What? Is it Linktastic Friday Already?

It surely is, and probably way overdue. First off, Holly at LuciteBox would really, really, really like your help in finding her this:

Serbin dog-print dress

It was originally listed on eBay (by Red Buckaroo, but not in Holly's size. (You see the problem.) If you want to see a part of why Holly wants it so much, click through to her blog to see her adorable dog Oslo …

Theresa sent a link to this slide show of First Ladies fashions, which is interesting not only for the pictures, but also for the evidence of the complete absence of copyediting ("shoulder-bearing" and "arm-bearing" where they should have "baring", sheesh).

Wink sent this rickrackalicious skirt … with pockets! Nadia found us shoes to not-match, and Judy suggests these. And if that's not enough rickrack for you (and how could it be?) there's this rickrack fabric, sent by T.C.

Becca thinks the brown dress in this link may be a fauxlero. Opinions? [WARNING: link plays (bad) music]

Speaking of fauxleros, Wendy pointed out that the AMC Dress at BurdaStyle has a very nice one.

Robin sent a link (inspired by the discussion of one-yard patterns) to furoshiki, the cool Japanese practice of wrapping presents in fabric. I heartily endorse this idea.

Kathleen (at Little Hunting Creek) sent a link to this really interesting semi-Duro, up at Pattern Review. Check it out!

Leslie sent in this awesome typography poster. In a similar vein, Lorrwill sends us the link to the thesaurus t-shirt.

I can't believe it's the end of August already, but Jen at MOMsPatterns.com can and she's running a back-to-school sale on 1100-1300 new old stock children's patterns. You get a 15% discount with coupon code 'backtoschool' …

Sorry it's such a short linktastic Friday … but please keep those links coming!

Oh, Leola.

Advance 5159

You can't see it in this image, but if you click through to the eBay auction (where this is listed for a couple more days), the pattern envelope has "Leola" written on it in red ink.

I am consumed with curiosity about Leola. First of all, if this was her pattern, I know I would have liked her — this is one excellent pattern. I wonder why she never made the dress? (The seller says it's "factory folded", but maybe Leola was just very, very tidy?) Maybe she had a bunch of sisters (or roommates) and that's why she felt she had to write her name on her pattern?

Maybe Leola got distracted by a life of hijinks and adventure, or maybe she was planning to wear this dress on a hot date and he broke her heart, leaving her too despondent to sew, or maybe she joined the WAC and started wearing uniforms, instead.

I think (basely solely on my onomastics-are-destiny reaction to the name Leola) that she was attracted to this pattern by the green print version. (Also, that's the one I like.) According to Nametrends.net, the name Leola's last popularity surge was in the 1910s, meaning that when this dress came out it's likely that she would have been about my age.

I would love to make this in bright primary colors (big surprise) with a black midriff band and black piping between the tiers. Too bad it's not my size.

Oh, Leola, why didn't you ever make this dress? I need to know!

[Oh, and thank you, everybody, for the kind birthday wishes of yesterday! You all rock!]



"One absinthe drinker had a mania which made it impossible for him to see a blue silk dress without attempting to set it on fire. He was arrested on a national fête day for having put his lighted cigar to no fewer than thirty-seven dresses."

As some of you have winkled, it is indeed my birthday today, and I claim thirty-seven years on this fête day (although I do NOT countenance the torching of blue silk dresses today or any day, under the influence of absinthe or not). Hurrah!

Searching on "thirty-seven" got me (in addition to the marvelous excerpt above) some other real gems:

"There is nothing extraordinary in the existence of a beautiful, vivacious, attractive woman of thirty-seven, nothing strange in the fact that lovers should collect about her … still the situation is unusual, to say the least … thirty-seven is a very good age, a very good age indeed — if Lady Matilda would only think so, and would only show that she thinks so. Why there are plenty of ladies who are quite passé by thirty or thirty-five — they are full-grown women, they think sensibly and talk sensibly about their children and servants and domestic affairs — those are the things that ought to interest women of Lady Matilda's time of life." (found here)

She was a woman of thirty-seven, rather tall and plump, without being fat; she was not pretty, but her face was pleasing, chiefly, perhaps, on account of her kind brown eyes. Her skin was rather sallow. Her dark hair was elaborately dressed. She was the only woman of the three whose face was free of make-up, and by contrast with the others she seemed simple and unaffected. (from here)

September, 1856, when she was thirty-seven years old, marked the beginning of her effort to become a writer of fiction. She had always desired to write a novel, but she believed herself "deficient in dramatic power both of construction and dialogue," although feeling that she would be at ease "in the descriptive parts of a novel." (about George Eliot)

A Lady about thirty-seven years of age, having an oval face, represented in nearly a front view. She has on a white cap, and wears a very large full ruff, edged with lace, and a black silk dress, and is adorned with a cluster of gold chains, suspended round the neck, and reaching down to the bodice. Dated 1633. (from here)

Oh, and in other birthday news, Rita celebrates her birthday this month, and is offering 15% off at her site, Cemetarian … use the code "Birthday".

Hope you all have marvelous days today, whether it's your birthday or not. (But extra-marvelous if it's your birthday.)

Beyond Cruelty

Simplicity 4301

Do you know why the woman in this illustration looks as if someone is poking her with a red-hot iron? Do you see how she can barely bring herself to touch her skirt with her right hand? It's because the pockets on the skirt she is holding out so gingerly are FAKE.

Yep, that's right. FAKE. They're applied with transfers, like so:

Simplicity 4301

Obviously, the woman in the background is sneering at the poor deluded woman in the foreground who thinks fake pockets are better than no pockets at all. If anything, fake pockets are worse …

Thanks to wundermary for the images!

Great Dresses of Mediocre Literature, Meta-Discussion

Heart of Rachel frontispiece

Reader Lynn is looking for fiction that describes twentieth-century older women and their clothes, which reminded me of the wonderful descriptions of clothes (on women of all ages) in the novels of Kathleen Norris, like this one:

Only the wearers and their dress-makers knew what hours had been spent upon these costumes, what discouraged debates attended their making, what muscular agonies their fitting. Only they could have estimated, and they never did estimate — the time lost over pattern books, the nervous strain of placing this bit of spangled net or that square inch of lace, the hurried trips downtown for samples and linings, for fringes and embroideries and braids and ribbons. The gown that she wore to her own dinner, Mrs. White had fitted in the Maison Dernier Mot, in Paris; — it was an enchanting frock of embroidered white illusion, over pink illusion, over black illusion, under a short heavy tunic of silver spangles and threads. The yoke was of wonderful old lace, and there was a girdle of heavy pink cords, and silver clasps, to match the aigrette that was held by pink and silver cords in Mrs. White's beautifully arranged hair.

Mrs. Burgoyne's gowns, or rather gown, for she wore exactly the same costume to ever dinner, could hardly have been more startling than Santa Paloma found it, had it gone to any unbecoming extreme. Yet it was the simplest of black summer silks, soft and full in the skirt, short-sleeved, and with a touch of lace at the square-cut neck. She arranged her hair in a becoming loose knot, and somehow managed to look noticeably lovely and distinguished, in the gay assemblies. To brighten the black gown she wore a rope of pearls, looped twice about her white throat, and hanging far below her waist; pearls, as Mrs. Adams remarked in discouragement later, that "just made you feel what's the use! She could wear a kitchen apron with those pearls if she wanted to, everyone would know she could afford cloth of gold and ermine!"

From The Rich Mrs. Burgoyne (review here; For a contemporary account of Kathleen Norris, look here).

Do you have a favorite author for descriptions of dress, especially descriptions of twentieth-century dress? (Georgette Heyer is great for Regency dress, at least to read — I have no idea how accurate her depictions are, but I'm sure someone will tell me!) Please leave your recommendations in the comments …

Those Crazy Kids!

Simplicity 3996

Cecelia sent this to me (because of the pockets, obviously) and isn't it just neato keen? It's a teen pattern, which makes me think that probably someone, somewhere, saw this dress made up and clucked over the ridiculous habits of "kids today," with their enormous pockets and their lack of respect for authority.

This illustration, all by itself, is the plot of a Hayley Mills movie, isn't it? About orphan teen bank robbers. They (both roles played by Ms. Mills) are on a two-girl crime spree (and hunted by the police and all the papers, who think that they are not teens, but master criminals, albeit of very short stature) until they are befriended by a kindly bank guard (played by Morgan Freeman) who inspires them to change their ways. Somebody make that for me, okay? Thanks.

Oh, and speaking of crazy kids, do y'all remember Rebecca (of course you do, she designed this) and Trish (of CraftyPlanet.com)? They're currently working on a book called "One Yard Wonders," and are looking for really cool projects that can be made with no more than a yard of fabric. More details are here.

Please submit projects because I have a LOT of one-yard leftovers that I would really like to use up …

Fabric Shopping in Japan: Liberty!

Fabric Shopping in Japan

I found this store completely by accident; I decided to walk down one side of the street rather than the other so as to stay in the shade, and, idly glancing through the shop windows, saw this:

Fabric Shopping in Japan

Of course, agonizingly, the store wasn't open for another ten minutes. So I went and browsed through a children's clothes store across the street, afraid to roam further afield in case I lost my way and couldn't make it back. I did cleverly take this picture for directional reference (the shop is at the very corner of this street and the main Nippori drag):

Fabric Shopping in Japan

When the shop finally did open (on the dot of 10 a.m., just as the sign said), I was the first one in the door — to look at this:

Fabric Shopping in Japan

and this:

Fabric Shopping in Japan

and this:

Fabric Shopping in Japan

The gentleman who was running the store when I was there was very helpful — I asked permission to take these pictures, which was originally refused … until I whipped out my handy Dress A Day business cards, after which everything was copacetic. I tried to explain "blog", but since I often have a hard time explaining "blog" in English, my hand gestures were not up to the task. So when he said "Magazine?" I said "Yes, computer magazine," and left it at that.

I ended up buying three meters of this:

Fabric Shopping in Japan

Here's the selvage:

Fabric Shopping in Japan

I am thinking that some of these patterns are Japan-only … I haven't seen them anywhere else, not on Ebay.co.uk or on the new Liberty website. And it does say pretty clearly "Printed in Japan". Does anyone know for sure?

As Liberty goes, this wasn't hideously expensive — I think it was about 2900 yen/meter, so about $29. Cheaper than Liberty in the U.S., that's for sure — if you could even find it!

I accepted a business card but am unable to read it — am posting it here for any scanlation help:

Fabric Shopping in Japan

This store is the one closest to the top edge of the card, on this little map (you can get your orientation from the train station). Worst-case, you could always print this image and give it to the hotel concierge or cab driver — that should get you to one of these stores!

Aside from Liberty, the store carried a lot of very high-end cottons — including that red and yellow French-provincial stuff that handbags are made from, whose name I always forget — and some wools and linens. I didn't spend a lot of time browsing other than among the Liberty, since I knew buying that piece of Liberty had already strained my fabric budget a bit …

While I was paying for my fabric, the clerk even offered me a piece of chocolate. This is my kind of fabric store, I tell you.