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March 10

A Sweater-Knit Wrap Dress

Hello.  I’m back today with a proper wrap dress – as in an actual wrap dress (not a faux wrap dress like my Wren).

I’m smitten with my classic, comfy wrap dress using Vogue 8784.

Wrap Dress

Technically this is a wrap dress for both woven & knit fabrics.  I know right?!  I have yet to make this (or a muslin) in a woven material, but you can bet its high on my spring sewing list.  I just made a muslin last night with a woven material – I was surprised that it fits very similarly to this knit version – I just need to add some wearing ease  at the waist and bust and then I think I’ll be in business.

It was a chilly, yet sunny day so I had to wear my (prescription) sunglasses throughout; hopefully its not too distracting.

Sweater Wrap Dress

I got this fabric from my local fabric store in the remnants section.  I knew I’d use it to make a dress & luckily I found two decent length pieces.  I think this dress costs a whopping $10.  It’s a mystery jersey, sweater knit fabric – probably a rayon-poly blend of some sort.

It’s not a jersey fabric per say – but has little tiny knit stitches on the face of the fabric.  Most would call it a sweater knit, but it really behaves & moves like a jersey.  I’m just trying to be as clear as possible here – as I learn more about knit fabrics myself I’m trying to help everyone else here understand what kind of fabric I’m talking about.  Think about your perfect mid weight, yet semi-drapey cardigan and that’s what this is like.

It has lovely bold flowers of cream, peach and fire-engine red on a charcoal grey background.  While the fabric already seems like its getting a worn look on the charcoal background, this thing doesn’t wrinkle!  I keep it folded on a shelf and every time I pull it out to wear it – zero wrinkles.  It’s amazing!

While I love florals – I am always very careful to avoid having the flower motifs fall on certain parts of my body.  I’ve made this mistake on prior garments – but it really only takes one ill-placed flower to learn your mistake.  I’m always pretty mindful that flowers/large motifs don’t fall on boobs/butts.

Sweater Wrap Dress

Pattern Modifications:

I made my usual alterations, but nothing crazy.  I left the shoulders a bit wider than I normally do on my garments; they’re not dropped shoulders but they do fall off the edge a bit for a more square/modern look.  I’ll just say this is my go-to dress for work now; I pair it with all colors of tights and shoes/boots for the winter.

This dress pattern called for a lining.  Being a sweater knit fabric, I really didn’t want to line this.  Instead I drafted my own neckline binding; one piece for the back neck and 2 pieces for each wrap front.  I made sure to leave the length around 2″-3″ shorter than what I needed as to help pull in the bodice wrap section to prevent gaping.

No Gape

No safety pins needed for this wrap dress!

The binding only goes as far down as the front wrap piece at the waist.  After that I just did a simple fold (twice over to encase the raw edge) and stitch on the skirt edges, utilizing my favorite knit sewing notion (steam a seam, lite), in 1/2″ width.

Hems

I love using steam-a-seam on my knit edges.  It keeps everything quite stable and even (no rolling edges) while I do the final stitching.  I accidentally bought the regular steam a seam (not lite) and I’m fighting my way through it.  The regular stuff is really too heavy for knit fabrics – it seems more for woven quilting purposes.  I used the 1/4″ width on my sleeve hems for a nice narrow finish & a zig zag stitch.

Knit Sweater Dress

I should mention… I’ve never used a dual needle top stitch finish before.  I have the needle, but I’ve found that no one ever really notices my stitching (except for me) and I’m happy living with the zig-zag stitch since it’s really so easy to do.

You can see a tiny bit of the zig-zag hem here too – along with my new, favorite shoes.

Booties

I’ve always loved the vintage snow booties, but they never come in my size.  I was totally stoked to find these calf-hair version in the kids section of Nordstrom’s this past winter.  Love them so much.  :D

Knit Sweater Dress

For this dress, I actually used the sleeves that came with the pattern.  Due to the square shoulders of the dress, the cap of the sleeve was a bit shallower than my Renfrew sleeves and they worked better for this bodice.  The sleeves on this one ended up a bit loose, but it works.  Will modify for next time, no big deal.

Back View:

Knit Sweater Dress

I love this skirt; nice and full & swingy when I walk.  The skirt is catching on my tights a bit; I have since lost my 1/2 slip to prevent the tights/dress cling.  Seriously… its like it walked out of my house, I can’t find it anywhere!  I have no idea where it would have gone…  If you see it around, please send it back home to me.

Knit Sweater Dress

That’s all I have for you guys on this.  An easy, effortless, and classic wrap dress.  I want a closet full of these, as they’re so great to pull on and go.  Hopefully my woven version will be just as effortless to make as this one has been.

  1. Margaret / Mar 10 2016

    This dress is FANTASTIC!!!! Beautiful. (Im a wee bit jealous).

  2. Elle / Mar 10 2016

    So so gorgeous! And loving that sunshine you can see in these photos! I have a few wool projects I’m hustling to finish before Chicago gets too warm, but I might be too late already!

  3. Jessica / Mar 10 2016

    That is quite simply stunning on you! Perfect with the new hair too ;) Inspired!

  4. charlottepb / Mar 10 2016

    lovely dress, gorgeous fabric!

  5. Sue / Mar 10 2016

    Love it, Liz! I wish it came with a neckline band, so you didn’t have to draft your own, but I suppose that was still a quick fix. I’m new to sewing with knits — what kind of lining do you think you’d have used if you did opt to line it?

    • Liz / Mar 10 2016

      I know there is specific knit lining out there but I have yet to purchase or use it.

      I did line this dress like the instructions stated to. I bought a light weight, opaque white rayon-ish knit to use as my lining. Sometimes when knits stretch you can see other prints underneath, so if you lined with the fashion fabric it may show through. I went with a similar drape as my fashion fabric, but lighter in weight like a lining would be in a woven. You would want something with the same or more stretch than your fashion fabric (not less) and beyond that it’s a personal preference thing.

      Just like a woven lining – you can line with many different fabrics based on how it affects the fashion fabric. For a ‘true’ slippery lining I like rayon bemberg, but I like to line some summer dresses with a white cotton voile or batiste.

      I just bopped around my local fabric store and bought what felt right. :D

      • Sue / Mar 10 2016

        Oops! Gotcha. Thanks for the helpful reply!

        • Liz / Mar 10 2016

          There’s no “Ooops” on my blog Sue. Honestly, all questions are GOOD questions. :D

  6. Vicki Kate / Mar 10 2016

    Oh wow! This is gorgeous! I love the darts/pleats at the bodice. You can tell from your massive smile just how much you love it!

    • Liz / Mar 10 2016

      Awww thanks. :D It’s just such an easy dress to wear AND sew – so much easier than the Wren. I’m still on the hunt for that perfect summer floral knit so I can have a second dress for warm weather.

  7. SC / Mar 10 2016

    I LOVE this dress on you! I’ve waffled so much on which wrap dress pattern(s) to get, and while I had my eye on KwikSew 3489 (but what is UP with that bust dart?!), I’m adding this one to my list too. :D

    • Liz / Mar 10 2016

      Yeah, why is there a bust dart on that knit wrap dress pattern? Kinda odd but whatever.

  8. Donna / Mar 10 2016

    Such an attractive dress and I love the colors. You placed the flowers just right. It looks so nice on you!

  9. Meg / Mar 28 2016

    I love this dress! You’ve definitely convinced me that I need to make this pattern sooner rather than later :)

    • Liz / Mar 28 2016

      Awww thanks Meg.

  10. frenie / Mar 29 2016

    Oh, I just love dresses and this one is really cute. It looks so comfortable.

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