Finally, A New Dress

I am pretty sure I have had this "almost done!" since before Thanksgiving; I just haven't had a minute to finish it up. But last night I couldn't sleep, so I did the needful, which was really only putting in a zipper and hemming the skirt and sleeves. (I did have to hack seven inches off the skirt — this was made for Amazons, it seems.)

Here's the original pattern, Vogue 9670. I can't remember where I bought it—if you sold it to me, leave a note in the comments!

Vogue 9670

Here's my version:

Olive Liberty-facing dress

Ignore the little bit of iron shine in the picture, please. And that it needs pressing elsewhere. I really need a steamer. Or a better press cloth. Or hints from you guys.

I made the facing out of Liberty print, because the dress fabric is really thick, and because I knew I wouldn't be able to get the facing perfectly flat, no matter how much I trimmed and clipped the curves. This facing is now meant to show, making a virtue of necessity.

Olive Liberty-facing dress

Oh look! I finally got the zipper to match up nicely at the side seam! Which one of you wonderful people told me that marking trick? Thank you! It works! I was really pleased with how the zipper went in, especially since I was doing this at 11 at night.

Olive Liberty-facing dress

The above picture was taken with flash — it's the truest representation of the color. It's an olive-y color, not brown. It's a heavy brushed cotton with a good bit of Lycra in it. It doesn't really stretch, it just gives. Very comfortable.

And here's the back. Kind of boring. But at least the back seams match up okay.

Olive Liberty-facing dress

I really liked this pattern: it went together great, was easy to alter (I added more room at the waist as always, sigh), and except for being intended for women eight inches taller than I am (see the illustration? That skirt is right below the knee, amiright? On me it was almost to the ankle!) it fits well.

Next thing on my sewing list? Another crossword puzzle dress. The tournament is coming up!

A few small things

Advance 6360

Sandritocat is having a Valentine's Day sale, ending Sat. 2/14. Anyone who purchases from her shop will be entered into a a giveaway of a $25 Gift Card to use in her store. Each pattern you purchase will give you one entry. (She is going to have her 7 year old draw the name, which should ensure total randomness!) The pattern above is available on her shop … click on it to visit!

If you're Chicagoland-local, Mary Beth is teaching a hat-making class this Sunday, and then again on the 22nd! The first Sunday class is almost full, so hurry-scurry! (Sadly, I'm booked solid both of those days, or I would be there …)

Oh, and one of the reasons things have been a little quiet around here lately is because I'm filling in for Jan Freeman at the Boston Globe for a few weeks. You can read my columns on correcting people (don't) and Twitter, if you like.

Other quickies:

Amy sent a link to Little Dresses for Africa.

Carol P. sent a link to this fantastic Garden of Eden dress. It won top design prize at the annual meeting of the International Textile and Apparel Association. I wish I'd know about them before, their last meeting was in Schaumburg (very close to Chicago).

Just Because.

French brocade gown 1946

I am showing you this image (from Google's LIFE photo archive) simply because I can. Isn't it wonderful, that I can show you a photograph from a magazine printed more than sixty years ago, basically on a whim? This photo was taken by someone named Nina Leen, and I'm relieved I've never met her, because I felt compelled to say her name under my breath several times just for the sheer joy of it, and that would be awkward upon a first introduction. (Try it yourself: Nina Leen! Nina Leen! neenuhleeeeeeen! Isn't that fun?)

And this is one kickass dress, isn't it? I mean, not that anyone who was involved in either the making or the photographing of it would have probably described it that way, but it is. It is constructed of the most finely woven French kickass available, actually. I love the elegant square neckline and the fern detailing, and that the model is NOT an empty-eyed, twelve-year-old bobblehead. (You know I'm a sucker for models who look as if they had a pretty decent idea of how a dress should be worn in real life, instead of just on the runway. This woman is meeting her lover one last time before he heads to the front, obviously. At the end of their interlude she will cry just one perfect tear, so as not to distress him overmuch.)

This is just more proof that there are beautiful things everywhere, and more and more of them are available to our eyes every day. Go look for them, and when you find them, share them.

APB on a BDP (BDP = Bridal Dress Pattern)

Vogue 7009

Jen at MOMSPatterns is trying to help a customer find the dress on this pattern — not this actual pattern, which is for fabric roses — but the dress that Vogue used as a canvas in the picture on this pattern envelope for the flowers that this pattern makes. Is that clear?

We're assuming that the marketing whizzes at Vogue would use one of their own patterns ON one of their own patterns, but nobody's been able to find this yet. Can you help?

Speaking of brides, I'm going to be a bridesmatron again in May! I'm very excited. [Not-so-interesting Erin trivia: thus far I have only stood up in the weddings of people named "Vanessa".] This is the dress my bride-to-be has chosen for us — I really like it:

Watters 350

(NOTE: She is not getting it in BLACK. You guys know how I feel about that, and anyway, it's a May wedding. But you know what? If she asked me to wear black I would so totally do it. I even offered to wear purple if she wanted me to, and purple and I don't get along.)

This dress is from Watters — does anyone have any helpful tips for dealing with them? They're saying "ten weeks"; is that for real, or a nervous-bride-buffer?

Spring spring spring spring spring spring spring

Do you think if I say it often enough, it will happen? If so, then "spring spring spring spring spring" is my new mantra. I'll say it while I shovel the four inches of snow expected in Chicago tonight.

I don't know what it is, but this winter has seemed terribly, terribly long, even longer since we have, thanks to an OBVIOUSLY HUNGOVER post-Super-Bowl groundhog, six more weeks of winter coming.

With all the snow and the ice and the bitter cold, and the using up of tubes of lipbalm faster than Blagojevich wears out hairbrushes, and the constant need to wear two pairs of tights (or one pair of black long johns plus black socks) to prevent the dreaded knee frostbite, and the spring fashion magazines trying to be "relevant" in the "economic crisis" by alternating offering up unremarkable $20 t-shirts with suggesting you buy a couple-grand handbag as an "investment," well, let's just say I haven't even been in the mood to look at anything springlike, not even stuff like this:

Oscar de la Renta Spring 09

That's our friend Oscar de la Renta, who I know we've harshed on before as being a little safe, but — you have to admit — the man knows his pretty.

And speaking of pretty — oooh! have you heard? — Isaac Mizrahi's first set of designs for Liz Claiborne are about to come out:

Liz Claiborne Spring 09

It's worth clicking on that image EVEN THOUGH the whole Claiborne site is a stupid flashtastrophe that takes forever to load and doesn't allow for direct links. Because the new collection has about double the cuteness of the stuff he did for Target, and nicer fabrics because it's a higher price point.

Anyway, I'm not looking at this stuff now because it's just TOO PAINFUL. I need a couple of fifty-degree days in a row before I can begin to contemplate spring clothes. I'm so tired of winter that I'm even tired of Mexican hot chocolate, and friends, when you are tired of Mexican hot chocolate, you are tired of LIFE.

I'm beginning to think hibernation is a *fantastic* idea. Somebody wake me when the daffodils are out.