The Versatility of a Viscose Challis: Classic Creative Design

Updated: Jul 7

It is always nice to welcome in the summer with a fun new blouse especially when it is made with this amazing fabric from Minerva.

This fabric is divine, its just that simple. It has a fantastic paisley print that features lovely soft summer colours. I was really drawn to the muted lilac background as it is part of my Soft Autumn colour palette and I was not disappointed. Truthfully, I love any paisley, its one of my go to choices as far as classic prints go. This particular print combination was was unique and colourful and I am so pleased with it.

This is a woven 100% Viscose Challis from Minerva Fabrics. It has no stretch to it but the weave allows for a bit of give. It was a really nice fabric to work with and I always enjoy working with a pattern that offers you the freedom to not worry about pattern matching. I didn't even have to worry about cutting all of the pieces in the same way as it is a multi-direction print…double bonus.

Viscose Challis is such a versatile fabric to work with and this the perfect blend of softness and drape AND it doesn’t wrinkle very much. This makes it perfect to wear to any summer event. It keeps you cool and you don’t end up looking too crinkled, always an added bonus. It has a light/medium weight which makes it perfect for blouses, dresses and summer tops. The fabric is 140cm wide so there is lots of room to work with a pattern like this one that has larger pattern pieces because of gathering.

Challis is a lightweight woven fabric that was historically created as a silk and wool blend. Today challis is more often made with a viscose or rayon. It was first created in Norwich, England in the early 1800's. It was designed as another option to crepe that offered a softer matte-texture that was easier to work with. Challis is made with woven prints that often feature floral, paisley or geometric designs based on traditional French silk patterns.

This is the Off The Shoulder Dress/Top pattern from EK Patterns. Elena Kleber has a great selection of PDF patterns available through her Etsy shop. There are a huge number to choose from and they are VERY reasonably priced, most offered at under $10! Head over and take a look, you will find classic, timeless pieces that are fun to sew! I chose to make the top as I tend to wear more separates during the summer. I made a size 48 based on my bust/shoulder measurements and graded down to a size 36 through the waist and hips. I graded down to provided the straighter cut that I prefer so that there isn't too much extra fabric.


I lengthened the top by 4" and then after it was finished I felt like I needed just a wee bit of extra length, so I added a false hem to the bottom. To do this I cut a 4.5" strip that was 1 cm longer than the width of the hemline. I sewed it together and hemmed the bottom to match the original hemline of the blouse. I overlocked the top edge then pinned it just above the upper part of the original hemline. I am pleased with the result and it gives me just that little bit of extra fabric length at the back and enough to create a French tuck at the front.

I pattern hacked the sleeves a little bit because I wanted a wider sleeve with flow. I used the 3/4 length sleeve pattern piece and added 2" to each side creating a wider sleeve hemline. It is still in keeping with the Bohemian styling of the shirt but is cooler than a gathered sleeve.

I have made the dress version with a long gathered sleeve. You can see the dress on my Instagram feed here.


I highly recommend both this fabric and pattern. Viscose is comfortable wearable fabric that travels easily and feels great to wear. It pairs just as easily with a pair of jeans as it does for a more tailored look with dress trousers or capris. For a more informal look you can wear it with denim shorts or a summer skirt. Your wardrobe options are endless which makes a top like this a great addition to your wardrobe. After all..... There is Sew Much To Design.


Happy Summer sewing,

Lou Sheffer



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