There’s no denying the classic nature of the wrap shape. There’s something feminine and elegant about it, and I absolutely adore the scallop edge of the Whitney. It’s a fun addition that means the dress can be great for work or play and a great canvas for lots of different print types. If you are like me and the elegance stops at the dress, wrap dresses might fill you with fear. I have memories of windy ‘oops’ moments and untying wraps – particularly if you’re clambering around in an active lifestyle. All through the testing phase I was itching to try a mock wrap – all the elegance of a wrap style but with added modesty (and also uses less fabric to boot!)
What’s even better is its an easy hack to make. Promise. There are three simple changes to the cutting stage.
- I made a minor change to the front bodice pieces. In the full wrap style, the front pieces are ‘under tension’ when the internal and external ties are closed, which keeps the front wrap closed when worn. To assist with the neckline, I added a small additional piece to each of the front bodice pieces as shown in the pictures – this means when you attach the bodice to the skirt, its just attached a little further along, which helps keep the neckline secure.
- The skirt is the easiest change! What you’re going to need to do is remove the front skirt panel pattern piece, and instead cut 2 x back skirt pieces on the fold, instead of 1.
- Remove the inner waist ties – you won’t need them!
Choose before you start sewing what side you want wrap tie to sit, i.e. which side of the bodice you want to sit on top. Don’t worry – you can change your mind (I normally decide which neckline edge looks nicest and I want on show! But you need to make sure you’ve made up your mind before you close your side seams – so you can attach the waist tie to the right side. You could always sew up the side seams but stop before the waist seam – so you can try it on and see what you think!
Continue to make the dress as per the instructions. When you reach Stage 10, you need to stitch the side seams AND baste the front closed. I’ve added some pictures, but in effect you need to cross the front pieces, with the dress right side out, and stitch along the bottom edge of the two bodice pieces, to attach them to each other. You’re aiming for the front bodice bottom edge to be the same length as the top of the skirt. This might take some trial and error – so I recommend pinning before you sew it, and try on the bodice to seem if you’re happy with the amount of cross-over. If you don’t overlap the bodices by enough, the neckline will be much wider and your skirt piece will be smaller than the hem. If you overlap them too much, you’ll end up with a high neckline and the dress could be too small at the waist. I made the 20C and found the best position was to line the edge of the front bodice piece with the waist dart.
Remember at this stage, you need to make sure the overlap is central. I.e. the same amount of each front bodice piece is overlapped with the other. The easiest way to measure this is to measure from the side seam out to the overlap piece and make sure its equal both sides.
Once you’re happy with the placement, baste these two pieces shut with a wide zig zag stitch within the waist seam allowance.
Then, you can sew up your skirt side seams RST – I’ve added pockets to this version (you can see how in this blog post) – if you want to do that then make sure you do that as part of your skirt construction.
Then, you can sew up your waist seam, Put the bodice and the skirt RST and make sure you’ve tucked your waist ties well out of the way. Sew the seam and turn the dress right side out.
Optional – stitch down your wrap neck – because this is a mock wrap, you can be extra secure about your neckline if you choose to – my advice is to try it on and see what you think – this jersey was a bit stretchier than my test version, so it was a tiny bit big, so I chose to topstitch mine down. I stitched along the topstitching of the top bodice piece so its not visible.
Also optional – if you’re as bad at tying pretty neat bows like I am – you might choose to tack the perfect bow down to immortalise it – there are loads of great videos showing you how to do this (but I still have to watch them every time I wear my full wrap version!)
Congratulations, you’ve just made a mock wrap jersey dress of elegance and comfort dreams. What’s great about this is you can add any skirt you want to the dress – I think I want a tulip skirt version next – and maybe a gathered skirt version too.