Cali & Co. · Finished projects

A Floral Arum

My first post for the Cali & Co. blog is now up! Click here to read the super official version and see the other contributors’ first posts.

Disclaimer: This fabric was provided and purchased with store credit in partnership with Cali Fabrics.

I’m also posting it here so I can keep track of all of my projects on Sew RED-y. 🙂

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Hello sewing world! I’m super excited to be here to share my first sewing project with the Cali & Co. family!

Lately I’ve been having a rayon love affair – I never realized just how comfortable and breathable it is! Where have you been all of my life?! Why did I not know about you growing up in the sweltering summers of New Orleans and for the past 7 years in surface-of-the-sun-hot Tucson? I guess late is better than never…

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My eye caught this lovely grayscale floral printed rayon challis on the Cali Fabrics website and immediately I knew what I wanted to do with it. An easy-breezy dress seemed perfect!

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I used the Deer and Doe Arum dress pattern, which is geared toward beginners. There’s princess seam shaping in the back, no darts, no inset sleeves, nothing difficult!

I did opt for using self-made bias tape on the neckline versus the drafted facing. I don’t like floppy facings too much and I think with rayon, the bias tape works better.

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You can kiiiiind of see it here (I added one of my new sew-in tags so I could tell the front from the back easily). I ended up stealing the pattern piece from the neckline of the Grainline Scout Tee. I sewed the bias tape using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. In hindsight, I should have either sewed it on the true seam allowance (5/8 inch) or gone for a wider bias tape. BUT I don’t think the neckline looks too terrible (and seriously, who can really tell the difference between 1/4 inch and 5/8 inch on a finished product?).

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I made a straight size 40 and added 3 inches to the length. The original length of the pattern is a little too short on me and I really wanted to be able to wear this dress to work. I think the shorter length would have been really cute for this dress, but darn that whole being a responsible grown-up thing!

I like the sleeves of this pattern and think the drapier fabric helps keep it from looking too bulky around the armpit, which was kind of a problem on my last Arum dress. Also, the kimono style sleeves together with the fabric are a guarantee there will be no sweaty armpits around here!

So about the fabric…

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Rayon challis is super soft to the touch and is fairly easy to sew. It does have a tendency to shift a little, so I suggest cutting it using a rotary cutter and self-healing mat. It’s nowhere near as shifty as chiffon or silky fabrics, so you save yourself some sanity. It also has a nice drape, so floaty dresses or wide-legged trousers would also do this fabric justice.

I did have a hiccup while sewing, though, but I think it was due to the tension on my serger… or just plain derpiness on my part.

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Do you see how the sleeves bell out? This is the intended sleeve length of the pattern and I admit I did sew the seam allowance smaller on one side because the sleeves felt too tight for my beefy biceps. I was also having some issues with the tension on my serger as I was messing around with it and forgot what my “normal” setting was. After completing this dress, I miraculously came across a picture I took of my normal serger settings and noticed I had something set too tightly.

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That fabric was pulling like crazy and it was driving me crazy! So I took a week off, and with renewed energy, I was determined to make it right. I cut an inch or two off and re-hemmed the sleeves, taking care to make sure everything was smooth. I used Steam-A-Seam stabilizer while ironing the hems, which I usually do for shiftier fabric.

Well, as you can tell from the completed dress photos, it still bells out a little, but not as badly as before. *Shrugs* I’ll just call it a “design element” and embrace it. I do like the shorter sleeves, though. I think with a print this busy, less is more.

Speaking of less is more, I feel like wearing this dress as-is might be a little too much (dare I say it’s a little muumuu-esque?). I donned a belt and think breaking up the busy fabric looks a lot better!

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Oh yes!

The belt also helps define my waist, which I need with my pear/hourglass shape.

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Werk it!

I’m loving that this qualifies as a work ensemble and can transition well into fall. Or who am I kidding? This will work as a year-round dress for desert folk like myself!

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Thanks for checking out my post! Now get out there and grab some rayon fabric before this hot weather is gone!

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-RED

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15 thoughts on “A Floral Arum

  1. Lovely dress, either with or without a belt. It’s very classy without, and the length is perfect. Sweltering heat? I Wish! We’ve had a few good days this summer, but I’m already moving into wool. Viscose is always good though, the drape is lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I am so ready for cooler weather but wool in August is extreme! I’ve lived in the southern U.S. for most of my life, so anything under 70 degrees F is cold to me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The belt and boots definitely take this one into the fierce category. I would’ve thought design feature re: the sleeve bell too. I’m hoping for fall too. This time of year, I try and will cooler temps to come–even going so far as to make wool shorts last month. But I should not complain–AZ is much hotter than CO. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha fierce! I like that. I wore this to work this week (with different black boots) and someone commented on how fancy I looked. Fancy fierce, oh yes!

      We’ve had cooler temps this week due to quite a bit of rain, so my prayers have been answered for cooler weather… for now… 🙂

      Like

      1. Christian Siriano used “fierce” a lot when he was on Project Runway, and while he was a whole lot of a whole lot to take at times (though absurdly talented), I liked how he used that word. Something that is confident, bold, and determined.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love Christian Siriano! Although I used his term “hot mess” or “hot tranny mess” more. I gotta start using “fierce” more!

        Like

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