Its a Wrap Dress!
Posted on Tuesday the 12th May 2020 by Saturday Night Stitch
Let's talk wrap dresses! The wrap dress has always been a funny one for me. A wrap dress is – let's face it – not that far removed from a dressing gown. It is, as such, a rather comfortable garment. I am experiencing a wave of vintage love in my sewing life. This month's project is bourne out of a new desire to tap into vintage sewing – a genre that I had dismissed due to an ill-advised project early in my sewing journey.
The fabric spearheaded this project. I had loved this Lady McElroy wine abstract print viscose jersey when it popped up on Minerva. As with all Lady McElroy fabrics that I have sewed with in the past, the quality is outstanding. It is always a good thing to have a reliable brand that you can count on.
Being viscose it has a beautiful drape and handle. I knew I wanted to turn it into a wrap dress. Initially, it was to be a Burdastyle wrap dress. As I was researching the wrap dress, I came across a vintage pattern reproduction shop that sells the iconic Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress.
In the mid 70’s Diane von Furstenberg collaborated with Vogue Designer Patterns to release her wrap dress as a sewing pattern. The pattern is rare to find in the original condition and when found they tend to be on the pricier side. The vintage pattern shop, however, sells reprints of the pattern. I bought the size 34” bust (vintage patterns come in only one size). You can see both the fabric and DVF pattern on my sewing plans video here.
The sewing instructions are straightforward, supported with illustrations to help you. A beginner could easily follow the instructions and recreate their own beautiful practical wrap dress. This dress has a facing all the way around the neck and the front. This is what achieves the beautiful v neckline. The choice of knit fusible interfacing is important. I used the medium weight knit fusible to match the weight of the fabric.
I’d advise doing a test swatch – too stiff and your neckline will be uncomfortable and gapey, and the reverse would be a loose floppy neckline. It is worth taking the time to get the right interfacing.
The key to a wrap dress is fabric choice. You need a fabric with a good handle so a medium weight jersey knit fabric like the viscose jerseys will create the swish and flow of the seventies style dress. A ponte is also a possibility for something with more stability and a touch of formality.
The use of print or solid will also determine the feel and vibe of the completed dress. This abstract print is just the right amount of interest while also muted enough to be a smart casual business look. I would love to sew this up in a floral print.
Until next time lovely people –