Pick-a-Pocket, Any Pocket

by Erin on July 27, 2008

Indian Head Fabric skirt ad

Jim sent me this old fabric ad — and can we just all agree that it's awesome? Leaving aside the weird fringe trim? And possibly the color beige?

I am thinking I really need one of these multipocket skirts — especially the "hopscotch" version. I would like to make all the pockets close with contrasting bright plastic zippers (for just a tinch more security and a bit of extra wtf? sauce).

My favorite part of these old ads are the guarantees. This one states "GUARANTEE: 'If any article made principally of an Indian Head brand cotton fails to give proper service because of the fading or running of Indian Head colors, or if the fabric shrinks more than 1%, we will make good the total cost of the article.' Make sure the name INDIAN HEAD is on the selvage or hang tag."

I can't believe, though, that Indian Head cotton comes in 39 colors and BEIGE is the one they decided to feature. Beige. You know how they say the opposite of love is indifference? The opposite of color is not colorlessness, it's beige. I mean, I AM largely beige and I hate that color.

I should apologize for the spottiness of the "A Day" part of "Dress A Day" lately — lots of travel. (I'm typing this at 6 a.m. in an airport departure lounge, actually …) I'm on my way to Tokyo and Sapporo! Expect more Japanese fabric pictures and the concomitant Japanese fabric BUYING.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous July 27, 2008 at 8:59 am

I agree with you as far as beige goes. I think they just wanted to show off the other colors on a neutral background. Grey would have looked better. Is the big long pocket for an umbrella or witch’s broom?You should consider a skirt like this in grey with all the various bright colored pockets covering the entire skirt,in a mondrian pattern edged in black seam binding (not fringe)and closed with invisible zippers.Sorry to be Anonymous I still haven’t figured it outColleen


Nancy (nanflan) July 27, 2008 at 10:01 am

Ahh, Indian Head. My mom was devoted to that brand of cotton! Agree with you on the beige, too.


Anonymous July 27, 2008 at 10:13 am

Your blog makes me want to sew…and makes me want to go to Japan. I purchased from Japanese cotton from a local fabric store last week and am very excited about the dress that will result (although my mom will probably end up making the dress for me).


Zoltar Panaflex July 27, 2008 at 11:07 am

Maybe the beige was chosen for the contrast with the other colors.I found a 50’s British royalty-fan magazine and it has fashion ads in it, I can’t wait to scan those up.The reason I have the magazine: A friend of mine gave me this navy leather shopper bucket handbag, and there’s an ad for the same bag in the magazine!


kagitsune July 27, 2008 at 11:26 am

This dress would be so awesome in some of those Japanese fabrics you bring back… 8D So many adorable prints they have over there…. 3What takes you to Japan this time, Erin?


Anonymous July 27, 2008 at 11:56 am

No! I will NOT leave aside the weird fabric trim! The weird fabric trim is awesome!Although, so is your idea of zippers.-Sandra


brocadegoddess July 27, 2008 at 1:21 pm

I’m with Colleen on this, I think the beige was for display, and yes, grey would have been better. I am tempted to make this up myself, although I’m away from home until the end of the summer and may forget by then – not that I’ll have time anyway.Instead of the zippers, what about really big fabric covered buttons? You could mix n match using the same fabrics as for the pockets! Or maybe I’ll just keep that idea for myself ;oPI’d say I was super jealous that you’re going to Japan, but since I’m spending the summer in London, England I guess I can only be sorta jealous, lol. Looking forward to what you bring back! All I’ll be bringing back from trip is knowledge.


krissy July 27, 2008 at 2:20 pm

I love this skirt, and love your idea of bright zippers, too! Ok, am I too new to the blogoshpere, or just uncultured? The only thing I know about Sapporo is that it’s great beer…You make me want to sew, too. Thank you!


3KillerBs July 27, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I feel the same way about beige. They say beige hides dirt but that’s because its the color of dirt so whatever you do in beige looks dirty from its birth.I rather like the swag pockets — from a time when women weren’t afraid to admit that they had hips.And I love the graceful hang of the skirt.


Latter-Day Flapper July 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I assume they intended to highlight the colorful-ness of the other colors, but I agree that beige doesn’t do anything for me. What’s even weirder is that, like many ads of that vintage, the colors are sort of supersaturated, so it’s . . . ULTRA beige.


john July 27, 2008 at 3:25 pm

that is not beige, that is mocassin


3KillerBs July 27, 2008 at 4:02 pm

John,A beige by any other name is just as drab. 😉 😀 LOL


EmilyJ July 27, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Hey, I’m going to have to stand up for beige a little here!!Completely agree that it’s not the most eye-catching colour for advertising purposes, but generally, in life, when accessorised properly, and in an expensive fabric, it can be a lovely neutral to base your outfit on.I wouldn’t necessarily put it with multicoloured pockets though!


Nana is Dreaming In The Theatre July 27, 2008 at 5:53 pm

The idea is yummy! I kind of want to see like a neo-goth version, I think it’d be really amusing. Like, leather and neon green and pink zippers? Hmm….


lorrwill July 27, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Nay to that particular shade of beige here too. Had it been a few steps lighter…maybe…If the goal was to make the colors pop then I think perhaps something more like an oatmeal or muslin color or pretty much any shade of gray; black would have been very dramatic. I like the Technicolor zipper idea, too. Of course there is always rick rack…


Anonymous July 27, 2008 at 7:00 pm

hah! an instant before i read your weird fringe trim, i thought, ooh! pockets with mustaches!!giggle


Anonymous July 27, 2008 at 7:02 pm

and – hey! some of my favorite band-aids have been that shade of beige!


tiddleywink July 27, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Okay, the beige is weird, but… WHAT is she putting in (or taking out of) her pocket? An oversized, orange-dyed Brussels sprout? A strange fungus? A bouquet of pom-poms? And why does she look surprised to see it/them? Do the pockets also have MAGICAL QUALITIES? Ooooh, I want to make this magical skirt tout de suite!


Eirlys July 28, 2008 at 3:50 am

Did you hear that news story a few years back about how astro-physicists had figured out that the most common colour in the universe was… beige? Happily there was a retraction some time after: it’s now thought to be turquoise or something far more pleasing.I figure that several astro-physicists just misunderstood the question first-time round and thought they were being asked what colour knitwear they were wearing that morning.


La BellaDonna July 28, 2008 at 7:47 am

Beige: the colour that has no excuse for existing. You KNOW that if the end result of all the cat hair mixing together = beige, that can’t be good. As far as beige making a suitable background for Joseph’s Dress of Many Pockets, not only would grey have served perfectly well, so would black, and so would white. In fact, so would any colour that would actually be flattering to its wearer. Sure, if it’s a spring green, maybe she’d be pulling out a Pocket Full of Violets instead of A Pocket Full of Zinnias, but that’s okay; violets are awfully nice flowers.[ makes note to self: All beiges go to Emilyj, stat. ]Congratulations, Emilyj! You are apparently the one person for whom beige is an attractive neutral! We knew you had to be out there somewhere! I suspect the rest of us, however, will resort to other neutrals. Any other neutrals. On the other hand, at least the cat hair won’t show up on it!Erin, safe trip as always. I can’t wait to see the treasures you bring back!


Morzel: July 28, 2008 at 7:49 am

You will find a wonderful fabric store in Sapporo called Kanari at Odori (a central park), in a street parallel to the park. Be sure to look around all five floors.


Gladys July 28, 2008 at 9:34 am

Once when I took my son to library story time, they had a guest who wore an apron covered in large pockets. In each pocket was an object that related to a different story. Kids were called up to select a pocket, and that decided which story was told. This skirt so reminds me of that apron! It would be awesome to have so many pockets and not need to carry a purse! If only I could remember which pocket contained what I needed—–Have a great trip!


lorrwill July 28, 2008 at 10:01 am

I think this beige looks like a brown paper bag. Just.not.good.


EmilyJ July 28, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Lol, I have so given the impression that I’m a beigeaholic!Seriously I have a couple of tops and a skirt, I like colour too!!!


Anonymous July 28, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Not defending the beige, but…. for the ad layout, it works well. Contrasts with the background nicely and shows a sharp image. Grey wouldn’t work so well against the white. White wouldn’t work at all and black would be too harsh. Now if it were me making such a skirt, I’d do it in a lovely drapey black and fussy cut the pockets out of large scale florals with piping. But I do not have the time, what with the 3 baby quilts I’m supposed to have done already and fall wardrobe needs piling up on the cutting table. So little to do, so much time. Wait – stop – reverse that…!carol


Flo July 28, 2008 at 12:44 pm

so the thing I don’t understand about this design is why are all the pockets on one side? if you actually filled all those pockets you would be totally lopsided!


Jenny July 28, 2008 at 12:52 pm

I loved IKEA’s ad campaign “Be brave, not beige”. I have taken it to heart for my home and my wardrobe. Beige is no longer welcome in my closet – especially now that my hair is developing a Rogue-esque silver streak (I’m not yet 30!).Beige = BLAHBeige + silver hair = ULTRA BLAH!


EmilyJ July 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Ah well, I’ll admit beige defeat!This is making me really hanker to make something with pockets though, I’m off to have a search on ebay for some exciting fabric.


Jim July 28, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Just a comment re-biege. This is a mid fifties ad and for better or worse, biege was very popular in that era. I was 5 years old when that was on the magazine stand, and I remember every room in our house was painted in some shade of beige. I hated it then and I have not changed much. I had no idea this would cause such a stir, I just knew Erin loves pockets. Glad to see some of you are interested in making it. I thought it was very cute and totally over the top. If I can find some time I am going to make one for my granduaghter. She will probably die then to wear it, so may be I should ask her first.


wundermary July 29, 2008 at 12:39 am



Anonymous July 29, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Proof that one CAN have too much of a good thing. Two pockets are more than enough on a 50s skirt like this. Anybody who requires more should really consider wearing cargo pants and a fishing vest.


Cookie July 29, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Wouldn’t one tip over if they had stuff stored in that many front pockets? Or about the 70th time wearing it, the over-stressed seams might just rip and you’d be suddenly naked? (Always a concern for drag queens with secrets!)Scarily enough, I believe one of Princess Grace’s favorite fashion colors was to dress in up monochromatic “Honey Beige”. Maybe this looks good with dark blonde hair, and those 60’s and 70’s shades of frosted lipstick? I don’t know. A real tragedy in MY life is that I don’t look good in this color, which rules out camel hair coats, etc. If you ARE forced to wear beige, most people will probably find it more flattering if it has a pink, rather than a yellow, undertone. Wear heavy necklace AND earrings in your favorite color, to bring life to your face. Also, pray.


Eirlys July 30, 2008 at 4:42 pm

OK, let’s admit that we’ve indulged in a particularly vicious streak of beige-bashing. That wasn’t really fair. Actually, Problem Pocket is brown, and it’s the diffidence of the colour choice in that particular location of prominence that is what offends me. Was the reticence born of 1950s gynecological coyness, dya think? Reference lop-sidedness with full pockets, you’d have to limit yourself to a bit of loose change and a hankie, though I’d pay to see a litter of kittens popping their cute little heads out.


Adrienne July 31, 2008 at 8:28 am

Interesting. Great for a costume, I guess. God Bless1 – Adrienne


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