Friday, April 20, 2012

Wrap Dress from the January Issue of Sew Beautiful Magazine

This is, as far my memory tells me, the first project I have done from the Sew Beautiful magazine. The gorgeous little girl dresses in that publication always seem beyond my sewing skills. However, this particular pattern said something about "beginners" so I took courage and tried it out. The wrap dress struck me right away as a very unique design.
 The front of the dress
The bodice is one long piece, that wraps and ties in the front. No buttons, zippers, or side seams. I thought that seemed easy enough, however the construction was a bit different than what I was used to-- it was more delicate. It seemed to me that the dress was held together with trim and zig-zag stitching! Not the usual comfort of a 5/8 inch seam allowance that has to be finished-- the seams are right up to the lace and trim. It is an elegant way to sew, even if I wasn't using elegant, delicate material.
 This is the back of the dress-- on the right there is a large "buttonhole" where one end of the bodice is fed through, making the wrap. The dress material is cotton, with a matching grosgrain ribbon trim, and scalloped lace. Because I was using different colored materials, and not all white as the magazine example, I was dissatisfied with the result. I added more lace to the back to cover up the trim, so it looked more consistent.

The "new" back. 

 I would like to make this dress again, maybe even try an "everyday" play dress version, with a bit sturdier construction, maybe lining the bodice. Though I have been surprised at how "sturdy" this dress is-- again, I'm not used to such delicate sewing!

 This dress has a sort of twin-- an adult regency-style dress cobbled together from several patterns.
 The stripe is perfect for a regency gown, in my opinion. The same scalloped lace is used on this dress as the little one.

Here's a bonus for you! How to make your own child-sized dress form. I found the need to have a little form to display the girl's dress on, so I made my own. First I got the "volunteer" and traced around her on a paper bag. I then took that pattern, and folded it in half to trim it so both sides would be the same.
 Then I used it to cut out two piece of muslin, with a seam allowance added.
 Sew around, turn inside out, and stuff. Leave a bit of the bottom un-stuffed, about 3-4 inches, so you can make it so it sits flat.
The bottom is very un-scientific-- I gathered it and pulled it tight, then squashed it so it would be flat. If I was very clever, I could cut a cardboard shape and insert it to make it sturdy. If I was very, very clever, I could fashion a stand to put it on. However, I found that it sits just fine for a few photos being propped up on a stool.
Besides, it's easier to store without all that.

For the dress photo at the top of the post, I put it on top of a lamp for a stand!
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