Never Ever Again: The Wrap Dress

All I wanted was a twirling dress.

‘You are what?’
‘I am making a wrap dress.’
‘I have tried this once; never ever again.’ Unfortunately when I had this conversation with mum I was already in the middle of the experiment. After all the pattern does look nice.IMG_20180901_194525-01

And it is a Simplicity Pattern so what could go wrong—right? I love them. They always work.

I think you need way more experience and understanding of how patterns work than I had at the time. Apparently wrap-dresses are notoriously difficult to fit, it was either too loose or too wide in all the wrong places, and I could not figure out why it wouldn’t work. Never ever had I ever had such problems with fitting. Did I say never?

Little fixes

To make it fit and stay in place I inserted a hidden zipper underneath the back-decorative hemming, and the frog buttons are not symmetrically in their distance because they cover fitting sins and hide the bobbles from my fitting problems.

The Obi Belt

So after some botched-job fixes—just don’t look too closely or into the inside of the dress—the result was still not quite what I wanted it to be. As there were already frog buttons I decided to add an obi-style belt to it. So ensure it keeps its shape I inserted extra strong lining into the wide area of the belt.

IMG_20180901_194549-01

So without much further ado some detailed shots … AND … the one thing that made all the fuzz worthwhile: The twirl!

1535888645218

The Twirl

I have created an Instagram account that goes with this blog but still need to transfer media across.

Making a Knitting Bucket

Sewing for knitting

This is my first time trying to write sewing instructions for something. Let me know what you think and how helpful they were. Or where you still have questions.

The light grey one was my prototype this is why it still looks a bit disheveled. The darker grey one I used the patter. Also the textile I used was heavy Ikea curtains. I had to shorten these to fit our windows and wanted to make something with the off-cuts.

Tip: If you want to give your knitting bucket a bit more stability to can iron on some heavy weight interfacing to one or two of the wrapping panels.

I am adding a link to the pdf so you can download the document and print the instructions. Otherwise these are the steps for making the bucket.

You Need

Outer Wrap
Length: 69 cm
Height 39 cm
Inner Wrap
Length: 63 cm
Height: 39 cm

Length for all pockets: 69 cm
Height first layer: 31 cm
Height second layer: 11 cm

1 cm seam allowance

Assembly

  1. Hem all pieces of fabric once you have cut them.
  2. If you want to decorate the pockets with vintage lace as in the example don’t forget to cut two strips of 69 cm long lace.
  3. Sew on the lace before you stitch the pockets.
  4. Stitch the pockets before assembling the bucket.
  5. Begin with the first layer (31 cm) pockets
    1. Depending on your needs draw lines for long knitting needles so you can sort them according to size (see picture below)
    2. I also added two 5 cm wide pockets for bigger items

      (c) Nathalie Sheridan
      making pockets
  6. Then place the second layer of of fabric for the small pockets on top of it, before stitching it together, mark out the seams for the pockets and make sure you do stitch exactly on the lines of the other pockets or just leave a space there
  7. Once you have stitched all the pockets take the inner bottom (page 3) and fix it to the inner wrap, outsides facing inwards (see picture below).

    (c) Nathalie Sheridan
    Base
  8. Make small incisions around the seam-allowance of the base to ease curvage of material
  9. Repeat for outer wrap
  10. Sew the long edged of the wrapper
  11. Now you have two buckets
  12. Leave the inner (smaller) bucket with the outside facing material into the inside
  13. Turn the outer bucket so that the pockets face outwards
  14. Place smaller bucket into the bigger one
  15. Use the top hem-allowance to fold seams into the inside and then carefully top-stitch
  16. You could also use decorative bias binding to stitch these together

Your Free PDF Download

Download Knitting Bucket Pattern and Instructions PDF

Vintage Art Nouveau Style Fabric

Making the NewLook 3641 Pattern

my way …

img_48341439946717.jpg

The fabric used for this dress is one of the vintage ones I mentioned in the previous post. Whilst it is not actual Art Nouveau the design is very much reflecting the continental Art Nouveau designs I love so much. Finding the right pattern for it took a while. As I mentioned before there is only so much fabric I have from mom’s stash so I had to find a pattern that would allow me to show off the pattern as best as possible yet wouldn’t use a vast amount to fabric.

NewLook 3641 seemed to be the best fit. There were several reasons for this choice: I had barely two meter of fabric, therefore I needed a pattern where pattern matching would not be too much of an issue. If you notice I managed to align two of the figures front centre of the dress but the rest is not pattern matched.

img_4857-011112059359.jpeg

The advantage was that the pattern of the fabric had the main design character alternating head-up or head-down, which meant I could use the fabric most efficiently. Further, I wanted a dress with pockets, and one that would lend itself to lining, as the fabric is very thin and fairly transparent. And look at that gorgeous lining I managed to obtain from the left-over bin at Mandors here in Glasgow.

So there are some tips and tricks on how to sew on the lining. The best way is to sew two independent dressed and then put them together outsides facing, leave the bottom open you can hem this fairly easy or even sew bias tape around.

However, if you need a bit more control between the layers of top fabric and lining I would recommend to sew the panels together. This is what I did with my dress as the top-fabric would otherwise not stay in shape. There is a trick to how to make the seam across the shoulders where front and back come together nice.

For putting the shoulder straps together. Leave the seams between the lining and the top-fabric open, fold the fabric and lining into the shoulder strap, by width of seam allowance, and iron into place. Then move the front strap into the created ‘pipe’ again by width of seam-allowance and then carefully top stitch it together.

While I love dresses with pockets, or skirts, trousers, any item of clothing with pockets. I really don’t like making them they are so fiddly and I still haven’t entirely gotten the hang of it. BUT! I finally hacked the invisible zipper! Which, until this dress, has been the bane of my sewist-existence.

img_4855-011440977479.jpeg

I can highly recommend this pattern. It is a very comfortable fit, easy to wear. You can dress it up or down and it has pockets. (Just in case I haven’t told you about the pockets yet.) I still consider myself a beginner when it comes to sewing and this pattern was really easy to follow. If you pay close attention you can see the pink iron-away textile marker guides on the fabric. As long as you make sure you stick to these the dress will come out really well.

I tweaked the pattern a bit and changed the straight line front hem into the curved front and added curved hem to the back as well. With the type of fabric I used it provided nicer movement and fit.

Getting Rid of Smell in Vintage Fabric

Last year my mom send me a huge pile of vintage fabrics, after the first excitement I noticed two problems. One was that they came in varied and non-standard lengths, and the other problem was a very musty old smell that still hung in the cloth even after two washing cycles with disinfectant.

Tips against smelly vintage fabric

The internet of things had various suggestions for treating the musty old smell of vintage garments. Two seem to be the most effective.

Vodka and Vinegar.

Vinegar

I soaked the fabric for two nights in my bathtub. Fill the tub with cold (or warm) water and then pour 1 liter of clear vinegar into it (like pickling vinegar or simple white vinegar). Avoid any dark vinegar to prevent discoloration. Depending on how bleach safe the colour of the fabric is you can make the solution much stronger (e.i. add more vinegar).

It is usually recommended to test on a small piece of fabric if the fabric can handle the vinegar treatment and doesn’t bleach.

Vodka

Vodka or for that matter any form of clear alcohol (Schnaps). Pour the alcohol into a spray bottle and spray the fabric with it. Then let it air out. Repeat as necessary.

After the Vinegar or Vodka treatment you still might want to wash the garment or fabric with disinfectant. The smell entirely left my fabrics and I could enjoy sewing with it and more importantly wearing it.