the delayed wrap dress


When I was researching Vogue 8827, I saw one blog post that pointed out that it could pretty easily be confused with a bathrobe pattern. That took me aback for a moment, because it’s completely true. And it’s a far cry from “secret pajamas” to “forgot to get dressed.”

That’s OK. There are a few Internet memes for that. #Sorrynotsorry and #IDGAF come to mind.

I don’t generally do UFOs — my makes are usually either wins or wadders — but this one has been loitering for close to a year. See, I wanted a classy cocktail dress for a wintertime alumni event. Yes. Last winter. January, if I recall.

I did mostly finish the dress in time, but I’d envisioned some sleek, classy, slinky frock, and what I ended up with was much more …. staid. I showed my husband, and his face said the same thing: It’s nice, but … you look like you’re going to work. And maybe not in a good way. So I peevishly threw the damn thing in a closet.

However. I do, in fact, go to work five days a week. So I pulled this out at summer’s end and thought to myself, “Mmm. Greeeeeeen.” I love green. Let’s make it work.


Being me, I chose the most boring version of this pattern. Views A and C both have crazy, drapey, ruffled necklines, which I immediately knew would look amazing on other people and completely ridiculous on me. Things happen that way sometimes.

View B, though, seemed to have a great effortless, drapey feel — like, “Yeah, I just put this on and the collar just fell into these delightful folds and drapes around my neck. No big deal.” (See blog post referenced above.)

Slight problem: The fabric I chose turned out to have a lot more body than I realized (#rookiemistake), and those drapey folds turned into a single big fold. I was dismayed last winter, but when I pulled it out this fall, I immediately thought YES. SHAWL COLLAR.

God, I love a shawl collar.

The fabric is a mystery rayon from the $2.97 table at the local fabric store. It’s a perfect 3-yard cut with a tiny snip right in the middle, which apparently sent it straight to the bargain table and into my loving arms. And it’s an amazing shade of teal. Also, not really that shiny in real life.


It’s probably not really supposed to look like this, but I decided to install snaps to hold everything closed (hey! for work!) and pretty much sealed my shawl-collar destiny. I have to say, I really like the way it looks. More like a coatdress than a bathrobe if you ask me.

Let me tell you about these snaps, in chronological order. I warn you that you might find this tedious, which pretty much matches the real-life experience:

  1. I planned to install two sets of snaps, one for each side of the wrap, and painstakingly pinned the spots where the snaps should go for maximum wrap-dress security.
  2. I painstakingly sewed in a set of snaps, one of my least favorite sewing chores.
  3. I realized I’d sewn one in upside down.
  4. I took off the bad snap and painstakingly sewed it in, again.
  5. I realized I’d sewn the snaps on the wrong side of the fabric.
  6. [Expletive deleted]
  7. I took off the snaps, decided I would never again sew in snaps, and turned to hammer-style prong snaps. So what if they’re visible on the outside of the garment? IT’S A DESIGN ELEMENT. I used the hammer to vent some of my frustration. Very few pains were taken in this process.
  8. I realized that I had hammered in one of the prong snaps upside down. I also realized I have no idea how to fix it without cutting it out of the fabric.
  9. I decided it would be totally fine to just safety-pin one of the wrap edges to the seam allowance of the side seam.
  10. I came to my senses and just added another prong snap next to the upside-down one. Bonus snap!




Alterations? Well, I narrowed and shortened the sleeves by a lot — I really wanted a very slim sleeve to add some shape to the blousiness of the dress body, and a slick sleeve and shoulder is a good way to do that. Elbow length worked really well here for me.

I reshaped the dress body, too. Out of the envelope, the side seams are really boxy, and my crisper fabric was making it stand out from my ribcage. But, you know, why does there need to be so much space there? It’s a wrap dress. You could make it as fitted as you want. So I curved the side seams in by a fair amount between the armscye and the waistline. There’s still plenty of blousiness in the back.

I also omitted the self-fabric belt, thinking I’m much more likely to wear a skinny belt with this. But now that I see it on, I’m kind of envisioning it with a fabric belt … it would at least hide that damn snap.


At this point, I’m a hop, skip and a jump away from shirtdresses — the next frontier. When I first started sewing, I assured myself that I would never sew zippers. (Derp.) That’s where I am now with buttonholes. And at this point, snaps. But there’s this vintage shirtdress lurking in my stash (have you heard about the Autumn of 1,000 Shirtdresses?) and I’m sure no one would mind if I made it with Velcro.

Pattern: Vogue 8827, view B. I’m sorry, I don’t remember the size, but I’m guessing it’s a 10, which is a size down based on the ease in the pattern.
Fabric: A bit less than 3 yards of rayon from the bargain table at G Street Fabrics, $9.


4 thoughts on “the delayed wrap dress

  1. Pingback: me-mades in the wild (year-end roundup) | root branch bole

  2. Pingback: boring is good. | root branch bole

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