Sewing a Wrap Dress

I've been meaning to sew a wrap dress forever and I finally got around to it. Whilst looking for inspiration I stumbled across a lovely ready to wear dress and instantly knew Simplicity 8608 was just the ticket.

Pattern Choice

If you saw my post last week you will have seen the ready to wear inspiration. If not here it is:

Ready to wear and pattern packet

To get the look I chose view B and just needed to adapt the sleeves. You can read a full tutorial on how I did this here.

I also liked the way the Simplicity pattern is actually a false overlay so not a real wrap dress. There is a full skirt underneath with an overlay over the top to create the wrap look. In other words I wouldn't be living in constant fear of flashing my knickers!

Wrap Dress Overlay

Fabric Choice

I chose our lovely lightweight viscose fabric in a black floral design for the dress. I thought the print was stunning and the fabric is lovely and cool thanks to the natural fibres. It also has excellent drape, perfect for this dress, and is available in a range of prints and colourways.

Sizing and Adjustments

I cut a size 12 based on my bust measurement. The waist was a couple of inches smaller than my measurements, but it is an elasticated waist so I knew it would still fit. It is also a blouson effect and I didn't want too much excess fabric at the waist so I knew a smaller size would help to reduce this a little. If I made it again I might even take the bodice in further at the side seams.

I made my usual high round back adjustment and brought the left shoulder seam forward 1/4".

Before sewing the dress I checked the neckline using the pattern pieces to make sure it wasn't too low. However, made up in the fabric the neckline did gape once I started moving around. This was simple enough to fix. I tried the dress on, pinned the neckline where it sat naturally when I was standing still then hand sewed the facings together where they overlapped. It still hangs nicely and doesn't look like it has been awkwardly sewn together, but I don't have to worry about showing my bra to the world.

Bodice Wrap Over On Wrap Dress

I also chose to sew the thicker waist tie rather than the suggested thinner one for this view. Partly to mimic the ready to wear dress, but also because I felt the thinner belt would be lost in the dress. The thicker belt also helps to pull you in at the waist more so all in all a good choice I think. Tying it at the side creates the illusion of a real wrap dress.

Waist Tie On Wrap Dress

Thanks to the elasticated waist the dress was very easy to fit and I'm really pleased with the final fit.

Construction

Sleeves

As mentioned earlier I changed the sleeves from a flared full length sleeve to a sleeve that finished above the elbow with a double cuff. I thought this gave the dress a more casual, every day feel and was better for summer. You can see the tutorial on how I did this in last week's blog post.

Double Cuff Sleeve Wrap Dress

Facings

The dress was incredibly easy to sew, the only thing I might do differently next time is finish the neckline with a binding. The neckline is finished with a facing and I found that the facings were catching on my bra cups causing the neckline to gape. As mentioned above this was simple enough to fix with a few hand stitches, but I do think the facings exaggerated the problem.

Overlay

I made a faux par with the overlay and cut it out with the pattern piece the wrong way round. Goodness knows how I managed this. You know how it is when you just want to get that boring cutting out done and start sewing!

I panicked when I realised thinking I would have to get some more fabric and cut it out again. The curve of the overlay was on the wrong side and wouldn't meet with the overlap on the bodice. I thought my sewing for the evening would have to grind to a halt and was feeling very grumpy about my stupidity.

Then I had a brainwave! It didn't really matter which side the dress wrapped over. There are no rules or laws to say it must be on one side or another. The bodice was only basted together at the hem so I unpicked the basting, overlapped it the opposite way and it now met up with my overlay. Hurrah!

I still get such pleasure from the patience and willingness to try and problem solve I now have as a result of sewing. In the past I would have packed up and gone running to Angela for advice the next day. Now I'll persevere that little bit longer and often come up with the solution myself. So satisfying and thanks to everything Angela has taught me.

Final Thoughts

I'm sure this dress will be a firm favourite in my spring, summer and autumn wardrobes. I can skip about bare legged in sandals or pumps in warmer weather then add the old faithful opaque tights when it gets a bit nippy. It was also fun to dress it up with heels so all in all a super versatile and wearable addition to the old handmade wardrobe.

I should also mention it will be my entry for the #sewtogetherforsummer competition on Instagram, a fun initiative with a wrap dress theme this year.

Simplicity Wrap Dress

Shopping List

Have fun sewing!

Lucy

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