#McCardell inspired Wrap

I am a fan of Claire McCardell, the post WWII designer who is said to have “invented” modern American Sportswear as we know it today. Her designs are classic & utterly wearable today. As well, they have a unique quality which makes them intriguing.

Therefore I am beholden to Julie Eilber of jetsetsewing.com for adapting this tube-like wrap by Claire McCardell. You can find the downloadable pattern on WeAllSew.com , a blog by BerninaUSA.

Original McCardell Side

The original by McCardell fits snugly around the shoulders. The adaptation is a quick sew… which I did…. in an afternoon. I “hacked” Julie’s pattern to make the neckline look a little more like the original McCardell. Plus, my impatience in wanting to put this over my head as soon as possible, made me eliminate a few things.

This is how my sewing process went down:

  • I chose a thin soft-but-scratchy, grey raschel knit (with some lurex) which IS a knit but is stable, and does not ravel. Raschel knits do not stretch as much as the recommended sweater knit, but mine stretched just enough.


  • A grey polyester/lycra was pulled out of the stash for the lining but I decided to make it without a lining. That impatient monster again….
  • On the downloaded pattern, I extended the neckline upwards to make it “cowl” (used as a verb here) a little, like the original McCardell.

Pattern hack

  • I stitched the two side seams with a modified zig zag, pulled the wrap over my shoulders, liked what I saw after a little bit of tugging and pulling in the right places.
  • For the neck and hem edges, I simply stitched a zig zag 3/8” away from the raw edge and left it at that. Trying to pink the edges made them shed fibers.

In making this wrap, I questioned its wearability and comfort. I mean, how does one deal with a wearable which pins your arms to your sides? When McCardell designed the original, America had not seen anything like it, and the wrap sold out in a short time. That many American women can’t be wrong. They weren’t. The wrap is extremely wearable, I can move my arms easily – well, maybe reaching the top shelf would be a problem, but I’m willing to pick my wearability battles. I like to think that if this piece restricted the wearer’s movements considerably, Claire McCardell would not have put her name on it.

I don’t do strappy dresses or cocktail parties, but if you do, this wrap is perfect for an event where you won’t need to lift your arms too much above the elbow, except raise a glass.

Julie has another way to wear this wrap; pull it up around your neck and it’s a cute scarf!! Also, check out the hack of her own pattern, to resemble an Eileen Fisher poncho/wrap.

I want to make this again – in a sweater knit and lined – as it was supposed to be. Meanwhile, I love my raschel knit version. Thank you Julie Eilber of jetsetsewing.com and WeAllSew.com! Go read Julie’s post to read more about this wrap, and to WeAllSew to download the pattern.


Readers, do you think you’ll make this wrap? I highly recommend it; if not for yourself, find someone to make it for.

Just for fun, some trivia about Claire McCardell:

  • She actually entered the fashion industry as a fit model.
  • As a designer, she trained her models to have a somewhat slouchy, shoulders back, hands-in-pocket, casual stance that came to her naturally.
  • She’s an alum of Parsons School of Design (yes, that Parsons, the school made famous today by Project Runway).


6 thoughts on “#McCardell inspired Wrap

    1. Thank you, Annie! We have a mutual fan society going here, and I’m humbled :). I love your creativity and style — always have.


  1. Hi Samina, thanks for giving the pattern a try! I like your “hacked” version, and I think McCardell would, too, as she was constantly reinventing her own designs, or “McCardellisms” as she called them. I wore my asymmetrical hack on New Year’s Eve, and was just thinking of another version this morning. They’re really handy now that it’s truly winter in Boston.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Julie, thanks for the compliment! What struck me is that it really is very wearable in spite of first impressions of one’s arms being pinned down. It’s comfortable! I really intend to make more….


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