Pattern Review: Wildwood Wrap Dress from Sew House Seven

TL; DR – Sometimes wovens are not, in fact, easier then knits, collars remain a challenge, and if there is a video tutorial/sew-a-long WATCH IT.

It started when I saw this dress from a Chinese knock-off place that was algorithmically fed to me on my FB:

Purdy, but weirdly sized

Anyway, it was dirt cheap but even the 3XL wouldn’t have come close to fitting me (like, in what world does a 3XL only have a 39″ chest?), so I asked one of the FB groups I’m a part of to suggest a pattern, and the favorite was the Wildwood Wrap Dress from Sew House Seven. And while I LOVE this shade of green, I had no luck finding a match (at all, like everything was neon or puke green, it was weird), so I settled on the purple twill.

Now, I was feeling pretty good about myself, the pattern markings and directions seemed pretty clear, and so I set off, on my own to make the dress. This, readers, was a mistake. The bodice was challenging if only because of the wrap pattern and collar facing. That, and I can never remember if white is the right side or wrong side of the fabric (and could all the pattern companies just decide, unless they have already and this ADHD brain still can’t learn it). Plus, woven fabric like this looks the same on both sides, so I have to mark the sides AND pay extra attention. I think instead of F and B, I should put W and G for the colors they use in the pattern instructions.

OMG I AM TOTALLY DOING THAT FROM NOW ON.

Anyway, I had to unpick the collar a number of times, and OMG WOVEN FABRIC YOU SUCK. Everything frayed. EVERYTHING. There was black thread EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t tell if I was ripping a stitch or the fabric. It was a mess and I wanted to hurl the thing out the window, but instead I just cursed the woven fabric and dreamed of my next project that will be a knit and therefor less frustrating.

Wovens are usually easier for beginning sewing projects: they are stable, they don’t stretch, nor do they need special stitches. Knits are harder because they are less stable (slide around), stretch (could stretch out collars, etc), and you need a special stitch (stretch stitch). These are, of course, generalities. A good, solid stable knit (like ponte) is WAY EASIER than what I just sewed with, while those jersey fabrics I made my early dresses with were a nightmare, and the last woven dress I made was like a dream.

Anyway, there was a lot of thread and cursing and wovens can such just as much as knits can.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself when I got the bodice done, but I knew that I had slightly messed up the collar. The dress is supposed to have folds and such, so I didn’t think too much of it at the time.

No, I won’t show a close-up of where I screwed up the collar

Anyway, the skirt came together pretty easily (just a lot of straight stitching) but when it came to the hem facing, I was stumped. Thankfully, Kelly Hogaboom did a video sew-a-long, and I was able to figure out the facing, lining up the bodice and the skirt, as well as some other tricky issues with the finishing. It feels good when the “pro” doing the sew-a-long says, yeah, this part is confusing and it took me a while.

I just wish I had watched the whole thing so that I could have avoided the collar facing fiasco, or that I accidentally sewed a tie on the inside instead of having it popping out on the outside through the seam. Thankfully, I was able to use a bit on interfacing to reinforce a button hole to push the piece through, and now it ties fine. It also helps that there is the GIANT BELT (which is awesome by the way, I am making on in every color for my all my dresses) which hides said unplanned button hole.

Overall, I am really pleased with the dress and the pattern. I might shorten the bodice the next time, as I have a really REALLY short torso, but I’d really have to figure out how to do that. No, my side seams don’t align, but that’s a “me” problem, rather than a pattern problem.

I’m going to make this dress again, probably with some silver linen I have, and make it the shorter length. And I am DEFINITELY going to watch the video sew-a-long from the very beginning.

UPDATE 09/08/2021: I did end up shortening the bodice of the dress by creating some horizontal “darts” for lack of a better term at the waistline. Next time, I’ll make a toile of the top bodice and take off an inch at the bottom and see what that does.

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