Wrap Dress Central
There’s nothing I like more than a good wrap dress! So here’s everything you need to make your own.
This is probably the biggest finishing decision on a wrap dress: how to finish the raw neckline. Here are a few of my favourite methods:
- The neckband adaptation. You can find a full tutorial here. This is how the Cashmerette Patterns Appleton Dress is made!
- Bias binding: on the outside. This is what I think of as ‘traditional bias’ technique. You make bias tape out of your jersey or contrasting fabric, and finish in the normal way (like a quilt), encasing the raw neckline edge in the binding, which you can then see on the inside and outside of the garment. You can see a full tutorial at A Fashionable Stitch. The downside to this is jersey is pretty squishy and it can be hard to get a neat finish.
- Bias binding: on the inside. This is the bias technique where you flip the bias tape to the *inside* of the garment. For this, you can either use your jersey as a “self-bias”, or you can use a more stable homemade or pre-made bias. If you use a woven bias, your neckline will look great, but it will not be stretchy so check the fit. Here’s a tutorial from Craftsy which demonstrates the technique.
Hemming wrap dresses
- Coverstitch. If you’re lucky enough to have a coverstitch machine or a convertible serger-coverstitch (that’s what I have), then it’s quick and easy to finish your hems. I’ve written a tutorial here.
- Twin needle. If you don’t have a coverstitch you can finish your hem using a twin needle on your regular sewing machine. I recommend stabilizing the hem with fusible knit stay tape first, and lowering your tension slightly.
Sources of good jersey
Alas, it’s quite hard to find jersey with nice prints! But I am ever-valiant in my mission. A lot of jersey you can buy online turns out to be really poor quality, so it’s definitely worth getting a swatch before you order. Bear in mind that “lightweight” and “featherweight” are often not opaque enough to make a wrap dress.
I sell a selection of limited edition jersey prints which I find as I develop my patterns! You can check them out at my fabric store.
Here are my other favourite sources:
- Emma One Sock. EOS scores the end rolls of famous designers, so you can end up with some really high end, high quality jersey. She has a range of fabric types from cotton to rayon to silk jersey. This is my go-to!
- Gorgeous Fabrics often has a decent selection of prints
- Mood Fabrics has an enormous selection of printed jersey (cotton, rayon and silk) but the quality is very variable so I advise you to get swatches first or visit the store if you can.
14 thoughts on “Wrap Dress Central”
Oh, your darling young lady, thanks for the tutes and you. Have lost 100# took me 3 yrs. so now I want to sew some dresses with Asian fabs, Cheaper than US. You must have had a great time, Thanks. Helen from Rocky Mts. of Colorado and Black Hills of SD, who turned a mere 73 in July. Retired H>S> educator, who can’t type. HA
Hello. I’ve bought some jersey which on arrival is quite thick – and on checking back it’s described as scuba jersey. I gather it’s a bit like ponte. Is this going to work for the dress d’you think?
Hi Emma – unfortunately scuba/ponte is too thick to have the drape you need for a wrap dress. Might be better for something like a Colette Moneta instead!
Oh bother! Shopping for something else then…
Thanks Jenny for your help. I’ll use it for a skirt instead.
Hi, Jenny. I sewed one short sleeved wrap dress for myself using a Kwik Sew pattern and a pretty EOS jersey print a few years ago, but I didn’t nail the FBA or something and ended up with a way too low neckline that I can only wear with a cami underneath the dress. I notice that in your pictures where you are wearing the Christine Johnson wrap dress, you have a cami, too, but not in your Appleton photos. Is that just a preference, or is there something in the way that the Appleton dress is drafted/constructed that makes the neckline more wearable for those who like to keep their boobage LITERALLY “under wraps?”
Hi Rebecca – so indeed I don’t have to wear a camisole with the Appleton, because I’m an H cup and wearing the G/H cup size, so it has enough coverage! I’m not sure what size Kwik Sew or Christine Jonson draft for, but it’s like to be a B/C and even with an FBA it can be difficult.
thanks so much for all of the info!!! I have been wanting to make my own dresses like yours for years but have not found the fabric, plus I admit I have not been brave enough to try sewing knits yet. You look amazing! Cant wait to try out the pattern, thanks!
Hello! Has anyone modified this dress for maternity-wear?
I have used 100% cotton knit flat sheets from the Company Store for garments. They are mainly solids in attractive colors but sometimes in large scale prints.
Could you advise me on how to alter this pattern for a significantly lower bust point and lack of fullness in the upper bust? I have the material chosen already and can’t wait to purchase my first Cashmerette pattern when I can get this advice. Thank you, Jeanne
would the Appleton dress covert to woven fabrics?
No, it’s drafted for knits.
Hi Jenny, Do you have plans to create a wrap dress pattern for wovens? It would be a great addition to your collection. I just received my Appleton and look forward to creating a dress similar to the DVF I made years and years ago when I never had to adjust patterns nor sew a muslin first. C’est la vie.
I would like a fuller skirt. Could the Upton gored skirt be adapted?