Monday, 11 March 2013

Don't over-think it: V8379 Wrap Dress

Pattern Notebook: Vogue 8379

This dress has to be the fastest thing I've ever made.  I had a work event to go to, and no time to do anything complicated, so a wrap style knit dress was the perfect thing. I'm sorry to tell you, it was so fast I didn't take a single in-progress shot.  Or maybe I'm the only one that loves in progress photos?  Anyway, this dress has been reviewed forty gajillion times, so I'm sure I wouldn't have anything new to add.

I was completely inspired by the awesome Aleah of No Time To Sew, and undisputed Queen of the knit dress and her speedy system.   We were parked outside a closed fabric store in a dark car when Aleah described her methods, it could almost have been the scene of a Russian spy passing on state secrets to their handler. All you tracers and muslin-ers cover your ears - - she puts the pattern tissue on the fabric and cuts both at once!!  (Feel free to correct me if I've got this wrong Aleah)  

I've had this pattern since I first started buying patterns. Actually I had the wrong size, I bought it before I'd ever heard of negative ease, and also before I learned to totally ignore the body measurements on the envelope.  Since this pattern seems to be a periennial over at Vogue, I decided to take the plunge and chop up that pattern tissue. I can always buy another copy in a sale.

View / Size used: 

If I went by my body measurements, I would have cut a 16, and the pattern assumes 'moderate stretch' only. 

I used a very stretchy knit so used the finished garment measurements on the pattern tissue.  The fabric measured 33" when wrapped around the fullest part of my bust, and that matched the size 10 perfectly, so that's what I used.

I'm glad that the final result fit me better than a real DVF wrap dress I tried on for research.  It's not that obvious, but I was busting out in front, and the skirt wasn't very full, which became a problem when I sat down.

I noticed that the instructions included easing the sleeve cap - I didn't need any of that ease since my knit would stretch to accomodate movement, so I cut from the size 10 line at the bottom of the sleeve cap to an 8 at the top, in a really haphazard way.  The sleeves went in fine, so I guess it worked!

Fabric Used: 
Wonderful mystery knit from the FIDM scholarship store.  It has a lovely brushed texture and great recovery.  For $1 a yard, I wish I'd gotten more.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
I don't understand the point of 3/4 length sleeves, so again, very haphazardly eyeballed extending the sleeves to full length.  I did this eyeballing with the rotary cutter, so I'm glad it mostly worked out. 

I was a bit low on fabric, so I sacrificed the ties, which are much shorter than the pattern calls for.

Good pic of the dress, crazy hair.  Them's the breaks I suppose

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes! They were actually great.  I know that I'm getting better at knowing the probable order of construction, but I did find them helpful

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love that the fabric seems to hug the bust line, and at the end of the party I looked down and still didn't see my bra poking out - a success!

I'm undecided on the pleats.  I do think that they are somewhat responsible for the way that the fabric is able to deal with my curves, but there's something funky about them.  Maybe changing the angle of the pleats might help?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
It's super soft and comfy.  Only after taking these pictures do I notice that the dress makes my bazongas (trying to avoid unnecessary google attention) look pretty gigantic, which I would actually put in the 'dislike' column.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I think I will certainly sew it again.  If I have a fabric with significantly less stretch I might have to re-buy the pattern, but I'm happy that this pattern finally got to become a dress!

Construction notes: 

I can't remember if the instructions said to or not, but as always, I sewed in the sleeves flat.

I also sewed down the facing.  The stitching line is visible, which is good enough for Ms. Diane Von Furstenburg, so it's good enough for me. Ditto the wrap tie opening.  I don't know why but I imagined that the DVF dress would have some amazing engineering.  Nope. Serged edges with an opening in the seam.

Machines / settings used: 
Featherweight, 10 stitches per inch.  No special treatment for the knit at all.  I do have a serger, but I didn't finish a single seam.  I didn't even hem the bottom or sleeves.  Do you think anyone noticed?


Megan meggipeg said...

Very entertaining review and the dress is gorgeous on you - really flattering. I agree that the sign of a good party (and outfit) is that your bra does not poke out of your dress, although I'm sure some would beg to differ! Looks like you had a great time :)

Ms. McCall said...

Thanks Megan!

aleah said...

Ha, hooray for quick and dirty knit dress sewing! Thanks for crowning me queen of the knit dress! ;) Funny, I literally just posted a dress I made from the turquoise version of that fabric (so. soft.) and I also talked about how I totally shamlessly always cut the pattern tissue. Hey, I can always do an on-the-fly grade-up if I need to. Glad I pulled you to the dark side!
Your dress turned out great, I really should pick up this pattern. And I'm glad you got a better fit than the one in the store (which is why we sew, after all!), but man I love that orange and white print fabric... where can I get fabric like that?!

Ms. McCall said...

Oh yes, I am certainly on the dark side when it comes to knits. And yes, that DVF fabric was pretty amazing. Fun print and silk jersey to boot. If I ever see some I'll get a couple of yards for both of us!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

This came out very cute! Red is a great color for you. Thanks for the shots of the real DVF--interesting that the facings are stitched down. The facings are thick and annoying in my V8379; stitching them down might have helped.

Robyn said...

Your dress turned out really well - love the colour. It looks like you had a fun night :)

Ms. McCall said...

Thanks! I have more if anyone's interested.

Ms. McCall said...

Thank you Robyn! Yes, I'm often told I should wear more red. Perhaps I should buy more red fabric?

Naomi Russell said...

Your dress looks lovely. I'm shopping for fabric for mine tomorrow. I totally appreciated your comparison to the DVF dress. Could you share more about how you determine size by wrapping the fabric around you? This sounds like a wonderful method since knits can vary so. Thanks for a great review & post. I'm heading over to No Time to Sew next.

Ms. McCall said...

Thanks Naomi! Next time I make a knit top or dress, I'll try to take some pictures of the process. I described the process in a little more detail when I made these two maxi dresses: and

Jane Richardson said...

Thanks so much for your fun review of this pattern! I love wrap dresses and am longing to make some for myself. I'm an experienced stitcher though new to dressmaking, but your review has convinced me to get a copy of this one and give it a go - with some help! The dress looks really lovely on you, too. :-)))

Jane x