Mademoiselle McElroy Wren Dress
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 25th July 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
One of the joys of sewing my clothes is the wonderful variety of prints available these days in lovely fabric substrates. I love the comfort and drape of viscose jersey, especially for the warmer days here. Being able to whip up a viscose jersey dress in a pretty print is as satisfying as sewing goes. I'm always drawn to a good floral or stripes but today I'd like to show you a real fun print - the Mademoiselle McElroy viscose jersey.
OK - the actual name of this print is Mademoiselle by Lady McElroy
, but allow me to just call her Mlle McElroy here. On a black background, there's these little whimsical pink ladies wearing Dior's-New-Look-esque dresses, each with the hat, handbag and pose to match! Can it get more fun than that?
I just had to sew up a little back dress with this fabric asap. To give a nod to the style of these Mademoiselles, I want a dress with a vintage vibe - fitted at the top, cinched at the waist and a full skirt. But I also want it to be comfortable to wear, because - Viscose Jersey!
The Colette Wren Dress
has been around for a while and I think it fits the bill perfectly. It's a mock wrap dress with fitted bodice and skirt/sleeve variations. I made the gathered skirt version with short sleeves. The hourglass silhouette echoes the vintage ladies, while the elastic gathered waist makes it super comfy to wear everyday.
The fabric itself is as delicious as viscose jersey goes, slinky and drapey with excellent stretch and drape. It is fairly stable to cut and sew as well. I used my normal sewing machine foot throughout instead of a walking foot, and there was no problem.
Some reviews on the Wren dress mentioned it is pretty short-waisted. I don't particularly like empire waist on me so I lengthened the bodice by two inches. If you do the same mod, don't forget to also lengthen the front band pattern piece. Those bands are cleverly designed to give a little extra support to the wrap front to avoid gaping.
The construction of the wren dress is quite straightforward, but I did do a few things slightly differently. First of all, the back neck edge is simply turned over and hemmed. To prevent it from stretching out, I added some knit stay tape in the hem to stabilise it. For future versions, I would probably add a bias tape facing to it.
The pattern instructions tell you to gather the skirt piece with clear elastic which I find tricky to do. I gathered the skirt with the good old two lines of long stitches instead. After attaching the skirt to the bodice, I then sandwiched my clear elastic in the waist seam and serged everything together. While I'm happy with the result, I feel like there's just a tad too much going on at the waist seam. In my future versions, I might modify the skirt pattern to be narrower at the waist with more of an A-line shape.
At the end of the day I am very pleased with my Mademoiselle Wren McElroy Dress! It’s all lady-like and feminine looking, but also comfy as pajamas! It’s a dress you can’t help but swish and twirl in. I definitely need more viscose jersey Wrens in my future!
Until next time,