When the Bellbird Wrap Dress was released by Common Stitch, I knew it was going to the top of my sewing list. This dress has already been getting a lot of weekend use, and I’d love to make another version in linen.
The dress really did save me from a dire sewing funk – I’d moved towns, all of my sewing stuff was everywhere, and I really wasn’t feeling motivated to sort it all out – but this dress got me out of it.
Once determined to make the dress, I went searching through my fabric stash and settled on a cotton double gauze I picked up at Nunoya while in Spain last year. It’s a really lovely, soft fabric that has wide stripes on one side, and thinner stripes on the other. I’ve been saving it for a dress where I can play with the variation in stripes, and decided the wrap feature would give me an opportunity to do that.
Let’s talk about fabric fear for a second – I briefly felt apprehensive about cutting into this fabric – which represents some really fun memories – for a dress I hadn’t made before. In the end, I told myself it was just fabric and decided to take a chance (can you tell I try to avoid making muslins…).
In the end, everything worked out fine, and I’m really happy with the dress. I found it to be a straight-forward, satisfying and exciting make. It only took me evenings in the work week to complete (of course I started making it with a fast approaching weekend event in mind). I did take one shortcut with the dress – I didn’t make my own binding. I had cream binding leftover from another project (making binding is something else I avoid…) and so I decided to use this.
My bust and waist sized in the size M but my hips in the L – the dress flares so I decided to cut a straight size M, and I’m happy with the fit.
I made two alterations to the dress. The first was changing the direction that the dress wraps (mine goes left over right, while the pattern goes right over left). This is because I didn’t consider which way to cut the pieces so I ended up with the large stripe wrapping over the small at the front. Unfortunately, I cut them out so the small would be wrapping over the large if I followed the pattern (this isn’t what I wanted). This was an easy oversight to fix; I just swapped the belt opening and pockets so the dress wrapped the other way – ending up with large stripes over small.
The second alteration was to the position of the belt. I have a high waist, meaning the belt was positioned below my waist. If I tried to wrap the belt around my waist, it created gaping up the top. This was a really quick fix – I just unpicked the belt and moved the strap about an inch higher. The repositioning fixed the gape perfectly. I probably could also move up the belt and belt opening on the other side…. But I didn’t and I’m happy with how it’s sitting, and so I’m going to leave it as is.
All-in-all I’m really happy with this dress, and if you’re looking for a light and breezy summer dress, I think this could be the one for you.