(I was gifted this fabric for an honest review. I don’t do sponsorships, but I am more than happy to give honest reviews. Any and all products I mention, here or in other blog posts, are warmly recommended based on my personal and professional experience. This is another in-depth review, so please enjoy a cuppa whilst you read, or pin this post for later 😊)
This is my second and final post about Offset Warehouse’s beautiful range of fabrics. Last time, I told you all about ramie tweed and the Deer and Doe Chardon skirt; this time, I’m going to dive into tencel satin and the Myosotis dress by Deer and Doe.
I’ve had more exposure to tencel than ramie over the years; my lightweight summer jacket is a tencel twill, and I can vouch for its being a beautifully cool layer on hot days. Like ramie, you get the full benefit of tencel when you wear it next to the skin, so use it as a lining fabric or for unlined garments. This particular tencel satin is pitched at just the right weight for linings and garments. It would be ideal for a coat or jacket, particularly one to be worn over jumpers, because it will complement the breathable qualities of wool. You’ll get warmth without clamminess.
Yet, as you can see, it’s brilliant for garments! I ran late with this project (at the time of writing and photography, the hems are unsewn and it has not been properly pressed), but it is finished enough for me to say, hand on heart, that you will NOT regret purchasing this fabric. Shirts, blouses and dresses are particularly suited to the excellent drape; and if you live in a hot climate and/or suffer with hot flushes, get yourself some tencel. Add the dress shields I mentioned last week, if you need them too.
Tencel is as comfortable on the skin as linen, but it doesn’t crease as soon as you look at it. There are several lovely colours in Offset Warehouse’s tencel satin range and you’re sure to find something you can wear during the day or sleep in at night. Anything made in this fabric will be a godsend in the heat.
Technically, this tencel has a tighter weave than some satins I’ve used, and the wrong side has a more brushed texture. Both these qualities confer more stability than you’d expect, so this is an ideal entry level satin if you’ve never sewn with that type of fabric before. The wrong side is similar to cotton lawn, so if you’ve been used to sewing with that, you’ll find the surface familiar and reassuring.
This tighter weave also negates a lot of the typical fraying. Satin weaves are typified by the weft floats – these create the characteristic sheen – so like the ramie tweed, fraying is unavoidable. Hoever, it is far from alarming. The photos below shows the first pass of the French seam joining the tiers of the skirt.
Fabric handling is also no headache at all. Like all satin fabrics, make sure you use fine pins and a fine sewing needle. This tencel can take more bruising and pressing than other satins (another reason why I recommend it for satin newbies), but don’t lower your standards! This resilience means it can take pressing very well, or at least better than other types of satin. Because it’s a cellulose fibre, you don’t have to worry about overheating or overpressing quite as much as you do with protein fibres, i.e., silk, nor melting them (polyesters or other plastics). I was able to set and press the Myosotis collar without any trouble.
My only other word of advice here is to understand the difference between pressing and ironing. For example, if you’re fusing interfacing, lift and replace the iron. Gliding it around – that is, ironing – will pull your pattern pieces out of shape. Satin can be susceptible to this because of the floats. Placing a piece of card between dart and seam allowances will also prevent indentations when pressing seams. Cover your tracks! 😉
And now, the dress itself…
It will come as no surprise that I chose to make a gown for this review. Even before reading the title, some readers will have recognised this as the celebrated Myosotis dress by Deer and Doe. This is my third project and first full-length dress with the pattern; the first two were knee length and made up in double gauze.
Apart from my usual lower back adjustment, I graded between a few sizes on the bodice (photo below), raised the neckline 4.5cm to accommodate a fourth button and did some work on the skirt. I recalculated the skirt pieces entirely in order to create extra sweep and glamour to show off the satin fabric. I’ll go over this briefly now, but please leave a comment if you’d like me to write a tutorial.
This maxi skirt comprises about 2.25m of fabric – no more than 2.5m. All skirt pieces were cut on a full width of fabric, which is 150cm. So: the first tier is 3m around all gathered into the waist, in two pieces; the lower tier is about 4.5m around, in three pieces. I decided on the total length of the skirt and split it into two-thirds/one-third between the tiers. Anything based on the rule of thirds or golden ratio is a safe bet for progressive volume. You’ll also note that the same ratio applies to the circumference of the tiers.
Construction-wise, I deployed clean finishing throughout. I wouldn’t pass this through the overlocker for anyone, but if you prefer overlocking, do so AFTER you’ve completed the seam. Because they’re designed to be used with knits, overlockers always stretch woven fabric; when combined with the satin floats, you may find yourself in a bit of trouble. On the other hand, French seams were no trouble at all. My usual way with French seams is to sew 0.5cm on the first pass and 1cm on the second. This preserves the entire seam allowance and I have some room to let out the seams in future, should I need to.
If you’re on Instagram, the #ddmyosotis hashtag is full of happy sewists who wear their Myosotis dresses to death. It’s a beautiful take on the shirtdress and so easy to wear and style. It pops on over the head, so the front placket is the only closure. You can size down for a less oversized look, but I loved the easy feel so I graded the shoulders in. If I had chosen my size, the shoulder seam would’ve hung slightly off my shoulder as the designer intended. I have also added waist ties to all three of mine so that I can switch between fitted and relaxed looks.
As I said earlier, this is my third Myosotis, so it will definitely be my last for the time being! Next up is the Aubépine, which has a similar easy vibe and also pulls on over the head. Deer and Doe patterns are a wonderful fusion between elegance, function and comfort, so if you’re not familiar with their designs, take a look when you have a minute. They take up the most room in my sewing pattern collection, and for good reason!
It remains for me to thank Charlie, Naomi and the Offset Warehouse team for inviting me to review this fabric. It’s been an absolute pleasure, and I hope that my notes have been helpful to anyone reading. Again, you’re very welcome to bookmark or pin this post for later – I appreciate that it’s likely to be a useful reference – and a contribution to my Ko-Fi tip jar is always gratefully received. And if you’re thinking about trying out tencel, I hope you enjoy sewing with it as much as I have. You can view Offset Warehouse’s range of tencel fabrics here. https://www.offsetwarehouse.com/collections/tencel-modal