This wrap dress had been made by me several years ago, probably 2007, as a last minute decision for Christmas/New Year’s fancy occasion wear. I think this was my first real dress project on my own and from scratch. I do not think I really knew what I was completely doing back then, but, looking at this dress now, I did sew it quite well, interfacing and all, despite never finishing it!
I now have the perfect fancy vintage style dress for all seasons and any nice occasion. We happened to have our picture taken professionally when I wore my dress to hubby’s work’s Christmas party. There’s nothing like a handmade dress to feel happy and confident!
I remember the sewing machine needle kept catching the fabric and pulling runs – and the fact never hit me to think of changing the needle. Wow! I feel badly admitting this, but it also makes me feel like I’ve come a long way with my sewing skills. I’m just glad the fabric survived its torture well enough to still look good.
My parents had resurrected this dress from my old stash in their basement in the fall of 2011. I decided to do the finishing touches it needed to be wearable. There was no way to close it – no snaps, hooks, or even a tie, but otherwise the body of the dress was done. So I looked at the dress’ original pattern, Butterick 5030, and I also looked at a similar vintage pattern, Butterick 5152, before I decided on making a cummerbund.
Somehow, among all the millions of scraps between here and my parents’ house, I had found the few handfuls of the dress’ fabric pieces left. There was just enough fabric to make a cummerbund, but no solid long scrap, so I had to plan for side seams. The side seams gave me an idea to gather the cummerbund sides instead of a making a plain waistband. This gathering of the cummerbund looks good, except it was quite difficult because of two factors: 1) I double sided the cummerbund for a finished band; 2) the fabric was shedding and fraying all over (just like I remembered from before). I used the right needle this time, by the way…
I found a large antique gold button at Wal-mart and thought to attach the cummerbund to the dress and so close both at the same time! I basted the cummerbund on by machine, but most of the gathering and attaching to my dress was done by hand.
I really like the metallic gold elastic I braided as the button loop. The elastic loop’s raw ends were stuffed into the gathered end of the cummerbund and hand tacked into place.
My only regrets for this project are the hook-and-eye closures I sewed on the front of the dress to minimize ‘exposure’. The hooks catch everywhere on the dress’ open weave. In some spare time in my sewing future, I think I will change this so I can be completely happy with this dress, but, hey, I can wear it now, so how it’s finished is good enough.
After wearing my UFO dress, it occurred to me that the reason I balled it up as a wrinkled mess in ’07 was not just because of the sewing problems, but also the nagging thought that maybe this looks like a fancy housecoat. That word “housecoat” still nags my brain, but my tapestry wrap dress fits so well and looks elegant, it can’t be all that bad!
FABRIC: some sort of rayon/cotton blend; guess I could do the burn test on a scrap
PATTERN: Butterick 5030, view B, year 2007; I am impressed with everything about this pattern – it fits great, has a versatile design, and a moderately easy construction
FIRST WORN: out to a St. Louis Symphony concert. Didn’t get there as early as needed to get the free tickets, so we just hung out at my parents’ house and watched a movie (“Follow the Fleet” Astaire/Rodgers movie to be exact); later, I also wore my dress to the Christmas party were you see us in the first picture of my post
TIME TO COMPLETE: back in 2007 for the dress, maybe I spent 10 or more hours; in 2011, for the cummerbund, about 4 hours