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Lacy Lurex The Butterick Wrap Dress by Anna

Requirements

Main Fabric 156cm wide by 3metres

Contrast satin 150cm wide by 115cm

Thread- 2 reels main colour and 1 reel contrast for topstitching

Stay tape 1cm wide by 40cm

Ribbon for hanging loops

Butterick Pattern B5898

Extra Tools

Ham or rolled up towel for pressing

Stretch stitch facility

Set square or similar (to check bias fold)

Loop turner or similar device

Large table

Courage and Patience

Sewing level: Experienced.

Introduction

This Knit Fabric is quite light but contained enough weight to drape well. Being a polyester, wool and acrylic mix in a very open knit I decided it would need to be made into something with minimal shaping and seams. I judged it would need some help in supporting seams and edges. I also decided that I was not confident enough to use the overlocker as the fabric slipped about too much.

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to make the wrap dress, but to use a remnant of cotton-backed plain satin to add structure and a bit of contrast. 

The facings and interlinings would show if the garment was made in the usual way, so I planned to make a reverse facing around the closure and neckline, giving a firm edge. I repeated this on the sleeves and used the same satin to make the collar and tie belt.

Method

Cutting out the garment was tricky as I only had 3 metres (the pattern recommended 3.6m) but with a bit of careful planning, that went OK. There is a definably one way design to the knit but the pattern repeat was thankfully small. There were 4 main pattern pieces: right front, left front, back and sleeves.

As the pattern called for all parts to be cut out in stretchy-knit fabric, I cut the facings and collar on the bias.

The tie belt doesn’t need to stretch so I cut that on the grain. I initially cut the facings as per pattern as I wasn’t sure how wide a strip I would use. I also cut sleeve facings using the sleeve pattern and added a notch.

As the satin was quite stiff already I omitted the interlining suggested for the facings and collar.

Following the pattern instructions, I first made up the bust darts and stay stitched the neck edges. The darts went together easily, despite the complicated shape. I used a normal stitch for the stay stitching but a stretch stitch for the main seams. To give some support to the shoulder seams, I added stay tape I cut this to the exact length of the shoulder seam and I am glad I did as the seam stretched considerably while pinning it.

The side seams where straightforward. The right side required a gap in the seam to allow the tie belt to pass through. To reinforce this, and to help identify the hole when dressing, I added stay tape here too. 

I stitched around the hole with a stretch stitch, then slipstitched the ends and inner edges of the tape to the seam allowance.

The collar, tie belt and facings were made up as instructed, but without interlining and topstitched using the fancy stretch stitch. 

As I had pink top thread and peach bobbin thread I turned the belt over so each side had a pink edge and a peach edge. The collar and tie belt were machine basted into place, on the WRONG side of the garment, easing in the fabric as it stretched out of shape despite stay stitching. Before attaching the facing to the dress, I moved on to the sleeves to experiment with the hem facings.  

The sleeve and garment facings were attached in the same way as follows:

  • Sew up the seams and press open

  • Pin the facing to the main part with the right side (satin) of the facing to the WRONG side of the main piece. Stitch using stretch stitch.

  • Understitch the seam allowance towards the main piece using blind hem foot.

  • Trim away excess facing from the seam allowance and clip curves to reduce bulk.

  • Turn, pin and topstitch the facing close to the stitched edge.

  • Keeping the main garment well supported to avoid stretching out of shape, turn under the unstitched edge of the facing and pin to the garment. Ensure that the fabric lies evenly and flat.

  • Topstitch into place.

The sleeves were inserted as per instructions. The dress hem was completed using the same stretch stitch I had used for the seams. I first stabilised the edge with a large zigzag stitch. The satin front edging was folded to the reverse and slip stitched into place.

A hand sewn carrier loop was added to the left seam at the waistline for the tie belt. I also added ribbon hanging loops at the shoulder seams. To ensure the collar point lay flat, I tacked this in place

Conclusion

The fabric is challenging to use as it stretches and slides so not for a beginner, or to be done in a hurry. It was very forgiving when being unpicked! It doesn’t fray or unravel when handled a lot, though the gold ’spots’ are a looser knit and tend to collapse when cut. These pale threads also got snagged easily by pins and the presser foot while sewing. The fabric moulds well and drapes beautifully but needs some support in construction eg stay tape in shoulder seams. The care instruction states it must be handwashed.

It is quite sheer so a camisole and slip will definitely be needed as the dress is unlined! It would probably make a great unstructured top or loose cardigan with some contrast ribbing around the neck and cuffs.

Thanks for reading,

Anna

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