One Very Red Dress

I tried Simplicity 6894 again, this time in a completely unforgiving, show-every-mistake solid red poplin: 

I'm not sure why I picked this red, other than that I started working on this dress around Valentine's Day, and I had the fabric hanging around. (I don't wear a lot of red.)  

I made the pockets (adding them was my main alteration to this pattern) a little deeper this time. I don't think I have it 100% right yet — the opening is still a little high.

This photo came out funny, but the zipper didn't: 


The wrinkles across the back are mostly due to my dress form not being set to my form any more. I changed the settings to take a picture of a much smaller vintage dress and still haven't gotten them back to "normal".  (The tangle of cords there on my computer desk is very much "normal".)


Whose advice was it to sew the tucks first, then cut out the bodice? It was great advice, made for very fast construction! 

The buttons here are vintage, have had 'em forever. They were my second choice — the first was a set of red, white, and blue buttons that I think I snagged in a fabric swap before I left Chicago. But the red was just a little off … this red is *perfect*. 

I gave this a test wear last Saturday — with gray Keds (see below). It was slightly too cold for bare legs in the San Francisco Mission in February, but as long as I sat in the sun (and had a copy of New Scientist to read) I felt fine … 


I'm pretty sure I'll make this again … maybe even in another solid color! 

Another Favorite Redux

Remember Simplicity 1577? I made it in heavy seersucker a while back, and have nearly worn that one to death, so I figured it was time for another version: 

Although I'm not a jeans person, I do like heavy denim dresses. They feel very utilitarian-competent. I'm pretty sure I could shingle a roof, raise chickens, or rivet a fighter jet in this dress. There is one problem in making them — you can't self-face collars in heavy denim, so you have to find some other fabric to use:

Good thing I have lots of Liberty scraps lying around, right? 

Ditto for the pockets: 

It's a dark black denim (cue Michael Penn) and I've been wearing it with bright long-sleeved t-shirts in rose or teal underneath. With stripey socks. So I look a little like a Raggedy-Ann doll in it, but it's so much fun to wear that I don't care.

I've also made this in black plaid low-wale corduroy (part of the Japan fabric haul) — pics of that soon!

Simplicity 2180: Maybe It's Worth It

So remember the tsuris I had over Simplicity's 2180 printable/downloadable pattern? It was all rendered moot, because I wandered into JoAnn's on a day when all Simplicity was $1 or something ridiculous, and I thought: "the hell with all that tape", and bought two copies in two different size ranges. (Which is what I should have done to begin with.)

Anyway, I opened it up and looked at it and thought, "oh hey, this looks easy". Note: whenever you think "oh hey this looks easy" about a pattern, especially latish at night, and just fire up an episode of RadioLab, assuming you can put your brain on autopilot, get ready to get that seam ripper out. Which is what I did with this dress. Here is a short list of things I put together upside down:

— the upper neck collar piece (twice)

— the piping for the upper neck collar piece

— the midriff

— one pocket (put in on wrong side of skirt)

Honestly, I know Jad and Robert are mellifluous as all-get-out, but I have NO IDEA why this was so hard for me to put together. My mind was not just wandering, it was on an extended gadabout with time out for some lollygagging, and was toting a bindlestiff while whistling "King of the Road."

Oh, and the best part? After I got it all put together I put it on and realized it was EXACTLY 5/8 inch too tight in the bodice. Five-eighths of a measly inch is the worst amount to be off by. It's too wide a gap to just hope the zipper will accommodate you, and just narrow enough that you can RIP OUT EVEN MORE SEAMS ARRGH and resew them to get the necessary ease. Which is what I did.

Anyway, enough whining, where's the dress?


So there's no pink piping on the midriff (which had been part of the plan) because I had to use it to get the Neck Piping: Take Two done. Although it didn't get done that well — the vee in the back (although really, really pretty ON) is a bit tricky, so it's much more bobble-y than I'd like:


Here's the front: 

And here's the oh-god-don't-have-a-cupcake side seam: 



The verdict? Unproven. I've only tried this on (haven't really worn it yet) and I haven't made a version in the right bodice size, either (although I have one cut out). I kind of want to widen the midriff by two inches, too … 

On the plus size, the neckline really is lovely on — it stands out a bit from the body — and the pockets are great. It seems like a really wearable dress (will report back once I, you know, actually wear it). 

This fabric is left over from a Heidi I made last year (I can't find the picture, weirdly) and I think I still have three more yards! It is the neverending piece of black floral vaguely vintage-y-looking cotton (okay maybe I did buy ten yards …)

Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Pattern


Among twenty boxes of patterns

The only desired thing

Is that pattern, over there, on the Internet.



I had three ideas

Like a table

On which ten patterns are hopelessly jumbled.



The pattern lies wrinkled on the floor.

It was a small part of the shambles.



An idea and a pattern 

Are one.

An idea and a pattern and two yards of Tana Lawn

Are one.



I do not know which to prefer,

The beauty of the line 

Or the beauty of the fold,

The girl in the illustration,

Or the dress made flesh.



Pins scatter themselves

With ill intent.

The lines of the pattern

Break and clash.

The plaid

Underneath it all

A matchless question.



O thin women of Vogue

Why do you imagine harem pants?

Do you not see how the full skirts

Swirl around the knees 

Of the women about you?



I know welt pockets 

And gently rolling collars;

But I know, too,

That the pattern doesn't know

What I don't know.



When the facing piece disappeared

It marked the end

Of following instructions.



At the sight of the name

"Ceil Chapman"

Even those who draft for themselves

Hit the "Buy It Now" button.



She floored the pedal

Of the machine.

Once, a fear pierced her

In that she mistook

The back bodice of 4788

For that of 8744.



The pattern is motionless.

The scissors must be snipping.



It was almost finished all day.

It was done and almost done.

The pattern did not

Fit back in the envelope.


[with apologies]

Today’s Pattern Story and Sale: McCall’s 4598


Pink: Does my butt look big in this?

Stripes: Oh, definitely. Big as a house. Big as two houses!

Pink: Thank goodness! 

Stripes: And I look like a cross between grandpa's pajamas, a deranged candy-striper, and a poodle, right?

Pink: You know it, girl.

Stripes: Allllll riiiiiight! We are going to pull tonight! 

Today's pattern is from Jen at MOMSPatterns — she's running a BIG SALE: 30% off all patterns at this link (not including the pattern above, which is priceless, I'm afraid). The sale runs until the end of February (or until the more than 500 patterns that are on sale are gone) and as always, free shipping on 5 or more patterns … 

As for me, I think I'll be looking for the pattern above in my size. In wide black and white stripes it will make the best "Escape from Fashion Alcatraz" costume EVER.