The Hundred Dresses: Day 20

Wow, I can’t believe we’re a fifth of the way to the end …

Here is another dress from the same pattern as yesterday’s (Simplicity 5723):

Camo Simplicity 5723

(I blogged about this one last year, with worse pictures.)

Here’s the pocket, self-lined:

Camo Simplicity 5723

The back (Simplicity 5723 has a center back seam, which is a little bit of a pain):
Camo Simplicity 5723

The bodice/neck (I really love this fabric):
Camo Simplicity 5723

And the zipper, which is a definite C- minus on the McKean Scale of Zipper Eptness:
Camo Simplicity 5723

I generally end up wearing this dress with a cardigan (in teal, brown, or that mustardy-gold), a mustard-colored belt, and brown ballet flats.

(Today’s rollovers from Camopedia, which may be my new favorite website …)

I keep forgetting to add that there are several spreads from The Hundred Dresses up on “Inside the Book” at Amazon, if you’re looking for a sneak peek!

A new favorite dress, and a new favorite size.

I have a new favorite dress pattern. Made up, it looks like this (excuse the fuzzy picture):
Simplicity 5723

Which isn’t really anything like the pattern illustration, is it?
Simplicity 5723

I did add pockets, ganking them from Simplicity 1577, which is essentially the same dress:
Simplicity 5723 pocket

I also changed the pattern to have a side (rather than a center-back) zipper, and I shortened the sleeves. But other than that (Mrs Lincoln …) it’s that pattern. (The fabric is another piece from that trip to Japan — better picture at that link.)

The more eagle-eyed among you will notice that this pattern is a half-size pattern, and so that Simplicity 1577 is, too. Half-sizes are my new favorite, favorite, favorite thing, because, wonders of wonders — I don’t have to alter these half-size patterns. Not one bit, not one jot. It turns out that (unsurprisingly, since I AM a middle-aged woman) that patterns sized for middle-aged women who themselves have a bit of a middle fit me very, very nicely. They’re a bit matronly (duh) and harder to find, but man oh man, the pleasure of just CUTTING SOMETHING OUT WITHOUT MEASURING AND REDRAWING is a truly pleasurable pleasure, indeed.

It’s almost enough to make me try to lose three inches from around my waist so as to fit in to non-half-size (saying “full size” doesn’t really work here, does it?) patterns in the same bust size. It’s that awesome.

How awesome is it? Well, I’ve made two more of these dresses *and* have another one cut out and just waiting to be finished. Another reason this dress is a new favorite:  it’s SO FAST to make! It’s also extremely comfortable and easy to wear — just throw on a cardigan and a belt and you’re done. (And it looks good with loafers.)

Pictures of the other two are forthcoming …

Thank You, William Gibson

I am pretty sure there's a recognized psychological disorder where the sufferer believes that he or she is actually a fictional character, living inside a novel, and subject to the whims of the author. I can't find the name of it, although while looking — no research effort is ever truly in vain — I did turn up the (really disturbing) Cotard delusion. (And thinking about the reverse, people who think they're real but turn out to be fictional characters, reminded me of one of my favorite SF stories, "You're Another."

But anyway.  Last Tuesday afternoon I came to the realization that I am not (in fact) an actual person, but a character in a William Gibson novel.

I came to this realization while reading Zero History. I was sitting on a plane, en route to a "Big Data" conference (!), having been unexpectedly upgraded to first class (!!), reading the book on my iPad (Apple fetishization — very Gibson). I'd downloaded it at the gate at the last minute, when I found out there was no wifi on the flight. I was wearing a new skirt. It was blue digital camouflage, and I made it myself. (Gibson enough for you yet?)

It was the new skirt that tipped me off to my unreal status. Camo and the blending of military and street fashion is a — I don't know, not really a theme, but maybe a motif — in Zero History and there I was, deeply immersed in the book, when I shifted in my seat, glanced down at it, and realized that I wasn't a real person, but just a Gibsonesque character.

I mean — really. Look at the evidence. Gibson's characters are post-fashion: they're defined by being post-fashion. Sometimes the plots are driven by the process of discovering what it means to be post-fashion and post-brands (but never post-style). They're insanely picky (well, insanely picky compared to people who aren't Gibson characters) about what they wear. They have self-imposed uniforms; they hate logos. (I make my own clothes, in part, because I hate logos.) They're obsessed with certain iconic brands. They scout for long-discontinued items on eBay. 

Gibson's characters have ridiculous jobs. (I also have a ridiculous job.) 

Gibson's characters, if not digital natives, are usually digital immigrants, living a sort of twilight existence between the online and the off. (How are we interacting RIGHT NOW?) Are you sure I'm real? Video of me could be faked, these blog posts created by some bored AI, all sorts of traces inserted stochastically deep in those layers of the internet which are rapidly turning into digital peat … 

You'd think that I'd be disturbed by this, but I'm really fine with it (as a Gibson character would be, after the initial freakout). I mean, it could be worse: I could be a character in a Dan Brown novel, right, or in some book with "Shopaholic" in the title? And Gibson's books do mostly have happy or happy-ish endings, after all. 

(Weirdly, my sartorial obsessions began in 1983-4, right around the time Neuromancer was published. That's when I learned to sew and also when I became fixated on penny loafers, initially classic Bass Weejuns. )

I haven't finished Zero History yet, but I'm very close to the end, and there's not really time for me to make an appearance before the denouement. Maybe in the next book … I'm really looking forward to meeting Bigend. I hope he's still wearing that blue suit.


So I was wondering if I've already posted about this dress, or if, because it's camouflage, it has merely blended in with the rest of the blog, and that's why I can't find it:


This is currently my favorite casual Heidi dress, even though the fabric is a bit on the pilly side. Here's a closeup of the bodice — I took this picture after I'd worn the dress about a dozen times, so you might even be able to see the pilling: 


I do think it's a little disturbing, how much I love camouflage as a print. Perhaps it's my knee-jerk Gen X "irony" (in the debased sense of "incongruity") or maybe it's just that I am in love with idea that you need so much technology to ape what are supposed to be organic forms, or that I enjoy the absurdity of making fairly distinctive clothing out of something that was originally intended to make the wearer blend into the background. Whatever it is, I just keep doing it. If you had to categorize my fabric stash, the second-biggest category (after "Liberty," of course!) is "camouflage."

I have pink, blue, bright green, and several colors of brown camo, in addition to this gray, but weirdly enough I can't seem to find what I think would be the ur-color of non-blending camouflage: blaze-orange camouflage. Wouldn't that be awesome? Hunter orange camo! If I had some of that I would probably have to be physically restrained from wearing it twice a week, but that level of absurdity and self-contradiction would make me really happy. So if you see some, let me know, okay?