Thursday, 29 December 2011

Not Jersey Shore

This year I discovered jersey!

Me and the girl from Vogue - hard to tell the difference huh?
Where have you been living? I hear you all cry!

I know, I know -  I avoided stretchy fabrics like they were contaminated because I had an irrational fear of stuff that clung to the body like a wetsuit, showed every lump and bump and was synthetic. Such a fabric snob......though I've always thought that wetsuits make the most wonderful foundation garments! I confronted my fears with a little bit of self-administered CBT and the result has been a flooding of knits/jersey/lycra/stretch into the wardrobe. Most significantly has been the wrap dress - see no zips!

I saw this dress (V7898) on Anne-Marie and thought it looked stunning, especially on her. So last time Vogue had their $3.99 sale on I bought it. Just prior to the Christmas break I tootled down to the local fabric shop and picked up a couple of knits (one of which was half price) and set to.

Believe me, this is the easiest, quickest, simplest wrap dress you'll ever make and it looks fabulous. No kidding: 30 minutes to cut out, 2 hours max to sew up - wear! And the best bit is you get to use hardware tools for the tie. Remember, I don't have an overlocker (serger) but I'd imagine if you have one you could make this dress in half the time. I cheated a little bit and didn't finish the seams on either of the dresses - there's no fraying with the knits.

The first version I made is plain - followed the pattern exactly -no mucking about. I've made a short tutorial about how I simplified Vogue's instructions for inserting the sleeves and for a speedier result. Download the PDF here.

The second version was the Christmas Day Dress. It's made of a finer knit and I sewed sparkles around the neckline and sleeve hems - yes, one at a time!

I attached a purchased trim (braid) and then alternated between sequins and  beads. It was nice, relaxing - I felt like I worked at M. Lesage, Paris.  If I get bored of the glitter bits I can easily remove them for a day-time look.

Here's me and Doris sharing a girly moment in our matching dresses. You can see the difference in the asymmetrical hemline here. I think that's what transforms this otherwise simple wrap into something else.

The dress is actually a part mock-wrap, in that the inside wrap is sewn to the inside side seam but the outside wrap is fixed through a hardware D-ring with a tie. It is surprisingly secure - a whole Christmas dinner and no adjustments were required.

However, I would say that the front of the dress is low! Some of you who have dress codes at work, or are a little modest,  may need to wear a camisole or T-shirt underneath. When I wear the Plain Jane version I have a scarf around my neck secured with a brooch. I made some adjustments to the Suzy Sparkle one and raised the wrap up about 5cm (2"). Wearing a scarf would just be silly with this one, hiding all that hand work.

The shoes are from Irregular Choice, bought ages ago. If you're looking for something a bit different, then look here. They are my party shoes and only come out of the box for special occasions. Can you see the mummy swan and her cygnets on the side?

The heels are engraved perspex for extra sparkle.
Even the inside is gorgeous.

A little nostalgic moment for us girls

 Thanks for reading. Ruth


  1. I love your dresses. You don't look a bit like the Vogue girl - she's more than just a bit anorexic, and you look normal to me!

  2. Gorgeous, totally lovely. The sparkle around the neckline etc really does make it that extra special. And ooooh, bit droopy about those shoes - wonder if I could find something like that here? Merry New Year to you, too!!

  3. I wish you, on New Year 2012 to all plans, even those seemingly abstract, have been fulfilled.
    Happiness - with which these aims are realistic.
    Health, which will support their implementation.
    Money - without which, even the greatest are nothing.
    And friends with whom these successes will be shared.
    Yours Kate:)

  4. Happy New Year Ruth! I loved reading about this dress, but need to confess that the shoes...the shoes took my breath away. sigh.

  5. Blue is a great color in you...Happy New Year from New York!


  6. Ruth, I hope you did not take off the embellishment you added. They look lovely and I would wear it all year long. Your version is wonderful !

    1. No Anne-Marie it's still there - more a case of not having gotten round to taking it off rather than keeping it on.