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Cotton and Steel Rayon + Deer and Doe Melilot

Viscoses and rayons are one of my favourite types of fabric to work with. I love their drape and have used them a lot for summer dresses. They do vary widely though so I was particularly interested in how this premium Rayon from Cotton and Steel would behave. (I say premium because I would normally pay between £9-15 per metre for rayon and this one is £20.99 per metre, so all things are relative I guess!). I have admired this fabric a lot, having seen some beautiful Chalk and Notch Fringe dresses made with it, and wanted to see if it worked in a different type of garment.

The fabric itself definitely stands apart from some of the other rayons I have used. It really has that characteristic silky feel to it and is light weight whilst still having some substance to it. It does drape and press beautifully yet doesn’t crease much whilst you wear it at all (one of my rayon shirts creases just from being on the hanger!). I also love the range of prints that are available. I think this one in particular is quite seasonally versatile and I love the pops of colour that brighten up an outfit.

The only thing I didn’t note that I should have is that this is a narrower fabric than the widths I usually buy so I only just got a blouse out of 2m (and I would usually have left overs). If you are deciding between amounts to order, I’d go with the larger quantity just to make sure you have enough.

The pattern I used was the Deer and Doe Melilot Shirt. Version A has long sleeves, a rounded collar and a button placket whilst Version B has short sleeves and a collar stand. I chose Version A because I really need long sleeves right now and loved the small details that came with this. The sleeves on Version A are pleated into the cuff, which I think adds a more polished look to the overall shirt. The wrist placket did take a little time to get right and was a bit fiddly, but the diagrams in the pattern instructions are quite helpful. If I made this again I might look to shortening the length of the sleeves a little for a better fit.

I also think that the placket is a nice touch that again makes the finished garment look professional. This was really simple to construct….it was the buttons behind it that took forever! I will admit that the whole button stage fills me with dread because I’m worried the holes won’t turn out properly and it will take ages to sew on all those buttons. Luckily, with a placket any small errors with buttonholes won’t be on show like they would in most makes, and as it turned out they went well in this case. I didn’t put them in all the way to the collar, but you can do. I was also pleasantly surprised with the collar shape. Rounded collars don’t usually suit me and I did consider altering this, but I’m glad I went with the original shape because it lends a softer, more relaxed look to the shirt.

I have made a Closet Case Patterns Kalle shirt previously, and this does share a lot of similar features. However, the Melilot shirt doesn’t have a yoke, which makes it just that bit quicker to construct. I also found the Melilot hem easier to sew than the bias binding used on the Kalle, but I did use my narrow rolled hem foot to help things along there! In general, I found that the pattern pieces fitted well together which is what also helped with overall construction. The sleeves need a little bit of easing to match up but because they fit on to a dropped shoulder they don’t require gathering.

I’m really glad that I used both this fabric and this pattern. I would use either again on another project. The pattern comes together really easily and leads to a professional looking garment, whilst the fabric is so soft yet is also practical. I think everybody should try using Cotton and Steel rayon at least once because it’s so nice to wear; you just have to find your perfect print!

Thanks for reading,

Laura @ The Petite Passions

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