Diane Von Furstenberg, her wrap dress, some advice, and her seventy five dollar sewing pattern


Diane Von Furstenberg is one of my favorite fashion designers. Her style embodies the spirit of the glamorous world of New York fashion and the international jet of the 1970’s. And her wrap dress is probably the most iconic of all seventies dresses. Easy, versatile, yet effortlessly sophisticated.  The dress was embraced by socialites as well as secretaries. And it’s still being made and sold under Diane Von Furstenberg’s label since being re-released in 1997. I actually went out and bought two of them at Sacks when the style was released that year, and still have them. Made of beautiful printed silk jersey, I’m sure someday I will pass them down to my own daughters.947ec46580ab5685573b503b21e2fa8f

As you can see this style is still relevant 40 years later.  There is nothing dated about it. 0a187f0351dfa29d4f2a1f9ea7f4b6e8

Diane Von furstenberg was born in Belgium and married into the princely house of  Von Furstenberg. Her husband’s first name? Egon. Following their divorce in 1972 she continued to use his family name. Can you blame her? Who wouldn’t love that name?2933439She started her fashion house in 1970, while she was still married to the prince, and in 1974 she developed the wrap dress , a smashing success touted by none other than Diane Vreeland herself, editor of Vogue magazine at the time.37f783a1c9a7a51a3d16b896d90c3c11

Diane Vreeland, empress of fashion and editor of Vogue magazine, with Diane Von Furstenberg



After the phenomenal success of the wrap dress, Diane was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976. The cover was intended to be Gerald Ford, who had just won his first Republican Presidential Primary, but was changed at the last minute.The accompanying article declared her “the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel.”

Diane Von Furstenberg continues to design for her label as well as being involved in many other business ventures. She even designed a line of clothes for Gap Kids in 2012.

Below are ten rules taken from an article in Elle magazine where Diane gives some advice to live by.

1. Know yourself.
“The secret to feeling attractive, and to being attractive, is the confidence that comes from knowing who you are and what you believe in.”

2. Learn to love life.
“The older you get, the more you should learn to love life and appreciate the beauty that comes with age.”

3. Create a visual diary.
“Carry a camera and create an inspiring visual diary of your life.”

4. Live a simplified life.
“The best way to know a [wo]man is to open her [his] luggage. If [s]he knows how to pack well, it means she [he] understands, and cherishes, how to live a simplified life.”

5. Be authentic.
“Choose fashions that make you happy. Always choose styles that also accentuate your personality. Don’t use fashion to try and project a different persona. Authenticity is key.”

6. Keep moving.
“The best regimen is to keep moving! Never stop working, travelling and seeking adventure. Drink plenty of water, limit alcohol and sugar and get to your yoga class!”

7. Be your own best friend.
“The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself.”

8. Live a little.
“Sleep is easier to make up than a unique evening.”

9. Enjoy treats.
“Be proud of yourself. Try to eat well….and when you cheat, enjoy it!”

10. Discover yourself.
“That wonderful and terribly frightening journey of self-discovery. That process of growth, of being an independent person, of learning who you are and what you want from life, is the real secret of life, happiness and beauty.”


www.pinterest.comWell, I am no longer a size two like I was back in 1997, and my dresses no longer fit me. So I have decided to sew one,  in honor of the forty year anniversary of the wrap dress. Also, I went to see the film American Hustler the other night, and was so in love with the dresses Amy Adams was wearing in it. She looks so amazing in this film, and I have a feeling we will be seeing more seventies inspired wrap dresses this season, because of both this film, and all of the press about the forty year anniversary of the wrap dress. Plus, Dian Von Furstenberg will be making a reality show about fashion next year. My daughter auditioned to be on it already.american-hustle-amy-adams-with-bradley-cooper

There are several gorgeous wrap dresses in this film. I was so inspired!131226_american_hustle_fashion_660

I once heard that Diane Von Furstenburg actually released a sewing pattern of her wrap dress, so an extensive search led me to two copies for sale on Etsy and EBay. They were both selling for seventy five dollars. Friends, there is no way I’m forking over that much money for a pattern. But I’m keeping my eye out at estate sales for one. I know I WILL find one someday. The power of positive thinking! How seventies…il_570xN.290941131

Silly me! There I was wasting the evening searching for the elusive and prohibitively expensive Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress pattern by Vogue, when I actually had a knockoff pattern in exactly the same style in my own vintage pattern collection! Simplicity 7705 from 1976.il_570xN.489442366_qkclSimplicity 7706 is a total knockoff of DVF’s wrap dress. It has French cuffs and a big oversized seventies collar. I started to cut out my muslin in some black slinky knit I bought for two dollars a yard at FIDM and I realized something that really made my day, to add to my excitement of actually already having this pattern in my collection IN MY SIZE.

The black knit fabric is actually SILK JERSEY!

What a day.

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  1. says

    I just love DVF! I have a solid red slinky wrap dress hanging in my closet waiting to be worn…sigh. After I have this baby, it’ll be great inspiration to get my butt in shape! I can’t wait to see what your finished dress will look like!!!

  2. says

    I love the wrap dress, and the DVF style is classic. I have two – one in a crisp cotton with an almost circle skirt and little cap sleeves, it’s great for work in the summer, and as it’s getting a little faded I’m planning to take it apart and use it as a pattern for a new one.
    The second is a sheer wrap with a ruffle collar and asymmetric hem which I wear over a white vest and linen trousers.
    If you’re looking for a wrap multisize pattern, there was one in Burdastyle Magazine, late 2011.

    • Judy says

      Wrap dresses are absolutely my favorite!!
      Now… to pay $75 for a pattern… I don’t think that will ever happen.lol
      So happy that you found your pattern in your stash..Can’t wait to see
      your version..[bty– it looks just like the $75 one– what a great day your
      Happy Sewing.

  3. says

    Justine, what size are you? I have several patterns that match this style and era. I’ll be happy to send them your way. Who knows? I could have the very one you want!! Thrilled to see you so inspired!!

    Good luck to your daughter…it couldn’t hurt that she’s beautiful & her moms a designer….

  4. Michelle says

    Great post, Justine! I’m fashion history ignorant, so this was educational and interesting. I can’t wait to see your version!

  5. Sally says

    What an interesting and inspirational article to start 2014. Did you daughter wear one of your DVF dresses for her tryout? Can’t wait to see you rocking a new one!

  6. says

    Ooooh, every now and then, I come up on a trove of old Vogue designer patterns in my thrifting adventures. I will keep my eyes open for you…

  7. says

    Great post, Justine. I love DVF, too…so timeless. I hope you’ll be sharing your wrap dress when it’s done…would love to see it.

  8. Mie @ Sewing Like Mad says

    As usual a great article from you!! And you are right Amy Adams looks AMAZING in that movie….and certainly a contrast to Christian Bale, haha.
    I love wrap dresses. They seriously suits every body type. I can’t wait to see your dress.

  9. says

    She is so fascinating to me and I didn’t really know her history. I really enjoyed reading your post and I think I am going to have to add a wrap dress to my to do list for the spring. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Nothy Lane says

    I love wrap dresses – you are right, they are timeless. ANd the 70s fabrics in the movie are great. I noticed McCalls has a current pattern 6713 that is a similar wrap dress to your Simplicity vintage one….

  11. says

    Fabulous post! Good Luck to your daughter. What I wouldn’t give to get my hands on that pattern of yours!!!