Hello! I’m another new Simple Sew blogger for this month, and I knew what pattern I wanted to make for the Dressmaker’s Ball (which is hosted by @craftysewandso on Instagram – go and visit their page for more details!) as soon as I heard about it! The very pretty Lena Wrap Dress.
I’ve never worn a wrap dress before — let alone made one, but I thought that a ball would be the perfect excuse to make a Lena! I chose a beautiful scuba fabric from FC Fabric Studio and could barely contain my excitement as I was cutting it out and my vision was slowly coming together.
I didn’t make a toile (oops) so went for a size 10 based on the measurements on the back of the pattern. I was a bit in-between sizes so went up (I figured I could always increase the seam allowances) which, in hindsight, was a little bit of a silly idea – with jersey it’s always best to size down if in doubt!
I knew that there might be some fitting issues, so I was trying everything on as I went. I ended up increasing the wrap by quite a lot, bringing one piece almost right over to the side seam of the other, but it ended up working out quite well like that, and still meant that I had quite a lot of ‘plunge’ in the neckline, as the pattern is designed to – it is a party dress after all!
As I was cutting out the waistband pieces, which are cut on the fold, I did notice that there are notches in the middle of the ‘place on fold’ line, meaning that you’re going to end up with little snips right in the centre of a waistband piece! Unfortunately, I only discovered that mistake once I’d already cut the notches, so now one of my waistband pieces has holes in the middle – I’ll be keeping an eye on that to make sure it doesn’t turn into a problem!
I also increased the seam allowance to 2cm (as opposed to 1cm) on the waistband, which meant that I had to add two pleats onto the back bodice to get it to fit. As my fabric is quite a busy one print-wise, you can’t really notice them, but I’m glad that they’re there because they improved the fit quite considerably!
Now – onto sleeves. I am not a big fan of putting in sleeves, and could even go so far as saying that they are my nemesis when it comes to sewing. Despite the lack of sleeve notches on the bodice, it was still relatively easy to figure out what went where – you just have to keep checking where the front of the dress is – and there is also a really good post on the Simple Sew site with clear instructions on how to put in their sleeves. As a seasoned wheelchair-user, I didn’t want any bagginess on my sleeves (goodness, how many more times shall I say sleeves?) because otherwise they get caught up in the wheels and quickly get really quite gross and muddy. To fix this, I just draped the fabric over my arm and pinned it onto myself to make sure it was nice and tight!
Finally, we get to the border piece that goes around the skirt. I was going to do this in a contrasting fabric to really bring out the flowers, but, being four foot eleven, made the executive decision that it would have made the dress a bit too long. I’ll definitely alter the length so that I can add it in next time though!
Harriet blogs at https://hobblinghandmades.com/
Dressmakers Ball info:
Friday 12th May 2017 at The City Rooms, Leicester.