New dress: M6884 – an autumn wrap

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A long-sleeved wrap dress seems like a perfect autumn garment to me, but in this case the fabric informed the choice of both dress and exact pattern. I bought exactly 2 yards of this beautiful Verson Puoti Enchanting Life jersey knit from Jumping June Textiles. These euro knits are not cheap and people seem to buy small amounts to make kids clothes, mostly. When I saw this particular design though, I knew I wanted to make something adult-size. The colours are so saturated and the design has a 70s feel for me (appropriately). I just finished reading a DVF biography (first half interesting, second half not so much) and was perhaps channeling her vibe into my decisions. The fabric has a weight of 200gsm, which is perfect for a wrap, giving a little structure.M6884_a[2]However, there aren’t many wrap dresses you can make with 2 yards of fabric. Indeed, the McCalls 6884 required 2 5/8 yards for View B, the long-sleeved version in the size 20 I made. I really, really wanted long sleeves though, so I figured I would try some pattern tetris. Well, I managed to squeeze it out with just one of the ties needing pieced, so it can be done! It helps that the M6884 is quite short and also a faux wrap dress, which allows a little less width. The version I made also has a straight skirt as opposed to the diagonal shape of View A or gathered waist of Views C and D.

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It’s a popular pattern and there are tons of reviews on patternreview.com. Most people mentioned it was low cut (it is) but forgive my European brazenness (don’t be fooled by that prudish British stereotype), but I don’t care. It shows a mere whisper of my ample bosom, and I’m perfectly ok with that. Interestingly for a knit, most reviews suggested the pattern was also fairly true to size. So I went with a 20, which matches my measurements and… it’s a bit too big. Darn it. I should have made an 18 or even a 16. Just because I didn’t totally trust the sizing, I left the shoulder seams unfinished, so I’m going to go back and take them in a bit.

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I haven’t worn a wrap dress in quite a while, and I suspect that’s because I was working in a very young, casual environment prior to moving stateside, and a wrap dress has always felt like a “grown-up” garment to me. But, yeah, I’m now a grown-up mum and it’s pretty universally flattering, so why not? The construction of this dress is satisfyingly fast, as befits a pattern marked “Easy”. The edges are finished by simply folding over and stitching as a narrow hem, which worked nicely on the grain, going down the dress, but by God, that cotton lycra liked to curl something crazy on the hem. I gritted my teeth and got it as even as I could, but that was the worst part for me.

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A couple of other alterations I made:

  1. The front is indeed quite low cut and a little loose and flappy. It was VERY loose at first fitting, so I ripped open the side seam and pulled another inch or two through and stitched up, which seemed to work. This was an easy fix and didn’t affect the dress shape. I am also adding a little popper to snap the front together. It’s fine when I’m standing, but gapes when sitting.20170906_173120.jpg

2. I was very tempted to put the sleeves in flat since it’s a LOT easier, but I did ease them in as per the instructions, in case it affected the shaping. I think they turned out nicely, but I will try them on the flat next time.

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3. As mentioned, I need to bring in the shoulders around 3/4 ” and the sleeves needed two inches taken off them, and could possibly do with another 1/2″ or so. The length of the dress was fine, however. (I’m around 5’6″ for reference).

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4. One word about markings. I used my usual pen markings for the various points, including the important “where it meets in the middle” marker, signifying where you overlap the front. Of course, by the time I turned the edge and hemmed I couldn’t see the markings any more and had to drag out my pattern pieces to figure out where that was. Annoying.

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What else to say? It’s a bit saucy, but still quite covered. I suppose that’s the genius of it. I even don’t mind it from the side, which is unusual for me. I guess this will become a date night kind of dress, although I could make it more casual with a cami or something underneath. It’s very comfy and there’s a good reason so many people have made it. It will take a little finessing to get that overlap tension just right without the full wrapping mechanism. Perhaps I’ll try a full wrap dress next…

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9 thoughts on “New dress: M6884 – an autumn wrap

  1. It came out great! It’s incredibly flattering on you, and I think it’s — like you said — a bit saucy but the right kind of saucy, definitely πŸ™‚

    Don’t even get me started on Big Four sizing… why something as important and basic as the size to cut out has to involve crazy workarounds for figuring out just how different the actual size will be from the suggested size continues to mystify and infuriate me.

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    1. Thanks so much! Who doesn’t like a bit of sauce? Eh?

      You know, the more I sew, the more I think that a lot of people don’t and I wonder if that’s got something to do with this whole ease issue. I’m starting to feel that the Big 4 just put a lot more middle-American design ease into their clothes, for a looser, more “tasteful” fit, since that’s been the traditional market for a long time. I’m not trying to offend anyone with this description, but I don’t know how to put it better. The worst thing is that I know I need to size down in knits, but when I checked patternreview, hardly anyone mentioned it for once. This pattern is described by McCalls as “close-fitting” so perhaps people were just comfortable with “not-so-close-fitting”. I don’t know. Either way, it’s up to the individual where their level of comfort is and I’m sure I’m the 237,654th person to wonder about this particular point. What do you think? Cultural or bad drafting? Am I going to bring forth the wrath of chickadees?

      As an aside, I’m still mulling over your last post. Very thought-provoking as usual from you, so am still turning it over before I put my 2 cents in.

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      1. I’m definitely no closer to solving the mystery of ease in American patterns. What really bothers me is that even designers that have a relationship with those companies point out that an upper bust/ over bust measurement would really help sewists pick the right size to cut out — and yet they never include it. It took me an incredibly long time to figure out what size to aim for, and that’s totally ridiculous. Also, why not include finished measurements on the envelope? Then you can go as wild with added ease as you want, and your customer will at least know what’s up.

        So you’re definitively not going to provoke any wrath from me πŸ˜‰ I think there’s decent drafting hiding underneath the size confusion but the distribution of ease could use some tweaking. I think the body model Big 4 aims for has a pretty small waist in comparison with the endowment up north and in the hips. Definitely not my body type.

        I’m having a pretty good time with Burda patterns now that I’ve more or less figured out my set of expected adjustments. Is it because I’m European? Dunno. My guess is, probably not πŸ˜‰ But they do seem to meet my fit expectations, dreadful instructions notwithstanding.

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  2. Really pretty make! I love knit dresses… can’t be easier to wear. I’m underendowed on the top half, so this cut is too low for me but that’s why I have camis in every color! Lol

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    1. Thanks so much! Yes, knit dresses are so much easier to wear (and fit :D) which is great for a beginner like me! I have never really worn camis, but I can see how it would work with this dress. I saw some nice examples of other ladies doing so. I might just check it out! πŸ™‚

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  3. Belle, Just so you know, I wore beautiful wrap dresses when I was a teen that my sister in college designed for her college courses. I wore them in my twenties when I had my babies, too. The version that you chose looks wonderful on you! It shows your legs and knees and a bit of your upper leg annnd your saucy bosom.!I have always been well-endowed every since the age of fourteen. I have found that wearing a sexy lacy camisole underneath anything that shows lovely cleavage is actually MORE attractive for the feminine mystery that it creates! Thank you so much for your review and the fact that you informed people how they could “squeeze” their fabric into a great frock! We are all about the working that fabric, in our huge family of creative people. Although I am no longer the size to fit the pattern you have shared. I have collected some plus size patterns that I hope to sew up in the future along the same lines. I MISS my gorgeous wrap dresses from the time when I was more trim. Keep up the great work!

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    1. What a wonderful comment – thanks so much for leaving it! I was very under-endowed until I was around 18 or 19 and then they just sprang from nowhere! I had no idea how to deal with them at first, haha. And of course, after having kids they didn’t get any smaller! (Although I think they do for some people). I love the wrap – it works for all sorts of looks. I’m looking forward to pairing it with tights and boots for winter actually! πŸ™‚

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