That 70s Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg

Designer Diane von Furstenberg at Home

Diane Von Furstenberg looking like art. source: Corbis

The September Monthly Stitch vintage-challenge-badgechallenge was to sew something from Vintage Patterns.  I chose the iconic 70s dress maven Diane Von Furstenberg’s knit dress pattern from Vogue (V1547).  There was also a challenge called Fall For CottonFallForCotton200where you were to sew a vintage inspired pattern using only cotton fabrics.  So, I chose only cotton knits for both of the dresses. Diane Von Furstenberg Knit DressesIn the 1970s, Diane Von Furstenberg launched her signature versatile, easy-breezy wrap dress, that came to symbolize freedom and strength for a newly empowered generation of women.  It symbolized the New Woman, the then-revolutionary concept of competing in a man’s world while looking feminine.

Diane Von Fustenberg and Andy Warhol.  source:  Harper's Bazaar

Diane Von Fustenberg and Andy Warhol. source: Harper’s Bazaar

By 1976 she had sold over a million of her signature knit wrap dresses and landed on the cover of The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, the latter dubbing her “the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel” (http://www.dvf.com/timeline-70s.html).

Von Furstenberg has been the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 2006 and the year before was honored with their lifetime achievement award.  A 1970s DVF knit wrap dress is represented in New York’s Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My mother, in the 1970s, used a DVF wrap dress Vogue pattern 1549, with collar and cuffs, to sew a dress for herself in a geometric black and white printed knit.

DVF 70s collared and cuffed knit wrap dress

My mum’s DVF knit wrap dress she sewed in the 1970s

Her version is almost identical to one DVF wore on the cover of Vogue Patterns magazine from 1976.

DFV on Vogue Patterns Magazine

DVF on the cover of Vogue Patterns, 1976

V1547 – Version B

For my short-sleeved belted version of the dress, I used ‘Germania’ by Jay McCarrol for FreeSpirit, Westminster Fibers brown geometric polka dot fabric.  It is a cotton knit that I purchased in the quilting section of a home decor fabric store.  And, after sewing the dress, I do wonder if this fabric is more suitable to quilts, blankets, etc. because I had a horrific time while sewing it.

DFV brown polka dot knit dress front and backTrying to unpick a stitch resulted in an almost immediate hole or would leave an obvious white spot from the needle holes since the back of the fabric is white and it also kept stretching completely out of shape.DVF brown polka dot knit dress Go Kitty (2)I could not get the overlocker to sew it properly, it kept jamming the machine, so I used a sewing machine.  But, using the triple stretch stitch or the knit stitch, the sleeve bands stretched 2 inches while I was sewing them on.  So, they do not lie flat and are not tight enough. When I tried a regular straight stitch, it would not hold together and slid back and forth on the thread as if gathering and then would break almost immediately.

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

I decided to wash the dress and put it in a hot dryer (even though I had already pre-shrunk) to see if it would help tighten up the fabric.  No, it did not.  But, what it did do was wrinkle like the dickens.  So, I had to iron every inch of my easy, breezy, simple knit dress.  Does this sound almost like blasphemy?  So, all in all, it did not turn out the way I had hoped, but it still works for a very casual, almost sweatshirt-like dress.  If anybody has any ideas about using this kind of fabric for fitted garments, or if indeed, it is not meant to be used for this purpose, please do share.

Reasons to Love the 70s.  Can You Think Of Any More?

Reasons to Love the 70s. Can You Think Of Any More?

V1547 – Version A

DVF blue knit dress front and backFor the long-sleeved version with the scarf tie, I used a four-way stretch cotton knit jersey.  I was nervous that it would be too stretchy and have even worse problems than the brown fabric, but it actually sewed up just fine and drapes really well.  It feels fabulous on, the fabric is very thin and silky with a heavy drape and ‘swishes’ nicely when I walk.

Oooooh, Swishy!

Oooooh, Swishy!

I am going to make a buckled belt for it out of the same fabric to offer up an alternative silhouette.  DVF blue knit dress front with scarf tie vintageThe scarf tie is perfect in this fabric, with such a heavy drape, it stays around the neck and being a thin fabric, folds easily and neatly into place.  DVF blue knit dress scarf tie (2)DVF knit wrap dress side with scarf tieAlthough you won’t be able to tell, I’m wearing Oscar de la Renta perfume, a classic fragrance that debuted in 1977.

DVF blue knit dress cat bombed polaroidWho Loves Kitty? DVF brown polka dot knit dress Who Loves Kitty (2)

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149 thoughts on “That 70s Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you so much Melody! Yes, both my mum and gramma used to sew, my gramma actually sewed and smocked dresses and sold them. So, she has quite a few vintage home sewn clothes from the 60s and 70s as well as our baby clothes.

  1. Brooke says:

    Just from the photos, your brown dress doesn’t look like it gave you all those problems while sewing! I’m not sure what the fabric would be best used for based on your description, but it sounds like a zigzag stitch would be the way to go since stretch stitches can be difficult with some fabrics.

    Both dresses look great! And your mom’s is lovely too!

    • Gjeometry says:

      I know right? That’s why it’s so tough to hate that dress because I still love the look of the fabric and it also feels so plush and comfy. But, although it looks innocent enough, I secretly I hate it. 🙂 I did also try a zig-zag stitch beside the straight stitch to try to stabilize it and….broke almost immediately. The only stitches that held were the triple stretch (even that one was iffy) and the knit stitch that you are supposed to use for swimsuits, etc. I just don’t understand why the fabric didn’t want to be sewn. In the future, I will only use this plusher kind of cotton knit with very little spring-back for nightgowns or pillows, etc. And use something more like the 4 way stretch or fabric with more lycra in it.

      • lsaspacey says:

        You don’t mention but were you using a ball-point or stretch needle? I usually don’t have any problems if I use the right weighted 9/10, 14, or 16 needle too. In addition, if you’ve used the needle once you might need to use a new one.

        • Gjeometry says:

          I was using a ballpoint needle. In a size 70. Do you think it would have been better to use a stretch needle? And, it was brand new for the brown dress. I’m not sure if changing the needle would have helped, but I could definitely experiment with different needle sizes and perhaps try a stretch needle for next time.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks Eileen! I can’t believe you have all DVF’s sewing patterns! I own the one that I sewed (V1547), but that is it. I have actually seen the pattern my mum used for her dress online going for $90!! You definitely should treasure your pattern collection and sew them up from time to time!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Lol, Yay! Thanks Missy! Yes, I am much more in love with the long sleeve dress. The fabric was SO much easier to work with. That brown fabric just would not behave at all and came out wonky in places where it was supposed to be more fitted due to the outrageous stretching that kept happening.

  2. sewingforfun says:

    I think you look great in both dresses :-). Did you try using a watersoluable stabelizer when sewing? I just cut long strips and feed it under my fabric as I am sewing. If the fabric is really bad, sometimes I will pin some stabelizer to both bottom and top of fabric before putting it under the machine. I find it helps me many times to get nicer seams. But 🙂 I havent tried your fabric 🙂 It might be worse then anything I have tried :-I

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you so much, I blush 🙂 I did not try using a water soluble stabilizer, but that is a fantastic idea!!! Where were you when I was sewing that stretchy mess of fabric?? I even think I have some that is to be used for embroidery, but I’m sure it can also be used on knits and washed away. I’ll have a look at the directions to be sure. Thank you so much for this tip, I think it is exactly what I needed for this dress! Will definitely be using it next time.

  3. ksgentry says:

    I love the idea of making a Diane Von Fustenberg styled garment, and your versions are wonderful. She signified class and her garments were always timeless. Thanks for sharing! They look great! I loved the 70’s, but then again I was young then so what was not to love! Your tabby kitty looks like he loves being held as much as mine does, NOT! He is adorable, his picture immediately made me go awwww……

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you so much! Yes, the more I researched about Diane Von Furstenberg, the more respect I gained. She is an interesting woman and her garments are definitely classic and stand the test of time. I was researching items to put into my Reasons to Love the 70s box and honestly, there were SO many negative stories. I had to really search to find some fun and positive events. History is not only made up of tragedies, so I’m glad I could dig up some uplifting events. And, Kitty thanks you for your compliments. Although he also goes ‘awwww’ when he sees himself (big ego).

  4. seweverythingblog says:

    Great, well researched post! Both dresses look great in the pictures, but I think the black/white may have been easier to sew because of it’s 4-way stretch. Maybe that’s the reason for the brown knit giving you some grief! The iconic DVF dresses were meant for the 4-way stretch, I think.
    Anyway, great job, and you look fabulous in both.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Samina! The sewing directions don’t mention anything about a 4-way stretch, but it definitely did work out much better. And, also has a better feel and swing/drape to it. I was worried that it would stretch all out of shape since it had so much stretch, but I guess since it has good recovery, it really did not stretch out at all. That was all left up to the brown fabric. Thanks again for your compliments. 🙂

  5. Leonie says:

    Both versions look fab. I do love a good swishy dress! How amazing that your mum still has her version from the 70’s. It must have been a real favourite.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank You Leonie! I did not realize how much I would like a swishy 4-way stretch dress because I’ve actually never owned or sewn one! But, now, I will be on the look-out for this type of fabric to make more styles. I will NOT be on the look-out for the brown plush 2-way stretch fabric though unless making something that requires no fitting or snugness. Yes, my mum has several garments from the 60s and 70s that both she and my gramma sewed. it’s so nice to dig them out and see them and even nicer knowing that they were home-sewn.

  6. Carla says:

    Dress B turned out AMAZING!! Despite all the issues you had with it, it looks fantastic!

    Dress A is pretty too! It really makes your hair color pop!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks Carla! I do love the pattern and colour of the brown fabric for Dress B and it does feel good wearing it. But, I’m still not happy with the amount of stretch it took. Mostly with the sleeve hem bands, I suppose I could cut them off and add new ones, but then the sleeves would be rather short with wide hembands. Unpicking the seam is not an option since doing so resulted in hole after hole and white spots from the needle holes. I love Dress A with my hair as well! I’m a new red-head, I just put henna in my hair, and I’m happy to discover that blue/turquoise/lime green are the way to go.

  7. CurlsnSkirls says:

    And you’ve still got your mum’s wrap dress pattern, too??? OM goodness, I had that and made it, too, but don’t remember what fabric I used. Have been searching for these pattern numbers for aaaages – thanks so much for doing your dresses, so I could find them again!!!

    That brown fabric sounds like a nightmare; can’t think of a thing to suggest except maybe sew everything with a layer of tissue or some other paper to give it more stability. Then rip the paper off after you’ve sewn each seam.

    Your long sleeved version is perfect and am so glad you stuck with it!

    Take care ~
    del

    • Gjeometry says:

      Well, I still have my mum’s actual wrap dress. But, sadly, tragically, unspeakably, she gave away all her sewing patterns. This was well before I began sewing, and neither of us really thought any reason to bother keeping them. But, I know there was some 1960s and 1970s gems in there. Sigh.

      The brown fabric was so strange, I think a lot of it had to do with the very little spring-back / low lycra content in it. I actually did try the tissue paper trick as I do use that with slippery fabrics and it works a treat. But, for this, it just kept squishing up and sliding off. I swear this fabric just did not want to be sewn. But, SewingForFun recommended a water soluble stabilizer that I think I will iron on and use for next time. I am thrilled that the long sleeved version came out nicely, I was so nervous that it would be even worse to sew with since it was a 4-way stretch. But, no, not at all. Didn’t stretch or make holes and stayed put.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks! I do like the brown dress, even though it did not exactly work out the way I had hoped. But, after all the issues I had trying to sew with that type of fabric, I am going to wear it no matter what!! 🙂

  8. Amanda says:

    This is a great post! The dresses look fantastic and I really liked the history of Diana! Thanks for that. And your mums dress! It is brilliant. Have you worn it?

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Amanda! I’m glad you liked the DVF info. I was surprised to learn some of the things I did when I was doing the research and have a lot of respect for her. I’m so glad my mum saved her home sewn DVF wrap dress. Unfortunately, it is much too big for me so I can only look at it. She will be delighted to hear your compliments!

      • Amanda says:

        I really liked your little history class! Fascinating stuff! How come your mum saved that particular dress? Just because it was on the magazine or was it her best bit of sewing? I wonder which clothes we will keep!!

        • Gjeometry says:

          I love doing research for my blogposts and providing tidbits of Cliff Claven-esque (from Cheers) trivia, almost as much as the sewing, so very happy that you liked reading it! I asked my mum about the dress and she said that she really liked the pattern, (I think any child of the 70s would HAVE to say that about a DVF knit wrap dress) and she was also proud of the sewing that she did on it. She was not huge into sewing and, in fact, only knits now, so she does have a few pieces that she had sewn in the 60s and 70s that she still has today. Lovely little pieces of pop culture and domestic history! 🙂

  9. marisolsen99 says:

    So swishy! You look awesome in both dresses, but I would have ditched the brown one after all the trouble that fabric gave you. It looks cute in the pix, but I can’t have my fabrics kicking my butt! 😉 Nice work on 2 contests, lady, and you look DARLIN’ in your new dresses. Enjoy!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Maris!! I love to swish around in that blue one! I really had no idea that this type of fabric felt so awesome while wearing it. Yes, I was seriously contemplating setting the brown one on fire, especially after having to unpick a seam and getting many holes in it!! But, persevered, and now at least I have a casual and comfy dress that’s wearable when out and about.

  10. laurahoj says:

    I love both dresses! Even though you had all that trouble with the brown one, it still looks great in the pictures. I love that you made the second one.
    I love DVF dresses. I went to the store in Vegas a few months ago with my husband. The fabrics she uses are just gorgeous. Of course, she had her iconic wrap dresses in the store, but there were so many other great pieces as well. I have a wrap dress in a silk jersey in the works for Sew Red October. We’ll all be stylin’!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Laura! The brown one came out ok. I obviously was going for something fitted and a bit more dressy like in the pattern pics, but it still came out passable to wear as a very casual dress. The second one definitely has more flair, fits better and has that SWISH that I am loving. That’s cool you went to a store of hers. I would love to go to a DVF shoppe. I don’t think there is one near me, I will have to try and find the nearest one as I want to actually fondle the fabric and not just look at them online. Silk jersey will be so stunning! And, that’s actually what DVF used for most of her dresses from the 70s, from what I read. Can’t wait to see your wrap dress. What pattern are you using for it? I know you lost out on the 1549 pattern bid (D’oh!). Too bad that my mum gave her patterns away or I could have lent it to you.

      • laurahoj says:

        I’m sure there is a shop in NY, so if you go in October next year we could visit it. The dresses at the shop here were silk jersey as well. It is such a beautiful fabric, with a sheen to it. It is soft and just wonderful. Maybe next time I visit the shop I will try one of them on. They don’t make the dress in my size, but maybe I will drop a size or two…

        • Gjeometry says:

          Yes, I’m positive they have one in NY!! That will be such a fun trip! I cannot believe they do not make one in your size?? Do they only make them in super-runway model size? Maybe the actual size numbers are deceiving as all designers have their own sizing system.

          • laurahoj says:

            I really look forward to NY! Meeting everyone will be so fun, and shopping!!! They go up to a 14. I’ve checked the size charts online, and they might fit in the shoulders, but not the waist and hip. I could put it on, but it wouldn’t wrap enough to be modest.

            • Gjeometry says:

              Yes, that’s the thing about wrap dresses. Even if they fit perfectly and wrap around you well, if the ties are not placed properly or perhaps some inconspicuous snaps or buttons added, then the slightest breeze….and….there you are!!! 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

    Some knits are like that (version in brown). It looks great on, but the ironing! Nice fluid look in the blue version, so worth it in the end.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Yes, well it was definitely a learning process. Now I know what to look for in a knit when making a certain type of pattern. And, I simply could never wash it again or sit down in it, thereby eliminating the need for ironing! No? Not a good plan? Well, worth a shot. Yes, ‘fluid’ is a great word to describe the blue one! I’m going to have to steal and use that. Thank you! If you drop by again, feel free to leave your name and/or blog so that we can all check out your world!

  12. Amanda says:

    This is all kinds of amazing! Both versions. Double the amazing. And then the pattern? Even further levels of amazing. I am in awe! (also apparently guilty of overusing the word amazing- but what the hey!)

    • Gjeometry says:

      So, what exactly are you trying to say here? I’m just not clear on your intent. Bah ha! Nothing is better than a comment that utilizes the word ‘amazing’ FOUR times! Awesomesauce! Thanks so much, Amanda, for your support and enthusiasm. Makes me feel amazing. 😉

    • Gjeometry says:

      Right? I think many of the styles from the 70s are classic and can be re-worked for today. Maybe not the shiny disco suits and huge bell-bottoms, but the slightly less trendy styles. Do you still have yours from teenage years? Thanks for dropping by!

  13. Chris Lucas says:

    Catja I can so relate to sewing with quilting fabric for clothes… it really is a pain in the tooshie! It’s not too bad for dolls clothes though as they’re such a small scale you don’t really notice if the fabric goes out of shape a bit. I’m loving your version B dress and this style and era is you to a T.

    Oh by the way I just got a lovely virtual sniff of your perfume and it’s divine… also suits you perfectly lol. Oh by the way Zoe said to tell Kitty she loves him too and loves looking at all the mischief he gets up to on your blog. Mmm I think she’s getting jealous as she’s sitting here tapping me with her paw and fluttering her long eye lashes at me. Oh well… better go and give her some attention or she’ll think I don’t love her lol.

    Hope you’re feeling heaps better now and are back to your usual self again xx

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Chris! I like 70s fashions and enjoy trying to rock them. And, I did not even think that perhaps that brown fabric was not suitable to garment construction when I bought it. I saw it, loved the look and feel of it, but did not really note how it had very little recovery and was rather plush and heavy in a way. The perfume is fabulous, no? I got it a few years ago when Oscar de la Renta had an anniversary re-release of the perfume. Oh, how I wish we had blog smell-o-vision. 🙂 Kitty says to say hi to Zoe. I just took him shopping earlier to get a new collar and to find a Hallowe’en costume. Success on both counts! But, you can’t see the costume till Hallowe’en. Give Zoe a pat and some attention from both of us. And, thanks for your concern. I am feeling better, for sure. xx

      • Chris Lucas says:

        You sure do rock the 70’s fashion!! I only learnt the hard way with quilting fabric too… but hey like they say you never know unless you give it a go. Some quilting fabrics work ok… depends on the quality and the fabric content. Can wait to see Kitty in his new collar and costume. Zoe is outside at the moment with the dog groomer for the very first time being pampered from head to paw. It’s starting to get quite hot again over here so I thought it would be a good idea to have her clipped quite short. She seemed to take to the dog groomer straight away which was a blessing as she doesn’t take to people very easily. I think she had been poorly treated before we rescued her. Good to hear (read lol) you’re feeling better!

    • Gjeometry says:

      I know, like mother like daughter, right? Lol. Actually, it is a similar pattern but not the exact same one. She used V1549 which is the classic wrap dress with collar and cuffs and I used V1547 which is actually not a wrap dress. But, they certainly are both DVF classic styles and sewn with knits.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you so much! I wore the brown dress today to take Kitty shopping for a new collar and Hallowe’en costume and it suited me well. It’s comfy and looks fine for a casual dress. But, it’s not what I had envisioned, I wanted something more drapey and fitted, like on the pattern envelope. Or, like how the blue knit dress came out. But, can’t win ’em all. The brown fabric is actually is so comfy that I contemplated using it for a nightgown instead of a dress.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Yes, it looks so innocent and harmless. But, it is eeeeeeeeeeeevvvviiiiillllll!!! Lol. But, I do still love the pattern and colour of the fabric and also the soft plush feel of it.

  14. marie says:

    In spite of the troubles you were having sewing with the brown fabric it came out looking really good. The color suits you & this pattern looks great on you. Love the long sleeved version too. You do manage to pick out the nicest fabrics.I’m still trying to think of other reasons to love the 70s. You have covered almost all the things I have thought of like lite brite & etch a sketch which my kids had & I still have in storage for my grandson. also we had the apple computer & it is still down in the basement. Looking forward to seeing what you & kitty sew next.

    • Gjeometry says:

      It doesn’t look as bad as I expected it too after the issues, that’s true, thanks. Thanks for your fabric love! 🙂 I do recall fondly Lite Brite and Etch-a-Sketch for sure! Kitty and I are in preparation for Frocktoberfest and Red October. Excited! And, folks are so loving your dress!! Just read the lovely comments. And, did you have any idea that Diane Von Furstenberg wore an almost identical version of your dress?! I think that black and white geometric patterned fabric was very popular in the 70s.

      • marie says:

        I can’t believe how many nice comments my dress got. I saved it cause I really liked the style & was so happy with the way it came out. I just wish that I was thin again so I could wear it.I didn’t remember the magazine picture but I do remember that Diane’s patterns & dresses were very popular. It seemed everyone was wearing one of her wrap dresses.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Fiona!! I am a recent red-head (I used henna as I’m actually a natural blonde) so it’s exciting to find colours that work with my colouring that I also like. The wedge sandals screamed 1970s to me, so they had to be sported with the classic 70s dresses.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you very much! I managed to fix/remove any holes in the brown fabric and made the seams a tad smaller to cover up the white marks left by the needle when I removed a seam. But, the stretching can’t be covered up. You can probably see it most obviously in the sleeve hem bands. Even the sleeves themselves stretched out of shape while sewing them on. And, I had to hand-sew on the neck band as the machine stitch broke minutes after putting it on. Sheesh.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks Carolyn! I did my best to 1970s-fy myself in order to do Diane VF proud. I already had those wedges which I Iove because you can get height but still have that stability you don’t have with pumps.

  15. Karen says:

    You got these made so quickly – and they look so lovely! Good design is ageless, for sure! Your mom deserves a trophy for saving her DvF dress – thanks so much for showing it. I’ve been working on a DvF-inspired wrap for about three weeks – and it is almost finished…

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Karen! I was actually up all night one night and most of the night, the next one. 🙂 I figure if you’re on a roll, why stop, right? Yes, I think some designs just look good regardless of decade. Others definitely have a certain vintage flair but this type of dress is timeless. I’m so glad my mum saved her dress! She has a few 60s and 70s garments that both she and my gramma sewed, including her wedding dress from the 50s! I can’t wait to see your DVF inspired dress. What pattern are you using for it?

  16. sati5000 says:

    I can’t believe you had so many problems with the first dress! It does look nice, but if it’s that frustrating, well, at least you have a new dress to wear when you go grocery shopping or lounge about the house. 😉 I’m not sure why the first one was so awful – I’ve really only had experiences like you had sewing up the second one. It’s usually quick and easy and yes, it’s a pain to unpick, but generally it’s easy. So strange!

    Anyway, the second one looks even lovelier and I love the way it swishes! I’m also a huge fan of the scarf! I love that look and style, but can never get the scarf to stay put so I don’t usually try it. Great job! (And I love the pattern, DVF in general, and the fact that you still have her old dress!)

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks Kristin! I am beginning to suspect that the brown fabric had issues due to the lack of recovery (low lycra I suppose?) and the fact that it is thicker and almost fluffy, so that when stretched, that is it, it stays stretched. And, I suppose since it is so much cotton and very little lycra, is also why it wrinkled beyond belief. I don’t really consider knit fabrics to wrinkle so was really surprised to see this wad of wrinkles come out of the dryer. But, yes, it’s comfy and looks better than sweatpants and a T for shopping and the like. The second one’s swish factor had me liking knits again (I was all set to hate them and go on a total woven diet after the brown fabric). But the blue fabric drapes so nicely and I really had no problems sewing it. Even had to unpick some seams and, as you say, was a pain, but no holes or white spots like the brown fabric.

      If you want to make a scarf-tie like this I totally recommend this thin, 4-way stretch fabric. It really lies flat, drapes so easily and tends to stay put due to how ‘heavy’ it is. Lighter 2-way stretch jerseys will not tend to do this and you have to actually tie them in a bow to get them to stay.

  17. Cation Designs says:

    I’ve been waiting for this reveal after seeing teasers on instagram! I really like how they both look, but will have to trust you that the first one is as bad as you say, since that doesn’t come through in the pictures. This is making me want to make another wrap dress; I have two and love them to death.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Hee hee, teasers. I’m so honoured that you have been waiting for the big reveal! Thanks for the compliments and yes, I’m actually wearing the brown dress right now, just took Kitty shopping in it, to get a new collar and Hallowe’en costume, and it is comfortable, but really too slouchy to look the way I was hoping. Luckily the neckband went on okay and is laying flat, but the sleevebands, a no-go, they are pretty wavy. I would love to see your wrap dress if you make one up! They are so classic, aren’t they? What pattern did you use to make your two wrap dresses?

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks! I liked the fabric too, when I saw it and purchased it. But, NOT so much when I tried to sew with it! I think it was best for a quilt or blanket or even a simple not fitted jacket sweatshirt type of thing. But, it still made for a comfy dress.

  18. Susan Partlan (@susanpartlan) says:

    Your Mom is really talented! Did she teach you to sew? I love both of your new dresses but your experience sewing the first one sounds like a nightmare. I wish there was a way to test sewability of different fabrics before committing to a purchase. The shots with you and kitty are my favorites :).

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you so much Susan! My mom used to sew in the 70’s but not so much after that. She is now an expert knitter and knits all kinds of things. It was more my grandmother who was a sewist and also smocked. And, no neither of them taught me to sew as I only began sewing in December (2012). I do wish that my grandmother were still alive in order to teach me to sew and for me to be able to pick her brain. Alas, I have to learn and remember her through the sewn garments and items that I still have from her. And, Kitty has to agree with you on your favourite shots that include him. Those are his favourite shots too! 😛

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank You Kelly! Yes, in the end, it is still a wearable item even if not exactly what I was expecting it to look like. And, Kitty says to say ‘thanks!’ 🙂 (That line “Who loves Kitty”? is actually from a Robin Williams stand-up comedy routine where he is imitating being a cat. It’s so funny and reminds me of my Kitty every time!)

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Cari! Yes, it’s amazing when you ‘put a cat on it’ (an actual sewalong issued by Cation Designs) it just makes everything that much better. And, I think so too about this type of vintage being timeless. There are many fashions from the 1970s that can be considered classic and yet somehow trendy for the particular decade in which you wear it. Versatile, I guess, is the best word. Thanks for dropping by!

  19. Ashley Kat says:

    Looks as you and your mother both share a talet as seamstresses. Lovely job, I love that you did both A and B, I am overwhelmed by one project so that’s great you did both. You cat is just adorable and loved that Kitty joined in the photo shoot fun!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Hee, thanks! I really wanted to make both versions because although they are the same dress, so I figured the second one should go by pretty fast, but they also look so different with the different necklines, sleeve length and with one having a belt and the other having a scarf-tie. Kitty thanks you for your compliments. He ALWAYS joins in the fun, no matter what or where it is. 🙂

  20. Kirsty says:

    I love the first dress – the print looks great on you! And I love your hair, it’s really striking. Oddly enough I like it more with the first dress than the second – not sure why! Also odd that this post didn’t show up in my feed reader, I’ll have to look into that.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks Kirsty! I love that one too, I just wish that the fabric had been more conducive to sewing it the way I wanted. That is odd it didn’t show up in your reader. What reader is it you are using?

        • Gjeometry says:

          Oh, interesting. I know several folks who use and like that Reader. Just curious, have any of my posts shown up in Feedly for you before? Or perhaps I have to do something to my blog to make it accessible?

          • Kirsty says:

            You know what, this is embarrassing but it seems like I wasn’t following your blog! I guess I just kept using your Twitter links to view it and forgot I hadn’t actually subscribed to the RSS feed. I’ve added you to my Feedly now. Sorry for the confusion!

            • Gjeometry says:

              Oh, LOL! Well, that is perfectly okay, no law saying you have to follow my blog. But, I am super-thrilled that you now are! And, good to know that Feedly doesn’t actually hate my blog or anything. 🙂 Welcome aboard the blog.

              Issue with hair: Since it is naturally an ashy blonde, roots are starting to grow in and look not so good, almost grey, compared with the red Henna. 😦

              • Kirsty says:

                I have this issue too! My hair is quite light naturally and the roots do indeed look slightly grey. I usually do my roots once a month – it’s quite easy to do, I fill a carrot bag (you know, an icing bag thing, or if I don’t have one, a zip-loc bag) with about half a pack of henna (my hair is thick, I use a whole pack when doing the whole thing) and then I part my hair in the middle, snip the end off the bag and pipe a line down my part, then I massage it in with a gloved finger, then I part it again 1 inch or so to the left, do the same and continue like that until my ear, then I do the same on the right. Then I do the base of my neck and any other bits I think I might have missed, and leave it for an hour or so. It’s much less work than redoing the whole thing, and uses less henna too.

                • Gjeometry says:

                  Oh dear. Well, ‘much less work’ still definitely sounds like a heap-ful! But, thanks for the tips, sounds do-able. I’ve really only ever highlighted or lowlighted my hair so have never had roots to contend with. I can see now why folks opt not to dye their hair because it is certainly a commitment.

                  • Kirsty says:

                    It very much is – I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get tired of being a redhead! But once you get the hang of the root-dying, it really only takes 15 minutes or so.

  21. prttynpnk says:

    I love this post. Pretty pictures, fascinating topic, a lovely redhead with style just bustin’ out! Did I ever tell you I was at Andy Warhols funeral? ……thanks for the mouse mention, heehee

  22. baum says:

    I like both versions! The brown one looks fine from the pictures even though it sounds like it was hard to sew (very nice fabric!) and I especially like the blue one, very 70s:) It was very interesting to find out DVF made popular this style of dress.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Baum! The brown one is pass-able to me, but just didn’t gain the shape I wanted it to due to the fabric stretching so much. Yes, DVF is one of the iconic 70s designers. Probably almost everybody had one of her knit wrap dresses in the 70s or sewed one themselves, like my mum.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks Lizzie. The brown fabric caught my eye immediately in the store, and the fact that it was cotton and had such a soft plush feel sold me right away. However, I think that may have been part of it’s downfall in trying to sew fitted/shaped features with it.

  23. Calico Stretch says:

    Lord when knit fabric goes feral then its gloves off time and you’re right it’s a darn pretty dress so completely understand that you can’t hate it either! I probably wouldn’t have made it past the first hole so admire your determination.

    The blue dress is my fave though …. The scarf and everything. Lovely.

    Catja I am sorry to hear you have been ill …. perhaps a new SM would help? Or is your one fixable? I use Bernina for SM and coverstitch and Janome for serger… Its all good.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Lol, “gloves off”. Well, I still wasn’t completely sure if it was something I was doing wrong or if it was just a mildly hateful fabric, until I sewed the blue version and it sewed up like a dream. So, luckily, it’s actually my favourite too since the sewing is better on it. Thanks for your concern/support! That’s very sweet. I have actually just purchased a new sewing machine!!! It is not anything to get too excited about, it is called the KenmoreZip! Which is an awesome name. But, it is a very basic machine, does only what it’s supposed to, nothing fancy. But, it seems very well made and was on a wicked sale! So, I went ahead and bought it and figured it was the perfect ‘back-up’ machine for when I get my ‘real’ machine, probably a Janome. It’s good to have one to take to classes, people’s houses, the cottage, etc. and to have in case your primary machine goes under and you are right in the middle of something. And, can’t beat a sale. What can I say?

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you! I so wish my mum still had the wrap dress DVF pattern. I can’t believe she gave all her sewing patterns away so many years ago!! I actually saw that pattern online selling for $90!!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks Anne! I love the scarf-tie as well. I’m so glad I opted to use the blue fabric for that style because the lovely drape of it really allows the scarf to stay put around my neck without having to ‘tie’ it. Kitty better keep his claws OFF of it!! It does not dangle for his batting pleasure. 😛

  24. sewexhausted says:

    Two more winners! The polka dot dress is very pretty… too bad the fabric was such a pain! But regardless it turned out well. And the knit dress is fab… I also love that you shared your mama’s version. 🙂 Makes it all the more special. I definitely think 70’s patterns can be used today… I have a few waiting to be made up for my girls. They have that nice thin build (like you!) that looks great in those styles. ~Laurie

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank You Laurie! I now know more about knits and what to use and NOT to use for future makes, so all a learning process, isn’t it? I’m so glad my mum kept her version of the dress, I love it! Wish she had also kept the sewing pattern for it. Yes, I think many 70s styles can be worn today without batting an eye or looking at all ‘vintage’. There is something classic about the simple lines, I think.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks Melizza! I would not have guessed either. In fact, I sewed the brown cotton knit up first, simply because I thought it would be so much easier to sew than the four-way stretch, thin drapey blue knit. But, I was so wrong! So, as my mum said, I can consider that my wearable muslin.

  25. Chuleenan of C Sews says:

    How wonderful that you used your mother’s pattern! Both dresses look great on you. Love the platform shoes! The scarf is fabulous. Sorry that the brown fabric was so troublesome! Congrats on finishing two dresses for Fall for Cotton!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank You Chuleenan! Actually, the pattern I used is just a bit different than my mum used for her dress. I used V1547 and she used V1549. And, sadly, she has given away all her sewing patterns, including that one. D’oh!! But, it’s nice to sew a similar dress to hers, 30 years later, and still have both of them looking ‘modern’ to today’s standard.

  26. Eleyna says:

    I love love love the dresses! Even your mum’s! I love the fashion and music of the 70s, what an awesome era.

    Thank you for showing me pieces of home, too! I see the leaves are falling already. I miss Toronto Autumns!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks Eleyna, so nice to hear from you! I love the 70s as well and am actually at work on a pair of culottes from a 70s pattern. Culottes! I wish I had good autumn pics to show you. My parents are up north and usually the autumn is spectacular in its reds and oranges but this year, the leaves are mostly turning brown or fall off the trees right away. Awwww. Nature has not been busy this year painting the warm coloured landscapes. Maybe too much rain and not enough sun. Well, back to my culottes :).

      • Eleyna says:

        😀 good luck with the culottes! I’m sure they will be fabulous!!!

        I miss seeing the changing colors while driving down the DVP back home. Too bad everything is brown instead.

        If I forget… HAPPY HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I’m grateful for you my sewing friend. 🙂

  27. Boomdeeadda says:

    Hi Gj, I read your post while I was in California and thought, “man, how did she sew those so fast”. Came back to relish every word and photo. I think Diane Von Fustenberg is Anderson Coopers mom. Do you know him? Cute, silver haired journalist, now talk show host.

    I’ve tried this type of dress on a few times and it never flatters my figure. I think it looks best on slim, less hippy girls like yourself. That being said, I really love the blue cotton knit number with scarf! The swishy demo made me laugh and of course I live for photo’s with sweet Kitty 😀 Pretty fab that you still have your moms original creation AND the pattern. That just rocks!

    70’s pantsuits…yah yah. I had this denim number with a long exaggerated pointed collar. The zipper went from just below the belly button. It had flared legs. I remember wearing it to the roller rink. LOL. With red platform runners and Farrah Fawcett hair. I could actually go out in that outfit tonight (assuming I still weighed 105 lbs) Really, it always comes back doesn’t it?

    • Gjeometry says:

      Hi there Boomdee! Welcome back from California! Glad you had a good time. I think we can thank insomnia for the short turn-around time for these dresses, lol. Hey, it has to be useful for something, right? I’m glad you enjoyed the swishy demo and it made me think THAT’S where I should have employed the animated GIF or a video. Much swishier. I still love a 70s pantsuit, or ‘onesie’ as they are fondly known as. 🙂 I would love to go rollarskating with you and we could both dress in our onesies. You know what? I actually hosted a party, a loooong time ago on….rollar skates! Yup. Not rollar blades, but white rollar skates with purple laces. And, this was when I was living in a duplex, not a bungalow, and the washroom was upstairs. So, I’m sure you can just imagine those parts of the evening.

      • Boomdeeadda says:

        What a riot! That’s one crazy party. I’d be falling down those stairs so fast. We used to have servers on roller skates at a burger place called A&W. You could drive your car to a stall and order on a speaker, then the gal would ‘Swish’ on over with your burger, onion rings and Root Beer on roller skates. She’d hang your tray on your car window…so fun! How come I fit in that onesie then and not now? LOL I never eat that stuff now. Ug…the age thing is not kind to my metabolism. I’m off to get a coffee (in runners, not rollers HA). Cheers my dear, you ARE adorable.

  28. symondezyn says:

    I love how much love and care went into your thought process for these dresses, and it definitely shows in your work!! 🙂 Despite the treachery of your first fabric, the dress is so great on you, and really suits your lovely hair colour 🙂 I like the second dress too, and I’m sure it has a much nicer personality, but you gotta love those fiery tempered fabrics (and people! LOL)

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thanks so much, Amanda, nice to hear from you! Yes, I do wish that first dress had sewn up much more easily and neatly as I also like the fabric on, but now I know what to look for in a stretch fabric and what to avoid for next time. I prefer my fabrics calm and even tempered. 🙂

  29. grtescp says:

    Both dresses look wonderful, though as I already said, that brown fabric is my favourite, so sorry to hear it behaved so badly. It looks like you still managed to whip it into line though! And thanks (again) for all the background information around the patterns and DVF – I am a 70s babe, and I confess I have never heard of her, but I also have to confess I have never really been interested in fashion!

    • Gjeometry says:

      Hey thanks! I was surprised that the brown fabric was the trouble maker. I was all set to have problems with the thinner, drapey 4way stretch blue fabric and so that’s why I sewed the brown one first. Glad you enjoyed the brief history lesson on Diane Von Furstenberg. I’m mildly obsessed with researching and trivia, pretty much regardless of topic.

    • Gjeometry says:

      Thank you Lizzie! I’ve managed to wrangle up a few vintage patterns through local thrift shops. Bit still distraught that my mum gave away her and my gramma’s sewing patterns many years ago. I recall some 60s and 70s treasures on there. Can’t wait to see your wrap dress! What pattern are you using?

  30. Kat H says:

    Lovely dresses! 🙂 Shame about the fabric for that brown one being such a nightmare to work with, as it looks so pretty!

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