April 13, 2011

You can't go wrong with the dress...

This is one of my favorite dresses. It pre-dates this blog by more than a year (in fact, it's Burdastyle page is from 31 August 2008. Which may be when it was uploaded or when they changed the site...).
It's a wrap dress made from simple woven black cotton. It has a bodice with a notched collar and kimono sleeves with underarm gussets and a big full circle skirt. I remember wrap dresses were a huge trend that summer but most were collar-less jersey things which were famous for working 'for every body shape' but absolutely didn't work for my flat-chested frame. So, I set out to make a wrap dress which would work for me. And have a bit of a retro touch. And include a technical and design detail I hadn't tried before (those sleeves).

I loved it when I finished it and I still do. I have had to repair the sleeve gusset once (because I didn't reinforce the fabric before setting those gussets in. hey, it was my first try at something like this) but I've worn it a lot and I have used the pattern again as a starting point for last summer's turquoise dress.

Normally, I don't think about 'day to evening wardrobe options' but amoung my clothes, this dress would be just that.
Many of you may prefer colour, but black dresses are very versitile. A minor change in accesoiries really can allow me to take this dress almost anywhere.

I'm thinking about all this because it's warm enough now to wear it again. And I did so on Monday, when I was teaching my sewing class.
I am teaching that class at a local highschool (which is not a normal highschool but one which teaches students who are new in this country the Dutch language and some other skills which will allow them to participate in the regular education system after one or two years) and my students come from all over the world. They are very enthousiastic about learning how to make their own clothes and they know I often make mine. Not a single one normally wears a silhouet like this but within a minute of me entering the room, I was surrounded students who wanted to know about the fabric, the bow or the dress in general.
I've always had the theory that girls like 50's style dresses because those have the quintessential 'dress' shape. I just thought that instinctive liking ended when 'fashion-consciousness started... Apperently not.

In fact, I will make a dress like this again. I promised my sister to make her a dress for her classical singing performances, and the design we both liked best was this:

So, at heart the same dress, but different in almost every detail. When I make it, I may just try and grade it as well. After all, out of all my creations on Burdastyle, none has received more requests for the pattern than the black wrap dress... It would be a lot of work and I'm very busy, but it would be nice.


  1. It's a beautiful dress! I find black very flattering.

  2. I can see why you love it, it's a great dress and black, well, it's the best.

  3. Beautiful, beautiful dress! I bet you rock the heck out of it in your high black heels, too. Lovely!

  4. It is a lovely dress, a beautiful and flattering shape. I can see why you get so many compliments for it.