Welcome to the Wildwood Wrap Dress sew along. Before we get started with the actual cutting and sewing, I want to cover supplies, fabric choices, fit and adjustments - a little pre-game planning.
As far as supplies go, you will need the following items:
1. matching thread (1 - 2 spools).
2. light-weight fusible interfacing.
3. (1) 3/4”/18mm button - this is an approximate size. You can go slightly smaller or larger if you choose. I like to use a flat clear button because it is only functional and the belt will cover it.
4. 42”/ 107cm of 1/4”/6mm wide twill tape or ready made ties. This will be used to secure the underskirt to the side seam so you don't want anything too bulky.
5. Optional - a small hook and eye set. This attaches the lower right pocket bag to the underskirt so the skirt can't completely blow open.
FABRIC CHOICES & INSPIRATION:
First off, about the dress. The Wildwood Wrap Dress is a true wrap dress, however, it's not your typical wrap in that the obi-inspired belt is detached. The bodice is loose fitting and drapey due to the cut on sleeves, the waist and shoulder pleats and the skimming but not completely fitted waist that is belted. If you are larger in the bust, you probably won't need to do an FBA (full bust adjustment) due to the ease, design and pleats. However, if you like a truly drapey loose look, you may want to size up just to be sure. Also, sometimes using a drapey fabric such as rayon challis or silk charmeuse can make the garment appear slightly larger and looser. This dress can look very different depending on the fabric you choose so think about the details and options that the pattern offers and then how you would like your end result to look. If choosing sleeve B (the slightly longer dolman sleeve that is meant to be rolled up), you will want a more structured fabric such as linen or cotton so the sleeve will stay rolled up. The original design had slightly longer sleeves, however, when I saw the sleeves rolled down or in drapey fabrics that wouldn't stay rolled up and if the dress was a little on the larger, looser side, it tended to look like a bathrobe. That is why I shortened the sleeves slightly and added a short, loose sleeve and shorter skirt option. Sleeve version B looks best in linen (in my opinion), but you may want to steer away from colors and textures that might look a little bathrobe-ish.
1. The first photo on the left is view A, size 6 in a cotton ikat fabric. The fabric is a little stiffer than I prefer but still works.
2. The center photo is view A, size 16 in a light-weight hand dyed linen (blog post about natural dyes by Susanna here).
3. The photo on the right is a size 6 in rayon challis from Sewingstudio.com that is no longer available - view A bodice with view B skirt. The skirt looks a little long on me as does the top because the challis fabric drapes so much and adds a little bit of length.
4. The photo on the left is view A, size 8 bodice with size 10 skirt in rayon challis - Shibori Scale from Harts Fabric. Ambrosia is 5'9" with long legs so we added 1" to the skirt length.
5. The center photo is view A in middle-weight, Spice linen from Fabrics-store.com . The linen was washed more than once to give it more drape. I am wearing size 6.
6. The photo on the right is view A, size 6 in a silk/rayon blend - a Diane Von Furstenburg designer left over fabric from Mill End Store.
7. The photo on the left is view B in size 8. Becky is 5'9" and no adjustments were made. You can see how a horizontal stripe looks and how the stripe angles on the bodice if you cut it on the indicated grainline. The fabric is a linen stripe that is no longer available.
8. The photo on the right is view B in Curvy Fit size 24 and the fabric is English Rose middle-weight linen from Fabrics-store.com. Hayley is 5'5" and no adjustments were made.
9. The photo on the left is view B in a size 8 in a stretch linen from Mill End Store. You can see that it fits in the shoulders and bodice on Ambrosia who is 5'9" and short in the torso but long in the legs. She is generally a size 10 in the waist but because of the stretch in the fabric and her smaller hips, this size 8 worked for her although, we added 1.5" length to the teal dress that she also modelled at the top of the page.
10. The middle photo is of Denise wearing the exact same dress (view B) shown in the photo on the right. Denise is 5'5" and usually wears a size 8, however, she had recently had her breasts removed and the bodice was really large and loose on her so we made another dress for her shown on the right.
11. The photo on the right shows Denise in her custom dress, view B. We used a size 4/6 blended top so that the bodice had reduced length but not as much on the sides so that the back length still fit. We used a size 8 skirt with 1" length taken out. It fit her perfectly in the black, middle-weight linen from Fabrics-store.com.
Below are some more inspiring photos from just some of the Wildwood pattern testers.
Alyssa in a cotton gingham version B.
Andie in a drapey fabric, view B.
Emily in linen, view B.
Sarah in linen, view B.
Katie, view B.
Kristin in a drapey fabric, view B.
Rachel in printed cotton, View B bodice with View A skirt.
FIT ADJUSTMENTS & CHOOSING YOUR SIZE:
I highly advise you to read the finished garment measurements to help you choose your size.
If you are hourglass shaped, choose your skirt size by using your hip measurement as it is skimming at the hips and you don't want pulling in that area. You can either take in the waist or better yet, the belt will take in the excess if needed.
If you are fuller in the waist and narrower in the hips, choose according to your waist measurement. If the difference in sizes for your waist and hips is more than one size, you might want to blend sizes or grade from one size in the waist to another at the hips.
Having a large bust probably doesn't mean that you need to do an FBA. The top is plenty roomy to accommodate a full bust but if you are tall or have a long torso, as well as a full bust, you may want to add length to the bodice - at least at the front and then blend at the side seams from front to back. You could also size up in the bodice, keeping a smaller size neck opening and collar.
Remember to check the finished garment measurements to determine whether or not to lengthen or shorten your skirt. Because the skirt hem is faced, it is difficult to shorten or lengthen it after the facings are attached so best to plan ahead of time. You can always hem the skirt the usual way by turning the hem up instead of using the facings if you do find that it's too long after the fact.
Below are a few common pattern adjustments.
It is easy to lengthen and or widen the sleeves. I didn't add a longer option because I was trying to conserve fabric. Adding to the sleeve length adds quite a bit of fabric usage for the larger sizes.
Be sure to wash your fabric before cutting out your dress unless you will be using a fabric that is so delicate that you don't plan on washing it after it's done. I always wash the fabric in the same manner that I would wash the garment. You want the fabric to preshrink prior to cutting out the dress rather than after the dress is complete. I often iron the fabric after washing as well. It helps to ensure that the pieces maintain the correct shape. If your fabric is slightly rumpled when you cut it, it may grow unevenly once you press your cut piece and may then appear warped and misshaped. Also, if your fabric appears off-grain, you can block the fabric (see step 2 on page 5 of the instructions).
That's it for today. Join me tomorrow when we start sewing the bodice. Be sure to have your pieces cut out and ready to sew.