Floral Crinkle Rayon Dress

Here's a sweet, versatile dress design for finicky fabrics! This is an a-line shift dress that converts to a fit-and-flare with a removable elastic belt, with additional options for tying the neckline closed or leaving it open.


For this dress, I used 2 yards of this crinkle rayon from Joann's with a sweet yellow and pink floral print. It was my first time working with crinkle rayon, and I learned a lot from the experience! I shared a video with tips for working with this fabric below.

This fabric is a bit sheer, so I lined the dress with some lightweight pink [polyester?] charmeuse that I've had in my stash for years.


For this project, the fabric greatly influenced the design. I wanted a dress with bishop sleeves, a blousy top, and a cinched waist. A few tests with interfacing on scraps confirmed that this crinkle rayon fabric does not adhere to interfacing, so that nixed any button plackets, collars, and other stiff details. The characteristics of the crinkle rayon informed the details: elastic at the sleeve cuffs, and a separate fabric-covered elastic belt to cinch in the waist. 

The removable elastic belt saved me from having to wrestle with this shifty fabric to sew a waistline casing. It also allows me to turn this dress into a shift dress! 

I used McCalls 7800 for the dress - this is a great shift dress pattern with a few interesting sleeve variations. I used the bishop sleeves from McCalls 7973 View C/D (which, although it seems fussy from the pattern envelope, turns into a lovely dress - I'm already working on my second one from this pattern).

I used McCalls 7800 for the dress and lining

And McCalls 7973 for the sleeves, View C/D

McCalls 7800 is an unlined dress, but I made the dress lined by:
  • omitting the neckline facing 
  • cutting and sewing a lining using the front and back dress pattern pieces, making it an inch shorter than the outer dress
  • sewing the lining to the outer fabric along the neckline
  • understitching the lining along the neckline
I also made rouleau loops from the floral rayon, which I sandwiched between the outer fabric and lining at the neckline. I love having the extra option of tying or untying the neckline ties for changing up the look of this dress! Making rouleau loops from this loosely woven fabric was...challenging. The fabric tore/frayed in several places along the seamline, so I reinforced the seam with hand stitches along the length of the rouleau.

The outer dress, lining, and sleeves were each sewn with French seams.

The ruffle on the outer dress helps break up this print into thirds and provides some much-needed hem swish. As I had only 2 yards of this fabric (the bolts at my local Joann's are always so skimpy!) the ruffle is a scant 1.25x the circumference of the bottom of the dress, but the crinkle texture of the fabric helps it seem like a properly full ruffle.

Final Thoughts

I adore how this dress turned out and I've already worn it a dozen times (for working in the office, working from home, and going out). This dress is very comfy and washes well.

This particular crinkle rayon fabric feels "dense", so combined with the polyester lining, it's not a dress for hot days. It is a fall/spring wardrobe staple for me, and I now have a satisfying blueprint for other such dresses!

You can see more details about this dress in the video below!

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