Pink Dots For Tea

Boden Pink Dot dress

I am oddly entranced with this Pink Dot Tea Dress which I found on the sale section of the Boden site (I went there last night to look for v-neck cardigans, which are on my "want" list for fall … and got distracted by the on-sale stuff). It's only available in limited sizes, and only in pink, but … it's cute! Click on the tiny image to visit their site and see a zoomable picture.

Boden calls this a Spotty Tea Dress, but that makes me think of less-pleasant things, so I will just call it a Pink Dot Tea Dress, if that's all right with y'all. Not that I don't spot myself with tea on a regular basis (drinking iced tea all day long as I do, and not being the most graceful of persons). And occasionally I'll spot other people to an iced tea. And more often than I like I break out in what the Brits call 'spots'. But I don't think I want a dress to remind me of that.

I've had generally good experiences with Boden; I have a printed twill coat of theirs which is one of my favorite things, ever. I haven't bought a dress from them yet, though, mostly because I really, really don't want to buy things without pockets. But if you don't have that odd compulsion, maybe this dress is for you? (Or you could try this one, which does have pockets — but is only in smaller sizes.)

Core Competency

Simplicity 4651

I know I've posted about this one before, but this time I actually bought the pattern. (Don't worry — Beth sent me a link to another one, available here in B32, if you want one).

I'm still turning over in my head what I want to sew for the fall and winter. I'm thinking I might do some more pocket skirts, but I also wanted a simple dress pattern that 1) had pockets and 2) could be worn under a cardigan sweater easily (meaning — no fancy neck details).

This seems to answer my RFP nicely, doesn't it? I am thinking about these as (for lack of a better term) competency dresses. Dresses you could carry a stack of heavy books in, go up and down a ladder in, duck under a desk to re-route cables in, keep a pocketful of pencils in, etc., but which still look neat and tidy. The skirt's not too narrow or too full, the neck's neither too high (strangle-y) nor too low (cleavage-y) and the simple lines mean that you could go a bit wild with your fabric choices.

Plus, it looks as if the pattern calls for piping — both versions here have it.

I think I'd like a black lightweight denim one (with the skirt slightly shorter, maybe just below the knee) with the pockets trimmed with metal zipper; a gray poplin one trimmed with red; a dark teal with yellow piping … the list goes on.

Last Week, On Vogue Pattern Theatre …

Vogue 487

I think the eBay auction for this is over, but Rachel sent it to me as another fauxlero example. Isn't it magnificent? (The original seller was Cinderella's Ball.)

Can't you just hear the narrator's voiceover? "Last week, Victoria found out that Geoffrey wasn't just a striving young businessman … he's the missing heir to the throne of Graustark! He's come to beg her forgiveness … but will he love the spoiled society belle as much as he loved the glove-counter clerk she was pretending to be? Let's find out this week on Vogue Pattern Theatre!"

Frankly, clerk/belle or businessman/prince, I don't care, I just think I *need* that skirt treatment … even if I will always be getting it caught in the car door. And I need it in that sensational teal color.

(But Victoria better take that hat off before he kisses her, or someone is gonna lose an eye!)

Meet Our Advertisers #7: Specialist Auctions

McCalls 8385

How long have you been in business?
Specialist Auctions Vintage section opened in June of 2006 but the site itself opened late in 2005.

What motivated you to go into the vintage and pattern auction business? We had a request from Margaret Bolger of Artizania to open a vintage and antique clothing section. In December of 2006 our current moderator, Margaret Leyden, joined us as a seller and co-moderator of the Vintage and Antique Clothing Section and is the moderator at this time and a member of the Vintage Fashion Guild.

Where are you based? Specialist Auctions is based in the UK but we are truly an international site with more than 50% of our sellers based in the U.S. We have vintage clothing, vintage textiles and vintage pattern sellers from Lapland, the UK, Peru and the US.

what's the weirdest/best/craziest/most beautiful thing you've ever found?
There are so many beautiful things at Specialist Auctions Vintage it would be a sin to pick just one so I'll give you four:
this zebra hostess gown from Wyoming Vintage
this 1936 home sewing magazine from Memories Past
this champagne satin party dress from Alley Cats Vintage
this popover duster dress pattern from Henrietta's Pearl Button
and, from our newest vintage pattern store, this adorable vintage jacket pattern from RetroMonde Vintage Patterns

What do you wish someone would ask you about your site?
How did we have the nerve to set the site up in the first place ?

It's a good day at work when …
We have new sellers come on board and watch them have success with selling their items. It's also great to see buyers come on board and be pleased with their purchases and the service they receive.

The pattern at the top of this post is also from RetroMonde …

If this wasn't enough Specialist Auction Action for you, check out Marge's blog, where she's been profiling SA sellers all week, in slideshows.

The Last Duro Jr of Summer 2008

ultimate Duro Jr

So this is the last iteration of Simplicity 3875, at least for Summer 2008. This is (if you don't recognize it) some of the fabric I bought at Tomato in Japan.

Here's the bodice, close-up:

ultimate Duro Jr

There's a little white speck at the vee of the neck where I need to either clip the threads better, or color over the thread with a marker (I'm not fussy!). I used white thread for this, because I didn't really have any red or orange that looked right.

Here's the back:

ultimate Duro Jr

I altered the pattern to add a back waist seam for ease of construction, but (as you can see) I put it in the wrong place! It's right for my Actual Waist, but wrong for the waist of the dress. I'll raise it next time, if I remember.

Here's the back, close-up:

ultimate Duro Jr

I actually forgot that the entire back was two pieces, and not one on the fold (and so I cut it on the fold). I didn't want to have a center back seam in the skirt, though, so I left that part on the fold, and just eased it into the bodice. Worked fine. (I didn't want to leave the back bodice on the fold, because that would have screwed up the neck facing, possibly.)

I do this sort of stuff ALL THE TIME (especially if I'm in a hurry) and it's almost always recoverable. A slightly smaller or bigger seam allowance here, a few unplanned gathers there, and everything works out okay. You can do a lot of "fixing" if you just think about it for a few minutes before you give up. (Of course, I wouldn't have to do so much "fixing" if I spent those few minutes thinking before I cut out the pattern pieces, but I suppose that's why they're called "mistakes", and not "happy fun time jitterbug sparkles".)

Despite the mistakes, though, I was really happy with this dress. The fabric is beautiful; smooth and light, and I love the colors. I got a lot of compliments on this dress … I wish we still had another month of summer for me to wear it in!

But anyway, speaking of "happy fun time jitterbug sparkles", Penny at Antique Dollhouse of Patterns is offering this pattern free to whoever clicks on it first. Go!

And Ingrid is giving away patterns here — but you have tell her what you like most about Spring (guess what hemisphere Ingrid is in)?

Now this is more like it …

Garnet Hill Roses Dress

So this is from the new Garnet Hill catalog, from which I buy something once every three or so years, and from whom I receive a catalog roughly every three weeks. (I really, really need to get off some mailing lists.)

But it's also the kind of thing I'm thinking about for fall (more on that anon, if by "anon" you mean "in a few days, or maybe next week"). A deep-toned floral print, able to be worn alone or with a cardigan into early October, and then right on through November with tights (although I don't like the black tights they show with this; I'd want maroon or a deep rose, or maybe even camel, except that every time I wear camel-colored tights I think that someone, somewhere, is going to think I have a very, very odd tan).

This would be cute with loafers, and also with grannyish ankle boots, and even with lace-up oxfords, and flamboyantly gorgeous with a brown suede three-quarter-length coat tossed over it. (A coat WHICH I just happen to have, incidentally. And which I do not wear nearly as often as I should because it has no pockets, alas.)

Click on the image to visit the Garnet Hill site; I think this is about $138, plus shipping. It's available in up to an 18 (or up to a 14 petite).

A few housekeeping things: I'm thinking about redesigning the blog and perhaps — perhaps, I say — moving to WordPress. Does anyone have any suggestions? I think this would be a loooong-term project, so don't expect to see a new design next week.

I also missed doing anything for Sept 1, which I think we had tentatively decided would be International Dress Day (that is, a day for dresses around the world, not "International Dress" whatever that is). So I think perhaps we should declare September 15 "International Wear a Dress Day (observed)". What do you all think? (I did wear a dress yesterday, and I'll show you the picture of it tomorrow.)