Less than lovely wrap dress

Sometimes garment sewing is a lot of work for little gain. This is one of those times. Years ago I was inspired by Mary Nanna’s lovely version of Butterick 5030. I bought the pattern, presumably the next time that they went on sale. Then last summer as I was trying to find, in the hazy baby sleep deprivation fog, a summer dress suitable for breastfeeding. Let me tell you there are not many. Button front, wrap or knit with a very stretchy neckline, Or a specialist pattern, oh hang on, those hardly exist. So I pulled out Butterick 5030.

I started tracing and altering. I always trace because my patterns require so much butchery. I trace on the kitchen table, so I have to constantly pack up and unpack my work. I fought for my little 1 hour blocks of time and after a couple of weeks of devoting every spare time block to this project I had traced the bodice 5 times and I STILL was not even up to cutting out. I gave up. I traced the wrong bodice view. I traced the right one in the wrong size. Right view, right size, too small FBA. Right view, right size big enough FBA which totally distorts the pattern. And finally again, witha Y-style FBA (the photo above shows a 4cm ‘normal’ full bust adjustment and a Y FBA, check out the humunga dart, wacky armscye and way too much length on the normal FBA). I lot of the error is from my realisation that for the neck and shoulders to fit I need to trace a 14, one size smaller than my high bust measurement. This then ensures that I need a huge FBA, full bicep adjustment, and to grade the side seam to my waist size (20) and hip size (24). At this point I almost concede the sewing clothes that fit me is almost as annoying as buying ready to wear that fits me. Almost, but not quite.

Anyway, I gave up. Then this summer I pulled it out all those traced pieces, and decided to damn well just sew it up. I had the blue linen from Lincraft, I might as well.

I attempted the flutter sleeve and the fitted sleeve shortened and gave up on both. I ran out of fabric and energy for any kind of belt, though perhaps it could use one. I covered the waist dart to gathers as it was all getting to hard. That was a big mistake, it’s pretty poofy there.

And it definitely requires a cami and a half slip if wardrobe malfunctions are to be avoided. And after all that alteration there is way too much bust ease in there. I really don’t know how that happened. I obviously have tissue fitting issues.

Anyway I wore it to Melbourne Cup Day at a friends house (hence the flowers in the hair – we didn’t have hats).

The host, when pressed, suggested it was best as house dress. Hmmm.

Oh well.


5 thoughts on “Less than lovely wrap dress

  1. Well it still looks like a nice summer dress to me. I have a similar gradient from shoulder size to hip size (but am shorter than you) and can testify that buying dresses is nearly impossible. If I tried on a dress and it looked like yours, I’d buy it! I say wear it happily.

  2. Aww, rats! I think it’s awfully close to being awesome, though—the right shape of dart (or darts) in the front and maybe a touch less length at the waist in the back? (Actually, maybe raise the waist all around a touch?)

    Do you have a personal sloper-type-thing you’ve fitted to yourself? I feel like having something like that to compare and morph a new pattern to is often easier than doing the alterations each time (although I don’t think my alterations are quite as intense as yours… though there’s still a lot of them)

    I suppose the cami would probably still be required, though. Hrmm.

    Though really, I don’t know how anyone sews with a baby around. I certainly didn’t. 😉

  3. I just wanted to comment to say that your litany of errors and annoyances made me laugh – I’ve so been there. Like you, I also usually get to the stage where I’m sick of having something partially done hanging around and think “stuff it, I’ll just get it done” – of course by that stage, motivation and energy for the project is very low, so there are a few corners cut.
    I agree with the other commenters though – this is so very close to being a great dress for you.

  4. I’ve made the same dress and have a really gaping top as well. I did not do any grading, just cut out the closest I could to my “suggested” size. I like the dress but can’t get comfortable with the bust, and a pin looks like I’ve pinned it. I found your page trying to find a solution. I want to try the pattern again and can’t decide how to fix this: cut it smaller, use stretchier fabric? I saw one lady put an elastic in the neckline, and I think threads magazine has an article about wrap dresses right now and they suggest sewing twill tape in there (I don’t know how that would help). I also remember a blogger once saying she always cut the top neckline a bit shorter on wrap dresses……I just have no idea which of these to try or how to fix the dress I have. You dress would look cute if you put a contrasting belt- maybe a black one.

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