Cotton + Steel Frock Rayons

racerback shift from whipstitch b

Oh, rayon.  I DO love you.  I have always loved you.  I am so glad we’re getting back together.

frock casing bow detail whipstitch

I once overheard an older woman at JoAnn saying to her friend how much she hated rayon ever since The War.  She seemed very sure of her opinion, but I think I made a noise under my breath, because I strongly disagree.  STRONGLY.  Me, I love rayon.  It’s so soft and drapey, and it feels so silky against my skin.  I love the flow of it, and the way nearly any garment made in it is super flattering.

racerback shift from whipstitch d

This new rayon fabric is from Frock, an apparel collection entirely of rayon prints from the genius ladies over at Cotton + Steel.  I cannot say enough good things about these women: smart, sincere, massive integrity, absurdly talented, huge hearts and incredible people.  And the fabrics they produce go beyond just being gorgeous (they are) and nicely manufactured (they are).  These ladies think about not just how the fabric will look but how we’ll all USE it, and I love that.  I love knowing that there are more amazing garment fabrics coming on the market.

racerback in frock whipstitch

Cotton + Steel were sweet enough to offer me some sample yardage, and I JUMPED at the chance.  Because I knew I had this pattern up my sleeve: the Racerback Shift, which is the next Learn As You Sew Pattern (eep!).  It comes in three lengths–hip, knee, and maxi–and the maxi length was begging me in my dreams to be made of rayon.  So even though half the country is digging themselves out of snow banks this week, I was in the backyard swishing about in rayon.  What!

racerback shift from whipstitch c

This is a simple, classic shape with lots of give–and the pattern has all my favorite things. Bias tape!  Drawstring!  French seams!  Length variations!  It has a drawstring waist made from a bias tape casing that lets me adjust how snug it fits and where it hits me when I wear it–either snugly to showcase my waist and give a little more blouson, or looser so I don’t have to worry about sucking in but can still look sleek.  Magic!

racerback shift from whipstitch f

racerback shift from whipstitch frock collection g

And can we talk about the drape of this rayon?!?  So dreamy.  I wish these photos really did it justice and showed how amazingly soft and fluid this fabric is.  Just perfect for a long skirt or dress, or a blouse that moves.  I can think of a zillion shapes I’d like to try in this fabric.

I should note that I didn’t pre-wash this fabric.  I know–GASP!  But my experience with most rayons in the past has been that I can successfully wash in cold water and hang to dry, so that’s my plan with this dress.  Under those circumstances, I didn’t find pre-washing to be necessary.  (The folks at Cotton + Steel point out that dry cleaning is preferred for these rayons, but other dressmakers have done well with regular wash-and-dry cycles.)

racerback shift in frock rayon h

The pattern has a slight racerback, which I love for the simple detail.  It also means that I can wear this alone all summer long, or with a short or long-sleeve tee beneath it.  It is slim-cut enough that I can easily wear it with a cardigan, and the shorter lengths are PRECIOUS over skinny jeans and leggings.

The fabric sewed up like a DREAM.  Easy to work with, responsive to the iron, no slippage under the needle.  The entire dress has French seams, and rayon is notoriously wonderful with French seams. Since there are really only four seams in this entire dress–the two TINY shoulder seams and the two side seams–it was simple to toss in a few extra minutes and make the interior really pretty.

racerback shift in frock rayon j

The Racerback Shift pattern will be available after the Overmost and Pinafore are (re)released next month–keep your eyes peeled for late Feb/early March for this one.  (Do you get the Whipstitch newsletter?  Check the top of the sidebar to sign up and get alerts for new releases!)

frock rayon whipstitch

Gah!  Rayon, I love you.

racerback shift in frock a

And I love a pattern that feels new every time I make it.  Match made in heaven.

The Frock rayon collection from Cotton + Steel will ship mid-February (which sounds a long way away but it’s really just a couple of weeks!).  You can find it for pre-order at Fancy Tiger Crafts.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.30.21 AM

You can see more garments made with Frock rayon on the rest of the Cotton + Steel Frock blog tour:

January 29: right here!
January 30: Amber of Fancy Tiger Crafts 
January 31: Rochelle – Lucky Lucille
February 2: Christine Haynes
February 3: Devon Iott of Miss Make
February 4: Jemellia Hilfiger of JemJam
February 5: Anna Graham of Noodlehead
February 6: Oliver + S
February 7: Rae Hoekstra of Made by Rae


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  • Cheryl Arkison
    January 29, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Also, that dress pattern!! When is it coming?
    PS You are funny and cute and awesome.

    • Deborah
      January 29, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Oh, honey, I feel the same way about you!! Have updated the post with the answer to your excellent question–hoping for late Feb/early March release so we can all make a dozen to wear when spring finally arrives!

  • Ginger
    January 29, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I love rayon too. Any suggestions on where to buy this fabric line? Nothing local to me will be selling (on chain stores and quilt shops).

    • Deborah
      January 29, 2015 at 11:42 am

      The rayons are currently only available for pre-order at Fancy Tiger, as far as I can see–they’ll be shipping all over mid-Feb, and I expect most online shops to carry them. Check out Hawthorne Threads and Pink Castle Fabrics once they’re released! 🙂

  • Samina
    January 29, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I expect that the rayon of yesteryear isn’t nearly as nice as today’s fabrics are. That’s a lovely dress. Put it out already, please! I’ve got my credit card in hand, waiting!

    • Deborah
      January 29, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Haha! I know, I KNOW!! It’s killing me how long it has taken me to complete. I kept perfectionizing it, but we’re soooooo close!! 🙂

  • mjb
    January 29, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Yay cute dress and fabric! Looking forward to both.

    • Deborah
      January 29, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      Yay!! Thank you so much!! Can’t wait to see a million versions from you!

  • Lisa
    January 29, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    So pretty! I love this pattern from summer dresses class 🙂 I’m inspired to get making one 🙂 love the fabric.

    • Deborah
      January 29, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Hooray!! This has been re-drafted since you guys made it in class, with new length options and updates. When I’m ready for pattern testers, I’ll send all of you a note–would love to send you the new version!! 🙂

  • Rochelle New
    January 29, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Beautiful dress! Definitely a great choice for the fabric. I love the pop of yellow under the black and white. I also love the conveniently coordinating soccer ball and puppy dog 😉

    • Deborah
      January 30, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      Oh, thank you, Rochelle!! I love a strong contrast–and that chartreusy/grellow color always calls to me (one must constantly think about how best to offset one’s hair color, after all). And the dog & ball were sheer luck! Some things are meant to be.

      Can’t wait to see your gorgeous creation tomorrow!!

  • Cherie
    January 30, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Ha ha. I was thinking to myself what a comfortable looking dress. Imagine my surprise when you said that you will be coming out with a pattern for it! Thank you too for answering another poster’s question about where to get the fabric. I was wondering the same thing. 🙂

    • Deborah
      January 30, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Lady, this dress is like wearing jammies but you’re wearing real clothes. And in the rayon!! Gah!! So soft and flowy. I even walk with better posture–turns out, good fabric can perform miracles. 🙂

  • Alexia’s Rayon and Occam’s Razor | Lucky Lucille™
    January 31, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    […] January 29 – Deborah // Whipstitch […]

  • Sandra
    February 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    To be fair, there is rayon, and there is rayon. Rayon is considered both a natural (cellulose) and synthetic fabric. It comes from the same place as paper–that is, trees. And so some rayon can be very much like paper and of poor quality. Note the many thin, cheap garments that are available at discount stores. Traditionally, rayon has been considered a poor quality item but hopefully advances in some manufacturing has made it better quality.
    It can be considered along with bamboo fabric, some of which is ghastly to work with and doesn’t stand up, in spite of its “green” association.
    And speaking of quality–I hope you weren’t buying anything but polyester or fleece at Joann’s. Most of the cotton fabric there is of very poor quality. But I do applaud their other items–especially the selection of notions.

  • Mary Ann
    February 8, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Oh my! Love this flowing dress, may not work for me but my daughter will love it come spring and summer. And it looks like I can actually order it now, 3 1/2 yds for long?

    • Deborah
      February 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      I got the size medium out of 3 yards! You’ll LOVE it. So soft and flowy! 🙂

  • dana
    February 27, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Gorgeous! This looks so comfy to wear, yet so cute at the same time. Love it

  • Kim
    February 27, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I love this dress!!!!! I’ve never sewn a dress for myself. This looks like a great one to finally take the plunge with. And I love rayon too.