What are you doing for Plaidurday?

So it turns out that Plaidurday is a thing (as it should be) and it’s on October 5th this year. I plan to participate fully — I’ve been itching to make a plaid shirtdress (or two) and this is a great excuse.

I don’t know if I’ll have all the kinks of a new shirtdress pattern worked out in order to use this fabric, but I hope so:


It’s plaid AND dots, and it’s really, really nice Italian cotton (here’s a close-up). I bought it in Portland completely serendipitously — there was a great little fabric store about a block from my hotel. I really liked the fabric store — it’s called Josephine’s — for a number of reasons. First, they weren’t irked at all when I wandered in fifteen minutes to closing; I’ve been to way too many small shops where it’s as much as your life is worth to go in thirty minutes before the closing time written on the door to take that niceness for granted. And in addition to this plaid, they had some really good fabric, including the fox fabric I posted about the other day. (It’s always fun to see something you’ve already made up still on the bolt in the fabric store — it feels like greeting an old friend.) Besides, I’m always wary in a (US) fabric store when I don’t recognize *anything* — I feel like that means everything is either super-generic or really, really old. But this place had some nice Moda fabrics and a good balance between cotton prints and fancier stuff. (Although: what is up with all the ITY knits or whatever those slinky poly things are? I don’t understand it.) They also had this pattern — which has been in my “maybe” pile for a while — made up and on display, and it looked really good.

They don’t have a web store (and anyway, I bought the last of this on the bolt) but they do take phone orders (and also had it in blue). I was briefly tempted by the blue colorway, but it had a lot of navy in it — this plaid has just enough blue, anyway. The whole point of plaid is being able to pull any of the colors in it to the foreground through determined accessorizing, and I just never am able to find navy shoes that don’t make me feel like a cross between a first-year associate in a very conservative law firm and a gawky eighth grader in a parochial school.

This is probably my favorite kind of plaid — a little rough and painterly, not exact (which seems like an odd thing to prefer in a plaid, but there it is). And the dots are just a whole extra level of busy-cute.

So what are you wearing for Plaidurday?

We must dance because the Twenties roar

Michelle (at OldPatterns.com) has a score of mint-condition 1920s patterns right now. Check out this one:

This one almost makes me think that perhaps airship hostessing started in the 1920s, rather than the art-deco 1930s. I love the determined asymmetricality (and the Modiglianish pattern illustration). I also think with great sympathy of all the women in the 1920s who had to wear stuff like this and who weren’t sylphlike gamines. That must have really, really sucked.

These patterns are definitely on the pricey side but they’re mint, practically Starlight mint, actually. (Maybe Michelle has been raiding some time capsules …) The 1920s are where I start to feel that sewing patterns are edging into Collectorsville and out of the range of “I’ll make this up next Saturday for a lark,” but the boundaries of your Collectorsville may vary. (I think that for some folks 1950s vintage clothing is now edging into Collectorsville — as I skip gaily towards my dotage, I start to realize that The Kids Today are now buying “vintage” that I wore in junior high school, and that the 1950s day dresses I took for granted as costing $7, tops, in the local Goodwill can and do now hit three figures. Speaking of 1980s “vintage” — dear children, floral rayon rompers are not improved by the passage of time. Take it from your Great-aunt Erin.)

I have one or two 1920s patterns I’m holding onto just because they’re so pretty to look at … like paper dolls. But I think if you want 1920s patterns, you might want to hunt them up now, because I have been given to understand that once the new Gatsby movie comes out in December, there will be a rush to flapperdom in fashion. (I hope there’s a rush to 1920s men’s fashions, too …)

As promised: the fox dress


As promised, here is the fox dress. The fabric is “A Walk in the Woods — Fox Frolic” by Aneela Hoey for Moda, and I bought mine at equilter.com (although they may be out).  I love the expressions on their little foxy faces:

The sweater is from Lands End in a color called “Bittersweet” and matches the little foxes PERFECTLY. You don’t know the downright visceral pleasure it gives me to have colors match perfectly, people. There’s a hierarchy of color-matching thrill, with the lowest level being 1) things bought online from wildly disparate sources, but in the same general timeframe; progressing to 2) things sewn from two different fabrics that pivot around a shared accent; and (best of all) 3 ) combinations assembled  from stuff already in my wardrobe, with bonus points if one of the colors is way, way off, like a weird orange or a green not found in nature. I will hoard belts, scarves, sneakers, tights, and cardigans for years, just to have the chance to  connect them with something else. (It goes without saying that items sold together and designed to match perfectly DO NOT COUNT. Even Garanimals. The idea is to make your own Garanimals!)

This dress is a lot of fun to wear — it just feels playful. It got a lot of love last week when I was in Portland, too, especially from the gentlemen. And Portland being Portland, it didn’t feel skeevy. Not sure why, but guys dressed in a style I like to call “scholar-lumberjack” (plaid shirt, skinny pants, and sneakers, topped off with heavy glasses and a heavy beard, especially if their physiques are such that I could probably out-bench-press them), saying “Oh, that’s a [effing] awesome dress!” are more adorable than offputting. (Even better if they are making me a delicious iced coffee at the same time.) Of course, I was at a conference that was All About The Love, so perhaps I should have expected it.

I also got an epic head cold while I was in Portland, so it all balances out.

Never a cross word

But always a crossword dress! Thanks to Sarah Dyer (aka @colorkitten) for pointing out to me that there’s a new crossword novelty print quilting fabric out there, in multiple colorways.

I was really tempted by the aqua, but I went for a more classic (if not more subtle) look:

Moda Crossword fabric

Right now I’m thinking that a) this will be another 9929, because they’re SO EASY and b) this means I should really go back to the ACPT next year, huh? It’s been a while since I showed up in a crosswordpuzzle dress, ready to place far, far down in the standings.

Hard to See

Vogue 9929

Sorry for the dark photo; it was actually rainy in California last Friday, when I browbeat my son into taking this photo.

This is another Vogue 9929; I finished it before my trip to Florida. It’s the Echino Glasses fabric that you see everywhere. I bought four yards of it when in came out and even made a skirt out of it but I ended up not wearing the skirt very often … the glasses are natural-colored and the black is a rusty one, so my sartorial OCD never was satisfied with any of the possible color combinations to wear with it (I usually settled on an olive-green t-shirt, oatmeal-colored cardigan, and black shoes).

Luckily I had juuuuuuust enough left for a 9929 — not quite enough for self-fabric bias trim to finish the neck and sleeves, but double-fold regular Wrights bias tape worked just fine — actually, the double-fold tape is nicer for this heavy fabric because it makes such a neat narrow finish. I made the pockets of black batiste, too — Echino fabric is fairly rough and ravelly, so it’s not great for pockets.

I’ve only worn this a couple of times, but so far it is an overwhelming crowd favorite. I got three compliments on it before I even made it to my desk that morning! (I went with one of my co-workers to get coffee and it started to get a little embarrassing … especially because he released v1 of an amazing new websocket framework last week, and there I was getting compliments on a dress.)

I wore it with a short-sleeved red cardigan (not shown), a black men’s Swatch, a black leather bracelet, and a pair of shoes I hardly ever wear because they have a prominent logo (on the SOLES, so not all that visible) that drives me nuts. (I’m like Cayce Pollard about logos.) I waffle about what glasses to wear with it — red ones, these heavy black ones, transparent ones, or no glasses at all? There is a case to be made for each option. Last time I chose red, this time black, and perhaps next time I will bust out the transparent ones (which I haven’t worn yet because they’re huge, and I’m not yet reconciled to the return of 1980s-style giant dork frames, since I rocked them last time).

I also have this fabric in the bright green … my first instinct was to make another 9929 right away, but I think I will continue hoarding it against another rainy day.

Next up on the 9929 parade: one made from this fabric. (Sneak preview here).

I Want to Link to You

Blog (detail)
No, really. I want to link to your blog. I love how many sewing and crafting and vintaging and just plain gorgeous-ing blogs have sprung up lately … but there are so few hours in the day! It’s hard enough to find time to write a post, much less traipse through the blogosphere to find all the insightful stuff that’s being written about vintage patterns, fabric hoarding, and Airship Hostessing. So (as you may have noticed) I was happy to start using a new WordPress plug-in, Related Content by Wordnik, to start adding not just links to related posts from the archives of this blog, but links to related posts from other blogs, too. So much cool stuff to discover!

(Astute readers will notice that Related Content by Wordnik is made by Wordnik, the company I work for. It turns out that knowing a lot about words leads to knowing a lot about how words go together, which leads to knowing a lot about how collections of words — like blog posts — go together. Next up, we’re going to mix chocolate and peanut butter. Stand back!)

Anyway — I’d love to link to even more cool blogs. So if you have a cool (WordPress-only, for now, sorry) blog, would you consider installing Related Content by Wordnik, so I can link to you better? Tell ’em Erin sent you.

Another 9929, Florida-Style

Vogue 9929, Liberty Mim

This is the second Liberty 9929 I’ve made — this is Liberty Mim, one of my favorite prints. This print just makes me SO HAPPY, although I’m not sure if I look happy in this photo … probably the fault of my contact lenses. They’re so much more convenient than glasses when I know I’ll be in and out of the pool and the ocean all day, but hopping in and out of the pool and the ocean means lots of chlorine and salt in my eyes, too, which is not so convenient.

Anyway. The yellow sandals are from Topshop, from my trip to the UK in May 2011 (they have bows across the top which I don’t think you can see); same old Swatch, and the orange bracelet is one of those RoadID thingums that has your name and your ICE phone number and what your blood type is. I wear it running and also when there’s any chance at all of a lifeguard having to pull my unconscious body out of the surf.

As usual for this trip, even when I think I’m packing the bare minimum, I’ve packed too much. I brought three dresses and two shirt/skirt combos for seven days, but could have done with two fewer changes of clothes (the place we stay has a washing machine). I also brought one more bathing suit than I absolutely needed, but I really hate getting back into a still-damp suit. (I’m loving the new high-waisted two.jpgece trend; I think this is first summer I’ve worn a non-tankini two.jpgece suit since before my son was born …)

It’s been a great trip but I’m looking forward to being home tomorrow … and not just because that’s where my sewing machine is!