Busy, Busy, Busy

by Erin on May 23, 2008


Advance 9511

I'm really, really busy this week so I thought I'd look for a pattern picture that also had a lot going on. But the more I look at this one, the more I can't figure out what the heck is going on here (and the more I like this dress).

First off, it's rare for there to be a random guy in a pattern picture. (For all that people think the clothes of the 1950s were all about dressing for me, you'd think that there'd be more blatantly goggling men in the pattern pictures.) And what is this Random Guy doing? Is he painting or drawing the model? If so, why does the model in the picture have a completely different hairstyle and different sleeves? Is it really a picture, or a door opening from another dimension, from whence Bad Fuchsia Dress lady has come to wreak havoc? Or is she saving her past self from the predations of Random Guy (who also has a chandelier of some sort growing out of his ears, he should have that taken care of), wearing a similar dress to reassure herself? [Making note: if ever need come from the future to save my past self, wear favorite clothes to project air of trustworthiness.]

And, perhaps most puzzlingly: where's the other legs of the chair? And why isn't it falling over, since PastSelf/LongSleeveLady is putting some weight on it?

Only questions, with no answers. Can anyone help?

(If you want the pattern, not answers, click on the image to visit the eBay auction.)

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

What-I-Found May 23, 2008 at 7:24 am

Oh, I think it’s a Dorian Gray sort of thing…the guy is trying to figure out why Updo Woman looks the same way she did 20 years ago. (of course being the fifties he wouldn’t have heard of Botox)

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Anonymous May 23, 2008 at 7:53 am

Bought a very similar pattern about a year ago (although the waistline on mine swoops a tad further down at the rear). Love it in principle, but can’t help wondering whether it’s a ‘does my bum look big in this?’ kind of dress. Has anyone here made one like this before and did they manage to avoid looking like an Edwardian lady with a bustle on their bottom? For that reason I keep bumping it off my list of projects… someone please tell me I’m wrong!N.

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Caity May 23, 2008 at 7:59 am

Weird pattern cover, fab dress. I also wonder about the Huge Rear View aspect, though…

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lisa May 23, 2008 at 8:01 am

perhaps he’s there to button her dresshow DO you button a dress up the back without assitance?

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Eirlys May 23, 2008 at 8:06 am

Can’t help with the DMBLBIT question, N, though the siting of gathers looks ominous.Rather, I’d like to share some chandelier-growing-out-of-ears family trivia; one of my forebears was a Welshman who had chandeliers growing out of his ears – metaphorically. Family legend says he moved to NY to set up a chandelier factory, late 19th Century, I think. And that’s all I know. I’m guessing it didn’t come to much – maybe he failed to meet the move to electrification? – because his son drove a delivery truck around Queens and that son (my grandfather) died about the time this pattern was dreamt up. Ah, dreams, dreams… be careful what you dream. Now, why am I telling you all of this…?

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Velvet Plaza May 23, 2008 at 8:13 am

Maybe it would make you look bustle-y. But I dont’ care . I love it. I also love the wiggle version. I’d make it dupioni. Or maybe velvet.

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QuiteLight May 23, 2008 at 8:20 am

It’s clearly a pan-dimensional portal. It’s easy to tell, since the Up-Do woman is conversing with Random Man at a soiree (chandeliers cry “soiree!” to me), and the wee pan-dimensional portal is distorting both the laws of perspective AND sapping the colour from Random Man.I shall NOT be wearing favourite clothes when I visit myself in the past, as that would be a great trick for an Evil Twin to use as well. Instead, I’ll pick something beloved from my own time, so that my past self will instinctively say “Wow, that’s an AWESOME tunic/silver catsuit/toga” & want to like me even more.

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Tracy May 23, 2008 at 8:39 am

I think it’s the sartorial version of a mullet: business in the front, party in the back!I’d be willing to bet there’s a stay panel to hip level under the gathered back skirt piece to keep the front profile sleek.

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MadeByAmanda May 23, 2008 at 8:48 am

I am thinking that I like the gathered back on the slim-skirt front, like they could only design ONE dress, but wanted both full and slim skirt options. I actually think it would make my rear (or hips, more correctly) look LESS big, because the gathers fall straight down to the knees, and don’t taper down, as a slim skirt would. It’s like the reason flare jeans are more flattering to most women than tapered or skinny jeans.

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Anonymous May 23, 2008 at 9:01 am

In reply to Tracy — in the case of my Style pattern (can’t speak for the Advance one here), the back of the skirt has a Wiggle shaped lining inside. Can’t see any lining elsewhere, so I guess that must be what you’re calling a ‘stay panel’, and how the front view Wiggle effect is achieved.And my pattern cover isn’t half as much fun… N.

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Anonymous May 23, 2008 at 9:03 am

Mystery Guy is smoking. Yup, that’s what he’s doing. The ol’ whole-hand-in-front-of-the-face move from the old movies. At the same time, he is giving Updo Fuchsia Dress Lady the twice over. This is supposed to be Sexy. Shorthair Fuchsia Dress Lady has an umbrella and a brief-case-like bag to indicate that this dress can also be All Business.Monique in TX

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tea May 23, 2008 at 9:15 am

Maybe his cigarette is making chandelier-shaped smoke?Okay, plenty of comments here:1. Hilarious post. There’s too much about it that I love.2. I really like the dress and the color and the craziness of the envelope. This one is a really good candidate for being blown up huge and hung as art.3. Velvet plaza, I’m in agreement with you (though MadeByAmanda, you’ve got a good point too about the flares): Butt looks big? Who cares? Fabulous gathers! And then again, maybe serves hiding effect. I like the dupioni idea, too.4. Quitelight: “Wow, that’s an AWESOME tunic/silver catsuit/toga” = Hilarious. I’ll be laughing at that for another moment or two.5. I have no postulations, myself, but I just wanted to pipe in & say how much I love this entry and these comments today.

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Cookie May 23, 2008 at 9:28 am

The reason you can’t see the chair legs is because in addition to invisible mantle pieces, there used to be such a thing as invisible chair legs. There was a tranquil effect of the furniture seeming to hover off the ground that seemed very modern at the time. There were invisible dishes, too, and the height of good housekeeping was to be able to look into them and say, “I can’t see myself!” But people bashed their legs on the invisible chair legs and hostesses made a mess trying to serve soup in the soup bowls, so they gradually lost popularity. The death knell was when a bachelor scientist invented “invisible” dresses. A lot of husbands rushed out and got them for their wives, and the whole Invisible Movement took on a sordid tone. Interestingly, we still live with a LOT of these invisible items around us, we just don’t see them.

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libby May 23, 2008 at 9:28 am

I think this was the last envelope illustrated by the artist before he was let go for an unmanageable desire to be Rod Serling. Are those push-pins drawn in the 2 corners of the door? Or wait, it’s not a door, it’s a desk. See the perspective to her left and I think that’s a pen set. Ykes!Not quite as weird, but unusual for it’s elaborate illustration, I just ran across this one. I’m considering buying it for the novelty. (warning: pants pattern)

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Else May 23, 2008 at 9:37 am

Is it just me or this guy is really smoking? And where is the cigarette smoke then? And is the short sleeved lady in the kitchen – with an umbrella?Great dress though!

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lorrwill May 23, 2008 at 9:47 am

Random guy better not come near me with that cigarette in his hand. How uncouth.About the dress: is it all business up front and a party in the back or is there a full and a wiggle view?hmmmmmmmmmm

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Ladygrande (Texas Marie) May 23, 2008 at 9:51 am

How funny! I like the “other dimension” concept myself. And, way back then, some of those “back button” dresses had side zippers. The buttons were just for “show”.

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Anonymous May 23, 2008 at 10:15 am

I think the lady on the left, long sleeve lady, represents a homemaker, albeit a very sophisticated one. Woman on the right, short sleeved woman, represents a career woman with her briefcase and the shadow of a desk behind her. Random man seems to be contemplating which to murder with the candelabra: woman whose career might rival his, or June Cleaver in the kitchen, June Cleaver in the bedroom!

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Marjie May 23, 2008 at 10:18 am

The back pleats remind me of asking my husband recently, “Does this a** make my skirt look fat?”

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Jen - The Alien Spouse May 23, 2008 at 10:21 am

My guess is that it’s part of the storyboard to “Vertigo”. That would be Jimmy Stewart making Kim Novac dress like the other Kim Novac, and perhaps Hitchcock was considering going with a split scene at this point.

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ambika May 23, 2008 at 10:28 am

I thought the chair was some kind of ornate vacuum so I am obviously no help.

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geogrrl May 23, 2008 at 10:35 am

Well, the long-sleeved view is an “evening” version, and the other a “day” version. Thus the difference in hairstyles. Perhaps the “day” version is imagining the “evening” version, complete with shadowy waiting escort. He’s shadowy because she’s concentrating more on her dress and hairstyle options than on him.Also, I LOVE the look of the evening view. I’ve seen it done better in some patterns, but I just love fishtail skirts, or skirts with that kind of back detailing.

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wundermary May 23, 2008 at 10:57 am

Ha, I think smoking man has appeared through the portal in the mirror of a fashionable ladies lounge, where this woman was checking her appearance. I had actually thought that was a menorah, but the height does suggest a chandelier. Not that we need to grasp at common sense when faced with a portal in the ladies lounge.This dress would look fantastic in dupioni.

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Velvet Plaza May 23, 2008 at 10:58 am

OH! I see it now! The “door” is a drawing of an office setting and it is tacked to the invisable bulleting board from behind which random man lurks. Umbrella breifcase lady is wearing her “wear to work hair and accessories” Updo is wearing the Evening dress (Bustle back, 3.4 sleeeves) with new hair and accessories for her evening look. Something involving one legged chairs, chandeliers and the Random Smoking Man. Notice Day lady wearing hort day gloves and evening lady wearin long evening gloves. As day lady leans against the drawing/corkboard she deliberates on the right Sewing Conspirator name – Scarlet Hemlock.

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Velvet Plaza May 23, 2008 at 10:59 am

sorry about the typos — I was excited.

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Vicki May 23, 2008 at 11:04 am

The theme song behind the pattern is I’m Moving On Up, Moving On Out. Woman realizes something is fishy in Denmark, where man from the evening before is concerned. Possibly he’s just told her she doesn’t look fat in that dress, and he’s hiding behind his hand to cover the lie. Possibly he’s a waffler, doesn’t know where the relationship is headed, is on the fence, or otherwise just not playing straight. Anyway, having had this realization, she’s ready to move on, in matching pumps, purse, umbrella, and bangle. Her pristine gloves signify she’s washed her hands of the whole matter.

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Maranda May 23, 2008 at 11:12 am

Its JFK checking out Jackie O before they venture off to the big party at the Whitehouse. (except I dont remember if JFK smoked) The short sleved version is Jackie O in the Oval office waiting for JFK to go to lunch with her. :)

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Chantelle May 23, 2008 at 11:18 am

ambika, I also thought that the chair was a vacuum at first glance. I thought that our long-sleeved heroine was vacuuming in preparation for the party – the candelbra says there’s a party going on. The man walks in, blocks the candelbra view while smoking, and she murders him. After vacuuming up the evidence, she exits through the door wearing the business dress and matching accessories. The police might suspect a woman in a gathers-over-bum dress – clearly, she’s got ideas other than just serving food on her mind; why else does she call attention to her bum? They’d never suspect her in the business-like dress, though, and she knows she’s got off scot-free.I’m looking more closely at the picture again and I’m wondering what the grey thing is between her leg and the chair/vacuum. Could she have a tail? Is that why she’s wearing the dress with gathers on the back?

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astrjen May 23, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Regarding the picture ( which does push the envelop of logic ) there is a word to describe such pictures. It is called” Diegopatteracity”. It is the re-occuring phenomenon of noticing drawings in vintage patterns do not need to have any assemblence of logic or reason. The roots of which may be traced back to a present day blogger who conspired with others to cause a shortage of vintage patterns by creating great stories about them thus stimulating exttreme interest in what was hitherto unnoticed.Actually I love both of the dresses. I prefer the fuller skirt one though. Great find. Always fun to read your blog Erin.

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Elle May 23, 2008 at 1:17 pm

The scarlet clad women are the not-so-famous cousins of Sam and Dean, the ghost and ghoulie fighting brothers from “Supernatural.” Sally and Donna (the petite sister) are sick and tired of living in the shadow of their well-known cousins and have decided to become famous ghost-fighters in their own right.Cigarette Smoking Ghostman (CSG) has been wreaking havoc all over town for the past 65 years. Many’s a night when, during a party, the now unfamiliar scent of cigarette smoke wafts through the gathering, leaving the hostess to exclaim, “who’s smoking in my house?”Sally is attempting to lure CSG into a trap by pretending to hold a cigarette in her right hand. She’s hoping that the smoke in CSG’s eyes will prevent him from realizing that her hand is empty. Donna is hiding behind an awkwardly placed mirror. In one hand she holds a fistful of salt and in the other, an iron-tipped umbrella. A quick toss of the salt and a stab of the umbrella and Cigarette Smoking Ghostman is as good as gone.Elle aka Whispers Mason

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Velvet Plaza May 23, 2008 at 1:25 pm

HA! All those scenarios are hilarious! I have an extra lumbar vertabrae (tail?) Maybe i should wear gathers over my bum. And yes, my a** is making my dress look fat!

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Nadine May 23, 2008 at 3:23 pm

I love the back of that skirt! (And you people are all nuts! Teehee.)

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kagitsune May 23, 2008 at 3:38 pm

What’s especially strange is that the two dresses are *completely* different. One has gathers in the back of the skirt at the waist, while the other one…doesn’t. It doesn’t even have a waist seam. They’re only similar in that they have boat necks! O_oI dunno…most pattern sets I’ve seen have two or more very similar patterns.

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Myra May 23, 2008 at 3:46 pm

I do agree that there are two alter-egos at work with the women and the man is confused! He is smoking, trying to contemplate the scenario at hand. I prefer the 3/4 sleeved gathered in back dress and to hell if it made my butt look big. It is fabulous!

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Lisette May 23, 2008 at 4:57 pm

I think I’ve figured it out (if no one else has)…that the pattern can be used for either a fancy night party dress, or your every-day vacuuming the house dress (as we see here, there is half a vacuum in her hand in the mini picture). I think the top part is a guy smoking and trying to seduce her or something.I think that grey smudge is supposed to be a shadow…the artist forgot the chair was drawn up against a wall when they drew the man in later.

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Emily May 23, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I can’t see the gathers making a generous rear end look *worse* than the shirt dress I tried on yesterday. The poor shirt dress had a terrible case of Not Enough Fabric in the skirt. Instead of draping, it just clung desperately.I was wishing it had gathers, or at least a gored skirt so the poor thing didn’t look so cheap.I thought about trying for a larger size, but decided I shouldn’t reward them by buying a dress with a too narrow skirt. At least this pattern won’t pull the same sorts of tricks. And in a crisp but lightweight fabric, the gathers should hold shape well enough to look intentional.

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jennifer. May 23, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Have you seen this duro-style on etsy?

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lorrwill May 23, 2008 at 11:01 pm

That’s cute jennifer!How about printing your own fabric:http://blog.spoonflower.com/(I don’t think they can do your Tetris border print, E. I am pretty sure there would be copyright issues. bummer.) but think of all the Liberty-like abstractions just waiting to be realized…

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Anonymous May 23, 2008 at 11:04 pm

The door that the Umbrella Woman is coming out of is too small for a normal adult. Perhaps she’s coming out of a half-floor, like floor 7-1/2 in the movie “Being John Malcovich”. Or perhaps she’s one of the Little People, come to grant three wishes to the other people in the room. (“I wish I could get this chandelier out of my ears.” “I wish I could get out of this dress without ripping off the buttons.”)

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Anonymous May 24, 2008 at 7:01 am

Random Guy is peeking around his cubicle wall at her gorgeousness-and the Hot Pink dress that shows she is obviously “high class” and the new gal in the office! “Hi there, haven’t we met before?” :)

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Purl Buttons May 24, 2008 at 8:06 am

It’s a Mullet Dress–you know, business in the front, party in the back! The guy is smoking a cigarette, very chic for his time period, but “sinister” now. The chandelier? I guess it matches with his look–maybe a figment of her imagination.

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marty May 24, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I think they are showing 2 versions of the pattern. It can be made into daytime wear for the office (think Della Street character from Perry Mason TV shows) and the other version for evening out at a party or uptown restaurant which would have a chandelier and a young man smoking with a french provencial type chair in the foreground. Interesting pattern either way.

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Lou May 24, 2008 at 11:37 pm

@cookie: absolutely true! they’re everywhere. always watching, waiting to plan their revenge! i adore your pattern cover musings, they’re always interesting and it is definitely an inter-dimensional portal.

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VisualVotary May 25, 2008 at 10:21 am

Mr. Man came home, surprised the wife, who is using the chair in a psychologically defensive position, to hide the fact that her girlfriend/sewing partner has been home with her all afternoon in the husband’s absence.It’s all very sordid.

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Cookie May 25, 2008 at 11:05 am

Thanks, Lulu. I actually can’t offer much more on this pattern cover, because it’s so confusing it gives me a headache! But I DO see the alarming, shadowy tail on the “bustle lady”. And if that IS her “girlfriend/sewing partner” hiding behind the door, I like that they wear matching clothes, varied from the same pattern. It must make them feel connected when they attend DAR or PTA meetings together…where they must hide their secret love.

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Jca May 26, 2008 at 7:07 am

The alarming, shadowy tail is a real tail… of Evening Lady’s fox stole, now slid down to reveal the bodice that Smoking Man stares at so intently but we are denied. Business Lady averts her gaze.

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San Antonio Sue May 26, 2008 at 8:35 am

Tea almost got it — he’s so turned on by updo woman’s great look (and there are as many butt men as boobs men or legs men), that his cigarette smoke is coming out of his ears in the shape of a chandelier. A better compliment than a wolf whistle in my book!

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zoemillerlee May 26, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Here’s my theory. The short sleeve woman, with her bag and umbrella is being shown against the backdrop of an office to demonstrate that this-here is a no-nonsense business kind of dress. But, if you take away that backdrop you find a world of cocktail parties and potential gentlemen callers suavely smoking cigarettes and admiring your longer sleeved evening version of the dress as if to say ‘that’s a smokin hot dress.’

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Hope May 27, 2008 at 8:53 am

The poor artist of this cover! S/he had a nice scene laid out–a cocktail party, maybe with Up-Do-Lady graciously greeting guests–when the designer people said, “Ooh! Ooh! We can make a dress out of this same pattern that looks good in the office!” So the artist didn’t have time to make a totally new drawing, so s/he left it as it was (sketchiness intact) and “tacked” on Umbrella-Lady in front of an office (I guess she is just on her way out to go to the cocktail party of Up-Do-Lady).Alas for unfinished drawings!

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Velvet Plaza May 27, 2008 at 9:40 am

Hope,Do you work wear I do? That is exactly what happend ot our da designs!Velvet Plaza

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Anonymous May 28, 2008 at 8:34 pm

I do so enjoy your blog!I think the woman is modeling the dress for her husband or sugardaddy(aka “Random Guy”) in their well-appointed domecile. If RG doesn’t like how the dress looks on her, straight back to the store (or onto the donation pile) it goes. When I was growing up, I heard a story about a woman who said if her husband ever expressed dislike for a dress she’d bought, she just took it right back to the store, “because I know he is NOT GONNA CHANGE HIS MIND.” Significant others often have very definite opinions on what they do or don’t like to see their loved ones wearing. This pattern envelope is a tribute to that, I think. EH

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Halayn Holmer September 7, 2008 at 3:20 pm

I agree with the theory that he is there to button up her dress. It is impossible to do up buttons at the back without assistance.

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