The quest for my perfect jersey wrap dress

Woman wearing leaf-print wrap dress standing in garden
Brrr – where’s the sunshine gone?

A well-fitting wrap dress – probably the most lusted-after knit garment for any sewist – or at least for me.

This is my second version of Vogue 8379, a pattern so popular it’s got 136 write-ups on Sewing Pattern review. It’s a knits-only pattern, with a real wrap and a tie belt. View B has longer cuffed sleeves and a collar. I made view A (in a black printed cotton jersey) five years ago, before I’d learnt much about how to fit garments, and I’m relieved to say that the second version has turned out much better. Phew.

Woman standing in garden wearing leaf-print wrap dress. Chocolate Labrador in foreground.
Wispa the dog was dying to get in on the action

leafP1090848

This time I adjusted quite a bit. I:

  • added 1.25″ to the bodice length
  • added 1″ to the waist-hip length
  • added 1″ to the length of the 3/4 sleeves – some above and some below the elbow
  • raised the neckline by 1″
  • added 3″ with an FBA
  • re-drew the facing to match the new bodice shape
  • narrowed the back of the dress by about 1″
  • took some of the fullness out of the skirt at the back panels (but not from the front because I definitely wanted the dress to wrap round
  • interfaced the belt, as it stretched badly in my first version
  • removed 2cm from the centre back seam to make a sway back adjustment.

I used this tutorial from Jennifer Lauren Vintage to do the FBA for a knit top, and then to remove the dart to give a seam-free finish. The bodice is already pleated, so I think it works best without a dart as well. I had to trace the bodice off twice to make multiple adjustments, and the finished result looked like something a cat had chewed, but it did work. And when I get round (I will, I will) to tracing off a fresh copy, it’ll be ready to go straight away next time I need a wrap dress!

Picture of neckline and collar of leaf-print wrap dress.
The neckline is a much better fit after I made some alterations, although I found the facing rolls out in this viscose jersey.

I got to try out some features of my new machine, too. I made version one entirely on Faith, which was a straight-stitch only machine so it was great to be able to overlock (serge) lots of the seams and use a proper stretch stitch for the others with my new machine. I got lots of use out of my walking foot because the fabric was so slippery, and it also helped when the interfaced pieces dragged. Plus, I tried out the understitching foot on the bodice/facing seam. Not so sure about this – I couldn’t seem to get the stitching to land on the correct side of the seam – it kept veering over even though I had the guide on target. And I hasn’t stayed on the underside of the garment!

Finally – a neat hem on a jersey garment
Finally – a neat hem on a jersey garment

The fabric is a green and off-white viscose jersey I bought online from Remnant House (still available as of today), which has pros and cons. On the upside, it’s got great recovery and doesn’t crease. On the other hand, it’s quite slippery, so it’s tricky to cut and it doesn’t really hold its shape when you press it. I’d been looking for a large-but-not-too-large botanical print for ages, and then I spent two weeks deliberating whether to use it for this, or for a Sallie jumpsuit. This dress won out, because I had a wedding to attend this weekend, and I wasn’t convinced I could pull off a jumpsuit.

It’d also be ideal for a garden party – or is that too literal?

Have you made this pattern? How did it go for you? And how could I stop the facing from rolling to the outside?

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2 thoughts on “The quest for my perfect jersey wrap dress

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