Sewing – The Wilder Gown
The Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company was the dress of 2019, so I’m quite late to the party. It’s been on my radar for a while but just haven’t had the right fabric…until now! I was recently contacted by Fabric Godmother, one of my favourite fabric sellers, and coincidentally also in Brighton. They were launching their second collection of printed fabrics, and Josie offered to send me some to test out. I could make a beautiful garment of my choice and send her promotional photos.
There were a few different prints to choose from, you can see them all on The Fabric Godmother website. They are all viscose, which is a dream to work with. You can read here about a self-drafted button up dress I made with viscose. The prints are designed in collaboration with the Print Pattern Archive, so they are reimagining’s of vintage prints.
In the end I couldn’t make up my mind, so picked a top three and let Josie choose. I ended up with this stunning Luna Trees print, which I think was my favourite anyway. This is a viscose lawn which is fine with a tight weave and its super soft and luxurious.
Wilder Gown Process
As I was being sent fabric with such a gorgeous print and wanted to choose a pattern that would really showcase it. To do this, I wanted something big without too many panels or pattern pieces that would mean the print ended up getting cut up. I decided on the Wilder Gown.
When researching patterns, I like to turn to Instagram and search the hashtags to see all the different versions people have made. It is often more inspiring than the picture or line drawing on the pattern. The #wildergown selection is vast, it’s amazing to see what everyone has made.
As this is generally quite an oversized dress, I decided to just start with a size XS as I didn’t want to be too swamped. To check the fit I decided it was best to make a toile, but just of the bodice, as the skirt didn’t need fitting. The XS was perfect, as the neck is drawstring it aids the fitting of the whole garment, by pulling in the shoulders.
It’s a lovely simple pattern, once I read the instructions! But due to the drawstring neckline and raglan sleeve construction it appears more complicated than it is. When just viewing the pattern pieces I couldn’t understand how it all went together at all.
Luckily its quite simple, sewing the open front neck slit, front sleeves, back bodice and then the side seams. Once the bodice is constructed, the neck is turned and a section to create a ruffle and a channel for the tie is stitched. I used the elastic threading tools I recently bought to thread the tie and it made it so much easier to do!
Once the bodice was fully constructed the skirt panels are gathered and attached. Using the widest stitch on my machine I sewed one stitch line inside the seam allowance and one outside, then gently pulled to gather. By measuring and pinning the skirt tube to my table I was able to even out the gathers to the perfect fit and carefully ease as I sewed it on. Repeat for the second tier, hem and we’re done! For the hem I ended up taking it up a bit more than the pattern suggests. This suited me better.
Not exactly adjustments, but changes I made to the pattern cutting out when making. Firstly, the Wilder Gown calls for a two piece tie to thread through the neck. I ignored the pattern pieces and just cut a strip the width of the fabric so I didn’t have to attach two pieces.
Similar for the tiers, the top tier called for two panels and the bottom tier called for three. Instead of using the pattern pieces I just measured them and instead of cutting two, I just used the width of the fabric, 142cm, and used one large panel for the top tier. For the lower tier I added another panel of 76cm to the width.
By doing this and not using the pattern pieces, I reduced the volume slightly and also saved fabric, I hate wasting such beautiful fabric. This meant I managed to get the dress out of 2 -2.5 meters instead of 3.
Would I make another Wilder Gown?
When I was making it, I started to doubt myself, worrying a maxi wouldn’t suit me. But as soon as I finished it and put it on, I loved it. Turns out a giant tent dress is what I’d been missing all this time! So, I will definitely be making again. I might even try a shorter version.
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