The Willow wrap dress & Peplum was my second pattern test for Love Notions patterns back in 2018, I loved the line art posted on the testing call and all the options that were available for the pattern. In this post, you will see all my 4 versions !
Features of the Willow Wrap dress
The Willow wrap dress has a faux wrap bodice and a normal A line skirt. It’s a safe garment to wear and there’s no risk of anything coming undone like with real wrap dresses!
The bodice can be plain or ruched and there are two neckline depths: a higher and lower one. You can also add a little flounce to the edge of the neckline for a cute look. The sleeves can have lots of different lengths and the skirt can also be a peplum.
I appreciate the work that goes into providing an abundance of sleeve, bodice and skirt options. Mixing them to create the options I really prefer is very liberating for me. I made the peplum top with the simple faux wrap bodice. There are two neckline depths. I chose the higher option for modesty. Regarding the sleeves, 3/4 are usually my preference when I actually sew sleeves. I’m a sleeveless person all-day-every-day.
The best fabrics are knit fabrics that are light to medium weight with some drape. The recommended stretch is 25-50%. Rayon spandex, ITY, DBP, SBP, interlock and athletic knits will work well. For a more structured look: Cotton spandex and Ponte could work, though I am not a fan of structured dresses.
I whipped up a muslin in rayon/spandex jersey that I was not too fond of the print. Actually, I really dislike the color and print! I got it for test purposes only and if you are curious, you can see it in the video a little below in this post. I made a size Large, standard bodice without modifications and the fit was spot on.
I have used Rayon spandex and ITY with success.
Sizes available are XS-5X and the upper measurements here are a bust of 57.5″ and hips of 59.5″. This pattern also has a “Full bust bodice” option to use if the difference between the high bust and the full bust is 4″ or more. Basically, this is gold for the larger busted because that mean: No full bust adjustment needed. My difference is only 3″, so can use the standard bodice.
I lengthened the bodice by 1 1/4″ inch and due to the nature of the wrap pieces, the process took a little extra thought. I didn’t want the little pleats or the depth of the neckline to be affected. I sew a size Large to XL at the waist and hips.
Let’s see them!
Tester version: Peplum top
For my tester version, I decided to make a rather “fancy” one. I chose black rayon/spandex and made the sleeves and neckline binding with stretch lace. The lace had scallops, so I din’t need to hem the sleeves. WIN.
The lace neckline binding is my favourite aspect of this top and I pat myself on the back for having this idea lol.
I have a full pattern review about the Willow wrap dress & Peplum , sewing construction footage and how I made the lace binding in my sewing channel. You can also see me wearing it.
Video number 1 on my channel
Such a flattering design! The bodice with a flounce is beautiful, but having a larger bust, it is not for me. However, this style could help balance the figure of the triangle body shape (pear). I prefer to keep my necklines simple.
Sleeveless hack with the pleated bodice
Next, almost two years later, I revisited the Willow wrap dress & Peplum pattern on the occasion of its re-release in 2 more sizes, 4XL and 5XL. This time, I chose the bodice with the small pleats on one side and added the skirt piece for the full dress. I made this version sleeveless, although it’s not an official option in the pattern. I used the same armscye you would use if you were sewing the sleeves. No changes there. I made one change to the construction to compensate for my thinner knit fabric choice. I made size Large and the standard bust.
The Willow wrap dress & Peplum pattern recommends medium weight knits and I had a thinner, but beautiful rayon spandex. The bodice has negative ease. A thin fabric will make this design unflattering as lines from undergarments could be noticeable. I decided to partially line the bodice only on the back to add support and thickness to this anatomic area of the body. The result: a smooth back with no bra strap outline to be seen. The front is overlapped as it is a faux wrap, so the thinness of the fabric wasn’t really an issue on the front.
I am so in love with this dress. In my opinion, its the best fitting, modest, safe faux wrap dress I’ve sewn. I feel amazing wearing it and I can’t believe it took me so long to make it after knowing the tops fit me so well. I highly recommend this pattern! I would for sure make it with rayon spandex again with the back lining. I love how this trick worked out.
The binding pieces are 1.5″ wide by 80% of the total length of the neckline (after shoulder seams are sewn). I used the same width of 1.5″ by 80% of the armscye circumference for the sleeveless armhole. The technique was the same for the neckline and the armholes.
Video Number 2 on my channel
In my video, you can see how I lengthened the bodice without compromising the depth of my chosen neckline and the pleats on the side. You can also see how I finished the neckline and armscye neatly with a fun knit binding technique. Have a look at this fun project below.
Short sleeves and a different skirt with a small flounce
The next two Willow wrap dresses were made at the same time and during my worst SEWJO crisis. I was exhausted and didn’t know what to sew. Funnily enough, my periods of crisis are related to creativity and I never lose the willingness to sew. That’s when my loved TNT patterns come to help me. This time, I used the bodice without changing it, but made the skirt less full and added a small flounce at the bottom. I used short sleeves and my fabric is ITY.
Short sleeves and a pencil skirt
Again, I used the Willow wrap dress bodice without changing it but added a self drafted pencil skirt instead. This is ITY and I use a fitted slip underneath. I love this simple look and how little fabric was required. This is a win for me. I love this bodice! playing around with the skirts was enough to pull me out of the crisis I was having with my sewing. I love these prints and feel amazing with this style.
Video Number 3 on my channel
See my last two versions of the Willow wrap dress on in motion in this fun video below.
I super recommend this great pattern. Such great value with all the options, the great fit and the satisfaction making some for yourself will bring!
DISCLAIMER: I was provided the pattern without cost, as a pattern tester, in exchange for sewing a muslin, providing feedback on instructions and fit. I Purchased my own fabric for all these versions. I have affiliate links in this post to the pattern company and the pattern. If you click on these links, at no cost to you, I receive a small commission that helps finance my sewing, blog and Youtube channel.
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