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Tiffani's Rayon Trapeze Dress

I knew I wanted to add a Trapeze Dress to my wardrobe when I saw how amazing Allison's Trapeze dress turned out. I made this dress to bring with me on a trip to the mountains to celebrate my anniversary this summer. And when we got this adorable cherry fabric from Cotton + Steel in my new favorite color and the softest, flowiest rayon, I got pretty excited. I love the way rayon feels, the drape is amazing and I love the way it moves with you. 

Merchant and Mills Trapeze Dress Pocket Detail

Pattern: Trapeze Dress by Merchant and Mills
Size Made: 14 UK
Materials: 2.25 yards Rayon Cherries by Cotton + Steel
Modificaitons: Omitted the facing and did a bias tape facing, lowered the neck line by 3/4", shortened length, cut just one piece for back instead of two

Merchant and Mills Trapeze Dress

I learned a lot about working with rayon from this project. It's stretchier and slipperier than you might think, and it may take a little more finesse than other fabrics, but it's an absolute dream to wear. The Cotton + Steel rayon is not only super soft and drapey, but it's also a thicker, more stable rayon, which I feel makes it easier to work with than some others. I'd definitely recommend pre-washing this fabric as it has a tendency to shrink and you'll want to get that out of the way before you make something with it. It washes great as a finished garment after you take care of pre-washing.

Neckline finished with a double needle

I have to admit that I sometimes cut corners when I'm in a hurry and I was on a timeline with this dress. I saw that the pattern called for a facing which would take a little extra time, so I opted to go for a bias tape binding for the neck and the arm holes. I purchased a pre-made cotton bias tape and it didn't work at all. I should have known it wasn't going to play nice with rayon, but I ignored my intuition. I ended up having to rip out all of the bias binding, but luckily I had only done one arm. Whew! And lucky for me we still had the fabric in stock so I could purchase enough to make my own bias tape. I finished the edge with a double needle so it laid flat and had a nice, clean finish.

High-Low hem on Trapeze Dress

I also took off some length, as it was almost down to my ankles. I cut the back a little longer than the front for a subtle high/low effect. And instead of cutting two pieces for the back as the pattern class for, I opted to make it all one piece.

 Tiffani's Merchant and Mills Trapeze Dress

This dress is super cozy and stylish and I'm still able to enjoy it paired with a sweater and boots for the colder weather ahead. I made the sleeveless version, but the pattern includes an option for sleeves, so there should be nothing stopping you from whipping one up for yourself this fall.

Merchant and Mills Trapeze Dress


Comments on this post (3)

  • May 25, 2018

    I love your version with the high low affect. did you cut the font piece at a curve or just make in shorter than the back panel from the side seams forward? Any suggestions on ratio?

    — Jessica

  • Feb 09, 2017

    Hello Claire,
    There is a great tutorial on how to add pockets over at See Kate Sew. It includes a pattern pieced and easy to follow instructions. Hope this is helpful and good luck!

    — Fancy Tiger Crafts

  • Feb 08, 2017

    I’m getting ready to make this, using a heavy cotton fabric from IKEA. I absolutely must have pockets! on ALL the things, lol! I would love to know how you did the pockets please?

    — Claire Piper

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