Another wrap-it-up dress

Butterick 6655

Reader Renee sent this lovely pattern image to me — she's actually made it, and the pattern was her grandmother's.

The pattern envelope reads:

"Make it in a jiffy — then simply slip it over your head, wrap the back to the front and button — you're set for a dozen chores in and out of doors. Carryall pockets are a handy addition. (A) Short cobbler's apron. (B) Coverall."

Renee also helpfully sends us the back of the pattern (have I mentioned lately how much I love you all? I really do)

Butterick 6655

Because I am an evil, horrible person, before I posted this I searched on eBay and found and bought one — in my size, even. I now recommend you do a search on eBay yourself (since I got mine). (See how awful I am?)

The only other one I found online is at SoVintage Patterns … and it's $35.00. I would love to go find Renee's grandmother and tell her that this Saturday knock-around dress pattern now goes for $35. Worth every penny, really, but still!

The nice thing about this version (compared with the the other wrap-around dress, Butterick 4790) is that this one shouldn't have the skirt-riding-up problem that was reported. Oh, and it has POCKETS! Triangular ones!

I think what I like best about these dresses is the implied assumption that you had STUFF TO DO; stuff that might be dirty or messy, but still, STUFF, and you were going to do it, and look good while doing it. And happy. You were going to look happy, too, or at least these women were. I don't see many modern clothes with this assumption … so I have a huge rant building up about the unnecessary disparagement of practical clothing for women. Prepare yourselves …

And I head to Tokyo today and Taipei on Tuesday, so posting might be spotty over the next few days. If you're a recent arrival here at ADAD HQ, may I direct you to the archives, over there on the right? Scroll down …

A great big tease.

Vogue 1955 pattern book

Peggy very nicely sent me the link to this eBay auction, which is for the June-July 1955 issue of Vogue Pattern Book.

I used to collect these old pattern magazines until I realized that all they did was make me covet the patterns, which were then impossible to find. It's not like I could hie myself down to JoAnn's at the $3 Vogue Pattern sale and pick up a couple copies.

Sadly, the one on this page that I really like (4544, lower right hand corner) did not reveal itself to the Questing Robots of Google, nor was it available in the Hanging Gardens of eBay. And the couple others I looked at from the listing images were AWOL from those places, too.

However, if YOU like to torment yourself by drooling over pictures of patterns you probably won't ever be able to find, go ahead and bid. Be my guest. Or if you have a line on Vogue 4544, leave a comment …

Random Walks

McCalls 3053

Do you know what my favorite organizing principle is? (No, not "the pile", although if you've seen my office, that's an excellent guess.) My favorite organizing principle is "random".

"RANDOM is not an organizing principle!" I hear you saying. Well, just because something isn't a GOOD example of a category doesn't mean it doesn't belong to that category. (For instance, 'vomit' is a flavor, it's just not a good one.)

Things are nice and tidy and predictable when they're in categories and folders (and, yes, piles) but I like to choose things arbitrarily. Pick the fourth restaurant on the list and eat there. Opt for the book with the most colors on the cover. Talk to the person carrying the largest bag.

Or, my favorite, choose a random four-digit number and search the eBay vintage pattern category using it. That's how I found this gem, McCalls 3053, and I love it! If this were my size, I'd have bought it already — but it's B32. (Sigh.)

I just love the little button and the tuck that defines the sleeve. I'd probably put a different skirt on it, I don't like a center-front skirt seam, but hey, that's just me. Maybe I'll pick the skirt randomly, and see what happens …

Would someone please throw a party?

ebay item 120144108018

Seriously, would someone throw a party? I know at least five people who need an excuse to wear this dress. We may have to wait a while, because flocked gingham (flocked TAFFETA gingham) isn't really a late-July, early-August kind of thing, but still.

Here are the requirements for the kind of party needed to showcase this dress:

  • grown-up drinks
  • soft lights
  • 'sophisticated' canap├ęs, circa 1955 — e.g., pigs in blankets
  • a nice low armless chair so you can sit and spread out the skirt
  • red lipstick

That last requirement is for the wearer, not the party … not everyone at the party has to wear red lipstick, although it wouldn't hurt. But seriously, that's it. How hard is that?

This dress is from seller Tori at Flashbak58 Bombshell Frocks, and it's a nice larger size … B42,W34!

The only thing is that I'm late posting this so there's only half a day left in the auction (I don't usually like to post things with less than three days to go …). Click on the image to grab your winter party frock now …

My eyes are up HERE

Tocca Dress

This falls squarely under the category "What were they thinking?"

I mean, really. I can't imagine any sane woman buying this dress and expecting not to have to constantly, um, *refocus* the conversation. Or feeling comfortable wearing it any place where she might possibly encounter fourteen-year-old boys.

Of course, if you were of the right cup size to wear this dress sans support, you might enjoy a little bit of optical reinforcement. Maybe. Perhaps. It's a thought.

Aw, hell, who are we kidding? This dress is a train wreck. One caused by the engineer taking his eyes from the track, actually.

The topper, of course, is that the slightly darker image on her right side looks like a third nipple. (Hey! You were thinking it too! Or if you weren't, you are now.)

If you would like to buy this dress (perhaps to film yourself wearing it and the reactions of those around you, as an interesting documentary topic), it's at Nordstroms. It's by Tocca (who should Know Better), and is $319. (As usual, click on the image to visit the catalog page.)

[Thanks to Dianne for the link!]

To the Max(i-dress)!

Malia Maxi-dress

Holly tipped me off that a bunch of eBay sellers are doing a special promo on the maxi-dress through August 8. The dress above is part of the promotion, and you can find other dresses by searching for the label TVMF ("The Vintage Maxi Factor").

Despite hardly ever wearing them, I *love* maxi-dresses. They're so hippie-glamorous. I feel that they should be worn at home, entertaining, with bare feet. There should be something jazzy playing on the stereo (or coming from your iPod), none of the seating should be more than eighteen inches off the floor, and all the drinks should be at least half ice.

All of which would explain why I hardly ever wear maxi-dresses, because all the above prerequisites are hardly ever met, at least for me. But maybe I should relax a few of those conditions, so I could snap up dresses like this. This one is COTTON (a lot of those maxi-dresses are synthetics, which I really don't like) and it's got such a great print! If only it weren't beige … I can't really wear beige, unless I want to practice looking naked and/or invisible. But if you had darker skin than mine (I will NOT say the dread word TAN) this would be gorgeous on you! And look both elegant and effortless at once.

And maybe your feet wouldn't HAVE to be bare … flat colorful sandals would work. No heels, though. Heels with a maxi-dress is Trying Too Hard.

This gorgeous maxi is from the eBay seller nomusicnolife and is B38 … and in great condition! If you are looking for the perfect fancy beach party/casual outdoor wedding-guest dress for this summer, I think this is it.

Make sure you hold one of those froofy parasol-required drinks while wearing it, though. That's one condition I won't waive.

Following up

butterick 6936

Remember the busy-day dress with the fancy pockets, the one I wrote about here? Well, I knew I'd written about it before, and there's the image up above (actual previous post is here).

The bodice on the busy-day dress is different, as I mashed up one from another pattern … this one.

Oh, and if you're still interested in a tape measure (see below), you might want to get a move on … half of them are gone ALREADY! (I know, I can't believe it either.)

So here's the link again, for handy reference:

A Dress A Day: Shameless Commerce

So, one of the things I buy by the dozen are tape measures. Seriously. I have them in every bag, in every coat pocket, in every room of the house … not because I'm an undercover agent for the BIPM, but because I'm a huge proponent of the "measure twice, cut once" school of EVERYTHING. (Although you're supposed to do the "measuring twice" with the SAME tape measure, occasionally I switch it up a bit.)

I am also a proponent of the "measure it once standing in the aisle at the store and then you don't have to try it on!" school of shopping. With a convenient, pocket-sized tape measure, I can avoid struggling into things that fit at the waist but laugh at my hips, or that absolutely, positively, will be too long shoulder-to-waist. So I carry one all the time.

And now, thanks to the wonders of promotional merchandise, you can too! If you click on that image of the tape measure above, you can buy a handy Dress A Day branded tape measure, for only US$5 (including shipping, yep, even internationally! Illinois residents will be charged 6.5% sales tax). This offer good only on planet Earth.

Because I still haven't done anything about the t-shirts, this will be your only chance for a little while to have Official Dress a Day Merchandise. And I only ordered 300 of these, so grab 'em while they're hot!

Three in One

simplicity 2848

Remember the pattern I promised I'd find for the pink dot dress? Well, this isn't it. But it's close!

And better yet, there are THREE of them listed on eBay right now. The one above is B41; click on the image to go to the auction. For B35, click here, and for B37, click here.

You know, if you a see a pattern you like on eBay, it's usually a good idea to search on that pattern company name and number, just to make sure you haven't overlooked a nicer copy, or one in a better size, or just one by a seller you like better. And if you see one you like but it's NOT your size, you should save your search … then eBay will email you when a new one is listed.

I hope this is not stating the obvious, but I went out to give a talk at eBay on Monday and it turned out that perhaps some of the things I think are obvious about eBay shopping are not … anyone else have any eBay tips? You know where the comments are!

Of course, because I was talking at eBay I felt that I had to show them a picture of my most recent eBay purchase … which was this:

Advance 9846

Isn't it lovely? (When I bought it there was at least one more listed, too … )

The Perfect Larger-Size Vintage You've Been Waiting For

Orla Dress

I get quite a few emails from people who are a modern size 14 or 16 and can't find anything vintage they like in their size. "Be patient," I tell them (which is horrible of me, because no one EVER likes to be told "be patient"). "Keep checking eBay, your perfect dress will turn up eventually."

So if you were one of those emailers and you don't bid on this dress (B46), I don't want to hear any more whining from you, young lady. This dress is about as perfect as you'll ever see, and I can't believe Holly's actually selling it (she's lost some weight and it doesn't fit her any longer … of course, if I had this dress hanging in my closet, I'd be tempted to slam back the malteds until it fit me again, too, so I understand).

I don't know where to start with what I love about this dress. The Orla Kiely-ish print? The scallops along the side? The buttons? It's so hard to decide … did I mention that it has a pocket? And that it's lined in red?

If this fits you, you should jump at it, because I will bet you will wear it to pieces (and probably, if you're anything like me, hold on the pieces for years in the fashion equivalent of a reliquary, or like a jar of ashes on the mantel). It's just that kind of dress.

The auction ends Wednesday, so hop to it!