The limited edition Vargas in peach and why I'm never doing it again!

The limited edition Vargas in peach and why I'm never doing it again!

Recently we released what I think of as the "Ouvert ALL the things!" collection - the Valenti, the Everythingless and the Cupless Vargas. The first two styles arrived broadly on schedule (look, logistics at our size is more of an art than a science), but the cupless Vargas turned up last Friday instead. Why? Were they made by a different factory? Hoof-finished by unicorns? Or just left behind because someone forgot to put a box onto the export paperwork? (this actually happens. Or sometimes they're on the paperwork and then someone in the UK mysteriously loses them for two days causing anyone relying on them to experience panic and anxiety, or if they've been doing this a while, to get shouty).

But nope, none of those things; the issue was a problem making Things Go Peach.


The Cupless Vargas is a shapewear girdle dress; you can read about the history of the Vargas here (It was an accident!) but this iteration is a confection of powernet that gets its shaping properties from the pattern and the angled double layer. It has 6 metal garter tabs on the bottom, and shoulder straps but no bras cups at the top (because I finally realised after about a decade that it was silly to fuss about bra sizes on a shaping garment when we could just make it so you could wear your favourite bra with it).

To make a Vargas Dress you need:


Elastic satin strapping (for the bra straps)

Bra sliders and rings

Picot edged elastic (this goes round the top and bottom hems and along some of the inside ones)

Seam tape - I can never remember the technical term for this but if you check inside, you can see shiny, straight stitched cover tape over the vertical seams, keeping all the powernet edges neat.

Thread for sewing - two types, one of which is called fluffy. I'm not even joking.

Wide satin elastic for suspender tabs

Satin ribbon (for the "flash", the suspender end. Yes, there's an argument about why we even bother with these)

Continuous hook and eye tape

Metal garter tabs with the right colour plasticky bits in (also a bone of contention with stockings fans)

KMD labels and tags

And if we still had the bra bit in I'd be adding about another 15 things here!

Of course, you also need people who know how to sew all of these together to a pattern using specialist sewing machines (domestic machines and powernet garments are a recipe for things that fall apart while you wear them!).

Now, this is all fine in black, everything comes in black, we love black, apart from that it takes so much pigment it has a tendency to leak (Wash Colours Separately is an important life lesson). But the peach ones... oh dear. Peach is a none standard colour and I've Had Issues with it before. Everything has to be custom dyed to match and all of these items (the thread, the powernet, the elastics, the ribbon, and the tape) need a different dye batch to get to the same colour. The first thing I did was take out the hooks and eyes because standard hook and eye tape does NOT dye well, and ends up with a dirty apricot fuzzy bit on the back. Off putting. All I can say is that I really wanted to do these anyway because peach is such a good colour for vintage inspired styles, and I find beige alarming, so for something that won't show up under paler clothes, peach is where it's at.

But I also only ordered 100 of the peach Vargas - they are VERY limited edition! And so the dye baths were particularly small and difficult. Basically in the last month or so a bunch of people have been standing about dying what to you would look like crazy amounts of elastic (even a tiny garter pocket takes 4 metres of elastic) and to them is a stupidly small amount into various shades of peach to get the right one.  And that is why the Vargas were late, basically, because custom dying components to match for 100 garments is an insane idea that will inevitably cause drama and I am never, ever doing it again!

So if you like them you should probably get one now. The next batch of dresses? they're coming with black trims and black elastics and black thread...