I'd like to take a little break from sewing and talk about a beloved favorite of mine, the Swirl wrap dress. About a year ago, I came across a dress at the American Council for the Blind thrift shop. The colorful print immediately caught my eye and I grabbed it and added it to my pile. I didn't feel like trying it on (I was actually on Vase Mission for my wedding) so I threw it in the trunk of my car and forgot about it. Eventually, I dug it out, washed it, and tried it on, an it was love at first sight. I paid $2.75 for it, and it gets a lot of wear. I wore it to a birthday party last weekend, to see the Decemberists a couple weeks ago, and for walking around in NYC on my honeymoon, among others.
It had a label:
Intrigued, I did some research. Turns out, the company was founded in 1944 and originally marketed the dresses as wrap-around aprons, but then evolved to be sort of a "housewife on the go" kind of thing. The kind of dress you could just throw on and go straight from the kitchen out to running errands. I love this advertisement from the early 1950's.
I started keeping an eye out for them in vintage and thrift stores. This spring, I acquired another one at my favorite resale shop for $18.
I regularly look for them on eBay and Etsy, and whoa, they are expensive! This cheery floral one from Daisy Fairbanks Vintage will set you back $75.
This adorable red and gingham Swirl from FlirtVintage is going for $158!
I feel so lucky to have found mine for $2.75 and $18, respectively. I'd really like to start collecting them, but I have a feeling it'd be a hobby that would set me back a lot of money! So I got to thinking about sewing (of course) and I started looking for similar patterns.
This Simplicity from the 70's is basically perfect! The sleeves are exactly like the Swirl and I love the keyhole.
This 1950's Advance looks a little fancier, but still has the basic idea.
This 80's McCall's also has the right idea, and as a bonus, there are plenty of sizes available on Etsy for a good price. Love the sexy low back!
I think one of these patterns is going to make it's way into my collection. Hopefully a few more real Swirl dresses, too.