Elizabeth, a white female, is seen wearing an Amy Nicole Studio Chelsea Party Dress that she sewed from a Teal Tropics crepe rayon in a bold pink floral print on a teal background with palm leaves. She is wearing a straw beach hat, standing in front of large, leafy banana plants, and holding a glass of sangria.

June Monthly Make My Stash – Tropical Chelsea Dress

August 22, 2020

So I’ve been a little behind on showing you what I’ve been making, but I HAVE been making! And honestly, I’ve really been in my element with my me-made items lately – I am very much a summertime girl, and if you’ve been following me for any length of time you’re probably aware that flirty, feminine silhouettes and bright colors and bold florals are some of my favorite things. This dress (and many of the things I’ve made recently) has ALL of that!!

I chose this fabric at the beginning of 2020 as my June fabric for my personal “Monthly Make My Stash” project / challenge. I will be honest with you guys – this is the first time this year that I didn’t get my chosen fabric sewn up in the month that I’d picked it for! I spent my June focusing on makes for others (this is shocking. seriously.) – I sewed up matching outfits for my husband and girl for Father’s Day, and sewed up a romper for my sweet niece made out of an old favorite shirt of my brother-in-law’s, that had been discarded when it tore! I did sew up one dress for myself – my first Chelsea Party Dress!! – and then from there I decided to sew up an Ashton Top for 4th of July before moving on to this “June” Dress. But anyways, here it is, my June Dress finished mid-July.

Some of you may have seen the struggle that this dress became as I documented it in my stories! Crepe Rayon has a serious tendency to GROW. I don’t mean a little bit here and there, I mean potential for inches of growth after cutting your pattern pieces out!! If not handled super gingerly (and sometimes, even if babied and pampered!), the crinkled fabric un-crinkles and starts to resemble shapes completely different than those I cut out! I shared in my stories how I ended up with some side boob wings once I finished constructing this dress. It was not a pretty picture!

Turns out crepe rayon and I have a rocky history that was repeated here… The first time I worked with rayon crepe (another beautiful fabric from IndieSew!) was early 2019. I made an ill-informed and stubborn decision to use the gorgeous floral rayon crepe I’d fallen in love with as a pair of Portobello Trousers. The end result was wearable after removing quite a few inches from the waist, and I was left wondering whether the fabric had grown a ridiculous amount or the pattern was way off somehow. You can read my original thoughts in that blog post here, but I’ve definitely realized now that the pattern was not to blame! 

My next experience with rayon crepe was the Phoenix Blouse I made using my May Monthly Make My Stash fabric. It is completely possible that the fabric also grew like crazy here, but this pattern uses more gathering and requires less of a close fit, so even if it did grow, it was not noticeable. Lesson learned – from here forward, I won’t be choosing patterns with fitted elements when working with crepe rayon! Flowy or slightly over-sized garments are the best options!

After realizing how much my pattern pieces had grown, I had to come up with some sort of plan to remove the excess. I considered taking it apart at the seams, but I was worried that the process of this (de-constructing both the outer and lining) would ultimately lead to further fabric growth, as it would require a good amount of manipulation. Instead, I pinched a dart out of either side and sewed that in place. Overall, I took about 5 inches out between the two underarm areas in order to achieve a wearable fit! Luckily, this fabric is bright, fun, and busy, so the darts aren’t too noticeable. Did you spot them already?

To complete the outfit, I was so excited to receive the necklace I’m wearing with this dress from TORCH Jewelry. This sweet necklace was inspired by vintage buttons, and I’ve been wearing it everyday since. It is the perfect little token of sewing inspiration, and the simple understated style lets it fit well with my entire wardrobe – from scrubs to fun sundresses. Susan from TORCH Jewelry reached out to me at the end of June and offered to send this my way in exchange for a photo. After reading more about Susan and her company, I was so happy to collaborate with her – TORCH celebrates women capturing their light, and all of her products are produced locally either in home or in partnership with a select group of family-run businesses in her area. She is a mother, an advocate for children with special needs (including her own!), and she puts such a personal touch on her pieces. She sent my necklace with a hand-signed note and a story and a photo of her grandmother who inspired the button pendant. I’d love for you to check out her company – you can click directly over to this necklace HERE!!

I’ve decided that lack of tropical vacation plans should not be an actual reason not to sew up a tropical vacation worthy wardrobe, so you’ll catch me with a few more resort appropriate pieces coming up in my next few blog posts! I think I’d live my best life on a chaise lounge with a cocktail in my hand, so I’ll continue practicing for that in my in-laws’ backyard until it’s safe to travel again!

Top: handmade by me
Pattern: Amy Nicole Patterns – Chelsea Party Dress
Fabric: IndieSew – Teal Tropics Crepe Rayon (unfortunately, IndieSew is closed now and I miss that shop SO much!) 

Key Ingredients: 
Brother XR9500PRW Sewing Machine 
Brother 1034D Overlocker 
Schmetz Universal 70/30 Needles 
Dahle 36×48 Self-healing Cutting Mat 

Thanks for reading my thoughts on this pattern! Both the pattern and fabric used in this post were purchased by me for my own personal use. All words and opinions expressed throughout this post are my own, as always. Links provided throughout this post may be affiliate links – if you choose to purchase any products through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. This simply helps me justify the costs of my sewing habit and the time it takes to share it with you!! Happy Sewing!

  • XX Elizabeth

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