“lovely, clever, labor-intensive”

by Erin on June 15, 2009

Pat Premo sundress

"Lovely, clever, labor-intensive" was how Robin described the dress in this eBay auction, and I just love it. I am loving it from afar, though, because it's $160. I don't even think I'm going to attempt this myself, although I'm always tempted to be clever with striped fabric. There's clever, and then there's too clever by half, and every time I veer into "too clever by half," I wind up with something that never gets finished, much less worn.

(I actually just put a lot of "unfinished business" — i.e., projects that I finally accepted that I'm never coming back to — in the box for the Salvation Army today. There are still a few "somedays" left hanging in my sewing room, but they're precious few.)

I'm trying to let go of a lot of "somedays", or "just-in-cases", especially when it comes to books and fabric. If I am not head-over-heels in love with fabric, I think it's going to leave me in search of a more appreciative owner. And if I take a book off a shelf, open it, and don't feel like sitting down to read a few pages, it might wander off, too.

The Internet has obviated the need for hoarding, in my opinion. For instance, years ago I bought a copy of this book. It was a dollar, and it looked interesting, so I bought it, and read it. (I really liked it, although its author has the prejudices of his time and the vocabulary to match.) But now (as that link suggested), it's available online, and I don't have to hold on to my copy for fear that if I let it go, I wouldn't be able to find it again. Google can hold on to it for me — and I can download the PDF (it's well out of copyright) and have it on my hard drive in reserve against any Chicago-meatpacking-magnate's-advice-to-his-son emergencies.

Of course, you can't download fabric and keep it on your hard drive (although I'm sure my long-suffering husband wishes you could!) but I don't feel the need to hold on to "eh" or "just-in-case" fabric when a few clicks will take me to plenty of fabric that makes me say "ah" instead … and when I already have enough "ah" fabric to swathe my entire house, Christo-style, if I felt like it.

(Another thing the Internet is making it easy to let go of is petty resentments. If I want to feel angry and pissed off, there are plenty of places I can go online to read stuff that will make my blood boil. Why carry that around with me in the meantime?)

What is the Internet helping you let go of?

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynn June 15, 2009 at 8:06 am



Joni June 15, 2009 at 8:10 am

and when I already have enough ah fabric to swathe my entire house, Christo-style, if I felt like it.You totally should! Christos installations would have been about 1,000 times awesomer if they were done in Liberty print.The internet recently helped me let go of my long-seated desire for a serger 😉


L Johnson June 15, 2009 at 8:10 am

This dress is amazing!!!! I love the fact that you can sift tru a bunch of info, and get down to a few pieces of information before printing or saving!!!!


Anonymous June 15, 2009 at 8:15 am

Is there a support group for long-suffering partners of fabricoholics? Im fairly sure mine would join.


Trudy Callan June 15, 2009 at 9:02 am

What an extraordinary dress. No telling how many hours went into it. $160 is probably a good price for it. More than I would like to pay, but Im sure its not over priced. Its certainly not a project that I would want to take on. http://www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com


Melissa June 15, 2009 at 9:02 am

Its a weird thing, and I guess Im lucky to have been born just at the right time, but Ive always had a crippling fear of talking on the telephone. Ive worked on it in therapy, but made little progress. But email is lovely! I can compose my thoughts and see them in black and white before sharing them with others!


Jonquil June 15, 2009 at 9:28 am

That is a miracle of construction.Medications are making me lose my once game-show-worthy memory for trivia. Fortunately, Google brings it back.


Crabapple Blossoms June 15, 2009 at 9:52 am

What a fascinating book! I plan to read it online (though this is one thing I *dont* prefer to use the internet to accomplish) as I have the time.Yes, that is one thing I cannot generally tolerate online … the reading of books. I might have to find some way to purchase this tome myself.MichelleCrabapple Blossoms


the_lazymilliner June 15, 2009 at 10:20 am

Internet has made me let of go need for a plasma television. I might never get another TV. Who needs it? So much time, so little to do.


Evelyn June 15, 2009 at 10:40 am

First time I have ever seen you mention Mr. Dress-a-Day! Wish I could afford to bid on that eBay auction…


Jen June 15, 2009 at 11:01 am

About the dress: its alot easier to pleat stripes than solids, so actually, this dress really isnt as impossible as it looks (a rare example of harder than it looks)internet makes it easy to let go of: TV, its soooo gone, wont even buy an adapter, cause Im getting more movies and TV than I can watch on Netflix and Hulu!


Gail June 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

I agree on both books and fabric. I have a hard time letting go of either. I am going through that right now. We have decided its time to get at least one car in the garage which means a lot of stuff has to go,including books and fabrics.One thing the internet has saved me from is clipping recipes and articles from magazines, which usually ended in a disorganized pile. I can find anything on the internet from a recipe for a Mardi Gras dinner and the name of a good restaurant in Athens.


Marjie June 15, 2009 at 11:19 am

Id be so afraid of that dress, because I know that puffy skirt would make my behind look like a Toyota with feet.


sewbettie June 15, 2009 at 11:23 am

the dress is amazing. though i definitely cant afford to spend 160 on a just because i love it dress, i do say it amazes me that the amount of love and work that went into that dress and then be sold for so little. if i ever made something that detailed, i wouldnt be able to part with it for less than, oh i dont know, a few gs. unfortunately, the internet makes me want more — more fabulous fabric, more handmade dresses, there is just so much inspiration.


lucitebox June 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

Great dress! Internet=good. Things it helped me let go of:~the need to own more than one shelf of cookbooks~the desire to buy expensive decorating magazines–so MANY great blogs cover the decor porn. ~the feeling that Im nuts. Well, maybe I am, but clearly, Im not alone:http://iamneurotic.com/~Impulse buys. I shop less because sometimes, I just put things in a cart, think about it, see the total, and then forget about it. Im hoping to one day add this to the list: ~hour long conversations with my mom which start with just one simple question. How to get mom to use email, though? I love talking to her, but sometimes, I just dont have that much time to spare for just a simple question.


tamtay June 15, 2009 at 11:37 am

Books, TV, DVDs and videotapes. CDs and audiotapes, hardcopy planner, magazines. Almost any information I could need or want is out there and accessible. It blows my mind.


oracle June 15, 2009 at 11:58 am

Like sewbettie said, the internet makes me want more, too.And Im with Crabapple Blossoms in that I cant bear reading books online. I want the associative and peripheral approach where I can flip through them physically and see a lot at once. I want to feel the artifact physically in my hands. And my eyes dont want to stare at backlighting, at electric lighting, all the time! They are a thousand times more comfortable looking at finite ink on a page that is ideally illuminated by daylight.Besides, lots of people will never have access to the internet. Nor should they have to have lest they be denied access to good reading.So I want my books unplugged. And un-batteried! But I want them printed on truly renewable and sustainable paper made from hemp or grasses or bamboo. Papers long overdue to stop being made from wood. This shift needs to happen.


Rachel June 15, 2009 at 1:14 pm

What is the Internet helping you let go of?Money. Amazon one click ordering is just way to easy!


Anonymous June 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm

The internet is helping me let go of books, too, yet still have books to read. Paperbackswap.com is a great place to trade books youve read for books you want to read. I prefer a physical real book too, and even if books are in the library, sometimes the waiting list is long! Erin, sounds like youre doing an enormous spring cleaning, which were doing at our house, too. Things are going to charity, consignment store, school band yard sale, etc. And Im considering trying Craigs List for the first time in hopes that it will help me part with a full-size quilt frame. Dawn


Latter-Day Flapper June 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

TV, mostly. Although I was never a great TV or movie watcher in the first place. Im sort of breaking even on fabric, because I love window shopping for it online but dont always trust to buy what I cant see/touch in person. What if its chintzy and I didnt know it? Id rather go to the fabric store.Ill never read books online, either. Paper, please. I buy used, re-sell, and recycle when they finally fall apart. Its actually made my sewing pattern and music habit worse, if that was even possible, because now I know how much more is out there, and how to get ahold of it. I tend to listen to a lot of regional and obscure music that I cant get in live music stores. Now I can find it, and more, online. And I can find out what other bands I might like that I might never have heard of otherwise. Ironic as it may sound, I think the Internet might be the best thing to happen in years to old-time music.


Miss Rayne June 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Fab dress but its probably patterns like this that caused many 50s housewives to have a breakdown, or murder their husbands…..Unfortuantely the internet hasnt helped me let go of anything, Ive just accumulated more stuff.


What-I-Found June 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm

The internet has made my entire lifestyle possible…we live and travel full time in our RV. If we didnt have internet and the wonderful technology available we couldnt run two businesses out of 40 feet of space. I couldnt stay in touch with my family easily, swapping news and photos so I dont feel so far away. I rely on my GPS so I can find my way back to wherever is home this week. Next I plan to figure out the iSight feature so I can watch my baby granddaughter grow up…even if Im several states away. And I love being able to read Dress A Day while going down the interstate. :-)


Anan June 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm

It would be less daunting to attempt this as a skirt only with a wide waistband like the bodice…I think the internet has kept me sewing. :-)


Sandra June 15, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Melissa,Thats not weird… well, maybe it is, but I have terrible phonophobia, too. I dont even like to talk on the phone to family and friends; but if its business-realated I have to psyche myself up to picking up the phone. I love email.But to answer Erins question, I dont think the Internet has really allowed me to give up anything much. In fact, probably the opposite. I hord more stuff than ever, but now its all in my Favorites: Facebook, Twitter, AIM, my blog, Erins blog, etc., etc., ad infinitum :(


Lisette June 16, 2009 at 8:11 am

While I certainly havent given up my beloved old books, the combination of my library and its internet inter-library loan system has helped me to get rid of a lot of my other books and almost all my dvds.My computer has helped me get rid of my CDs, via internet radio (rockabillyradio.net) and music downloading in general.Internet helped me feel no need for a TV as well – although I really dont watch much anyways – because of sites like hulu.


Anonymous June 16, 2009 at 10:48 am

the internet is helping me get rid of my stash. I found a place that gives pajamas to foster kids, so I sew up my stash and they get the pajamas. Also seeing the various bags that people have made keeps me improvising with my leftover scraps. the thing I like about fabric is how it looks made up. Flat fabric doesnt do a thing for me.


Cookie June 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm

This is a really neat dress….but I cant believe someone went to that much effort and used a dull brown fabric. Wouldnt just about any other color look sprightlier? A minty green? Maroon? Or black and white? (Maybe I have an aversion to brown because it doesnt look very good on me.)


chickdowntown.com Eliza June 17, 2009 at 2:36 pm

This dress is gorgeous! I love the colors and the design, and $160 doesnt seem overpriced at all for such a unique item.


Robin Edgerton June 17, 2009 at 3:18 pm

definitely music…my collection is a LOT smaller now that i can download things that i owned once on vinyl, cassette, or even 8-track. Thing is, as in-depth as the internet is, I still find that some things i look up, i cant find hide nor hair of, so i have to hold onto said LP/cassette/8-track, which is now more of a surprise than not. -robin


Bri June 18, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Love the skirt. I dont know about the bodice, but the skirt is great.Would love to see your house swathed christo-style.


barbie2be June 25, 2009 at 9:20 pm

oh. my. gosh! i love, love, LOVE this dress!


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