Friday, October 30, 2015

Burnt Sienna Wren Dress

Here's my Wren dress!



This is the new knit "surplice" (I had to look that up: a garment in which the two halves of the front cross diagonally.) dress from Colette Patterns, Wren.


I used some lightweight cotton jersey I got locally here in Bangkok last year. The maroon-y, burnt sienna color (which looks more red in these photos; it's more brown in real life) isn't normally my bag (although it matches my glasses perfectly!), but for some reason I couldn't leave it behind. It was always destined to be a '70s style wrap dress of some sort and it practically jumped off my shelf when I went poking around my stash for Wren fabric. The color is very fall, too, no?


Using a tip from Kerry at VeryKerryBerry, I decided to reinforce the neckband and back neckline with clear elastic. I zig-zagged 3/8" clear elastic to the wrong side of the neckline at the edge. Then I turned the elastic inwards and used my twin needle to stitch it down, as instructed. I also sewed clear elastic to the shoulders before sewing the front and back bodice together.


This is a size L, but with the XL length for the skirt. These are the half sleeves from the bonus sleeve pack (why wouldn't they just include all the sleeve lengths in the pattern?!).


I cut the back skirt on the fold. Honestly didn't even notice until after I cut it that it was supposed to be in two pieces... and why? To save fabric, I guess?


My waistband is a bit janky. I think it's a combination of my serger not liking all those layers (multiple bodice layers at the overlap, clear elastic, heavily gathered skirt) and my elastic reinforcement at the neck wrap pulling upwards a bit. 

Nothing a cute belt can't disguise, though! I've had this belt for approximately 15 years and only just found the perfect dress with which to wear it:


I am feeling pretty happy about this dress. The color is nice, the skirt is swishy and lovely, and I generally love the shape, but no jazz hands from me yet.  From afar, if you squint, I think the Wren is a flattering shape, but when you're not squinting, you can see some of my fit issues.


There are some spots that I am not happy with where the bodice is pulling or clinging. Perhaps I should have done an FBA to deal with some of the extra armpit fabric? The sleeves also look and feel weird.  It sounds like Mary of Idle Fancy had a similar tenting issue across the bust and sleeve, but was able to make some small fixes to get the perfect fit. I am planning to cyber stalk her until she shares her how-to!


I wonder if it's just this thin jersey with a slight sheen that is just emphasizing the wrinkles?

I am considering laying the bodice pieces over the Cashmerette Appleton pattern to modify the Wren bodice for a better fit at the bust and armpit. Any other suggestions on getting a better fit with this? 


Have you made Wren? Planning on it?

34 comments:

  1. This is gorgeous, such a good colour and so flattering on you too.

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    1. Thanks! I am pleasantly surprised at how good the color looks!

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  2. I love your dress! The fit looks great and I see what you stated at the armpit. Maybe you should see how much you can pinch, an 1" maybe,then take a 1" pleat out on your paper pattern taking out the fullness then cut your pattern with that amount removed on your next dress. Maybe that would help. Good luck you look lovely!

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    1. Thanks, Bonnie! I am definitely going to mess with the armscye a bit for my next one!

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  3. It is very flattering on you - you pull off the gathered knit skirt so well (it looks awful on me). This color is also right up my alley and it is a good one for you! But you are right, close-up you can see the bodice pulling. I think an FBA definitely would help. Although I have noticed on this and a few other Wrens, that the shoulders just seem to be drafted a bit on the wide side - it's even apparent on the sample photos on the pattern website. I think that might be contributing to the extra fabric you have there. (I also don't get why they just don't include the sleeves. It should be part of the pattern.)

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    1. Thanks, Masha! Yep, FBA and some armscye fiddling is definitely in order! You're right, the shoulder is a little bit wide. The sleeve had a bit of a funny shape, too- really wide at its widest point.

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  4. Girrrrl, I think you need to give this one some jazz hands! That color looks INSANELY awesome on you, and the overall silhouette is really great too. And I actually really like how the bodice sits. Sometimes I think those wrinkles look oddly pretty on a wrap bodice. I do see what you're saying about the sleeves, though, and I had that same issue with Moneta. I sized down and it got rid of it, so I think sizing down in the shoulders and FBAing should probably do the trick?

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    1. Thanks, Nicole! I'm really close to jazz hands, just feel like I gotta work out those bodice issues. Appleton has spoiled me!

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  5. Love seeing versions of this arriving! The colour looks lovely on you :-) emma @ www.craftyclyde.com

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  6. I seriously love this color! I have been standing back, waiting for all of the wrens I'm seeing in the blogworld to suck me in, but I've been a little skeptical about whether the shape would flatter me. You have me pretty convinced that this is an awesome shape for a larger bust, but I am wondering if sizing down and then doing an FBA might reduce the amount of fabric in the sleeves and armpits while giving you more where you need it across the bust? And how do you do an FBA on a dartless knit surplice bodice?

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    1. Ha ha, my question exactly, Inder! I am hoping Mary will be able to provide me some tips, because the fit on her Wren is DIVINE. She nailed it.

      I think Wren would look great on you!

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  7. It looks great! I'd be really tempted to use the Appleton armscye though - definitely a better fit!

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    1. Thanks, Gillian! I may do some messing around - try Appleton's armscye, try the FBA option...

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  8. Great shape dress. It does look smashing on you.

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  9. Really lovely dress on you! The color is great. Not sure if I'm going to try this one, but seeing your versions is very convincing. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Noelle! I am pleasantly surprised at how much I like this color that's a bit outside my color comfort zone!

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  10. You looks so gorgeous in this shade and that dress looks awesome on you!

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  11. I will add to the chorus that this color is just gorgeous on you! I will say too, that the diagonal pulling up toward the bust and armscye looseness were things that I had with my first appleton. Going down a size but up a cup fixed them immediately, so I think going down and then doing an FBA will definitely help. Do you have plans to make the more fitted version of the wren skirt?

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    1. Thanks, Julia! I think some additional room in the cup is definitely in order!! I don't think I plan to make the more fitted skirt... although I like fitted skirts, for some reason I don't like fitted dresses!

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  12. I love love love this colour on you - perfect for a wrap dress! And that belt is awesome! I doubt anyone but other seamstresses would notice the fit issues, but I can see why they might bug you. Personally, I think I prefer the Appleton.

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I'm so happy to have found something to wear this belt with. I think the fit on Appleton is definitely better for me- I think a combination of the two patterns would work well, though!

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  13. I love love love this colour on you - perfect for a wrap dress! And that belt is awesome! I doubt anyone but other seamstresses would notice the fit issues, but I can see why they might bug you. Personally, I think I prefer the Appleton.

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  14. Oh wow, such a beautiful dress! And that colour really suits you!

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  15. I love this colour on you!
    I've bought the Wren pattern too, and am looking around for suitable fabric. Would you mind sharing where in Bangkok you found jersey fabric? I've only seen wovens in the big shops in Central World.

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    1. Oh hi, fellow Bangkok blogger!! Ha, I didn't even know Central World had fabric- I'll have to check it out!

      I got this fabric at Hieng Yo Huat, which is on Sukhumvit at Asoke, right across from Terminal 21. Their selection of knits is very small, though. Here's their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hyhfabric/

      There is a store in Yaowarat on Sampeng that has all knits- jerseys, french terry, swimsuit fabric: L.Gemini. It's my favorite. https://www.facebook.com/L.GEmini166/

      Hope this is helpful! Sorry for the delay in responding- I've been traveling!

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    2. Great, thanks for the info! Central World has tons of fabric shops, some really ornate (stretch lace, etc) and others with a good selection of cottons - garment and quilting. You should walk in through the BTS entrance, then make your way towards the back. Better refer to the maps, though, since it is so gigantic! There are 3-4 shops on that level, and a few more one floor up in the same general area. Another good place for fabric (mostly silk) is the Amarin plaza. Again, enter from the BTS skywalk, then there are several shops immediately to the right.

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    3. Hey there in Bangkok! A great big Thank You for the fabric shop tip - I'm going to be visiting Bangkok in a few days, and when I was there earlier this month the heat was reducing me to a pulp (is it me or is it waaaay more humid than January of last year)? I was hoping to pick up some cute knit fabrics for a couple of projects but sadly can't see myself browsing aimlessly around the hot streets in Yaowarat - so a targeted shopping trip is a real help. Do you mind sharing what L.Gemini's prices are like - sorry for asking, I know you're not running a travelogue; but I'm in Taipei right now and am wondering how much of my budget (and suitcase space!) to blow on fabric here :>).

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    4. Glad the info is helpful! Seems like you missed our one week of cool weather in January- I was able to sleep with the windows open 5 nights in a row without melting!

      Hmmm... I actually haven't bought there in a year or so (because I bought so much the last time!), so I am struggling to remember the exact pricing at L.Gemini.

      Here's my non-answer answer: The pricing is a bit strange- I tried to order by the meter, but I think they are more used to wholesaling, so they wanted to sell it to me by the kilo. I had them measure out how much length was in a kilo, and the price was much cheaper by the kilo than by the meter. That said, depending on the fabric weight, 1 kilo can be like 3 meters of 60" wide jersey, so it's a big purchase. Ummm... for some reason 280 baht is stuck in my head, but honestly, I can't remember if that's by the meter (which would be pricey) or by the kilo (which would be cheap). This is one of the few shops in Yaowarat that doesn't have the prices marked, so you have to ask. Sorry I can't be more specific!!

      You might also try going to China World mall, also in Yaowarat, if you're looking for targeted, air-conditioned fabric shopping. Not a ton of knits in that mall, but some fun stuff.

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  16. Glory!! You look so great in this!!

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