Wrong Menu.

Orvis Liberty Tatum Dress
Mr. Dressaday and I used to go to one particular Cantonese restaurant all the time. (This would be BEFORE it burned down.) The staff held advanced degrees in "surly" and the entire place was decorated in Early Colonial Formica, but the food was sublime — if you ordered it off the right menu. When you went in, they handed you a giant red tabloid-size Standard Chinese Restaurant Menu, with Chop Suey and Egg Fried Rice and whatnot. You were supposed to put that ostentatiously to one side and order off the small red menu, which was really just a bunch of typed pages in a report folder. That was the menu that had Smoked Oysters with Green Onions and Ginger and Crispy Shredded Boneless Chicken.

Anyway, once we recommended this place to someone, and forgot to give them the menu protocol. We figured it was obvious — you'd take one look at the spotless totem menu, and then order from the menu that was stained with black bean and garlic sauce, right? Well, no. So they had the world's worst General Tso Chicken (we actually theorized that perhaps they sent someone out the back door to order it from a Szechuan takeaway place down the block) and reported to us that we were crazy, the restaurant was terrible! What were we thinking?

This is all a very long way of pointing out that when I say I love Liberty prints, I don't mean stuff like this dress. This is the generic General Tso Chicken of Liberty, right here. I mean that I like stuff like this:
Liberty Sholto
or this:
Liberty William
or this:
Liberty Splash

Which are all Liberty fabrics I'm currently coveting.

This dress? It's not horrible, but it's not wonderful, either. It's the sartorial equivalent of mediocre takeaway General Tso Chicken. It's also $50 at Sierra Post Trading Company, a catalog that fascinates me although I never buy anything from it. It's like a J. Peterman bizarro world where everyone cross-country skis instead of staying inside with hot cocoa and really nice cookies, like sensible people. To give you an idea of just how bizarro, the catalog has four pages of socks — and only one of dresses. The day I need ergonomically shaped socks, imported from Ireland, no less, with "2250 loops per square inch," whatever that means, is the day when I officially have nothing significant to worry about. Just linking that took me longer than it usually takes me to actually purchase socks. Including how long it takes me to drive to Target. (And I know, I know, you hiker people are all going to inundate me with stories about how if you hadn't had EXACTLY THOSE SOCKS, you would have ohmigod DIED of HYPOTHERMIA, forreals, but instead your feet were warm and dry and you ate some gorp in good health. It's okay. I believe you.)

So: to recap:
All Liberty is not good; you want the stuff off the special menu.
I wish Hong Min would find a new location in Chinatown, already.
Socks are funny. Especially geeky socks.

0 thoughts on “Wrong Menu.

  1. My question is, where do you buy your fabric? All I have in my medium-sized midwestern city is lame craft stores that don’t really expect people to sew their own clothes. Online shopping is such a crapshoot, because you can’t feel the fabric and you never know if your monitor really has the color right. How is a person supposed to sew?


  2. Anonymous (the first, sockless one), probably your best bet is to do searches on the net and then start a good relationship with the companies which will mail you swatches. Most times you’ll have to pay for them, sometimes you won’t. I just bought a bolt of very nice black silk habotai (it was 8mm and the price was right) from Rupert Gibbon & Spider, who will send you swatches; I bought a bolt of lovely white cotton voile, less than 2 oz., from Dharma Trading; fabrics-store.com has really good deals on linen; fashionfabricsclub.com has daily specials.Not to belabour the obvious, but have you checked the phone book for your city for all fabric stores, and not just the areas you know? The poorer sections of the city are the areas most likely to still have real fabric stores; so are various ethnic sections (if your city has a Chinese or an Indian section, for instance). Failing that, check the nearest accessible larger city to you and see what its phone book has to offer (and by “accessible,” that can mean “get to by bus or train for those of us who don’t drive”). Don’t forget to check places that sell primarily upholstery fabric, which can be fabulous in its own right. I know it’s a safari for me when I go to the fabric area down here; it’s a couple of buses, and I carry a small totebag which holds a folded-up huge duffelbag for bringing back my treasures.And there’s always cannibalization; maybe there’s a thrift store which carries curtains, or silk or wool garments that can be reutilized.


  3. Ok, my eyesight isn’t that great even with fairly new glasses, and the image is blurry, but on the close-up zoom of the fabric detail on that dress…Are those screaming baby heads on those flowers?


  4. well, I’m really outin the cold here. First of all, I like the dress, I like the shape and the fullness drawn into the waist. Then, I don’t know what habotai is, 8mm or otherwise. I like nice socks, but don’t think that makes me a sock snob, and I don’t like gen chung chicken OR oysters and green peppers…Sorry, guess I’m at the wrong meeting…betsy


  5. Betsy, habotai is also known as china silk. 8mm is “8 momie”, which is a way of designating the weight of a silk (8mm habotai is what you’d expect in a lightweight plain weave silk scarf, and is often used to line silk or wool garments, which is what I bought it for), I don’t eat oysters, and I wear men’s socks (dockers, black) with my boots, and I like the fabric, although I couldn’t wear that particular dress.It’s only the wrong meeting if it doesn’t interest you.


  6. First of all I must say gawd I miss the strawberry chicken that I used to get at a chinese reasturnt in Edinburgh Scotland, when I lived there. 2nd love the hot air balloon fabric. 3rd I live in Crappyville, just like anonymous I have some lame craft stores & 2 quilting stores. Thankyou La belladonna for the info I will check out these places. Alas Iam not near any large cities & my upholstery plases only carry upholstery I know case I have been to every one of them when I moved to Crappyville 5 yrs ago. on the socks I wear fun socks I have shopping socks, shamrock socks, jack daniels socks & tipsy tottie socks and the list goes on!! Loads of brite colors they cheer me up I guess. I just bought some yellow cotton eyelet lacey socks they are soft gathered around the ankles I love them. I had choc-a-holic socks I seem to have lost them. I Love some of Liberty prints but some just dont work for me.


  7. Just browsing around earlier, and saw some nice dresses… Thought I’d post the links here, though I don’t know if you’d like them or not. I figure either way, even if you dislike them, looking at dresses is fun, and might give you things to think about!http://www.victorianmaiden.com/onlineshopping/catalogue/dress/anet/anet_op_m.jpghttp://www.victorianmaiden.com/onlineshopping/catalogue/dress/box_op/box_op_a.jpghttp://www.marymagdalene.jp/catalog/dress/mineop_05.jpghttp://www.marymagdalene.jp/catalog/dress/gcwop_06.jpghttp://www.marymagdalene.jp/catalog/dress/beaop_02.jpgMy own opinion?Parts of that gingham one (fourth link) I really like (the middle of the dress, mainly – the shape of the bodice, the piping, the bow) but I do wish it had less ruffles. They’re too busy, IMHO.I like the first grey one a lot, too. Not sure about the lower bow, though.


  8. i could see the pictured dress working better sleevless with a yellow sashy tie belty thing perhaps. but then i saw the close up of the fabric, and now not so sure…


  9. I’m TOTALLY kicking myself right now – I’m on my way BACK from London, where each and every one of those Liberty prints are on clearance at Liberty!!! I got a meter of the hot air balloons in blue, and some other prints… but I wish I had known!! Do you have a UK contact? They have *tables* of bolts at 50% off. It’s glorious.


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