Wilder Gown - Summer Dress
Updated: Apr 10
I'd seen this pattern a lot on social media and it kept catching my eye. Admittedly, it isn't the usual type of dress style I go for, but equally, it doesn't pay to always play it safe and stick with what you know. My other hesitation was in the fabric choice. I think it is pretty clear by now that I am rather in love with African wax print fabrics - for their fantastic array of patterns and colours and quality of material. They are particularly suited to hotter weather as 100% cotton. However, it is quite a crisp cotton and I was worried the dress would not drape as well as sewing it in their recommended fabrics. That said, when I saw this print, I felt it would work with this pattern and so I decided it was worth the gamble.
I was able to download the pattern in PDF format. You simply print onto A4 and join the pages up as instructed. I've got most of my patterns this way, and whilst it's a bit of a chore to cut and stick, I like the fact that I can download all the sizes and re-print if necessary. This was my first pattern from the Friday Pattern Co. but I was extremely happy with the ease of printing and the instructions that came with the dress - very clear and simple to follow. If you are a beginner, then I can't see you having a problem with making this dress. The pattern is versatile - you can play with proportions, make it short/long sleeved, make just a top, so good value for money and different fabrics would offer you very different looks.
I deliberated on sizing for a while and as this was quite a roomy dress I erred on the smaller size, XS/S mix. However, in hindsight, I do wish I'd done a FBA (full bust adjustment), as this is an empire line, I think having a little more room in that area would have made the top section sit a bit better. Alternatively, perhaps just an inch more in the bodice could have achieved the same thing. If I'd bought this dress 'of the peg' in a shop, I probably wouldn't have given this much thought, but the beauty of making things yourself is you do have the ability to fit things to you - so lesson learned. One addition I did make was to add pockets. The pattern didn't have them, but I do like a pocket, so I just added some side seam pockets on the first tier of the dress (using a pocket pattern from a previous make).
Which leads me to the tiers. There is a lot of gathering to be done! It's not rocket science, but if you've not done it before then here are a few tips:
- Use a different thread colour in your bobbin thread - this helps you to know what threads to pull when you gather up the fabric. You won't see them at the end as they are within the seam allowance.
- Use a good quality thread (I use Gutermann), the last thing you want is your thread to break as you gather - you need one continuous thread, so use a strong one.
- Pin often so that your gathers are nice and even, use your pin tip to separate them and get them looking consistent.
- Bring patience! Take your time, to get a nice even ruffle and ensure the tiers sit well.
Here's the finished result. It comes together quite quickly. There are lots of versions online so if you like this pattern, its worth having a browse to see what sort of look you'd like to achieve.