Butterick 5546, My Monet Wrap Dress

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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. 🙂

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One of the box pleats at top left of the skirt.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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12 thoughts on “Butterick 5546, My Monet Wrap Dress

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