It’s a wrap!

What could be easier than this: a garment with no buttons and no buttonholes, secured by sashes which can be forgiving to your waistline and still be flattering?  Diane Von Furstenberg immortalized the “wrap dress” in the early 1970s; its many variations became available to home dressmakers through the Vogue Patterns Designer series, and those original patterns now command significant prices on eBay and Etsy.

This is the label which was provided to purchasers of Diane Von Furstenberg patterns.

But – what came before Von Furstenberg’s classic dress?  Many of us remember our “wraparound” skirts from the ‘60s and ‘70s – some were “reversible”, some were made of a lightweight sailcloth type of fabric and were kind of stiff, some were gathered, and some were A-line.  Towards the late ‘60s, according to The Fairchild Dictionary of Fashion (3rd Edition, Fairchild Publications, Inc., New York, 2010), the term “wraparound” was shortened to just “wrap” – and that is the term we know and use today.  The illustration in this book surely is based on DVF’s classic wrap dress.

Who wouldn’t recognize this as a DVF dress?

One of Diane Von Furstenberg’s famous statements is “I design for the woman who loves being a woman.”  (Think dresses!)  In The Saint James Fashion Encyclopedia (Richard Martin, author; Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI, 1997), she is quoted:  “…I believe in marrying fashion and function – chic style and easy comfort, maximum impact and minimum fuss.”  It’s easy to see that she practiced what she preached (and still does…) when you look at this Vogue pattern:

A classic style by Diane Von Furstenberg.

About the time I purchased this pattern on Etsy, I saw this fabric on Mood Fabric’s website:

This is a cotton twill, but it’s stretchable!

The bright, happy design reminded me of some of the original DVF-designed fabric, although this fabric is actually by Oscar De La Renta.  No, it wasn’t a stretchable knit which the pattern stipulated, but it was a stretch fabric, so I took a gamble and ordered it with my DVF pattern in mind.

I actually liked the heavier weight of this fabric (I’ve never been a fan of sewing jersey knits), but I had to be extra diligent to minimize bulky seams on the interior of the dress.  Instead of self pockets, I made the pockets out of some leftover white silk lining fabric from my raincoat.

One of the pockets.

Instead of turning under edges on the facings, I double-stitched and pinked the edges, and used stretchable hem tape for the hem.  It all seemed to work and here is the finished dress:

This cheery fabric could brighten any day!

A bit of a back view.

I was thrilled to get that original label with my pattern – and here is the finishing touch for my DVF wrap dress:

My final stitches on this dress were to attach the label.

Feminine, timeless, versatile:  her dresses are more than fashion – they are enduring style.


Filed under Uncategorized, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1970s, Vogue patterns

10 responses to “It’s a wrap!

  1. Oh, I love that print – so bright and cheerful! You choose so many patterns and fabrics that I would pick for myself. =)

    I recently bought myself a vintage 60s pattern that is a wrap dress, but it wraps in the back (like a Swirl). Wrap dresses are comfy but I usually feel like they shift a lot when I wear them, so I’m hoping my pattern wrapping in the back will solve that problem.

    • Hopefully we’ll get a peek at your wrap dress when you have it finished??!!

      • Definitely! I actually found some fabric at the store today that I think I will use for one version (I may have to keep) and I already have another fabric that I was planning to use for one I want to put in my etsy shop. =)

  2. This is unbelievably cute and cheerful…….and flattering! Great to know you were able to use a woven fabric with this pattern! Where did you find stretch hem tape?

    • Ah – I don’t usually buy the “flexible” lace hem tape at Joann’s if I can avoid it, but it was perfect for this dress – just enough stretch to sew onto the fabric without a pucker in sight!

  3. That is so cute and I love that you used Mood’s fabric for this. Love that print. Nice work!

  4. It looks great! I’m glad you experimented with the fabric a bit, as it is good knowing other stretch fabrics will work. And you were so lucky to get the label.

    Back in the 1970s you could actually buy the same DVF stretch knit prints that she used to make her dresses. I have a bit of a red and white print I fond in an antiques store a while back.

  5. Pingback: Wrap-look Dresses from June, 1931 | witness2fashion

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