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Art Gallery Fabrics Solid Rayon Sointu Kimono Tee by Mel

When Minerva Crafts offered the opportunity to review the beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics Solid Rayon Fabric I couldn’t wait to try it out.
I’ve always been a bit scared of working with such fluid fabrics, constantly talking myself out of it, but I also realised that this little voice in my head was also limiting my handmade wardrobe, so I knew that I definitely needed to get out of my comfort zone. 
I have worked with Art Gallery Fabrics jersey and denims before and the quality is just amazing, so I was sure that this would be the same. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. You may pay a little more than usual (at £23.99 per meter) but if you are looking to make something special that lasts forever, its so worth it.
I chose a jewel colour which is also out of my comfort zone (being a pastels type of gal) and selected the gorgeous teal colour (its called tile blue) as I thought that this would be great for any season  
I could not believe how soft and comfortable this fabric is, it feels just like silk but with the added benefit of being able to be washed in the washing machine.
I wanted to make a flowy, comfortable top that I could dress up or down, one that I can wear with a skirt or trousers for work, but then equally wear with jeans or leggings at the weekend. I chose the Named Clothing Sointu Kimono Blouse Pattern, this is a beginner level pattern so it makes working with the “trickier than normal” fabric a little bit less stressful.
This pattern does call out for stretch fabric such as jersey, but I thought that seen as it was a loose fitting top, and the fabric was so soft and drapey it would work out perfectly, and it did!
I pre-washed the fabric at 40 degrees and it washed very well, it did come out quite crinkly but the iron steamed through no problem at all, isn’t it such a satisfying feeling when the iron makes all of those crinkles disappear.
I did find the fabric a little tricky to cut out due to the fluidity and I found that the edges went a little jagged as I cut it out, but I just didn’t worry about it too much as I knew that when I sew and finish the seams all of the jagged edges will be removed. However, I would say that you definitely need quality scissors or maybe try using a rotary cutter with a new blade.
One thing that I did find tricky was identifying which side of the fabric was right side and which was wrong side as it was very difficult to see the difference, so next time I will definitely mark this with some chalk or a pin.
I had no problems at all sewing the fabric apart from when I stay stitched the neckline, the fabric got sucked into the machine a little. I think that this was due to the narrow seam width that I was using as I had no problem at all when sewing the actual seams. You could use a stabiliser if necessary for example put some tear away stabiliser behind the fabric when you sew, do share in the comments below if you have any tips on this.
The fabric is more delicate than a cotton, so if you do need to unpick stitches, do it with care as its easy to create a hole.
The neckline is finished with bias binding, I decided to go for a contrast floral binding and finished it on the inside of the top, I love it when there is a little bit of pretty on the inside of a garment. When I first sewed the bias binding I wasn’t sure if the rounded V neck was going to lay flat but once it was pressed with lots of steam it was perfect.
This top also has a “doubled up” tie belt (it wraps around your waist twice), I was a little worried that the belt would be difficult to sew as I imagined it going all “wavy" with the fabric being so soft, but it really didn’t. I did sew it with the wider 5/8” seam allowance to help ensure that it didn’t get sucked into the machine, and then trimmed it down afterwards.
The sleeves are a lovely kimono shape with a wide cuff, I just love, love, love kimono sleeves. You can interface the cuff if you wanted the sleeves to have more structure, but I wanted mine to stay soft so decided to omit this step. 
I love both this fabric and the pattern, and they work very well together (even though the pattern suggests a knit). I do also have a little of the fabric left over so I look forward to sharing another make with you soon!
If like me, you have been letting that little voice in your head stop you from trying different fabrics, just go for it, you don’t know what your missing!
Thanks for reading,
Mel @ Handmade by Ditsy Tulip

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