Wrapped in Black (Simplicity 7942)

When I saw the teasers for the new BHL pattern on Elisalex's instagram, my first reaction was "pretty!" and my second was "wait a minute--I already have that pattern!" Digging a bit through my stash I pulled out this sweet woven wrap dress from the 60s that I purchased a few years ago and never gotten around to making. Now that there will be similar dresses popping up all over I thought I'd join in the trend and make my version! I've never worn a lot of wrap dresses due to gaping, but if the dress fits well, it theoretically shouldn't gape, right?

I usually feel fairly confident making 60s Simplicity patterns--I know that a size 12 (bust 32) should fit pretty well right out of the envelope and just use a small bust adjustment. This one, however, was a weird size--a size 10 and bust 32.5. It does say "misses" so it doesn't seem to be a half size... anyone know what's going on here? Therefore, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I figured an SBA was probably a good idea though so even before I made a muslin, I did a quick 3/8" SBA! I then ended up undoing almost all of it. Sometimes that's just how it works! In the end, I think the fit is not perfect, but it's fine. Going by the "better than ready to wear" I'm golden.

The main difference between this dress pattern and the BHL one is that this one has a shaped skirt, while (I believe) the BHL skirt is a dirndl (a rectangle). The shaped skirt was wider than my fabric, though, so I ended up with a rectangle skirt after all. Also, the neckline on the BHL dress is much wider--this is my "wearable muslin" of sorts since I wasn't sure how I would like this style but if I wanted to more closely mimic the BHL I could go in and widen the neckline of this pattern, however, I prefer the coverage on this narrower V neck, I think. I spend a lot of time seated at a desk across from standing members of the male public (at the library) so the more coverage the better. I'm not as busty as Elisalex--I only wish I could fill out a wrap dress like her!--but still. The last minor thing is that this dress closes with skirt hook and eyes on the inside and the belt is only decorative. In the teasers, the BHL dress looks like it ties with waist ties. This is also an easy swap.

I used a light cotton lawn in black, which is nice because it is very thin for summer but still pretty opaque. I'm really into black dresses for summer, since it adds a little bit of mystery or glamour to what could otherwise be a pretty standard summer sundress. In North Carolina, I know I'm going to be melting regardless of clothing color so I may as well go for it, I guess. I like to think I look very cool--even if I don't feel cool-- in my black dresses, sunglasses, and straw hat.


ps: these photos were taken at Duke Chapel and isn't the lighting so cool?

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Sewaholic Shirtdress (Sewaholic Granville)

Thank you to Harts Fabric for providing the fabric for this project.

Wow, y'all are still tuning in to read about about me making Granville variations? I'm back, again, with yet another. This time, a dress version! You may remember back when I made a two-piece fake shirtdress with a Granville shirt and Rae skirt, but now I'm back with a proper full version. It basically just ends up looking like the blogger-favorite McCall's 6696 shirtdress, but by starting with the Granville, I minimized fitting.

The fabric I used is the Robert Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen in blush, a linen/rayon blend I got from Harts Fabric. I'm pleased to say I'm an official part of the Harts Fabric Street Team--which just means they will occasionally provide me with fabric for my projects (so, if you've been reading for a while, you'll probably not even notice a difference--I'm a longtime Harts fan). This is the second time I've paired this pattern + modifications and fabric; I made a trial version in black (to mask any mistakes) and then set about cutting the blush fabric after finishing that dress. (I made a few small changes between versions that I'll talk about when I post the black one.)

The trickiest part of picking out fabric is sometimes the interfacing, don't you agree? I've struggled with inappropriate fusible interfacing in my past Granville attempts so this time, when Harts was providing the fabric, I asked them to also pick out some interfacing that would be appropriate for the pattern and fabric and send it along with the Brussels linen blend. I have said like 100 times that this is one reason I love shopping at Harts--they are always super helpful and knowledgeable and can help you select the most appropriate fabric and notions for your project, whether it be jeans or a floaty sundress. Also you can add matching thread to any fabric order and they'll pick the best match. Genius, right? They are lifesavers! Or, project-savers at least.

Here's how I did it! You'll need to make alterations to the front and back bodice pieces (plus sleeves if you want short sleeves like I did) and then add some extra pieces that are just rectangles. For the front, I just cut it off 3" below the bottom of the bust dart. I cut off some more later, once the top was constructed, and I'd suggest just doing it this way, that way you can decide how short or long you want your bodice to be. for the back, I overlapped the center and side back by 1 1/4" (the seam allowances) and treated them as one. This is possible because the top half of those princess seams are actually pretty straight. you can just ignore the bottom half of the pattern pieces where the shaping is, and cut them off at 3" below the side seam notch (which matches up with the front dart).

You'll need a waistband next, which you can make as wide as you like and as long as you'll need to wrap around your waist plus 1" (for the front shirt band overlap) plus seam allowances plus ease. Make two of these, one for the outside and one for the inside (to tidy up the interior). I want to wear this dress in the heat of summer so mine is looser than my waistband are, generally. The skirt is just a two rectangles the width of the fabric, one split in half vertically for the two front skirt piece, and one complete for the back. This much in this fabric is a bit heavy--it has a satisfying swish but does drag the bodice down a bit (especially since it doesn't have the support of a more fitted waistband). I also added some in-seam pockets! This is something I almost always skip; I'm not as pockets-crazy as many of you appear to be! I borrowed the pockets pattern piece from another Sewaholic dress pattern, but you can use any pocket pattern piece (or just draw a pocket shape haha).

To put it together, you construct the whole top part, the whole skirt, and then attach the waistband and waistband lining to the bodice exterior and interior respectively, and gather the skirt into the waistband. Depending on your waist measurement, you may need to gather the bodice into the waistband, too, which I did at center back (like McCalls 6696) and the front under the bust. (I used the tips of the darts as reference points for the under-bust gathers.) I love the way the gathers in the back look--it's super flattering to your waist if that's something you are looking for! The dress is closed by buttons/holes on skirt and bodice and a hook and eye at the waistband. The waistband facing is finished by hand, or you could stitch in the ditch or topstitch. I should have interfaced the waistband. I didn't want to add bulk but it's a bit droopy.

I'll share the black version once it's clean--I've been wearing it lots since it's comfortable, practical, and pretty cool, even if it is black, due to the linen/rayon blend. Perfect for a goth retro summertime look which is totally my vibe this summer.


ps: if you have any questions about this tutorial overview let me know and I will try to answer!

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