Saturday, 5 April 2014

It's A Wrap!

Stash busting 2014:  The Wrap Dress

Fabric:   3.8 metre, 100% polyester knit

Pattern:  Vogue 8896

Thread:   polyester thread found in the stash

Vogue 8896 has been on my wish list for quite some time. There was an issue with getting my hands on the proper size. But thankfully, that all got sorted out and I've come to terms with purchasing my patterns on-line from now on. This pattern is rated "very easy" but my fabric proved to challenge this claim.

The fabric is a beautiful deep red colour in a polyester interlock knit with an equally beautiful drape. This fabric has been in my stash for a very, very long time. I picked it up because I loved the colour and it sat in my stash because I was scared to sew this knit. And I did have some difficulties working with this knit.

My initial thought was to work with a ball point needle and the knit stitch on my sewing machine but that plan did not work all that well. Fabric was being pushed down the metal plate and there were moments struggling to release it that I thought the fabric would be damaged. I moved to a micro-fibre needle and again the same problem occurred. I decided to abandon the knit stitch and try a regular straight stitch only to encounter a new problem, skipped stitches. I didn't know what to do so I gave up and switched sewing machines.

The older Janome worked well with this fabric. I didn't return to a knit stitch and opted for a normal straight stitch. The seams are double stitched and serged. Why mess with something that is working? I'll have to go back and check out the other machine, it might be time for a tune-up. I'm just grateful that the project is finished. I plan to wear it out to the opera this evening. Yes, a wrap dress might seem to be a bit casual for the opera but this is Winnipeg. Ninety percent of the population here live in jeans and/or yoga pants. I think I can get away with a wrap dress.  

The wrap dress will be prefect as my day dress for the Tim Gunn sewing challenge. Can you believe that 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress?  

Many people will attribute the wrap dress to Diane von Furstenberg and the nineteen seventies but it was Betsy Johnson's wrap dress that was featured in Vogue on September 1, 1967. The height of popularity for the wrap dress happened in the nineteen seventies and made von Furstenberg a very wealthy women. Her timing was impeccable. By 1975 Vogue declares it the year of the wrap dress. Everyone is designing a wrap dress from Furstenberg to Halston to Anne Klien.  By 1978, Women's Wear Daily declares that the wrap dress is passe. Premature, yes as the wrap dress is revived in the nineteen nineties and is considered a classic to this day. 

The pattern, Vogue 8896, is perfect. I would highly recommend it without a doubt. I didn't shorten the pattern when I cut out my fabric. I knew I wanted a longer length wrap dress and that is exactly what I got. It could have easily been a maxi dress on my five foot frame. Instead, I ended up chopping four inches off the length and now it falls just above my ankles. I love the length. I also lengthened the sleeves which now sit just above my elbow. The hem on the skirt is top-stitched. The hem on the sleeves I tried to use my blind hem foot but that didn't work so I did a hand stitch for the sleeve hem. Despite all the challenges and change in plans, I am quite pleased with the final result and my new dress.

Happy Sewing!



  1. Oooh stunning dress! Enjoy!

  2. You inspire me to be brave and work with my knits more :-)

  3. This is really chic! I have this pattern....hmm....a Betsey Johnson gaudy wrap homage?

    1. Oh my gosh, you crack me up. I can't wait to see it!


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