Self-drafted faux-wrap dress

In the interest of sharing all the old projects I haven’t blogged about yet… here’s a dress I made today. I’m nothing but consistent!

And, disclaimer: we’ve lost the charger to our camera so all these photos were taken on Mr. Guy’s cellphone. Just now realising what a difference a nice camera makes – the lighting was PERFECT when we took these but they’re still much more glaring than photos taken with our actual camera.

I’ve been wanting to make a faux-wrap dress for a while, but I haven’t had any knit fabric in my stash to try one out. I finally remembered to do a phone order with Levana earlier this week and so I had 7m of lovely cotton-lycra arrive on my doorstep yesterday, and as I have this week off work I was able to spent today working on the draft.

I drafted the bodice, starting with a knit sloper that I made from my bodice sloper/moulage (see more info here). I started off with the instructions for a woven surplice dress from Suzy Furrer’s “Creative Necklines” class, but obviously had to change things because I was dealing with a knit.

Here was my process:

  • Traced off the right half (when looking at it) of bodice knit sloper, but drew in the waist line on the other side
  • Came in 5cm from the left size seam and drew a line from that, to the right shoulder seam. This line was very slightly curved
  • Back bodice was just the knit sloper with the shoulders narrowed slightly to account for the neckband.
  • Made a neckband by using the following formula: (2(front neckline) + back neckline) x 0.9. Started off with a finished width of 1.5cm

Then made a muslin, and made the following changes (mainly because the V was much too low):

  • Raised the shoulder seams – took 1cm off the front shoulders and 2cm off the back shoulders as the shoulder seam was sitting too far forward, redrawing the back shoulders and neckline lower.
  • Shortened the angled line of the neckline by 5cm by removing length from the waistline at the distal end of the wrap, pulling the neckline tighter
  • Widened the neckband to make it 3cm once finished (to raise up the center front)
  • The neckband became approx 12cm shorter – I just stretched it to fit.

Then I made it up in this black cotton-lycra. For those interested, Levana is a knit textile factory in Levin, NZ. They make a mix of fabrics including technical fabrics for industry, but have a factory shop based in Levin and will also do phone orders (and you can buy merino from them here. The cotton-lycra is really good quality with great 2-way stretch (or 4-way stretch, however you say it) and recovery, and is only $10/m.

The sleeves are borrowed from a Cashmerette pattern (because I haven’t gotten around to making a sleeve sloper yet), and the skirt is a gathered a-line (similar to the skirt from the Moneta pattern), with lovely big pockets that are caught into the waist seam.

Things I need to work out how to fix for next time:

  • The side seam comes forward at the waist. I’m guessing this is because the double layer in the front makes the front stronger and less stretchy, so it easily pulls the side seam towards the front. I’m not sure how to fix that without making the back too small? Or making the front bigger, but that might affect how the neckline sits…
  • Not sure if the pulling under the bust is something I should bother fixing. I looked at other wrap dresses (e.g. the Wren by Colette) and they’re there, but I never noticed them/they never bothered me before, so probably not?
  • Shave off some fabric from the armscye. Because the neckline opens up at the upper chest, and because of the wide neckband, there’s excess fabrics under my shoulders. Pretty sure I can fix this by re-drawing the armscye and taking 1cm off at the shoulder.
  • Make the sleeves a bit longer – this isn’t the most flattering length for me. Or I might try flutter sleeves
  • I might also try a circle-style skirt rather than the gathers next time. And maybe a contrast neckband? I wouldn’t have thought of it, if it wasn’t for Mary (Idle Fancy)’s last two dresses.

Anything else anyone can recommend changing?? Other than pressing the skirt side seams…

In the photos you can see a bit of our garden, including the lawn mower (I interrupted Mr. Guy’s mowing to make him take photos for me). In the “orchard” you can see the big apple tree on the right, feijoa tree right behind me with a new apricot tree in front of it, lemonade tree to the left, and strawberries on the ground. Out of sight is another feijoa, a lemon tree, some rhubarb, and 4 blueberry bushes. In the background you may just be able to see the fence of the veggie garden (which we put up to keep the dog out of the raised beds, and to stop her from jumping the boundary fence – it’s like she’s got springs for legs!)


Pattern: Self-drafted

Fabric: Cotton-lycra from Levana, 2m = $20

Notions: Interfacing for shoulders and thread, stash

Total: $20

Does anyone have any good resources for drafting with knit fabric? I feel like there must be a completely different set of “rules” than with wovens, but haven’t been able to find anything good. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Suzy Furrer will do a class on it, but in the meantime it’s going to be trial and error unless I come across something.

21 thoughts on “Self-drafted faux-wrap dress

  1. Wow! That dress looks amazing to me! I don’t have any suggestions on what you may need to change… Just don’t get too hung up on over thinking things and over fitting the dress. I have Suzy’s Craftsy classes and book – I really need to do something with them – I’m sick and tired of looking at patterns and wondering where to start with the alterations. You’ve demonstrated just how well clothes can fit and how a basic block can altered – well done!

    • Thanks Fiona! I was looking at the pulling-over-the-bust and overthinking it, then though “wait, I’ll check out the same wrap dresses I looked at yesterday and didn’t see a problem with” – and yep, they had it too.

      How do you find Suzy Furrer’s book?
      Sophie-Lee recently posted…Self-drafted faux-wrap dressMy Profile

      • I’ve watched the skirt class and read the skirt section of the book. As far as I can see the information provided is very similar. There is the odd difference, on the video Suzy says to shave 1/8″ off the hip when pegging a skirt – this doesn’t seem to be in the book. While it would be possible to work straight off the book without the videos I think it would be more of a struggle as there is so much information in a small space. It also reads like an algebra textbook with frequent mention of ABC’s! I can see me initially working using the video and the book together to be able to visualise exactly what Suzy means and would eventually just use the book.

  2. Wow! The dress fits great, really nice job. You are such an inspiration, I am going to get back to finishing some of my “Suzy” projects…

    • Thanks Suzanne! And good luck 😀 I reckon just take it slowly, one change at a time – I started off just changing one thing and making a muslin. I started with a boat neckline, and found that the fit of my shoulders was totally off. Then did princess seams and two types of collars. And now have completely switched to knits, which is all I want to wear right now
      Sophie-Lee recently posted…Self-drafted faux-wrap dressMy Profile

  3. Oh wow, that dress looks amazing on you! The fit is so great it makes ME happy and it’s not even my dress. 😀
    I was thinking about getting the Wren dress because I loved the shape but ultimately didn’t because I was seeing a lot of Wrens with wonky waist-seams and such. (I of course don’t know if the pattern is to blame for that) But none of the Wrens I saw fit as well as that and although I like the idea of the sholder gathers looking at your dress I think a non gathered shoulder might be more flattering.
    Well, now I might have to try drafting something like that myself. My sewing list just keeps on growing.
    xxx Sarah

    • While I had been wanting to make a dress like this for a while, I’ll admit it was seeing the Wren that pushed me into actually getting around to it. I thought I might try neckline gathers sometime but not sure how to quite do it – but I prefer this kind of neckband and the higher back neckline.

      And I will admit… this dress does have a slightly wonky waist seam, mainly because of how tight the neckband is pulled, and because I didn’t put elastic in the waist seam, for reasons. I’ll add elastic in later, but otherwise will almost always wear a belt with it!
      Sophie-Lee recently posted…Self-drafted faux-wrap dressMy Profile

  4. Does the knit sloper class not talk about the difference when drafting? I know it’s not taught by Suzy, but I grabbed that class a while back and have yet to watch it so now I’m curious, lol. I think the wrinkles under the bust are just part of the game with wrap dresses – I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one on a real person that didn’t wrinkle a bit. Yours looks lovely though :)
    Show and Tell Meg recently posted…WIP Wednesday: Waiting and Mysteries…My Profile

  5. Very nice, I’ll bet it’s comfortable too. I made a similar one to this and I used the coppelia cardigan as a basic for my wrap shape on the front of my drafted pieces, and the wide band that goes with it (got the idea after making the faux wrap version included in the updated pattern). I used the skirt from the lady skater and the ‘flutter’ sleeves from blue ginger doll bonnie – but they weren’t very fluttery on me! I have the underbust pull lines too, but they don’t really bother me. I called it Lady Bonnelia if you want to have a look for it on my blog ;o) I’m thinking of making one with contrast band too, to use up a lovely knit remnant I have.

    • It’s crazy comfortable! I actually have the Lady Skater pattern but I haven’t even printed it off yet, but that’s the kind of skirt I was thinking of using for the next one

  6. This is lovely! How do the pockets work in a knit? I’ve always been a bit scared of trying that, because I worry they’ll stretch out and distort the skirt.
    I also had a little smile when you referred to the “distal end of the wrap” – I am forever describing my makes in anatomical terms!

  7. Pingback: A rather old dress, and something I’ve been working on for the last few months | Two Random Words

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