Am I the only person in the world who would copy

a Walmart dress???

I had purchased this dress the summer before last. It is made by George. The dress was what my sister would call a "Vilde meziah", a crazy bargain. Despite it's humble roots, it's a useful dress that has been worn to many, many off Broadway performances.

Having come of age in the golden age of Diane Von Furstenberg, I have always been fascinated by wrap dresses. I also love some vintage patterns I have seen where a wrap dress is cut from one piece of fabric. The idea seemed so elegant design wise.

Friday a load of fabric arrived from Fabric Mart Fabrics, including a bundle of knits. One piece in the bundle was a dark blue knit. Using the Walmart dress as a model I began cutting directly into the fabric. I serged the shoulder seams together and tried on my experiment.

I could lie and say that the dress was perfect and just needed to have the edges bound. But I cut the armholes far too low. Rather than ditching the project as a low cost failure I cut deep darts from the bottom of the armhole to the waist line. That solved the too low armhole problem but left me with a new problem. Now the neckline was way too wide, and was in fact kind of indecent. I had no more of the blue knit. I did have a patterned knit mesh in my stash from Kabbala Man. I cut a wide strip and used it to edge the trampy looking neckline.

I now had a red white and blue wrap dress, just the thing to wear when watching the Obama inauguration. So I put my wrap dress on today and watched the ceremony and wept.

I never took sewing as a kid. My sister Abby took a series of sewing classes at the local Singer Sewing machine store. The other day she talked to me about what she had learned in her classes and how the basic attitude of the women who taught her was " There is just one way to make a dress. Any variation is wrong." My sister made some really impressive clothes when she was in High School.

She asked me the other day about how I make clothes. And I began going on and on about how I see each garment as a work in progress . How each element of a garment can be made in an infinite number of ways. How I see sewing as a series of problems to solve with the best possible solution. How some seemingly junky solutions can end up being surprisingly elegant.

My sister said " That sounds like much more fun than the way I was taught." It probably is, although my approach is fraught with it's own brand of anxiety.

I hope that the next four years bring us public officials ready to face our very real problems with a fresh eye, coming up with creative solutions that ultimately work. Yeah... it is much harder to run a government than it is to make a dress but it takes many of the same problem solving skills,


  1. Pretty impressive. I took sewing classes back in Ukraine and often watched my mom sew clothes. Yet, if you asked me to do anything like that now, I would not know where to begin! Enjoyed reading your post.


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