1940s Wrap Dress – A Labour of Love

1940s Wrap Dress Sew Over It

When Sew Over It released their new wrap dress pattern I bought it immediately. I am usually not a fan of a wrap dress. They flap open and are often made of jersey which clings to my shape in all the wrong places. But this design is for woven fabric and has some lovely detailing on the shoulder, slightly gathered shoulders and a waist band. I also got some fabric from them, a lovely navy crepe with a geometric design that I thought would be perfect for work. However, it is extremely light, slippy and see-through so it was murder to cut out.

After cutting all the dress fabric I hit a wall and didn’t come back to it for a couple of months. I was frankly scared of starting to sew it up. I realised I had forgotten to lengthen the bodice which is what I always need to do on a Sew Over It pattern – next time I’ll add 2.5″. The sheerness of the fabric was also holding me back. Even with a slip it was going to be a bit racy so I decided I would fully line the bodice and the skirt. Once I made that decision I cut out the whole pattern again, minus sleeves, in a red lining fabric and I was off again. For the bodice I sewed each dress and lining piece together before constructing it as one.  I made a separate (slightly smaller skirt) which I sewed in at the waistband and hand stitched along the edges.

IMG_3599First the good things. The pattern and instructions are pretty clear, there are a lot of them and you need to concentrate but if you follow the step-by-step you will be fine. I finally learnt how to do bias binding which the construction of the bodice wrap over required. There are two sleeve and skirt lengths and options to fasten it with poppers or I buttons, which I chose to use to make sure it doesn’t pop open. I also think I will put in a few stitches to hold the skirt closed as when I wore it the first time it was quite revealing as I marched to work!


The bad things were more user error than fault of the pattern. The fitting at the waist is far from perfect because I forgot to lengthen the bodice and due to the  slippery fabric it was difficult to get the squares to lay straight across the waistband. It’s not a huge problem but it will forever annoy me. I plan to make another in a less obvious and more controllable fabric.

It’s a slow sew but that’s sometimes a good thing and when I finally finished it, desipe fitting issues, I felt very pleased with myself.

EDIT: I realised I’d only ever worn it once because the fitting issues were too annoying. My Me Made May 2019 pledge was to finish and adjust things in my WIP pile so I made some adjustments.

Before. Too wide at the waist.


How I wanted it:



What I did: take an inch either side from the bodice. This means there is now a side seam through the waistband but hey. It fits nicely at the waist now but gapes across the bust so I’ll be adding a press stud to keep it in place. I still need to do something about the skirt flapping open. Probably wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t lined it in bright red!


I also took the skirt in quite a bit – about four inches at the bottom graded up to an inch from the waist. It’s never going to be perfect but let’s call this a wearable toile. Alterations needed for next time: lengthen bodice, Full bust adjustment, lengthen skirt, cut a size smaller, phew!


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