You may or may not remember several years ago when Tim Gunn released a fashion book, sort of a style guide for the everyday woman. Working in a bookstore for a decade, these things stick with me, and when I finally got a chance to flip through it, a piece of advice Mr. Gunn gave has stuck with me all this time. I even looked it up just for this occasion. He writes:
I encourage all women to invest in a couple of flattering wrap dresses. It makes women look feminine, pulled together, and at ease in the world… it’s an easy, one-step dress: it travels well, and it’s easy to care for.
As sewists, however, we know that it's not nearly as much fun to simply buy a wrap dress -- We want to make it ourselves! That's why this month, we're featuring four fabulous knit wrap dress patterns so you can craft your very own wardrobe building dress for all occasions.
And while I say "all occasions", this box does ship on November 1, so we're giving a little holiday spin on things. There's no denying that this year's holiday season is going to a little different. Normally, I would put together a box of "party attire" for the slew of work, friend, and family get togethers that happen between Halloween and the New Year.
But obviously, there are going to be far fewer (if any) parties happening this year. That still doesn't mean that we can't make something a little more luxurious than our day to day clothes. We can sew frosting whenever we want to! And I think the wrap dress is the perfect dress pattern to float between every day and special occasion because, as Tim Gunn says, "it's an easy, one step dress". And honestly, who doesn't want some more ease in their life?
Sew Fearless Box: Wanda Wrap Dress from Wardrobe By Me
If you had a platonic ideal in mind about what a wrap dress looks like, the Wanda Wrap Dress from Wardrobe By Me would probably be it. To be fair, there's not a lot of variations in wrap dresses: they all have the same closure type and therefore all hew to a similar shape and look. And when this happens with patterns, it's all about the details that distinguish one from the other.
With this dress, everything comes down to the skirt. A six-gore design, this skirt is the full sweep of fabric that you just want to twirl in. The gored shape means that it hugs your curves then swings out with fullness as it falls towards the knee. With a more fluid knit, this means a beautiful drape that is soft and flattering. The drape also complements the front closure which has cowl-like folds in its design. All of this adds up to one stunning knit dress.
This pattern calls for drapey fabrics, to really show off the style details, and with that in mind, let's take a a look at the fabric options:
- Pine Green Rayon Spandex Jersey - Rayon is always a great option for draped styles, and this rayon jersey is absolutely gorgeous. With a healthy dose of spandex, it has great recovery and the rayon gives it a silky, cool hand. In a rich, verdant green, it will become an amazing wrap dress that is perfect for the holiday season.
- Navy and Red Hibiscus Floral ITY - If you think that florals are just for warm weather, this large scale print might change your mind. Bright red and white hibiscus flowers float on a navy background, and the best part, they are printed with a slight puff to add texture to the normally flat ITY knit. Slinky yet medium weight, this ITY will transform into your go-to dress when you want a bold print to brighten up those winter days.
- Oatmeal Rayon Nylon Sweater Knit - This fabric has to be felt to be believed. Silk soft, it feels almost like cashmere wool, but without the dry clean only upkeep. On the beefier side, this sweater knit will be just what you're looking for when the weather turns cold and you want to wrap yourself in softness. And in a neutral oatmeal color, you can dress it up with boots and tights or down with leggings underneath. No matter how you style it, you'll want to wear it all winter long!
Sew Confident Box: Westcliff Dress from Friday Pattern Company
Friday Pattern Company really has some great building block patterns in their arsenal, but always with a fun, unexpected twist. The Westcliff Dress is no exception. To brighten up the traditional look, they've added a gathered yoke at the shoulders that is not only a sweet detail but also a functional one. The gathers allow the neckline to stay flat along the chest while still accounting for the volume across the chest. Ingenious!
The pattern also comes with an optional flounce at the skirt, to transform it into a maxi dress. However, we are only including the fabric to make the shorter version. In this way, we can give you a higher level of fabric for the dress, especially with the holidays in view. If you want to make a maxi version though, simply send us an email and we can help you create the perfect kit for the look you want!
Now, it's fabric time:
- Chili Red Bamboo Cotton Stretch Jersey - If you've made anything with the bamboo cotton french terry we've used in a few of our boxes, meets it's jersey cousin. Silky soft, with a cool hand and soft drape, this jersey will be a dream to wear. And the vibrant red color will be perfect for the season. The chili red is a true red, on the slightly warmer side, and it will be a bright spot in your wardrobe going in to the holiday season!
- Black & White Paisley ITY - ITY is really a wonderful knit for wrap dresses as the smooth hand and semi-fluid drape really complements the pattern style. This ITY combines all that goodness with a fabulous print, a large scale paisley that is bold without being overpowering or busy. This fabric will convince you that the real wardrobe secret is not a little black dress, but a little black and white one!
- Sophia Navy Stretch Velvet Knit - It's hard not to plan holiday dresses and not go for one in lush velvet. This navy velvet is opulent - silky soft and wonderfully textured. And it will transform into your new favorite special occasion dress that is not only one of a kind, but also incredibly comfortable to wear. Plus, don't worry about the nap, we're giving you enough fabric to account for possible changes in the cutting layout.
Sew Curvy Box: Appleton Dress from Cashmerette
I have been waiting to use the Appleton Dress ever since I introduced the Sew Curvy Box. It's the pattern that made me discover Cashmerette and it's still one of my favorite patterns in their collection.
A wrap dress is an awesome option for a curvy figure as you can control how much waist definition you want with the wrap ties and Cashmerette has improved on its design with a neckband that won't gape at the front (a must for anyone above a C cup) and a longer under layer that reduces the risk of flashing too much leg at the wrap closure. Plus, it's just a really gorgeous dress pattern, with great customization options so you can get exactly the look you want.
- Blueberry Bamboo Jersey - You probably already have a little black dress. But do you have a deep blue one? This blue, falling somewhere between a navy and royal, is just the right hue for a hit of color while still remaining neutral. And it's the perfect color for a dress that can do double duty as a special occasion outfit and everyday dress. Plus, this bamboo jersey is just the right weight to be drapey but not body hugging. A lovely fabric!
- Pink Orchid Floral ITY - Poinsettias might be the go-to flower for anything after Thanksgiving, but I think this pink and red orchid print is way better. Large scale, these flower looks like they've been watercolor painted on the black ITY knit and have holiday colors without being overtly seasonal. Plus, the ITY has a lovely drape and cool hand that will feel so comfortable to wear, for the holiday season and beyond!
- Oxblood Rayon Modal Sweater Knit - The oxblood sweater knit from our cardigan boxes was so popular, I couldn't help but use a similar fabric for this dress. While the color is the same, the content is different, slightly lighter and with a distinct shine that you get from rayon. If you want to make a wrap dress that feels like your favorite knit sweater, this is the fabric for you!
Sew Indulgent Box: Olivia Wrap Dress from Named Clothing
Of all the wrap dress patterns we have on offer this month, the Olivia Wrap Dress from Named Clothing is the least typical. Yes, it has the wrap closure and the tie waist, but the ladies over in Finland have mixed things up with a tulip shaped skirt rather than the more common A-line or swing style, and it has elastic sewn into the waist. This creates a very flattering silhouette and helps hug the wrap closure to the body. Add to that some in seam pockets - surprisingly it's the only one with them - and you have a really lovely dress.
Because this design relies less on the drape of the fabric, we were able to play with some wools and beefier fabrics that make this dress sort of a combination of a wrap dress and a sweater dress. Honestly, I feel cozy just thinking about it.
So let's look at the fabrics:
- Blush Pink Cotton Modal Jersey - Pink probably isn't what you would consider a winter or holiday color. Most of the time, once the weather turns cold, we switch to dark or primary colored fabrics. But this blush pink reminds me of the color of a really nice glass of rosé wine, and I consider wine a holiday color. The modal adds a lovely sheen to this fabric and the cotton gives it good heft, which will work really well for the tulip skirt. An unexpected fabric, but a beautiful dress!
- Black Bamboo Dot Jersey - If you ask me, white polka dots are the best way to liven up a black dress. The dots are fun and remind me of twinkle lights, a nice nod to the holiday season. A silky soft bamboo, this fabric will drape really nicely for the dress, but since it's medium weight, it will have nice heft for this pattern. If you're looking to up your black dress game, this is the fabric for you.
- Moroccan Blue Bamboo Merino Jersey - We couldn't do this box without using our favorite type of wool. Merino wool is soft and not at all scratchy, plus, it's machine washable! And when transformed into a wrap dress, it will feel like a sweater dress but have the look of a jersey t-shirt knit. The moroccan blue color is a slightly bluer deep teal and will be the perfect jewel tone for the late fall and winter season. A simply gorgeous fabric!
I'm so excited for this month's boxes. This has been a rough year for everyone, and it gives me a little bit of comfort to something beautiful and optimistic in the world. And that's how I see this month's theme, a sewing project for happy times, whenever they return.
In our Classic boxes, I've decided to revive our sweatshirt boxes. These boxes were created before I introduced the Sew Curvy Box, so it actually features a brand new box featuring the Romy Sweater from Jalie Patterns. These boxes are a great option if you want to stick to everyday loungewear instead of sewing a dress that you may not get to wear right away.
That's it for this month. I'm announcing a new round of Stay Home and Sew Kits next week so check back then to see what's on offer this month for our standalone kits. But until then. . .