Finally looked at the Golden Globes pictures

huh? who?

I don't know who this guy is, and I certainly don't want to tread on the toes of Go Fug Yourself, but really, what a jerk to drag that woman out of the house in her nightgown! She didn't even get to grab her robe. And to make her carry her Maltese like that, too! Poor dog!

It's a perfectly nice nightgown, but it's not an evening gown. Or even a "late afternoon" gown, considering when the Golden Globes are taped. If it weren't for the wide bands of "oh, I'm so sleeeeepy" lace, MAYBE I could see it as an evening gown. But those shoes? HAVE TO GO.

Seven things I [hate | love] about sewing

Seven Things I Hate About Sewing

  1. When I have exactly, and I mean exactly, one half-yard less fabric than I need to make the dress I want to make.
  2. Bad pattern instruction writing, so incomprehensible that it would make more sense if it read: "At this point, close your eyes and wish hard for the dress to be completed by the brownies. (Note: you will need a bowl of milk.)"
  3. Spending five hours on something (including visualization/hoping time) and having it turn out to be a very large and brightly colored dishrag.
  4. Knowing I have a [bodkin|bias-tape maker|pair of pinking shears|package of turquoise seam binding|etc.] somewhere, but not being able to find it when I need it.
  5. Making something that looks unexceptionable to the untrained eye but knowing that the stripes aren't matched exactly or that there's a bobble at the top of the zipper placket or that there's a ripple in the hem. *I* know. (Thankfully, I've mostly overcome the urge to Tell People About Garment's Blindingly Obvious Flaw when complimented on something.)
  6. Hemming.
  7. Mending. (Mending isn't sewing. You might as well ask a automotive engineer to fix your alternator. They probably can — they just don't WANT TO.)

Seven Things I Love About Sewing

  1. The meditative state that starts after the pattern is laid out and pinned, a state that lasts from cutting out pieces, through sewing and assembly, and often all the way until hemming. I solve a lot of problems unrelated to sewing when I have my hands on the machine and pins in my mouth.
  2. Running mentally through the possible matchups of available fabric and patterns left to be sewn means I am never at a loss for good daydreaming material when waiting in lines.
  3. Saying "This? Oh, I made it."
  4. Never, ever, ever, wearing the same dress as someone else at the party.
  5. Never being held hostage to a particular season's silhouette or color palette … or prices. Last time I spent $300 for a dress, I got married in it.
  6. Fabric stores, both online and brick-and-mortar. (Speaking of which, anyone have a good source for cheapish broderie anglaise? I'm thinking more eyelet for summer …)
  7. Clipping the last stitch and trying on the finished dress for the first time, doing that mental cackle and Hannibal-like muttering of "I love it when a plan comes together." (Somebody tell me I'm not the only one who has internalized that particular bad 80s catchphrase, please! I know I'm the only one who wants to say "so where's the man and the canal?" whenever someone says "That sounds like a plan!")

Secret Lives of Dresses, No. 2

plum velvet dress
She was alone at the hotel bar, and she was smoking, neither of which I think she'd ever done before. She didn't smoke alone, and she didn't sit at hotel bars. And she was drinking, too. Smoking without a cigarette holder, smoking the bar cigarettes and not her own, drinking straight gin and not martinis. Her silver minaudire was open in her lap, and she kept looking at the scrap of paper sticking out of it. It said "Ambassador Hotel, 7:30."

It was 7:35 now.

From where we were we could see the front entrance of the hotel, and she didn't take her eyes from it. Even so, I saw him first, and then I knew why we were there, alone.

Five strides, her heels striking hard on the floor. The drink in his face, followed by the glass smashing on the floor.

"Don't come home tonight," she said. He looked green. "I'm changing the locks. The lawyers will call you in the morning." A look at the floozy on his arm–definitely a floozy, in a lamé dress and a bad wave. "He doesn't have any money, you know. It's all mine. Bad luck for you."

The bartender had her bag and a sympathetic look. "That last drink was on the house," he said, and she almost smiled.

The driver was waiting. He steadfastly pretended she wasn't crying. "Home, ma'am?"

When we got home, the maid took me from her and I was brushed and aired, because I smelled terribly of smoke.

This is the process.

Bottega Veneta Spring 06 dress

1. Fashion magazine arrives.
2. Dress #1 catches eye.
3. Internet search commences.
4. Collection found.
5. Hey, why'd they spend a kajillion dollars advertising THAT dress when THIS one (dress #2) is so much nicer?
6. Post dress #2.

This dress is wonderful — look at how it's cut to take advantage of the stripes. You don't see much of that anymore. And it's from Bottega Veneta, which I've never really paid much attention to, before. (I think their handbags are too fussy.)

For those of you who are curious, this was dress #1:
Bottega Veneta Spring 06 dress
The top dress is so much more striking, isn't it? I liked the general lines of this one, but not the nipple action (I can't think of anyone, personally, who goes out shopping for dresses with the idea "my nipples must be CLEARLY VISIBLE at all times"). Nor did I like the ruffles, which, when mixed with nipples, give that sought-after "trampy milkmaid" look. But hey, there was a midriff band!

I expect to repeat this process several more times this month. I haven't read all the February issues yet.

What I Didn't Buy in Japan

ebay item 6245813093

I had absolutely zero chance to buy fabric in Japan, which was slightly demoralizing. However … eBay to the rescue! It seems as if there are lots and lots of sellers of kimono silk on eBay. This gorgeous piece is 184 inches long, 14 inches wide, and selling for $15 (plus shipping from Japan, which seems to be an improbably low $1.50). There's tons more — silks, cottons, synthetics, and even wools! Entirely new vistas of fabric craziness have opened before me.

What you could do with something not even fifteen inches wide is an exercise left to the reader. Feel free to answer in comments, and please show your work.

You Totally Thought I Was Kidding About Ebay Australia, Didn't You?

ebay item 6242983433
I probably wouldn't be as excited about this pattern if it weren't in French. Now that's a language that has an excellent PR department! I also like the complete insouciance of this pattern. The woman in this dress will take a break from cursing at you like a sailor to put on another coat of red lipstick. The woman in this dress can make a three-course meal in ten minutes from ingredients already in her refrigerator. The woman in this dress never lacks for conversation, and can make the most stolid person in the room light up like the Eiffel Tower on New Year's Eve. The woman in this dress will wear it in the morning with a bandana and flat canvas shoes to walk the dog, and twelve hours later with pearls and heels and a dollop of perfume to the theatre (she never goes to the 'theater', only the 'theatre'). The woman in this dress is conducting three serious flirtations simultaneously, and each of her flirt-ees wants to kill the other two men, messily.

I checked — this seller will ship internationally, and, well, the exchange rate is in your favor. Might want to add eBay Australia to your list of places to check for patterns. Not a lot there, but what's there is plenty cheap.

Japan, Schmapan

simplicity 3556

Yeah, I'm still in Japan and I actually took a picture of a dress in a shop window last night, but I'm worried that being here has corroded my visual sense and that it's not actually a great dress, but instead is just A DRESS, and not the inevitable combo of military-style jacket, knee-length skirt, and knee boots that seems to be the uniform-inspired uniform of the younger women on the train and the street. I can't tell by the women I see in the offices, because they're all (with one exception so far) receptionists and have an actual uniform, not just something that looks like a uniform. Anyway. What I really wanted to say was (courtesy Mary Beth) THERE ARE A THOUSAND NEW PATTERNS at Vintage Martini! Yes, let a thousand projects bloom. Or maybe they're the equivalent of a thousand paper cranes? Whatever. This one above is the first one that caught my eye. Yep, square neck, cute little sleeves, full skirt: it might as well have "Reserved for Erin" on a post-it on the back. But then I saw this one:

Weigel's 1864

I've never seen this brand before! It's Australian! (New thing to search for, huh?) And I love that yoke …
But then, there was this:

Vogue 794

Game over. Look at that! I don't think I'm going to buy it, because I'm not sure I could make it, but man oh man, is it going on my "life list" of patterns I've seen.
Now I have to go put on my uniform, I mean my suit, for my meetings today. But I'll be thinking about this dress.