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Linen Rayon Style Arc Eme Dress

We’re having such an amazing weather this summer, all I want to wear is linen, linen and more linen.

This linen rayon blend Fabric has the perfect weight and hand for a lightweight summer dress. It is slightly crisp, so used with the right pattern you can get a garment that sits away from the body. Nothing better than a loose garment in a breathable fabric on this heat!

A few years back I had an unhappy incident with a pair of linen trousers shrinking in the wash so after that I always washed the fabric 2 or 3 times before using it. But recently a friend pointed out something that seems very obvious now - measure the fabric before and after each wash and see how much it shrinks. If it shrinks a lot, maybe close to 10%, wash it again; otherwise there’s no point.

This white linen didn’t shrink at all after one wash, maybe it’s the rayon in it or maybe it’s been pretreated, so it only went in the wash once. I recently read a trick for prewashing to minimise wrinkling and fraying. Fold the fabric until you get about a 50cm / 20in square (more or less depending on the thickness of the fabric) keeping the raw edges inside and baste all around the edges. Throw that in the wash and you end up with a relatively smooth piece of fabric and minimal fraying. I tried this a few times already and it really works!

I chose to make the Style Arc Eme dress, I loved the cocoon silhouette. It’s not something I usually make and wear, but this oversized trend is starting to grow on me. It only took me a few years :D. Well, I didn’t go all the way, I made the dress one size smaller than recommended. Small steps!

I think the pattern and fabric are a really good match, I don’t think a lighter/softer fabric would work very well with the cocoon shape.

The dress has facings everywhere - neckline, hem and sleeves. I have a neat way of finishing facings that I found on Instagram, I really wish I could remember who posted it.

You sew main fabric and interfacing right sides together, trim, and then flip the interfacing with the glue side on to the the wrong side on the fabric. Trim more if necessary, press and ta-dah! You have a very nice edge!

I had to shorten the dress by about 5cm / 2”, I am only 5’2”. I didn’t want to mess with the hem darts so I shortened the dress at the waist. I removed 1” from the bottom of the bodice and 1” from the top of the skirt. I don’t have a ‘before’ photo but it looks much better on me now. Here’s a photo with less wrinkles, before the 240 miles trip to the beach :) . This is with the sleeves down, they are a bit too long like that. Doesn’t it look like I could live in that Wendy house?

I topstitched all facings with topstitching thread to make it stand out, but I’m afraid it’s still not visible enough. Much better than normal thread though, you can tell the difference if you look close enough.

This dress was perfect for our recent holiday in beautiful Cornwall. I wore it to the beach a couple of times but it’s perfect as a day dress as well. The fabric was a great match for the pattern, it wouldn’t work very well as a shirt or blouse, but it’s perfect for something that requires a bit of structure.

Thanks for reading,

Geo @ Made in my Living Room

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