Before this point, I truly felt like one of the last sewists on the planet to have not made the By Hand London Hannah wrap dress; every time I opened Instagram, I spied another incredible version! Whether made up in chambray, viscose, double gauze, or cotton lawn, or in ditsy Liberty florals, bold geometric shapes, cute polka dots, or even in plain fabrics in gorgeous shades, this dress pattern seems to look fantastic. I have made a handful of wrap dresses over the last two years, but I was eager to give this gathered skirt version a try.
I had recently picked up 2.5m of this navy blue gingham seersucker from Fabrics Galore in their 30% birthday sale in April – I am a big fan of gingham fabric, as it looks so cheerful! This seersucker is medium-weight and a 100% cotton (as I knew I would be taking this dress on my honeymoon to sunny Greece, I was hunting for pure cotton and nothing blended with polyester), and has the typical puckered texture. Before I settled on the Hannah dress, I was toying with different ideas for this fabric, including a sweet little pinafore dress, but I was concerned that it would look a bit too much like I was dressing as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz!*
*Okay, so I obviously totally do want to make a Judy Garland inspired gingham pinafore dress in the future, but I digress.
The By Hand London Hannah is an unlined wrap dress that was such a breeze and quick sew. The bodice is relatively close fitting, with a more ‘scooped-out’ v-neck, and a full, gathered dirndl-style skirt. There are three different sleeve options: the standard short sleeves, sweet tulip sleeves or dramatic Bishop sleeves. With no invisible zip to put in or buttons and buttonholes to sew, this dress came together super easily. I really enjoy projects that can be whipped up in a few hours and be ready to go! To ensure my neckline didn’t have a chance to stretch out, I traced around the bodice pattern piece in chalk onto my fabric and then cut an extra 1″ or so away from my chalk line. I then stay-stitched as close to the chalk line as possible, before cutting away the excess fabric by cutting along the chalk line. Voilà — no chance of the neckline becoming warped! The one part of this dress that is a bit tricky is the roleau loops to close the dress, but I used the Prym Fabric Turner tools and that made the process a zillion times simpler.
I ended up cutting a size 14, which is one size bigger than I usually make in By Hand London patterns; this was purely because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to mess around with an FBA! I’m impressed the neckline doesn’t gape, but I do think it is a touch too big at the waist. The other handful of adjustments I made were a narrow shoulder adjustment, where I removed 3/8″ from both the front bodice and back bodice at shoulder seams, and then I shortened the skirt length to 60cm before hemming.
I will certainly making more Hannah wrap dresses in my future! I love the full gathered skirt and how quickly it came together — nothing quite like a super-satisfying sew 😊 This dress was perfect for my trip to Greece and looked perfect next to the white-washed walls and blue-shutters in Naxos. Next time, I think I will size down and do a FBA (instead of being lazy…) and also move the side seam pockets up by 1″ or so.
Bonus image of my new husband(!) and I at the Parthenon in Athens — a huge tick off the bucket list 🇬🇷
By Hand London Hannah
Size 2/6 – 30/34
Full Bust: 32″- 61¼″
Waist: 25″- 56¼″