My Highlands Wrap Dress : : An Allie Olson of IndieSew Pattern

Highlands Wrap Dress, Indiesew, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

Hallo, hallo.

When asked to describe my personal style my usual answer is classic with a twist. My use of the word classic refers to the silhouettes I most often gravitate to…trousers, jeans, t-shirts, button up shirts, shirt dresses; garments whose design lines are easily recognizable, known and understood. And the twist? Why you know I love me a pop of colour, or an unexpected pattern combination.

All well and good that…but…I cannot relegate my style choices to a single box. Nor would I ever want to.

Experimenting with personal style….playing dress up…isn’t just fun.  I think it’s a path towards rediscovering personality traits that may have been intentionally downplayed at various points in our lives.  As my life experience grows, my sense of self strengthens.  It is important to me that my clothing supports who I am. Essentially, exploring style options beyond my comfort zone helps me keep up with myself. 

All that to say…it’s summer and every summer I feel the urge for at least a little bit of boho in my wardrobe. Maybe it’s the heat…but I want gladiator sandals, lightweight cotton fabrics, beaded bracelets and easy, breezy everything.

Highlands Wrap Dress, Indiesew, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

This year’s #sewtogetherforsummer challenge on Instagram was deemed The Summer of the Wrap Dress.

I waffled big time, squeaking in with my Highlands Wrap Dress by Allie Olson of Indiesew at the very last minute.  I’ve avoided sewing wrap dresses because of the potential for bodice fitting woes….too low, too tight…not quite right. This pattern, drafted for woven fabrics, gave me hope. I gave it the side eye for many weeks….it was seeing Emmanuelle’s beautiful version here on her blog Zoubi Zoubisou that was the tipping point. Had to have it. Had to make it.

The Highlands Wrap comes with four options, midi or maxi length and sleeveless or short sleeved. Of note, there are different bodice pieces for the sleeveless versus the sleeved version. This, I appreciate very, very much.  I originally made the midi length version and felt completely frumpy in it. After much deliberation, I ended up adding a horizontal panel to the bottom of the dress….which if I do say so…adds loads of style. Oftentimes, necessity sparks creative expression.

Highlands Wrap Dress, Indiesew, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

So…it wasn’t just the bodice that had me hesitant about the wrap dress. They can be flirty, that’s for sure. And…with only two buttons and a tie belt for closure…is it any wonder I had doubts.  But…I’m happy to report…not only does the bodice cover comfortably, but the skirt does as well. The double layer of fabric, each wrapping in the opposite direction, really does offer a decent amount of coverage…even when the Pacific Ocean breezes are a blowin’.

Highlands Wrap Dress, Indiesew, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

I ran into a small hiccup with construction. The back waistband is supposed to have a length of elastic in it. I ended up removing mine as it was pulling the side seams towards the back. I think I may have cut my elastic a bit too small. That being said, I don’t miss it and don’t think I will add elastic to future makes.

Highlands Wrap Dress, Indiesew, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

I love the side slits and the instructions for the mitered corners on the hem. I also love the sleeve length. I typically have to do a FBA and this dress was no exception. Darts are already drafted into the pattern and so the alteration was fairly effortless.

Highlands Wrap Dress, Indiesew, A Colourful Canvas, Vancouver Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

Before I sign off, I want to send an enormous thank you to the co-hosts of The Sew Together For Summer Challenge, Sarah, @sewsarahsmith on IG and Sew Sarah Smith blog, Suzy @sewing_in_spain and Monika @rocco.sienna  Sewing summer clothing is a favourite pastime and I loved seeing all the inspiring makes in my Instagram feed.

Last, but not least…massive hugs to my friends Suzanne Carillo, Patti from Not Dead Yet Style, Sherry from Petite Over 40, and Melanie from Bag and a Beret. I met these fabulous women through blogging and we recently spent a long weekend together. Here’s a peek at the fun….

Wearing : :

Highlands Wrap Dress : : Allie Olson of Indiesew



  • Reply Suzanne Carillo June 25, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I truly think you smashed this one out of the park Sue! You look like a Greek Goddess with strawberry blond hair ; P

    Kudos to your cameraman as well for taking such professional and inspiring photos.

    That was such a fun trip. It’s always a joy to see you.


    • Reply Sue June 26, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Thanks Suzanne. I just love how the essence of our visits can be captured in a few minutes…keeps the memories alive forever!

      Happy you like the photos. There was actually a number of people out taking photos that evening…one was a swimsuit model {I think}, another likely an engaged couple…and then a group of, let’s say confident teens, showed up right beside me and I mostly felt really uncomfortable because I’m pretty sure they were making fun of me. Which I get…mature lady taking pics on a rock and all. Anyways, the resulting photos were more subdued than my usual. I like them too.

      • Reply No Fear of Fashion June 26, 2018 at 10:10 am

        Nope.. they were not making fun of you. They were just making fun together. And being far too occupied with that to even notice you. Just projection my dear.

        • Reply Sue June 26, 2018 at 11:40 am

          At one point I saw one girl pointing her phone at me and another girl turning to look at me and smirk. BUT…I like your version Greetje, thanks! You’re right. That was one tiny moment that my ego grabbed hold of. The reality would have been that they were fully immersed in their own Insta world. xo

        • Reply Melanie June 26, 2018 at 3:41 pm

          Did you ever think they might be getting tips from you, Sue? I’m serious. When there’s a real camera involved, the whole game changes. And you know what you’re doing.

          • Sue June 26, 2018 at 6:48 pm

            Actually…no. I must have been too wrapped up in feeling insecure, LOL. I never thought to check out if they took over my most excellent rock after I left.

            I have to say…more and more I see others taking what look to be social media photos everywhere I go. It does make me feel less conspicuous for the most part!

  • Reply LeAnn Hileman June 26, 2018 at 8:37 am

    You look gorgeous in the dress and you were absolutely right to add the extra piece to the hem, looks just right. Thanks for the video too, looks like so much fun!

    • Reply Sue June 26, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Thanks LeAnn. I spent some serious time with my stitch ripper, having to take out the original hem before adding on the panel. I loved the added length, but it felt a tiny bit too long. I actually took out THAT hem and shortened about 1/2″. Not sure why I was so picky, but I LOVE the finished length too!

      Glad you enjoyed seeing the video!

  • Reply Louisa June 26, 2018 at 8:46 am

    I think you have totally nailed your personal style, Sue! I love that there’s almost always a hint (or more!) of the sea in it.

    • Reply Sue June 26, 2018 at 9:29 am

      Thanks Louisa. YES! I really do have a love for being by the sea and find myself incorporating the essence of the sea into my style.

  • Reply Priscilla Bettis June 26, 2018 at 9:08 am

    The stripes, and then the horizontal stripes added at the bottom: genius. It looks fab on you!

    • Reply Sue June 26, 2018 at 9:31 am

      Thanks Priscilla! When I was contemplating adding to the length of the dress, I just knew that I’d never be able to match up the stripes with an ‘invisible’ seam so I pinned on a strip of fabric with them horizontally and fell in love with the look.

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion June 26, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Gorgeous dress. I am not at all boho (which I discovered two years ago). But I love this dress. Especially on you. And you are right, that bottom horizontal panel: a true find. As you said: necessity sparks creative expression.
    I love how you always know what and how to alter patternsto suit you, your taste and your body. It is a gift my dear. Enjoy summer.

    • Reply Sue June 26, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Thanks Greetje. I’ve found I have to go pretty minimal boho. Too much and I feel uncomfortable.

      I’m trying hard to pay attention to patterns that have worked for me in the past and not to be seduced by every new pattern that comes out.

  • Reply Melanie June 26, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    I love how you made this dress sing for you with that horizontal bottom bit. These photos are stunning. I can imagine you wearing this easy, breezy piece a lot this summer. And yes, it was a real treat to hang out with you for a weekend!

    • Reply Sue June 26, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      Thanks Melanie, and thanks for your comment above too. I too see myself wearing this quite a bit this summer…of which we seem to be having a stellar one so far!

      Thanks for the awesome video!!!!

  • Reply coco June 26, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Love love this, I want one!!! will check out the pattern 🙂

    • Reply Sue June 26, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Yes please do Coco! I think you will love it. If it wasn’t for my redoing the hem, it would have been one of those super quick makes!

  • Reply Sherry - Petite Over 40 June 27, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    I’m just now catching up with your post, Sue, and I have to reiterate what I said on IG when you posted the photo of you in this dress: Wowsa! I just love this on you. It’s very chic, glamorous. It really does seem to pull out parts of you that are usually more subdued. You always have a sense of playfulness in your makes but this adds a–dare I say it–billowy, breezy air. Seriously, this maxi wrap has an Old Hollywood feel to it, which (I think) helps to express the summery version of the Sue I know and love. I’m glad you you gave it the full eye and not just the side eye. 🙂

    Cheers and hugs and can’t wait to see what you do next.

    – Sherry

    • Reply Sue June 27, 2018 at 10:56 pm

      Aw…thanks so much Sherry! Billowy and it’s not even linen…how cool is that!

  • Reply Shelley@ForestCityFashionista July 2, 2018 at 11:19 am

    These are beautiful photos of you – the lighting is glorious. The dress is lovely too!

    • Reply Sue July 7, 2018 at 11:57 pm

      Thanks Shelley. Nothing beats Vancouver’s golden hour in the summer.

  • Reply Vancouver Barbara July 6, 2018 at 1:11 am

    Photograph#7 says it all. Gorgeous, glowing, sunkissed, beautiful, womanly. Stunning.

    • Reply Sue July 7, 2018 at 11:59 pm

      Aw…thanks Barbara! Hope to see you soon!

  • Reply Lynn July 10, 2018 at 7:44 am

    I love that fabric and your dress looks great. For myself though, I remain wary of wrap dresses and skirts.

    • Reply Sue July 11, 2018 at 9:02 am

      Thanks Lynn. Yep…there is certainly the potential for flash. And I still think they can be challenging to fit properly. I like the Highlands Wrap and do anticipate making another, but I’m not running out buying all the wrap dress patterns.

  • Reply fran July 10, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    the dress, and the model are gorgeous

    the dress, and the model are gorgeous. love the free and easy style!!!! keep it up

    • Reply Sue July 11, 2018 at 9:04 am

      Yes, it’s perfect for a summer day or evening. Thanks bunches.

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