Simplicity Itself

Simplicity 2463

This is from Janet at Lanetz Living, who has TWO copies of this in stock (as I write this) in B35 and B37. I *almost* made one of them mine, but I'm trying to hold fast to my resolve not to buy any more patterns until 2010. If you are not laboring under a similar resolution you might want to know that Janet is having a sale: 25% off your entire order (one time only); it ends 12/31.

I really love this (and I'm sure the orange version lurking in the background has nothing, nothing to do with that). I'd even recommend this as a fantastic candidate for a wedding dress (again, in the long and sleeveless version, but possibly not in orange). Think of it in a heavy peau de soie, yes? Or a really nice brocade … lovely. Slap a veil on that sucker and call it a day. (Although: *don't* call it "the happiest day of your life." Why limit yourself?)

The version with sleeves is a bit too Star Trek Epaulet for my taste, but hey, your taste may (and certainly can) differ. If you love it, go for it. Live long and prosper.

Abject Awe Thursday (with a sale)

Trompe L'oeil

This dress (at Holly's LuciteBox Vintage) makes me nearly incandescent with joy. I know we've seen some trompe l'oeil dresses here before, but this one not only takes, but bakes, frosts, and decorates the cake, with those sparkling unblowoutable candles on top.

And NOT ONLY is this a fairly reasonable size (28 waist) it's ON SALE. Holly's having a three-day sale: today's the second day, so use the code SECONDDAY and get 30% off anything on her site. (Tomorrow is the THIRDDAY, and you can get 35% off, but I bet if you wait this dress will be GONE. And that's no-foolin'.)

What kinds of trompe-l'oeil dresses do you wish existed? (Don't ask for fake pockets, though. That's just cruel.)

I Maded You a Widget But I Forgotted It

I made a widget over on Widgetbox months ago, but because this blog is older than dirt and I never upgraded to the Blogger "Layouts" feature instead of the regular ol' "Templates", worrying that doing the conversion would eat up a Saturday better spent sewing, I have not told you about it. Until now.

It looks like this:

widgetbox widget

Click on that image and it will take you to the Widgetbox page for installation instructions. Unfortunately, because of the "older than dirt" restriction as mentioned above, I have no idea how normal people would install this widget on *their* blogs. Supposedly it "just works," but Steve Jobs didn't harm anyone in the construction of this widget, so take that with a grain of salt.

If you want to make your own random dress widget from your own pattern images, let me know — I'm happy to share the code, such as it is! You'll need to be able to create a new directory & ftp into to rename files for it to work.

Official Dress of the International Woman of Mystery

Vogue 1044

I love this dress. I think it would be fun to have this dress with three or four different underslips, in different patterns, kind of like wearing different shirts with same suit, only better. This dress was probably used in one of those 1960s movies where the heroine's "disguise" consisted of a completely conspicuous hat and sunglasses that would shield car headlamps, or where she dressed as a boy (but with full-on false eyelashes), or she "hid" by standing behind a set of brocade drapes (like any villain with common sense doesn't have venetian blinds at this point).

You can nab this dress (and possibly sign up for Interpol) at the Vintage Fashion Library, where Lisa is having a FREE SHIPPING sale. Yes, that even includes you folks outside the U. S. of A. (See what I mean about Interpol?) Also, 10% of your purchase price will be donated to the United Christmas Service in Indianapolis. (Interpolnapolis? Okay, took the joke too far.) This sale includes patterns at Miss Helene's as well — email Lisa for more details if you want to buy from both sites. Sale lasts until the 17th, so shop now for best selection …

Such a (Paper) Doll (and sale)

Simplicity 3815

When I ran across this dress I looked at it for a good five minutes trying to figure out what it reminded me of. Of course, that didn't work, and it was only after doing two or three unrelated things that I realized — the sleeve-and-neckline combo here reminds me of paper dolls! Not that that's a bad thing. I think you should get this pattern and make it for you and all your friends, then wander around holding hands, very stiffly.

This pattern is from Sheila at Out of the Ashes, and she's decided to have a last minute Christmas sale – so if anyone wants to make any presents or that special Christmas or New Year's dress you *may* have time. (I'm now planning to make a festive dress for a December 26th wedding, myself …) Sheila also needs to make room for some more patterns – she can only fit so many in that spare bedroom!

How much of a sale, you ask? TWENTY PERCENT OFF! Use coupon code MERRY for discount, sale ends Wednesday.

Oh! Yes, please.

Sarai of Colette Patterns sent me links to her new dress patterns, and I looooooove this one.

Colette Rooibos Dress

Leaving aside the photo styling, which I find very appealing, it's also a lovely dress. The teeny collar! A midriff band! Instructions for piping the neck and armholes. And (of course) POCKETS!

Here's the line drawing:

Colette Rooibos Dress

Click on either image to visit her shop listing … as soon as I sew roughly eight more versions of the Heidi dress, I may be heading her way myself!

Dresses in the News, Week of December 7th

Hepburn auction

A whole bunch of Hepburn-era Givenchy is going up for auction tomorrow. (Do you know the story of Audrey's first wedding dress? It's a tearjerker.)

Jenny at Chronically Uncool sent me a link to this article — 1300 vintage dresses found in St. Louis!

A whole bunch of Victoria Beckham's dresses were stolen. (I have no opinions about her husband, her music, or her personal life in general, but her dresses are quite pretty!)

Today's Pattern Story (and Sale)

Butterick 6058

I have no idea whether Black Dress is looking at Blue Dress in disgust or thinly disguised longing. I think it could go either way, or possibly both.

Black Dress: What *is* it about her? I can't sleep, I can't eat, I show up deliberately wearing the same dress, just so she'll notice me … [sigh] Which she never will.

Blue Dress: Look! I think I see them coming into the harbor! Get ready for Fleet Week, Amabel! I'm so glad we wore gloves.

TOTALLY could happen. Don't you think?

Sandra at Sandritocat is having a 20% sale to celebrate her shop's second anniversary! Her anniversary is actually December 7th, but she running the sale from today, Friday, December 4th, through Monday, December 7th, at midnight EST. She will either refund through PayPal or you can wait for a revised invoice through Paypal. (Please use code “anniversary#2” in the notes section to get your 20% off.)

[I keep forgetting to add these disclaimers — Sandra is an advertiser, as was Wendy, yesterday. However, I choose the patterns and what to write about them, and I don't get any direct payment for writing about sales. I just like to.]

Today's Pattern Story (and Sale)

Vogue 1875

Can you hear this pattern's voiceover? I can. Listen:

*I* am an individual. In fact, I am unremittingly individualist. I practise (see, look, I use a British spelling, despite being from Iowa) individualism. You might say I have individualismo. Or -ma. Individualisma. That ineffable aura of being ME and ONLY Me. Nobody else can be me, because I am an individual as you can get. Even when I was conceived, I was an individual—nobody even considered that I might be part of a conjoined twin. Look, I must hold my head from the unbearable mental strain of my individualism! (Also, this is my good side.) I should bottle this individualness and sell it. I would call it Indi.Vidual. Because random punctuation is so individualistic! Also, it would smell purple.

Pay no attention to the wannabe over there in pink. If she were a true individualist she would wear black, like me. Also, she only has one piece of asymmetrical clothing! Total amateur.

That said, I totally would have worn this in 1986. If you would wear it in 2010 (because there's no way you're sewing this before the end of the year, let's not kid ourselves here) click on the image and buy it (warning: it's classic Miyake so it is VERY EXPENSIVE) from Wendy at Pattern Stash, because she is having a sale! 15% for Dress a Day readers. Go nuts!

Meet My New Friend, Heidi

BurdaStyle Heidi

So over the Thanksgiving break I FINALLY made a BurdaStyle pattern … this one above, Heidi. (The picture above is NOT the one I made, but one from Isobel M — I'll get pictures of mine up soon, maybe even with me wearing them, ulp — but I did want to show one all made up, and not just the pattern illustration. And anyway, Isobel's is LIBERTY!)

Anyway, I actually made this twice over the holiday break, which should tell you how easy it is. I thought I would dislike printing out and taping together the pattern, but in fact it was very easy and soothing. I also discovered Netflix streaming video over the holiday weekend, and managed to inhale Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend … I have a BBC Dickens obsession. (Not to mention a "watching David Morrissey lose his shit" obsession, cf. Blackpool and State of Play.) Costume drama plus scotch tape is an incredibly relaxing combination.

I also liked the heavier paper — compared to pattern tissue, it was super-easy to alter, and having all the sizes meant I was able to cut different pieces for the bodice and skirt without worrying about doing anything unfixable — if I screwed up, I could just print those pages out again and start over. (And there's a nearly endless supply of BBC costume dramas, after all …)

Alterations I made: I raised the neckline about an inch. I cut one size for the shoulders, another for the bust, and a third for the waist/hips, and it was simple to smooth the pattern lines to do that. I changed the tucks to darts on the front and back bodice (but left them as soft pleats in the skirt). I shortened it by about three inches, to hit just above the knee in one version and just below the knee in the other. I also made the pockets about an inch and a half deeper — when I put things in my pockets, I like them to stay there (with the exception of my hands).

The pattern went together really quickly, even though the bodice is lined (my fabrics were heavy so I didn't line the skirt). And compared to what I usually sew, Heidi uses *no* fabric. Seriously, I got away with less than two yards of 54" for this one, with maybe another yard for the bodice lining. Needless to say, I am re-evaluating the "short cuts" in my fabric closet in the light of this new information. I have some green cotton satin that is begging to be this dress.

I really should post pictures of the ones I made. I'll try to get them up tomorrow, if I can find my camera connector cable. I'm planning on wearing them with a cardigan (quel surprise) and maybe even a belt, and I have to say it reminds me of nothing so much as the Michelle Obama look: nice dress, sensible cardigan, cute belt (link is to her Tussaud's figure, so if that's not iconic …). If it's good enough for the First Lady of the United States, it's good enough for me …

[Also, I haven't really looked at how the new FTC blogging rules affect me, but I should point out that while BurdaStyle is an advertiser here, I paid for this pattern (it wasn't a freebie).]