Knits: the next frontier

Liberty Jupiter

I was lucky enough to get an eBay gift card for Christmas … well, actually, it was intended for both me and my husband, but I appropriated it immediately and he didn't squeak — he's not what you would call a big eBay shopper. And I figured I would spend it on — what else? — fabric. Namely, Liberty.

I fell in love with this pattern, and realized too late that it's jersey knit. I don't really sew with knits. I mean, I have done, but I've never really ENJOYED it. I even got rid of my serger last year, since I do so little knit-sewing. But for this fabric, I will make an exception. What kind of exception, I don't know (well, I know it's not going to be an elastic-waist skirt, I have it narrowed down that much). I'm thinking I'll be doing a lot of browsing over on BurdaStyle; they have great patterns for knits. I want a dress (duh) and I want pockets (double duh) which are hard to manage in knits, I think. (Maybe I'll line them with organza?) But I'll make it work. Fuchsia-style. Just watch me … on a significant time delay, since there are about 677 projects in front of this one. But still! Knits!

More Fabric To Covet

sew bettie gingham

So yes, the nice folks at Sew Bettie Fabrics have LURED me into looking at their site by offering you, dear readers, 10% off with the coupon code "PINK". The fabric above is one I am seriously considering buying two or three miles of. I have a weakness for that color and abstract plaids. (I just like the CONCEPT of "abstract plaid.")

I also love their mustache print, which is calling out to be a stunt dress if ever any fabric was; I just don't have a suitable mustache-related event to make a dress for. (And actually, the idea of there being a suitable mustache-related event scares me a little, so, please, no suggestions in the comments.) Here, see for yourself:

sew bettie mustache

And this chain-link fabric: want. Perhaps to use with this pattern.

sew bettie chainlink

They have some other great prints, too, including a bike print (for those of you who liked my bike fabric a while back). One caution — the fabric is priced in fat quarters, so be careful when you place an order that you don't get much, much less than you expect!

Whoa … is it … could it be … Linktastic Monday?

A quick one,just to get you started on the week!

Help the Etsy crew send Valentines to the Citymeals-on-Wheels!

Kathleen points us to a giant knitted bus!

Jen at MOMsPatterns has found the oldest fauxlero yet, we think — from the 1930s! (Oh, and while you're there, Jen is running a sale: use code 'greenbelt20' to save 20% off of any order at MOMSPatterns until Friday, January 30, 2009. All sale patterns are down to $2 until the end of the month as well; coupon is good on ANYTHING!)

Libby sent this fabric-shopping site — the fabrics are the ones we know and love (Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, etc.) but you HAVE to check out their illustrations! So clever!

I was interviewed HERE. Learn all about my secret double life, my mysterious past, and my plans for world domination. Or, you know, about this blog that you're reading right now.

Birgit sent me a link to a lovely companion in the "A Day" blog world: Robot A Day.

I love this "Lucy" dress that Cemetarian has up right now. But I love that orange plaid fabric in the illustration even more.

Thank you!

Thank you!

Remember the 2008 charity drive? Doesn't it seem a million years ago? It ended January 6, and according to the widget, we raised $1250 for Books Through Bars! Which is fantastic, given how completely horrible the economic news has been …

And I did promise that I would name a character in my forthcoming novel, The Secret Lives of Dresses (due out from Grand Central AND Hodder in 2010! And in Dutch and German sometime after that!) after one of the generous donors, and … the winner is … Maureen Boyle!

This character, as far as I know now, sports a Bettie Page haircut, fixes motorcycles, knits, and is studying HVAC. (All this is subject to change before publication.)

If you'd like to know my randomizing methodology, it's this — I dumped all the email addresses into an Excel file, assigned them all random numbers using Excel's RAND function, and then sorted on that number. Maureen came out on top!

I want to thank all of you who contributed to this year's fundraiser … the money we raised will go towards books for women prisoners in particular.

If you want to be more involved with books for prisoners, Books Through Bars has set up this cool interactive map of programs in the US!

The Dress

Michelle Obama Isabel Toledo

There was no way I wasn't going to love this dress. First of all, I love that color. Secondly, I love Isabel Toledo. (I actually met her — and her fantastic husband — once. She's even better in person.) Then, when you add in that she is wearing all that as THE FIRST LADY, well, you can see how one might become a bit overwhelmed.

And then those fantastic gloves! Swoon. [Disclosure: I have a vintage pair in just that color.]

I read a couple of pages of people's comments on this on the NYT caucus blog, and was disappointed that no one seemed to realize that Michelle Obama does what I advocate everyone should do: she wears what makes her happy. Could she have worn some boring royal-blue, be-Spanx-ed sheath, by Oscar de la Renta (no offense, Oscar, but you know what I'm talking about) and gotten relieved and approving nods from the Fashion Commentariat? You know she could. But she obviously loves those gloves: they made her happy, so she wore them. WITH a yellow wool lace Isabel Toledo!

The thing is, you can't please everyone all of the time. You can't even please most of the people most of the time. Which is why, especially when it comes to clothes, you have to please yourself. You're the one wearing them; you're the one in the pictures; you're the only one whose happiness is even remotely under your own control: so do what feels right!

Michelle Obama Jason Wu

I like this one too, even though it's not my taste. (In other words, I don't have a tulle-laden Jason Wu in my closet next to my green gloves.) I do think it looked great. But even if I didn't, I'd see that Michelle Obama is accessorizing it with the only things that really matter: confidence, happiness, and the kind of ease that comes from having made one's own decisions.

And that, my friends, is something that I hope the new First Lady brings firmly into fashion.

Looking for a Dress … and Nag Me, Please

I keep thinking about the perfect winter dress. Of course, by "perfect winter dress," I mean "perfect winter dress for me," which is not everyone's perfect winter dress.

For me, a perfect winter dress would:

1. fit nicely under a cardigan sweater, and look cute with colored tights
2. be able to be made in a warm brushed cotton or lightweight wool without looking too goofy
3. accommodate pockets
4. have a raised or empire waistline to accommodate a bit of extra winter weight

I was thinking about Vogue 8469, but I really don't like puffy sleeves. (I suppose I could deflate them without too much trouble.) Here's the line-drawing for it. I'm not showing you the illustration because it is SO CUTE made up in POLKA DOTS that I am afraid it will cloud your judgment. I am also not showing you this version by contrariwise of Pattern Review, because it, too, is WAY TOO CUTE.

Vogue 8469

So — what do you think? Could you see it in a really fine and drapey Liberty babycord? A lightweight brushed wool flannel? A heavy silk? Some Liberty Jubilee, if I ever find any again? It only takes two yards of dress fabric and 5/8ths of a yard of lining, so that's a big plus. If not this dress, what do you think would be a good pattern for a short, layerable, winter dress? (I would make more Duros, but they just don't really work well under cardigans!)

And also: nagging. I feel as if there are a bunch of hanging threads I need to follow up on here, but I can't remember them. Contest winners? Completed projects that need photographing and posting? If you remember, nag me, and I'll see what I can do.

CPSIA: Update

Have you all been following the CPSIA story? I mentioned it briefly once before, but there have been some ongoing developments.

In the last few days, the CPSC regulators have issued some vague statements that SEEM to say that resellers (consignment stores and thrift stores) won't have to test items for resale, although they are still subject to penalties if they sell items that test positive for lead, and that children's books are not subject to the new law unless they have "play value" — like vinyl bath books. But check out this letter which calls for regulators to "hit the pause button" until all of this can be worked out … instead of having the law go into effect February 10.

However, this still doesn't take into account small Etsy-type sellers of children's clothes and toys, which is disturbing. The best overview of the problem and what you can do to help is still at Fashion Incubator. (The latest post is here.) This Etsy post is also a good place to start.


Simplicity 3875

Sandritocat is having a sale! It starts 1/16 at midnight and will last until 1/18 at midnight. (I'm not sure whose midnight … you might want to shop early, just in case.) Receive 20% off your order, and you can combine this sale with the free shipping offer (but no other offers). When you order, mention "3 Day Sale" in the message box. You can either wait for a revised invoice or, if you want to pay immediately through Paypal, Sandra will refund the difference.

It is so freakin' cold here in Chicago right now that I can't even imagine when it would be possible to wear this dress, but I know lots of you are in warm places … Remind me what that feels like? You can tell me after I put on this third pair of socks.

Mambo Dress! Bongos!

Lisa sent me the link to this eBay auction, ending Saturday. Go ahead and click through, you really owe it to yourself to look at this dress.

Mambo Dress

It's listed by Fast Eddie's Retro Rags (Their motto: Vintage for Your Inner Delinquent) and, at time of this writing, was at a Buy It Now price of $175 … Bust 38.

Forget bicycles and rulers, I am now feeling a distinct lack of bongo-themed clothing in my life. I am also saddened to realize that my inner delinquent is pretty much my outer delinquent, except my inner delinquent 1) remembers to PUT ON the red lipstick she bought and 2) never gets it on her teeth.

But Can I Measure Up?

I don't usually make new year's resolutions — I mostly just try AGAIN to do all the things I really, really meant to do in the previous year — but if I were to make a resolution for 2009, it might be NOT to buy new fabric until I've made a dent in the fabric I already have.

Okay, let's see a show of hands from folks who have also made this resolution, in any year. (Hollow laughter optional.)

Of course, on the heels of that resolution, Stephanie kindly sends me this:

Recess Rulers American Jane Moda

Wouldn't this make just the cutest ever shirtdress? I would, however, draw the line (no pun intended) at pencil buttons, as I am not a teacher. (But if you wanted to, I wouldn't judge. I'm not a judge, either.)

What would you do with this fabric? I know it's not to everyone's taste, so "set it on fire," is a perfectly acceptable answer …