In Favorite Projects/ Sewing

Alexia’s Rayon and Occam’s Razor

As I mentioned earlier this week, Cotton & Steel just announced their new rayon fabric collection called Frock which is due to hit stores in February. Now, when your favorite fabric company contacts you and asks if you’d like some sample yardage to accompany a blog tour, you say “OMG YES!!!” right away and worry about the challenge later. What I mean is, I’ve never actually sewn with Rayon before! I’ve bought rayon, but I’ve yet to sew with it. Until now that is!


I had so many different conflicting ideas for projects to make in order to showcase this fabric. I considered attempting something complicated with drapey folds and pleats, like one of those advanced couture Vogue patterns, but I knew I also wanted to make something wearable and well fit. I was then reminded of the principle of Occam’s Razor which, in its most modern definition, states: when faced with many possible solutions to a problem, the simplest one is usually the right answer.


So the simplest solution was to re-sew the pattern I just made many muslins for: New Look 6889. It’s not the most elaborate, knock your socks off sewing project I could have picked, but it made the most sense and I’m really happy with how it turned out. As in, I may have found a TNT pattern kind of happy!


It’s amazing how fabric choice can really make or break a pattern. I was previously on the fence about this New Look dress since I wasn’t sure I was in love with my original fabric choice, but now! …well now this changes everything. So slinky!!


Since this was my first time working with rayon, I approached the sewing process with caution. Rayon isn’t that difficult to sew with, but my favorite fabrics are sturdy cottons, and rayon definitely isn’t that. Like always, I used my rotary cutter and mat to cut out my pieces. I made sure my rotary blade was fresh and sharp so it would have less tendency to push the fabric out of place as I cut (I didn’t bother to try and match prints along the seams this time, but I kind of wish I did. Oh well.). I used extra pattern weights and tried not to handle any cut pieces unless I was actually sewing with them. I tested a few different needle sizes on my scraps and then took my time when sewing. Stay stitching is definitely not a step to skip when working with rayon. Using a lower heat setting with the iron is also a must – All common sense I suppose.


The ladies at Cotton & Steel recommend you dry clean this fabric, but ain’t nobody got time for that in my house so into the wash it went! I pre-washed the fabric on cold in a gentle cycle and tumble dried it on delicate with low heat, and I didn’t notice any kind of change or compromise in the fabric. Rayon totally changes texture when it gets wet, which is alarming if you’ve never tried washing it before, so be aware of that! It bounces right back to normal when it’s dry though.


The Frock collection consists of three different designs, each with a few colorways, totaling eight fabrics. The design I picked is called Hana, created by Alexia Abegg, in the Cobalt colorway. It’s such a beautiful vibrant blue! Nikko is a real fan apparently. She would not leave me alone when trying to take photos haha! …cats.



The bottom line is: Cotton & Steel rayon is pretty dreamy! It’s not a fabric I can race through my machine without care, but I really enjoyed sewing with it. It’s definitely the perfect fabric for this pattern and I can’t wait for summer to come back so I can actually wear it out of the house! Luckily it’s plenty comfortable enough to wear around the house in the mean time. Lucille appreciates that πŸ˜‰


I only have good things to say about this fabric (and Cotton & Steel in general) so before I start to sound like a broken record, I better leave you with the rest of the Frock Blog Tour schedule so you can see what everyone else is making and loving!

January 27Cotton + Steel Intro

January 28 – Jaime // Fancy Tiger Crafts

January 29 – Deborah // Whipstitch

January 30 – Amber // Fancy Tiger Crafts

January 31 – Rochelle // Lucky Lucille

February 2Christine Haynes

February 3 – Devon // Miss Make

February 4 – Jemellia // JemJam

February 5 – Anna // Noodlehead

February 6Oliver + S

February 7 – Rae // Made by Rae


Well there you have it! Have you ever sewn with rayon before? I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I do, being a die hard cotton fan and all, but I totally love it! I think you will too πŸ™‚



p.s. I’m having so much fun with my new camera remote and tripod set-up lately! I seem to have reverted back to that stage of early childhood development where I don’t want anyone to help me with anything. NO! I can do it myself!!! lol

  • Amanda Russell

    Really beautiful fabric – such a pretty colour, and I totally agree it was the right pattern choice! πŸ™‚ Rayon is such a lovely fabric to work with and wear – beware, though – it does shrink quite a bit, even after a few washes, (it kind of tends to KEEP shrinking LOL), but you can alleviate a lot of that if you’re willing to hang it to dry ^__^

    Also, love the kitty photo bombing – awesome timing on that one with her tongue wagging out!! πŸ˜€

  • Devon

    cute dress! cute pictures! cute cat! cute little corner of your house! it was so hard to pick a fabric, and this blog tour is just making me want them all even more.

  • I agree, the pattern is very flattering. I may try it out myself. That fabric is gorgeous. I love how vibrant it is!

  • What a great dress! I love – really, really do – the cleavage and the fabric you chose! I like your dancing shoes too :>

  • Trisha

    Very pretty! I think that was a good pattern choice. I made my first rayon dress this summer and it’s one of my favorites. Glad you’ve discovered it, too!

  • jannapyj

    I don’t dry clean my rayon either, I just machine wash and hang dry. It seems to be holding up just fine after two years on one often worn tank top.

    I love the swishy, drapey-ness of your dress! That tassel necklace is so perfect with its movement! Oh! and I LOVE your hair!!! (as usual) :o)


  • I adore the print of this fabric, and I also adore your shoes!

    • Thanks! My mom actually surprised me with the shoes. She has good taste πŸ™‚ They’re Bass brand.

      • Mom’s with good taste in shoes are the best!

  • Fantastic fabric! That shade of near royal blue really jives beautifully with your current hair colour. Lovely necklace, too, dear gal.

    β™₯ Jessica

    • Thanks, Jessica! My mom got me the necklace for Christmas. It’s not vintage though. One of these days I’ll get a vintage one πŸ˜‰

  • sewsouthlondon

    The fabric is really stunning and I love that you stuck to a fairly simple pattern. Love the styling in the photos.

  • juebejue

    usually i dont see very cool prints with rayon. this one is aewsome! love the top!

  • Jennifer H

    Ah, that’s gorgeous, the fabric and the dress! One of my first makes, last year, was in rayon, but only because I was too idiotic to realize it might be trickier ; ) It was April Rhodes’ Date Night Dress and like yours I was really pleased with the way it turned out. Jen

    • Thanks! Ooo the Date Night Dress would be perfect in rayon too. I bet it’s beautiful.

  • Well, we may not be able to see dress details in all the photos, but that’s okay – the dress is about 50% cuter with a cat in the way! On its own the dress is beautiful too, I love the color and the pattern choice was perfect for the drape of the fabric!

  • sallieforrer

    Awesome!! This pattern works so well in this slinky rayon! And how awesome that you get all the fun prints of quilting cotton, but in a different fabric?! SOOper cool!

    • I know right?! Quilt industry substrates for the win!!

  • Ami Lowden

    You look totally gorgeous in this Rochelle.that blue!!! I do think New Look need to put one of these photos on that pattern envelope as your pictures make me want to make it immediately and yet the pattern cover is so unbelievably uninspiring! Just goes to show how the person, fabric and styling really makes the garment. Beautiful

    • Thanks, Ami! You’re totally right about the pattern cover. I bought it during one of those Jo-Ann super sales so it only cost a dollar, which is why I decided to give it a try. I was fairly certain I could properly envision its potential πŸ˜‰

  • You look gorgeous Rochelle! The Frock collection seems to be the summer must a have fabric!! I agree, Cotton+Steel rock every time! Xoxo

    • Thanks so much! And yeah, Cotton & Steel can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes. Love them.

  • Gorgeous Rochelle!! You look amazing in this little number and those shoes…. I love your pictures too!

  • Ahh, I need to get a tripod. Mr. Guy is usually pretty good at photographing but he does get frustrated.

    And – I can’t believe you’ve never sewn with rayon/viscose before! It gives such nice, drapey results but much cheaper than silk… This looks almost like a rayon Challis (?) which is lovely and stable to sew with. I’m a fan!

  • I just love this print and I love rayon!! Your dress is adorable! Can’t wait to snap up some of this goodness!!

  • Love the dress! And if you hadn’t of pointed out the lack of pattern matching, I wouldn’t have noticed, the print is so crazy anyways. It is very “Rochelle”, well done πŸ™‚

  • Love the dress and photos! I’m totally impressed and inspired by your self portraits. How’d you get the focus right on that last pic? Is it auto, or did u take several takes and adjust?? Lookin beautiful.

    • Thank you! Honestly I think it’s my lens that makes all the difference. I recently got a 40mm pancake lens which adds so much depth to each shot, so I think the focus is easier for the camera to find. I’ve been shooting on manual settings, but still with auto focus. Of course, I still have like 100+ selfies that didn’t turn out haha! but I clearly got enough good ones for a blog post πŸ™‚

  • Carola Densford

    Darling, you have done it again!!! Of course the dress with this fabric is timeless and ageless and super cute and you did a stellar job creating it! πŸ™‚
    ! But I really have to congratulate you for your photography!! SO FUN! So intuitive and serene at the same time. You alwayd did, but now look even MORE like one of THOSE ladies, who are perfectly happy with themselves, their life and perfectly talented in EVERYTHING! You of those we hope to be like one day…and the truth is…those people are only human too, but have the talent to make everything they do look so perfectly easy and fun. Like you..I thought you might be…but now I’m sure…you ARE one of THEM. (ssshhh..It’s ok..there is really nothing wrong with being admired and adored for who you are and what you do! )
    In short: You did a great job.This all made me smile so much!! And I LOVE these pictures! My favorite is the dancing on the chair one.. I could relate the most with that one. πŸ˜€ And the smiling with the Kitty one…and the ones with Lucille..and…well..never mind…
    Sweet sweet sweet!!

    • Wow, that’s probably the best compliment I’ve ever gotten. You’re so sweet! Thank you. I certainly am not happy with EVERYTHING in my life right now, for example: Wil and I currently live at my moms house while we save money for our own home, so I had to move all the furniture out of the dining room and make a little set in order to take these photos haha! So I can’t say that’s ideal, but I am so thankful to even have a roof over my head and to have a relationship with my family where I don’t mind living with them. I DO have a lot to smile about, so yeah, I AM happy! …but perfectly happy definitely does not equal perfect πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰


  • You look lovely! I think you’ve definitely found a pattern winner! Fabric makes a HUGE difference and you can see how happy you are in this!

    • Thank you! Yes the slinkier fabric really transformed this dress. Huge difference indeed! πŸ™‚

  • Looks great and this pattern suits you. One question as I’m on the hunt for a specific fabric – does it tend to wrinkle much as you wear it?

    • Thank you! Rayon definitely doesn’t wrinkle nearly as much as a cotton or a linen will, but I did have a few wrinkles at the back bottom hem from sitting around in my dress all day. So yes, it will wrinkle a bit depending on how you wear it.

      • Awesome thank you!

  • Mellisa

    kudos to you for following through on your muslin progress, and what a payoff! well done, madam! i am a pretty novice sewist, but you inspire me. i totally empathize with your body ‘complications’ when it comes to clothing. i am petite and well-endowed up top, and it is drudgery to dress this body flatteringly. it is a sweet dream to think that i could make clothing that actual fits well. i totally dig vintage clothing, too. particularly the 1950s, because there are so many silhouettes that sing to me.

    • Thank you so much! You’re so sweet πŸ™‚ 50’s styles sound like they’d be perfect for your figure. So flattering! They will be more challenging to master the fit of, but so worth it in the end. You’ll get there, don’t give up on that dream πŸ˜‰

  • I LOVE this so much!! The colour and pattern and a delight and you look mahvallous, dahlink! Phryne is envious, I tell you!

    • Thanks, Sarah! SO glad you’re seeing the 1920s inspiration ring through, here. I knew you would as a fellow “What would Phryne wear?” fan πŸ˜‰