Linktastic Whatever-Today-Is

Hoo-boy. Have I been busy (and it shows no signs of slowing down or stopping)!

Here's some stuff I would have written about, had I had the time:

City Quilter Subway fabric

That above is City Quilter's new NYC Subway fabric. (I love CQ and try to visit when I have a spare half-hour in NYC. Beautiful, well-laid-out quilt fabric store!)

Mary Beth sent me a link to the Home Sewing Is Easy fabric. Home Sewing IS easy, but maybe not as easy as shown here …

Our own Cookie's hilarious (and useful) post on hairstyles, over on LuciteBox.

Gwen has some really cute and useful fabric-yardage cards here (which you'll need if you don't just follow my advice in this post).

Robin sent me this link from eBay. Art lover? You want (or maybe don't want) to click.

I love this dress, from Jen at MOMSPatterns:

McCalls 3612

(She's also having a Spooktacular Sale for two days and two days only! Use coupon code 'spooky25' when you check out and you'll save a whopping 25% off of your orders. Code expires at the stroke of midnight on Halloween [EDT].)

International Wear A Dress Day 2009 — Today!

Today is International Wear A Dress Day (Observed) 2009! If you're wearing a dress today, feel free to upload a picture either to Flickr or as a Twitpic on Twitter with the hashtag #iwadd.

If you're not wearing a dress today, that's your choice (and I fully support you in it), but I thought I'd post about some reasons I've heard people give for not wearing a dress on ANY day, and talk a bit about them.

"I can't wear a dress to work, my co-workers will think I'm [too dressed up|snobby|looking for another job]." International Wear A Dress Day gives you the perfect excuse to wear a dress to work; you are celebrating the holiday! They wouldn't give you grief about a Christmas sweater, would they? (Okay, maybe they would …) The bigger answer to this is: what do you care more about? Their opinion? Or your happiness?

"I can't wear a dress, [it's too cold/I ride a bike to work/I have to move boxes]." I have done all these things in a dress. (Today I will ride my bike five miles in a dress.) If there's a will, there's a way. These last two excuses are really a coded "Oh noes! What if people see my UNDERWEAR?" excuse, which I believe I answered with this rant right here.

"I work in a male-dominated industry, and I don't want to look too feminine." Newsflash: I'm pretty sure they already know you're a girl. If you treat femininity as something to apologize for, so will they. Do they worry that they are "too masculine"? I'm betting not. Acting like a guy means doing whatever the hell you want whenever the hell you want until stopped by force (as far as I can tell). So if you want to seem less feminine to fit in, try that first.

"I feel uncomfortable in dresses." That's not the question. (Actually, that's not a question at all.) The question is: do you *want* to feel comfortable in dresses? Then you have to start wearing them, or start trying things on until you find dresses you DO feel comfortable in. If you don't really care, then there's no problem; IWADD is a completely optional event.

"I'm plus-size." Yes, finding attractive clothes that fit well when you're a plus size is not the easiest thing in the world. But if you are determined, it can be done, absolutely. I see plus-sized women in fantastic dresses every day, both in real life and on the internets. And there's always sewing for yourself, your sewing machine doesn't care what size you are, and it never gives you a snooty look when you walk into the sewing room.

"I hate pantyhose." I hear ya, sister. I don't wear them either. I would say that unless you are a corporate lawyer or work in banking, bare legs or tights are acceptable in 90% of workplaces.

"Dresses are too expensive!" Sales. Ebay. And most of all: sewing. I've made dresses for $10, including the cost of the zipper & pattern. (And have you seen the price of jeans lately? Sheesh!)

"I work on an oil rig." Okay, yeah, maybe you should wait until your day off.

Do you have other questions? Leave 'em in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them!

Happy IWADD!

Today's Pattern Story (and Sale)

Butterick 8634

LOUISVILLE, KY— The nation's first academy for doughnut-shop hostesses has held its inaugural graduation ceremony last Saturday. The class, of ten aspiring fried-dough doyennes, graduated in an hour-long ceremony which featured a ten-minute silent intermission at the halfway point, "In homage to the hole," Academy Director Gilda Grant pointed out.

"Doughnuts are important in our culture," Grant said in her commencement address. "They are eaten by bums and presidents, by children and the elderly, by the police and by criminals alike. Serving doughnuts is a sacred responsibility."

Members of the first graduating class were equally solemn. "I am looking forward to the day when everyone knows the difference between a cruller and a buttermilk cake," said Sandy Muller, of Fells Point, Wisconsin.

Employment prospects seem bright for these students; many have already received offers from doughnut shops in their hometowns. But with their new credentials, they can afford to be picky. "I got an offer from a place in High Point," said one student, who didn't want to be named. "But they spelled it D-O-N-U-T, so I turned them down."

Grant expects that enrollment in the academy will continue to increase. "In hard times and in good, people want doughnuts. And doughnuts are tastier when served by a trained professional."

[Today's pattern is from Sheila at Out of the Ashes, who is offering 15% off through Wednesday night — use the code BIGTHANKS. Thanks, Sheila!]

Finally: Tetris Dress!

Well, it's been a long time coming, but I have FINALLY finished my Tetris dress, and here it is.

Tetris dress front

Here's the back (with iPhoto enhancement — the colors aren't really that bright):

Tetris dress front

Here's the bodice, so you can see the contrast facing (these colors are truer, too):

Tetris dress front

It's just in time, too, as I'm talking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco today (about Wordnik, naturally!), and I hate giving a talk without a new dress. There's something about sewing that makes it easier to think out talks … by the way, the talk will be STREAMED LIVE (ulp) at 3 pm PDT, so if you want to hear me talk, tune in! (Warning: I am shorter in real life than I am on the blog.)

If you like this dress, would you do me a favor and tweet/Facebook/delicious the link around? I'm having a personal-best contest to see if this one shows up in more places than the Darth Vader dress!

UPDATED TO ADD: Thanks to Jenny at ChronicallyUncool, the Tetris fabric is now available at Spoonflower! Even better, Jenny's donating her percentage from the sale of this fabric to FIRST, a nonprofit that encourages kids to explore technology. (Two words: Lego contests!)

International Wear A Dress Day 2009 — Save The Date

etsy custom dress from Audrey and Grace

I've been remiss in setting a date, and the year's getting down to the thin end. How do people feel about Thursday, October 29? Thoughts?

I would like to say I would be wearing this custom dress from Etsy seller Audrey and Grace, all the better to umpire International Wear A Dress Day, but sadly, I won't be.

What else should we do to celebrate? Make buttons (or "badges" for you in the UK)? Sticker templates, like the ones you wear after you give blood? What should the Twitter hashtag be? #IWADD? (That looks … unfortunate, but hey, we didn't backronym it correctly, and now we're stuck with it.) Should we have a Flickr group?

Let me know!

I did not make this dress

rickrack dress

Thanks to Robin for pointing out this eBay listing to me — this totally looks like something I'd make, doesn't it? I didn't, unless Future Me gets that time machine I've been noodling on (I have very elaborate diagrams, drawn on a cocktail napkin; the problem is finding a battery the size of a chest freezer and made of highly purified unobtainium) and goes back to 1960-something (and, evidently, loses her iron). The spooky thing is that it's totally my size …

Hmm. Anyway, if you buy this dress (click here), would you check and see if the hem is finished with bias tape and the notches are clipped in instead of out? That would help me figure out if Future Me ever made it back. Thanks!

In Which I Act My Age

Hanna Andersson Skirt

I am, for the first time that I can REMEMBER, not wearing ANYTHING that I made today. For reals, and srsly. I am not sure how this happened, but I blame this skirt above. I was so excited to see a knit skirt with POCKETS that I hit "Buy" before I realized that, since I only make dresses and skirts, BUYING a skirt would mean that I would be venturing out of the house in clothing made entirely by OTHER PEOPLE.

Which I did today, and yet the sky didn't fall.

Although the skirt is really comfortable (and remember, I sit on a giant exercise ball instead of a chair, so my skirts must allow for at least some movement) the pockets are a bit shallow for my taste. And of course, it's a KNIT skirt, so if you put lumpy things in them they aren't swallowed in folds and folds of fabric, so lumpy things stay lumpy. (I transferred my pedometer and phone to the pockets of my cardigan.)

I do think it's slightly boring, as clothes go. It could be because I'm wearing (with the black skirt) a dark gray t-shirt, heather gray cardigan (with pockets!), knee-high socks with an abstract black-and-gray argyle pattern, and black penny loafers. This is my own fault; I could have worn a bright yellow cardigan and pink t-shirt, with yellow-and.jpgnk socks (this is not a thought experiment; I have such items in my closet). The nice thing is that I am wearing a very pretty gray pearl-and-chain necklace that my mother gave me years ago and that I hardly ever wear (because when you're leaving the house in stripes/camo/huge florals/very bright geometric patterns jewelry seems a little beside the point).

This particular combo is making me feel strangely grown-up; Hanna Andersson clothes are very nice but they are definitely Mom Clothes. The next stop on this train is, of course, Eileen Fisher. (I actually like Eileen Fisher, and as soon as my hair stops futzing around and goes completely gray like I want it to I will probably save up my pennies — Eileen Fisher is expensive! — and start wearing more Eileen Fisher.)

Weirdly, though, even though I'm wearing all gray and black, I feel tremendously conspicuous. If you're wearing a bright-orange dress printed with anvils (just as a thought experiment; I don't actually have a bright-orange dress printed with anvils … yet) you obviously don't give a damn about what people think about your clothes, so any judgments roll right off you. If you're wearing a tasteful black skirt, gray cashmere cardigan, and pearls, well … see what I mean? There will be twenty other women on the street wearing the same thing today, and I am definitely NOT in the top ten percent of women who can do this look right. It seems odd to feel more conspicuous in a tasteful knit skirt than in orange-and-anvils, but obviously orange-and-anvils is my comfort zone, and that's all there is to it.

To sum up: it's a nice skirt. I like it. Next time I'll wear it with bright colors. Also, I need an orange dress printed with anvils.

Secret Lives of Dresses #15

Lucite Box Paillette dress

The little oil light was guttering, and her glass held a sliver of ice and a maraschino cherry stem. She'd been sitting there so long I'd heard the man at the piano play "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" three times; he didn't really have that big a repertoire. The waiter had been waved off so many times that he had given up coming by at all.

I don't know what she was looking at, but when he sat down it startled her. I felt her jerk in the chair.

"Been here long?" he asked. It could have sounded mean, but he didn't sound mean.

"A while." She smiled at him, out of habit. The next word was almost forced out of her mouth. "Billy?"

"You know you shouldn't expect a man with a boy's name to be responsible," he said. "There was a man in from out of town, and something about a poker game."

I felt her shoulders sag, slightly. It wasn't enough to see, just to feel.

"I'd say he sent his apologies, but you'd know I was lying." He made a little half-grimace, half-shrug.

She squared her glass on the bar napkin. "Thanks for coming by," she said. She reached for her black satin clutch from the seat next to her.

"Hey," he said, a little too quickly. "It's still early." He looked around the nearly empty lounge. There was one couple dancing. The piano player looked bored.

She didn't say anything.

"One dance," he said.

"I should really …" Something in his face stopped her, I think. He looked like a man it would be difficult to be rude to. "Sure. One dance."

I didn't know the song, but this late, it didn't really matter. They moved out to the floor, where the other couple had given up the pretense of steps and were just in a shuffling embrace.

They danced well together. Not in a showy, cruise-ship way, but a comfortable way. They fit. His arm tightened around her waist.

"Neal," she said. She stiffened.

"One of these dances," he said. "Or maybe on one of those picnics you have with you and two plates and the ants. Or on New Year's Eve, when you're standing alone when the ball drops. Right? Someday?"

"I can't say someday." She exhaled. It was almost a sigh.

"I can say someday. I can say today. I can say always."

For a minute there, I thought that she would relax, move closer to him. I thought I could feel her considering it, holding her breath, her arm across his shoulder and her hand against the nape of his neck, just laying there; it felt like there was something electric, like the hum of an engine.

"Who's this making time with my girl?" There was a too-loud voice, and too much aftershave, and then she was spun around. Neal was standing by himself, and she was held tight by other arms.

"Just keeping her entertained." His voice was almost light.

"Next time, little brother, try card tricks," Billy said. "Howzabout a drink?" His breath smelled as if he'd had a few already.

"I think I'll call it a night," Neal said, but he didn't move away from the dance floor right away, but stood looking as Billy steered her back to her chair. Two drinks were waiting on the table.

She let Billy pull out her chair, and she sat down in it, but she didn't look at his face. I think she was watching Neal walk out the door.

Today's Pattern Story (and Sale)

McCalls 9640

Blue Dress: Why is she wearing a hat? I thought we all decided on no hats.

Floral Dress: I'm glad I decided to wear a hat. I was having a terrible hair day.

Blue Dress: And the bag, too! We said no bags!

Floral Dress: I look especially chic when I hold my arms like this, but man, it hurts. Good thing I remembered the bag, even though it's heavy. A bag really gives you the excuse you need to hold your arms all funny.

Blue Dress: I hope she knows I'm going to report her to the Sartorial Committee.

Floral Dress: I look so good, I'm a shoo-in for the Sartorial Committee!

Blue Dress: Well, maybe with all her code violations no one will notice I'm not wearing my gloves. My bracelets are completely chic. I'm sure to be elected to the Sartorial Committee.

Floral Dress: It's too bad that she's not wearing her gloves. That'll black-ball her from the Sartorial Committee for sure.

[Today's pattern courtesy Jen of MOMSPatterns — who is having a sale through Halloween; use coupon code 'dressup' on any order and save 15%!]

Tuesday is Gratuitous Pockets Day Here At Dress A Day HQ

Let's start with this one, sent to me by Kristin:

McCalls 9378

And then there's this one, submitted by Maranda, which apparently I've posted about before, since the pattern image was already saved to my hard drive:

Simplicity 3233

I realized lately that I talk about pockets all the time but I never say what I need those pockets FOR. So here's what's in my pockets today:

my pedometer
my lipstick (in "Urgent!")
— a check I need to deposit, and a pen
— my Palm Pre

I often also have my keys, my wallet (like this one, only black and with two zip pockets), and other assorted things, but those are in my backpack today.

What's in your pockets today?