Holy Batwing

by Erin on October 23, 2007


Butterick 9710

This is from Heavens To Betsy Vintage, who has a lot of really, really, lovely and fairly rare patterns at prices to match.

This one caught my eye, although I'm not sure I would buy and/or make it. Well, okay, I'm sure I would buy it given the right circumstances, and I'd probably make it, given a moment (or five hours or so) of weakness, but I'm not sure I would wear it. See how the women in the illustrations have their arms akimbo to show off the sleeviness of the dress? I'd feel compelled to stand like that THE WHOLE TIME I was wearing it, and that would make it hard to do all the things I normally do in a day, like type and drive and read and skip to the next song on my iPod. I think seeing me with my arms like that would also make everyone around me worried that I was about to bust out with their full names as a prelude to a scolding.

Also, see how the faces on the illustrations are dialed up to "manic cheerfulness," and how just plain scary that is combined with that body posture? My face is usually on the same setting so I'd look like that too — as if I were about to tell you that you need to submit to our new alien overlords AND I made your favorite chocolate pudding for dessert, and isn't that swell?

If you'd like a dress that made you look about to deliver a diatribe and/or message from Superior Beings at any particular moment, click on the image to purchase the pattern.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Ladygrande (Texas Marie) October 23, 2007 at 12:49 pm

But, don’t you just love the hairstyles?!! I do even though they were difficult to maintain without keeping a hairspray company in business. Those batwing sleeves were comfortable – sometimes.

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Anan October 23, 2007 at 1:25 pm

You could pull your arms up into the sleeves and look *really* freaky.

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Kate October 23, 2007 at 2:02 pm

Whatevs, Erin. I would have picked that dress out for you from a mile away, manic cheerfulness or no. One of them practically has your hairstyle. Maybe I just have visions of you with your arms akimbo from our childhood when I was a pest! :)

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miss twist October 23, 2007 at 2:13 pm

LOVE IT!!I stand with my arms akimbo *all* the time (all the time I’m standing, anyway)and that is my favorite neckline.Unfortunately, I’m a good ten inches larger than that pattern in the high bust. So I shall just have to copy it.

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miss twist October 23, 2007 at 2:16 pm

As I’m sitting here reading this, I realize that my non-mousing arm is akimbo.So I stand/sit with my arms akimbo all the time. Qualifier not really necessary.:)

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propriatress October 23, 2007 at 2:22 pm

you don’t get to read “akimbo” much these days, and here it is about 43 zillion times…..but look, she didn’t have to buy a new pair of shoes to wear with each dress she made. She did however need to buy a new wig and/or see the hairdresser.

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Nora October 23, 2007 at 2:29 pm

I’m really drawn to that batwing thing lately; I almost bought a similar pattern but wasn’t sure whether it would work on me. That plus all of the other patterns I haven’t made up yet.

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Anonymous October 23, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Okay, where are the creators of that website hiding the time machine? Patterns from the 1930s in pristine, never-been-opened, still in sealed envelope from the pattern drawer condition? And some in my size!!??? When I finish picking my jawbone up off the floor, I think I’ll hide my credit cards from myself and forget I ever saw H.T.B.V.

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Anonymous October 23, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Those heads are Photoshopped.

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Elizabeth October 23, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Erin:just wondering (sort of off topic) if you’ve seen the show “Ad Men” on AMC? because i think you would love the dresses these gals wear (it’s set in 1959). the plot is meh, but the sets & costumes are absolutely fantastic. i would love to wear some of those dresses–even if it requires me standing akimbo.;-)

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Vicki Jane October 24, 2007 at 12:16 am

It kind of looks like they have a slow drying deoderant……

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Becky O. October 24, 2007 at 7:19 am

Since I talk with my hands, this one would make me look insane. Also, how to you hold children on your hip with batwing sleeves… I really like my arms free in case I need to breakout in cartwheels : )

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knitgirl October 24, 2007 at 7:42 am

The show on AMC is Mad Men (from Madison Avenue) and it is set in 1960. The presidential election was a major plot point in several of the episodes. I think it was the best show I’ve seen since early West Wing. The whole look of it does seem very period. I am sure glad I never had to wear those pointy bras, much less work in such a misogynist environment.

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kim p. October 24, 2007 at 12:40 pm

Ha, synchronicity! After reading this post, I shut down the computer and took up the book I’m reading (March, by Geraldine Brooks). The first sentence in front of my eyes: “She stood with her arms akimbo.”

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Mary Sue October 24, 2007 at 1:13 pm

Arms Akimbo was a supervillan on the cartoon “Freakazoid”. Just sayin’, is all.

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Miss Kitty October 24, 2007 at 5:19 pm

[deep sigh]This site is porn for sew-a-holics.

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Anonymous October 24, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Oh, those batwings, so easy to sew, not fidgety like set-in sleeves!Is that Ann Landers in the green dress?

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goosefairy October 25, 2007 at 12:11 pm

oh I can SO see Kim Novak wearing the narrow skirt version in deep blue velvet with tiny rhinestones scattered all over. And she wouldn’t need any manic expression on her face.

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saidee October 26, 2007 at 3:23 am

Oh joy! 2 someones who have been watching “Madmen” and one who likes it!! Knitgirl: Love it for its truth-telling and its style. The gloss is in the ads, the fashions, and the hairspray, but not on ugliness of business and women’s place in that world and on the home front. (Not to mention small issues like anti-semitism, early cover-ups of links between smoking and cancer, and tampering with elections.)I was in 7th grade in 1960, so this is a real eye-opener for me: when I started auditing in the mid-seventies, most of the people I phoned for appointments thought I was the auditor’s secretary. Given that many of them were in the work force since the 60s or earlier, now I can see why.I still love the FASHIONS; the women all wear DRESSES or suits almost all of the time. Isn’t it great to have all the choices we have???

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knitgirl October 26, 2007 at 8:59 am

hi Saidee: I was born in August 1960. My dad was finishing up at the University of Illinois after serving in the Air Force. Kennedy came to campus while campaigning, so I was held up to see him. So 1960 is really a fascinating year for me. I didn’t enter the work force til the mid ’70′s in part-time jobs, so though I consider myself fairly well informed about feminist history, it seemed so far off to me. Mad Men really brings that era to life in a way nothing else had for me. I will have to go back and watch The Apartment. ( I think that movie came out around then, didn’t it?) I’m not actually that much of a dress fan, well at least not to wear them. I can’t abide panty hose, so I read this blog mainly for Erin’s writing and the comments.

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