Bright Blue Wrap Dress
Here it is – the bright blue wrap dress that I’ve had on my dream sewing list forever. Made from one of Mood Fabric’s silk jerseys, this wrap dress has been a long time coming. I’ve wanted to make a wrap dress as long as I’ve been sewing, even though, as I said back in November, I have never been quite convinced a wrap dress was a good style for my figure. Still, I wanted to give it a try.
I had earmarked this particular silk jersey since I thought the color would be stunning as a wrap dress. (As an aside, a resent computer crash has left me without Photoshop. I’ve been trying to learn how to use the free Gimp software, but I don’t yet know enough to allow me to correct the color of the fabric in the photo above. The fabric color is actually closer to the indoor photos.) But, it sat for a couple months as I tried to find a pattern. Enter vintage Vogue 1548, a Diane Von Furstenburg original. There was absolutely no way I was going to splurge on one of the original vintage Vogue patterns (they can run hundreds of dollars on eBay!), but I had a very generous friend who was willing to lend me her pattern (thank you!).
What I hadn’t taken into account though is how much lighter weight this silk jersey is than any of the other silk jerseys from Mood that I’ve sewn with in the past. It’s thin and drapey, and the friend who leant me the pattern actually guessed it was a bamboo jersey when she first saw me wearing the dress. It’s beautiful, but it’s pretty unforgiving to lumps and bumps. In the picture above it’s pretty obvious where my bra slide is! And, it’s a battle to smooth out the wrinkles that want to form when I first put on the dress (a battle that I didn’t even try to fight in the photos of the back of the dress)! But, just try to find the stitching for the neckline facing! As lightweight as it might be, this fabric still has no problem hiding a blind stitch. And, it’s incredibly soft.
I did have a bit of a problem at first with the blind stitches in my skirt and sleeve hems. After wearing the dress for a day, I realized that I’d pulled the hem stitches too tight when hand sewing them. I loosened them and restitched where I needed to, and while you may be able to see a hint of hem here, it’s so much better than it was.
The pattern actually suggests that you can wear the dress backwards. Above is the back as the back, and below is the back as the front (with me messing with the hem since this dress currently hits mid-calf, and I hoped these photos would be helpful for me to get an idea of proportion if I wanted to think about different lengths for future versions!).
Above the knee, or just below the knee?
And now here’s the front as the back.
I pretty much followed every step of the instructions exactly as they were written since I wanted to take full advantage of having an original DVF pattern in my hands while I could (it’s already back safe and sound with my friend!). Instead of being serged, each exposed seam was stitched twice, with the second pass through a quarter inch into the seam allowance, and then trimmed. The waist and shoulder seams were stabilized. I don’t mind the waist having no give (though stabilizing the waist seam with clear elastic might feel a bit more comfortable since the elastic would allow for a the little bit of give), but I didn’t put enough give in the seam in the waist ties, and that does bother me. I used a medium-width zigzag stitch to sew the length of the tie, but maybe I should have gone for an even stretchier stitch instead?
The facing, skirt hem, sleeve hems, and little windows for the wrap ties to poke through are blind stitched down, which made for a lot of blind stitching to finish off this dress.
I’m actually pleasantly surprised to find that I like this style of dress more than I thought I might. I’m still deciding how I like wearing it though – forwards or backwards, with or without camisole? As for the latter, I know this dress is not exactly meant to be modest (I mean, one little tug on the ties would result in a serious wardrobe malfunction!), but it’s definitely pushing my personal comfort level without a camisole underneath! I actually blame the “grading” that I did to my traced pattern. The original pattern had a bust measurement 3″ larger than mine, so I read a bit about how to grade vintage patterns down and got to it. Perhaps I overestimated my abilities?!
Next time I want to use a thicker, more forgiving fabric; sew the ties to allow for more stretch; and take off a few inches of length. I also want to work a bit more on the fit of the bodice. What about you - are you a fan of the wrap dress? Any tips for how to get a good fit?