Summer 2018 was the summer of the wrap dress. Sure, there were some other notable events (I think there may have been a few football matches going on, and a maybe wedding?), but the main trend I noticed is that everyone seemed to be wearing a frilly patterned wrap dress, and I wanted in. I particularly love the way people seem to be wearing wrap dresses now; dressed down with chunky flat sandals or trainers, layered over a t-shirt or even open as a jacket.
I was tempted by the new Simplicity pattern, as everyone seems to be making it, but I actually managed to find a wrap dress pattern in a book I was given for my birthday last year, Sew Many Dresses. The concept of the book is great – it takes you through the construction of lots of different bodice and skirt shapes, and explains how to put them all together. The patterns vary in requiring light to moderate hacking, but each step is clearly explained, so I thought this would be a good challenge for me and something to give me confidence when adapting patterns.
For this dress I put the mock wrap bodice with the a-line skirt (a modification from the straight skirt pattern pieces provided) and short sleeves. I also added my own flounce to keep the dress feeling modern – more on which later.
I felt that this dress needed to be made from a patterned fabric to give it a summery feel and to stop it looking too formal, but wanted to avoid another floral fabric. I found this spotty fabric in navy from Minerva crafts which I thought would be perfect (my love affair with viscose continues…). I’m really pleased with my fabric choice as it also means the dress works well in winter, worn with tights and boots.
I can’t pretend this was the easiest dress I’ve ever made. The instructions were mostly easy to follow, but I struggled with adding the flounce to the front wrap section. The fine details of garment construction still confuse me, and I think I messed up here slightly. I decided to attach the flounce with the facings, which then made it difficult (impossible) to join the front and back facings and to keep the seams hidden at the shoulders. From the outside, the dress looks fine, but it’s a little messy on the inside. For that reason I also decided to keep the flounce on just one half of the top. The next time I make this dress I think I’ll make things easy for myself and maybe just add a flounce to the hem.
I also struggled with adding a side zip. Quite a few of the dresses in the book require an invisible zip in the side seams, but the instructions only seem to show you how to add a zip to the top of a skirt. I fudged this slightly, treating the top of the zip in the same way as the bottom. It seems to work for now, but any tips on inserting zips into side seams would be very welcome!
Aside from the flounce and the zip, the dress did come together quite easily and I’m pleased with the end result. It looks great (from the outside at least) and somehow fits really well. I didn’t manage to finish it time for summer, but I’ve worn it a lot already and can see getting more mileage out of it as the weather starts to warm up again.