Sunday, July 29, 2007

Joy of Wrap Dresses, Part 1

You might have noticed that I am a wrap dress fiend. I have tons of them and can't stop designing them and am always looking for more.

Not only are they cute as heck,

1) they look good on everybody
2) they give you a waist if you have none,
3) they hide tummy rolls
4) they hide big hips
5) they hide big thighs
6) did i mention that they look good on everybody?

Popping on a wrap dress has the same effect as doing 100 situps a day for two weeks - your waist ends up looking about 3 times smaller. Who wouldn't want that, seriously?

As a hippy girl with a small waist who cannot get away with most of the styles that are popular right now, I love that you can throw on a wrap dress and go, and not have to worry about how you're going to look, because they always look great. That's the secret to Diane Von Furstenburg's success - ease!
A wrap dress was actually the first thing I designed lo these many years ago (okay four years ago) and I've been experimenting with them ever since.
I like to do the whole girl routine every morning but it does not extend to having to futz with my clothing all day long, tugging and pulling and adjusting and sucking in my gut. Luckily, wrap dresses mean that you don't have to do any of that.
If you like your chest, front-wrap dresses are great for showing it off, and if you prefer your back, there's back-wrap dresses for that too!

My latest wrap dress obsessions are this pattern that I found on Ebay, which is kind of like a combination of my Nefe dress and my Molly Dress. Not only is it a "Hollywood" pattern, check out the awesome rickrack and the big red and white bow! Can you believe the tiny waist in that illustration? .If my waist were that small I would snap in half! I think I will take some of the fabric I use for the Waitress Dress and make myself one of these. I might make the skirt fuller for that whole 1950's look I love so much, and maybe add some gussets for swishiness! I am crazy about gussets! I am also crazy about how wierd the sizing in old patterns is - this pattern from the 1930's is a size 18, which is a 36 bust and 39 waist. You know what size that is now? A SIZE 6!

Actually now that I think about it, that pattern looks an awful lot like these red polka-dot wrap dresses I made for the Pile of Craft show in Baltimore last month. Hmm....... Maybe the folks at Simplicity patterns traveled into the future, saw my dress at the craft fair, and then raced back to 1939 and made a pattern out of it?
Yeah, maybe not. But who's to say? :)

My other big crush right now is actually my Therese Dress (yes, I get mad crushes on stuff I design). I cannot get enough of it lately and it's been my most popular item at craft fairs by far. I always thought of it as being a pretty dressy dress, but you wouldn't believe the custom variations people have asked me to make on it -

First I made it for someone out of a beautiful Amy Butler Belle cotton print in buttery yellow and electric blue. This dress featured my first-ever handmade buttons! I think they were a success.
In the background is my oh-so cluttered studio. It is not actually messy, but since I cannot physically stop myself from buying fabric, trim, and anything else related to sewing and crafting, i's a pretty chock-full space. But everyone who comes in assures me it's the sign of a good artist. Anyway, I am pretty darn happy with the dress. It's cute, right? And much more casual. The happy owner plans to wear it to have brunch or go shopping. She wanted a dress she could wear flip-flops with but still feel pulled together. I think it worked out. It'll be cute if she dresses it up, too!

The other thing that you can see in the background is the muslin for yet another version of the Therese Dress, this time commissioned as a WEDDING DRESS! Can you believe it? I made someone's wedding dress!
I have to say it came out really beautifully: For some reason in these two pics the dress appears to be hanging longer on one side, but for the actual ceremony she took it to a dry cleaners and had them iron the heck out of it so it would lay perfectly. We had a tough time deciding between the blue belt to match the groom's suit, and the white belt to make it a full-on wedding dress.
My personal favorite part was the way we decided to take the scalloped edging on the lace and make it repeat on the sleeve.
Having a detail like that slims the appearance of bigger arms by drawing the eye downward, and since the sleeve was slightly fluttery it came out really flattering. I love doing custom designs, it's really fun working with someone to make their dream come to life!

Anyway, as someone who really loves chocolate, cheese, bread, and basically every other food that you aren't supposed to eat, I'm glad that the humble wrap dress exists. I'll keep wearing them and designing them, too!