On a recent windy day, I was thinking about Christina Rossetti’s poem “Who Has Seen the Wind?”
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you;
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing thro’.
I did not remember it verbatim, coming up with this instead:
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I;
But when the leaves go to and fro
The wind is passing by.
Either version seems to fit my new Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress – it reminds me of a breezy Spring day:
The pattern itself is shown here in diagram form, for those of you who have never seen, nor sewn with, a DvF Vogue pattern. As you can see, there are minimal pieces.
I don’t believe you get the sense of how long the ties are from this diagram. Each tie is 50” long, giving the wearer plenty of length to go around her waist, doubling up for part of the front, and still have enough to make a bow or loop with long ends.
I made two minor changes to the pattern from my first version of this dress three years ago: I cut the shoulders in about an inch, which I think is a more pleasing and up-to-date look. I also added ¾” to the bodice in length. For some reason, I find that wrap dresses tend to be either short-waisted or they do not allow for the fact that the ties are going around the waist twice, pulling up the skirt a small amount. Whatever the reason, the extra ¾” seems to fix the problem. I also decided to try finishing the interior seams with Hug Snug rayon binding – and it worked beautifully. I love the clean, neat finish on these seams, and the soft tape helps to keep the seams from curling in.
It was fun and rewarding to sew with genuine DvF fabric from the mid-1970s. Although I have never been a fan of sewing with knits, this knit was lovely to work on. It sewed like a woven fabric, but cooperated in easing just like a knit should. Very well behaved! I found this quote from Diane von Furstenberg especially apropos: “ Fabrics are key, since they’re like a second skin, and should always be soft to the touch and breatheable. Colors should be beautiful and harmonious, and silhouettes simple, allowing the body to move freely…” (The St. James Fashion Encyclopedia: A Survey of Style from 1945 to the Present, by Richard Martin, Visible Ink Press, Detroit, MI, c1997, page 403)
I made one last addition to this project: a simple hand-inked label to indicate when this dress was made, sewn onto one of the pocket selvedges. With vintage fabric and made from a vintage pattern, this dress could be mistakenly attributed to having been made in 1976. This label will help to insure that that never happens.
Every Spring deserves one easy dress, but now it is time to move on to something a little less breezy, and a little more complicated. What will that be?