Of Course You Can Buy This

So a brief mention of goings-on in Avonlea in yesterday's post made me start thinking about all the dresses in the Anne books (one of which I posted about the VERY FIRST month I blogged) and that led me to this, Anne's wedding dress.

Anne of Green Gables Wedding Dress

I think this is from the widely panned miniseries/movie that I haven't seen, and not the actual books, but no matter. It's still pretty! (Click on the image to visit the Sullivan entertainment site, where the pattern is for sale.)

It would be well-nigh impossible for me to tally up all the hours I spent reading about Anne and Gilbert [heavy sigh]. Who's with me in still not-so-secretly thinking that Gilbert Blythe is one of the best too-good-to-be-true romantic heroes of girlhood literature? (And he's not even a vampire! Take that, Twihards!)

(I now feel a compulsion to watch that movie, despite the fact that it's not based a) on the books or b) set in Canada or c) in even remotely the same time period. Given all that, is it worth it?)

Am I Blue?

One more Heidi … for now (evil laugh):

Heidi again

I'm not sure if the color really comes across on your screen, but this dress is BLUE. Blue blue blue blue blue. The closest I can come to describing it is that this is the blue that I assumed they painted the Avonlea hall:

a deep, brilliant blue, the shade they use for painting carts and wheelbarrows.

Despite it being probably not so good a color for a community hall on Prince Edward Island, I quite like it as a dress!

Here's the bodice — note the lining which I deliberately pressed to show, for a kind of piping effect without the work:

Heidi again

And the same lining as the bodice for the pocket:

Heidi again

I have at least one more Heidi left to come — I managed to cut out FOUR of them in one evening, assembly-line style, and have finished one. Seriously, at this point I hardly want to wear anything else — they're just so comfortable!

Heidi #2: The Return (With Butterflies)

Here's the second Heidi I made (fuzzy pic, sorry):

Heidi #2

The fabric is by Joel Dewberry, I'm pretty sure I bought it from eQuilter, although I don't see it there now. I probably hovered with my finger over the "buy" button for five or six visits until I figured out what to do with it … luckily, Heidi only takes 2 yards of 56" wide fabric (another reason to love it!) so it wasn't a huge commitment once I did decide to buy it.

I lined the bodice on this one with some $1/yard fabric I bought ages ago. Every time I think "oh, I should really get rid of all those remnants that I bought for no good reason," I find a dress pattern like this one (or the Duro) that needs little bits of contrast fabric. Whew!

You can almost see the lining fabric — it's cream-colored, with a maroon and gray thread stripe, perfect, huh? — and the gray ribbon I used as pocket trim, here:

Heidi #2

Here's the back — I actually made a half-assed (pun intended!) attempt at matching the pattern on this one.

Heidi #2

I've been wearing this with dark gray tights, flat penny loafers (duh) and a dark maroon sweater; I could probably also wear it with a bright pink, a dark gray, or a cream-colored sweater, if I thought about it.

I also have a goldenrod-colored scarf (you know, one of those pashmina-y things) that goes nicely with this, and about two weeks ago I was in "the city" (which seems to be what you call San Francisco, if you live near it) wearing this dress, that scarf, and an old denim Levi's jacket I swiped from my Dad in roughly 1987 (with bright pink leather gloves sticking out of the breast pocket) and a tourist actually STOPPED ME ON THE STREET and asked to take my picture. It wasn't the Sartorialist, but hey, it was still nice. So if you see that picture on the web somewhere, let me know?

A few other quick things: I'm sure you already know (and knowing you all, have already donated to the best of your ability) about the tragedy in Haiti — but if you're looking for sewing-type things to do, eBay seller Charlong is donating the proceeds from her auctions to Doctors Without Borders, and I know Lisa and Tina have been doing relief/benefit auctions/sales, as well. If you have links to other relief/benefit sales, please leave 'em in the comments, and I'll do a roundup later this week.

My First Heidi

Remember way back when, last year, when I posted about this fabulous new BurdaStyle pattern I'd found, Heidi? I made three of them in quick succession and promised you pictures.

I finally got a battery charger for my camera (and then immediately found mine, in the last box unpacked after the move, isn't that always the way?) and so here is my first Heidi attempt:

Scribble Heidi

Notice how deep the neckline is? Yeah, me too. So I wear a long-sleeved black tee under this one. After this one I altered the pattern to not be as wide and deep, and I still have more of this fabric (glad I bought a ton of it, I love it and it's now sold out!) so I'm probably going to re-make the bodice. It goes together quickly (despite being lined) so that won't be the arduous slog it would usually be.

Oh, and I changed the tucks in the original pattern bodice to darts.

And look! It has pockets!

Scribble Heidi

The original pattern had very shallow pockets, but I deepened them by about three inches, which seems to work just fine. They go together very easily.

Here's the back:

Scribble Heidi

For some reason it was really hard to take sharp pictures of this particular print … I wonder why? And I'm sorry it looks so baggy — I adjusted my dress form WAY down to take some pictures of some smaller dresses with a friend, and she's still not back to her usual fighting form. The dress itself is fairly fitted.

As you can see, I didn't even bother to try to match the print. It's giant scribbles!

Next week I'll show the other two versions!

(Sorry, I don't know where this week went. Okay, I do know — it was trapped in busyland, with two writing deadlines, a couple of big meetings, and torrential California rain which caused minor flooding in our garage [WHICH IS STILL BETTER THAN SNOW!]. Next week, well, it doesn't look better, busy-wise, but it doesn't look like I need to start cadging ProVigil, either.)

Y'all are some good people

Remember last year, when I posted a link to a group in California that wanted scraps to make quilts for Quilts for Valor and other groups?

I wanted to share this thank-you note I received from Jane Ellen, who manages their donations:

Over the year I've received at least 6 large boxes of marvelous fabrics–silks, Japanese cottons and more. Most have arrived anonymously, but a couple had return addresses and I hope they got their thank you notes. The Pieces of Love quilting group at Northpoint Church in Corona, CA made and distributed at least 120 quilts in 2009–not bad for our first year with 12 members! Twenty were handpicked for women and children at an emergency homeless shelter and extras were left for others to receive as needed. For seven years our church has partnered with a Head Start Program in a disadvantaged area near us. Each year we give a Christmas in Corona party for the children and their families. This year we had over 400 people on our Christmas lists. Originally we just provided toys for the preschool children, but we have expanded to provide an item of clothing and a toy for each child in a Head Start family and gift cards for the parents. We also provide a small (50×63" min.) quilt for each child under age 3. The last count I heard was 52 quilts this year. Other quilts were personally delivered to members needing a tangible reminder of God's love in our church family. One quilt was sent to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where our church partners with a school and ministry. Several were sent on to Quilts of Valor for wounded warriors. Between now and March we'll put together a blue and white quilt for a woman who's speaking at our women's retreat then. This year's retreat is entitled "Sacred Scraps" and will have many of our quilts.

So thank you, from Jane Ellen, and thank you from me, too!

Youth (and this pattern) is wasted on the young

McCalls 4530

I really love the waist treatment on this pattern (from Tina at What-I-Found Vintage Patterns) but it is a size 11. That's right, e-lev-en. Bust 31 1/2, which I might be able to fit into immediately AFTER I track down Ray Palmer and his shrinking lens. Possibly. I might also have to track down some superhero who has a "remove-a-rib" lens. (I'm sure there was one in 1970s Marvel comics.)

I do understand that people come in all shapes and sizes blah blah blah but it's so sad when something like this doesn't. I know I could always scale it up but pattern grading falls right after "regrout tile in public bathrooms" on my list of fun things to do.

The saddest thing about these adorable patterns is that they're often uncut … because adolescent girls either want to draw as little attention to themselves as possible, or they want to dress like raddled divorceés who drink in the afternoon. (Or, judging from what I see in the windows of Forever21 as I walk past, extras in a Pat Benetar video. Aren't we tired of asymmetrical jersey ruffles with unfinished edges yet? I know I am.)

I suppose there are so many truly awful things about adolescence—systemic "unfairness," skin problems, parents—that I shouldn't begrudge the odd pattern that only comes in sub-deb sizes. (To be clear: there's nothing wrong with having a 31.5 inch bust, even only considering how many awesome things you can wear if you don't have to take into account chestular scaffolding and trussing.) And it's not like I don't have roughly two patterns to sew for every day that I can expect to live, most just as cute as this one, if not cuter. So you should put this whole post down to the cranky ramblings of the aged. If I had a lawn, I could now shout for those darn kids to get off it. (And you'll have to excuse me now, my stories are on.)

Two for Thursday, Plus Send Me Book Links Please

McCalls 5177

Denise at The Blue Gardenia is having a sale (33% off on three patterns) and this is one she's listing now … it's such a good pattern, especially for people looking for a fancy dress that is also *simple*. This one would be a snap, I think!

Carmen sent this link to the art of Mashanda Scott — it's all made of FABRIC! Astounding.

Also, I'm hoping to do more book reviews in 2010 — if you have likely candidates, feel free to email me links (or leave comments here)! I don't care if they're newly published or not, as long as they're still relatively easy to obtain (new or used). Sewing how-to, fashion and textile reference, and fiction about clothing all welcome!

Don't Wear Green Tarletan Dresses

From the (1883) Annual Report of the Massachusetts State Board of Health, Lunacy, and Charity:

Attention has very frequently been called to the presence of large amounts of arsenic in green tarlatan, which has given rise so many times to dangerous symptoms of poisoning when made into dresses and worn, so that it is very rare now to see a green tarlatan dress. This fabric is still used, however, to a very dangerous extent, chiefly for the purposes of ornamentation, and may often be seen embellishing the walls and tables at church and society fairs, and in confectionery, toy and dry-goods stores. The writer has repeatedly seen this poisonous fabric used at church fairs and picnics as a covering for confectionery and food, to protect the latter from flies. As is well known, the arsenical pigment is so loosely applied to the cloth that a portion of it easily separates upon the slightest motion. Prof. Hoffmann after examining 11 large number of specimens estimated that twenty or thirty grains of the pigment would separate from a dress per hour, when worn in a ball-room.

But green tarlatan is not the only fabric which contains arsenic. We find arsenic sometimes in other substances used in making articles of wearing apparel, usually in the form of arsenical pigments. The writer detected a large amount of arsenic in a specimen of cloth known as "Foulard cambric," which had been made into a dress; after wearing the dress a short time severe conjunctivitis was produced, together with nasal catarrh, pharyngitis, and symptoms of gastric irritation. The pattern of the dress consisted of alternate stripes of light-blue and navy-blue, and contained 0.291 grm. per square meter. Conjunctivitis has also been recorded from wearing of "tulle" dresses. A pustular eruption upon the neck and arms was caused by "a splendid dark-green dress, trimmed with light-green leaves," obtained "from a well-known Parisian atelier;" the dress was found to contain "a large percentage of arsenic."

Excessive irritation of the skin has frequently been caused by wearing stockings colored with an arsenical pigment. The writer has detected arsenic most frequently in light-red, magenta-colored and brown stockings; in one case, that of a child, which came to the writer's knowledge, great inflammation of that portion of the skin which came in contact with the stocking took place first, then occurred symptoms of general poisoning, which resulted in a short time in death.

Dr. Jabez Hogg reports also among other articles of wearing apparel fatal cases of poisoning from the green flannel lining of boots, and poisoning by maroon flannel shirts, by calico shirts, gloves, coat sleeves, hat linings, and paper collars.

Sub Ubi Semper Ubi

Oasis Rosalind Trompe L'Oeil dress

Holly of Lucite Box Vintage sent me the link to this dress (for sale at Oasis). I kind of love it, but more as a witty swimsuit coverup than as an actual dress, and it's definitely on the pricey side for something like that ($60, plus $10 shipping to the US). Plus, you know, no pockets.

The rest of the Oasis site terrifies me, especially this dress, which I am certain to have nightmares about for quite some time. (Although it would be pretty awesome as part of a Joker's-henchwoman costume for Halloween … )

Happy New Year!

fabric closet

Since I don't drink alcohol, don't care at all about college football (sorry Sis), and eat black-eyed peas about once a week anyway, New Year's is ALL about the resolutions for me. And this blog (and my related sewing habit) will not escape unscathed from the resolution juggernaut, oh, no no no.

First of all, if you scroll allllll the way down and look at the right-hand column, you'll see that I started this blog in May of 2005. 2005, people! That's like two decades in blog years. This current blog layout is the internet equivalent of a 1998 Toyota Tercel. Sure, it'll get you where you need to go, but very slowly, and you can't plug your iPod into the radio. So I'm hoping to do a refresh of this blog's "look" before the fifth anniversary. (I'd also like to be better about responding to blog comments/email, even if I only manage to do so once a week …)

Sewing-wise, I have two resolutions: to set aside a specific time every week to sew (right now, early Sunday morning is looking good) and to sew three things from my fabric/pattern stash for every item that requires new fabric or a new pattern. (See that pic up above? That's about 80% of my current fabric hoard.)

I've resolved, too, to be a better sewing planner — no more using up precious sewing time running out to JoAnn's because I don't have the right zipper. I'm going to make regular online orders of zippers and thread and other necessary notions, and if I don't have the right color of whatever, well, that project will just have to wait until I do.

I want to be more diligent about adding my project pictures to the Vintage Pattern Wiki and writing things up on Pattern Review — I hope that's a resolution you all share, too!

It would be great if I could say that I'm going to turn overnight into a more careful sewist — that all my patterns are going to match at the seams, that I'm never again going to press something into submission instead of unpicking it and doing it over, and that I'll always take my time and make a muslin first. But if I did, I'd be setting myself up for failure … that's just not gonna happen in 2010.

What are your sewing resolutions? And more to the point, how are you going to keep yourself on track with them? (I need hints!) Leave them in the comments.