Paisley, Why Not?

So here’s a dress I made a while back but haven’t posted yet.

giant paisley frankendress front

The bodice is from 1577, again. The skirt is the skirt from W3, so essentially, it’s the same dress as this one. But different. The fabric is from Mood; it was a bit on the pricey side, but then again I think their fabric is usually a bit on the pricey side …

giant paisley frankendress bodice


Here you can see the black bias tape I used to finish the sleeves (also the neck):

giant paisley frankendress side zip


And here’s the back:

giant paisley frankendress back

It’s a remarkably comfortable dress … I have been wearing it quite a bit.

Oh, also, while I’m thinking about it — I recently updated this blog to a new version of WordPress and a few folks are having trouble getting to the most recent posts. I’m hoping this post gives WordPress a kick and wakes it up …


A Very Dangerous and Worthwhile Book: Cool Tools

Trust me, you really want this book:
Cool Tools cover
It’s Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities, and it’s the book version of the Cool Tools blog, spearheaded by Kevin Kelly (who is all cool, all the time).

Why do you want this book in book-form? Because it contains 1500 personal reviews of cool tools. Not insert-your-favorite-online-store-here type reviews, but the kinds of reviews that only come from repeated, considered use of a tool. And the tools themselves? A cool tool is (as laid out on the very first page):

Anything useful
That increases learning
Empowers individuals
Does work that matters
Is either the best
Or the cheapest
Or is the only thing that works

The definition of “tool” is broad enough to include Goodwill Online Auctions (super-cool), Amazon’s almost-secret 1-800 customer service number, and an encyclopedia of Russian criminal prison tattoos (which I suppose could be a tool given the right chain of horrific circumstances).

I think you, Dear Reader, will want this book because it’s decidedly for makers (it’s not called “Cool Stuff,” after all). Every page will help you be a better maker (or just help you make your life better). What makes it dangerous is that it is also full of ideas … if you do not think of five new projects on every page, you are reading with your eyes closed. (The “Construction Materials” section nearly sent me into a projectgasm. Check out Strong-ties, which Kelly calls “he-man K’NEX”.) And don’t even get me started on the “Organizers” section … and I still found things I didn’t know about in categories (like Sewing) where I think I have a good grasp of the cool tools. (Did you know there is KEVLAR THREAD? Soon, my buttons will be BULLETPROOF.)

Why do you want this book, rather than just browsing through the blog? Because it’s HUGE — roughly 11 x 14. It’s the kind of book that demands that you sit on the sofa with someone else (preferably a kid) and chat about possible projects while you page through it together. (Protip: mark pages with post-its for easy recall later — there’s a good index, but post-its mean you don’t have to remember the name of whatever doohickey caught your fancy.)

So, grab this book when it comes back into stock (supposedly this week or next) and then go to town. (And send me links to your projects!)

Nine Lives

I don’t think I ever posted this one, did I?

Nine Lives dress

I made it for XOXO in Portland, around the same time as this dress. The bodice is Simplicity 1577 with the collar altered to be Peter Pan, the skirt is the skirt from Butterick 8500 (as seen here). The fabric is from Superbuzzy — this particular colorway is sold out, but they have a couple others.

Here’s a closer look at the bodice:

Nine Lives collar

And the side zip:

Nine Lives dress zipper

And the collar:

Nine Lives dress collar closeup

And the back:

Nine Lives dress back

It’s a little cutesy for someone of my advanced (and still advancing) age, but … [insert don’t-care-face here]. It’s definitely a fun dress, though. I wore it with a red cardigan and red Keds, and with the intention of eating lots of ice cream.