Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic
Behind the Seams: A Reversible 1912 Style Evening Wrap
May 15, 2012Posted by on
I have finally completed construction of my version of the Ladies’ Wrap #0291.
And it’s reversible!
I decided a lined version of the wrap would look better, and because it would be lined, I could easily make it a modern 2-in-1 wrap.
So here’s how I made the 1912 wrap completely reversible (photos enlarge when clicked):
Since I chose to eliminate the center back seam on the solid turquoise satin side, I cut the satin on the cross-grain in order to fit the width of the pattern. (This also solved the layout problem in the instructions where they forgot to tell you to turn the pattern piece over and cut mirror images for each side.)
But, unlike the satin, I determined the metallic brocade shouldn’t be cut on the cross-grain because the woven print of the fabric looked best using the standard selvage to selvage width.
So I decided to sew two panels of the metallic brocade fabric together (matching the woven print) before I cut anything out of it.
Because of my fabric choice, the project now got tricky. Most sewists will never have to deal with some of the following issues, but if you ever do, you might find the information useful.
The brocade I used is a continuous brocade, meaning there were lots of floating threads on the back, and I knew it would fray like crazy once I cut it.
And those floating threads are stupidly shiny metallic beasts (the fabric looks like sequins in person), which made the back side hard to mark. The threads also made it next to impossible to match my print because they prevented me from seeing the flower pattern from the wrong side of the fabric.
Red was the only color that would show on the fabric’s color scheme, and the only thing that would mark the metallic was either a red Sharpie or red thread. (I decided against the Sharpie idea just in case it should ever bleed onto the satin turquoise half of the wrap.)
I lined the print up on the right side of the fabric by folding one panel’s selvage edge under and pinning in place. Then I thread-traced (in red) both sides where they would be stitched together.
After tracing the stitchline, I repinned the panels directly through the thread-traced lines from the wrong side of the fabric, making it ready to sew together.
I stitched the two panels together (shockingly, I only had to redo a small 3-4 inch section to fix an alignment issue), removed the thread-tracing, serged off the extra seam allowance, and ironed my seam allowances open.
I chose to flat-line my metallic brocade with a thin white cotton fabric for many reasons, but the main three are:
- I could easily mark the cotton and actually SEE my marks on the cotton fabric.
- The cotton fabric would prevent the floating metal threads from snagging and wearing holes in the satin that would ultimately be backed up against it.
- The cotton fabric would soften the ridge of the center back seam allowance where it would touch the un-seamed center back of the satin.
I traced the wrap pattern onto the cotton (in pencil) by lining up each half to the seam between the panels. Then I pinned like crazy to keep both the cotton and the brocade panels lined up, and thread-basted the layers together – about an eight of an inch outside of the traced stitchlines. (From this point, I treated the brocade and cotton layers as one piece.)
On the pattern piece, I notched a line one-quarter-inch inside the trim placement line using a scrapbooking hole-punch. (Why spend something like $40 on a professional pattern notcher when you can use a $7 square rectangle punch that actually has a reservoir to catch the punches and a rubber grip?)
On both the satin and the brocade sides, I marked my trim placement line using the notched dotted line.
At last, I was ready to actually cut my fabric! Scissors please!
I cut out an unmeasured seam allowance around the traced lines but I did NOT cut into the points separating the sleeves from the body yet. My motto is only cut your fabric when absolutely necessary – especially when it comes to point sewing.
Next, I stitched the four darts and pressed them to one side. The brocade darts were pressed toward the back, and the satin darts were pressed toward the front so that the final layers together would not add thickness in the same place. (I did not cut the darts open as the instructions were written because they were not that big or bulky.)
Then I machine stay-stitched the satin half (about an eight of an inch outside the stitchline) and I serged around the cut out brocade/cotton piece to prevent fraying.
Trim sewing came next. I cut 4-inch wide bias from some black crepe-back satin, and pinned it (right side down) along the marked lines on each sleeve.
I stitched one-quarter inch (presser foot width) in on the edge of the black bias – thus attaching it to the actual “trim placement line” because I marked my line one-quarter inch in.
This allowed me to hide my stitchline under the bias (unlike the written instructions for the trim) when I pressed the bias back to the sleeve edge. I machine-basted the bias to the edge of the sleeve and trimmed off the excess.
Then it was time to join the two wraps!
I stitched the two wraps together (matching the marked stitchlines and ignoring the unmeasured seam allowance) leaving it open where the collar would attach.
I made an extra stitchline inside the underarm points because of the fraying nature of the brocade. And then using my sharp scissors, I cut carefully to the point and immediately fray checked the edges around the point.
Once I had turned the wrap right side out, I hand-stitched around the underarm points to secure my crazy brocade and to prevent a stress point later.
And the reversible wrap was almost complete!
Then I made the collar with one side pre-folded in and attached the other side to the wrap, sandwiching the opening (left for turning the wrap right side out) between the collar pieces.
I hand-stitched the folded-in side of the collar to close everything up, and then decided to do a nearly invisible pick-stitch along the edge of the collar to control the edge. I also pick-stitched through all the layers of the sleeves (just inside the turned edge of the bias trim) in order to keep the layers from shifting.
I made a matching black front-tying belt with a back gold buckle decoration and secured the front overlap with a center front snap.
I chose not to use tassels on the sleeve points (because tassels always make me think clergy or home décor) and instead, attached a few beads to the four points.
I think this pattern is meant for someone who is comfortable working with bias edges – there are so many angles and points for something so visually simple it’s not really beginner level. My fabric choice complicated matters for me during construction, but I made it work. While the fabric I chose makes the wrap rather warm (it would be perfect for cold weather), it could easily be made of a variety of different fabrics.
I can’t decide which side I like better on the outside – they are both so different!
And… that’s a wrap!