A few years back, the Diane Von Furstenberg-style wrap dress was all the rage. I desperately coveted one but resisted the high street offerings after hearing horror stories of how merciless this style is on less-than-flat stomachs. Which is why this New Look 6429 Faux-Wrap Dress Pattern for Stretch Knits seemed a lucky find. Two of my all-time favourite garments (a dress and a swimming costume) had similar ruching and, contrary to what you might expect, the extra fabric was flattering, covering up the belly at the same time as the gathers drew the eye to the curve of the waist. Also the folds felt nice.
The first time I made View B, a big test was stitching together the three sections in the lower back. Pulling off this important focal point requires total precision in the marking and the stitching, which wasn’t obvious to my beginner’s mind. The end result wasn’t all that geometric.
There’s a lot of flare to this skirt and the instructions call for it to be machine-hemmed. I didn’t find this “easy”: there was an excess of fabric which couldn’t be pinned away. Only by doing some reading did I come upon the solution: ease-stitching the extra bulk. Also, I sewed the hem by hand which I believe looks better.
So, imagine my disappointment when after hours of labour I tried the dress on and thought it looked pants! Clingy on the belly, gaping at the bust. And the soft, thick jersey made me feel huge.
The dress was quickly slammed onto the Charity Shop Pile.
The reason why it’s still here is that my husband got wind of my intention and with untypical concern urged me not to trash it, nay, declared it to be the nicest dress I’d ever made… What could the explanation be? Well, the clue is in the photo on the envelope. Notice how the model is sticking out her chest and bottom, and her coltish legginess…? Yes, the spirit of this design is a brazen “come-hitherness”: it’s feminine, revealing and, ahem, appeals to a certain audience.
Fast forward a few years: when I found this lightweight jersey (at Geoff Rosenberg’s Fabric Show) with explosions of lovely colours that remind me of fireworks, I thought it time for a NL 6429 remake. I adapted the pattern by narrowing the sleeves and reducing the flare from the hipline by a total of 10cm around the hem to make it less flouncy (this made it quicker to hem too!). I’m quite happy with the more up-t0-date silhouette. But the size 12 feels too big on my size 12 frame, especially around the neck and the bust which is too gaping. In the photo, I’m wearing it with a “modesty“!