I’ve always loved the idea of a wrap dress but I’ve been put off by either a gaping or too low a neckline, so I set myself the challenge of designing a classic wrap dress that resolved these problems.
I knew I’d wanted it to be in jersey as I wanted it to follow the contours of the body but still allow freedom of movement. When designing with jersey I tend to work on my mannequin using cheap jersey as my toile fabric. I pinned a large rectangle of fabric to the shoulder line on one side, then pinning at the side seams for the fit I wanted. I then chalked a curved line from side neck across the body to the waist. This line became the seam line for the neck binding so that once the binding is attached the finished neckline would sit where I wanted it.
It was at this stage that I realised this style could be either a wrap or fixed, where the cross over edge is stitched into the side-seam. This works particularly well as a top as shown above. Once I was happy with the neckline I turned my attention to the sleeves. I decided a slim sleeve and slightly overlong adds an elegance.
The sleeves can be extended further for a ballet inspired look as shown above. The details for this variation can be found here.
Since designing The Wrap Dress I have been asked whether the binding should be interfaced but I strongly advise against this. I designed the dress to let the jersey fabric do the work. By adding an interfacing, even stretch interfacing, the qualities of the jersey are altered and this will make the facing stand away from the body.
Of course the choice of jersey is important. As suggested on the pattern, fluid single jersey fabrics with Lycra or Elastane content are what to look for. Shiny viscose, polyester or silk mixes will give a dressier feel and cotton or matt viscose a more everyday or sporty feel.
How the Wrap Dress is tied is a matter of preference - the tie is long enough to wrap around the body and tie at the front.
However, I think it is more flattering to tie either at the side or at the centre back. The finished design makes a fabulous day to evening dress.
The fabric featured in the black and white dress is from M Rosenberg and Son.