Trying Something New with Island Batik

Try a TechniqueThe March challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors is to try a new technique.  I went all in and decided to make myself an article of clothing with my rayon fabric.  I originally received a length of red rayon, but I traded with Sally Manke for this gorgeous lavender, as red isn’t really my color.

IMG_0204.jpgI’m generously proportioned, so I am limited in which items of clothing I can make with two yards of fabric.  I decided to go with this flowy tank top from Simplicity.  (View D).

First challenge – what the heck are all of these pieces?  I finally figured out what I was doing, and decided to skip the pockets on the front of the shirt.  It’s a good thing I skipped them, because all of the pieces wouldn’t have fit, anyway.img_0258.jpg

Over the weekend I managed to get all of the pieces assembled, laid out, and cut.  (Jeremy was more interested in me putting together a new grill with him, and then smoking pork chops than listening to me whine and grumble over how to make a shirt.)  Also, I dug out my Pellon SF101 to use as interfacing, which was a mistake.

Putting the pieces together was challenging.  Rayon is wiggly.  It is gorgeous, and feels great but it wiggles a lot.  I also discovered that despite my intense focus, I managed to cut off some of those notch things I was supposed to leave to line pieces up.  Whoops.  Cutting with scissors is hard.

img_0273Here is my finished shirt.  I think Pellon SF101 is not the right weight of interfacing.  I’m also not sure why I would use a facing to line the neckline and armholes – it is just making everything wavy and uncooperative.  I’ll be bringing this in to consult with the girls at my quilting group next week.  Many of them have garment sewing experience and will give me good advice.  I’m inclined to take out the facing parts and just hem the neckline and armhole.

I feel like I am letting Island Batik down this month, because I did the challenge, but I did not enjoy it. It is not a fault of the fabric, which is gorgeous. If you enjoy garment sewing, try out the batik rayon. It is beyond gorgeous, and feels great.

I will stick with quilting for now. I prefer feeling like an expert when I’m in my studio.  I may do a little test with my scraps and see how the rayon quilts up.

Check out the rest of the Island Batik Ambassador’s and their projects.  I’m part of an amazing group of makers.

10 thoughts on “Trying Something New with Island Batik

  1. It’s pretty, and I hope you can get it fixed to wear it. As for Patterns, it may be the brand more than the fabric or interfacing. I’ve found that Simplicity is the worst when fitting sizes, for directions, and for ease of use. Try McCalls or Butterick, or even better Vogue next time. I had a Simplicity pattern, the only child’s button down shirt available. The body fit, but the sleeve pattern was about 5″ too short. It was supposed to be a child, but would have been short on an infant. I’m still deciding on my pattern for my rayon shirt. My other hint is to use lots of pins along the seam, and a walking foot, if you have one. I’ve been sewing clothes for more than 40 years, even as a business.


  2. Hi Jennifer, your project is perfect, even if the outcome wasn’t. I am not a garment sewer either and I would never be brave enough to try sewing a top if I knew I had to blog about it. So hats off to you. And I have been looking at my rayon (and petting it) wondering how it quilts up, so if you do try it please let me know.:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You absolutely are not letting them down – not all new techniques do we love – or attempts to teach ourselves something. The fitting is the hardest part of making clothes, one of the reasons I mostly stopped years ago. I have a blouse I’d like to make so I bought two fabrics for it, one to be a “muslin” – at least two summers ago. Maybe this year I’ll get to it.


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