Custom Style

Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic

Behind the Seams: A Reversible 1912 Style Evening Wrap

I have finally completed construction of my version of the Ladies’ Wrap #0291.

And it’s reversible!

The finished 2-in-1 vintage style wrap – back view.

The finished 2-in-1 vintage style wrap – front view.

In case someone missed the previous posts about the wrap, I picked fabric and fit the mock-up & altered the pattern.

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.)

Pattern traced without seam allowance onto the back of the turquoise satin.

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.

It is a bit blinding under the machine light!

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.

Matched print and thread-traced stitchline.

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.

Notice my selvage edges are uneven because the print didn’t match right at the edges.

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.

Matched print on right side of the brocade and how the finished seam looks on the wrong side of the fabric.

I chose to flat-line my metallic brocade with a thin white cotton fabric for many reasons, but the main three are:

  1. I could easily mark the cotton and actually SEE my marks on the cotton fabric.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)

My flat-lined layers of cotton and brocade with pins and hand-basting. It looks like a butterfly!

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?)

My pattern “notcher” and notched line on the pattern.

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.

Flat-lined brocade cut, but not between sleeves and body.

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.

Sewn darts and serged edge.

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.

Black bias trim pinned along marked line.

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.

Stitching the bias trim.

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.

My two versions of the wrap with sleeve trim and the tucks hand-stitched in place (R).

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.

Both sides stitched together and ready to bag out!

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.

Fray Check – what would I do without it?

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.

I just did a little whip-stitch around the point.

And the reversible wrap was almost complete!

It just needs its collar!

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.

Sewing the wrap’s collar.

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.

My hand-sewing along the edges of the collar and sleeves.

I made a matching black front-tying belt with a back gold buckle decoration and secured the front overlap with a center front snap.

Back buckle detail which matches the original design sketch.

Center front snap closure.

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.

Turquoise cracked glass beads with onyx stone rectangular beads on the sleeve 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!

Floral brocade print side out vs. solid satin side out.

And… that’s a wrap!

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27 responses to “Behind the Seams: A Reversible 1912 Style Evening Wrap

  1. CostumeDeeva May 15, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Wow, absolutely fabulous work!
    It makes me want to revisit my excuse for a wrap. And I love the bead detail rather than a traditional tassel. Really a great job!

  2. cationdesigns May 15, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Wow. Just wow. That beautiful wrap just takes my breath away! I love the combination of fabrics you chose, and your explanations about your process are very clear. I don’t think I will tackle this wrap, but if I were, your posts would be so helpful!

    • Brooke May 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks! My next version will not be nearly as difficult (the brocade really fought me the whole way!) but I’m glad I was able to use it for something.

  3. adairsattic May 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    This is just wonderful – How clever to make it reversible. Really fabulous wrap and a great informative post.

    • Brooke May 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      I don’t really remember why I thought to make it reversible, but the pattern is definitely perfect for something like that. Glad you like it! =)

  4. Karen May 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Thank you so much for your meticulous explanation of this project. It probably looks simple when it’s all finished (to someone not in the know), so it’s great to see everything that went into it. One tip you gave – about hand stitching around the sharp inside corners – is one I’ll remember and am sure to use some day. Anyway, it looks fabulous – and I could never choose which side I like best – they are equally beautiful!

    • Brooke May 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      I went to sew some Shakespeare costumes today & I showed some photos of the wrap to my coworkers, and none of them could choose a favorite side either! =)

  5. nettie May 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

    WOW!! It’s amazing!!! All of your extra steps and trouble were SO worth it!! Congratulations on your success!

  6. Mimi O May 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

    The wrap turned out lovely! Seeing yours makes me want to dig through my stash and request this as one of my six patterns! Great Job!!!

    • Brooke May 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

      Thank you! I’m sure you would enjoy this pattern – and you probably have less hateful fabric to work with than I ended up choosing. =)

  7. timetobefab May 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    A beautiful piece, what a great idea. Love your fabric choices

  8. Tina May 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    This is beyond beautiful, Brooke. It so classy! When I picture what my wrap looks like, it looks like this. I lack the mad skillz you possess, however.

    • Brooke May 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks, Tina! I’m not so sure about the “mad skillz” but I was a little mad (aka crazy) to pick the brocade in the first place – if it hadn’t been given to me, I know I never would have bought it.

  9. Jeanettec May 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    It’s simply beautiful Brooke. You did a fantastic job. I love it!

  10. Pary Moppins May 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Gorgeous! The only thing you could do to make it better is to make that fabulous hat too! 😉

    • Brooke May 28, 2012 at 9:59 am

      Isn’t that hat in the sketch great?? I have a framed photo of my great grandmother in a big hat like that and it is hanging in my hallway with other family pictures.

  11. Lenarciak July 5, 2012 at 3:12 am

    It’s gorgeous! Definitely next project.

  12. ronnieruss July 5, 2012 at 11:33 am

    So pretty- I’m thinking of making this one next- I can tell that metallic brocade was a headache, but at least the stunning results made it worth it! Just gorgeous. 🙂

    • Brooke July 5, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Thanks! Yes, the scraps of the brocade that I have left will definitely be something very simple (maybe a bag or something) when I decide to make something with them. =)

  13. Pingback: Test Sewing – vpll project – Ladies wrap « Kim-ing

  14. Bird and Bicycle February 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    It looks Asian to me, especially the turquoise side. Like Chinese opera maybe? I love it! Do you ever wear it? It is so fun! Also those sleeve points! Dramatic!

    • Brooke February 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      I’m probably going to put it in my etsy shop once I officially open it – the wrap isn’t really my style but I did enjoy making something pretty! I think it looks better on someone with a bigger bust (like my sister and the dress form I had it on).

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