Linktastic Monday!

by Erin on April 21, 2008

Oh, yes. The links are too good, and just keep coming. You all spoil me, you know?

First off, I don't know how many of you ARE fans of Simon Winchester, but I know how many of you SHOULD BE fans of Simon Winchester (that would be "all"). He just sent me a link to him talking about his new book on YouTube, and that link would be here. If you ever have a chance to hear him speak in person, grab it (and if you need help figuring out when Simon's coming to your neck of the woods, you can sign up to stalk, I mean track, his readings here). He's tremendously entertaining (and so are his books).

Rita sends me this perplexing novelty-print dress:

Parasols Dress

Where do you think would be an appropriate place to wear this? I'm thinking either the Kentucky Derby (if you're clueless about what to wear to the Derby, i.e., you think "The Derby's in the South … this has Southern belles on it … perfect!") or perhaps the funeral of your hated ex-husband Rhett. ("What? It's black!") I'm happy to entertain your theories in the comments (and if you think "It's perfect! I must have it! Now if only Rhett would die!" click on the image to visit the ebay auction.)

And remember those Liberty-print Jack Purcells? Ronnie sent me a kind email letting me know that they're on sale now, online at the Converse store. You have to click on the "online outlet store" image to get to them, as they don't seem to come up in the search. But now they're only $57, instead of $100. (I got a pair from my lovely husband for Christmas, and plan to wear them constantly now that it's not friggin' SNOWING all the time.)

Cherie at Shrimpton Couture is hoping to get your feedback to improve her site … and if you give her some, you'll be in the running for a $100 gift certificate …

Stephanie asked if there was a dressaday tag on Flickr, and there is. My Dress A Day Flickr stream is here, although I've been lazy about uploading stuff to it. If you want to tag photos "dressaday", please do so and I'll set up a feed to see them! I also set up a Dress A Day group. Go nuts. (And if you want to send me pictures, sending me Flickr links is a great way to do that! Especially if you license them under the Creative Commons!)

Have I linked to the COPA (Commercial Pattern Archive) yet? It's at the University of Rhode Island. There are some broken links AND their CDs don't work on Macs (!) … but it's still pretty neat. I wish there was a way we could hook them up with the wiki … the wiki right now is about 25% of the size of COPA, which has 25,000 patterns dating to 1868.

Kristy (at Lower Your Presser Foot) sent this marvelous link to some Ikea dressers that fit patterns perfectly … so perfectly that her husband thought that she had GOTTEN RID OF SOME PATTERNS. (Ha! Never!)

Eva made a gorgeous dress of Liberty babycord. And she's says it's all my fault. (Who, me?)

Also, Eirlys points out that there's a new exhibition coming to the V&A in May: Story of the Supremes – performance costumes from the Mary Wilson Collection, which means all the sequins your little hearts desire. There's ALSO a good chance I'll be in London the weekend after this exhibit opens — Saturday May 24 — would anyone want to do a Dress A Day meetup at the V&A? And possibly go either fabric-shopping or to tea afterwards? Leave a comment, let me know …

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison April 21, 2008 at 6:54 am

Here’s the non-admin link for the Dress A Day flickr group:


Lee April 21, 2008 at 7:53 am

Great dress, Eva! Now that I am finishing my *third* dress, I know all about the “it’s Ms. Dressaday’s fault” excuse. I use it often.


Eirlys April 21, 2008 at 7:57 am

Ooh, one resounding “yes” for London, Erin!Echoing your Simon Winchester praise, The Map That Changed the World is a great read. It’s about the birth of modern Geology and all about Bath, England, funnily enough – first geological map ever was made of that area by the wonderfully pioneering William Smith. His fossil shop was across the road from my poste restante… the bow-windowed building still stands, but now sells fripperies. While I’m on a roll, Jane Austen also lodged in that street, briefly, before she quit Bath. It was a street of tradespeople (dressmakers included). That takes us neatly back to the subject in hand!


Melissa April 21, 2008 at 8:30 am

Thanks for the link, those liberty print converse will be mine mwaa aaa aaa.


Anonymous April 21, 2008 at 8:33 am

Hooray, I’m in London and my friend Hannah and I are great fans of dressaday so if you’d like tea chums we’re there!x sasha


Caroline April 21, 2008 at 9:23 am

I would love to meet at the V&A, or the Liberty Tea Room, or wherever there is tea, buns and pretty things to look at! Caroline


melissa April 21, 2008 at 9:30 am

Erin, I’m so there if you come to London again! I’d like to put in another order for a dressaday tape measure, though, pretty please. I’m too distraught to go into details, but you can safely advertise that they do in fact float. *sob*


tea April 21, 2008 at 9:48 am

Wow! That’s awesome that you and Simon Winchester are close enough pals that he sends you e-mail.


xstpenguin April 21, 2008 at 10:09 am

Wah!!!! Me wanna go. Sadly I’m still barely able to make it to the library, so not exactly possible. You’ll just have to have a sticky bun on my behalf.Eva’s dress – gowjus… and with those shoes and the cardigan? Totally your fault Erin. You are slowly taking over the world by mind control!Cheers,AJ


wundermary April 21, 2008 at 10:17 am

Oh, no hope of meeting up in London, but I hope everyone has a grand time!What is the deal with that dress? I clicked over to the auction to see if there were other shots, I thought there were silhouettes with both parasols and headpieces. There are more photos and the print does have a figure with what looks like a basket for carrying things on your head.How odd! Is it supposed to be a wacky hat, or is this some reference to colonialism and forced servitude?I often like juxtapositions, but the belleish figures and opart treatment and weird. I think this dress just shouts: “Avert your eyes!”.


cpeep April 21, 2008 at 10:21 am

Ha ha, I WENT to the University of Rhode Island but did they get my patterns? No, YOU did. :)Mom always liked you best, too.Carol Extreme Cards and Papercrafting


Marianne April 21, 2008 at 10:52 am

That southern belle dress would be perfect if you were taking a class on how to dance the Virginia Reel. I don’t know if such classes exist, except in my imagination, but I could see buying that dress just for that purpose.


Latter-Day Flapper April 21, 2008 at 11:13 am

I’m afraid I hate angel sleeves, or whatever those things are called. I hate them even more when they’re elbow-length. I think they’re one of the ultimate you-must-be-stick-thin-to-pull-this-off dress components.That would be a contra-dancing class, by the way.


Cassie Louise April 21, 2008 at 11:17 am

Do let me know if you are coming to the V&A in May – I’d love to meet up with everyone!And I love the dress-a-day Flickr group too.


Jean C. April 21, 2008 at 12:19 pm

You know, I didn’t even notice that the dress had “belles” all over it until I read it! Guess I fell for the subliminal thing! Yeah, I’m not crazy about the sleeves either… although I guess you could wrap them around yourself if you got cold! You know, like a wrap of some sort… or if you forgot a coat!


Eirlys April 21, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Eva’s dress is lovely. I wouldn’t have been confident using babycord for that number (all I can think of when faced with babycord is toddler pinafore dresses) but that works just beautifully. The belles dress is making me think of Sue Ellen from ‘Dallas’ … all flapping sleeves and quivering lips. I can also see Princess Diana wearing this in the dark days of her marriage, with similar mannerisms and just as much smeared blue eyeliner, probably peeping out from under a wide-brimmed straw hat (black with white trim or white with black trim? I dunno). It’s not a happy dress, is it? A brazening-it-out I-Will-Survive doomed-to-failure dress. I really don’t like the way the fabric sits in the belt buckle (euch!). Nor the lugubrious bunny-ear droop of the belt end. Nor the jaunty raglan sleeve join. Hope it’s seen at least one good polo match, anyway. I really should get off the fence here… LOVE Kristy’s translucent Ikea drawers. Good find. If someone can locate bookshelves that make husbands think books have disappeared like that, please let me know. My mother used to keep two rows of paperbacks on one shelf, one hidden behind the other, for purposes of space economy. But then she’d forget what she’d got back there, and buy the same book twice. It wouldn’t work for me either. A practical tip about Liberty’s for tea (which sounds heavenly btw) is that there are actually two places in Liberty’s to have tea: the ground floor TEA (happily named), and the second floor Cafe Liberty (that’s the third floor to US English-speakers). They appear to overlap a lot on what’s served. Details here: haven’t been in since this latest refit, so can’t offer any pearls of wisdom, except that those are vacation prices (you know when you’ve been Londoned!), but we’re worth it, fellow Dress-a-Dayers. Anyone have any up-to-date cafe information or preferences?


Sarah B April 21, 2008 at 2:34 pm

I thought they were bells, not belles. Ah well. :)


londongirl April 21, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Sounds like my idea of a perfect day – trip to the V&A, fabric-shopping and tea (which of course means cakes …. mmmm!) So should such an event come to fruition … count me in! I recommend Patisserie Valerie for pitstops at any time of the day – but at tea-time it is a wonderful place to be because the cakes are especially good. The original Valerie is on Old Compton Street – but there are now daughter branches all over


astrojen April 21, 2008 at 5:33 pm

I think Marianne has it quite right about the dress ( although I do think its kinda cute in a odd sort of way). The dress would be perfect for afternoon “beeya” and pork skin here in the culturaly retarded state of Virginia. Do you think it might be too -too to don at a DUI trial? Actually, your defense lawyer could use it to hypnotize the judge if you twirl in it. Just a thought.


lorrwill April 21, 2008 at 8:20 pm

The picture is a great Kentucky Derby dress. All it needs is an audacious hat.Also it would work for the black and white ball. Which isn’t a ball at all and anything goes (as far as fancy dress).It is really cool how the Threshals are holding up the sleeve and hem.And I have more stuff I need to post to the wiki.Would so love to go to London. And Cardiff. Can only do so in my dreams.heavy sigh


Shrimpton Couture April 21, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Hi everyone! Just wanted to say thank you to all the Dress A Day readers (and Erin too) who gave me feedback! The new site is now live – – I hope you all love it!Cherie


Suzanne April 21, 2008 at 9:40 pm

My mom use to design in LA (plus size coats/sweaters)in the 1980’s….that dress reminds me of some of her partners creations! Those are HUGE sleeves!Just wanted to thank you for your blog and links to others of the vintage World. I did not realize there were so many of us!Suzanne


PostMuse April 22, 2008 at 5:31 am

Simon Winchester is a fabulous historian who also weaves a fascinating narrative. We went all the way to UK and had in mind a visit to the Geological Society in London to see William Smith’s “map that changed the world.” Back then it was only on view once a week. Tuesdays. In the afternoon. The one Tuesday we were in London, it was only to catch the flight home and we were heading to the airport when the map was on view. Next time…


Helen April 22, 2008 at 7:40 am

So so so so so in love with the idea of a London meetup. Have put the deets in my diary and will wait for more news. I wonder if it’s worth trying to reserve somewhere for us all at the V&A? I’m thinking the numbers are going to get pretty special…Sadly you’ll be missing the Viktor & Rolf exhibition by a mere three weeks, but better luck next time.Hxx


Eirlys April 22, 2008 at 8:02 am

Oh yes, Londongirl, Patisserie Valerie is a legend! Think you may be right about the burgeoning numbers, Helen. Perhaps the Albert Hall’s free?!


Eirlys April 22, 2008 at 8:19 am

Oh, forgot to mention that the lowly, unfashionable Bath thoroughfare inhabited by Georgian tradespeople, dressmakers etc (and, briefly, by Jane Austen when down on her luck) is one “Trim Street”! – a good place to pare down seams or refine novels, you might think.


India April 22, 2008 at 9:44 am

Oh, Erin, don’t you want to arrive in London a few days earliersay, Monday or Tuesday, May 19 or 20which is when I’ll be there? The V&A just won’t be any fun for me knowing that it will be much more fun a few days later. Waaah!


VeganD April 22, 2008 at 10:07 am

*Sigh* I would love to go to London. I would love to go to London to see this exhibit. And I would love to go to London to see this exhibit with other people who love vintage fashion as much as I do! Please let me know if you have any extra plane tickets to London you’d like to give away. Preferably out of Newark, but I’m not picky. I’ll take LaGuardia, JFK, Philly or Baltimore. 😉


Laura April 22, 2008 at 10:22 am

Ooh yay! I’d love to be part of a London meet-up!


Eirlys April 22, 2008 at 10:59 am

Isn’t there some enterprising tour operator out there who can organise the Dress-A-Day Holiday-Of-A-Lifetime? – with Erin’s permission. It would have to include at least one dress exhibition (be sure not to lose the group but to follow Erin closely, she holding her red umbrella aloft) and cheerful sew-along in the hotel conference suite (a Walkaway?), all sponsored by Bernina, possibly. Only partly joking here…


MoRachelMo April 22, 2008 at 5:18 pm

I liked that dress at first glance because I thought those were skeletons, not belles. I guess those horizontal lines looked like ribs. Do you read Andrei Cordescu? If they had been skeletons, that dress would be perfect for a late lunch at the Bayou Babylon Cafe’.


Oldpatterns April 22, 2008 at 11:25 pm

I have had the pleasure of visiting COPA (Commercial Pattern Archive). What an amazing collection. The curator of the collection is extremely knowledgeable. What an amazing collection!


birthdaycake April 23, 2008 at 5:08 am

I would LOVE to meet up with other dress fans at the V&A! I’m going to see the Supremes exhibition this weekend, I can’t wait. My boyfriend isn’t quite as enthusiastic. V&A have nice tea and cakes, and you can sit outside in the big courtyard if the weather is nice (ha).Sadly it looks like all the liberty print converse for big-footed people have been snapped up already…(UK size 8 here)


birthdaycake April 23, 2008 at 5:10 am

er, except I’ve just realised the exhibition doesn’t start for a fortnight…oh well. I’ll have to go fabric shopping this weekend instead.


Lisette April 23, 2008 at 7:01 am

Hooray! I go to URI and have worked for the COPA!


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