This has been one the best learning experiences I’ve had in a long time, so prepare yourselves, this is going to be a long post and hopefully I can make it coherent.
Let’s start from the beginning. Back in September, I posted a few swatches of fabric I was considering for this dress. I really liked the cashmere black and white houndstooth, but it just seemed to thick for this project, so that left the two wools: one black and red and the other violet and lavender. I went with my gut, and since my gut says red is my favorite color, I choose the black and red Rebecca Taylor wool with red gabardine to accent, both from Mood Fabrics.
I’ve heard horror stories from other sewists who’ve worked with bouclé wool before and how it falls apart while being handled. This wool must have been some cousin to bouclé, because the cut edges were falling apart while I was handling it. It wasn’t too bad, but I did make sure to serge up the raw edges when I was done sewing a section.
If you’re planning to make this dress, don’t let the number of pattern pieces scare you! Because the design of the dress is asymmetrical, there are a lot of pattern pieces that only need to be cut out once, instead of twice or on the fold like most garments are. Also, it’s important to pay attention the direction of the pattern pieces too. Most of the time, I don’t, but that’s because I’m usually working with garments that are symmetrical. That brings me to another point that I learned: the right-side of iron-on interfacing is the adhesive side. I almost had an “oops”, but I fixed it before it was too late (in fact, I couldn’t get to sleep because it was bothering me too much).
The rest of the sewing went as normal.
I’m still so excited that I’ve been able to make perfectly inset sleeves lately.
An interesting touch on this dress, since it is a wrap dress, is the inside tie. I was confused about it at first, but when I was trying on the muslin, it was pretty obvious that it was needed to keep the inside layer from drooping and sliding around underneath. Gertie’s pattern suggested grosgrain ribbon, but while Richard and I were at the craft store, he pointed at this velvet ribbon and said, “That’s pretty.” He usually finds hidden gems like that while he’s shopping with me.
The neckline is a little lower than I’m used to wearing, so I’ll have to put a hook and eye in there to bring it up and make it a bit more modest. The contrast parts are not attached to the bodice along the bottom, which is an interesting detail. The bust area is a little loose, so I may eventually take it in (there’s like 4″ of ease up in there for some reason).
Oh, so previously, I was stumped on how to handle the darts in the dress. Then another sewing friend mentioned to me that those darts are probably there to simulate a princess seam. After she said that, it made a LOT more sense. I stopped freaking out and continued to stitch up the dress’ darts the way that they were intended. Yay! Also, I was lazy and used hem tape to hem up the sleeves and skirt hem. It works fine, don’t judge!
And here’s a view of the back of the dress, including the contrasting godet. Yeah, it’s a little wrinkled because I had been wearing it and forgot to take a picture of the back when I was done sewing it, so I put it on the dress form really quick to take a picture.
On to the formal review!
Official description from Butterick: “Fitted, wrap dress has front bands, inside tie ends, slightly shaped right front, back hemline godet, and side front button closing.” It’s a vintage inspired wrap dress, with straight skirt and slimming “princess seam” like darts. No pockets, no zipper.
My sizing was a little all over the place. I choose 12 for bust (although, should have probably gone smaller because there’s 4″ of ease in the bust area), graded out to 14 for the waist, and graded out further for my hips, because I stopped working out since I got sick in September. I’ll probably need to alter it a bit once I get back on track with that
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, definitely. I actually paid more attention to them this time because of all the different pieces, but it was pretty intuitive (at least, for me) in how it was put together.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that she had clip points clearly marked on the pattern pieces (the bodice contrast pieces needed to be clipped in order to be shaped and sewn to the dress. The style is flattering and unique. What I didn’t like was the amount of ease in the bust, and the sleeves were a smidge tight (guess I probably should have added them to the muslin, but I was more concerned on the back waist length and the horizontal fit.
Wool and gabardine. I went with store bought buttons instead of covering my own, because I’m lazy.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made
Just widening it in certain places. No other changes made.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t know if I need more than one of these vintage-inspired wrap dresses in my closet, but definitely recommend this pattern to anyone that wants one. Definitely make a muslin (can skip the contrast and facing pieces like I did, if you want) to ensure you’re going to have good fit, though.
Vintage-style isn’t usually my aesthetic, but I really enjoy this dress, and had a lot of fun learning while making it.
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