I’m Not Dead

by Erin on September 15, 2009

Just crazy-busy, unlike the women in this pattern illustration:


McCalls 9331

I feel that these ladies, if not ladies of absolute leisure, spend their copious free time in those stereotypical pursuits of reading novels and eating bon-bons. Plus, hairstyles like the ones here require tremendous maintenance and make me think that the most strenuous thing they do all day is put up with pudgy, sweaty men winking at them and calling them "Sugar."

That hair just doesn't say "day job" to me. Unless you're Dolly Parton, in which case you get to call OTHER people "Sugar," while working three times as hard as anyone else in heels three times as high. That woman amazes me. (And her singin' ain't bad, neither.)

Do I sound jealous of these women on the pattern envelope? I may be, but only of the ruffles. I covet those ruffles. (And maybe the bon-bons. I've been in California a MONTH and have had NO See's Candies. That's just wrong.)

If you think this dress would magically transform you into such a creature, you're in luck, because Wendy at PatternStash is offering 20% off everything today and tomorrow. You can use the money you save for more bon-bons. (Or a fall. Whichever.)

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa September 15, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I would love to have my hair done up like red. This Butterick pattern http://www.butterick.com/item/B5320.htm?tab=dressespage=2 It has the coveted ruffles, nice pleating on the side and POCKETS! Its been on my to sew list since April I have polished pink and polished black cotton with a little stretch I intend to use for it.

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Marjie September 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Isnt it almost illegal in California to have great stuff like candy? I mean, arent they all about the tofu and health food, and, of course, Starbucks?

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Cookie September 15, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Ooh, the middle version, if done in hot pink Barbie colors with some tissue-lame material as the ruffles, I can totally see on Eva Gabor. Maybe to a 1971 awards show or a White House function.PS: We have Sees Candies in California! You usually see them at shopping malls and airports. Bring an empty carry-on bag next time and keep your eyes peeled.

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Anonymous September 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Yup, get your Sees candy fix at LAX airport, the mall down on Westwood and Pico in LA, or at La Cumbre Plaza in Santa Barbara. Im sure theres more, but those are the locations Ive seen.~Rayna

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Teresa aka MarieSews September 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Not only do we have Sees in CA, Mary Sees son started the company here! Its a CA native and there are stores in just about every mall. They are not quite as ubiquitous as Starbucks but there are 3 within 10 miles of our house. Leisure time is best spent with a good book, some chocolate, and the sound of the surf on the beach.

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Packrat September 15, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Glad to hear from you.No Sees? That is a crime!As to the dresses and dos – those were pretty much for party wear. Personally, when those were in style, I wouldnt have been caught dead in them. Now, I think they are pretty. Go figure. :)

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tinybubbles September 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm

nobody has hair like this – theyre all wigs. back in the day my mom had like, 5 wig heads – each with a different wig style. she would take them to the salon and have them styled. it was way cool.

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Little Hunting Creek September 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm

No Sees Candy yet? Step away from that computer, missy, and get yourself to a Sees store. I always wanted hair like that as a girl because it seemed so grownup, but then when I was finally old enough to do my hair like that it was as out of style as hoop skirts.

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Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth September 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm

That hair is normal for work…. If you work in Texas!

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xstpenguin September 15, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Always lovely to hear from you! Moving and starting new work, got to be stressful.Um, sorry to be all furriner but what is Sees candy? Duh, clicks the link – oh, they are chocolates! Look a bit like Thorntons selections. Candy over here usually refers to something made only with sugar – boiled sweets or candy floss or Puff Candy (which is the inside of a Cadbury Crunchie bar and Ive recently found is known as Sponge Toffee in Canada!)Me, I like GreenBlacks or Lindor by Lindt.How is dress wearing in California so far??Cheers,AJ

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emilyjayne September 15, 2009 at 4:33 pm

I am generally jealous of anyone who has ruffles / candy / an amazing hair do.I have become more of a fan of actually trying to do something with my hair on a day to day basis, and actually those hair styles are not too far away from what I aim at! Sue me, I like big hair, thank god its coming back in for a/w this year. Im actually sporting crimped hair as i type :).

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Cookie September 15, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Speaking of wigs, the middle girl could be wearing a WIGLET, which is a mass of fake curls approximately the size of a large kitten, to be affixed to a topknot.PS: I think Granny See on their box has earned a makeover, like Betty Crocker used to get every other decade. PSS: Even in Candyland, there seems to be nasty divorces. Maybe all that sugar made them testy?

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Meg September 15, 2009 at 5:39 pm

It is a crime you think Sees Candy is good! The horrors of that waxy disgusting stuff they try and pass off as chocolate.Try out Ghirardelli for some better chocolate made in CA. Arent you close to S.F.? Or shell out some cash for real chocolate like Teuscher.

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Alaina September 15, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Yay, Erin, youre on This American Life! You have a really lovely voice. I think you should do wordnik podcasts.

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evalyn September 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Those hairdos consisted of ratting, backcombing, and enough hairspray to be totally responsible for the Ozone problems we have today. But they were possible. They also called for sleeping with your hair in a net, wrapped in tissue, or under a scarf. Falls, wiglettes, false bangs, and rats to tuck under or into buns and lifts. And did I mention hairspray? Thats back when we took our hairdos seriously. The girl in the black dress? That was my hairdo – bumper bangs and big bow at the back.

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cindy b September 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

My Aunt Betty had that dress, store boughten version. She was VERY petite, and got her hair done twice a week. She really did have hair like that. Also: Get thee to a Sees store IMMEDIATELY….its to die for!

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Jen September 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm

ooooh, that look is so Julie Christy and Jean Shrimpton c. 1967 Yardley of London ad campaign. Pass the frosted pink lipstick please!

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Dawn September 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Wow. Cute. So friggin cute.

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theresa September 15, 2009 at 11:19 pm

cookie,I have six kittens perhaps I could affix one a day to my head? I dont think they will like it!

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theresa September 15, 2009 at 11:19 pm

cookie,I have six kittens perhaps I could affix one a day to my head? I dont think they will like it!

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Brenda September 16, 2009 at 12:03 am

San Jose has a couple of Sees candies stores. You must NOT buy the prepackaged boxes. Custom pick a box and get only your favs! I grew up on Sees (thanks Grandma). Custom boxes are the same price per pound. Get their address on line or from the phone book. Hurry!!!

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Anonymous September 16, 2009 at 1:15 am

I remember these hairstyles and they werent just for women of leisure. Just imagine if the time we now spend on the internet was spent at the hairdresser!

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scarabee September 16, 2009 at 6:01 am

I confess to being on the anti-Sees side, Im afraid. I did have some ok chocolate ginger there once, but other than that, the only piece Ive had since I lived in CA was the lollipop they gave me when I got my PhD – the congratulations sucker.

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San Antonio Sue September 16, 2009 at 8:36 am

Erin, for the truly busy woman, you should check out the Instant Dress pattern on Lanetz Living! McCalls 3660 Retro 1950s Rockabilly Instant Peekaboo Dress. It says Paper pattern is all one piece. Pin to fabric and cut complete dress instantly. (No more pesky seams, hems, closures, facings?)

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Latter-Day Flapper September 16, 2009 at 8:44 am

Brunette: Could happen, if you had good natural curls and the right product. Ive known girls with that hair.Blonde: Classic Texas Sweetheart. Achieved by any means necessary–wig, add-ons, gallons of hairspray, whatever it takes.Redhead: Bumpit?You know these girls are singlehandedly keeping the chick lit genre in publication.

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Kristen September 16, 2009 at 8:51 am

my friend i will SEND you some sees (we seem to have a ton of stores in west LA)! …but I would need your address. :)love the ruffles.

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Melissa September 16, 2009 at 9:57 am

They look like Maggie, Carolyn, and Vicky from Dark Shadows.Ive been experimenting with clip-on hairpieces myself; there are some pretty real-looking ones out there.

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SewBissy September 16, 2009 at 10:59 am

I just heard you on the This American Life episode about frenemies! You did such a great job.

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lucitebox September 16, 2009 at 11:06 am

What? No Sees Candy?! That just aint right, Erin!Um…I have the TAL podcast ready for a listen today during my dog walks. Cant wait.

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Cookie September 16, 2009 at 11:34 am

I have six kittens perhaps I could affix one a day to my head? I dont think they will like it Have you considered a snood? You might even be able to fit two in there. Just try to match their color carefully.

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Hazel September 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm

It WAS the day-job hairstyle for some although the ruffles on the dress would have been frowned upon. Took AGES to get ready for work in those days.

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Theresa September 16, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Cookie,I have two perfectly matched orange kittens! Now I just need s snood. mamma cat has been weird and moving them around in weird places. I finally figured out she wanted to be under my desk, but that wasnt a good idea. i made a nice little kitty cave next to my desk with a mesh pop laundry basket, a chair and fabric form my stash to make a privacy tent shes happy now. the kids are sleeping in the cave and she is sleeping on the chairs.Antonio Sue: I love the instant dress. I wish it were in my size. I am recently obsessed with instant dresses.

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Leslie September 17, 2009 at 7:44 am

Of course, this is a Junior Petite dress….Im thinking the teeny boppers wore these dresses to parties. And covered up much more skin than todays highschoolers do!

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anthrokeight September 17, 2009 at 9:51 am

Given how much work that hair apparently took to maintain, I am wondering… how on earth did anyone ever get up to the kind of No Good that was Good Fun, involved parking in Large Muscle Cars, and in my experience ends up with me Mussed and Smiling and Needing to Comb my Hair?I think these hairstyles were invented by nuns, as was the yellow pages phone book.

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anthrok8 September 17, 2009 at 9:57 am

What? Erin is the Erin the prologue on TAL this week? How did I miss that? HOW?Youre so much cooler than everything anywhere already AND THEN youre on TAL?!

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Cookie September 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Oh dear. I just noticed my hair/wig is styled pretty much like Reds…complete with the bumper bangs. Sometimes we dont see whats right in front of us!

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Theresa September 17, 2009 at 2:12 pm

oh cookie!

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saphir September 17, 2009 at 7:23 pm

The blonde is, without doubt, Cloris Leachman (as Phyllis on the Mary Tyler Moore show).

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Joni September 18, 2009 at 6:10 am

Kittens in a snood! This is the best blog EVER.

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propriatress September 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm

another vote for Those Are Real Hairdos Alive In The South, and some parts of Tacoma, generally south Tacoma….I was a girl in those days, and I had some of those dos…my mom used to send me to the beauty parlor once a week from 4th grade thru 6th grade. After that, I discovered long hippie hair…and never looked back…..yah, I must listen to TAL for Erin.

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Cookie September 22, 2009 at 11:24 am

My mom almost always wore her hair in a twist. She said she chose the style not to achieve any particular effect, but to avoid all the fuss of that era. She couldnt imagine anything more boring than being trapped under a hot hair dryer in a salon. Looking back, it kind of goes along with one of the dictates of Norman Norell: Its not enough to find the problem and avoid it. Elegance is magic. The problem, presto, has to become the solution. (See Of Women and Their Elegance by Norman Mailer.)

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Katie Miller September 25, 2009 at 2:16 am

Wow those dresses are great. They sure dont make them like they used to.

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