Right in time for the wrap dress sewalong, I’m here to review a new wrap dress pattern, the Gillian Dress by Muse Patterns. You may remember that I reviewed the company’s first pattern, the Jenna Cardigan, last month. The Gillian dress is a wrap dress designed for knit fabrics, and features a waistband and gathered shoulder yokes (similar to the Jenna cardi).
I really like the design of the dress. This is the second knit wrap pattern I’ve made (the first being the Sew Over It “Ultimate Wrap Dress“). The Gillian dress has the waistband which not only gives it slightly more waist definition, but also means the seam where the ties join onto the dress is finished nicely, and the “hole” that the tie goes through is also nicely enclosed. The other obvious feature is the gathered shoulder yoke on the front and back, which I’m a big fan of.
It comes with the choice of sleeve and skirt lengths: short, 3/4 and long sleeves; and a blouse/peplum skirt, above-the-knee, and below-the-knee skirt. I chose the longest version but added 6cm – I’m tall (178cm), and have worked out that my ideal skirt length is 70cm from the waist.
Because of all the different variations, the suggested yardage is based on the biggest size, doing the longest skirt with the longest sleeve. To be safe I bought 3m, and have over 100cm leftover even after I had to re-cut a piece, but keeping in mine that I used contrasting fabric for the ties and yokes (and that my fabric store can be quite generous – they give extra for shrinkage!)
The neck band is drafted as 2-3 inches smaller than the neckline itself, to help prevent gaping.
I did have a few issues with the PDF not quite lining up (you know when you’ve cellotaped one horizontal line of paper, and you add the next horizontal line, and they don’t quite match up). I’m never sure if this is just an issue with my cutting, but have had patterns line up perfect so I’m not sure. I did also find that the first three rows were 10 pages wide, which is a bit much for my dining table, so I had to cut them up a bit before tracing everything off.
The size range is the same for the Jenna cardigan, going up to a 48″ bust – many of you may want to size by your high bust measurement, like me.
The sizing worked well for me – I cut a size 38 bust and waist, and graded to a size 44 in the hips (my measurements are 38″ high bust, 40″ bust, 32″ waist and 47″ hip, making me a definite pear). I didn’t make any other changes. Like most other patterns the shoulders continue to widen as you increase in size, so if you’re a bigger size with narrow shoulders, you may want to use a smaller size yoke piece and gather the bodice pieces more. Likewise, if you’re particularly big busted you could easily cut a bigger sized front bodice to fit, while keeping the back bodice and the yokes to your high-bust size.
Overall the instructions were good – as in, a good order of sewing, sleeves sewn in the flat, etc. Notches lined up nicely. There are a few parts of the instructions I found challenging – or at least, that made me scratch my head and snap at my husband (which may also have been a symptom of an overdue lunch). Mainly this was with regards to the waistband – the hole through which the tie passes is nicely enclosed (rather than the usual “top-stitch down your raw edge” that wrap dresses seem to have) but it took a few minutes of thinking to work out how to get there. Likewise with the way the tie attaches to the waistband. It ends up being very nicely finished without facings (I hate facings in knit garments!) but could be worded slightly differently.
Also, there was no mention of which side the hole should go. I put it on the left (was actually meaning to put it on the right, but somehow got it around the other way) which means the wrap folds left-over-right, whereas I would have preferred right-over-left. It’s not something that matters at all, but I feel weirdly odd about it
- Different to any current pattern offerings, particularly other indies – most wrap dresses I’ve seen don’t have a separate waist band, and I haven’t seen the gathered yokes in any other indie patterns.
- Good size range, up to a 48″ bust (and likely expandable to bigger sizes, particularly because it’s a knit)
- Several variations – I’ll probably be making the top version soon
- Looks nice with contrasting colours! I’m not big on “colour blocking” usually but I think this looks good
- Instructions can be a bit confusing at times – just take it slow and think about the process.
- The PDF doesn’t line up 100%. Just wing it.
- I had some difficulty with the top-stitching stretching out my seams, even with a walking foot. Not really a pattern fault but it was a pain.
- The wrap does sit a little bit high on me, I wonder if the two different fabrics means I should have shortened the neckband further. You may find this is more or less obvious if you have a bigger bust.
Since Jenny suggested the wrap-dress-along, this is my third wrap dress (the other two are woven). They are SO comfortable! This fabric is almost feels like a soft towel robe, so I feel like I’m wearing a dressing gown, but one I can wear outside the house.
If you’re interested, use the code TMSGILLIAN for 15% off until midnight October 23rd, NZ time (remember we live in the future, so that might be the 22nd for you!). The code is entered after you go through the paypal process, once you arrive back at the Muse Patterns website. And until tonight, 100% of the sale price (less transaction fees) goes to the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation. Woot!