Thursday, January 19, 2012

Frankenpatterning the Perfect Knit Wrap Dress

Wrap Dress Thumbnail

I have tried several knit wrap dress patterns in my quest for the perfect one. I've gone from the horrible disaster that was Butterick 3078 to the ok-but-not-great of Vogue 8379 to almost there with Butterick 5454 last year. My two main issues with B5454 were the Pleat to Nowhere in the shoulder and the slightly skimpy overlap on the front skirt.

When I bought this lovely and expensive (for me) silk jersey ($12/yd) from Michael's Fabrics last year I was determined to make it into a high-quality well-fitting DVF-style wrap dress to last the ages.  And so I called upon all my past wrap dresses (no seance needed) and took the best parts from each to create: The Perfect Knit Wrap Dress.

I would like to thank the following patterns for contributing:
Butterick 5454: Bodice and Tie
Butterick 5451: Skirt
Vogue 8379: Sleeve, Cuff, and Collar 

The last one, B5451, is not a knit pattern. This is the one I made in the double-sided acetate polka dot fabric and hated the fit of so much that I gave away the pattern. The only good thing about the pattern is the generous and secure front wrap. Ding ding ding! So I had to rebuy the pattern when Joann had Buttericks on sale. The skirt is a fabric hog, but it would take a gale-force wind to expose you under it. At the same time, the side seams are cut almost on grain, unlike the circle skirt of V8379, which is much more flattering to my saddlebags than 8379's bias.



Collar and Shoulder Gather Closeup


I kept my original broad back and small bust adjustments on the bodice. As I planned last time I made it, I converted the Pleat to Nowhere at the shoulder into gathers. The gathers still kind of open up into nowhere (I have been actively avoiding a sloping shoulder alteration, but I know I need to start doing it eventually), but I like them a lot better than the pleat.

I ended up adding darts to the back bodice, because it seemed a little gapey when I tried on the bodice without the skirt.  The fit conforms to the shape of my back.

To fit the skirt onto the bodice, I matched the centers and side seams, and then did inverted pleats in front and a dart in back with the excess fabric.

Tie Opening




Because silk jersey is lightweight and somewhat flimsy, I reinforced the tie opening in the seam allowance with lightweight interfacing.






Cuff Inside and Topstitching





I fused the collar and cuffs with tricot interfacing to give them body without crispness.  I considered fusing only one half of the collar but ended up doing both the upper and lower, which seemed the better choice.

To keep the cuff's seam allowance in place, I topstitched with a twin needle.






Collar Topstitching


I cut the collar on the fold of the fabric. It took some major origami to fit my pattern pieces onto this quite narrow fabric and the shape I ended up with to cut the collar out of worked well on the fold.  I did not lay the fold on the seamline, but on the cut line, thinking I would end up sewing the seam.  But I liked it on the fold, and it does not seem to large.

Vogue 8379 has a facing to finish the neckline, but when I made the pattern I found the facing just too thick, especially at the shoulders.  So I just turned the neckline edges under and topstitched with a twin needle, enclosing clear elastic.  I finished the wrap portion of the skirt and the hem the same way, minus the clear elastic.




Wrap Dress Front .Rain Boots


I used the tie pattern from B5454.  In my first version of B5454, I had limited fabric and had to improvise the tie, which ended up shorter than I'd like.  This time I used the pattern piece and it turns out that as drafted it is still shorter than I'd like.  I like the width and both ends are slanted, which fits the bodice well.  But next time I'll lengthen by about 8 inches.  I like to be able to tie a bow.

I am very happy with this combination of patterns.  The front wrap is very snug with no gape, the skirt has a large overlap, and the collar and cuffs add a nice touch to the look.  I will turn to this combination again the next time I want this look.  However, I will stick with the B5454 sleeve if I am not doing a cuff--the Vogue sleeve has more ease and was difficult to set in.

Just so I don't mislead you into thinking I am an actual glamourpuss, I actually wore this dress with the rainboots on the right. It was pouring!

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

38 comments:

KID, MD said...

Gt frankenpattern! I think DVF would approve. The fit is great and the style is perfect.

BeccaA said...

What a great wrap dress! Very DVF. Lovely fabric, too.

LinB said...

Cute cute cute. Love the colors, love how this dress fits you! Love the rain boots. I agree with your choice to jettison the facing -- why does a knit garment need a facing? Why? (rhetorical question). The finished dress looks very like the Simplicity DVF knock-off pattern from the late 1970s that I and my friends sewed in infinite fabric variations.

Amber Elayne said...

What a great pattern! It fits you perfectly and love the boots!!!! But back to the elements of the dress... PERFECT!!!!

I have a wrap dress on my bucket list of sewing but think I may end up doing something like what you've done..... It looks great!!!!!

Renee said...

Great idea..looks awesome!!

Crystal said...

Great job. I love it!

catspec said...

GREAT dress! Love the combo pattern thing. Very nicely done. :) Love your little details like the interfaced tie opening and the twin stitching!

Clio said...

It IS the perfect wrap dress! Yay for you! Ms Von Fabulousberg would be proud.

AuntieAllyn said...

Looks very fabulous on you . . . especially with the rin boots. Don't you just love silk jersey?!

Venus de Hilo said...

Great frankenjob. Perfect fit, and so cute with those rain boots!

sdBev said...

Great JOB! I'm so envious of you. I can never get a wrap front dress or blouse to stay wrapped. I love the love, but can't wear it.

Sewfast said...

I love this dress! Especially paired with the Wellies!

Adelaide B said...

Love the fabric, love the dress! This dress embodies all of my clothing fears in one go: wrap dress, knit fabric. I will happily live vicariously through you. It looks great on you.

Amanda S. said...

Girl, you are definitely made for wrap dresses! This turned out SO FLATTERING and I love the fabric choice. I have several cuts of silk jersey in my stash, but haven't been brave enough to cut into them thus far.

CGCouture said...

So pretty it even looks good with rain boots! Congrats on coming up with a wrap dress that you feel confident in. :-)

Lori said...

Way to work the patterns to get them to work for you, great dress.

Rachel said...

That is beautiful!! I really love the fabric. You boots are adorable.

emadethis said...

Such great fit! I really like the rain boots too...adds that real world element.

McVal said...

Adorable! I was half expecting bolts coming out of your neck...

Sew Ducky said...

Great fit, and it looks perfect on you. Nice addition of the collar, the whole thing came out great!

MySummerTouch said...

You look freat in this dress! Congratulation with successful mixing! I have almost the same dress with no collar in my want-to-make list. Here is the picture
http://www.osinka.ru/Zhurnaly/2006/burda/burda_05/24.html
have you tried it?

Sue said...

Congrats on making your own perfect knit dress. It looks great and I love the fabric!

Tracy said...

It's lovely - the best of all wrap dress worlds! The fabric is amazing - why can't I ever find such amazing silk jersey at less than £10 a metre

Bri said...

Wow, gorgeous fabric! Love how you combined all these different patterns to make your perfect wrap dress! I've had similar experiences with wrap dress patterns!

Joy said...

This turned out perfect - I especially like this style with the collar and you got a great fit with the crossover. I need to remember to do an SBA-tuck on the crossover on my next wrap garment - tightening the waist tie definitely doesn't work!

kathy said...

Well, I for one really liked the boots with this dress.

Carol said...

Love it and I love the gum boots. As someone from a climate with a definite wet season, I am accustomed to pairing all sorts of garments with gum boots. I am about to make a wrap dress so I will most likely steal some inspiration from you.

Jane M said...

You look wonderful and your analysis of the wrap dress elements turned out beautifully. My knit wrap dress days are long gone but you are bringing back wonderful memories of this dress style which I wore to get my first post college job. You wear it well!

Kyle said...

Super great job there Ms Slapdash!
The fit is amazing!! and I enjoyed reading how you frankenpatterned it. Great job!

Lynn Mally said...

Cute styling with your sensible (but somehow not so sensible) shoes! Sometimes it takes a village of patterns to get it right.

Abby said...

Really professional result! Looks great.

Mrs. Micawber said...

You are definitely channeling DVF. "Silk jersey" is such a lovely phrase. The fabric must feel wonderful. Nice work!

Audrey said...

Wow, a three pattern morph. It looks wonderful on you and that lovely silk fabric was definitely worth the $ you paid for it.

gwensews said...

Isn't having a perfect pattern the absolutely best thing? Now you can have a wardrobe of wrap dresses, which never go out of style, and never will.

MushyWear said...

Very flattering, and I love the print!

Minoustate said...

I have the Vogue dress almost cut out on my cutting table now, but paused due to fabric shortage. Your dress looks so nice with the twin needle finish. I was concerned it wouldn't look good neough for work, but your version def does. Now I'll go back to my project and not worry about how to fit in the facings--will skip 'em!
--Katharine in Bxl

Victoria said...

Super sexy!!!

Isabelle said...

You are right - this really is the perfect Wrap Dress! Love the print you chose.