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Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Today I’m exploring the difference between rayon and viscose, and between challis and poplin.  In all the pictures, the rayon challis fabric is on the left and the viscose poplin fabric is on the right.

So what exactly is the difference between rayon challis and viscose poplin?  That was a question in my mind, for quite some time.  But since sewing with and wearing both fabrics, and doing some extra research, I think I have some answers.

First of all, we have to split each of these fabrics into two parts.  Rayon and challis, viscose and poplin.  You see, the first word refers to the material the fabric is made from, and the second word basically refers to the weave of each of them.

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

So what is the difference between rayon and viscose?  For the home sewist, practically nothing.  They are basically the same thing, and since we’re not scientists, the tiny differences don’t really matter.  The only difference I could find is that viscose is usually made from bamboo while rayon can be from a wider variety of “plant matter and wood pulp, usually bamboo” and the two are processed the same way.  For cutting, sewing and wearing, rayon and viscose are essentially the same thing.  In fact I’ve even seen some fabric suppliers use the words interchangeably.  So the answer to the first part of the question is…there is not really any difference.

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Now what is the difference between challis and poplin?  Here the simple home sewist can differentiate a little bit.  Challis and poplin both refer to the weave of the fabric. Interestingly, challis can be made from wool, rayon, cotton, silk or manufactured blends.  Challis usually has a plain weave (each weft yarn passes alternately over and under each warp thread) but can occasionally be found with a twill (diagonal) weave.  Poplin has a very tight plain weave and originally had silk warm and wool weft threads.  Both challis and poplin should be sewn with a new or fine needle.

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Technical specifics for rayon challis vs viscose poplin:

Rayon Challis:

weight: 0-3.5 oz per yard

opacity: translucent

care: machine wash, tumble dry

width: 44” – 58”

drape: soft liquid

Viscose Poplin:  

weight: 120 gsm (3.5 oz per yard)

opacity: opaque

care: wash warm, dry flat, or dry clean

width: 58”

drape: very fluid

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Here you can see challis and poplin held up to the light.

Really you have to wear both of them to be able to feel the difference yourself.  It’s very, very subtle, and both are super nice fabrics!  For me, the rayon challis feels a little lighter with a little more drape.  The viscose poplin feels slightly softer, and doesn’t conform to the body quite as much.

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Here is a comparison of the plain fabric so you can see the drape side by side.

But there are a few differences, so I thought you might appreciate knowing everything I know!  Leave a comment, did I miss anything in this comparison of rayon challis vs. viscose poplin?

Pattern Used: Phoenix Blouse by Hey June Patterns

Fabrics Used:

Rayon Challis from CaliFabrics (review and thoughts on wearing rayon challis in the fall here)

Viscose Poplin fabric from Blackbird Fabrics.  Sold out, but can be found here.  

Rayon Challis vs Viscose Poplin compared by Skirt Fixation

Affiliate links are used in this post.  If you click on one of our links, we may make a few extra pennies at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for supporting our small sewing endeavors in this way.

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Rain Jackets…sort of!

Rain jackets sewn by Skirt Fixation

Recently I sewed up a couple of rain jackets for my 2 youngest boys.  I used the Puddle Jumper Rain Coat pattern from Peekaboo Pattern Shop (affiliate link) and it’s a really great pattern.  In fact, I used it before for Annie.

Rain jackets sewn by Skirt Fixation

But this time, it didn’t work out exactly like I’d planned.  In fact, it was quite discouraging!  Please read the whole story over on the CaliFabrics blog, and leave me a comment to cheer me up.  Not every sewing creation of mine is a win, and I need help getting my sew-jo back!

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A very big (little!) announcement!

Today I have the honor of stepping into some very large shoes of two ladies who have inspired me for a long, long time!  It’s quite a privilege to be taking the reins at Project Run & Play, where I’ve been assisting for the past 2 years.

Nothing But Knit theme sewn by Skirt Fixation. Fun children's clothing event!

Please head over to Project Run & Play to read liZ & Elizabeth’s farewell message.  I’m so excited to take over, and have so many ideas for the days and Seasons to come!  I hope you’ll follow along on the journey.

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10 Super Easy Last Minute Skirt Costume Ideas

10 skirt costumes you can make in 1 hour or less!

Today we’ve got a round up of 10 super duper easy, last minute skirt costume ideas you can pull together in an hour or less!

#1:  Check out our fast refashioned German Gretl skirt costume from the Sound Of Music.

#2  This Cleopatra costume is a refresher of a previous year’s costume with a skirt, tips in this post.

#3  Take full advantage of lesser used items like leotards and petticoats like in this ballerina costume.

#4:  Just one special clothing items and the right accessories can turn plain clothes (like a black skirt and white shirt) into a super fun costume like this Scandinavian girl skirt costume.

$5:  Grab a denim skirt and some items from someone else’s closet for this quick and easy cowgirl costume.

#6:  Start with a skirt, add layers of scarves and a ribbon around the head makes an instant gypsy skirt costume like this one.

#7:  A black skirt and some white paint and our free stencils, and the wearer is an instant game of chess!  Favorite skirt costume ever!

#8:  No sewing, just the right accessories for this little huntress skirt costume.

#9:  Every little girl will want a Disney princess costume at least once in her life, right?  Here’s a fast tutorial to make her into a princess, and leaves you with a skirt for everyday wear when it’s all over.

#10:  And there’s always the ever famous 50s poodle skirt costume!  Add saddle shoes, and the costume is complete!  This one was actually sewn by my Mom, and all the girls have worn it, for dress up, costumes, and just fun.

10 skirt costumes you can make in 1 hour or less!

All right, leave us a comment (we love them!)  What was your favorite costume ever that involved a skirt?

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Simple Maxi Skirt Pattern Review

Simple Maxi Skirt Patterns sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Yesterday when I showed you my new Simple Knit Pencil Skirt and Union St. Tee, I forgot to tell you the back story.  Originally I had planned a much different outfit for the Skirt-A-Thon!  So today I’m sharing what really happened.

Simple Maxi Skirt Patterns sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

My first plan was to sew the pencil skirt and pair it with a hoodie for fall.  Because I had the perfect french terry fabric in my stash that I’d ordered a few months ago.  And so I ordered the coordinating skirt fabric and got started sewing the hoodie while I was waiting for it to arrive.

Simple Maxi Skirt Patterns sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Of course it’s the Halifax Hoodie pattern from Hey June Patterns.  Last year I made myself one from athletic fabric, Aria made one for her 4H project, and I made and gifted one to my sister (not blogged.)  It’s probably our favorite layering hoodie pattern.  I used a white metal zipper, and white parachute cording, and they are the small details that make the difference on this hoodie.

Simple Maxi Skirt Patterns sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

The french terry fabric is from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  It is one of their in house designs from summer.  While it’s not currently being printed, this one and this one are other floral french terry designs that would be dreamy in a hoodie!  I absolutely adore everything about this hoodie, and am at a loss for words to explain how much I love it!

Simple Maxi Skirt Patterns sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

For my fellow tall seamstresses, I lengthened the body and sleeves by 1” at the hem.  That’s it!  And this time I lined the hood.  It’s an option in the pattern, and I’m really excited with the peak of smoky mint inside.

Simple Maxi Skirt Patterns sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

So what’s the story on the skirt?  Well, when my fabric arrived, it turned out I hit the jackpot (which means it was close enough to the end of the bolt that I got everything that was left.) and received 2.25 yards instead of the 1 yard that I ordered for the pencil skirt.  It’s Designer Fabric  by Art Gallery Fabrics in their new Aloe Mist solid knit.  It’s just as soft as the rest of their knit fabrics, and the perfect shade of mint for fall!

Simple Maxi Skirt Patterns sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

So my plans changed because now I had enough to make a maxi skirt instead of a pencil skirt!  That’s okay though because Simple Simon and Co. just happen to have a Simple Maxi Skirt Pattern.  And it’s just as easy and fast to whip up as their pencil skirt.  It also has a super comfortable 2” exposed elastic waistband.  For my tall sewing friends, I only had to lengthen the pattern by 3” to attain this perfect just-brushing-the-floor-but-not-dragging-on-it length.  I made the size small, and was able to get the whole skirt (and the lining for the hood) out of the 2.25 yards because it doesn’t have a directional print.

Simple Maxi Skirt Patterns sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

It was a good change of plans, don’t you think?  Alright, enough sewing for me.  For now.  Because fall sewing really is my favorite season to sew!  Leave me a comment below, have your plans ever changed when your fabric arrived?

Affiliate links are used in this post.  That’s because we want you to own just as fabulous patterns and fabric as we do!  But be forewarned, we just might make a penny or two if you click on one of our links…at no additional cost to you!  So thanks!

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Purple Seafarer Tops

Purple Seafarer tops sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

This summer Aria needed some new shirts, but she had no time to spare from her summer job to sew herself some.  That’s okay, with the right fabric and pattern, I whipped up some for her in no time!

Purple Seafarer tops sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

We love dolman t-shirts, and so we turned to the Seafarer by Sew Much Ado.  It’s so comfortable, and Ari’s current favorite version is the version with hemmed sleeves and hem, so we can sew them up super fast.

Purple Seafarer tops sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

For the fabrics, Ari fell in love with Maureen Cracknell’s Art Gallery Soulful Jersey Knit Floral Universe Plum Fabric  and since I was sewing 1 purple shirt, I grabbed this Knit Stitched Arrow fabric from the Bolt by Girl Charlee collection in the purple colorway.  No thread changes, you see!  It’s not currently available in the purple color anymore, but you can find it in these two colors.  Bolt By Girl Charlee Desert Sky Jersey Knit Stitched Arrow Gray Fabric and Bolt By Girl Charlee Pure Vintage Jersey Knit Stitched Arrow Navy/Turq Fabric

Purple Seafarer tops sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

Aria is in love with her 2 new shirts, and has even paired them with her Runway Skirt for fancier occasions.

Purple Seafarer tops sewn and reviewed by Skirt Fixation

As our experience on sewing with knit fabrics matures, we’ve made one slight change to the way we construct t-shirts.  We hem the sleeves and bottom before we sew the side seams.  This is because we have yet to find an effective method to keep a double needle hem from unraveling!  We’ve tried backstitching, tying the threads on the wrong side, and doing nothing extra.  But all these methods have failed to some degree or another.  So far, burying the thread ends in the side seams by hemming first seems to work the best.

We’re certainly open to tips and hints from anyone who has had success…leave us a comment!

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Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Recently I’ve had fun working with a new kind of fabric.  Double brushed poly fabric is a knit polyester fabric that has been brushed on both sides, making it super soft to wear, but a little tricky to work with.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Before I started sewing with double brushed poly fabric, I researched it a little bit.  I concluded that if you have a serger you will have almost no trouble sewing with double brushed poly fabric.  Since I didn’t sew either of the shirts in this post with a serger (because I don’t HAVE one!) I’ll give you some tips I’ve picked up along the way about sewing double brushed poly fabric with a regular sewing machine.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Double brushed poly fabric has a 4 way stretch that is greater than 100% and it has good recovery, which means it’s very forgiving to sew with.  It also has beautiful drape so there are many garments that look quite lovely sewn up with double brushed poly.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Quite a few seamstresses used double brushed poly fabric to make leggings, which is what I used it for my 1st time working with it.  This fabric is 96% polyester, which the name indicates, and can be a little too hot to wear as a fitted garment in the summer.  The other 4% is spandex.  Some have found that looser, breezier garments from double brushed poly fabric work great in the heat.  Personally, I’ve worn these 2 tops all summer with no trouble.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

My biggest tip for sewing with double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine is to use the right needle.  A new stretch or ballpoint needle will help your machine NOT skip stitches.

My 2nd tip is to use the right thread.  I had much better luck with 100% polyester thread than cotton or even a cotton/polyester blend.

My 3rd tip is to use the right stitch.  My machine has a stretch stitch which worked great for straight seams.  (You can also use a narrow zigzag stitch.)

The next tip is that if your machine starts skipping stitches (which seems to be the biggest problem when sewing with double brushed poly fabric) stop!  Rethread both the bobbin and the main thread, and try again.

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

And finally, a tip few tips for hemming double brushed poly fabric:

use a double needle (or zigzag stitch,)

a longer stitch length (I used about 3.5)

some Lite EZ-Steam II fusible tape inside the hems

I also buried the ends of the thread inside my seams so they didn’t come unraveled.  This means I had to hem the sleeves and bottom before I sewed the side seams.  But it works great, and in almost 3 months of wearing, no popped hems!

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Pink shirt details:

Pattern source: Hey June Handmade Union St Tee

Fabric source:  Raspberry Creek Fabrics (no longer available, but a nice selection of double brushed poly fabric)

Blue shirt details:

Pattern source: Hey June Handmade Lane Raglan

Fabric source:  CaliFabrics (no longer available, but a nice selection of double brushed poly fabric)

Tips for sewing double brushed poly fabric on a regular sewing machine

Affiliate links are used in the post to some really good products!  Be warned that if you click through our links you might also be the proud owner of really awesome patterns and fabric!  And also, we might make a few pennies to be able to support this blogging habit we have!

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Swimsuit sewing for kids!

Today we’re bringing home a post that originally posted over at Project Run & Play because we thought you might be thinking about this type of sewing soon!

Today I’ve got a whole bunch of information for you to help you be able to sew a swim suit for your child this summer.  I was totally intimidated by this until I tried, and now I’m confident that with the right supplies and technique, you can do it too!  Let’s get started with some inspiration to help you WANT to make your child’s swimwear.

Sewing swimwear for your child is in reach! Just read this post.

Check out these handmade swimwear posts.  Some of these were moms sewing swimsuits for their very first time!

Flamingo Halter Suit by Chelise Patternson

Trio Swim style by Orange Who 

Swim Tankini & Skirt by Skirt Fixation

Fruit inspired Swims Suits by Paisley Roots

Reversible Swimsuit by Petite a Petite & Family

One Piece with boy shorts by Falafel and the Bee

And don’t forget those swimming accessories!

Easy swimming suit cover-up tutorials by Simple Simon & Co

Hamerhead Swim Team Bag by Sew Much To Give

Best swimwear patterns for children

1st you’ll need a good pattern.  Try one of these:

Sew Pony Cosi Suit 

Malibu one piece by PeekABoo Patterns (PeekABoo Patterns actually has over a dozen swimsuit patterns!)

Swashbuckler Swim Trunks by Patterns For Pirates

Salt Water Swim Trunks by Blank Slate Patterns

Kid Pants/Shorts by Made Everyday

Jalie Boardshorts

Next you’ll need some fabric.

Swimsuit fabric

If you’re sewing for a girl, check out some of these swimwear sources:

The Fabric Fairy Swimwear section

Girl Charlee spandex

Pink Stripe from Fabric.Com

Peekaboo Pattern Shop Ice Cream Fabric

Yellow Polka Dot

And for a boy you’ll need board shorts fabric which is also known as microfiber.

Boardshorts fabrics

Try these sources for board shorts fabric:

Sharks from Peekaboo Pattern Shop

Black from

Aqua fabric from Peekaboo Pattern Shop 

Chinese dragon from The Fabric Fairy

Woody cars from The Fabric Fairy 

Finally, you might need a few special notions:

Swimsuit special elastic

Power mesh for under boys shorts

Swimsuit lining

So there you have it!  Challenge yourself to make some swimwear…you won’t regret it!  And then let us know so we can be inspired too!

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My Sewing Space

Skirt Fixation sewing area

Today I’m bringing home a post where I shared my sewing space over at Project Run & Play.  If you missed it, welcome…come it and take a peek!

Welcome to my sewing room!  This is Audrey from Skirt Fixation, and one of the Virtual Assistants for Project Run & Play, and I’m so excited to welcome you into my sewing space today.

Skirt Fixation sewing area

Although I have set up my sewing space in many different places, currently I feel VERY lucky to have an entire outbuilding dedicated to my creative endeavors.  Here’s the back story.  This little building right outside our back door was the smokehouse/summer kitchen to the original house on our property, built sometime in the mid 1800s!  Our current home, which was built in 1916, has 3 bedrooms (and we are expecting child #8!) so needless to say, every spare inch of space is used inside the house!

Skirt Fixation sewing area

Several summers ago, we decided to remodel the old smokehouse/summer kitchen into a guest house so any company could have somewhere quiet to escape our boisterous brood.  Mr. Skirt Fixation further added plumbing and electrical to commercial kitchen standards because we were contemplating a chocolate truffle making business in the little building at some point in the future.  The kids promptly christened it the “Chocolate House.”  This past fall, I made it my sewing space, with the caveat that it is still 1st and foremost a guest house.

Skirt Fixation sewing area

Because I need to move out at a moment’s notice, organization is the key.  My large, raised cutting table is collapsible, and can be moved out and a bed set up in less than 5 minutes.  It stands 37” high, which I really appreciate due to my 6’ tall height!  I keep my extra large cutting mat on it and usually stage whatever project I’m currently sewing on top.

Skirt Fixation sewing area

Underneath the cutting table are my knit fabric storage boxes.  I have found that rolling my knit fabric and storing it vertically is the boxes is the best way to keep it organized.

Skirt Fixation sewing area

My next organizing savior is this tall wire metal shelf.  I have it filled from floor to ceiling with all my sewing supplies and fabric.  Everything is stored in clear plastic boxes of all sizes.

Skirt Fixation sewing area

Separate small shoeboxes hold zippers, seam binding, cutting tools, elastic, hardware, and extra sewing machine parts.

Skirt Fixation sewing area

Medium sized boxes are the perfect size for ribbons, embroidery, fabric art supplies, felt, and projects in process.

Skirt Fixation sewing area

Large boxes on the bottom shelves hold woven fabrics sorted by color.  Since a large fabric purge last year, I have it down to 4 of these boxes.  Bulging, but only 4!

Skirt Fixation sewing area

All my pdf patterns are stored in binders next to my sewing books.  The wire metal shelf usually has at least one garment hanging on it waiting for me to take photos.

Skirt Fixation sewing area

I keep my buttons in small glass jars sorted by color.  Personally, I am saving spice jars as I use them up, but if you don’t want to wait that long, here is a set that would work perfectly!

My mission style computer desk (which sometimes doubles as my ironing station when I’m working) is pretty clean and clear thanks to a 3 drawer organizer and a pretty storage box to hold all the miscellany that blogging requires!

Skirt Fixation sewing area

Probably the happiest place is my sewing table.  I have a 6 foot long collapsible table.  Often I tease Mr. Skirt Fixation that there is plenty of room on it for more machines!  But since it’s sadly bereft of more machines, I usually manage to fill it with whatever project I’m working on and staging my next project.

Skirt Fixation sewing area

The wide windowsill holds sewing supplies, including this small 3 drawer organizer where I keep my scissors, needles, extra sewing machine feet, and seam rippers.  The button lampshade was a gift from a sewing aunt, and the floral artwork is the sole piece of art in the room!  It was painted by my sister-in-law for Mr. Skirt Fixation’s birthday, but because it matches the roman shades I made for the room perfectly, I stole it!  I’m now noticing how bare the walls are…I have several mini quilts that I need to hang up, but I need hanging tips because duct tape probably isn’t classy enough!

My favorite thing about sewing in the “Chocolate House” is all the light from every side!  Many of my flat lay photos are taken from the cutting table, and I don’t even need to add any extra lighting.

Thanks for visiting my sewing space today, I’m sorry there was no chocolate!  Please link up your sewing space in our link up so I can come visit you.