This post is so over due …… here’s why!
I first made two versions of the Diana Wrap Dress back in March 2016 when I tested for Wardrobe by Me (**affiliate link). I have worn those dresses quite a bit and needed a new dress that allowed baby feeding access at the time. This summer I will just be able to enjoy wearing it without that functionality anymore.
I made this when I had a christening to attend. I used a multi printed tropical rayon knit (95% viscose/ 5% elastane) and went with the no collar, short sleeve version although there is the option of also making the collar detachable and 5 sleeve lengths. I wanted a maxi dress so lengthened the dress by 14 inches and due to fabric restrictions, I tapered the skirt for a straighter look using the notch at the hip for reference and I just cut straight down to the hem. Construction wise I followed the instructions which are clear and have great pictorials.
Because I have made this dress before, I knew I didn’t have to alter for fit which is great for me and made it and a relatively quick sew. I think the nature of the wrap dress is to flatter all women which I think this pattern does and I always feel good when I wear them.
**This post contains affiliate links to Wardrobe by Me Patterns
I have tested for Wardrobe by Me before but have the draft of that post still sitting on the computer, hopefully it will be published shortly. Nonetheless, who can refuse a dress inspired by the famous DVF? Not I. I have been searching for a perfect fitting wrap dress, and have made a couple, such as this one, or this one, but neither of those have the ideal comfort or fit factor.
The Diana wrap dress is perfect! I’m not just saying that either because I was a tester*. I didn’t make any pattern adjustments and quickly made two versions during the testing time frame. The pattern comes with 4 sleeve lengths and 2 collars, as well as a sleeveless version. The sneaky thing about these collars is that they are detachable so you can really get two different looking dresses from one sew.
The wrap dress ties around the waist and has a slight flare from the hips. Instructions are provided for lengthening the skirt to a maxi dress version. There is a layered option for printing and no trim pages. Ideal fabric to use should have a minimum of 3% lycra or elastane, you really do need something with good drape, ask me how I know!!!
Version 1 above was made with vintage flowers charmeuse fabric (98% polyester/2% spandex). Construction is really well written in the final version with nice pictorials. I found that although the size was perfect, my fabric choice made the dress a bit tight around the bust and arms but entirely my fault as my fabric wasn’t stretchy enough.
I decided to make a second version with the recommended fabric, it’s an ITY blue knit (95% polyester/5% spandex). The fit is much better overall and extremely comfortable. I can’t wait to make more versions, especially in the different length sleeves. This is a classic pattern and a great fit. The seam allowances are small (0.7cm) and although knit fabric rarely frays, I chose to overlock my seams for neatness. This meant I had to overlock the pattern pieces before sewing as an opening is left at one of the side seams so the belt can be threaded through.
I didn’t change the length of the pattern and think it sits right at my preferred length. Both these dresses have been in regular rotation since making them for a number of reasons, easy and comfortable to wear and they don’t require ironing :).
*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.
I’m not one to think of catchy titles and neither do I expect a big following with this blog but this is my own journey about what I make and do and how to get better at it.
I got inspired to make a wrap dress because (a) I don’t own one, and (b) I’ve been watching the House of DVF (Diane von Furstenberg) so why not give it a go. I used to be a jeans and top girl but lately reaching for a dress is far easier and quicker and thumbs up for minimal ironing.
So straight to sewing. The first make I am posting is a Vogue 8896 wrap dress with bias bodice and a flared skirt. Recommended for moderate stretch knits. I made view A but don’t know how I feel about shorter dresses these days, probably because I spend most of my day chasing rugrats around, although the finished garment isn’t as short as I thought it would be so that’s a bonus.
The fabric I used was a stretch crepe knit 147cm wide and I had 2m and used a ball point needle with a regular straight stitch. I cut a size 14 and I’m normally a size 12 (Australian) RTW. I really would like a maxi version of this but it requires 3.7m of fabric and I don’t really need to add to the stash quite yet.
It was probably too stretchy for this project however I think the short skirt version stops it from being weighed down too much. Everything went together quite smoothly and I followed the instructions as per the pattern. I wasn’t sure whether to make the dress sleeveless or add sleeves and cut them out and basted them on but I thought the versatility of having a sleeveless dress and layering in the colder months might be more beneficial. The fabric is slightly see through however with a slip all is well and also provides assurance that on a windy day the wrap won’t be too revealing although there is quite a substantial overlap.
The only thing I’m unsure about is the pooling that ocurrs at the front waistline. Looking at the model the same thing is happening and the only way to smooth that out for me was to pull up the front at the shoulders or tie it really tight (and I admit that I forget to shorten the bodice which is a common alteration for me) but I might remember to do that in the next version rather than tinker with this one as it is still wearable. There is also no fear of flashing as the front overlap is quite big probably as the width of the shoulder fronts are quite wide.
Overall I am happy with this dress as it can be worn out with heels and also with sandals for a more casual look. I was thinking as to whether it could be made to be closed with a snap at the waistline rather with a tie so that it leaves more options for belting if made in a different fabric. I am also contemplating making it up in a woven and cutting the front out on the bias.
Any comments from anyone if these ideas will actually work?
Happy stitching !