Just Sew Helen's Blog

Hello & welcome to my blog where I will share an insight into my life, values and behind the scenes of Just Sew Helen.  

This blog will show you the topics that inspire my small business including my love of sewing & dressmaking, hand embroidery and my exclusive baby loss & remembrance gifts. Underlying the creation of Just Sew Helen are women's health & pregnancy loss issues.

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Lena Wrap Dress Hack - Simple Sew Patterns

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Welcome to my first post for the Simple Sew Blog.  I’m really pleased to join the team of sewing bloggers & to be part of the Simple Sew Patterns #SewThisIsChristmas Makes.

It was exciting to have a free range of the Simple Sew patterns & similarly fabrics from ClothSpot.

Ponte fabric Lena wrap dress

My pattern of choice is the Lena Wrap Dress, a classic style with a wrap bodice, waistband and flared skirt.  The pattern has a nice envelope with a fold at the side which will allow the pieces to fit back in easily once cut and refolded.   The pattern itself is printed on good quality tissue paper.

Lena wrap dress pattern from Simple Sew

The fabric arrived beautifully packaged in aubergine coloured tissue paper with a couple of complimentary fabric swatches.  I had chosen a rich winter Ponte – a dark background grey with bronze accents, namely, ‘Aviary’ charcoal & bronze printed Roma jersey fabric.  There is also an alternative fabric that is very similar, 'Floreat'- chestnut & violet printed ponte Roma jersey.

Fabric from ClothSpot

I prewashed the fabric and dried it flat on the airer. The fabric became quite heavy when it was wet, and I had to be careful that the fabric didn’t pull out of shape or ‘dent’ from the edges of the airer. There were a couple of dents, but these ironed out with a bit of steam.

There is a right and wrong way up to the fabric, however, I didn’t pattern match on this occasion due to the wrap front and the subtle design of the pattern.

I’m not keen on wearing flared skirts and replaced the skirt with one from a pattern I have used in the past, The Joni Dress.  I like the waist pleats, being a bit different to standard darts. 

Joni Dress

The pattern pieces were accurate and the instructions easy to follow.  After making a toile, I made my usual adjustments which included -

- a FBA (full bust adjustment)

- slightly lengthening the bodice

- taking in the nape of the neck

- grading up a size over the hips

I originally made the skirt with pockets but as the fabric is quite thick, I didn’t think it hung well across my hips, so I reluctantly removed them. I had added elastic across the pocket fronts to reduce any stretching out and similarly added elastic to the shoulder seams, neckline and waistband which all help to prevent any stretching of the fabric when wearing the garment.  Again, due to the weight of the fabric the bodice didn’t need lining which is detailed in the pattern.  Consequently, I opted to sew a narrow hem along the neckline which would otherwise have been finished with the lining.

Pockets

Neckline elastic

For a simple FBA I follow the advice of Melly Sews.  

The sleeves fitted the armscye perfectly and didn’t require a gathering stitch across the head of the sleeve which is usually required when inserting sleeves.

I used a lightening stitch throughout for the seams and neatened all of the seams with a zig zag stitch. I do have an overlocker that I inherited from my mom but have yet to use it.  Maybe next time I make this dress, I’ll have a go with the overlocker, which, once mastered would make this a really quick make.

Lightening stitch and zigzag stitch

Although I’ve made this dress as part of the Simple Sew #sewthisischristmas festive makes, this isn’t a party dress but a really comfortable classic shape that has plenty of give for my Christmas dinner.  The finished dress is quite heavy due to the lovely winter weight of the fabric and I will store the dress folded to avoid any stretch from coat hangers.

Simple Sew Lena wrap dress

Lena wrap hack Joni dress

My little helper :-) 

My little helper

Wrap dress back

Comfy dress

I’m really pleased with how the dress turned out and send huge thanks to Simple Sew & ClothSpot for the pattern and fabric.

Helen x

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