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!
I love this wrap dress, it looks stunning on you. I also have this fabric and haven’t had the nerve to wash it yet because I was told about the colour running too.
The fabric is gorgeous to wear, it’s a lovely weight but very cool & comfortable. The black runs badly. It’s worse if you hang the fabric over one line to dry. Hang it over several so the layers don’t touch each other as the dye also transfers!
Thank you, did you put salt in the water when you washed it?
No. That hasn’t always been successful for me but it’s worth a try now that the dress is a success!
Love the dress, Lizzy!
I made a Vogue 1250 out of this fabric almost 18 months ago – I totally fell in love with the print. They warned me too – as a result I tried salt on some swatches but it made no difference – I tried salt (epsom as well as table), just cold water, just hot, or soapy water. It bled a HUGE amount of black dye in the first couple of washes, but it has never discoloured the white and the black has remained black – I eventually started chucking it in with my light coloured wash and haven’t had any problems.
However, the fabric is pilling pretty badly. Right now it’s mostly just at the “fluffy” stage, but it’s bad enough that it’s borderline whether I’ll wear it out or not – I’m certainly not wearing it anywhere where people will pay attention to my clothes!
I’d say don’t worry about the dye running – but be physically gentle on the fabric. Gentle wash, minimal spin, etc. Hopefully yours will last longer than mine has.
I still have another piece left – despite the issues I still love it. No idea yet what that other piece is going to be.
Good Work – I Love the fabric print, it may hide some of your sewing details, but it looks very classy, For me personally this dress could go to the office in the day with a suit jacket to an lovely evening event dressed up, but feeling comfortable. Well Done!
Thank you – I agree, it’s a very versatile dress. The black/white print is timeless.
Beautiful dress, I do like a wrap. I’ll have a look at that Butterick pattern. Ive got a Simplicity that i really like, but its such a good style, one more in the stash can’t hurt. A shame about the colour running, hopefully thats the end of it though.
I love that you can pull a wrap in or let it out a little – they are the most forgiving of dresses! I’ve been collecting wrap dress patterns, it’s a bit of an obsession I fear!
This silhouette looks great on you. Knit wrap dresses are so easy to wear and look so chic. Good luck with the running colour.
I know I referred to them as PJs however they almost qualify as a daytime dressing gown they are so easy to wear!
Very nice wrap dress and it looks great on you. I’m sorry, but if the staff knew the fabric would run they should have pulled it off the shelf not kept selling it. No one wants to buy fabric that runs. I’ve got one ready to go back to Spotlight… it was $25 per metre and it’s laminated cotton – runs like a mess!
Looking forward to seeing you again in Brisbane, Lizzie.
This just suits you so well. Classic, sleek, feminine. Like Coolio, you were born to (w)rap!
What a great dress! Classic and very flattering, and looks comfy too:-) Sorry to hear about the runny dye- hope it will behave in subsequent washes.
Would you give us an update in a couple of months? I can’t tell from your tone if you *really* like this, or just sort of like it… which makes me curious to see fi it grows on you or slowly falls out of rotation. (I’m chopping up one of my wrap dresses today because I never choose it!) Either way, lovely fabric, and lovely job sewing it up so carefully! Hope you get to relax soon!
Ah. Shame about that fabric. What is the point of making a duo coloured fabric that runs? All the same your dress is perfect on you. Droopy shoulders an’ all!! Those pleats are a placed for maximum flattery as you say. Beautiful as ever 🙂
I love this dress on you! This pattern was not on my list of wants until now. I have to get this pattern and make it up for spring/summer this year.
Very cute dress! A dye fixative (used in the first wash) would probably solve the bleeding problem. There’s also a product called Synthaprol that removes excess dye. I’ve purchased these products from DharmaTrading in the U.S., but I would think that a good dye supplier anywhere would have them, or something similar, in stock.
I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that has spasms over squared off corners. Thank you for a detailed review, sometimes its hard for me to see some of those details, like all the layers at the waist, from a line drawing.
Whoa, eleven layers?? That sounds like a huge feat! Your dress looks beautiful, so stylish and effortless!
This is a really beautiful and classic dress on you. I love the black and white print, but I’m sorry to hear about the dye troubles. I’ll be curious to hear if you figure out a way to fix the dye. Hopefully this dress will continue to be a winner, as it fits perfectly and looks great on you!
Hang in there through your busy months ahead. When will life be less busy for us? Probably never. 🙂
Ana I love the fabric!
Anna from Denmark
I love a wrap dress dress and yours is no exception. Love the print too but sorry to hear about the dye running. Very flattering shape on you.
Wrap dresses are totally stealth PJs! This fabric is simply smashing!!!
It is wrong that the temperamental nature of the black knit is the only thing stopping me from duplicating this in it’s entirety… (since stealing it off you would be pointless as you’re more petite than me) 😉
This looks fabulous, gorgeous knit, and wrap dresses are the best!
Lovely dress. Why don’t we have dylon colour catcher sheets here (looks like you might be able to get them with free postage through fishpond.com.au)? I think you just put down a justification for a 3rd pair of Mooz in black (I’m going to go and look for some this weekend ;o)
Beautiful dress! You always have such stunning photos – it really is gorgeous where you live! Thank you for so much detail on the pattern – I have been wanting to make a knit wrap dress for a while so I’m going to hunt this one down now! So many pleats though!
You look gorgeous! I’m a fussy sewer too, I find myself annoyed by things I reflect later that no one would notice but me. But I’D NOTICE!! I totally get you. I love the look of a wrap dress but have never found them comfortable on me. I think it’s my very small bust (wraps are not forgiving if you have no cleavage) and my lack of love for belted waists. Love them on others but find myself yanking them around all the time. Maybe I should try again some day…
I love this on you! The fabric is a perfect match to the pattern. I like the details on the dress like the waist pleats, but I totally agree with you on the back knot. I have a coppelia cardi that is supposed to have a back knot, however the ties are so long that I tie it in the front and quite like it that way!
Your dress looks great! A wrap dress is such a classic! I have this same one in my unfinished pile. The day I was working on it, I found the 11 layers bothersome and thus it was tossed aside for a bit. Yours makes me want to dig it out and finish it…. well before the summer anyway.
The black and white print is lovely. I like the sleeves on you. I think it is definitely a keeper!
I love this on you but wow that is so many pleats thanks for the information.
This is such a classic work dress style. It looks great and you know this pattern fits well.
As for the coverstitch machine – my Janome has constant mood swings.
See you in Brizzie.
Wow, this looks stunning on you. I love the fabric design. It works so well with this type of dress. I haven’t made a wrap dress before. I have a couple of patterns, but every time I think about trying to make it, I’m worried that I won’t get that snug fit around the neck area. I’m glad you mentioned that you pulled that a little when sewing, like a neckband. I wouldn’t have thought of that. That is crazy how many layers you have to sew through at times! That would give any machine a workout!!
This is a lovely dress, and I think kimono sleeves look nice on you, but this is a personal preference 😉 Eleven layers? It sounds painful. My machine would have gone on strike!
I love a good wrap dress, and it looks fantastic on you! I have this pattern and I’ve wanted to use it, but the pleats always stopped me… that is a lot of layers to join!
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Hi – reading your post and the issue you had with cutting the fabric makes me think you might like to read about the solution i use myself: http://fuail.blogspot.ie/2013/03/cutting-table.html
Dress looks great!
I am terrified to make a wrap dress, but I have a few patterns amd will try. I am still not there with knits but taking a Craftsy class now, so should be a pro soon. 🙂 The dress looks great on you.
Thanks Suzy. I found knits really daunting at first, having an agreeable overlocker certainly helped (once I got over my fear of the overlocker of course!).
I found the Sewaholic Renfrew a good ace to start. The instructions are very clear & you don’t need to worry about hems as the neckline, arms and hem are finished with bands. Plus I made my first two entirely on my machine – no overlocker! Knits are so easy to wear… and easy to sew once you get the hang of them!
Oof, that’s a LOT of layers! I think the peek-a-boo squared edge would drive me nuts too, but I like the impromptu fix you’ve come up with! It does seem like a complete classic though, the print is gorgeous and I hope you can remedy it’s leaky nature!
I thought about re-doing the hem – but some fabric never recover from being assaulted with a unpicker so I decided to take a more practical approach!
Do you have access to laundry products from a brand named Shout? They make an excellent thing called Color Catcher: small sheets of special paper that you throw into the wash water. They have worked well for me at soaking up loose dye and brightening up blurred prints. Other brands probably make similar products. It’s worth a try on a fabric scrap, anyway.
Loved your wrap dress. As someone who’s nervous about sewing knits for the first time, I’m browsing a lot of blogs and discovered yours on Mood. So excited to have this new resource!