Ok, first, this toile - a garment made in muslin or canvas to work out a new design so you don't waste the actual fabric - was snapped when it only had one sleeve. This dress will have two sleeves! The black shirt has nothing to do with dress, it was just cold that day. So this should alleviate any concerns that I am doing a line of one-armed dresses in the plainest and cheapest of fabrics, in case anyone thought I was a total weirdo. (You can still think that if you want to but for for other reasons.)
So, what is this Swelle label? It's a house label for my shop, Swelle Boutique, a way for me to offer pretty, every day dresses that don't have to be dry cleaned. At a lower price point. I'm so proud of all of the clothes in the shop which are worth every penny and then some - especially now as most are on sale - but I wanted to round out the selection with the kinds of pieces - mostly dresses - you can wear over and over through the season, and if a glob of ketchup jumps from your burger onto your chest, you won't die. (For the record, I still need to wear a bib.) I'll continue to feature exclusive pieces from a few other designers whose work I adore, but for this concept I decided to take matters into my own hands.
How am I doing it? I'm working with a dress maker and pattern cutter who has years upon years of design experience and whose construction is excellent, she's a perfectionist which is what I was looking for. I choose the fabrics, trims and buttons and request the style and then she cuts the pattern and makes the dress. And then we can play around with the buttons and trims - the fun part!
The styles are mostly based on the clean, feminine shapes of the 60s, as in shifts and trapeze dresses, and there will be a bit of 50s. I have an incredible print, very painterly flowers on a super soft white cotton that appear to be falling and then gathering more densely at the hem, and it will be amazing as a full-skirted 50s style. Simple, pretty and fun. I bought most of the fabrics when I was in Edinburgh last month and it was the prints that jumped out.
Now I'm going to say something odd: The fabrics shown here are my least favourite of what I came home with. But that's not to say I don't like them, I picked them out and paid for them! So I do like them but not as much as the others, so I wanted to start with them, come up with a dress I loved and then it would get even better. This one has a gathered trim on the hem and sleeve in the constrasting colourway to add texture and give the slightest puff. The buttons we've used to adorn the placket (they're for show, the dress has a back zip) are actually not either of the 1930s buttons from France that are pictured here - I love that they are still sewn to the original card! - but pale pink glass vintage roses I've had with me for years. There are enough for two dresses and I think they are the perfect highlight for this very floral, vintage-y dress!
So what you get from Swelle is a new favourite dress for daily wear that is likely a one-off - each will have something just a bit different - was not made in a factory and may have pretty vintage buttons, and comes at a price that won't make you immediately relegate it to 'Wish List'. The first pieces of the spring collection will be introduced early March and new styles will be produced continuously throughout the year. Only a few in each fabric will be made so there will always be fresh looks in the boutique.
I'll post more previews as I have them!