Frankenpatterning the Perfect Knit Wrap Dress

Wrap Dress Thumbnail

I have tried several knit wrap dress patterns in my quest for the perfect one. I've gone from the horrible disaster that was Butterick 3078 to the ok-but-not-great of Vogue 8379 to almost there with Butterick 5454 last year. My two main issues with B5454 were the Pleat to Nowhere in the shoulder and the slightly skimpy overlap on the front skirt.

When I bought this lovely and expensive (for me) silk jersey ($12/yd) from Michael's Fabrics last year I was determined to make it into a high-quality well-fitting DVF-style wrap dress to last the ages.  And so I called upon all my past wrap dresses (no seance needed) and took the best parts from each to create: The Perfect Knit Wrap Dress.

I would like to thank the following patterns for contributing:
Butterick 5454: Bodice and Tie
Butterick 5451: Skirt
Vogue 8379: Sleeve, Cuff, and Collar 

The last one, B5451, is not a knit pattern. This is the one I made in the double-sided acetate polka dot fabric and hated the fit of so much that I gave away the pattern. The only good thing about the pattern is the generous and secure front wrap. Ding ding ding! So I had to rebuy the pattern when Joann had Buttericks on sale. The skirt is a fabric hog, but it would take a gale-force wind to expose you under it. At the same time, the side seams are cut almost on grain, unlike the circle skirt of V8379, which is much more flattering to my saddlebags than 8379's bias.



Collar and Shoulder Gather Closeup


I kept my original broad back and small bust adjustments on the bodice. As I planned last time I made it, I converted the Pleat to Nowhere at the shoulder into gathers. The gathers still kind of open up into nowhere (I have been actively avoiding a sloping shoulder alteration, but I know I need to start doing it eventually), but I like them a lot better than the pleat.

I ended up adding darts to the back bodice, because it seemed a little gapey when I tried on the bodice without the skirt.  The fit conforms to the shape of my back.

To fit the skirt onto the bodice, I matched the centers and side seams, and then did inverted pleats in front and a dart in back with the excess fabric.

Tie Opening




Because silk jersey is lightweight and somewhat flimsy, I reinforced the tie opening in the seam allowance with lightweight interfacing.






Cuff Inside and Topstitching





I fused the collar and cuffs with tricot interfacing to give them body without crispness.  I considered fusing only one half of the collar but ended up doing both the upper and lower, which seemed the better choice.

To keep the cuff's seam allowance in place, I topstitched with a twin needle.






Collar Topstitching


I cut the collar on the fold of the fabric. It took some major origami to fit my pattern pieces onto this quite narrow fabric and the shape I ended up with to cut the collar out of worked well on the fold.  I did not lay the fold on the seamline, but on the cut line, thinking I would end up sewing the seam.  But I liked it on the fold, and it does not seem to large.

Vogue 8379 has a facing to finish the neckline, but when I made the pattern I found the facing just too thick, especially at the shoulders.  So I just turned the neckline edges under and topstitched with a twin needle, enclosing clear elastic.  I finished the wrap portion of the skirt and the hem the same way, minus the clear elastic.




Wrap Dress Front .Rain Boots


I used the tie pattern from B5454.  In my first version of B5454, I had limited fabric and had to improvise the tie, which ended up shorter than I'd like.  This time I used the pattern piece and it turns out that as drafted it is still shorter than I'd like.  I like the width and both ends are slanted, which fits the bodice well.  But next time I'll lengthen by about 8 inches.  I like to be able to tie a bow.

I am very happy with this combination of patterns.  The front wrap is very snug with no gape, the skirt has a large overlap, and the collar and cuffs add a nice touch to the look.  I will turn to this combination again the next time I want this look.  However, I will stick with the B5454 sleeve if I am not doing a cuff--the Vogue sleeve has more ease and was difficult to set in.

Just so I don't mislead you into thinking I am an actual glamourpuss, I actually wore this dress with the rainboots on the right. It was pouring!

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

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