The Envelope Dress by Cris Wood

Don’t you just love it when a style of garment that you’ve fallen in love with pops up as a new pattern design? It’s like a lovely manifestation of all that’s good about sewing.

This pattern is the Envelope Dress by Cris Wood. It’s sold as a no-waste or low-waste pattern in that it doesn’t actually give you any pattern pieces to print, sticky-tape or cut (more of THAT, please!). Buying the ‘pattern’ gives you a ten page PDF instruction booklet that provides piece dimensions and some very straightforward instructions on how to cut and create your Envelope Dress.

There are some beautiful iterations of this dress over on Instagram. Inspired by many of them, I started leaning towards a light and lovely linen version when I had a reality check and remembered I’m both in the middle of winter and a Stage 3 lockdown.

Enter our beautiful Italian wool crepe. We’ve been carrying this Motiv range forever and finally I found the perfect project for it. Despite all the glorious colour options on offer, I went with black because I know I’ll always love, always wear it.

This wool crepe is a pure dream to sew and gives the perfect drape for the Envelope Dress. It barely creases and requires – if at all – the lightest ironing. I added in-seam pockets to mine because I knew I’d miss them if they weren’t there. I do think the addition of pockets interferes just a little with how the dress falls at the side seams, but no regrets. At the very least it gives me something to do with my hands during a blog photoshoot and for that I’ll always be grateful.

Another thing about the Envelope Dresses – it works equally ace with or without a belt. So a matching belt I made, 2m long and 14cm wide. All up, I used 1.8m which gave me all I needed to make the dress, pockets and belt. As I’m not tall, I didn’t use the full width of the fabric but I did give it a lovely, deep 8cm hem.

Earrings from Haus of Dizzy

This dress definitely falls into ‘trans-seasonal’, perfect-for-Melbourne category. I won’t be wearing wool crepe in the humid heights of summer but it’s a light enough weight and weave to see me through every season at some point or another. To wear in the cooler months, I had a turtleneck making frenzy and made these three to layer it with. The black one is a Monroe Turtleneck made in a long-stashed wool jersey and the other two are a more fitted style (and potential future pattern), sewn in our crazy-soft Khaki Bamboo Jersey and Panda & Friends viscose/elastane.

So, yep, it’s a good one this pattern and a very satisfying combination of comfortable, easy and elegant. Definitely marking this one as a long-term tried n’ true.