Many of us were introduced to Kate Middleton at the time of her engagement to Prince William, so it seems only fitting that the first dress I wanted to recreate from Kate’s wardrobe is this fabulous sapphire blue wrap dress from designer Issa.
After wearing this dress to announce her engagement, it sold out, was brought back, and has maintained popularity. You can still buy this dress (regularly $650 but now on sale for $325) or you can make it for under $50 with everything you need from Hancock Fabrics.
Learn More about the Recreating Kate Series
Issa Engagement Dress Supplies
I started with New Look 6301 for the basic outline of the dress and made several alterations to get it closer to the Issa dress.
- Widened the ties and the way they’re attached to the dress. The ties on the Issa dress are much wider, which allows them to become a focal point of the dress. I widened the ties significantly, and attached them both higher and lower on the bodice with a little pass-through space for tying. The top of the ties are attached right under the armpit and the bottom of the ties are actually attached into the side seam of the skirt.
- Created a more dramatic V and raised the back of the dress. The front was a major change from the pattern. To get the shape I wanted, I cut out the pattern pieces, then pinned and played with them on a dressform until the pleats and drape were closer to the fit of the Issa dress. Then I marked these pleats and folds onto the tissue pattern and cut my fabric according to my “new” pattern piece. Once cut out, I used the dressform again to ensure my pleats and drape were how I wanted them before basting and sewing them in. Although it doesn’t drastically change the look of the dress, I chose to raise the back at the neck for a slightly more decadent feel. If you wear your hair down, no one will ever see this alteration. But I liked it.
- Mixed skirt back from view C/D and front from view A/B with added width in the front. The back of the Issa dress is a straighter fit, so mixing it with the full front gave the right silhouette. I also love how the Issa dress has lots of gathers in the front center, so I added a few inches of width to the front piece when cutting so I had extra to gather for this effect.
- Lengthened the sleeves. I was pretty tempted to keep them 3/4 sleeves, but by the end of the project, I was really glad I lengthened them. They really make the dress totally different.
- Modesty panels. Once I put the completed dress on, I knew I would need to add modesty panels for me to be comfortable. They just raise the neckline, but they’re totally optional. You can see the look without them on the dress form.
It’s a pretty classic look with the wrapped ties make it forgiving for most body types. And since it’s made from jersey knit it’s super comfy, which is a huge bonus.
So tell me what you think! Is this something you’d try? What look should I recreate next?