Hannah Wrap Dress

The next style to try is a wrap dress in a woven fabric. The Eve Dress by Sew Over It seems to be very popular but as I already had the Hannah decided to try that for the time being.

BY HAND LONDON Hannah dress

“Hannah is the quintessential easy breezy wrap dress that can be as daytime casual or night-time glamour as you want! With a sexy scoop wrap neckline, a gently gathered skirt and three unique sleeve options, you can have all the fun in the world coming up with your own drastically different variations. Best of all, this dress patterns has no zipper or lining so she can be whipped up in a matter of hours!”

As I have never made a By Hand London pattern before I printed out the pdf and cut a size 22 in lightweight calico so that I could make a toile to check the fit. It turned out to be pretty good but I needed to make a few adjustments; I raised the centre point at which the wrap crosses as it was too low for my taste. I lowered the apex of the bust and waist darts by ½ inch. Did a forward shoulder adjustment at the armscye by ½ inch, reduced the shoulder width by ¾ inch and made my usual sway back adjustment. I found that I also needed to take out 1 inch at the centre back neckline.

I marked the changes on the pattern and cut another toile in calico to double check before I cut into my fashion fabric. All now looking good.

Having browsed through my stash and knowing that for View 1 (short sleeved version) in my size I would need 3.4m x 150cm wide fabric, I decided upon some Blue floral print viscose that I bought from an eBay seller back in 2018. Only possible problem was that I had only a 2.8m length after the fabric had been laundered.

Blue background Viscose bought from eBay

I placed the pattern pieces roughly and decided to ‘go for it’. Cutting out this fine lightweight fabric was like ‘herding cats!’. I cut the back bodice in two with a centre back seam. Bearing in mind the error with pocket bags on my previous Montana make, I cut all 4 pocket bags as per the pattern, in the fashion fabric. Having decided to make the wrap with ties that go around the body through a buttonhole in the right bodice side seam and tie at the back I cut 2 lengths of 36 inches x 4 inches wide to make the ties.

As I said, this fabric is lovely in the way that it drapes but it seemed very fragile. I felt that it needed some more substance to the bodice, especially bearing in mind the weight of the closely gathered skirt. I unpicked my second toile and used the lightweight calico to underline the bodice back and fronts. The fabric still retains its drape and there does not appear to be any change to the colour but now the bodice has a deal more structure to it.

To underline the bodice pieces I pressed the pieces wrong sides together, carefully pinned around the out edge and then basted with a ¼ inch seam. I stitched just inside the lines for the darts before continuing with the construction using the underlined pieces as one layer of fabric.

The pattern instructions call for the sleeves to be inserted on the flat, but I prefer to insert in the round. I neatened the sleeve seam with 3-thread over locking before turning up 1 inch and machine top-stitching in place. I was reminded about ‘crimping’ the sleeve head (curlyseams vlog on youtube) to make insertion into the armscye easier and this certainly worked well on the toile so was repeated with the fashion fabric.

I made up the ties and basted them to the front bodice pieces. I stitched the pockets to the side seams before remembering that I had planned to use French seams – bother! The viscose gathered up easily with the two rows of gathering stitches and taking my time I attached the skirt pieces to the bodice.

I ran the over locker along that seam to neaten and also around all the skirt edges, fronts and hem. Whilst doing this I made the ‘leading edge’ of the front skirt pieces rounded at the hem edge as I intended to apply bias binding to the whole of the dress – from centre back of the neck, along the front bodice, down the edge of the skirt, along the hem of the skirt, up around the second bodice front and back to the centre back of the neck edge. I would need a serious amount of binding and ‘shopped my stash’ for some complimentary fabric to use. I settled on some of the remnant poly/cotton that I had used for Butterick 6554, the previous foray into woven wrap dress style. That dress has now been donated as the fit was seriously off!

I made yards and yards of bias binding 2 inches wide which I then basted wrong sides together to make a double thickness. I stitched to the right side of the dress using a ¼ inch seam before turning to the inside. I edge stitched before trimming all the seam allowances. Hand stitching in place on the wrong side of the dress was completed whilst watching a couple of episodes of Car Share. I had to stop occasionally as I laughed so much at the antics of Peter Kay. Finally I made a buttonhole in the right-hand side through which to pass the tie to make the bow at the back.

By Hand London Hannah dress in viscose

Despite having been dressmaking for many years the last time that I used viscose was back in the 70’s when I made a culotte dress in Bright Orange (sorry can’t find the photograph!). Sewing with viscose presents some challenges but I am sure that I will buy some more for my stash. Meantime, I am absolutely delighted with how this Hannah dress has turned out and plan to make another starting with cutting out some pretty floral print cotton lawn tomorrow!

project #33 completed 17th May 2020