In which I am a Christmas Elf

Hey everyone,

How is December treating you all? As more and more lights appear on people’s balconies, in windows and in gardens, the holidays are almost there. With it, the weather is finally suitable for wearing all my knits again, and my diet is doing a test of how much cinnamon it can incorporate. I had a nice wrap dress ready to show to you! While I think the dress itself is best suited to early autumn and spring, I feel it has proper Christmas elf attire feels to it so I thought it would be great to make her my last pre-christmas post to go up here!

(Also, if you are inclined to worry, don’t mind the state of my arms, these photos where taken on a very mild day. Alternatively worry about climate change which causes so many mild days this year.)

Wrap dresses are not a style I usually go for, in fact I’m pretty sure this is the first one in my adult life. I feel like a lot of them are not super suited to my shape. Normally I’m pretty firmly in camp “bollocks to that, just wear what you like” but that train of thought kinda hits a wall when you try to make things work for you that are – very clearly – not drafted for your body shape. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been waffling over making the Kielo wrap dress for, oh I don’t know, years? I have seen a lot of beautifully made versions, making me want to make one too, but I was never sure if it suits my body and so far I’ve not seen many versions that convince me that it does. Anyway, all that is to say that it massively helps to have models and/or testers that show a diverse range.

This, however, is the Reggie Dress by Seamwork, a brand that I feel has been a trailblazer in the sewing community in terms of inclusive size ranging as well as showing a greater diversity in models. While that is not to say that there aren’t things they could improve upon, I still appreciate them for doing it from the onset. Seamwork focusses on no fuss everyday type of wear. This is the second seamwork pattern I made, the first one was the Jane that I made last year in a effort to make more basics. While I think that overall goal had been successful, the Jane has not been worn so much so I thought I’d give the brand another shot with this dress.

I wanted to make this wrap dress since it came out a while back. Like most of the dresses I like to wear it is quite a basic, easy to wear, no fuss dress but with a bit of added interest from the wrap, the bow and the puff sleeves. Similarly to the Myosotis I made a few months back, it is meant to fit slightly oversized, so it has a generous ease built in. Another feature is the empire waist, which I think might be one of the reasons this dress works so well for me. Part of why I struggle with wrap dresses is, they have to fit well in the bust area, which can be a problem if you are either significantly smaller or larger than the bodice block used.  Another reason why I wanted to try this pattern was because the model used in the photos made me think that it could also work for me (YAY!).

I used a very similar fabric as the sample dress, the only difference mine being red-white gingham instead of black and white. I bought this fabric when I just started my dressmaking journey and then didn’t really know what to do with it. In the Autumn I decided that my next make was going to be with this fabric, when I started brainstorming about what pattern to use my mind went to the Reggie. This order of things is quite unusual for me, I am almost never a fabric first, pattern second sewist, but I think it worked out beautifully here. So what you do need to know is that this dress is a fabric eater! Like this might be super obvious to you, because it is a wrap dress, but you’ll be making 3 full sized skirt panels. If you have your heart set on a fabric in your stash that won’t cut it with your yardage, there is a members bonus that replaces the wrap with a gathered skirt.

The only thing I changed was take of length of the skirt, which given that I’m short, is quit a usual mod for me. Normally this goes super smooth, but in this case I had a mild drama moment where I cut off more length than I intended. I don’t know what went wrong, but I essential cut it to the length I wanted it to end and not to the length – PLUS – seam allowance. To solve this as best as I could I decided to hem the skirt with bias tape, like you’d do a shirt (so the bias tape ends on the back of the hem) instead of the double turned hem. In this way I only lost some mm of skirt length to the skirt finishing, whereas other wise it would be a couple of cm. I’m happy with the skirt length now, which I think is about the same as in the sample. It’s on the short side, but I think that works well to balance out the fullness of the dress.

Ok, so my only regret with this dress is that I didn’t put in pockets. There are no pockets in the pattern, and I didn’t know if there was a reason in-seam pockets might not work with wrap dresses (can you tell I’m a wrap dress noob?) so I didn’t add them myself. Turns out there is no reason whatsoever, and I could have just put them in there. We’ll see if it annoys me enough after having worn it a couple of times. I might yet take a seam ripper and put them in anyway.

Because it is December and I had to go full Yule Nisse on you, I paired it with this red-white store bought colourwork cardigan that I think I’ve had for maybe 8 years? I try to make my clothes work for as long of the year as possible, which means I layer dresses such a these a lot. I think it might be something I want to show more often. I know it is helpful to see full detail shots of sewn stuff, but I also greatly enjoy see sewist share outfits with how their makes work in everyday life. I noticed that looking back I really like seeing my orange Mysotis paired with my knits for the posts on Love Note and Heart. I didn’t even think about it at the time, cause I’m used to always having to style knits with other things, but I don’t do it the other way around with sewn stuff.

I’m quite taken with the end result. It has some features that had you described it to me, without me seeing the pattern. I would probably have passed on the project all together; wrap style, puff sleeves, no pockets. But I’m glad I went with it. It’s a playful, and styled like this a bit whimsical, but should I in the future want to ooze less Christmas elf vibes I think it could be styled in loads of ways, and I have some ideas of stuff I want to try once it is more weather appropriate. I’m not wishing the days away though yet, I love winter.  Sending warm thoughts to you, and wishing those who celebrate the festive period in whatever way a loving time.


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