I first made the Romy Wrap Top from Pattern Scout last year when I had only been sewing for about 6 months. It’s a testament to her fantastic instructions that I could make such a beautiful top with my rudimentary set of sewing skills. I’ve since also sewn the dress version as well. The Romy Wrap dress is uniquely fastened with buttons and has a slender silhouette.
This time, I wanted to use the pattern to make a maxi dress with the sleeve expansion that was released for the pattern. I’ve been seeing a lot of ground skimming, floor length dresses inspired from the sixties. I found a beautiful rayon crepe from Spotlight Stores which had a beautiful field-of-poppies print in a mix of clementine and yellow on a field of green. Rayon crepe is beautifully sheer with a slight texture. It also has some weight to it, so it has a beautiful drape which just skims over the body in the most flattering way. However, it has a bit of “bounce” so if you’re a beginner like me, just be careful not to stretch the fabric as you’re sewing. Also, when cutting, it might be better to use a rotary cutter especially for tricky curves. My final tip is not to skip the stay stitching (don’t learn the hard way!)
There is a very comprehensive tutorial on the Pattern Scout Blog as well as a YouTube video so have a look there when you sew along but this is an account of my sewing process.
Firstly, I needed to lengthen the skirt piece. I didn’t have a firm idea of the extra length needed but I estimated about 10 inches and lengthened from the hem grading the curve as I approached the waistline. This was repeated for the back skirt piece as well.
Then I went ahead and added the stay stitching around the neckline and the armscye as well as all the tucks on the front and back bodice pieces.
I also wanted to add another tip, which is to iron as you go. It just neatens the seamlines which can get a bit wavy with this bouncy fabric.
Once I attached the skirt pieces to their corresponding panels, I then pinned and attached the front interfaced facings. The corner was a bit tricky, so I just sewed slowly and I found it easier to sew with the interfaced side up.
The next step was to sew on the yoke. The yoke is the piece that attaches the front panels to the back bodice and skirt. The instructions are very detailed, and I just followed them but I have heard that other people have used the “burrito” method which I have also used in other patterns. Maybe this is something I could try in the future but with my lengthened skirts, it could be too bulky.
Now, getting the sleeves on was initially confusing because I kept getting extra fabric and I thought I had cut the wrong size. But when I compared the expansion pack instructions to the initial pattern, I realised that there was a bit of instruction missing. In the original, the sleeve is gathered along the yoke seam and don’t worry, I’ve contacted Casey at Patternscout so she knows. So happily, with this sorted, I could attach the sleeves and finish them. I love bishop sleeves for the fullness in the cuffs.
The final part was to finish the hems before making buttonholes for the buttons. Now, I always must resist sewing up the hem too soon. With fabrics that have a bit of stretch, or with dresses cut on the bias, the dress should be allowed to hang on a hanger or dummy for at least a few hours. I had to trim the hem to even up the hemline before sewing up.
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!