As you’ve probably noticed during our first week with Amy Butler’s new Alchemy, we totally love the innovative substrates she’s brought into this collection for Rowan Fabrics. There are, of course, beautiful quality quilting cottons, but this time, she also has a wide range of incredible new textures with which to work. Our All-Weather Tote from earlier this week featured a soft cotton laminate, and today, we’re working with rayon challis and velveteen. She also has a unique rayon/linen, sateen bliss, linen/cotton and a voile. Each of the different substrates comes in a wide array of colors and patterns, exploding the amount of creativity you can achieve by mixing and matching looks, weights and textures. Our elegant wrap combines the luxurious drape of rayon challis with the soft romance of velveteen. It’s perfect for a holiday night on the town where you need a bit of warmth, and you want a bit of drama against that perfect little black dress.

Check out our new tutorial for tips on working with rayon. Next week, we’ll be discussing how to use velvet and velveteen for the best results.

Our thanks to the great folks at FreeSpirit and Rowan Fabrics for sponsoring all this holiday happiness! Each week, we’ve been bringing you a new collection from a different designer. During our first week, you met Melissa White of Rowan Fabrics and her new Amelie’s Attic collection. For Week Two, we thank Ty Pennington Impressions for allowing us to feature Ty’s new Fall 2012 Collection. During Week Three, you were surrounded by the sweet loveliness of Verna Mosquera’s Pirouette. Now, we’re winding up our first week of wonder in the new Alchemy collection from Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics, and there’s another week to go!

For this busy time of year, we created a slate of fast and easy, “do-it-in-a-day” projects. Simple yet classic creations executed in gorgeous fabrics – perfect for holiday giving and decorating, but with a beauty that will last year ’round.

Alchemy will begin appearing next month, December 2012, at participating online and in-store retailers.

In addition, for all of the projects in our series, Westminster helped us put together a handy Where to Buy Retailer Locator, giving you a fast and easy way to source the fabrics we are featuring from both brick and mortar stores in your area (the page is broken out by state) as well as online options.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the center of the wrap and the accent ruffles (Honeysuckle Bloom in Rose in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 49″ wide x 43″ high rectangle for the main body
    TWO 4″ x 43″ strips for the accent ruffles
  2. From the fabric for the end caps (Pressed Flowers in Zinc in our sample), carefully fussy cut FOUR 15″ x 15″ squares. These end cap squares are meant to be a dramatic accent to the wrap; take the time to make four lovely, matching cuts.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Fold the rayon in half, right sides together, so it is now 49″ wide x 21½” high. Pin in place along the 49″ edge.
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along the 49″ edge.
  3. Press the seam allowance open. Turn right side out and press the seam flat again.
  4. Roll the seam so it becomes the bottom edge and press flat.
  5. Fold the rayon piece in half to find the exact center. Mark with a pin.
  6. Unfold and create a center line, using pins or by drawing a line with a fabric pen or pencil. We used pins.

    NOTE: If you choose a pen or pencil, make sure it is one that will easily wipe away from the right side of the rayon or will disappear with exposure to air. Always test on a scrap of fabric first. 
  7. Make SEVEN ½” pleats placed 2″ apart. If you are new to pleating, check out our tutorial: How To Make Knife Pleats. The final ½” pleat is folded right along the top edge of the wrap.

    NOTE: These pleats are designed to take up the fabric through the middle back of the wrap; they are not meant to hold their shape across the entire width of the wrap. You can certainly adjust to add additional pleats if you’d like, but you want soft, flowing pleats to take advantage of the beautiful drape of the rayon challis.
  8. To secure the pleats in place, select a decorative stitch or a straight stitch and stitch down both sides of your originally marked center line.
  9. Repeat the same pleating process along both raw edges of the rayon piece, making SEVEN ½” pleats along each edge exactly in line with the center pleats.
  10. A simple line of machine basting is all that is needed to hold these pleats in place because they will be secured within the velveteen end caps.

Accent ruffles

  1. Find the two 4″ x 43″ strips.
  2. Fold one strip right sides together, aligning the 4″ ends. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch in place. Press the seam open.
  4. Turn right side out and press this now doubled layer flat. On one end is the fold; on the other end is the seam.
  5. Fold in half lengthwise, aligning the long raw edges.
  6. Starting at one end, place a pin every 1½” along the entire folded strip.
  7. At each pin mark, make a tiny pinch pleat. This pleat will be approximately ¼” at the most.
  8. Machine baste the pinch pleats in place.
  9. Your finished pinch-pleated strip should reduce to 14″ in length. Repeat all these steps to create the second strip for the opposite end.

Velveteen end caps

  1. Find the four 15″ x 15″ velveteen squares and separate them into two sets of two.
  2. Place each pair right sides together. If you have a directional print, make sure you correctly align top to top and bottom to bottom. Remember, it’s the “sides” of the end caps that attach to the rayon. One side attaches to the main body of the wrap, and the opposite side secures the accent ruffle.
  3. Pin across the top and bottom of each pair.
  4. If possible, switch to a walking foot for the remaining stitching.
  5. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all four seams. Press all seams open.
  6. Using a fabric pencil and your see-through ruler, measure in 1″ from the raw edges of the velveteen and draw a line from top to bottom. Draw this 1″ line on both edges, then flip over the end cap and draw two lines on this side as well. Repeat on the remaining end cap.
  7. Fold in each raw edge of each end cap (four on each end cap, eight total) so the raw edge aligns with the drawn line.
  8. Machine baste each in place.
  9. Turn the end caps right side out.
  10. Pin one ruffle strip in place along one side of one end cap. The raw edge of the ruffle strip should be flush with one folded in edge of the end cap. Thread a hand sewing needle and hand baste the ruffle strip in place. You are basting through only the folded in edge; do not stitch through to the main panel.
  11. With the ruffle basted in place, re-flatten the end cap and place the remaining folded-in edge of the velveteen over the top of the ruffle.
  12. Pin in place through all the layers. The ruffle strip is now evenly sandwiched between the layers of the end cap.
  13. Topstitch through all the layers to secure the ruffle in place.
  14. Remove the original line of machine basting, so only the one line of topstitching shows along each edge.
  15. Insert the pleated edge of the body of the wrap into the opposite open end of the end cap. Pin in place through all the layers.
  16. Topstitch in place through all the layers.
  17. Repeat these steps to attach the opposite end cap to the remaining ruffle strip and the remaining raw edge of the body of the wrap.
  18. Press well, using a pressing cloth.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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