A wrap dress that fits (McCall 5974)

Pattern: McCall 5974, view C

Fabric: ITY knit from Joann’s, 2.5 yards

Notes: I have never liked wrap dresses.  I’ve always felt like they added bulk to the midsection, and I hated their tendency towards wardrobe malfunction at the slightest wind.  I remember that in high school I had a few wrap dresses.  I took classes at both the performing arts school and a regular high school, so I was often treking around outside between classes.  I remember those wrap dresses leading to at least two really embarrassing moments on windy days!  Fortunately, this is a mock wrap.  The dress is entirely closed, and the wrap is sewn into the side seams.  I also find this style of wrap to be much more flattering than the typical side wrap dress on me.

It might make you wonder why I made a dress that I had not evidence at all I would like.  Well, I was doing some inspiration shopping (ie, browsing websites for things I can copy) and kept coming back to this Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress.  I had this pattern already, so I thought “why not?”  Plus, I was sick and on lots of cold medicine, but it seemed logical at the time!  Luckily, I think the dress is very flattering, mostly due to the larger than usual wrap.

I made several deviations from the pattern.  This is a size 8 with no alterations.  I believe I would have to take the dress in were I to make the version without ties, but as it is the sizing is fine.  I left out the zipper (which the pattern does mention as a possibility.)  I added clear elastic to the shoulder seams for stability.  I did not do any hand sewing, notably I did not slipstitch the midriff band closed on the inside.  I topstitched it instead – after all, it’s covered with the wrap anyway, and this way I know it won’t come undone.  The midriff called for interfacing, which I left out.  I forgot to remove the sleeve ease, as I have done several recent knit patterns that didn’t bother with having any.  This one had plenty, and I was forced to employ some super ghetto easing – I basically drew in my seamlines, and then sewed the sleeve in the way it wanted to fit, trimming about an inch off the top of each sleeve at the end.   It worked, but I would certainly not attempt it in a woven!  The midriff ties are open at the middle, and suggested sewing down the inside edges.  I didn’t bother, since they are covered anyway, and as I said, I think handsewing in a knit is a bad idea.

I have yet to hem this dress, as I can’t decide on a length.  I think it needs to come above the knee, but on the other hand I sort of like it this length.  I probably won’t hem the sleeves.  I hemmed the neckline edges by serging the edge, turning under and stitching in place with a narrow zigzag.  I think this is a pretty great pattern – it’s a very flattering style, and it was very quick to sew!  I’m not sure my mind is changed about wrap dresses, but maybe about mock wraps.  Baby steps, people.  My high school embarrassments still haunt me!

I made another video, since some of you said it was helpful.  This time I show how the ties wrap, which was something I would have found helpful – I had  hard time imagining how many layers of fabric would actually be on my waist!  Watch for the cat cameo about thirty seconds in.

Simplicity 2444

Pattern: Simplicity 2444

Fabric: Cotton Sateen print from Eliott Berman, around 2.25 yards

Notes: If you want to see the dress in motion (and hear what I sound like with a cold!) there is a little video review embedded at the end of this post.  I’m pleased with how this dress came out – it’s exactly the style I pictured for this fabric when I bought it!  The illustration on the pattern envelope isn’t very inspiring, but I could tell from the line drawings (and the wonderful versions made by other sewers) that it would be nice.    I ended up cutting a size 8 in the shoulders and a 10 everywhere else.  The pattern runs a bit shortwaisted, and if you know your waist is lower I would check that measurement carefully!  There is a little extra room in the upper chest – I saw a few other reviewers who mentioned the same issue, so I suspect it’s an issue with the pattern (as I don’t usually have extra room there.)

I considered making the versions with the sleeves, but I wasn’t really happy with them – they were running a bit big on me, so I left them off.  I made a few minor alterations.  I didn’t include the neckline facings at all – the collar is interfaced and sewn directly to the dress.  Honestly, I don’t think the facings are necessary with this collar – when I sewed them on they rippled all over the place (there is a fair bit of easing around curves required to get this collar on – go slowly!)  It’s not like anyone is looking down my collar anyway, so I just serged the collar seam allowances and tacked them down by stitching in the ditch at the shoulder seams.

I did not shorten the dress – it’s pretty much exactly knee length on me (I’m about 5’8″.)  I really like this pattern, and I’d be interested in giving the version with the cape collar a go – I have a cherry printed swiss dot that might be really cute for summer!  I sewed the hem using the method I posted the other day.

I recently realized that my camera does video, so I taped a tiny little review so that you can get an idea of what the dress looks like in motion.  I’ve seen a few others do that, and it was very helpful.  As it turns out, I’m fine in front of an audience, but a camera is really intimidating – watch the part where I give the wrong pattern number, oops!