I’m rather amazed I haven’t made a wrap dress until now as I love them.
Maybe it was my early fear of knits… my inability to source quality knits locally… anyway – whatever the reason, I’ve made one now. Funnily enough it is very similar to the pattern envelope! I had planned to make McCalls 6884 however I chose this instead as the McCalls is a ‘mock’ wrap dress and I like ‘real’ wrap dresses (I still want to make 6884 of course).
I find some knits challenging to cut out. This knit is a very soft cotton jersey from The Fabric Store, Sydney. While it’s not ‘slippery’, it does have lovely drape and wants to flop about. I started to set up on the floor (which is tiled so it’s an endurance) then suddently realised that my bed was a much more agreeable height. So I laid my cardboard mat on the bed and found the process much less exhausting – my knees thanked me. Clearly this style of cutting is not for using a rotary cutter, I used my shears.
I also thread marked all the notches, pleats and so on. I find some knits slide around if I’m trying to drag chalk over them – or any marker for that matter. Using a needle and thread is a little more time consuming but the accuracy makes it worthwhile.
Those lovely skirt and bodice pleats are a little challenging to sew through. The pleating is simple enough to do… however you end up with 11 layers of fabric just on the skirt piece. The bodice has two pleats and when you join the skirt to the bodice, there is another pleat across the waist line seam… to top it off you also need to attach the tie to the gigantic wad of fabric. It was quite a challenge to feed through my machine.
As the front pleated skirt curves up towards the waist, the side of the top front hemline is curved upwards. I find that the squared-off corner of the other side (under the pleated wrap front) wants to perform ‘peek-a-boo’ – which I find annoying as it looks messy… to me… I’ve often said I’m stupidly fussy about minor visual details.
If I made this again I might curve the corner of the inside wrap skirt piece. I think this would minimise the visual distraction the squared off corner creates. My cure for this one? I tuck a tiny bit of the fabric on the inside into the side of my knickers to bring the edge up a tiny bit…. shhhhh don’t tell anyone. The fabric is so busy, and the pleats so distracting you would never know… except I’ve told you. Ooops.
I found these far too long. I’ve left them, however the tie on the side that goes under the front wrap and through the side opening is huge! I wrapped it around my waist twice (going under the front and through the side opening each time as I find all those ties wrapping around the front and over the pleats to be rather visually messy) and tied it as the side with the pleats.
I’m personally not a fan of ties that meet at the centre back. If you are sitting in a chair, having a lumpy knot between your spine and the chair is not comfortable. I also think it looks better at the side than dangling down over the junk trunk. Just personal preference.
SIDE OPENING FOR TIE
I Double stitched the seam around the opening for strength. I then used thin strips of lightweight hem tape to fuse the loose edges down rather than hand stitching them. Not because I’m lazy (I hand stitched the wrap facing down and to the waistline) but because I thought it would be neater and stronger and I’m happy with the finish. Sorry no photos… as you can’t see the fusing and the seam is now completely concealed and sealed away from prying eyes by the fusing tape.
I found this neckline stayed in place all day and did not gape at all.
I didn’t actually cut the precise length of the band or bother to mark the notches and so on. Instead I simply pinned the band along the neckline, stretching it ever so slightly as I pinned, rather like attaching a neckband to a t-shirt. Just pulling it up ever so slightly to ensure there was a little tension to pull the neckline back against my skin. It appears to have worked a treat.
I used my coverstitch machine to stitch the band down after I attached it.
I also used some tape in the shoulder seams to stabilise them due to the weight of the fabric. Knit is strange stuff… it can be so heavy!
I always find hemming knits rather daunting. It is either smooth sailing or a turbulent trek of horror and frustration… sometimes involving hyperventilating. While the instructions have you turning up the hem and steaming out the curve etc. I found that this hem turned up very easily without any excess fabric to bother me. I simply turned it up, steamed it into place and then hand basted it into place. I often find encountering pins in the machine hemming process rather messy and sometimes results in a break in the rhythm of the stitching. I like to sew a consistent speed when hemming, no pauses and this seems to work – especially with my coverstitch machine, she’s a little… well… moody at times.
It feels divine, soft and cuddly. The staff did say they had feedback that the black bled into the white when it was washed. And it did. Badly so. I washed it twice and hung it so it wasn’t touching as it dried. Only time will tell if it’s a repeat offender! I think I might search for some dye ‘fix’ solution – that must exist!
- It’s a wrap dress. It’s a classic just not because it looks great on many body types, it feels like PJs!
- Lovely neckline.
- Pleats at the waistline that somehow manage to highlight curves and conceal bumps at the same time.
- Not sure about kimono styles on me. I feel my shoulders look droopy. I think I prefer sleeveless or 3/4 sleeves – or a style which highlights my shoulders rather than covering them.
- The huge volume of fabric at the waist… soooo many pleats.
- The very, very long ties.
I don’t like this style on me quite as much as my cowl-neck dress, however it is perfect casual workdress – I don’t have to look super-corporate every day so it’s a great choice for those days at the desk when you just want to be comfortable.
While it’s not my favourite make, I wore it to work this week and got lots of compliments… and it felt like PJs #winning
Pattern: Butterick 6054. Size 6.
Fabric: Cotton Jersey from The Fabric Store, Sydney
Shoes: Sempre di by Biviel. I have had these forever… and they are slowly dying *sobs*. I actually wore my new red Miz Mooz shoes to work with this dress – however I like the monochrome look. I know – stupidly fussy again. (no affiliate links – I just buy stuff I like)
ON THE RADAR…
Sewing: I’ve sewn a Japanese pattern book skirt this weekend. It’s not fabulous but I suspect it will get worn a lot as it is comfortable! Blog post and photos soon. This is part of the Japan Sewalong (more info on how to participate here).
Life: December/January was overwhelming. Work & family stuff have been challenging to say the least. I don’t have much on the 2015 Fun & Frivolity Schedule… no holidays on the radar. However I will be hanging out with my sewing-soul-sister Busy Lizzie in Brissy at the end of March for High Tea. I have a zillion things to do in Brisbane as my Sydney trips are limited at the moment… including shoes and of course The Fabric Store, Fortitude Valley.
I’ll be down in Melbourne in August for Frocktails. Hope to see you then!