Jessamy's Highlands Wrap Dress
Posted on 30 August 2018
I am SO excited to welcome Jessamy from JessamyBMakes into the La Mercerie family as our new guest blogger! Jessamy and I became friends through Instagram sometime last year and have been swapping sewing trials and tribulations ever since. I LOVE her style...so of course, it felt natural for her to share some of her projects here on the blog! So without further ado...Jessamy!
(As a quick note - since the time that Jessamy started this project, we have since sold out of the exact fabric that she used. However, we do have a lot of other really gorgeous cotton lawns still in the shop!)
Hello! I’m Jessamy from JessamyBMakes. I’m so excited to be guest posting on La Mercerie today. I feel honored that Jess asked me to share my experience sewing the Highlands Wrap Dress in some of the cotton lawn that she carries in the shop.
If you are anything like me, you are probably continuously blown away by the amazing yarns and fabrics Jess sources for La Mercerie. I don’t remember when exactly I first started following the shop on Instagram, but my first purchase actually came after I contacted Jess about helping me put together a fade for a So Faded Sweater. I stepped out of my comfort zone asking for help, and she graciously responded by putting a bunch of options together for me. It was honestly the best customer service I have ever experienced. Since then we have bonded over our love of speckled yarn, Harry Potter, ice cream, peaches, and of course, all things in shades of mustard. So, you can imagine how over the moon I am to be here on the blog today!
So, let’s get to the dress! Perhaps you will all remember the Midnight Rosette Scuba that was briefly in the shop last year? Well, I missed out on that fabric and it has haunted me ever since! When I saw the same print pop up in the shop on cotton lawn, I knew I had to snag some. Those big beautiful blooms deserved to be shown off in a simple but elegant way...enter the Highlands Wrap Dress. I had a few reservations about this style of dress paired with the lawn and my petite frame. But I decided to go for it, and I’m so glad I did! This piece is definitely the highlight of my handmade wardrobe.
The Highlands Wrap Dress calls for a light to mid-weight woven with plenty of drape. For those who might not be familiar, lawn is a lightweight fabric made with very fine fibers that have been tightly woven together. It's often descried as crisp, silky, lustrous, and having a slight sheen. None of those descriptors scream “drapey” but because the fabric is so lightweight it actually has a lovely flow to it.
This particular fabric is about 2.5 oz per yard, where as a lighter viscose or linen may weigh in around 3-4 oz per yard. Due to this some prints may also be slightly sheer. I was lucky that this piece was dark enough I didn’t feel the need to line it, but that is something to keep in mind!
The beauty of sewing with lawn is that it is a dream to work with! It's probably one of the best beginner garment fabrics, because it doesn’t require any special tricks or tools. It is not slippery or finicky in any way. It presses well and holds its shape without stretching or distorting on the cross grain, due to the high thread count.
One of my favorite features of the Highlands Wrap dress is the wide mitered hem. Look at that beautiful finish! I’ve only used this technique while making napkins, so it was fun to apply it to a garment. Keep in mind, it is important to make sure you have the skirt cut at the length you want. Once you hem it with the mitered corner technique it would be very hard to adjust the length!
In that vein, I would strongly recommend making a muslin for this dress. I knew going in that I would probably have to make some adjustments before sewing my final version. I am relatively petite (I'm only about 5’1” on my tall days), so I almost always take length out of patterns. For this version I ended up taking about 5” out of the pattern - 1” from the bodice, and the rest out of the skirt. If you end up adjusting the length on this pattern, don’t forget to make the same adjustments to the front facings!
The dress is drafted for a B cup, which I am not, so I also did a small bust adjustment. Due to the wrap style of the dress you are able to do some slight adjustments in fitting based on where you place the buttons to secure it closed, but I find it's better to be safe and make the muslin.
I sewed this dress to wear to a friend's wedding. The dress really does have some beautiful features that elevate it from your average wrap dress. The high slits and long waist ties give it an elegant flare, making it perfect for fancier occasions.
It uses an elastic waist band in the back, which lends some shaping, but also makes it very comfortable to wear. Pairing it with a statement fabric like the Midnight Rosette, gave me a bold yet elegant look. I can’t have a dress this lovely just sitting in my closet, so I will have to come up with another reason to wear it soon. I’m thinking a nice afternoon at a winery may be in order!
As summer comes to an end most of us are beginning to plan and scheme our Fall wardrobes. I know lawn is an amazing substrate for summer, but don’t overlook it as the weather gets cooler! It is so light and easy to wear...it would be perfect layered under your favorite cardigan! The Midnight Rosette Lawn that I used is sold out but there are still some other amazing lawns and wovens in the shop to get ready for Fall sewing! Do you have a favorite substrate that takes you through the seasons?