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A Tencel Twill Lena Horne Dress

Posted by Katie Freeland on

 

Wow! 

How on Earth have I NEVER sewn with Tencel twill before? Seriously. It is amazing. Amazing to wear, amazing to sew with, amazing to look at. I am singing high praises of this, but seriously - this fabric is the beez kneez. 

I decided to make this fabric into the Lena Horne dress recently released by Tabitha Sewer. It's quite the statement dress so I wanted to use a fabric that was (shock if you know me) printless. I really wanted to get the balance and make the structural features of this dress the standout. And this couldn't have been a more perfect fabric choice.

To get to the knitty-gritty - Tencel is medium weight; perfect for dresses, shorts and lighter pants. It has NEXT LEVEL drape. Like, unparalleled in the fabric world. It is incredibly cool to wear -- temperature and status wise. It feels wonderful. On your skin, in your hands, when it accidentally brushes against your companion and then leaves them super jealous that they are not wearing fabric as awesome as you. It is also sturdy as anything. Put away that interfacing because this fabric has all the structure you need.

 

Let's talk about sewing with tencel. One of the only two flaws this fabric has is that it's sometimes hard to tell which is the right side. If you're like me and you are rushing to finish a project right before you jet-set overseas and you are sewing in your dimly lit room late at night, chances are you'll wake up and find you've sewn half your panels on back the front. Work in well-lit rooms or just take the smarter option and wait until tomorrow to tackle that new big project. These rules should apply to all fabrics really. It slightly frays (and I use italics here to convey that it seriously is only slightly). Mostly where you are consistently touching it. I realised this and decided to just overlock my pieces about halfway through the project and what do you know! Problem solved.

 

This second flaw to this fabric is the need to consistently iron it. After washing (an absolute must with every single piece of fabric you buy - don't be thinking that this will be the one time that you'll get away with and it won't shrink - it will, guaranteed) you will need to iron it with time and elbow power, or a lot of steam. And subsequently, every time you wash it.

But those two are hardly even in the "con" column. I challenge you to show me a fabric that doesn't look better after an iron and I'll eat my words! 

 

A quick review of the pattern - I'm possibly going to be the first person to shoot it out into the universe that I am not really a fan of the much loved and highly anticipated Lena Horne dress from Tabitha Sewer. The look and the style are nice but the construction techniques are lacking and the pattern drafting is ill-fitting. I went completely off book with both the pattern and the construction - it's almost an entirely redrafted bodice. Really the only saving grace of this dress is the fabric.

Basically - do yourself a favour and get some of this fabric and sew it up into something wonderful that takes advantage of its drape and structure (an oxymoron you might say but just feel this fabric and you'll understand). Maake has quite the range of colours so get adventurous - make those work pants you've been dreaming of or that button up skirt that will just go perfectly with a white tee every single day of the year!

If you'd like to see more of this dress (I wore it galavanting around the Dead Sea in Israel) or my other projects using Maaidesign fabrics - follow me on IG @kaleidoscopekatie_.


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