Whilst checking the entries to put in the Prize Hat for drawing the winners, it became clear that particular pattern companies and certain wrap dress patterns were extremely popular for this years’ Challenge. So, before we jump into revealing the winning entries later on in this post, I thought it might be interesting to analyse what those favourites are… Read More
Looking for some more #sewtogetherforsummer 2018 wrap dress inspiration? We’ve got loads for you today! Firstly, have you seen Helen from Helen’s Closet’s fabulous ‘Indie Darling’ Wrap Dress blog post?She’s chosen some amazing patterns from a whole host of Indie designers which are bound to inspire you! Here we bring you our top Burda magazine and Big 4 Pattern Picks plus we’ve thrown in a Wildcard and a bonus Freebie at the end for good measure!
(Pssst, click on the images or their titles to find out more!)
So I’ve sewn the first of my #sewtogetherforsummer wrap dresses; the Appleton by Cashmerette. I’m kicking myself for not trying this pattern sooner as it’s such a simple and quick sew yet is brilliantly drafted to ensure a really great fit.
I’ve sewn a few wrap dresses in my time (see McCalls 7119 here and here, New Look 6301 and McCalls 6884 for example). I think one of the key reasons for wanting to make this years’ #sewtogetherforsummer challenge about the wrap dress stems from the fact that I’ve really struggled to find a traditional wrap dress pattern that does a passable job of fitting and flattering my bust line straight out of the envelope.
The Appleton is your classic wrap dress with a low cut V wrap neckline; built-in waist ties and sleeve length options. It comes with different cup sizes – Yey! I cut a size 12 and the C/D cup. There is no seperate bodice piece; it’s simply front, back, bands and sleeve.
The amount of negative ease built into this dress at the bust means a lot of redrafting issues become moot; for example a 40” bust size has a finished measurement under 33” – the stretch in the fabric aiding the fit, together with the neck/front band and built in waist ties you’re ensured a snap finish at the bust…it really is secure!
In fact the only thing I did was to take a little out of the length and cut the sleeve so it fit just above my elbow.
You can get quite a different look with the dress depending on where you wrap the ties, at Empire height or at your natural waist. My only gripe really is I find that the hole to feed the ties through sits a tad high on me so that the ties start to wrap most naturally under the chest. Next time I’d contemplate moving the hole down a smidge. Oh and I like to use dissolvable double sided Wonder Tape to hold those seams nicely in place when it comes to finishing that hole at the side seam where the tie threads through!
There’s not much else I can say; it really is that easy to put together!
So that’s the traditional wrap dress made … I now find myself obsessing about the By Hand London ‘Orsola’ which wraps at the back and can be made in a woven. If you’re quick, we’ve still got a discount running on that pattern, plus others!
It feels like I’ve had this dress germinating in the back of my mind since time immemorial. I originally got my hands on a sample of this Prada satin backed crepe – in red – an age ago. Whilst I loved it, I had no immediate ideas for it. Then, back in the summer, I sewed up a floral version of M7119 (see here) which was my favourite make of the summer. I knew straight away that I wanted to put a spin on the pattern; using the contrasting textures of the fabric to turn it into a Black Tie evening dress version of the tuxedo.
I cut the dress out intending to wear it to a friends 40th birthday bash – a weekend long affair – earlier this month. But unfortunately Sod invited Law to the party too; the dress lay unsewn for quite some time whilst I succumbed to the lurgy. Gah.
Anyhoo, my friend forgave me for not attending his birthday ‘do’ and the dress eventually got sewn. I’m now counting on some Christmas party invitations in order to y’know, actually get to wear it.
The dress is this months’ make for the Minerva Craft Blogger Network; the full post including my thoughts on working with this double sided designer fabric can be found HERE.
Since sewing this dress, I’ve filled an online cart in Ikea and I’m quite ridiculously excited waiting for my order to be delivered! Apart from some pattern testing this last week, I’ve finally ‘thrown in the towel’ with sewing on the dining table. Fed up with unpacking and packing everything away at the start and end of each session, I’ve decided to set up a designated spot where I can leave my stuff permanently set up. Although it will be a relatively small area – and I’ll still need to use the dining table for cutting out – I’m hoping it will be a well thought out enough space to mean I can really sew my heart out anytime I want. Ok, let me rephrase that…to sew half as much as I want to but twice as much as I’m currently able to!
So here’s looking forward to Holiday party invitations and sewing in peace!
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.
New Look 6301 – making notes
New Look 6301 – sleeve ruching
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