What I Would Wear (If I Were A Guy)

For a long time I've toyed with a kind of "Dress A Day Guide To Style For Guys" but I've never done it, mostly because I hate any kind of fashion writing that says YOU SHOULD WEAR THIS, NO, REALLY, BECAUSE I SAID SO, C'MON NOW, ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME MAD? People should wear what they want to wear (as long we all agree that "want to wear" = "made a conscious, thoughtful decision to wear").

So yesterday I realized, hey, I could do a post about what *I* would wear if I were a guy. And yes, I know, unisex styles, androgyny, blah blah blah, but let's face it: nobody who calls her blog "A Dress A Day" spends a lot of time Dietriching around in a suit.

First off: if I were a guy I would totally do the kilt thing:

David Tennant IN A KILT.

Because, despite being named "Erin", I'm Scots (if you go back a couple hundred years or so) and secondly, girls love 'em. (I'm just assuming here that if I were a guy I'd be a straight guy.) Believe me, walk down the street in a kilt (even if you don't look like David Tennant) and you'll be beating them off with a stick. You might actually need a caber, come to think of it.

I also like the suit and sneakers look:

David Tennant as Doctor Who.

(What, did you think I was going to use someone other than Ten to illustrate this point?)

I think this works best when the sneakers are not of the highly-athletic sort. Saturday sneakers rather than performance sneakers, if you know what I mean. (Although this also mostly works.)

I also like the ironic and somewhat ratty t-shirt look:

Hugh Laurie as Dr House.

In fact, if I were a guy, I would INVENT pretend bands, photoshop up the tour t-shirts, and have one-offs printed up for me. Then, when asked if I liked the band whose shirt I was wearing, I would say "These guys? They sold out. They suck now."

If I were a guy, I would only wear Levi's jeans. Period. No fancy jeans. This would be non-negotiable. In a pinch, or if I were invited to a rodeo (AS A PARTICIPANT) I would consider Wranglers.

If I were a guy, I would wear these shoes with everything.

If I were a guy, I would always have a brushed-aluminum mechanical pencil on my person. (I usually do now, anyway.)

If I were a guy, I would totally copy Francis and wear the funky tie/shirt combo.

If I were a guy, I'd wear seersucker suits, only I'd wear them with a t-shirt & sneakers, not a dress shirt and tie:

Seersucker suit

If I were a guy, I'd wear paisley shirts.

Of course, lots of things would still be the same in my closet. I'd still wear heavy-framed glasses, bright colors, plastic watches, and Jack Purcells.

I even like the sport-coat-and-shorts combo. But never, under any circumstances (unless maybe I lost a serious bet) would I show up in this:

Really, really, really bad shorts.

I promise.

Crowdsourcing Color Choices

Remember this pattern?

newspaper 4829

Well, I had a couple spare hours last night (Sure, I was sorry that my husband and son were stuck in traffic, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from SEWING with that found time) and decided to give it a shot:

newspaper 4829 fan cotton

And this is as far as I got. Which is pretty far, except that I need to buy bias trim for the edging, and I'm undecided as to which color it should be.

Colors I have ruled out: red, black, brown, gray, green, and (gasp) orange.

Colors I'm still thinking about: mustardy yellow, turquoise, blue, pink.

I'm looking for a kind of Palm-Beach, Lilly Pulitzer vibe from this dress. What do y'all think?

Here's a better look at the belt part:

newspaper 4829 fan cotton

I haven't done the buttonholes or the buttons, obviously, because I want them to match the binding. I zigzagged a facing to the wrong side, to stiffen it a bit and keep the edges from fraying too much.

And the neck:

newspaper 4829 fan cotton

Anyway, as you can see, the dress is pretty "eh" without the bias edging. It did sew up really quickly, though, which was nice. The skirt will definitely flap as you walk, showing the wrong side (which on this fabric is nearly white) so I'm almost convinced that I should line the thing, which would then (bonus!) make it reversible. I might have enough turquoise cotton to do that, and then instead of bias binding I could do rick-rack in the seam …

I still have NO IDEA where the pockets will go. I think they will have to be patch pockets applied after the bias binding, so I can get the spacing right.

Ideas? Comments?

Don't Worry, These Stories Usually End In Weddings

ebay item 8305987417

So Marie sent in this pattern envelope (from Vintage Martini), with the note "just look at their expressions!"

To which I say, "and how!"

Obviously this is a still from one of those screwball movies that involve twins. This one's plot is that the mother of the twins can only afford to allow one girl a fancy debut, so she's pretending that the other twin doesn't exist. So, in this picture, spoiled Twin A (Billie) is off to the dance in her dress, while Twin B (Millie) sulks at home, in a housecoat. However, later, when Billie falls ill (food poisoning, milked for comedic effect), Mama has to beg Millie to fill in for Billie so that Rich Suitor won't be distracted by Billie's nemesis, the unscrupulous grass-widow Carlotta. Rich Suitor then falls for Millie, of course, and after many, many, MANY misunderstandings and some French-farce-type runnings in and out of rooms, they have a double wedding. The End.

Won't someone go back in time and film this for me? kthxbye!

Pattern Grading

Simplicity 3354

Okay, some of you may have seen a weird version of this post, which I published accidentally. Sorry for the retcon …

Anyway, Kate (who earlier had a question about Hawaiian dresses, which you all answered in record time), writes:

I recently acquired some AWESOME Vogue Special Designs dress patterns, but they are several sizes too small and about 10 inches too tiny for me in the bust/waist.

I am learning to redraft my own patterns, but in the meantime I would be happy to pay somebody for their expertise in resizing my small patterns into my size and tracing them onto pattern paper for use in my sewing room. Do you know of any companies or individuals who offer this type of service?

While I am in the mood to pay others to help with my sewing, are you aware of any companies that offer the service of cutting and marking patterns, then mailing the patters, fabric, and cut pieces back to the owner to complete the sewing?

I am so eager to sew that I am looking for shortcuts to speed up production time. Any advice is appreciated! Thank you.

I know nothing about grading but I found this nice post from Kathleen about grading machines. (I'm always in favor of more gadgets …)

And this, from the Threads site, too.

And the pattern above? Is just an example of the kind of thing I'd grade if I could …

The Mother of All Linktastic Thursdays

Have we actually HAD a linktastic Thursday yet? Nevermind, this will still be the largest one. I have to keep you guys going over the (for US-ians) holiday weekend, since there's no way I'm blogging tomorrow, my FIFTEENTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

The present for the fifteenth anniversary is "crystal," and so DH and I have been joking about what to give each other: "A DVD of The Dark Crystal!" "A CD by The Crystal Method, or Crystal Gayle!" "Burgers from Krystal!" "Way too much Crystal Light!" But the joke always stops on "crystal meth!" (yes, I know, drug use isn't funny, especially meth, but …). I think we're just going to go roller-skating, though.

Anway: on to the links!

newspaper 4829

I sorta bought this pattern last week, even though I still have no idea where to put the pockets. It's so Lilly-Pulitzery, isn't it? I think it's the scarf-ponytail combo. I see this in a Liberty twill with contrast binding, natch … or maybe a bright pique. Yellow with pink binding? Ooh! Anyway, Michelle at Patterns from the Past has one more, in a slightly bigger size (B38-40); click on the image to go snap it up! And tell me where to put the pockets, please.

Oh, and speaking of patterns: Jen has started a special section on her site, where almost 200 patterns are on sale for $1-4. And her coupon code for July is FIREWORKS15, for 15% off. Use it over and over again all month …

The nice folks (Hi Trudy!) at Hotpatterns are running a Choose 3, Pay for 2 sale … I think it's automatic, no code required.

Sheila at Out of the Ashes Collectibles is also doing a sale: 15% off all weekend, code AMERICA.

PashaPlum just put up some larger-sized patterns in her Etsy shop. I like this one best.

Remember that Sew U wiki contest? Birgit and Jace won!

Mary Beth sent a link to this bib at PurlBee. It's not a dress, but they've got this gorgeous linen bias tape in from Japan that is well worth seeing …

Kay sent a link to another toilet-paper wedding dress contest, this one for design students (sponsored by Cashmere tissue, which I think is a Canadian brand). Some "I can't believe that's made of toilet paper" moments there, for sure.

Several people (including Margaret and India and Jen) sent a link to the great felt-tip marker pocket dress:

marker dress

I love all the little pockets, but couldn't at least one of them been big enough for my cell phone?

Lisa sent a link to a kerfuffle over at the NYT about jackets-required restaurants. Needless to say, I'm firmly on the side of the snooty restaurant. I'm not saying you can't eat fancy food in flip-flops; I'm saying why would you WANT to? There are few enough opportunities to get all dolled up these days, so let us have our fun!

Nora sent a wonderful link to the naughtiness that was the tea gown.

Eirlys sent a link to this Michael Miller fabric called That's Sewing Wrong. It made me laugh …

And Dilly sent a link to this wool with little Es on it. I think it would make an incredibly elaborate Halloween costume. You sew it on the bias to make a businessy suit and then claim to be an Enron executive. NOBODY would get it, which would be wonderful.

Did you know The Blue Gardenia is blogging about learning to sew? She's hilarious. And she certainly has enough patterns to choose from. (But I don't think she should do this one.)

Rita at Cemetarian sent me this in response to my I-love-tucks post. Soooo nice.

I saw Jeffrey Beebe's paintings last week and fell in love with them. I now need to become moderately-to-ridiculously rich so I can afford his work. But a girl can dream … about clock-watching bristle-block guys.

And too-many-people-to-list sent me the link to the letter scarf. And pretty much everyone apologized for sending it, to which I say: "Don't apologize! Keep sending!" I mean, it's not like your links pile up in drifts around my office … and each one is a lovely reminder that people actually read this blog, internalize my obscure tastes, recognize excellent items elsewhere on the interwibble and then are motivated enough to hit SEND. Which, quite frankly, is a power medieval kings would (and often did) kill for. So keep sending! I love links!

But that's all I have for today. Check back next week for more of As the Links Churn. Will Erin ever find orange bandanna-print fabric? Or clean up her sewing room? Or get to Trader Joe's for more 100-calorie milk chocolate bars? Tune in and find out!

Vague Questions, Answered Vaguely

newspaper pattern 3297

I want to say that someone emailed me — recently, even! — asking if there were a lot of patterns with sweetheart necklines around. Like this one, above. Except she didn't know the term "sweetheart neckline," and maybe just said "a dress like today's dress"? Which means searching for it in my email archive is futile. Anyway, if you asked, this is my answer, and it is available from Miss Helene's for $9.99, and it's a B37, so have at it!

Another Lisa (not Lisa at Miss Helene's) wanted to know why her finished sewing projects always look "homemade" to her eyes, when she compares them with garments she sees in the store. She says she's not an odd size, and she uses better-quality materials than the store-bought stuff, so why don't her garments look better?

My vague answer is that it's probably the pressing: I find that whenever I make something that looks at bit off for some undefinable reason, it's because I rushed through the pressing-seams bit. The more time I spend with the iron during construction, the better stuff looks. But I admit that's a vague answer and it could be any number of things, so if you have a better answer for Lisa, please let me know!

The last question for the day is from Lynn, who wants tips on how to organize her Brand! New! Sewing! Room! (exclamation points mine; I have a kind of punctuation hemochromatosis, where I must be bled of exclamation points at regular intervals, lest my major punctuation organs go into shutdown). I am still trying to organize my OWN sewing room, after two years in it, so I'd appreciate any hints on this topic you care to give. I told Lynn to go look at Posie's studio as inspiration. Any others come to mind?

Other vague answers:

"Yes, mostly."
"If you want to think of it that way."
"Could be; I'm not sure."
"Let's try it and see what happens."
"I thought that's what s/he said."

Apply freely to your own questions!