A 40′s Wool Crepe Wrap Dress
I know, this dress looks strikingly similar to the 40s wrap dress that Peter made for his identical cousin Cathy earlier this month, not to mention I’ve already dabbled in wool crepe for summer wear, as well as a full 40′s wool crepe dress. Yeesh. Ya think it’s possible for me to branch out a little here? Nuh uh, no way. Not me.
I actually bought this fabric ‘way back when I was visiting Mood Fabrics in NY. I’m sure y’all are sick of hearing about it at this point, but heyyyy I’ll be working through that stash for at least the next couple of months. Just so we’re clear. Editor’s note: Wool crepe is such a fantastic year-round fabric because it’s a natural fiber that breathes. The lightweight versions are even wearable on the hottest of days—seriously!
Anyway, fabric. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t planning on buying any wool crepe – but again, Carolyn talked me into it. She’s SUCH a good enabler! This wool crepe is actually a bit thinner and drapier than most wool crepes I’ve come across, making it a good weight for a smart summer dress (oh god, did I really just describe a dress as “smart”? I am totally stuck on this 40′s thing…). With Carolyn’s advice, I underlined the entire dress in a lightweight cotton batiste, to combat the slight sheerness and make the dress more comfortable to wear in the heat.
I used McCall’s 6113 to make this dress up. Isn’t the pattern gorgeous!? A friend found it in her attic (along with an entire paper grocery bag full of patterns – ranging from the 40′s to the 80′s, all in my size. I MEAN COME ON, WHAT ARE THE ODDS), and gifted the whole stash to meee! Yes!! With this particular pattern, the pieces are intact, but unfortunately… the instructions are not. Wah wah. Thankfully, I’ve made a few wrap dresses in my day, not to mention I feel fairly confident in my assemblage skills, so I decided to give it a go.
… this is what I found when I pulled the pieces out. Not only is everything labeled (thank you, printed patterns!), but there are construction notes printed ON the pattern sheet, AND the notches are numbered in the order that things go together. PRAISE THE LORD. Although, in all honesty… I probably could have put this together without the help. But MAN, it was nice to eliminate most of the guesswork!
Despite the pattern being in my size, I did have to make a few adjustments to get everything to fit nicely (I generally like to go down a size or two – sometimes more – since I find most patterns tend to have more ease than I prefer to wear. Yep, even vintage patterns. What gives; am I just in denial of my size or something??), mainly in the form of taking in the side seams and shortening the shoulders, as well as hacking about 5″ off the length. I made a muslin for fit, but it ended up also giving me a great idea of how the pattern was put together so I had less guesswork with my wool crepe. Which is good, since wool crepe can be a sneaky little bugger when it comes to ripping out stitches.
In hindsight, wool crepe is definitely a little on the bulky side for the gathers in this dress. I’m afraid I look a bit boxy at the waistline here Oh well!
I do love the little tucks in the back
Oh, did you notice my pretty embroidery? This all happened entirely on a whim – I finished the dress, put it on and looked in the mirror, and it just looked… red. Overwhelmingly red, and plain! I decided to add a small punch of (neutral)color by embroidering the shoulder detail. The embroidery is from the Hoop Love Vintage Transfers Flickr Group, and it’s all just a basic back stitch with french knots in the middle of the flowers. Ha, that sound so easy but it seriously took me about 6 hours to do. Embroidery is definitely a time-suck!
Here you can see the underlined inside, as well as the series of snaps and hooks that hold the dress together.
How many of you will groan if I finish this post with something like, “WELL I GUESS THAT WRAPS IT UP!!”