Saturday, December 19, 2015

Named Olivia Wrap Dress




I had been dreaming of making this dress ever since the pattern came out early this fall.  But I kept putting it off while I pondered how to fit it.  In Named patterns, I size in at 36 bust, 38 waist and 42 hip.  The tulip shape of the skirt gives you a little wiggle room with this pattern, but I think if you make it too tight, you lose the original proportions of the design.


After a lot of thought, I decided to go with the 36 bust and grade out to 38 for the waist, and then make the entire skirt in size 38 as well.  The fit is slightly snugger across my backside than intended, but I still think it's flattering.  Note:  I wasn't wearing a slip when I took these photos but I did wear a "slipshort," and the back got a bit hung up on it and made those wrinkles at the left hip.


As you can see,  the bodice is designed to be slightly blousey.  There are a couple darts on the front skirt, and the waist has elastic as well as the wrap ties.  There are on-seam pockets at the hip as well.  I was dubious about how this would work but I went ahead and tried them on this dress, which I consider my test version. For once, I followed all the instructions.  Against my better judgment, I inserted the pockets as written:  the side seams are sewn except at the pocket opening, and then the pocket bags are attached to the seam allowances at the opening, and finally sewn to each other.  I like to think that I'm pretty good at precision sewing, but this was really hard for me!!  Next time, if I do pockets at all, I'll do them in my normal way of attaching the bags to the front and back pieces first and then sewing the side seams and pocket bags all in one go.  My inability to sew the pockets accurately resulted in some holes and misalignments; I was able to close up the holes afterwards by hand, but as you can see in the photo above, there is some bunching at the left hip because I couldn't get that pocket aligned exactly.


I say "next time" . . . I think there will be a next time - I like the pattern and design enough to have more than one of this dress.  But I found the sewing of it extremely tedious.  First off, I loathe sewing knits on the regular sewing machine, and because of the construction of this dress, there are very few seams that can be sewn on the serger.  Secondly, those pockets.  Much too tedious.  And finally, I find it very frustrating to have to wrangle large stretchy pieces with long, skinny, even stretchier pieces hanging off.  By sheer force of will, I managed to complete this dress in 3 days.  So, after a cooling off period, during which I'll go back to my comfort zone of hand-tailoring blazers, I may try it again.

The only other little tidbit to share is that the opening in the side for the tie is quite large - I went back and closed it up by 1/4" each top and bottom to avoid exposing myself.


The sun came out yesterday, so after I got back from the gym, I quickly put on the dress and snapped a few shots.  But even with the sunshine, it's hard to see the details of the dress - really, the lighting in my house is horrible.  So I ended up playing around with some of the editing tools in iPhoto to make them more visible. And I decided I quite liked the artiness of it!  Here's a before and after example:




I liked that I could add pink shadows.

Do any of you intend to make this dress?  How do you feel about sewing knits on the sewing machine?  Do large, stretchy garments make you frustrated too?




37 comments:

  1. I think this dress looks so nice on you! I struggle with Named patterns, too, since I am between at least three sizes. They really don't make it easy to grade between sizes since it requires printing multiple files (or doing some guess work.) I don't think I've ever sewn such a large stretchy thing before-- I imagine cutting it out was a challenge. I think it was worth all of the effort, though! It's really flattering!

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    1. This one wasn't so bad in terms of grading, because you can make the bodice and top in completely different sizes. When I was cutting it out, it seemed like the fabric wasn't going to be stretchy enough! Mood listed it as a jersey but it's actually an interlock :-/ But man, once I started sewing, that stretchiness came right out!

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  2. I just bought this pattern and will make it in the new year. Like you, it caught my eye as soon as it was released. Your experience with the pockets is very informative, and yes I also dislike sewing large stretchy things! Yours looks lovely though!

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    1. Thank you! It's such a beautiful design! It's one of those things where I have to really, really want it to do this kind of sewing

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  3. Haha, I'm amused that tailored jackets are more your comfort zone than knit dresses! You've got it backwards, lady! Interesting about the pockets though, I was experimenting with pockets and tried out the method you mentioned. I too found it fiddlier than needed. One benefit is that you can finish the pocket bag edges as one, instead of separately? And also that the seam allowances can be pressed open without clipping? I don't think that outweighs the annoying fiddliness. Can you think of any pros/cons I may have missed?
    Also I agree on large unweildy fabric, I recently sewed something like that and I hated it! Haha.
    Anyway your dress looks great and thanks for lightening it so we can see the details!

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    1. Thanks! I know! I'm a conundrum :-) Yes, those are the only benefits I could think of too. But for me, I think the frustration of trying to get it all lined up overrides those benefits. I felt like I was fighting this dress every step of the way, and I didn't do any finishing on the inside because this fabric doesn't fray.

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  4. Despite all the problems, it looks like a really great dress on you!

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  5. Looks great! I'm trying to remember if I was frustrated making this - I think not! But to be honest I still baste a lot of my knits on my regular machine, as I'm just not particularly dexterous with my overlocker yet. I agree the belt hole is way too big (sorry if I didn't warn you about it.). But I love love mine, and can't wait to make a long sleeves version come winter.

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    1. Thank you! Well, this is embarrassing . . . you did warn me (everyone) about the belt hole, but I was trying to write this post in a hurry and got too lazy to link it up! I'm sorry!! I referred to your version several times for tips :-)

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  6. This looks lovely on you! I printed out & assembled this pattern a couple of months ago, alyhough I still need to trace it. The construction of the top with the elastic put me a bit off, but I really like the blousy look, so I'll guess I have to persist! I'm definitely going to skip the pockets though!

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    1. Thank you, Anne-Rose! I wasn't looking forward to the elastic at the waist either, but actually that part wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be! Good call on skipping the pockets. I'm torn about them - it's so nice to have them, but they do add bulk.

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  7. So nice to see this dress sewn up! I didn't realize it had those extra details with the darts and elastic in the waist. It looks great on you! I really hope to make this dress myself!

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    1. Thank you! I think this will look great on you! I think the pleats are interesting - they don't really come across as pleats to me, but just add a bit more volume to the front.

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  8. Looks good and good on you! ��

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  9. Your comment on the pockets is so helpful! I made a garment recently with pockets attached similarly and had a hell of a time getting them to look right. I don't usually sew pockets, so it was pretty off-putting. It's a relief to hear that's the "hard way."

    This is a great piece in terms of styline and a timeless look--I'm sure you can sew a few more and they'll all be staples.

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    1. I'm glad that's helpful to you, Sara! Yes, I really think this is the hard way! I admire anybody who can do it properly. I am not that person ;-)

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  10. I really like this on you! Such a great shape!

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  11. It is gorgeous Gail ... the length and the fit are perfect for you ... what a lovely feminine silhouette. I bought the pattern too and I usually ca get away with a 36 ... how does it feel across the chest do those front bands stay where they are supposed to or you need to keep fiddling with you cleavage all day long

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    1. Thank you, Sasha! Well, for ladies who are bustier than me, I imagine the fronts will stay in place pretty well. However, my size 36 is distributed mostly to the back :-) So I will probably have to put a little snap on there to keep it closed. I've seen a couple other reviews who say that the fronts do stay closed, so I think it's really a matter of your shape. This is pretty common for me with wrap styles, which is why I tend to avoid them! But I couldn't resist this design.

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  12. Very elegant dress, it suits your style and it fits you perfectly. I especially like the view from the side - it reminds me of Sandra Bullock on the poster of The Proposal [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Proposal_%28film%29#/media/File:The_Proposal.jpg] - feminine and stylish.

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    1. Thank you, Carmela! That was a cute movie!

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  13. Oh this is a pretty dress! I love the shape of it :)

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  14. It certainly turned out nicely! I sew knits on my sewing machine with a walking foot, only using my serger to finish the seams. It's double the work, but I don't think my serged edges are sturdy enough to support any wearing strain. I've gotten a bit better with knits, but ultimately I just never feel like I'm sewing them up really well. Wovens all the way :) I've been enjoying your blazer in-progress on IG!

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    1. Thanks, Morgan! That's very interesting - I feel just the opposite! I never quite trust the knits I sew on the regular machine because they're not as stretchy as the serger. And yes, it is nice to do a woven project after doing this dress! And hand stitching, which I find very calming.

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  15. This just looks so stylish on so it was worth the wrangling. Me, I don't really like to make knit garments. Like Morgan I tend to make them on my sewing maching and fix the edges with the serger.

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    1. Thanks, Kirsty! Isn't it funny how the thing that is hard for one person can be easy for another? I much prefer the serger!

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  16. I love this dress on you! It's beautiful! I always sew knits on the sewing machine and use the serger to finish the seams. I feel too stressed if I just serge- I like to try things on as I go and not serge until I'm sure I'm ready to commit! :) But I'm not very fond at all of sewing stretchy knits. I prefer beefy knits with less stretch-- slinky, slithery fabric, yuck!

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    1. Thank you! I have to say, I'm kind of surprised by how many people prefer to sew knits on the sewing machine! There is a fear factor with the serger though - one false move and your project is done for!

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  17. So lovely! Looking forward to delving into the archives to see what else you've been up to.

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  18. So lovely! Looking forward to delving into the archives to see what else you've been up to.

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  19. Hi Gail,
    your dress does look flatering on you... it gives you a great body shape!
    You wrote on my blog you sew for 40 years now! How can that be possible? You don't even look like 40 years!

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    1. Thank you, Stefanie! I do love my curves :-)

      And thank you for that lovely compliment - I started to learn sewing when I was 12 . . . I'll let you do the math!

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