A not-so-bad wrap.

by Erin on April 26, 2006


ebay item 6274486374

Have I posted this one before? I know I own it (now you can too, click on the image to go to the eBay auction, B38), but I don't know if I've posted it before, and frankly I'm much too tired to go back through more than 350 postings to find out. This is one of those times when I wish I had added keywords to all my posts, like, say, the pattern manufacturer and pattern number (and maybe ones like "rant" and "gratuitous mention of Jack Purcells").

Well. If I haven't written about this one before, I will now, and if I have, I'm a-goin' to say it again. I'm not entirely convinced that this dress isn't a bathrobe/negligee of some sort that someone at Vogue put in the wrong category, and then hoped no one would notice. I think it's really pretty, and keep looking at it with the idea of making it, but then I remember that what can wrap can also unwrap and that someone as clumsy and as prone to making sudden exaggerated gestures as I am should not really wear wrap dresses in public. But … I'm sure enough snaps would fix it. (The last time I made a wrap dress I actually ended up carrying a threaded needle and some extra snaps the first time I wore it, so certain was I that I would need them. I didn't, but I was glad I had them just in case.)

I would like to make the short version in some very thin, very limp cotton, perhaps pale yellow, and use wide grosgrain ribbon for the waist tie and narrower ribbon or bias binding in the same shade to finish the edges, instead of facings. Not sure whether I'd do the ribbon in contrast (robin's egg blue?) or a darker shade of yellow.

The one thing that signals "housedress" to me for this pattern is the pocket on the long version. If it were meant to be worn as an evening dress in that length, I don't think it would have a pocket, or if it did, such a plain one. It just doesn't feel right. This is a dress for entertaining at home, in the long version, or running out to the market for a couple of things, in the short version. Of course, now, running out to the market means sweatpants (::shudder::), a ratty ponytail, a baseball cap, and a t-shirt that proudly states your affiliation with a sports team or institute of higher learning. And flip-flops. And you know, I'd rather take my chances with the unwrapping wrap than leave the house in the above combo. Of course, considering the only thing that I own in the above list are the flip-flops, and since I only wear those when Absolutely Necessary, I suppose the chance of an Erin sweatpants sighting is pretty rare. Maybe if my house burned down and I had to borrow clothes from somebody. Now, Erin in a well-washed polka-dot skirt she made eight years ago, a polo shirt from Old Navy that is eligible to vote, and beat-up Jack Purcells? That sighting is so common the tabloids won't even take pictures of it anymore. The paparazzi just light more cigarettes and lie in wait for somebody else.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Ms. Kat April 26, 2006 at 8:16 am

Not surprisingly, as I love wrap dresses, I like that one. Quite a bit, actually. Though I agree that the pocket looks odd, not only for all of the reasons you stated, but also because it’s asymmetrical with only the one.I’d much prefer in-seam pockets. But that’s clearly a me thing.

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Anonymous April 26, 2006 at 9:29 am

Actually, this is very similar to a photo of a 1950′s Claire McCardell hostess dress I have seen. I think that the only difference is that the Claire McCardell dress buttoned at the waist. I really like this dress.Amy

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jenny April 26, 2006 at 9:58 am

Eh…I think that as long as you don’t make it out of either terry-cloth or nylon tricot, and don’t wear slippers trimmed in maribou with it, you’ll be fine as far as the whole “patio dress” issue goes.

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La BellaDonna April 26, 2006 at 10:07 am

What the heck?? What happened to my earlier post?Ms. Kat, if you like two pockets, why not put another pocket on the skirt? Or in the side seams, if that’s what you prefer?Erin, step. away. from. the. snaps. You do not want snaps on something that wraps! If it’s under enough stress to unwrap, it’s under enough stress to unsnap! Snaps are for collars and cuffs and bow details that need to stay put. You want hooks-and-eyes for those areas under stress – especially for that midline gap over the bosom in a front-buttoning anything.

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Erin April 26, 2006 at 10:15 am

Hooks and Eyes! Yes, that’s much better. Why didn’t I think of that!I see a lot more wrap dresses in my future.

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La BellaDonna April 26, 2006 at 10:28 am

Oh, and if you’re using more than one set of hooks and eyes, apparently they should be staggered, so that it’s hook/eye/hook/eye on one side, and eye/hook/eye/hook on the other, as a greater safeguard against, God forbid, all the hooks unhooking at once. (Which they are less likely to do if you given them a seeeekrit pinch to close them a little more tightly.)

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Jilli April 26, 2006 at 1:59 pm

and narrower ribbon or bias binding in the same shade to finish the edges, instead of facingsSoo, just folded over the edges and sewn? Because I like the sound of that, but am trying to figure out how to do it myself.

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Carol April 26, 2006 at 2:25 pm

Instead of carrying a needle and thread, and extra fasteners with you – get some Hollywood Fashion Tape strips to have handy in your purse at all times. I read about them in a “how to organize your wardrobe” book. They are strips of double-sided, thin and flexible clear tape (drapes better than regular double-stick tape) about 1/2 X 3 inches. They are great for unanticipated wrap-type garment problems, falling hems, or slipping bra straps. I never go out in nice clothes without them anymore. They sell curved strips to keep strapless tops where they belong and other handy things.www.hollywoodfashiontape.com

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Erin April 26, 2006 at 3:30 pm

That fashion tape sounds good (although if I carry one more “just in case” thing around I’m going to need to hire a Sherpa to help me).Jilli, you can do it that way (the foldover way, but usually I cheat and use bias tape to fold it to the inside and then sew the ribbon on the outside. It’s a little bulkier. Sometimes, if you get good ribbon, you can use the ribbon as the bias tape and then you fold it over the outside. Does that make sense? The poly ribbon doesn’t work as well for that, though.

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Ruth Singer April 26, 2006 at 4:32 pm

There is, in theory, a foolproof way of stopping wraps unwrapping, but its not an easy solution…. make a pattern specifically for your own bust size and configuration (some of us have less gap in between than others for example…there is a lot of variation between us ladies!) and it will fit perfectly. just a little something to try out one evening, ha ha. I’ve spent many many hours experimenting and have just about got it figured! That’s why ready made clothes fit about 1 in 300 of us properly. I think most women just don’t realise that clothes can actually fit properly.

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KRiSTOPHER DUKES April 26, 2006 at 11:39 pm

Ooh la love.Rather charming, though I’d prefer the neck to slit down to the belt.And the skirt to hit right at the knee.And for a sequined bikini to be worn underneath it.And the collar to be trimmed in mink.And for the model to have blond hair extensions.

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La BellaDonna April 27, 2006 at 9:26 am

Jilli, one way to do it is to serge the edge of the hem (or overcast it, if you don’t have a serger), then sew the ribbon along one edge to the underside of the hem, wrong sides together, then turn the ribbon right side up to the right side of the skirt, and topstitch in place and press. This works best with a narrow ribbon.Or you can serge/overcast the edge, and place lace trim, right side up, underneath the serged edge. Stitch that in place, and then stitch the ribbon, right side up, on top, making a sandwich with the serged edge of the skirt hem between the lace and the ribbon (if you like lace, and I do.) Hmmm. This would probably work with two layers of ribbon, too, if you don’t care much for lace.

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mb April 27, 2006 at 7:46 pm

Scotch has a “permanent” double sided tape that works great for slippage issues. It sticks well and also comes off clothes really easily when you’re done.

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Cookie April 30, 2006 at 12:33 pm

This dress looks like a version of the Claire McCardell pop-over dress. My mother made several–and, yeah, hooks and eyes are the way to go to keep everything together.

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