I got my mitts on this pattern way back when and I think it’s fair to say it’s had a fair amount of love in my pattern stash since then. Initially I figured this pattern would be a good basic dress to have, having considered the actual pattern line drawings rather than focus on the hideousness that is the fabric choice on the envelope (why does it look like it would generate enough static electricity to power a small principality?!) 6301 is a mock wrap dress with just enough detailing to make it interesting; pleats to the sides of the bodice wrap front pieces (which are stitched together), variable sleeves and a couple of skirt options. I like wrap dresses, they flatter most woman, I think, and are a ‘safe’ perennial staple. They’re also supremely comfortable – a bit like wearing a nightdress in the daytime but, y’know, with the added advantage of allowing you to leave the house as well!
I’ve made this dress twice before; the first time as a wearable toile with 3/4 length sleeves in a royal blue Ponte Roma :
I was totally influenced by Jenny Rushmore of Cashmerette in my fabric choice the second time round, having admired the images of her modelling said fabric for her Appleton wrap dress. It’s a quality stretch polyester from John Kaldor which has worn and washed extremely well. I sourced mine from Minerva Crafts. This time I went for the short sleeve version which I thought would work better with the print.
This time round, I was sold on the fabric by another blogger, when the lovely Winnie from Scruffy Badger Time blogged one of her Monthly makes for Minerva using this Ovals viscose jersey fabric with a similar pattern. I knew I wanted viscose this time for its breathability. I like the fact that it’s reasonably bright but contains black in the mix so I can still wear it with black boots (I live in an array boots for the most part). Being the third time I’d sewn this dress up it came together really quickly (thankfully, as we had an electricity outtage which cost me a days’ sewing. Which also meant a day without a working kettle or broadband. First World problems eh!) Despite the fabric being really drapey and with a four-way stretch, I found it reasonably easy to work with. It was fine to press and it held a crease. I just had to pay the usual attention when cutting out and sewing to avoid distorting the fabric by allowing it to stretch. The finished dress feels quite weighty. Which brings me onto construction…
I’d omitted the elastic waist casing on the previous two makes because, well, I couldn’t be bothered and I’d lazily figured the waist ties would be adequate. Which they were, sort of. However, this time I added it in. As I say, this fabric, en masse, has some decent weight to it and I didn’t want to feel that the waist seam and bodice was being pulled by the skirt, which is obviously the point of the elastic in the first place! I’m really glad I did as the waist ties then become merely a feature rather than overly functional and the whole thing just ‘sits’ more comfortably. Yeah baby I’m rocking the elasticated waist!
During the previous two constructions I made various notes on the envelope front and in the instructions, which I later translated into my workbook, the most pertinent of which is this…THE WAIST TIE PATTERN PIECE IS TOO SHORT! I discovered this before tracing it out, thankfully. I added a good 3-4 inches. Other pattern reviewers have also mentioned the need to widen the neck binding for modesty purposes. I don’t mind rocking my cleavage so I left the width of the binding as it is! I would say that to get a good fit close to the body, the neck binding does need stretching out a little more than the length the pattern piece would suggest. I think I trimmed off about 1.5 cm either side after pinning it to the bodice. Although this could largely be dependent on your fabric choice. I also lengthened the skirt by about 2 inches; it just looks better proportioned to my eye lengthened.
Also, if you’re going to do the ruched sleeve option, don’t follow the pattern instructions to the letter! It says to cut out a 5 cm length of elastic and stretch and stitch. That length of elastic is way too itty bitty to do that with, in my view, with any ease anyhow. Do yourself a favour and mark the 5 cm on a longer length of elastic (as shown above), secure the starting point with a manual turn on the needle wheel and then hold and stretch both sides of the elastic as you sew, stopping stitching at your marked point (as shown above) and then trim it off once done. Simples.
As for seam finishes, I merely pinked them around the neck binding and centre back seam, used my overedge foot to bind the rest of the bodice seams and used French seams with the skirt (being reeeaally careful not to stretch out the fabric!)
And here’s my final version. Would I make it again? Yes in all probability; the no sleeve straight skirt version perhaps. However, I’m in no rush as there is at least one other wrap dress pattern out there I’d like to try. The Sew Over It Wrap Dress, I’m looking at you! (I have since hacked this dress and made up a semi-fitted version using Scuba Bodycon fabric – see here