raw materials

The pattern is only a quarter of the dress, really. A dress is made up of four parts: the pattern, the fabric, the making, and the wearing. If any are off, then you really don't have a whole dress — you have a fractional dress.

Lately I've been focusing more on the patterns than the other three parts. It's not that I don't have a big enough fabric stash to clothe a small ZIP code, it's more that I'm not finding a match between the fabric I've got and the patterns I want to make.

For the dress I posted yesterday, I'm thinking of this vintage cotton fabric, which I bought last night on eBay, from someone in Sussex (and yes I'm getting slapped by both the exchange rate AND the shipping but it's still less than $10/yard):
cerise fabric

I'm also thinking of this fabric (click on it to see the equilter.com page), which has giant 6" dandelions on it. dandelion pink
It's also available in a cream/spice/garnet colorway but the picture there (at jcarolinecreative.com) is very small, although their prices are better.

Now back to work so I can get some time to sew!

Next in the queue

Advance 8556
I think I have to make this next. You know, when I have any of that mythical "sewing time" I keep talking about. I bought it on Ebay, and, well, just look at it! The little sleeves (I think I'm getting tired of kimono sleeves), the high round jewel neck with the deep vee, the pegged narrow skirt … although, you know, there's a better than even chance I'll slap a circle skirt on it. Just because.

I'm thinking a crisp brown linen, perhaps. There's always bright pink cotton pique, of course. Gray gabardine? Red shantung? What I really want would be a heavy Liberty twill, but I'm fresh out.

I probably will make the version on the left, but here's a close-up of the right-hand view, with the bow:

Advance 8556

The bow, it's growing on me. What if it were in a contrast fabric? Hmmm ….

Click on the top image to see the pattern envelope in Enlargo-Vision.

Sharp Intake of Breath

Ceil Chapman Dress

Did you go "ohhhhhh!" when you saw this? If not, are you awake? Go get another cup of coffee. I'll wait.

This very nicely sized (B38/W29) dress is $350 at memphisvintage.com (click on the picture to check out the site, and many other wonderful pictures of this dress). This is by Ceil Chapman, who was supposedly Marilyn Monroe's favorite designer — can you see why?

Memphisvintage.com has quite a few other dresses that are well worth your time — like this brown one (which I am so copying!) and this cherry-print one (I would commit at least a misdemeanor for four yards of that fabric!) and this magenta one. (I think one of the Problems of the World Today is this: not enough magenta. Heck, I don't even remember seeing magenta crayons lately.)

And in housekeeping news, I figured out the archives were broken, AND I fixed them. (No half-measures here, we're a full-service blog here at A Dress A Day.) Also, I've added a couple more links to that little list over on the right. If you have any more you'd like me to add, just drop me a line …

In addition, I'm looking for a good piece of royalty-free clip art to start making A Dress A Day swag … suggestions appreciated! (Does *not* have to be free, just royalty-free. And, of course, dress-related.)

Comes with free tinfoil hat!

antiradiation dress

This dress will, according to the ebay listing:

Protect pregnant women from miscarriage and potential birth defects caused by electromagnetic radiation
Protect people working in a high electromagnetic radiation environment from potential physical and mental diseases
Filter 99.99% – The highest reduction rate available
Filter within 1MHz ~ 1GHz – The widest frequency spectrum available

I hate that people are selling this nonsense and preying on hormonally unbalanced people. (At five months along I woke up in the middle of the night and nearly talked my husband into taking me to the emergency room RIGHT THEN to get a lead exposure blood test. It can get crazy. I know.) I mean, sure, don't let your fetus talk on the cell and keep yourself away from kryptonite, but really, this is a bit nuts.

antiradiation dress2

Look! ACTUAL TIN FOIL! And you thought it was just the Power of Plaid that protected the Unborn!

The free tinfoil hat is a secret special offer. You need to use the special code "RUKIDDING" to get it. Don't forget!

(By the way, this is the kind of thing you get when you search for "computer dress". And I was really hoping for either 1) a dress for a computer or 2) a dress made with a computer print. And this is what I get. Sigh.)

all ye know on Earth and all ye need to know

black 50s collar dress
Frankly, I'm only showing you the top of this dress because that's all you need to know. The skirt could be finished with blaze-orange pom-pom trim, and you should still want this dress. (I exaggerate only slightly.) Click on the image to go to this dress's listing on http://www.fashiondig.com, which is archaeological in the best possible way. In that "omg we found King Tut's tomb!1!!!1" way. Without any pesky curses (so far). Anyway, check it out. (The site had six pages of 1950s dresses alone!)

This particular one is B38/W30 and $75. It's hard to find a good black vintage dress in top condition — obviously, because if it's flattering at all, whoever owned it first probably wore the hell out of it. I have one that I treasure, made of a fabric so stiff it can stand on its own in Chicago winds, with velvet-trimmed pockets. I imagine that the first owner died unexpectedly immediately after purchasing it (perhaps even on the way home from the shop), and that her distraught husband kept everything exactly as she had left it for, oh, fifty-five years. Which is patently untrue, and actually kind of creepy, but that's what I like to think.

I'm sure nothing like that is involved in the backstory of this dress. I'm sure it was a freak landslide in the middle of the night that buried Miss Tammy's Frock Nook, preserving all the clothes inside perfectly until the construction of a new highway bypass brought them to the attention of FashionDig. Absolutely.

Coincidentally, $423 is also what it costs to repair your retinas!

ebay item 8305987417
It will probably surprise no one that Roberto Cavalli wouldn't ever make my list of favorite designers. In fact, he might not even make my list of designers. Maybe if I kept a list of embellishers, he'd be on it. Or possibly a list of vandals.

Take (please!) this horrific dress, which puts the lie to "too much is never enough." "Too much" passed "enough" about three miles back, with this one. There are only three excuses for wearing this dress, and two of them involve Guantanamo Bay. The other is if you've legally changed your name to "Arabella Moonbeam Wolfchild" and insist that people call you that.

I couldn't bring myself to run the picture at full size, so if you're wearing protective glasses, click on it to go to the original site. The original retail price was $670, now on special offer for $423!

Glorious by name, glorious by nature

ebay item 8305987417
This dress is featured (for only $85!) at Glorious Vintage (click on the image to visit and see more pics of this dress). Despite having an appalling website (and I've made some appalling websites in my time, don't think I haven't), Gloria has some good stuff, like this dress, and is well worth your time. Also, she takes good pictures, which makes up for bad navigation any day of the week.

This dress is full-length, with lovely pleats and a downright antidepressant print. I almost bought some very similar, slightly-less-bright fabric last week, myself. Perhaps I can feel autumn creeping up, and am trying to hold on tight to summer with both hands? Nah, that couldn't be it. (It's too damn hot, for one thing.)

Things I love about this dress (besides the fabric): the deep vee neck; the midriff band; the long skirt; and the foofy cuffs (you'll have to go to the site to see those last two). If I were only a few inches taller, I'd pull the trigger and buy this one.