This easy wrap dress pattern will allow you to be elegant in an effortless manner while giving you a dress that will survive many years. Those ladies that happen to have gone through the 70s would know this look well. A whole clothing empire was based on this design and since then all labels have at one point or another have had a wrap dress in their line.
Before I get any further, allow me to share with you a little anecdote.
I am walking on a sidewalk in the wonderful town of St. Moritz in Switzerland with a friend. We'd both gotten injured attempting to ski with the crowd we'd been traveling with. My friend grew up in Israel and me in Panama –neither places are known for their culture of skiing..
Our companions were a mix of Swiss, French, Italian, and all sorts of Europeans and Americans who take to the snow like a duck to water. It was a good and painful lesson on matching your skill with the color of the slopes.
All of a sudden I spot a dress in the window of a very expensive boutique. I felt a jolt of recognition as I saw it and pulled at my friend to go in with me. We step into the boutique and I immediately recognize the clothes, styles, and even the atmosphere around me.
Years ago I'd visited a shop just like this, the designer was all the rage and her clothing lines were very popular. I'd always wanted to work on such an elegant and refined style. But one day the shop had closed and her collections just weren't featured in the magazines anymore. It was a clear lesson that in fashion you're only as good as your last collection.
Now, seemingly without warning, she was back — and I could clearly see by the gorgeous dress that caught my eye, that she was as good as ever. I reached out to the dress and flipped over its price tag. Wow. 620 Swiss Francs (about $700) for a cashmere wrap dress. Needless to say, the price was well out of my range. As I was admiring the dress I felt a sharp tap on my shoulder. Turning, I followed the long, jeweled, manicured fingers up to a hawkish, angular face with beautifully done hair. This was of course the designer I'd seen so much of in the magazines.
“May I?” She says, motioning to the rack. I quickly move out of the way and she brushes past. She begins to delicately fiddle with the dress I was admiring, gently pressing out any imaginary folds and brushing off the invisible dust. She was dressed like a princess, with the most notable thing being a giant fur piece about her torso, which she wore despite the indoors being more than warm enough. I waited patiently to the side and looked around at the other pieces. When she'd finished she retreated back to the counter and began to speak in a language I didn't recognize to an assistant further back.
When I sense a pause in the conversation I approach the counter, politely introduce myself, and ask her “Can I work for you?”.
She looks me up and down and asks “Well, what can you do?”. I answer that I can illustrate, do pattern making, make a tech pack, grade, and even design. She pauses for a moment before replying with a short, crisp, “No.”. She clears her throat and continues “But I am going to give you a bit of advice you won't find in the books.” She pauses for effect and leans forward. “Never tell a designer that you can design for her.” And with that, she spun around and walked off into the back of the shop. Needless to say, I was quite confused by what she'd meant for some time, only really understanding when I got my first proper fashion industry job in Australia — but I'll leave that story for another day.
The wrap dress is flattering to just about any figure if you know which style can benefit your body type.
There are many varieties of a wrap dress, the one I am sharing with you is very easy to make yet flattering to curves because it has an A-line skirt, gathers at the bust to accommodate a larger bust, and gathers at the top of the shoulder to make room on your forearms should you require more room to move.
Sewing Level: Basic Intermediate
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 yards of double knit fabric
- jersey ballpoint needle 80/12
- thread to match
- 1 yard of stretchable fusible interfacing
- sewing machine
Fabric Suggestions from Fabric.com
How To Download the Easy Wrap Dress Pattern
Please use the latest version of Adobe Reader. It is free and the only program you will need to print this pattern. Use Landscape mode and Actual Size. Do not scale the pattern.
Download Pattern Here
|Length||36 3/4″||37 1/2″||38 1/4″||39″||39 3/4″|
|Sleeve Length||21″||21 3/8″||21 3/4″||22 1/8″||22 1/2″|
How To Sew Your Easy Wrap Dress
There is no seam allowance on the pattern, I am using a 3/8″. The facings and the ties are not included in the pattern and you will have to make them.
Here are the detail instructions on how to make a facing.
This dress is sewn a bit differently since the front is open and one side is made to drape over the other.
Fold the pleats towards the side seams.
An easy wrap dress pattern for stretch knits only to help you restart or reinvent yourself.
This style has been popular since the 1970s and since then every label int he planet have had a version of this dress in their portfolio.
The wrap dress is the foundation of a fashion empire by one of the most remarkable business woman of the last 50 years. Once
Place the front of the skirt print facing up.
Pin the front of the top to the front of the skirt.
Lay the back of the skirt print side up.
Pin the back of the bodice print facing each other.
Sew the shoulders.
Sew the left side of the dress.
Sew the right side of the dress, leaving a two inch gap at the waist.
Serge the seam allowance open four inches above the waist seam and four inches below.
Serge the side with the seam allowance closed from the armhole to the waist one inch past the serged seam allowance.
Make a stitch line 1/8″ from the edge this will keep the seam allowance open.
We are going to attach the sleeves. Serge the hem of the sleeves. Then pin and sew the sleeve. Mark the middle of the sleeve, the front and back. You will be gathering the sleeve between this two marks and the centre to align with shoulder seam.
Sew the sleeves then serge the seam allowance.
We need to draft the ties, one will be short and one will be long. Use the dimensions below.
Sew the ties lengthwise.
Serge and trim the seamallowance.
Turn the ties inside out and iron.
Pin the ties to the waist.
As I mentioned before you will have to draft your own facings. Here is mine below.
Fuse the stretchable interfacing to the fabric first then trace and cut the facing.
Sew all the pieces of the facing.
Iron the seams open.
Joining the seams of the facing with the seams of the dress.
The ties should be between the dress and the facing.
Sew the facing all around the dress and under stitch the facing.
Trim the facing.
Serge the facing.
Turn the facing, iron and pin the facing. We will be making the hem before stitching the facing down.
Turn the hem 3/8″ then turn in the facing. Sew the hem.
Stitch down the facing at 7/8″ and sew the facing all around the dress.
And thats all.
I hope your project turned out well and please leave your thoughts in the comments below. For a small video of the dress please visit our Instagram account.
Until Next Time, Happy Sewing!
I do not have a serger. (I remeber when the wrap dress was everywhere.) I have not sewn with knits before, but would really like to try to make this dress. Any tips and suggestions?
Of course any time I see a wrap dress I think of Diane von Furstenburg. Thank you so much for providing this pattern and instructions! <3
It is my pleasure!
Hi thanks for the pattern! Have you offered A0 format?
No Not at the moment.
Love the pattern. I made 2 dresses for my brothers wedding, one for myself & one for my sister, that were wraparound in a silk material. They were easy to make.
Silk how perfect!
Wrap dresses are my favourite kind of frock. I have three DVF dresses (loved your story!) and probably a dozen I’ve made myself, out of all types of fabric, not just knits. My base pattern was a 1970s Vogue (I think) that I have tweaked for my perfect fit. Thank you for the great tip for making the slit for the tie opening. Even though I have made so many of these frocks the placement of the slit in that technique never occurred to me!
Love to trade tips, what do you do instead?
This would be lovely in Liverpool!! My favorite knit fabric!
Never been, but will one day!
The wrap dress is so great. Depending on the fabric you select, it can be flirty and springy, or elegant and timeless. I love them.
I love thithis dress, its so simple and elegant. But I only see measurements for small and medium. Are ghere other sizes in the patterns as well or no? I am between an 18/20. Thank you.
Hi Nicole, I have S, M, L, XL, and 2XL in this pattern. Please print XL and 2XL and measure around the bust and hips to see if you need to make any transformation. All depends on your bust, the wrap should cover your bust leaving a tasteful cleavage. IMO, that is.
Hello, do you share A0 PDF file? Or could you?
Not at the moment Stephanie they will be available soon..
Very interesting, & very true! Thanks for sharing!
Hi thank you so much for your wonderful patterns! I see that stretch velvet can be substituted. How about a nice jersey knit? No the double knit you recommend but here’s hoping…..
Hi Marcia, it is possible. The most important thing is that you are happy with the look and that the material has 30-50% stretch., Using a single knit of will make it look a bit more casual, that is all. But is the perfect fabric to try the pattern and make all the adjustments necessary such as a full bust adjustment. If you have a smooth figure using a plain colour will make you look more elegant if you got any bumps or rolls print is best. Kind Regards,
thank you for your reply
Thank you for the pattern I am looking forward to making one. I am of the generation that remembers that much of the patterns for the next season are old but new again, Fun to revisit with updated fabrics. I loved your story and the quote from Rede B
My pleasure Elsie, visit our Instagram account for a short video of this dress (15s) of this dress. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Can any other fabric be substituted for a double knit? Like a stretch velvet
Yes you can use stretch velvet, just use a walking foot so you do not overstretch the fabric when sewing.
I’ve downloaded several of your patterns without problems. However, this one doesn’t want to come together. If I line up the gray squares in the corner, the pattern lines don’t line up. If I line up the pattern lines, then the paper is out of line. And this pattern has pattern lines all the way to the edge of some of the paper pieces. Does this pattern overlap? Or do I place the paper sheets evenly next to each other? Have to say, this one is a bit frustrating.
Hi Rita, please join 1 to 5 first, making sure the grey square measure 1″ and the lines in between measures 1″ as well. Then tape together 6-10, 11-15, and so on. Then Overlap the first row (1-5) over (6-10) mind the greyed squares are 1″. Let me know if this worked out for you. I am assuming that you are using Adobe, Actual Size and have not scaled the pattern to fit the paper. Happy New Year!
Interesting story about that designer.
Love the design of your dress and would like to make it. I’m a size 3X. Do you have plans to make the pattern available in Plus Sizes?
Hi Alice, I do I normally don’t work on plus Sizes but I am buying a mannequin that is 3XL I will not be here for at least three months pending costumes. I think every girl no matter what size should wear a wrap dress with an A-line skirt and curvy ladies have been reading this blog more than anyone else regardless of age, so I think its time for me to adapt don’t you think?
Thank you for the help Mayra! I started over and re-taped everything. There were still inconsistencies with it lining up, but I matched as close as possible. Yes, I use Adobe, Actual Size and did not scale. I’m hoping to cut the fabric and sew the dress in the morning. I’ve used your patterns before and the garments came out fine. I’m looking forward to the end result. Happy New Year to you as well and I look forward to your posts and patterns!
HI Rita, thank you for your wishes! I sometimes make the mistake of having the papers not straight in the feeder of the printing machine. Also if you have a cheap machine as I do, it may not print all the way to the end of the page creating further confusion. Let me know how it turns out.
I, too, remember Diane von Furstenburg, who, as I recall, really was a princess. I loved her clothes. The wrap dresses were everywhere, patterns were available. However, I don’t recall her ever really going away. She’d made her way, & no longer needed to advertise. She had her customers that could afford the real thing, & she had the income from the pattern companies that made them. I believe it was Vogue. If I dig in my stash, I could probably find some. They are timeless pieces she designed. Thank you so much for sharing this pattern. I’ve lost 85# & I need some clothes that fit. This will be a good start. I have the perfect black jersey with silver dots in an all over flower design. I’ve been looking for just the right thing to use it. Looking forward to your Australia stories. You are an interesting, generous & talented person. It’s a joy to read your commentary. Keep up the good work & stay safe.
Hi Royce, She did take some time off after her divorce, about 6 years and work for someone else. Time well spent where she became an expert at her trade. Retraining, restarting, reinventing herself even stronger than before. Looking forward to your dress, love to see the fabric you have, got Instagram? #soseweasyoffical and I am sure to follow and see your take on this style. Stay safe and happy New year!
I have a second hand story for you. In Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast he wrote one of the truest things I’ve ever read. The gist of it, as I recall, is that once upon a time folks got strong enough climbing up what they wanted to ski down. So I go look up the quote, and it’s lots more complicated than that. “Nobody climbs on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs but maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that sometimes, afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places.” Thanks for your great patterns..
Love it! I will write this down! when I seem to falter will read it! Happy New Year!
Do you have larger sizes? I’m a 14-16.
Use the L or XL depending on the size of your bust.
Thank you so much! I loved the story about the designer.