Increasingly less-rare sighting of alphabet dress in the wild

by Erin on April 28, 2008


[photo from GEL 2008 by the fantastic Gene Driskell; L to R: Michael Montes, yours truly, Bran Dougherty-Johnson]

I know y'all are always clamoring for pictures of me wearing the dresses I make, and I know I have been consistently disappointing on that front. (I would do so more often if I weren't too lazy to go get a tripod to use with my camera. Also, I never know what to reply to the inevitable comments of "Erin, I thought you'd be taller.")

But here, ta-dah, is a brand-new dress that I made to wear to last week's GEL conference. (If you don't know the GEL conference, it is my great pleasure to introduce it to you — go check out the link above! Watch the videos! Pressure your employer to send you next year!)

This is made from some fabric I bought from Reprodepot, but which seems to be missing from their site now. And the pattern is Butterick 7513, which sews up like a dream. So easy! (I left off the sleeve bands, though, as I thought they'd be bulgy under a cardigan.)

What you can't see in the photo is that the buttons are covered in scraps of a different-scale black-and-white alphabet print. (You also can't see how hard Michael was making me laugh a few minutes earlier.)

This was a two-alphabet-dress trip for me; I wore the blue letter-and-number print dress the next day. Eventually I suppose I'll have made enough alphabet-print dresses that I can wear nothing but fonts for a week straight, and will have completed my descent into caricature.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

melissa April 28, 2008 at 10:18 am

I love this on you! And the idea of an alphabet dress for every day is fantastic. You could start sending secret messages through some carefully chosen button covers, too. I’m thinking ones that look just like the original buttons, but just so subtly different. Or maybe change it up with a numbers dress one day of the week… :)


the_lazymilliner April 28, 2008 at 10:20 am

Very fun and light-hearted. I love it.


cpeep April 28, 2008 at 10:26 am

OMG, I just figured out what your day job is. My librarian alter-ego has but two words for you:Webster’s Second.Carol Extreme Cards and Papercrafting


Ladygrande (Texas Marie) April 28, 2008 at 10:28 am

Great dress!Oh, and by the way, congratulations on the quarter-page mention you were given in the Spring 2008 “Make It Mine” magazine (on page 9). Only thing missing in the “plug” is a picture of you in one of your frocks!


Anonymous April 28, 2008 at 10:35 am

I adore the dress, and oh I wish I could talk the company into sending me to GEL next year, but the economy has them so nervous that they’re veering into Laughably Cheapland.nwhepcat


wundermary April 28, 2008 at 10:40 am

The alphabet dresses are delightful, I bet they make people smile. You’re safe to work your way up to a week’s worth, just as long as one of the dresses isn’t composed of fabric memorializing the “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” scene from the Shining. That would make the smiles turn a little nervous.


Ellen April 28, 2008 at 10:43 am

Dear Erin,Thanks for the photo–I thought you would be shorter. I’m grateful for your posts–you make my wheels spin. Have a great day.


Jen ~ MOMSPatterns April 28, 2008 at 10:58 am

You’re so cute in that, it makes me wanna play Scrabble with you!:D


sixties sewer April 28, 2008 at 11:03 am

It’s a comfort to know that somewhere out there, wherever Erin is, someone is dressed for fun and in a frock. Love this, thanks again.


La BellaDonna April 28, 2008 at 11:17 am

I love seeing you in your dresses; and this one makes me H-A-P-P-Y.And hey, I never said, “I thought you’d be taller!” You seem just right to me.


Tricia April 28, 2008 at 11:25 am

Thanks for posting this! You look fantastic and — even better — I finally get some idea of what these vintage dresses look like on real people. The drawings on the patterns are so impossibly stylized and wasp-waisted. Thanks!


When Ladies Dressed April 28, 2008 at 11:38 am

What fun fabric. The fabrics that you find and use for your dresses has me scouting for equally fun designs. Thanks for posting your pic!


tea April 28, 2008 at 12:06 pm

“… and will have completed my descent into caricature.”Ha ha ha! I love that line. It pretty much sums up my wardrobe.(And thanks, ladygrande/texas marie for reading my magazine!)


Eirlys April 28, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Erin, your alphabet dresses fROCK! May you never run out of typefaces. Perhaps you could accessorize your walking-caricatureness with one of these letterpress print necklaces? It’s a tie between the question mark and the exclamation point.


Cassie Louise April 28, 2008 at 12:18 pm

[sigh] I think today is my day for experiencing dress envy. First Melissa’s wonderful Porsche dress… now your amazing alphabet dress.I must learn to be less conservative and more fun when purchasing fabric!


Marianne April 28, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Tomorrow, I’m presenting a PR plan for a non-profit that teaches illiterate adults to read. So how much do I wish I had thought of making a dress like this? So, so much. Very cute.


Deb Newton April 28, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Great to see your smiling face emerge above the dancing alphabets!Bravo!


Theresa April 28, 2008 at 1:21 pm

I love it – you look so cute..and you hair looks longer then the last Erin sighting.BTW – I am reading this blog too much. I dreamed La belladonna had a syndicated advice column. hey that’s nto too far fetched…maybe I’m clairvoyant?


astrojen April 28, 2008 at 1:33 pm

The dress is so cute and fun. Like the other ladies, it is nice to see your endevours on you. Oh and I love the cute shoes, where did you get them? I know, I couldn’t resist. :)


Amy G. April 28, 2008 at 1:37 pm

It looks even better on–thanks for the picture! And being height-challenged myself, I *never* expect someone to be taller. :) More live dresses, please!


lorrwill April 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Are all the people at that conference as nice and approachable as they look in the pictures? (We already know you are). And way to fit a dress, girl! You look great.


Anonymous April 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Yea! You look like you were having a great time. Hope you found more fun fabric on this trip!


Nora April 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Great dress!In the effort to enable your descent into cariacature, did you see superbuzzy has a bunch of fabrics on sale? (Japanese fabrics on sale puts them in “normal” price range.) There are several letter designs (though much smaller scale than you usually like – maybe good for buttons or trim?) as well as some text-heavy designs. Plus some great repro feedsack-type prints, and stuff like squirrels with parasols. Love it!


lisa April 28, 2008 at 4:21 pm

hilariously cute!they do make typed “dick and Jane” fabric that has great potential for inappropriate manipulation (perhaps and evening gown only to be worn after 9:30 like mature TV programming)


Joni April 28, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Erin,Can I be you?Not forever, of course, but maybe just for a day or two. Pretty please?


India April 28, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Oh, that dress looks great! Though the fabric would also have made an elegant evening gown, don’t you think?


golden star April 28, 2008 at 4:55 pm

You are just a font of fabric!Lovely and literal!


Deborah April 28, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Gosh I just love it and wish I had some of that fabric. By the way, is that Steven Spielberg on your right? :-)


Calico April 28, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Your dresses are such an inspiration!


Francis April 28, 2008 at 8:54 pm

I love the “e” buttons. And you can see the letters on the buttons of the other dress if you click on the adjacent photo in the photostream and view the larger size.


Dilly April 29, 2008 at 4:31 am

Hi Erin – the dress looks fabulous! Just like Feeder Of The Hungry Beans (what a great name), I’m always happy to see vintage dresses on real people – both because it’s inherently a Good Thing, and also to help visualise the fit without tiny waists and enormously long legs and necks.


selvedge April 29, 2008 at 10:20 am

Ms Frizzle already exists for Science, you can take Math ( numbers dress ), Language Arts ( letters, crosswords dresses ).. Surely you could come up with appropiate dresses for History as well.


jorth April 30, 2008 at 11:38 pm

No wonder you make so many shirt dresses – you wear them exceedingly well!


Kyle May 2, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Hi, Erin – I saw you at GEL with that dress, and a self-identified type nut, I loved it!Awesome work, can’t believe you actually created it yourself. Yet another reason to be inspired by GEL. :-)


Anonymous September 12, 2008 at 7:11 pm

I don’t sew — I mean, at all. I don’t know how I even found this site originally, but I am a longtime lurker. Anyway, Erin, I want you to know that I plan to steal that delicious phrase “complete my descent into caricature” at some point. And, as a former journalist, I give thumbs-up to anyone who wears a FONT. I am partial to Garamond, myself.


Amy May September 18, 2008 at 5:15 pm

I love this dress so much, Erin, I can’t even begin to describe. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that it makes me happy to be alive!Looking forward to seeing it on the Flickr dress group, too. :)


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