Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Fantastic Dyed Purple Wrap Dress

My green wrap dress. It turned out fabulous, great for both everyday stuff and dressing up, so of course I wanted to make a second one. There was however that one little issue of the dress requiring 4 yards of fabric. I have a lot of fabric in my stash, but a 4 yard (or larger) piece NOT already earmarked for a specific project? Those are rare.

After going through my fabric I decided to use this bolt of some synthetic/cotton blend white with thin blue stripes because A) I wasn't going to use it for anything else, and B) I had a lot of it. However there was one issue. Any white article of clothing I wear winds up stained, no matter how careful I am. So, a color change was an order. I bought a bottle of purple dye.

I poured the entire bottle of dye into my milk bucket (no other stainless steel pot was large enough) on the stove, along with enough water to completely submerge my fabric. (I just cut a 4ish yard piece off of the bolt rather than attempt to dye the entire bolt). Into the milk bucket the fabric went, along with a few stained articles of white clothing.

Once everything had been in the dye long enough it was taken outside, draped over my trailer racks (used for hauling goats) and hosed off. Finally into the washer and dryer it all went.

After all that I had the fabric for my second 50's wrap dress using Simplicity 8085.
Now, while I love my green dress, it is a little boring to make the same pattern twice, so this dress got a slight design change. McCalls 7354 had caught my eye last time there had been a pattern sale. I almost bought it, but then I realised it was almost exactly the same as the pattern I already had. Only where the Simplicity pattern fastened in the back and had a fabric belt, the McCalls pattern had tabs that wrapped around to fasten in the front and no belt. No new pattern needed! That feature was easy enough to add to when I was cutting out my purple dress. 

I extended the back wrap pieces into a belt. The belt is flat lined with duck canvas to keep it's shape and then bag lined to finish the edges (the rest of the dress is just finished with bias tape, but the belt needed more stability.) There is a 1.5 inch opening in one side seam for the belt from the opposite side to thread through when the dress is being worn.

I got my dress all cut out and ready to sew one morning, but my sewing machine was at a friend's house where I was housesitting, not at home where I was. Not wanting to have to put off sewing my dress I decided to use this machine. A 1960's Sears Kenmore attached to a table (which it of course folds into). I picked it up at a thrift store a few months ago. I was excited to sew something on it and thrilled to discover it worked! (Once I'd figured out how to thread it and put a new needle in.) Thus, most of the interior seams of my dress got sewn that day on this machine.

Both tab/belt pieces wrap around the dress and fasten in the front on a single button. This is a happy accident. I'd intended for the tabs to fasten on the sides, right above the pockets, but I didn't really measure (not a good plan) just guessed how long the tabs needed to be so I made the too long and they met perfectly in the front instead! Thus, this dress only fastens with one button.

To help the belt stand out I added some purple trim from my stash. There was just enough!

Of course every dress must have pockets, so this dress has patch pockets just like the green one. Unfortunately these don't disappear into the skirt like those on the green dress do, but I can deal with that.

This dress is super comfortable and gets worn at least once a week. It works great for everyday stuff, but paired with my crinoline it's great for church too!

Sitting on the floor to pin together something? Yep! Worming goats? Yep! Looking fantastic? Yep, this dress can do it all!

Now, are two versions of this dress enough, or should I dig through my stash for a third suitable 4 yard piece? That I haven't decided yet!


  1. Make a third one in coral is my vote! Coral works with most skintones and can be worn in most seasons. Love the dress!

    1. Thanks! I have some red fabric I'm considering for my next dress, but I do love coral!

  2. Fab dress, I prefer the colour now it's dyed too, it fits you so well and you look great it.