Birds of a feather: the Ultimate Wrap Dress by Sew Over It

This is me, SO not over the ‘Sew Over It’ patterns.

ImageDuring an unprecedentedly spectacular week of sewing (not sure if that is a word, but I finished four dresses!), I made the “Ultimate Wrap Dress” from the UK company, in a cotton-viscose knit from Girl Charlee, a really lovely feeling fabric.

To be honest this is a rather “rough” version and a bit unfinished – I squeezed the whole thing out of 2 yards of fabric (not even metres) and had to choose between the sleeves and the neck facing; I chose sleeves.

ImageYou can see I JUST fit it on after shortening the sleeves (the last bit at the end is for the second tie), and you can see the facing piece on there competing with the sleeve piece. I’d also like to point out that my fabric almost completely matches the fabric drawn in the instructions! Woot.

I did have just enough fabric to make some binding for the neckline, which saved my bacon. Because the pattern was designed for a facing, the ties aren’t all neatly tucked away and are just sewn on. This is partly the reason why the whole thing has been left unhemmed – as well as laziness, and because I was nervous to try a knit hem on the curved hemline. Because it’s a knit I can get away with not hemming it, and I may just be trying to convince myself here but I think I like it better without the bulk of a hem.

Also, because when I tried the dress on for fit, I didn’t want to take it off again! Srsly, for four nights last week as soon as I got home I took off my work clothes to put this on. I know a lot of people say this, but knit dresses really are like wearing pyjamas, that you can wear outside.


This was an extremely quick make – it took me about 2.5 hours all up from laying out the fabric (and, obviously, excluding hemming), and next time I imagine it’ll be even quicker It fits remarkably well – I merely did my usual trick of grading out at the hips, and the only changes I’ll make next time is to take a tuck out of the front neckline, shortening the wrap bit as it’s a touch gapey, and I’ll  try to adjust the lower back a bit for my “sway-back” (I do have a true sway back but it’s accentuated on my clothing by my large bottom) using this excellent tutorial.

ImageThe lower back pooling isn’t too obvious, particularly with the tie wrapping around the waist.

Speaking of the tie – be warned that there is a mistake in the pattern: the grainline on the waist-tie piece (which runs along its length) is perpendicular to what’s shown on the cutting layout (across the grain). I cut it out across the grain (as in the photo above) so that it would have the stretch but THIS WAS WRONG – the waist ties have now stretched out so they can lay on the ground if I undo them!! It also means I occasionally need to tighten them during the day – I think this would be avoided if the tie was turned the other way (grainline running the length of it), although this may use more fabric. I’ve emailed Kate about this and she was very gracious.ImageIn terms of a review:

  • Design: like the 1940s Tea Dress, the packaging is cute. The tissue paper is the thin stuff that the Big 4 companies use. The instructions are clear and nicely illustrated.
  • Sizing: good for me. I found it a bit odd that there was a few inches of positive ease in the waist and negative ease in the hips (based on the finish garment measurements) but decided to go with it (after giving myself more room in the hips, something I do every time) and it worked well.
  • Instructions: clean and good for beginners. They are written for use with a regular sewing machine so those without an overlocker don’t have to worry – however they don’t include instructions for sewing it with an overlocker – on one side of the dress, you leave a hole for the tie to pass through, and I had to fudge that a bit as I used my overlocker to do the whole thing. I’m somewhat nervous to do a facing on a knit garment but next time I’ll try it out, as it’ll at least give me a clean finish at the waist.
  • She suggests gathering the sleeve heads in order to ease them into the armholes, but when using knits I just stretch the armhole to fit. There is also no mention of stabilising the shoulder seams which is a good idea in knit garments: I used a piece of leftover gingham fabric, sewn into the seam.
  • I also lengthened the skirt by 10cm (again, I lengthen every new pattern I use as I’m tall (178cm) and like at- or below-the-knee)

Overall, I highly recommend this pattern, including for beginners. It was quick, it’s comfortable and it looks great (I think, anyway).


Pattern: Ultimate Wrap Dress by Sew Over It (sizes 8-20)

Fabric: 2 yards of cotton-rayon, about $30 after all shipping costs

Notions: Thread, stash

Total: $30 as is, $55 with pattern.

ImageThis is me, showing off my unhemmed skirt. And is also just after I realised I haven’t hemmed the sleeves, either.

So, have any of you sewn with these patterns, or are you tempted to? I’m still trying to decide about the shift dress – after using these two patterns I’m tempted to try it, but just don’t think the shape would work very easily on me.

ImageBonus puppy photo, because Mr. Guy took way more photos of her than of my dress.


25 thoughts on “Birds of a feather: the Ultimate Wrap Dress by Sew Over It

  1. Love the wrap dress on you! I also love that knit dresses are like pajamas! I’m all over that!! I confess I often don’t hem mutt knits… 🙂

    • I’m glad to hear that! I really should practice because until I’m good at it, hems will just add terrible-looking bulk to my dresses. I do hem t-shirts but they’re a bit easier and tend to be less floaty

  2. Great dress: the shape is lovely on you and it looks effortlessly stylish! You should make tons more.

    Isn’t hemming knits really scary? I am making a kimono t-shirt using a slinky knit and am at the point where I should hem it. Total panic. How am I suppose to hem slippery fabric that stretches? I’ll do some research before attempting this feat… Hope your hemming experience goes well on your end!

    • There are several things you can try that I’ve read about, including products like Steam-a-seam, which is a dissolvable adhesive strip. I have some but have never used it!

      T-shirts don’t seem to be aaaas bad, maybe because they have a smaller hem to do, or maybe just because the tshirts I’ve done have been made from more stable knit. I would definitely say to use a twin needle though!!! Then you wont hear that horrible popping noise of threads breaking every time you put the top on

      • Thanks for the tips! I have this vintage 50’s sewing machine, I love it to bits, but so I’m not so sure it can do a twin needle… Will have to try this weekend!

      • So long as your machine takes regular needles, the only thing you really need is a place to set the second thread. Even if you don’t, you can put the second thread in a jar. Then you just thread both of them together through all the tension disc things.

  3. You had me at wrap dress! I have been totally addicted to them for a while, and I just made my own. Bort this pattern though, but now I am very tempted to trye this particulary pattern to:) the dress looks great on you! I love the lenght of the sleeves. I allso feel that I made the perfect wrap dress;) I used the Lady skater dress and hacked it into a faux wrap:) you can chech it out on my blog:)

    • Turning a regular dress into a wrap dress is crazy impressive! The sleeve length I chose is not on the pattern but I know it’s the most flattering for me (and is all I could squeeze out of the fabric I had)

  4. Great dress. I have wrap dresses on my wishlist to make but I’ve just started knitting again so it might take a wee while before I get there. Four dresses in one week is seriously impressive! I feel I might be able to manage four in a month but I might not get anything else done – cooking, eating, sleeping, going to work….

    • I’m not entirely sure how I managed it either, but I have obviously got my mojo back big time – I arrived back from Wellington yesterday afternoon and have already almost-finished my Crepe dress! Now the issue is just having enough fabric to sew with, and not spending too much money on supplies!! I have a couple of things up here (including fabric for another Watson jacket – but I forgot to bring the instructions) that should tide me over for a while, plus a big shipment of fabrics from the USA….

  5. Pingback: Sew, miss bossy: my finished Crepe dress |

  6. I love the dress, the feathers are just so great! I find myself in a feathers-obsession at the moment but can’t seem to find what I want… Lucky you…
    Now that I have seen your dresses, I would be tempted to try their patterns but I have a wrap dress pattern and a Tea Party dress pattern just like those, so I guess it would be pointless to add them to my stash. But I will keep an eye out for future patterns, because they really do look cute!

    • the fabric was only about $6/yard at Girl Charlee (before postage) – definitely worth it, it feels lovely and soft but wasn’t so slippery as to make it hard to cut or sew with.

      And I think she’s bringing out more Sew Over It patterns later in the year!

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