I just came across this dress advertised on MyCatWalk.com.au. The price is $435 and it’s designed by Ginger & Smart. So what?
This dress is a T-shirt with some pieces of silk chiffon sewn onto it! That’s all! Why is it $435 and who gets the lion’s share? I’m sure I’ve seen similar dresses online from overseas made from the same materials with similar simple style and they are something like $30 to $40 (au). Sure our labour is more pricy but we don’t even get to buy this dress at $100 here- it’s $400+. Obviously the designer should get something and the shopkeeper needs a little to keep them in business. The transport on one dress could not be huge, particularly if it weighs only 200 grams max- silk is almost lighter than air! So, who gets the most? I’d be interested to hear from people in the know!
I can’t afford anything, really, as I have no independent income any more, but I could probably justify spending $30 on a nice fine cotton T-shirt and another $30 on some silk chiffon. If I looked for the cheapest silk chiffon and didn’t mind the print, it might be considerably cheaper, eg. at XS Fabrics, which are virtually around the corner from my place. However, they have bolt ends etc. from designers who have used all they need for a range, so there is not much choice in what’s left. However, it’s massively cheap for some things.
This butterfly wing print has beautiful colours but it’s a little pricier than I would like, although it wouldn’t bother most people: $28/metre. There are lovely plain colours for only $16, so they’re a possibility. You would need more than a metre for most sizes, but not a lot more- depends on your height, mainly. I could see this print pairing beautifully with a black, red or lemon yellow T-shirt. [Hint: If you can find a men's T-shirt in a fine, soft summer weave, you'll get more length so you won't need an underslip.]
Any half-competent sewer could make this dress at home: The T-shirt might be shaped a little at the waist if you like that and then the chiffon cut carefully, using the T-shirt as a template [or making a paper pattern from it]. You can see how the front chiffon panel is attached upside down at a position just below the neck and then pressed down over the seam. Look on the original site and you’ll see lots of detail if you zoom in. The back has some further pieced sections, but you could achieve the same overall impression repeating the front arrangement.
As long as you finished edges and seams super-neatly and ironed carefully, this dress could be yours in one afternoon!
I’m almost tempted to have a go- I wonder what XS Fabrics have in store to whet my appetite? Maybe that soft brown palm tree on the white background…hmm.