Tutorial: wrap bodice #1


I guess I was lying when I said I'd post this 'tomorrow'! Well here it is now. I'm calling it '#1' because I may make a different style wrap bodice at some point in the future. You can probably buy a pattern for this or something similar, as most of my sewing knowledge comes from patterns I've tried in the past. I believe one of the first patterns I ever bought had a dress with this type of bodice. I always advise (when people ask) to use patterns at least *sometimes* when teaching yourself to sew. It really really helps, especially when you're making something quite complicated. You may or may not find this relatively complicated but I tried to take as many photos as possible so you can see everything that's going on.

What you need...

Fabric + lining fabric. I can't really advise you on how much fabric you need because I don't know what you want to do on the bottom half. Maybe about 2m would be safest?
Sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins

What you must do

Fold over your fabric and draw this shape on it (PIECE A). Draw it out on paper first if it's easier. Now I'm sorry this (a)(b)(c)(d) thing is really confusing, but honestly this should make sense when you draw it out on paper haha.
(a) width of shoulder strap + 1"
(b) this is part of the armhole but not the whole thing, this should be easier to figure out when you've done the other sides. In my diagram I for some reason made the armhole longer than it should be. Refer to my picture below for a better idea of what it should be like haha. SORRY FOR BEING REALLY BAD AT TUTORIALS.
(c) approx from just above your bust to your waist line, more or less curved according to your chest size + 1-2"
(d) this is approx 1/6 of your waist. It should follow the general shape of your body, I suppose. You could always make this wider and trim it down later. + 1"

When you cut this out on your folded fabric, you should get two opposite pieces, like so!

Now you have to cut out your side pieces (PIECE B) also on your folded fabric. As you probably figured out, (b) is the rest of the armhole. Just to check you've got the size right, (c) should be the length from about 1" below your armpit to your waistline (+1-2" seam allowance). (d), when taken together with (d) from the other piece and (d) from PIECE A (add all the widths together but only using one of PIECE A) should be 1/2 your waist measurement + about 3". (c) should be curved according to your bust.  If all my talk of measurements is ridiculously confusing, better make it a little too big so you can take it in later. As above, it should all vaguely make sense when you draw it out on paper haha.
Now make sure you have x2 PIECE A and x2 PIECE B from your lining fabric. You should end up with eight pieces.
Pin PIECE A to the lining with right sides together and sew along the dotted line. Do the same for the other piece.
The seam should look like this when you turn it inside out. You can now trim and overlock or zigzag the seam if you so desire!

Turn the piece the right way round so the lining is on the inside but the seam is hidden, like above. You should now iron it so it sits nice and flat.
Now you have to make two shoulder straps for the back. These should be about 5" long, 4" wide but it depends on what you like / what fits you best / how wide you cut the shoulder on PIECE A. You can always trim them later. Open up your PIECE A so the lining and fabric are flat, side by side. 
Pin one end of the strap to the opened out bodice piece, right sides together. Sew! When you open it out, it should look like above.
Fold it in half so the lining is on the inside again, press!
Just to see how you're doing, when you cross both PIECE As together, it should look like this now i.e. vaguely like a bodice hoho
Line up the edges of PIECE A and PIECE B that are next to each other in the picture. Lay your PIECE B on top of PIECE A so that the edges meet, right sides together, and sew along that line.
Do this on both pieces and it should look like this when you turn it inside out.
Do the same with the non-lining pieces and it should look like this when opened out flat!
Fold so the lining is inside, press your seams, cross over both pieces and it should now look like this!
Focusing on the yellow line in the picture, turn inside out and pin.
Sew along this edge.

Probably a bit of a pin overload here but pin one side of your bodice to the PIECE A/B seam and sew along it. The seams should match up.
Do the same on the inside but make sure you only sew through the inner PIECE A and the lining of the outer PIECE A so you don't see the stitching on the side.

Forgot to photograph this part but cut two of PIECE C (another two for the lining). The bottom edge should be half your waist measurement + 5" (this is going to cross over) and the left edge should match up with the side edge of PIECE B. Sew the lining to these in the same way as you did PIECE A. Sew darts according to the markings.
It should look like this. Press.
Join PIECE C to PIECE B like so, lining to lining, non-lining to non-lining you know you know
Turn inside out, and stitch along the dotted line (around the arm hole) on both sides.
Turn inside out and it should look like this (except hopefully better once you iron it hoho)
Make sure the very edge of your back piece is sewn up (turn it inside it out and sew along the edge).

Now, I haven't actually done this so I don't have photographs for you, but because this crosses over, you shall need a button or two. Your sewing machine might have a button hole setting, but if now, set your stitch to zig-zag, very very close together and narrow. 
Here is a good tutorial for buttonholes, but you do not need a particular foot or a sewing machine with a buttonhole setting to make a buttonhole. Just use your small squished together zig zag and sew in a narrow rectangle (my buttonholes are generally like the one on the left in the picture), making sure it is long enough for your button of choice to fit through. Use your scissors to snip a little hole in your rectangle. Line up your button on the other side, sew it in place with a needle and thread. You should now have a perfectly good button and buttonhole. Repeat for however many buttons seem best and your bodice is now finished.

Refer to my 'easy summer dress' tutorial for how to attach your skirt. Leave one side seam of the skirt unsewn at the top few inches and maybe add some more buttons or a zipper. Hopefully my less next semi-complicated tutorial will make a bit more sense haha (:


  1. Hi there!

    I'm loving your blog right now - do you think up all these tutorials yourself? As in, just in your own spare time? Because sewing up clothes can be quite time consuming, no?

    Anyway, keep up the tutorials and other posts, I love them! :)

  2. Hello!

    Well I don't really plan tutorials as such. I just sew whatever I want and take photos as I go along, so I'd be making this stuff whether I had a blog or not! Resizing all the pictures and typing out the instructions is pretty time consuming though haha

    Thanks so much (: <3

  3. Excellent tailoring!


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