Seems like everyone is talking about wrap dresses right now… The Curvy Collective is about to do a sewalong, Jenny from Cashmerette has made approximately 100 cute wrap dresses this summer, and Style Arc came out with some cute patterns… so of course, I had to give it a try myself! Could wrap dresses really be a magic all-flattering style?
Of course, I’m cheap, so I wasn’t about to buy a pattern… instead, I altered my already-hacked Renfrew bodice pattern that I used for my cherry print top here. The cherry tee wraps over to the wide seam… but to make this one look more like a real wrap dress, I wanted it to only cross over at centre front. The back and sleeves are Renfrew-as-drafted, and the skirt is (what else?) the Kitschy Koo Comino Cap! (I know I’ve used this skirt about 6 times this summer… I just really like how it is less full than a 1/2 circle skirt, but still forgiving over the hips! It’s basically like a shorter Mission Maxi, and I love that skirt shape too.)
Technique-wise, I did a folded-band at the neckline, pulled snuggly but not reinforced with elastic or stay tape. As I sewed it the bodice was looking far too short, so I thought about doing a waistband… but I hate trying to align parallel stripes, so I skipped it! (Besides, then I would have put all this work into basically recreating a Tiramisu, and that just seemed depressing.) Instead, I serged a hefty 1″ elastic band to the waist seam, which acts as a waist stay to pull the bodice down and keep the front overlap seam straight.
In terms of placement, I tried to use the wide navy stripe to my advantage. I cut it so the neckline band would be navy attaching to navy, thereby hiding any uneveness in the width of the band as I stretched it… and cut the top of the skirt and bottom of the back bodice to both end on navy, to hide any crookedness on that seam too. I wish I’d lined the sleeves up better though – they *almost* match, which is somehow worse than if they didn’t match at all!
To be honest, my first thought when I tried the dress on was “That’s unwearably stripey!” but I have to say it’s growing on me a little. Especially in winter with leggings and a cardigan to balance it out, I think it’ll work! It’s the first thing I’ve sewn in quite a while that actually has a waistband right at my natural waist (instead of a slightly empire cut) and I have to say, I rather like it! The firm elastic inside helps define the area, and I think if I can find matching navy jersey to make a tie belt it will be even better.
I’ll leave you with a pic of my eternal helper, Frank…
This version was intended as a muslin, so my next post will be the same thing in a more “me” fabric. Until then: How do you feel about wrap dresses? Do you find them flattering and easy to fit/wear? Or do you feel like they work better on other people?