The wrap dress appeared on my radar some ten years ago when Boden started making them in their beautifully-coloured print jerseys. I’d have bought one but they were expensive. Besides, I was wary of the style clinging to my mummy tummy – in fact, friends wore such dresses over pull-all-in jeans for the same reason. I instead picked a sewing pattern for a faux-wrap that most closely resembled the style but was rather underwhelmed by the results.
As the years went by, my mummy tummy went while many not-quite-it sewing patterns for wrap dresses became available as something of a revival ensued. I discovered that the designer who’d popularized the dress in the 1970s, Diane Von Furstenberg, had once produced a sewing pattern for her iconic creation in collaboration with Vogue. These are much sought-after and crop up on Ebay from time to time: once again, out of my price range. Then Stylearc Lea came along: so slinky, simple, sexy. And so affordable! £8, plus £6 for the 2 metres of fabric. And so quick to make, and that’s including the time for the pattern to be flown over from Australia!! Finally!
Fabric: Goth-friendly, tye-dye lightweight jersey from Simply Fabrics with a 30% stretch, meaning a 10cm square will stretch to 13cm. But it doesn’t give easily. My guess is it’s all cotton.
Likes: a very easy make, cut from a few pattern pieces. Two of the strip-like pieces you see on the right are meant for paper only, not fabric: they’re a sizing guide for the neckline so that you can check if it’s stretched out of shape in handling. But my biggest like is the 70s vibe of this, with the big collar and hip-skimming silhouette.
Size: If you’re unfamiliar with Stylearc patterns, they come in one size only, the size you order. Which means you can’t make this for your mama, your papa and your sister too (and they will all want one). I bought a 10. The fit is just right; with none of that ease I’ve come to expect from other patterns.
Modifications: I added cuffs Their finished height is 7cm but I now see that 5-6cm would be more in proportion. If you need a turnback cuff tutorial, I’ve written one here for a woven fabric which should give you an idea of how to attach; for a jersey cuff, use 4cm binding strips folded to 2cm instead of facing. Also, I shortened one of the ties to 75cm (from 100cm).
Dislikes: to admit to any dislikes would just be ungrateful, wouldn’t it? Let’s just call them…. reservations:
Well, firstly, buy a bit more fabric than advised on the envelope if you have pattern-matching, just to be on the safe side.
The ties are a good inch higher than my natural waist which makes the dress feel small. But to lower position of the ties would also lower the line of the v and be more exposing. Wrap dresses are notorious for being revealing which is why in all of these big pictures, I’m wearing a pin. Except this one:
I guess this style just isn’t for shrinking violets.
Finally, the small seam allowances. 0.6cm doesn’t give you any leeway if the dress is too small in places and it meant I couldn’t use my Elna overlock stitch as the fabric disappeared into the throat plate. Instead I used a straight stitch with zigzag to finish/reinforce and it worked just fine.
I have yet to wear this out but my
loved ones harshest critics have given it a thumbs up so provided this skimpy number manages to contain me, it might even make it into my all-time top 10!