More Stunt Dressing: Crossword Dress #2

by Erin on March 19, 2008

The ACPT (otherwise known as the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament) was held a few weeks ago in Brooklyn. You all might remember that I made & wore a crossword-puzzle themed dress for last year's tournament; this year I resolved to do the same. (It was much easier — and much, much more likely — than resolving to win!)

Unfortunately, though, my Quasi-Evil Plan to have some crossword themed custom fabric printed went awry (through lack of planning on my part — I didn't leave enough time to get both the fabric AND the dress made). So, I wondered, what else could I do?

I did this:

2008 crossword dress

I can't remember what pattern I used — some vintage 1960s Simplicity thing — I can dig up the number if anyone's interested.

The black and white fabrics are both quilting cottons (which, in part, explains how rumpled and mussed it looks — that stuff is a pain to iron!). The black lines are black bias tape.

What I did was cut out all the dress pieces and do about half the construction — darts, the major seams of the skirt — and then put on the black squares, which are secured to the white fabric by the bias tape.

I did NOT do a good job of matching the blocks across seams, as you can see above, where the waist blocks don't meet the skirt blocks very well (darn pleats!) and here, on the back:

2008 crossword dress

I would have tried harder on the back, but I was still finishing it very late the night before we left, and the only zipper that was right length was an invisible one, and nothing on earth will make me take out an invisible zipper once I have it (mostly) in. My rationalization was "It's Brooklyn in February; I'll be wearing a cardigan over it anyway."

I was also going to use the embroidery function on my machine to do numbers in all the appropriate boxes but it got really boring watching my machine embroider numbers, and again, late at night, so I quit after about three:

2008 crossword dress

In spite of the construction bobbles and my laziness, I think this dress was a qualified success … although it was just slightly too subtle, especially when compared to some of the other crossword-themed clothing at the tournament. (Although it was nice to feel tasteful in a stunt dress, for once.)

Any ideas for what I should do next year?

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

kara March 19, 2008 at 8:49 am

how cute!! I think it is a “felix culpa” that you couldn’t find crossword-themed fabric.


Anonymous March 19, 2008 at 8:59 am

That is so cute!!! I love it. I would wear that and I have never completed a crossword puzzle in my life. (I am more of a Sudoku person.) – Becky


Theresa March 19, 2008 at 9:01 am

I love it. I also love that it isnot “PERFECT” it amkses me feel better about my own feeble attempts I am workgin on a vitnage bowling theme dress. I am using a shirwaist pattern with big pockets. I only got hte first part of the bodice doen (no sleeves yet) and that took form 6-10:30 p.m! I had a very hard time with the collar. I think I did something terribly wrong. It’s waaay to wide –like 70s wide! and it’s an early 60s pattern! I think it will turn out wearable. I have to wearing to promote Blacklight Bolwing at our bowlign center (I work in Marketing for the Army.)


DivaJean March 19, 2008 at 9:10 am

Next year, I would go for separates. Perhaps a skirt and scarf crossword print and a black sweater.OR- A red dress with white crossword appliques (and the black bias tape borders) spelling out things like “Winner” to intimidate your competition. And red shoes. (I am big on red shoes lately- take that for what its worth).


PhantomMinuet March 19, 2008 at 10:03 am

What a clever idea! And you have more patience than I do, laying out all those lines of bias tape.


Anonymous March 19, 2008 at 12:00 pm

You’ve done the puzzle grid dresses – maybe find a pencil print for next year.Janet in Alabama


Theresa March 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm

OOPs I think I typed my comment with my eyes closed! Sorry!


marolsh March 19, 2008 at 1:06 pm

What a brilliant concept! I could tell you how to get all the squares to line up; I am a quilter and I know these things. But how inspired! Brava!


Eirlys March 19, 2008 at 1:26 pm

That’s great! No matter about the no-match there at the back. Maybe these bangles, made out of black pencils, would go well with the ensemble? case that address is too long, google Gemma Holt). Hope you were wearing a nice bright green or orange cardigan, by the way.


Luck(x8) March 19, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Very cute! (I do like the gathered neckline on your dress from last year, though.)Perhaps next year you can pay tribute to the clues somehow.


Fiona March 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm

I actually went back to read that entry when I had time to concentrate…I think it’s amazing and it says something for your combination of patience/ambition combined with a tight deadline (is there any other kind?)Black bias tape – oh, the thought! Mine would have been sooooo much more squinty. Well done!


Gwen March 19, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Yes, you WERE tasteful! Darn – I was going to suggest a big orange bug head with antenna and dangling crossword dice for next year, but I see that idea had already been taken… Sigh… The best ones usually are. ;)Very cute dress! –Gwen


MamaSue March 19, 2008 at 5:36 pm

*Love* the dress. What about some of the alphabet fabric you have for trim or accessories next time?


Cynthia March 19, 2008 at 7:32 pm

I think I read somewhere about turning magazine pages into fabric. Can you turn newspaper crossword puzzles into fabric and use that to make a dress?


Anonymous March 19, 2008 at 7:59 pm

I had no idea you made the pattern! Impressive!- Jesse


Julie March 19, 2008 at 9:26 pm

It seems obvious to me….you’ve already finished the dress… For next year FILL IN THE BLANK SQUARES WITH LETTERS! (leaving just a few empty, of course, for conversation purposes)


enc March 19, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Regardless of the matching/non-matching-ness of it, I love it.


kishisland March 19, 2008 at 11:45 pm

This is too fun! One way to get around the matching headache is to combine fabrics. You could use an alphabet fabric for the bodice and only do the crossword stuff on the skirt. I would have slapped some bias around the waist to make that puppy into 2 different puzzles…also, I almost always machine-baste a center back seam, then hand-baste or use a glue stick to center my zipper and hand-pick it in. It’s surprisingly fast and accurate.Maybe you could find a use for those alphabet beads, the black-on-white kind, next year. I spelled out “the rain in Spain…” on the back of a raincoat with them. Jan


vespabelle March 20, 2008 at 12:49 am

I think a dress with a bunch of classic “crossword” words on it would be good. The one that instantly makes me think crossword is “eire.” I think crossword junkies would get it. (and to a scrabble convention: all the two and three letter words in the scrabble dictionary!)


none March 21, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Why the cage has left?)


Lila March 29, 2008 at 12:22 am

Lovely dress! I’m interested in what number the pattern is? Thanks!


emilyjo.c @ gmail dot com April 6, 2008 at 8:28 pm

oh my! this is amazing. any chance you would sell it or make another one to sell?


Erin April 7, 2008 at 8:16 am

Thank you … but no. It’s not hard to make — you could do one yourself easily!


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