Linktastic Friday: Helpfulness Edition

Modes Royale 1594

Jen helpfully sent me the above link — isn't it fantastic? You don't usually get vampiness AND pockets in the same pattern. (Which has never made sense to me: where do those mankillers keep their red lipstick and extra perfume? I don't see a handbag in this picture, do you?) (It's being listed by JuniperFare Vintage Wears on eBay, click the image to visit the listing.) Jen is also a member of the EVintage Society, check them out!

Libby helped me find Simplicity 2222, which I don't even think she knew I was looking for:


Allison made a prom dress for a bowling pin. That's all I'm gonna say; you need to check out that link for yourself.

Rita at Cemetarian writes about what to do with incomplete patterns. What do you do with your incomplete patterns? (Remember there's always Pattern Rescue, too!)

Lisa sent this astounding raffia-embroidered 1960s dress. If you have a fancy beachy party coming up, you need to visit this auction.

Elle sends a link to, which supposedly lets you enter your measurements and then shops for items that fit your shape. (I vaguely remember ita wanting something like this a long time ago …) I put in my measurements and I am something called an "M" shape. Since "M" is one of my favorite letters of the alphabet (mmmmmm) this pleased me … but I didn't find any cardigans I liked in the shopping section. D'oh! (For more on bodyshapes, you might want to re-read this excellent guest post by La BellaDonna.)

Penny sent this dress, which I love. I'm pretty sure I have this pattern, though, so I'm sharing. Isn't that helpful of me?

Carla did a great interview with Trista of Sugardale. You remember Trista from a previous Linktastic Friday, I'm sure …

Oh, and apropos of yesterday's steampunk mention, Jonquil found this great clock-parts fabric. I really want a dress of this, and every time I wear it I will look impatiently at my watch for added effect!

Kaufman Clock Fabric

If you have run out of things to read on the Internets, Michelle (from Patterns From The Past) very helpfully sent this GIANT LIST of sewing blogs. It's a rainy Friday here; if it's a rainy Friday where YOU are …

Requestions (I was going to type "requests" but my fingers decided to follow through with "ions" and it looked funny, so, now, we're using the word "requestions" here at Dress a Day HQ):

Can anyone help Cat find a good kimono pattern (that isn't Folkwear, she knows about that one)? Please leave a comment …

Kate is looking for a pattern for those Hawaiian-y 1950s halter dresses (like this one). Do you know of a pattern for these? I know you can buy reproductions, but she wants to make her own.

Can anyone help Laura? This is her question:

I don't mean to bother you, but I can't seem to find info and if anyone would know, it would be you or your readers… No matter what I do, my skirts always turn around on me. I walk, they shift, I run, they shift, I sit still, they shift. Circle skirts, straight skirts, etc, and always counter clockwise if looking from above. I used to think it was interference from my purse, but it happens even if I don't carry one. I figure I must walk unevenly or something, but do you know any way to get it to stay put? I've tried pinning them to my bike shorts (works for circles, but not straight skirts – the skirt still turns below the pin line). Any ideas?

I would like to know that answer, too … for me it seems to happen when I'm wearing a bigger size than I ought to (some vintage I will MAKE fit me by sheer force of will, right?).

Still about skirts, Sandy is looking for a Halston skirt pattern, which she explains as "the skirt is actually like two in one—there is an inner skirt which is only fastened at the waist, so you can turn the whole thing over and have a second skirt." Do you know about this? Leave a comment, please!

Also, it has come to my attention that the "search" function on this page is BROKEN. Like, returns no hits for "Duro" or "shirtdress" broken. I'm not sure why … but if you need to find where I wrote about roller-skating, or buttonholes, or that dress with the crows and the megaphones, or whatever, use Google, and type [YOUR QUERY TERM HERE] That will limit Google's search to just A Dress A Day.

Wanted: Airship Hostesses

So, for a little while now, India and I have been trading links to patterns for airship-hostess dresses. (You know, what the flight attendant on the dirigible wears?)

Like this:

Advance 5220

Or this:

Vogue 1362

Or this:

Advance 5368

[Thanks to Beth B. for the last link]

I mean, I've found SPACE dirigible-crew dresses before, but for some reason these above are more suited to atmospheric travel.

What makes an airship-hostess dress, you ask? I think it's a combination of asymmetry, buttons, and a longish A-line skirt. Interesting collars and pockets are good, too. If the dress would look good with a tiny pillbox hat with a cockade, that's another plus.

I don't know why I'm so tickled by these dresses. Maybe it's the allure of steampunk (I like the idea of an art-deco kind of steampunk), or maybe it's that I've been flying a lot lately and am wistful for the idea of quiet, elegant airship travel (now! with fewer Hindenburgs!). Who knows why … all I know is that I want to see more of them! Suggestions welcome.

(Oh, and btw, India, I'll have you know, is so deeply saturated with win that she made this Flickr set: A Daily Hint From Paris. Take a look … there are only a baker's dozen or so right now so it won't kill your WHOLE morning.)

Quick! Check this out …

Lucite Box Vintage splatter-print dress

You have GOT to go take a look at this splatter-print 50s dress that is up at Holly's new Lucite Box Vintage site. For one thing, it's a hard-to-find size: B40-W32-H44. For another, it's cotton. In addition: it has pockets! (Plus it's only $75!) And the print … I love that print.

This would be a great dress to wear to a wedding (as a guest) — throw a little cardigan over it, and you're set to go to anything from a noon wedding outdoors (add big white sunglasses) to something cocktail-y (add rhinestone jewelry or serious shoes).

I love these sheath-y dresses with the interesting necklines; they're sexy without being OVERTLY so. This dress shows no cleavage, eschews transparency, and isn't split up to THERE, but it's still sexy … without needing thong underwear. When did we start thinking that a mere cumulative total of exposed skin was enough? It isn't.

But don't stay here listening to my grousing — anyway, I've got to go yell at some kid to get offa my lawn — go take a look and decide for yourself …

Once more, from the top

One of the side effects of learning Summerset's invisible-zipper-and-side-seam-pocket trick is that it's making me re-evaluate a lot of my all-time favorite patterns for pocketosity. Like this one, for instance:

McCalls 8858

Before I knew the trick, this poor dress was limited to just ONE side-seam pocket — obviously an injustice. But now that I can have bilateral pocket symmetry, it was obviously time to make it again:

green windowpane dress

Oops, looks like I got it a little twisted on the dress form, there. I swear it actually hangs straight. Here's the new, improved, invisible side zip, with pocket:

green windowpane dress

Notice that I didn't match up the waist seam exactly on either side of the zipper. I must also disclose that, while I was wearing the dress, nobody mentioned this. (Very kind of them.)

Here's the OTHER pocket, the "normal" one:

green windowpane dress

I didn't have QUITE enough fabric to cut this dress out according to the layout — in fact, I had to piece the back bodice, which is supposed to be cut on the fold:

green windowpane dress

I also cut the skirt sections on the fold, instead of giving them a center seam. This adds 1.25" to each skirt piece, which, miraculously, is just the amount I need to enlarge the waist by so that it fits comfortably. (Don't forget to add 5/8" to the bodice sides, too, if you want this to work!)

This is almost certainly going to be made again, and soon. I'm happy with how it turned out, but next time I'm going to make one change — I'm going to make the neckline facing in a lighter fabric — the facing in the fashion fabric, especially here (this is a fairly heavy cotton sateen) is just too bulky, see the little lumpiness on the left shoulder back:

green windowpane dress

Even with all the fussing about, cutting some things on the fold and not others, adding pockets (the pattern doesn't include pocket pieces), putting in an invisible zip, etc. etc., this is a remarkably fast pattern to make — even with hemming it by hand (and that's a LOT of skirt), it was still under four hours, total.

(And possibly I'll even iron the next version before I take the pictures.)

Busy, Busy, Busy

Advance 9511

I'm really, really busy this week so I thought I'd look for a pattern picture that also had a lot going on. But the more I look at this one, the more I can't figure out what the heck is going on here (and the more I like this dress).

First off, it's rare for there to be a random guy in a pattern picture. (For all that people think the clothes of the 1950s were all about dressing for me, you'd think that there'd be more blatantly goggling men in the pattern pictures.) And what is this Random Guy doing? Is he painting or drawing the model? If so, why does the model in the picture have a completely different hairstyle and different sleeves? Is it really a picture, or a door opening from another dimension, from whence Bad Fuchsia Dress lady has come to wreak havoc? Or is she saving her past self from the predations of Random Guy (who also has a chandelier of some sort growing out of his ears, he should have that taken care of), wearing a similar dress to reassure herself? [Making note: if ever need come from the future to save my past self, wear favorite clothes to project air of trustworthiness.]

And, perhaps most puzzlingly: where's the other legs of the chair? And why isn't it falling over, since PastSelf/LongSleeveLady is putting some weight on it?

Only questions, with no answers. Can anyone help?

(If you want the pattern, not answers, click on the image to visit the eBay auction.)

Etsy's loss is your gain

Jace (at Gremly Girl) recently let me know of a change to Etsy's search that I wasn't aware of … the new default Etsy search is for handmade items only:

etsy search bar

So if you search, say, "fauxlero" on Etsy, without changing the default to "Vintage" … well, you wouldn't get much. Then you would believe there are no fake boleros on Etsy, and, considering how many fake-bolero links I've been sent in the past 24 hours, that's un-possible.

In order to make it worth your while to change the little drop-down in the search box from "handmade" to "vintage" (see below)

etsy search bar

a bunch of Etsy sellers have banded together to offer a special "Buried Treasure" promotion. They're offering 10% off through the end of May to Dressaday readers who put "dressaday" in the message to sellers. The site won't input the discount automatically, so buyers will get a revised Paypal invoice from the seller. (Some pattern sellers offer additional shipping and quantity discounts, which they'll combine with the dressaday discount.)

Here's the list of participating Etsy sellers, in alphabetical order:

Bamabelle — vintage clothing
Enigma Vintage — vintage clothing
Gremly Girl — vintage patterns
Joules — vintage clothing and patterns
Just Picked Vintage — vintage patterns & notions
Pattern Mania — vintage patterns
Pattern Shop — vintage patterns
Pattern Stash — vintage patterns
Sandritocat — vintage patterns

I suggest you take advantage of the discount by perhaps snapping up something like this:

Simplicity 3560

Or this:

Simplicity 3560

It'd be a shame to let those dresses languish, undiscovered and almost undiscoverable, just because Etsy changed their search …

Diegogarcity, Fake Bolero Edition

Does this ever happen to you? One day you notice something odd, or new, or both, and then over the next several days (weeks, months, years) you start noticing the same phenomenon ALL THE TIME. There's a name for this; believe it or not — it's called diegogarcity.

And, anyway, I must have given you all diegogarcity, big time, with the fake boleros, because you are all now seeing them everywhere. Here's a recent submission, from Lorraine (or, seeing as she prefers to be known by her Sewing Conspiracy Drag Name, Dixie S. Hoyt):

McCalls 9756

This one is SLIGHTLY more elegant than some of the other candidates, but it's still fakety-fake-fake.

If you can live with the deception and the tissue of lies, click on the image to visit Woodland Farms Antiques; the pattern's a B39 and $15.

And keep those fake-bolero entries coming, if you would … maybe later we can have a fake-bolero-off. (You know, like a contest, with voting. Because the actual fake boleros DON'T COME OFF.)

A New Skirt!

dragonfly skirt

I made a new skirt over the weekend, surprisingly. There were about fifty gazillion other things I should have been doing (and I came down to the office this morning to find that a deadline which I thought was next Tuesday, was, in fact, this PAST SATURDAY, oops), but when the sewing machine calls, one must listen.

This is some Liberty twill I bought from my old friend Julie at Little Shop of Treasures, on It's called "Enchanted Garden," and here's a closeup:

dragonfly skirt

And yes, it has all my favorite (bright, cheerful) colors.

And I used orange rickrack to edge the pockets:

dragonfly skirt

And an invisible zipper (which I am only lately a convert to):

dragonfly skirt

And of course a bright blue facing for the waistband:

dragonfly skirt

And for the pocket, too:

dragonfly skirt

I used New Look 6410, which I modified to add front scoop pockets. Doing that wasn't hard — I think it worked on the first try, which was nice. I've probably made this skirt two or three times, although never with fabric that I love as much as I love this fabric.

The whole skirt probably took about two and a half hours to make, with about twenty minutes of that time spent looking for a pattern piece that had fallen behind a piece of furniture. (I had the pattern pinned to a corkboard instead of put neatly away, for some reason — probably laziness.) The invisible zipper went in very cooperatively. Once you resign yourself to the necessity of basting (and, in my case, of digging out the screwdriver to change the presser foot shank), invisible zippers aren't really any more trouble than visible ones, and they look so much nicer!

I plan on wearing this skirt with brightly-colored polo shirts with differently-brightly-colored tees under them, and my orange Jack Purcells. At which time it will be really, truly summer.

A Linktastic Friday to End All Linktastic Fridays

No, not really — this is NOT the last Linktastic Friday. But I haven't done one in so long, that I thought ridiculous hyperbole would be justified.

A lot of this post will be on the LIFO (last in, first out). Like this wonderful post by a mom about her daughter's prom dress saga. (Thanks to Jo for the link, and to Patti (the mom in question) for the phrase "I'd eat raw tarantulas in hot sauce [for my kid]".)

Or like this dress:

Butterick 7787

Sent by Una, to add to the "fake bolero club". I kind of want it, even if it is a bit on the obvious side. (Not Dolly Parton-obvious, but still.) [And do you know what is awesome? This blog is the first hit for the Google search "fake bolero".]

Oh, and Jen at MOMSpatterns has offered us another coupon code, so that we can all take advantage of being members of the sewing blog cabal. 20% off from now until May 23, by using the code 'iheartsewing'. In other cabal news, Cherie at Shrimpton Couture is having a 15% off sale through the end of May.

You HAVE to check out this bathing suit up right now at Dorothea's Closet. I mean, REALLY. GO THERE NOW. Look at what the pigeons are doing! And then marvel that somebody's three-martini lunch actually made it into production.

Barb has a new blog about sewing with neckties. And Libby has put her *stunning* necktie dress up at BurdaStyle. It was for her 50th birthday, and she looks magnificent. Happy birthday Libby, and thanks for being an inspiration — I have now penciled in "make necktie dress" for August of 2021!

Lynne says there's a good Little Black Dress exhibit going on in Brighton. Which only makes me sadder that I *won't* be in London this next weekend, as I had hoped. Too much going on here, unfortunately. With any luck I'll be back in the UK soon (and the dollar will recoup some of its oomph against the pound. Perhaps after November?)

Cat sent me a bunch of links to Sartorialist-style street fashion photos from around the world. I really liked the Japan one. Sure everyone is young, and cute, and has an asymmetrical haircut and interesting socks, but that's not a BAD thing.

Did you know some site called Kaboodle (which I never heard of before, and have no idea what they do) is having a contest with Marie Claire magazine, in which they ask you to take a picture of yourself in your favorite spring dress? The winner gets $1000 and a trip to NYC. I've only seen one vintage entry so far, and I haven't really seen much handmade stuff. Mostly sundresses. I think maybe we should all enter. Especially those of us who like to wear vintage, or who are not model-sized … first round of the contest ends June 12. If you enter, let me know and I'll go vote for you!

Or, you know, you could just enter the Pattern Review vintage sewing contest.

To counteract the recent NYT story on the demise of the dress, is a story from the Guardian on how dresses are being reinvented. Thanks to Susan for the link!

In case you were worried I had found a new obsession and not told anyone, here's a shirtdress, sent in by Deb. Check out the collar, it's yummy. And this one, which has CHEVRON POCKETS. Or this one, which has four pockets AND a cute collar.

Deb also sent this. What's that, you ask, hesitant to click on an anonymous link? It's scanned images of the Gazette du Bon Ton! I bet NOW you're clicking, huh? (note: text at site hosting the scans is in Japanese.)

Mary Beth sent a link to Shay's blog, where SHE links to a great set of scans of a 1920s comic, Ella Cinders.

Eirlys sent a link to a thesaurus bracelet that she found on Etsy. Ooh, pretty! Laurie sent this robot clutch purse, which is cute but obviously made for humans. Robot pincers don't clutch, they DESTROY. Plus you keep your robot lipstick and robot keys in your chest plate — everyone knows that.

There's an interesting 2-part interview with the daughter of a 1960s knitwear designer up at Marge's blog. (Warning: site plays music.)

Mindi put her favorite pattern, ever, up on the wiki. Go and marvel. And Lorraine sent a link to a dress that looks like the walkaway dress as reimagined by Loretta Lynn.

Oh, and more Liberty sneakers. Hi-tops this time! You can wear them in your Liberty chair. (Thanks Dory, Eirlys!)

And one more picture before we go, from the wonderful LOLbots:

LOLbot sewing machine

All right — linktime's over — I should really go and get some Actual Work done now, but many, many thanks to all of you who commented on yesterday's post — I was overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity. Thank you!

A Rejoinder and Statement of Principles

I don't usually take the time to reply to negative comments that are left on this blog — why encourage people who are spoiling for a fight? I'm not bothered by their criticism, for the most part (and if it's justified I do try to take it to heart, however unpleasant it may be to do so!). But most of the time replying to negative comments falls under the heading "Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and only the pig enjoys it."

However, there have been a few comments on a recent post which I feel I need to respond to, if only for clarification. A commenter, mainly anonymous, but also signing one comment "7/10 split", suggested that I am a "professional what? writer/ advertisers? whose goal is to sell things", and also a "shill."

For the record: I am not a "professional advertiser". I am a writer, but of a very particular kind.

The same commenter (who may be this blogger) also suggested that I don't sew the dresses that I post here. If you would like to see pictures of ME in the dresses I have sewn (and I admit, I don't often post pictures of myself here because, all things considered, I had a better time in labor — and I didn't have an epidural! — than I do having my picture taken) you can see them in five out of the first six pictures here.
(The dresses shown in that link include a Duro, the pink jellybean dress, the blogiversary dress, the stunt Valentine's Dress, and the yellow-bird dress.)

Whether you enjoy my posts or not, I would like to state unequivocally that I do NOT accept money to post about any particular dress, fabric, pattern, pair of shoes, etc. There is NO payola or kickback scheme in effect on this blog.

For book reviews, I am, as is common practice in publishing, often provided with free copies of the book in question, to review or to give away.

The advertisers on the right-hand side are just that: advertisers. They have no influence on content, and I do *not* ask them for free stuff.

I accept pictorial ads ONLY from people who sell patterns, fabric, or vintage clothes, or are otherwise related to sewing. I must approve the ad before it will run. My ad rates are very low; $25/month (with a minimum three-month commitment, because I'm lazy and don't want to be bothered putting up and taking down ads all the time). I also participate in Google's AdSense program, which are the boxed text ads you see on the page, and in the Amazon Associates program, which gives me a commission on books purchased by Amazon customers who clicked on links to books from this blog. (To give you an idea of the revenue from those two sources; my last "payment" from Amazon was a $35 gift certificate which I used … to buy more sewing books. Google pays every two months or so; I think my last check from them was in the $125 range.)

I have set up "Dress a Day Inc" as a LLC company, so that, if I say something libelous and am sued, the company will be the target of any lawsuit (and not my family). This means I file taxes on all the income from this blog — if there is any, after paying hosting fees to my internet service provider.

As for the comments about the sweater in question, I am doing a little research on the subject; the commenter suggested that the sweater probably cost less than $1 to make, and that all the labor involved was sweatshop labor in Asia. I don't think that's right, given that the cost of a pound of even low-grade cotton is about .71 — that's a pound of unspun cotton. From what I can tell, the spinning of one pound of raw cotton fiber produces 840 yards of yarn. That seems to be on the low end of the number of yards you'd need for a sweater — any knitters want to jump in here? — and the sweater I posted about was 14 gauge, which is a fairly fine knit). So, at least .71 in raw materials, plus the spinning cost, plus the fashioning cost, plus the cost of the buttons — I think it would be hard to get the raw goods cost of this garment under $1. Even leaving aside that the garment is made in China (I called and asked) — there's the cost of the coming up with the design, a job almost certainly done by an American at American wages. (J.Crew employs about 7600 people.) The same commenter said that the sweater I linked to could be found in discount stores for under $20; if, in fact, that is the case — why haven't I found it there? It's not like I haven't been looking! Do you factor the salary of the designer into the cost of the sweater? If not, why not? Do you factor in the jobs of the catalog writers (Americans), shop employees (American and for the stores in Japan, Japanese)? The distribution center employees (in Virginia and North Carolina)? The UPS guy who will bring it to me? (Hi Luis!) The short answer, it seems to me, is that a narrow focus on manufacturing jobs is not helpful; if the company can't manufacture goods at a reasonable price, then all those other jobs I mentioned above — they go away, too. Despite conjecture about how much of the price of the sweater is pure profit, large retail chains have VERY small profit margins — one source puts it at 2%. Another source (from 1998!) puts the apparel profit margin at 5.4% … and given the rising costs of commodities since 1998, I can't imagine that margin has gone up.

I apologize for such a long and tedious post, without even any pretty pictures to enliven it; I promise not to make a habit of this kind of thing. However, I do treasure the trust you place in me by visiting this blog, leaving comments, and contributing to a little oasis of dress-loving camaraderie online, and I didn't want to give credence to accusations of shilling, payola, and "blogging under false pretenses" by letting them go by in silence.

(Comments of the kind "all her taste is in her mouth," "this is soooooo ugly lol", and "i cant believe u wear this!" will still be ignored. De gustibus, etc.)

If you ever have any questions about me or this blog, well, my email address is on the right-hand side, towards the bottom. I do try to answer all the email I receive.