Ooh, links!

Check out this great dress from Steph in Brisbane. I love everything about it:


Her whole blog is worth a visit. (Thanks to Robin for the link!)

This dress at LanetzLiving includes a picture of the previous owner wearing her version! So. Cool.


ModCloth did a great blog post on Ms. Frizzle … a sartorial heroine, to be sure. (Thanks to Mary Beth for the link!) 

NancyKay sent a link to this vintage ad — check it out: 


MEDIA UPDATE: I'm not sure what the overlap is between readers of this blog and of Scalzi's Whatever, but if you missed his blog a couple weeks back, he named something after me. (Awesome, yes.) And if you want to hear my opinions on the word "swagger" (and who doesn't, really) you can check out this article. And you all know I regularly write for the Boston Globe, yeah? (A reader of my blog told me last week she had no idea, so ….) And Wordnik is powering words of the week in the Wall Street Journal. Whew. I think that's it!



Idée fixe


My latest idée fixe is to make a shirtdress out of this new Joel Dewberry fabric (Woodgrain in Vintage Yellow). (Faux bois idée fixe is probably the longest French phrase I can manage.)

I don’t know why — as with most of my dress-related brainstorms, it falls under the category of “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. 

Not sure WHICH shirtdress pattern this will be matched up with — I dragged out several contenders the other night, of which Butterick 2237:


and Advance 8524:


are currently in the lead. 

Wooden buttons, naturally! Maybe even little twig ones … 

Don't Let the Door Hit You, Etc.


I've been thinking lately that I have Too Many Damn Patterns (which is just a few boxes shy of the next size up of patterns, which is Metric Buttload of Patterns, and well above the unit of measure I'm hoping to end up at, which is A Gracious Sufficiency of Patterns) and this one is going to be jettisoned in the next wave of, well, jettisoning. 

I didn't buy this pattern new (although probably 1983-me would have been sorely tempted) so how on earth did it get into my collection? Did I get it as ballast in a box of other patterns? Was it twenty-five cents and so I reflexively grabbed it, with big "I think I'll re-enact the movie 'Heathers'" plans? Is my attraction to colorblocking in all its forms enough to overwhelm my common sense (and dislike for puffed sleeves)? Was I intrigued by how it seems as if you can't stand with your weight evenly distributed across both feet while wearing this? Is there some part of my lizard brain that reacts with predatory avarice to asymmetrical ruffles? We'll never know.

(Also, the photo-girl looks like the 1983 version of Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl, doesn't she?)

A Great Little Fixer-Upper


This dress jumped out at me at my local Goodwill a few months back — I thought it was Liberty. (It looks very Liberty-ish, doesn't it?) It's not — the name on the label is "Isabella Bird," which seems to be a possibly-discontinued brand of A Territory Ahead. (Named after this Isabella Bird, perhaps?) 

It was only $5, so despite being not-Liberty, I grabbed it. And it has hung in my sewing room for yonks, because as pretty as it is (and as well as it fits!), it didn't have pockets.

Now it does:


(Sorry for the fuzzy picture.) 

The pockets are white batiste. It was easy-peasy to put them in — this dress zips up the back, so all I had to do was unpick the side seams, add pockets, and then sew things back up. It took (including cutting out the pockets, doing the seam-ripping, and sewing) about an hour.

I've been working on more of these fixer-uppers lately, because doing so reduces the number of useless objects in my house (if I can get them back into wearing rotation) and because it's faster than sewing something new from scratch. It's also less stress: if I screw something up or it turns out to be unfixable, well, I wasn't wearing it anyway! And it can go to the ragbag or right back to the Goodwill.

It's surprising (to me) at how satisfying it is, though, when these projects do turn out well — I usually hate alterations. (It probably helps that some of my other recent fixer-uppers have been dresses I made long ago that now fit again … I've been mostly upgrading the zipper/pocket combos in those, too. I'll try to post more pics soon.) 

Anyone else on a tear of renovation-sewing lately? I still refuse to alter anything tailored, but just about anything else seems like fair game!

 PS It turns out that this exact dress is up on eBay right now. Sans pockets, of course, but they're so easy to add … 

Mutton, Lamb, etc.

Here's the (slightly) age-inappropriate dress I wore last week Friday for my 40th birthday:



It's Vogue 8728 again, obvs. I have one more cut out (bright green, alphabet print!) and am planning at least one more, in a black laser-cut geometric eyelet. I also have THREE other pieces of dotted swiss (one blue floral pattern, one pale pink, and one black) that might turn into this dress. (This pattern really makes up well in dotted swiss; it allows for very soft gathers.)

Here's the bodice: 


Possibly hot.jpgnk dotted swiss in this particular pattern is not appropriate for someone of my advanced years, but, really, I'd like to encourage us all to ignore that mental noise. This dress made me happy the whole day (lots of nice birthday wishes, cake, and some lovely phone calls from friends helped too)!

I forgot to get someone to take a picture of me in it — I'll try to wear it again soon (or the Liberty one) and see if I can't get one of my co-workers to point a cell phone at me. 

Today's Pattern Story: Simplicity 1114


Blue: I see an opening. You go in hard, and I'll follow.

White: That could work … but it's still risky. 

Blue: We've been training for months. It's as easy now as it will ever be.

White: All I'm saying is, we don't have to go through with this. Nobody would blame us.

Blue: You want to sit through this whole women's club meeting without a stiff G&T? Let's move, or we'll never get through to the bar before Wanda starts pounding that damn gavel.

White: All right then. Let's do this thing. But if I get seven-layer dip on this dress, you're paying the dry-cleaning bill.


Pattern from Sheila at Out of the Ashes. And thanks so much to Janet, who let me know that A Dress A Day was featured on The Budget Fashionista on Sunday! 

Gratuitous Shoes Post

Blue Shoes

I finally finished another one of these in this, and only after I put it on to head out the door did I realize that I don't really have any brown flat shoes. (Or any mauve shoes at all, which is surprising given the number of different pairs of pink shoes I DO own.) Thank goodness for those hoarding tendencies, because I realized that I could haul out these blue-and-cream numbers (which I love, but never wear). They're very comfortable (you can't see the 2+ heel height from this "point the cell phone at your feet" vantage point).

Not sure what I will wear this dress with for non-heels occasions. I suppose there's always these or these … 

Vogue 8728: This Time It's Liberty

So Vogue 8728, which I posted about the other day, looks even better (I think) in Liberty "Mark": 



Here's a fuzzier full-length view:


And a close-up of the neck binding:


You can't really see the fabric's lusciousness in those pictures, so looky here:


And for the more technically-inclined among you, here's how I reinforced the pocket opening on the zipper side with organza (the midriff is also underlined with organza):


The best part is that this dress matches the shoes in this post (from yonks ago). Yep, I now have TWO outfits that are Liberty-print-with-matching-shoes. Because I'm obsessive that way. (The other is a dress in the Enchanted Garden print, which J.Crew did flats in a few years back. That link is to the skirt I made in Enchanted Garden, can't find the dress link … )

Actually, no, the best part is that I wore this dress last weekend and on my way to the restaurant, a woman came out of a (different) restaurant JUST to comment on my dress. She knew the fabric was Liberty and so assumed I'd made the dress, and she wanted to see how I did the hem (answer: machine blindstitch), which was basically the best compliment, ever. It's so nice to run into fellow Liberty-enthusiasts! 

I also have a piece of fabric in this design in the pink colorway that Liberty used for their Target collaboration, but it's heavier (almost a poplin), so I'm saving it for a shirtdress. 

Do I have another 8728 cut out? That would be telling …