Saturday, May 31, 2014

That's a Wrap! Vintage Vogue 1549 DVF Dress

Feel Like a Woman...Wear a Dress. Diane Von Furstenberg

I have never felt like a wrap dress was my style. When I purchased ready to wear, I would try them and  felt they were not flattering on me. As I began to sew, I would not gravitate to this style as a first choice. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the iconic Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress. 

I own an original Vogue 1549 pattern and thought the Pattern Review Vintage contest was a great opportunity to give this pattern a try. This month, I have seen this pattern sell on Ebay for $199.00. My curiosity has been piqued about why it would go for so much. Is it the iconic element of the pattern? The act of making a dress from the original? The pattern envelope? The renewed interest from the movie American Hustle? I don't know, please tell if you do.

Okay,here is my detailed review and photos.

Pattern Description:
Vogue American Designer Original 1549; ca. 1976; Diane Von Furstenberg - Front-wrapped dress, three inches below mid-knee or evening length with fitted bodice, slightly gathered at front and tucked at back into waistline, has fitted and flared skirt and attached tie ends that tie at side front or center back. Full-length sleeves have pointed cuffs with button trim. With or without pointed collar, topstitch trim.


What year is your pattern from? (Or decade if you can't date it precisely)

What made this pattern different/more difficult/easier or more interesting than a modern pattern?

The instructions explain how to put a non-stretch tape along the neckline seams so that the bodice won't gaping. The wide cuffs and collar are indicative of the time.

If you used any vintage techniques or fabrics please tell us about them.
I used vintage fabric that I purchased at an estate sale of a 90 year-old former sewist. I used a vintage polyester knit with a funky print and in neon colors. It has 2 way stretch and I used it for the body. I used a black polyester knit for the contrast. 

I also used 2 sets of ruled hem clips that I bought at the same sale for $1. You can find similar ones in a set of 6 here and a set of 24 here.

These go for $19.99 today.
They are so wonderful to use! I love these clips. They made hemming this a snap!

Twin Needle Hem
Pattern Sizing:
My pattern is a size 10 Bust 32.5"; Waist 25"; Hip 34.5" 
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Somewhat. I think it looks more like some of the modern dresses on the DFV website with my added contrast band and belt.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The two page instructions were clear and easy to follow. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
*I like the idea of making such an iconic dress. I really wanted to see if THE dress would make me a wrap dress wearer. 
*I like that it is an easy, stylish dress to wear. It would be great for travel and can be dressed up or down.
*I dislike the depth of the neckline. It is too low for my lifestyle. I have 2-year old who remembers nursing and any chance he gets, he has his hands in my top. This would be too much of an invitation for him ;P

Suggested fabric types: Soft Fabrics such as Challis, Chambray, Pongee, Surah knits, single knits, such as cotton jersey.
 Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
*I added a 1 ½ inch contrast border to the front openings because I felt it was too low. I added a contrast belt.

*I reduced the sleeves to 3/4 length and secured it with a twin needle stitch.
*Because this pattern was not my size, but by not much, I reduced the seam allowance to ¼ inch throughout. In the lower bodice, instead of pleating, I gathered it to meet the skirt pieces.  I sewed it on my serger where I could.
*I reduce the hem to 2 inches rather than the suggested 3 and secured it with a twin stitch.

Contrast  Trim

Side Ties

Right side tie opening.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I like my version of this dress. I am not sure it has converted me to a wrap dress wearer. If you are and can get this pattern, I say go for it. This pattern is suited to woven fabrics and I made my muslin in it. I did not love it. This is a 2-way stretch and I like it okay. I feel like I want to get some high end jersey with more stretch and make the maxi length for evening wear. If that does not make me a wrap dress fan, I don't think anything will.
Happy Sewing,


  1. Well, you may not be converted yet but I thin it looks great none the less! I like what changes you made and you have a body shape that begs to wear these form fit dresses. Lol boys never forget those days! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much Maureen! Yep, buys always remember ;p

  2. Your changes make the dress so much better. I think it looks great!!


  3. This is BEAUTIFUL. With the fabric, this looks like the more modern DVF dress. Perfection!

    1. Thanks so much! I wanted to stay true to the design while updating it. I am glad that came through in the end product.

  4. I really like the dress even w/out the "easy access" opening! LOL

  5. Wow, how lucky are you to own the original pattern! We love your up-to-date tweaks. Very DVF!

    1. Wow! That means so much coming from you! Thank you!