Sewing Projects

AN ANIMAL PRINT WREN DRESS

I managed to make quite a few things this summer despite my workload and travelling schedule. Most of them have been worn over and over and over again since I’ve essentially been living out of a suitcase for the past few months, and strangely, rather than getting tired of these repeats I’ve just grown more attached.

My Wren Dress is definitely on that list of attachments. I made it from an gorgeous animal print rayon knit I bought at Jospehine’s Dry Goods in Portland last fall; it matches my skin tone, so it feels like a nude but is broken up with the splotches of black.

I have worn this dress at least once a week for the last two months. It was especially handy when we traveled to Europe this summer, since it didn’t wrinkle much and made me feel put together even when I had just jumped out of the shower like I did in Spain when we took these photos.

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Ah Barcelona. You have to love a city you can walk around in while drinking a beer.

I really like this pattern. It’s a simple, classic silhouette with some nice details: I love the slightly lower curve at the back of the neck, the empire waist that drops as it wraps around the body and the light ruching at the shoulder. It’s feminine and flattering and a little vintage feeling; classic Colette.

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The wrap depth is perfect on me – enough to not show too much cleave without being overly modest, and I didn’t have to adjust the skirt length at all (I generally find things too long or too short….)

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It came together very quickly on my machine, and I even got to hem it using my new coverstitch (more on that to come). The only thing I’m not crazy about is the joint where the wrap portions meet at the clear elastic waistband. There are a few  opposing forces at work there so it creates a weird little pulling above my belly button. It’s also possible it’s my sewing . I had to sew the elastic in several times – my serger was not enjoying all the layers and gathering and I think things got strangely stretched out down there. I’ll have to make another version at some point so I can see – I think it would be delicious in a merino wool knit for fall.

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Making Wren reminds me how much I love a good knit dress, so I’ve been making some hard decisions about what to do with the knits that survived the vicious stash purge of 2016.

Have you made Wren? What’s your favourite knit dress pattern?

Details: Wren dress by Colette, handmade leather sandals from Etsy, vintage Coach purse (similar here)

  • Joellen

    I made the Wren dress and loved it too! I also had trouble with it doing a weird pulling thing. But I love it none the less!

    • I think it might be a construction thing – I’m not really sure how could fix it short of doing a different elastic insertion method.

  • Marie

    May I ask what size you made? I had trouble fitting the bodice of this dress and we seem to often wear the same size so that would help…

  • Nichole Talbot

    Pretty! I’ve been wanting to try a Wren, probably something a little warmer for fall/winter. I’m new to Portland and to sewing, so I had no idea about Josephine’s. I can’t wait to check it out.

    • It’s my favourite fabric store in Portland! The owners are total sweethearts.

  • Love! Love! Love! Dress, fabric and of course the vibe!

  • Looks like the perfect summer/travel dress!

  • Very nice – lovely colour on you. My two favourite knit dress patterns are the Named Olivia wrap for the tulip skirt, and the Maria Denmark Audrey for the darts in the back to create a lovely figure hugging shape without being skin tight (but I always transplant a different neckline)…

    • How does that tulip skirt hold up under knits? Seems like it would get droopey. Never saw the Audrey dress before but its very cute – I like darts in the back.

      • The waist seam allowance is stabilised with narrow elastic, then with with fabric belt it’s all very sturdy. My version was in viscose which is quite a heavy fabric. I’ve also made a DVF wrap dress and stabilised the waist seam the same way, works so well.

  • Yes I love knit dresses too! The wrap style is so flattering. My new favourite knit dress is Frankie by Tessuti, it has a nice close fit through the shoulders and drops into an a-line shape through the body. I’ve made it up in a light ponte as well as merino knit. Recommend!

    • I just googled it and you’re right, it’ super cute! A great silhouette and it would be a nice change from Coco.

  • This is super cute! I like how the animal print modernises the feminine design.

    • I know! I’m so sad I didn’t buy more.

  • I’ve never made or even owned a wrap dress or top. I’ve never been attracted to the style honestly nor did I imagine it would suit me – being a perfect rectangle 🙂 however seeing yours I’m more tempted. It looks fabulous! Casual and obviously comfortable yet dressed classy too and original. Beautiful! I’m curious to read more about your ferocious stash busting this year! And looking forward to reading your posts on your new coverstitch since I too bought one a couple of months ago and can honestly wax poetic over it 🙂

    • Aren’t they the best?! I am planning a post on everything I got rid of but I just realized I took everything to the thrift shop without documenting the pile :/

  • Margo Gillaspy

    Your wren looks very nice! I made a long-sleeved one and it also did the weird pulling thing in the front. Oh well. I like faux wraps so I think I better make another one.

    • I’m considering substituting a different waistband finish to fix it next time.

  • The satisfaction of a good knit wrap dress! Looks beautiful on you! And I love the print!

    • Thanks darlin! Wish I had ten more yards..

  • Lynn Maris

    So pretty – I love how versatile it is. Could wear it as a beach wrap.

    • Totally! Its pretty easy to get on and off.

  • Lynsey

    Super dress, it looks fab on you

  • Amy

    Lookin good! I love these kind of dresses! Cool knit print, rayon, knee length. You are so right in that they are the perfect travel dresses esp. in summer. Believe it or not I’ve never tried the wrap dress thing. Must do….