Dress or carapace?

by Erin on July 6, 2007

weigels pattern

Crystal sent me a link to this pattern, which is listed on eBay Australia (click on the image to visit the listing), and all I can say is that I hope "fiberglass" is not listed in the "suitable fabrics" section. Doesn't this look more like a hard case for the top of your car than a dress?

Of course, saying that doesn't mean I don't like it. I'd love to have a completely rigid exoskeleton dress. (Exodress?) Stains would roll right off, yes? No one would crowd you on the subway. If someone pissed you off you could just walk slowly and menacingly toward them, they would realize you could simply crush them into a wall, and rethink their behavior.

So if this were an exodress, I would make it in shiny, shiny aluminum. Or perhaps Kevlar. Wouldn't you? And is it just me, or is the shoulder detail above actually the latches that hold it on? I think they are …

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Zoltar Panaflex July 6, 2007 at 11:19 am

How about Formica with those fun ‘atomic age’ shapes in it?


Saint Pud July 6, 2007 at 11:52 am

This is a lovely pattern for an asbestos suit! Or you might choose some of that industrial fabric NASA uses to make space uniforms.At first I thought those bows at the upper sleeve were buckles.


anthrok8 July 6, 2007 at 12:00 pm

It echoes the stiffness of the hair! Which is probably held in place with a mixture of egg whites and UHU Glue.


Melissa July 6, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Dear Captainatrix (sp?),Don’t you see??!!! This could be the official “dress uniform” for your space ship project!


MollyMayhem July 6, 2007 at 12:32 pm

Carbon fiber, all the way.


zimmersarmy July 6, 2007 at 12:35 pm

About five years ago, we attended a Blue Man Group show. Venus Hum was one of the opening bands.At the end of the show, the lead singer of VH joined BMG on stage. She was wearing the ultimate in shell dresses…It was sort of trapeeze in shape with rows of lights on it. Each row was a different color (think of a roll of lifesavers.) The lights were somehow controlled to go off and on in a most pleasing manner.Of course, my hubby KNEW I was trying to figure out how to make this dress for myself. And by the way Venus Hum was (is?) a great musical group. Her vocal stylings were outstanding!-Janet


zimmersarmy July 6, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Because I didn’t feel I explained the dress well enough…Annette Strean of Venus Hum is wearing THE dress in the Blue Man Group video for “I Feel Love.”You can see it on the BMG site.She also sports a super cute waitress dress in pink and brown? (maybe black.) And that dress has pockets.I’m not sure even Queen of the Pockets, Miss Erin, could put pockets in the light dress. But I could be wrong…-Janet


Writer Errant July 6, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Erin, the “exodress” concept is so brilliant that I’m stealing it. Sorry. It’s too late to stop me — I’m currently writing this on a Loganberry in my getaway car.Exoskeletons are made of the N-acetylglucosamine polymer known as “chitin.” Abundant chitin is available in the shells of tasty crustaceans that their owners no longer require (since the erstwhile owners are being digested), but unfortunately there’s no practical way to re-form the discarded chitin into the lovely, shimmery material that ladies would properly demand for these garments. The solution, therefore, is to create genetically engineered shrimps in a range of standard dress sizes. I’m on it.Michael J. Corey (the Writer Errant)


Latter-Day Flapper July 6, 2007 at 2:56 pm

They look like two of those plastic bells you can buy and use to play tunes (they come in sets of eight, for a full musical scale). Melody Bells, or whatever.


India July 6, 2007 at 4:54 pm

The solution, therefore, is to create genetically engineered shrimps in a range of standard dress sizes. I’m on it.I admire the company you keep, Erin.


vespabelle July 6, 2007 at 4:56 pm

I love the word carapace! If only you could make this dress with Kappa-themed fabric. It reminds me of the Hussein Chalayan dress that opened up like a flower (seen in this video at the 1:00 mark).


Becky O July 6, 2007 at 6:01 pm

I have it- I got a remnant of totally reflective material that would absolutely glow when you walked around in it. It is a soft grey when light isn’t pointed strait at it and it is rather like a stiff raincoat material that would make that skirt jut out just like the picture.Why did I pick up this weird fabric? Just for this dress, I guess…~Becky


Theresa July 6, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Being an ardent admirer of turtles – I would love to have a dress that emulates my totem animal. Perhaps in faux tortoise shell plastic? I would have to eliminate the bow on the bottom. It seem a little over-flow to me. I love the idea of it being our dress uniforms…assuming we can all join you.


Theresa July 6, 2007 at 9:38 pm

Does anyone know what the Bishop Method of Sizing is and what that means in terms of determining one’s size? I ran across several vintage patterns that say “uses the bishop method of sizing.” Thanks.


marcia in austin July 6, 2007 at 11:06 pm

Theresa–I had to go pull out my copy of the Bishop book, and you know what? I have no answer for you. My 1966/1959 edition only says that you should choose your pattern by measurements, not by your ready-to-wear size, and then has a copy of the pattern size charts in use at the time, in which (for a point of reference) Size 10 is a 32″ bust, Size 16 a 36″ bust.


Tracy July 7, 2007 at 12:17 pm

Nothing’s new… there’s an outfit such as you propose from almost 500 years ago:http://www.royalarmouries.org/extsite/view.jsp?sectionId=2844BTW, Henry’s VIII’s foot armor was studied by NASA when they were building the first space suits.http://www.royalarmouries.org/extsite/view.jsp?sectionId=3087Regards, Tracy


Anonymous July 7, 2007 at 1:20 pm

How about that stiff shiny vinyl? The very gaudy metallic looking stuff that guys used to re-upholster their Camaro seats with back in the 70s.As for fiberglass, my parents had fiberglass drapes with roses printed on them, back in the early 60s. They just looked like a somewhat translucent shiny cloth, until my mother boiled them to death in the washing machine (her only method of laundering anything). Then they shredded into little white hairs which coated the inside of the washing machine tub and took ages to get rid of.I’m guessing that someone thought fiberglass would be a very fire-resistant home decor fabric, but I pity the poor seamstresses who would have sewn those drapes. It must have been the fabric from hell.-Rhoda in Calgary


Theresa July 7, 2007 at 3:25 pm

Thanks Marcia. I could not find anythig by googling, either. We need a time machine so we can get all these fabulous fabircs and patterns and bring them back to the future.I had no idea there was fiberglass fabric/drapes…very interesting.Would the dress work in oilcloth?


Elrond Hubbard July 7, 2007 at 4:43 pm

I hope the terrorists don’t get hold of this dress-armor technology. Then again, I hope we don’t get hold of it either. Better keep this one quiet!


Julie July 8, 2007 at 11:44 am

How about in duct tape, then painted with silver-dollar-size hot pink polkadots?


Joni July 8, 2007 at 5:58 pm

Regarding the space ship project, I believe this is the prototype for the ship itself. Can’t you just see this thing blasting off among the stars?


beth July 8, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Don’t you guys watch cartoons?! If you wear a stiff, bell-shaped dress, it’s inevitable that you will fall over (for example, off a balcony onto a hay cart) with your dress pointed straight up. This only happens when crowds are gathered.Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Theresa July 8, 2007 at 9:19 pm

Beth,We will all wear extra frilly underwear.Joni,I love the idea of the dress being the spaceship.


z-silverlight July 10, 2007 at 2:48 am

The shape was achieved is the cut. A good taffeta would have been the choice fabric, or a medium weight peau satin. When one walked it swayed gently like a bell. Accentuating the femininity of a ladies walk. The hem had a 6-7″ facing of a light crinoline. It wasn’t really that stiff.


Diana @ So Fash'on July 10, 2007 at 7:28 pm

It’s a classic! this shape would work great with my tiny waist and huge hips body..


MostlyTextiles July 16, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Reminds me a bit of this one;http://www.memphisvintage.com/suzannefloral.html Which I do like a bit better, simply for the flowers..


Retro Attic July 16, 2007 at 9:26 pm

Oooh, I love that dress!


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