that would look like a “faux dress” but actually would be a top and a skirt which could be styled in different ways.

Choosing a fabric proved to be the first difficulty as The Rag Shop have so many gorgeous options! I’d had my eye on the Tencel Twills for a while and finally decided to use the cobalt blue colour. I’m normally someone who is always drawn to prints, but that doesn’t make a very cohesive wardrobe unless you are really good at styling clashing prints (which I’m not haha!). Making two garments out of a solid colour was really appealing to me and I’d also never sewn with Tencel before, so I was intrigued to try it. I requested 3m of fabric as I knew this should be enough for most top and skirt patterns combined (1.5m for each).

Image of cobalt blue fabric

If you’ve never worked with Tencel before, like I hadn’t, it is quite a weighty fabric. People often describe it as similar to viscose but I really don’t think it is – it’s much thicker, but does still have good drape. I would say be conscious about what patterns you use with it as some seams can be quite thick. A great thing about Tencel is that it’s quite easy to handle if you’re not used to sewing with “slippery fabrics.” I would say it’s a great option for beginners that are looking to use drapey fabrics.

So on to the pattern choices…

Again I had difficulty deciding which patterns to use (can you tell I’m a bit indecisive at the moment!!), but I eventually chose to use the Sage Brush top by Friday Pattern Company and the Ella skirt by Forget Me Not Patterns. I decided on these two because I had made them both before, so I knew what size I’d need to use, and also they both have a frill or a ruffle and I thought they could look good together.

I’ve made three versions of the Sage Brush Top now (including this one), each using a different kind of fabric – cotton, double gauze and now Tencel. It is a very versatile pattern with regards to fabric choice and can look so different depending on what you make it from.

I made a size medium in the Sage Brush as it has plenty of room without looking too oversized. I also decided to bias bind all of the seams in my top as Tencel does tend to fray a bit and also I thought the top could take the extra bulk in the seams without it looking noticeable from the outside. I’m so happy with how it looks and I think it looks as pretty inside as it does outside!

For the Ella Skirt I made a size 38 and I overlocked all of the seams in this rather than binding them as  was worried it may affect the “swishiness.” I think it was the right choice even if it’s not quite as pretty inside as the top is!

The Ella Skirt is another great pattern that comes in three lengths. I’ve made the knee length version. The only really tricky part of this pattern is inserting the invisible zip, but even then it’s not that difficult. The instructions for this pattern are fab and I think Jo has done a tutorial on how to insert an invisible zip on her website.

So on to the styling – as you can see from the photos, I’ve styled them firstly both together for the “faux dress” look. I love how vibrant the colour is of this Tencel, however I do feel that I may like the garments better separately than together.

I’ve gone for casual footwear as we’re not able to “go out” at the moment, but I think this outfit could be both casual and formal. I do think if I were to choose patterns again, I would go for a top with a little less volume in the bodice so that it would sit better inside the skirt. Sewing your own clothes is all about experimenting though right!

I’ve styled the top with jeans and with a pinafore dress – it’s very versatile so would go with pretty much anything in your wardrobe. The skirt I’ve paired with a long sleeved jersey top and again would be super versatile with a variety of other garments.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog and I hope I’ve inspired you to try sewing with Tencel if you haven’t already. It’s such a brilliant fabric that would be great for trousers, dungarees, tops and skirts.

You can find me over @thedalythread on Instagram if you want to see what else I’ve been sewing.

A huge thanks to Steph for allowing me to guest blog and make sure you check out all the beautiful fabrics that The Rag Shop have to offer.

Take care and happy sewing!

Gemma x

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