Ever since I bought this fabric last spring I’ve been dreaming of sewing it into a wrap dress (as with every knit I buy – at least they don’t ALL turn into wraps!). It’s predominantly purple, but when you look closer there are a number of colors at play. Reminds me of a Monet painting.
The fabric itself is a rayon jersey, and it’s wonderfully soft. Almost feels like a lightweight sweater. Although I bought three yards of it ($5/yard at Metro Textiles in the Garment District), I only used about 2 1/2 yards. Perhaps even less. I went with a new-to-me pattern that I thrifted this summer: Butterick 5546, a “See & Sew” pattern. Well, last Sunday, I see’d it and I sew’d it in a matter of hours. Well, kind of. I’ll explain.
(By the way, yet another post with a crooked picture frame. I swear it’s not that way in real life! Sheesh.)
This wrap dress differs from the Vogue one (V8379) I’ve made a few times in that there are box pleats at the shoulders and front/back skirt pieces. These are very easy to do and add some nice design features. I wasn’t sure of them at first, but I’m glad I added them in!
I made no changes to the dress and went with a straight size 10 (I could possibly shorten the bodice 1/2″). All seams are serged. I’ve worn this dress to work and, as with my Vogue dresses, I didn’t notice any gaping. If you are small busted and have issues with wrap dresses and gaping necklines, Lucinda of Sew Wrong just wrote a post on how she successfully adjusted the front bodice pieces on Butterick 5454 to fix this issue.
I like the straight skirt, and I’m particularly pleased with how well the front skirt pieces overlap. I can sit down and know that I have plenty of coverage. When it’s warm enough for me to go outside without a coat I think it’ll also hold up well against any bursts of wind on the subway platform or sidewalk. Plus. 😀
The instructions call for a 5/8″ narrow hem at the neckline whereas Vogue 8379 has facings (which I never actually used; on two of my dresses, I just serged the edges and turned the seams in 5/8″). With this Butterick version I decided to follow the instructions and fold the hem over twice for what I think is a nice looking finish. It added a bit more time to this project, but I love how it pops against the wrong side of the fabric. All hems on this dress are held in place with the use of my stretch twin needle. I picked this needle up at Pacific Trimming in the Garment District, if you’re wondering.
There are two box pleats in the back of the skirt too, though it’s a bit hard to tell here. Also, I didn’t notice that white yarn on the floor to the right, hehe! It used to belong to a ball of yarn I plan to turn into a springtime cardigan. 🙂
Here are some detail shots on my dress form. On my computer monitor, these photos show the fabric as it looks in real life:
Box pleat at the shoulder. By the way, I once again used “extremely fine fusible” woven stay tape (I have it in black and neutral) to stabilize the shoulder seams. It’s amazing! I bought it from Sunni at A Fashionable Stitch last year, but I don’t think she carries it anymore. The packaging says it’s good for shoulder seams, crotch seams, and for stabilizing the center front of cardigans.
I fuse it to the back bodice shoulder seam and after I’ve sewn the bodice pieces together I then press the seam to the back, hiding the stay tape. Not necessary since it won’t be seen, but I find it satisfying. 🙂
One of the box pleats at top left of the skirt.
The narrow hem finish.
I mentioned earlier that this project was relatively quick, and it was. After pre-washing the fabric last Sunday afternoon, I spent the evening working away. All was going well until the very end when I had to re-load my bobbin. No big deal. Something must have happened though – something I still can’t explain – because just after crossing the project finish line the sewing refs called foul play, and a do-over was in order.
You see, I turned the fabric around and noticed the spool thread had gone a bit nutso and formed one big nest of thread all down one side of my neckline/skirt hem (the one in the above photo actually)! The top-stitching was fine, so I didn’t notice it while I was sewing. I decided to come back to the project the next day when I didn’t feel so defeated. At least it didn’t take very long to unpick the threads. Phew.
At the end of the day, I’m very happy with my new dress. There’s something about making outfits for the winter that has become very satisfying. I also think this will transition well into the spring when I can sit in the park and feel like I’m wearing one of Monet’s gardens. 🙂