From NancyKay, who forwarded this to me with the subject line "possibly the worst dress ever photographed":
The sad thing is that in 1980-whatever, I might have actually wanted to wear this, sans puffy sleeves.
Readers: Can This Dress Be Saved?
You won't have to follow a trail of crumbs to get your own wacked-out Hansel and Gretel Lanz of Salzburg dress, like, say, THIS ONE:
Here's a closeup of the Hansel-y, Gretel-y part:
You can find this dress on eBay, if you want to commemorate child-endangerment and near-cannibalism. Have fun!
So thanks to Robin, I now know about Etsy seller Sew What's New Fabric's MOST FRIGHTENING FABRICS section. In short: it is the best selection of terrifying textiles extant.
This is the one that got me:
Yep, that's "Squirrel Kicking Dog In Face Vintage Cotton Fabric". (It does what it says on the tin!)
I'm assuming this was originally intended for pediatric scrubs to be worn at the Our Lady of Inappropriate Cartoons Children's Hospital, but I'm open to other theories.
Of the small number of things I truly can't resist (apply at the address below for full list), dotted swiss is possibly the most inexplicable:
Especially baby-doll pink dotted swiss. What gives? Am I a Madame Alexander doll? Did growing up in the 1970s, with a plaid first communion dress (trufax!) warp me for life, and set up an unslakeable craving for little-girl clothes? Should I just say the heck with it and go full-on Sweet Lolita? (Um, no. As much as I admire their dedication …) I don't know, but this is the fourth piece of dotted swiss I've bought in the past year. (Purchased: 4. Sewn: 0)
Any explanations considered. Or … suggestions for patterns to use up all this dotted swiss? Ones that won't make me look like a renegade milkmaid, please.
Just so we're clear: I freaking love this dress. So far I've made it twice, and if I am ever in my sewing room while the sun is up, I will take a picture or two of the ones that I've completed. (I also have two more cut out and half-sewn.)
Here is why this dress is near-perfect:
1. The collar is adorable. Right?
3. It is extremely simple to put together.
4. And, best of all, this dress is GREAT for novelty quilting cottons. Seriously, those goofball patterns I buy all the time that just aren't right for fuller-skirted dresses work great in this pattern. The vertical skirt seams are enough to give the fabric weight and the patterns I choose don't need all that much matching. I also am making it in Liberty Lemonia:
The only downside is that the neckline is a leeeetle wide for regular jewel-neck cardigans. It goes better with a v-neck cardigan.
Things I did slightly different-like:
There's a facing, but I just used bias tape for the collar. (Facings: bulky.) I shortened the skirt by four inches, and deepened the pockets by two inches, but I think that's too deep. I'm tempted to carry things like ball-peen hammers and small electric motors and suchlike if my pockets are too deep. I am using silk organza for the collar interfacing. (I've also been using strips of silk organza to reinforce zipper seams in lightweight fabric, not sure if that's really working, but hey, I'm trying it.)
Click on the image to visit the Patternwiki — there are a couple folks who have copies for sale, it seems. Because YOU WILL LOVE THIS DRESS.
So I finally made it to the Balenciaga exhibit at the de Young on Saturday. The exhibit is still on through July 4 and is well worth the $25 entry fee (and you get to see the Picasso as well, if you like that grumpy bastard). [Sorry, folks, that I didn't make an official Dress A Day outing of it … I tend not go to museums with large groups; I turn into a Girl Scout Leader and worry too much about everyone having a good time to enjoy it myself. So if I really want to see something I go alone, or with someone I know very well.]
This was probably my favorite, in terms of a straight-up "oh I want to wear that!" reaction:
The whole show was very inspiring. The volume, the colors, the … "thematic cohesion" of Balenciaga's work (the only think I can think to call it) were motivating. It's fascinating to see how someone plays through the variations of a couple of key ideas. Balenciaga wasn't all over the place. He put stakes in the ground, did our Cristóbal, and when he was tired he just stopped.
I could have sworn that there were some Balenciaga Vogue Couturier patterns, but the Vintage Pattern wiki only turned up these two. Am I hallucinating?
There's also a book. Although I'm slightly confused (but even more tickled!) by the blurb at the bottom of the page there, which talks about Balenciaga's "genius for fir".
(There's a nice video clip of a Balenciaga salon show at the AdvancedStyle blog, too.)
Today's list of gotta-sees:
Liesl's Lisette Dress in Liberty! (at PurlBee)
Eirlys and her Scrapiana strawberries (so cute!)
This week's Spoonflower contest is puzzles! And speaking of Spoonflower, check out Mina's engineered skirt fabric …
ROBOT DRESS. I can't believe I haven't linked to this yet. I should send this woman a medal, she is my new hero.
I love this caftan (!) but it's the styling pictures that really make it.
Also: this dress is so cute.
That is all.
I did promise some posts about the fabric I bought in the UK, and here's the first, about a pattern called "First Prize" that I love:
I bought some a couple of years back (probably on eBay) and made this Duro with it. I waffled a bit about buying it in the navy colorway, since I hate navy shoes, but it's a very dark navy, and besides, I recently bought some kiltie-style heels that are the exact tan of the tan in this print. So there's that settled.
That said, I have no idea what this will be. Not another Duro. Possibly a shirtdress, if I bought enough. Whatever it becomes, I think of it as an early-October dress, with a light blue cardigan and a pocket full of those terrible-wonderful peanut-butter taffy candies that you only see around Halloween, wrapped in orange and black waxed paper.
You don't have to go all the way to Liberty to get this fabric — it's online at Shaukat (where I bought it in-person), here.
I'm pretty sure I've posted about the original version of this Vogue pattern before, in a kind of wailing, "why oh why has the correct size forsaken me?" way. Well, Vogue heard my cries and put this in their Vintage Vogue line.
Usually I'm not much of one for Vintage Vogue, but this one is great. Seriously great. I have one (mostly) made up and it went together like a dream. (Be sure to read the PatternReview.com reviews for helpful hints, including that you should cut the shoulders a bit smaller if you're not going to use the shoulder pads. And seriously: don't use the shoulder pads. My philosophy of shoulder pads is that you shouldn't ever wear something that would cause someone hugging you to think "what the heck is that?")
This is going to work REALLY well with Liberty Tana lawn, so expect to see it early and often. I added pockets (duh), and I underlined the midriff front with silk organza (I also reinforced the seam allowance where I'm adding the zipper with silk organza) to give it a little body. [Silk organza is wonderful, and you can buy it really cheaply in beige and black from Dharma Trading,here.]
It's working well so far … all that's left is putting in the zipper and hemming it, so expect finished pics soon. Even better, I managed to finally use a gorgeous piece of fabric that was too narrow and limp for anything else I've ever tried to make with it. I swear I've hauled out this fabric, ironed it, laid out pattern pieces on it, and wistfully folded it away every damn year since 1998.
Holly at LuciteBox Vintage is celebrating her third anniversary this week, and everything's on sale. (I love this dress, which looks Libertyish and practically demands to be taken to a summer picnic.)
There's so much gorgeous on Holly's site right now that it's going to be hard to choose. I recommend you get there early before the canapés (and this dress for eating them in) are gone.
[Sorry to be such an absentee blogger these last few weeks … I promise to catch up this week! Highlights will include some NEW SEWING; a trip to LONDON; and links a-plenty. Also possibly a new rant.]