Loving Claire McCardell- the classic surplice wrap dress

Before Diane Von Furstenberg stormed the fashion world with her 1970s wrap dress, there was of course Claire McCardell whom I could wax lyrical about for… well… a while. 

A couple of years ago I took my first shot at making her classic surplice wrap dress using Spadea pattern 1146… a dress of which examples occasionally pop up in vintage fashion stores and that are featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, typically in gingham and checks. It is one of my fav McCardell designs because it is so classic, generally flattering and wearable… decades after it was conceived.

I decided that with Summer around the corner here in the Southern hemisphere, Christmas get togethers, picnics and barbecues, another go at this McCardell dress – with what time I can manage before the baby- would be well timed. So I decided to mix a few of my fav things: McCardell, Liberty floral lawn and the colour RED. I confess, I bought some shoes from Lord and Taylor a year ago in the same print and thought why not a matching dress? I found the fabric at fabric.com and bought what remained of the yardage (barely enough).

Got it right this time? A McCardell bodice (made using  Spadea pattern 1146

Got it right this time? A McCardell bodice (made using Spadea pattern 1146… the bottom part of the bodice gets sewn to a gathered skirt (basically) with nice deep pockets.

The images at the Met have been really helpful in terms of interpreting the folds on the pattern which I did have trouble with last time. But I think I have got it right… now all I have to do is baste the way I have pinned! (I find that tricky too at times to be honest, its so much easier to work with fabric on a mannequin than at a table- you can see clearly what you are doing…

Hopefully I will have a few more little opportunities to make some progress!

2 thoughts on “Loving Claire McCardell- the classic surplice wrap dress

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