I think wrap dresses may be my favourite kind of dress to sew and wear. They’re generally quite easy to fit because the waist is adjustable, and that adjustable waist is great for size fluctuations (yay, less chance of alterations being needed down the road!).
Recently my favourite Discord server, Craftspace, held a wrap sewalong. I’ve made three Sew Over It Eve dresses, but I had been eying a new pattern since it’s release. My first make in my new place on Prince Edward Island: Cashmerette’s Roseclair dress in this absolutely GORGEOUS cotton from Blackbird.
Roseclair Pattern Info
The Roseclair dress comes in sizes 0-32 (35″ – 62″ hip), split into 0-16 and 12-32 ranges, with all sizes including cup sizes C/D, E/F and G/H. Cashmerette has a handy size calculator to help you pic which size and cup size you should sew, as well as a guide for choosing the size range if you’re within the 12-16 range.
My current measurements are:
- High bust: 34″
- Full bust: 37.5″
- Waist: 28.5″
- Hips: 41.5″
Cashmerette puts me at a size 8E/F bust, 6 waist and 12 hips. Since the Roseclair also has a full skirt with plenty of ease, there was no need for me to grade up for my hips. Otherwise I found the sizing fairly spot on!
My Roseclair Alterations
Starting from a straight size 8E/F, here’s all the alterations I made to my Roseclair pattern:
- Added length to the bodice at the lengthen/shorten line (Cashmerette drafts for 5’6″, while I am almost 5’8″)
- Took in the waist by deepening the waist darts (more in the back as that’s where I’m the smallest)
- Lengthened the side dart and moved the waist dart inwards slightly
- Deepened the neckline (personal taste, prefer a bit less coverage)
- Shortened the length of the cuff by about half, and increased the circumference by 2″
- Just a note here… I found the cuff size to be incredibly small. Not sure if this is because it’s hitting my arm higher up, but I do have pretty small forearms so make sure you check the cuff size before sewing it onto the sleeve!
- Lengthened the top tier of the skirt (I have fairly low hips/butt so this alteration brought the end of the tier to about mid-butt which I found looked better on my body)
- Shortened the middle and bottom tiers to bring the dress to mid-calf length
Phew, that seems like a long list! However, they were all minor tweaks and fairly standard alterations for me. For example, I often add lengths to bodices, so I just do that on my pattern before cutting my first muslin.
One final alteration that was totally my mistake: my back bodice is two pieces that I meticulously pattern matched. I had originally cut the piece on the fold only to find that my dumb-ass didn’t alter my back bodice pattern piece to match the front length. Oops. Of course I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut it on the fold again (I managed to fit this on 3.5m), BUT the pattern repeat was small enough that I could pattern match and make it look like I had cut it on the fold.
If you know me, you know that I am happy to spend the extra time to give my garments a beautiful finish on the inside. This dress was no exception.
I used French seams for the majority of the seams. The gathered tier seams were finished with a serger to avoid too much bulk. Instead of top stitching the cuffs, I slipstitched them.
The neckline of the Roseclair is finished with self bias. Instead of cutting the bias pattern pieces, I made continuous bias tape from the remnants. I’m not a huge fan of finishing ties by folding and topstitching, as the instructions tell you to do. Instead I sewed the inner ties as tubes.
I did something similar for the outer ties: I sewed my bias to the neckline, leaving enough length at the end for the ties. Then I folded the tie portion, right sides together and sewed with a 1/4″ seam allowance. I turned the tie portion right side out, pressed, and slipstitched the bias around the neckline. I’m very happy with how this turned out!
The instructions tell you to finish the front openings and then turn it over and topstitch. I didn’t like that, so I finished them with bias as well. All this hand sewing took a ton of time, but it was a really nice watching TV activity. I got through at least a half season of NOS4A2 – 10/10 for the sewing, maybe a 4/10 for the show. I will never forgive Zachary Quinto’s atrocious wig.
Final Thoughts on the Roseclair
I have a confession: this is actually the first time I’ve sewn a tiered skirt! I’m not sure why I’ve shied away from the style, but it’s probably something to do with the fact that I really hate gathering. The Roseclair tiered skirt is a bit daunting because the bottom layer is almost 4 metres long 😨
Look at the sheer length of it! Of course Owen had to get in on the gathering action. I really love how it turned out in the end. The pain of gathering so much fabric may just be worth it for the lovely swish and 1970s prairie dress vibes.
Y’all this is such a lovely pattern. I had no issues with construction, although I sewed things a little differently than instructed (I think the construction methods are aimed more towards beginners). Fit-wise it’s fantastic! Because Cashmerette drafts for larger cup sizes, those of you with larger chests will likely not need a full bust adjustment. Generally I can get away without one, but I really love how the Roseclair neckline sits so closely to my chest and upper bust compared to a pattern drafted for a standard sewing B cup.
TL;DR: the Roseclair is definitely going in my “make again!!!” pile.