Wrap and Ruffle

Posted Friday, 14 June, 2019

It seems that for the past few seasons, wraps and ruffles are ‘in’ and here to stay. There’s something really feminine about these styles. And I have a couple of vintage 70s wrap patterns in my stash, which attests to their longevity (I think that ‘apron dresses’ are back too, but that’s a post for another day). 

I had this project cut and ready to sew for weeks before actually getting around to it. We’re meant to be in the cooler months in the Southern Hemisphere but I’ve been hovering between putting our summer clothes away and just layering us up on those really cold mornings. Every time I think that we’ve made the jump to winter, I find myself digging around trying to find lightweight summer clothes for us all. The joys of living in an extreme climate! Sewing-wise, it’s really good as it means that I don’t need to worry too much about sewing a lightweight voile summery dress because there will be days when I need it. (That’s what jumpers, coats and cardigans are for, isn’t it?)

The palette of the fabric that I selected for this make is so dreamy. I’ve been loving so many of those modern 70s/boho lifestyle accounts lately. You know, those ones where everything is minimal and slightly used, with macramé everywhere, fabulous thrifted finds and a really muted tonal palette of orange, brown and dusty apricots and pinks, set against a crisp white background? Yes? No? It’s a whole vibe.

In other news I want wicker furniture and a peacock chair. Thank you to anyone who can make this happen for me.

Sewing Notes:

  • Pattern used was Simplicity 8637, I sized down as per usual (more details on sizing below)
  • Fabric is the ‘Spring Festival Cotton Voile’ from The Remnant Warehouse. The weight and drape is typical of voile and it was relatively opaque so I don’t need to worry about wearing a slip.
  • I’ve made wrap dresses in the past but struggled with getting the fit right across my upper body (hence my tardiness in getting to this style). Going off the pattern measurements alone, I’ve been caught out with something that won’t wrap on more than one occasion. For this reason, I strongly suggest a toile or at the very least, tracing off your pattern pieces and pinning them together within the seam allowance to get an idea of how everything will sit. One thing to look out for when assessing whether a wrap dress will work for you is to check the front for any gaping. If it sits too low for your taste or needs some adjustments for fit, then you can simply build up the front pattern pieces for more coverage. Also, it’s helpful to note that the centre front is usually marked on the pattern pieces, usually with the abbreviation ‘CF’ and an unbroken line. This is a good indication of how the garment will sit on you.
  • Another option would be to make a knit wrap dress à la Diane Von Furstenburg as the fitting process is much more forgiving for stretch fabrics. There’s a lot of great options out there from both indie pattern companies and the ‘Big 4’.
  • Ruffle-wise, the narrow hem wasn’t very time consuming to sew as I used a decorative rolled hem on my Babylock Evolve. I even got out some nice coordinating embroidery threads. If you don't have an overlocker with a rolled hem function you can easily do a rolled hem on a conventional machine (it just takes a bit longer) or you could invest in a rolled hem foot. I have one of those for my Brother machine (all brands manufacture them) and I love to use that when I don't want the hem to be too noticeable. It takes a bit of practice but it's definitely worth purchasing and is so satisfying.

So that’s it! I don’t foresee myself sewing up a wardrobe of ruffly goodness as I’m too devoted to my shift dresses and fit n’ flare frocks, but I this will get a lot of wear based off the fabric alone.


Lipstick: MAC's classic Ruby Woo