Why not plaid?

Remember this pattern?

McCalls 9215

Well, I really wanted to try it out, AND I really wanted to make a new dress to wander around the Renegade Craft Fair in, AND I had a bunch (as in, more than six yards) of this weird yellow-and-gray plaid fabric I wanted to use, and … well, I did this:

yellow plaid dress

Here's a bigger view:

yellow plaid dress

And here you can see the almost-matched plaid at the center front:

yellow plaid dress

I want to make this again as it was fast (I cut it out in about an hour, and it took about three hours to sew; if I weren't doing plaid it would probably take less time) and fairly easy, and fun to wear. I cut the front bodice on the bias, so that the plaid would purposefully not match at the waist seam. I think it would look better with a belt (I'm planning to try to find the gray patent belt Summerset bought at Target for her shirtdress).

Other than cutting the bodice on the bias, the only other change I made was substituting a center back invisible zipper (running from about the bra-strap line to 6" below the waist) instead of the side snap placket the pattern calls for. It wasn't fun to set in, but by moving the zipper to the center back, I could put in pockets on both sides of the skirt, instead of the one-sided pocket the pattern allowed.

Next time I make this I'm going to lengthen the bodice by about an inch, and widen the sleeve a bit to accommodate my, um, muscular upper arms. I'm also going to try to figure out why the shoulder seam was a bit forward of the top of the shoulder when I was wearing it. Something was pulling, but I can't figure out what!

My camera ran out of juice before I could shoot the buttons in the back, but they were just plain plastic yellow buttons, anyway. I could have sworn I had some lovely gray buttons in my stash, but they managed to disappear.

The best part of this dress was the fun of applying the bias edging to the neck and sleeves. I love doing that. And although the neck is pretty high, I found it quite comfortable.

(If you saw the BurdaNews post yesterday, I'm wearing this dress in that picture, with a gray cardigan.)

All in all, it was probably not the Best Idea Ever to make a brand-new pattern (and one where I made so many little changes right off the bat) in PLAID, but, hey, why not? If something's too easy there's no fun in it, right?

I Don't Know What You People Are Thinking

Neiman Marcus dress

Seriously. Holly at LuciteBox Vintage has had this up as a Buy-It-Now on eBay for like, a week now and it's STILL THERE. I was looking at my list of to-be-blogged topics and thought "There's no way that dress is still up," but when I went to check, it was. Sheesh! What is up? Is everyone still getting back from Labor Day vacation? Are you still trying to get that last week of wear out of your summer sandals? Does everyone have the horrific head cold I came down with?

I mean, check out the back:

Neiman Marcus dress

That alone should have made you hit that handy "Buy It Now" button.

Anyway, it's navy, B36/W26, and just plain gorgeous, and pretty affordable at $74.

Everyone should have a very structured dark dress for the days where you Mean Business. This is a brook-no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners dress. I have one that is black crepe and insanely severe; but it can go from lady-scientist to hardcore-vamp with a change of shoes and a slash of red lipstick. This is one of those dresses, and believe me, once you have a dress like this you feel a renewed sense of confidence. It's like having a $100 bill in your pocket, an unmetered parking space, a new pair of kickass shoes, and a fantastic idea, all at once. Even when you're not wearing it. Just having it in your closet, ready to pull out in case of emergency, is enough.

So why is this one still available? I don't know. I am going to have to fall back on my traditional there's-no-good-explanation explanation: sunspots.

Renegade Craft Fair Roundup!

I made it down to the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago yesterday, and it was great! I think I hit every booth (and gave away a lot of A Dress A Day tape measures) … I'm sorry if I missed you!

Where to start … the first thing I saw that I really wanted (and of course it was sold out) were these hedgehog notecards (so erinaceous!) from Papered Together. Want. Am watching her store to see when they come back in stock!

hedgehog cards

There were so many great print/stationery/card people at the fair, I had to restrain myself from buying a file cabinet's worth of cute paper. I did buy a postcard for my husband from Rar Rar (unfortunately not on their etsy site) that was a lyric from a Kanye song: "Chi-Town, We gon' show em how we get down" in fancy old-timey type. And I bought this from MamaRobot.com:

mama robot

I plan to frame it and put it in my son's room. So cute! (Although also, now that I look at it again, slightly scary!)

Other stuff I coveted, in randomish order:

I also got to talk with Nora and Benedikte of BurdaStyle, so expect some fun things to come out of that, too!

I did not buy any dresses at the fair, but I did make a new one to wear. I'll post it in the next couple days …

Friday Shoeblogging

jack purcells

Those new to the blog are probably unaware of my devotion to the One Perfect Sneaker, the Converse Jack Purcell. (I still wish I'd bought these.)

I bought the above pair a couple weeks ago on eBay, but when they arrived, they turned out to be the wrong size! (The box was mislabeled. Oh noes!) Luckily the seller (DesignerAthletic) was able to exchange them for me, and my right-sized pair arrived yesterday.

Are they, or are they not, the perfect autumn sneaker? They're teal-frackin'-velvet, people! I am going to wear them with an orange corduroy skirt and a fuzzy brown sweater over a teal t-shirt and be blissfully happy scuffling through the falling leaves.*

*For those readers in Australia, I suggest buying a pair now and waiting to wear them until your autumn.

Tiers of Joy

Mina sent me a link to the Spring 08 Derek Lam shows. I've not been paying any attention to any of the Spring shows, as obsessed as I've been with figuring out what I'm going to sew this fall, but these dresses are just wonderful:

Derek Lam Spring 08

And check out this one, too:

Derek Lam Spring 08

I'm not sure if I like that deep berry for spring, but I do like the style. I'd do this in shades of blue, shading from pale on top to a really bright band on the next-to-bottom tier, then pale again for the bottom tier. Something very ocean-y and summery, in voile or china silk, not too heavy.

I love that the pockets are in the second tier from the top. Very practical.

And do you know what? If you're going to leave a comment that all those tiers would make you look OMG FAT!!!!, please don't bother. There is more to life than the bogus imperative to minimize your apparent body weight at all times. Just for a minute, put down that burden, okay? Think about how that gorgeous fabric would FEEL. Think about how it would SOUND. Think about how you would MOVE in it, where you would GO in it, what you would put in the POCKETS, even, and not on some imagined optical illusion of a few more inches here or there. Now imagine feeling like that all the time — imagine the question "Does this make me look fat?" didn't exist. How would that change your life? What would you do differently? Would it get you to wear this beautiful dress?

If you're a size XS …

… then this dress, in this color, is on sale for $49 at JCrew. (Click on the image to visit the webpage.)

J Crew Dress

If you're not an XS, this dress probably won't work for you, although it is also available in L (but only in black and 'bright poppy'). (But if you're not an XS, those pesky breasts might get in the way.) But if you're small on top/small all over, this dress is so incredibly cute. It's cotton-rayon. No pockets, of course, but I'm pretending I didn't see that. Worn with a different-colored tank top underneath, of course. I'd do turquoise, or yellow, and definitely add a chunky mid-length necklace.

There's this color, too, also for the XSs among us:

J Crew Dress

I have to admit to a love-hate relationship with JCrew. They have so much cute stuff, in so many gorgeous colors (even if they are called froofy names like 'fir' and 'aubergine') and nearly all of it seems geared toward that clenched-jaw Katherine Hepburn phenotype: tall, narrow, angular. Not surprising, given their prepster-chic stylings, but disappointing to those of us not nearly so jawbone-and-elbow-y. Sadly, I haven't bought anything from them in years that got more than a cursory wearing. Yet still I look!

Be Afraid!


Oh, yes, for nefarious reasons of my own I have purchased TWO HUNDRED YARDS of rick-rack trim (from Threadart, on eBay).

Why? Well, that's for me to know, and you to find out, as the elementary-school kids say. Let's just say that if it works it will be dreadful and exhilarating in equal amounts. I hope.

If you turn up your computer speakers you'll be able to hear my evil-genius cackling.

Don't worry, though. I have no plans to blow up the moon. At this time.