The Purge (2017)

It’s been forever since I posted, I know—sheesh, 2017, amirite?—and I just moved house, which of course has everything topsy-turvy. (I have *almost* got my new sewing space sew-able, though.)

As part of moving I had to round up all the random plastic tubs of fabric and dresses I had cached all over the old house like some kind of textile squirrel, and all I can say is … whoa. It’s pretty easy to say “oh, I don’t have that much stuff” when you can only see one or two bins at a time, but when moving them takes double-digit trips (in a Honda Fit, but still), saying “I don’t have that much stuff” only provokes bitter, bitter laughter.

So: I’m purging! Very, very slowly, but still … and, as the zeitgeist would have it, I’m getting rid of the things that don’t “spark joy”. Some of what I’m letting go is fabric (mostly I’m giving to local swaps and Goodwill but I’ve put some up on Etsy, here), and some of what I’m letting go is vintage (still trying to figure out what to do with vintage when you’re way too busy/lazy to list it online the way it should be listed), but some of it is dresses I’ve sewn myself.

I’ve always had a hard time letting go of dresses I’ve sewn, for one reason or another. Part of it is that, well, I really LIKE them—I wouldn’t have made them, otherwise. Part of it is of course the ‘sunk cost fallacy’: “I spent X hours and Y dollars on this, I should keep it until I figure out what to do with it … “. And of course there are all the same reasons that anyone keeps clothes they no longer wear regularly: “I might fit into this again someday/I might need it/I might take it apart and make something else out of it/I have wonderful memories of wearing this” and so on.

And a large part of it is that I feel that handmade dresses should be worn by people who will appreciate them!

People have often asked me to sell (or make replicas) dresses I’ve made and featured here, but sewing isn’t my job, it’s my hobby. So I don’t do custom work and I don’t have a dress or alterations shop. I usually point people towards the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals and go on my merry way.

All this is, of course, a long lead-up to me saying, “Hey! There are bunch of dresses I’ve made that I no longer have physical or psychological space for—would you by chance want one?”

I’ve put them all in a Google Spreadsheet here. Most of them are linked to blog posts where they were featured; a few I’m still trying to track down. (You could treat those as grab-bag or lucky-dip dresses if you want!)

I’m not trying to make a bazillion dollars here, so every dress is $20, plus USPS Priority Mail flat-rate shipping. I will ship internationally (with the warning that it will be expensive, and you’ll be on the hook for any customs duties).

If you see a dress you like, fill out THIS FORM with the dress you want and your email and mailing address, and I will send you a Paypal invoice for the $20 plus whatever shipping costs to wherever you live. Then you have a week to pay the invoice (or the dress becomes available to someone else).

I’ll strikethrough dresses on the spreadsheet as they are claimed and remove them when they are purchased.

Here are some questions I thought you might have:

Q. Do these dresses have pockets?

A. ALL OF THESE DRESSES HAVE POCKETS.

Q. There’s a dress of yours I want that isn’t on the list! Will you be selling it?

A. Uh, maybe? You can email me and ask. (I won’t be selling any Liberty-print dresses, any Tetris dresses, or the Star Wars dress, though.)

Q. There are no prices on the spreadsheet, how much are the dresses?

A. Every dress is US$20.

Q. What are you going to use the money for?

A. I’m going to give half of it to charity (likely Planned Parenthood or Chicago Books to Women in Prison), and I’m going to use half of it to buy more fabric. (Yes I know this negates the whole concept of “getting rid of stuff” … but, FABRIC!)

Q. What if I don’t support the missions of either of those organizations? 

A. Easy! Don’t buy a dress!

Q. I want to buy a dress but I would like you to ship it (some way other than Priority Mail Flat Rate). Can you do that?

A. Sorry, flat rate only, as I need to minimize the time I spend in line at the Post Office for my own sanity and the sanity of those around me.

Q. Will you make (my requested alterations) to the dress before you send it to me?

A. No, I’m afraid not … your local dry cleaner/alterations shop can help you out.

Q. Are these dresses new?

A. All of these dresses have been worn. Some have been worn more than others. (Any notable flaws are listed in the spreadsheet.)

Q. Are the measurements body measurements or garment measurements?

A. They’re garment measurements, measured flat across the front and doubled. Make sure to leave wearing ease for yourself!

Q. Why don’t you just give them all to Goodwill and be done with it?

A. I’m worried that they will be treated as rags because they don’t have labels. 😦 I want them to go to good homes!

Q. Speaking of labels, will you put a label in the dress to show it was made by you?

A. I won’t sew one in for you, but if you add $2, I will throw one of these in (until they’re all gone). That $2 will go directly to charity.

Q. I would like to pay some other way (not Paypal).

A. I’m sorry, I can only take Paypal.

Q. Will you be purging any of your sewing patterns?

A. Maybe? (Oh god I haven’t even thought about culling the patterns yet … ) If I do I will put them up on Etsy.

Q. When will this purge end?

A. At dawn. When they’re all gone. However, I have to get these OUT OF MY HOUSE so anything that’s not gone in a month or so (end of July) will probably go to Goodwill after all.

Q. I have a question that you were unable to anticipate! How can I ask it?

A. Leave your question as a comment on this post and I will answer it as soon as possible.

Here are some of the dresses, patiently waiting in their bins for new owners:

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Prisoner of my own device

This is the Rushcutter dress again—this pattern is definitely one of my favorites now, even though I’m convinced I look faintly ridiculous in it. (Actually, “Faintly Ridiculous” would be a great title for an autobiography.)

Stripe Rushcutter

This is some old Marc Jacobs stripe denim/canvas—it’s plenty heavy, either way. I made another dress with this a while back, but it just didn’t work and I both took it apart AND bought more yardage. So I had plenty of fabric to work with.

This dress is all about the stripes—here’s the side panel:
Rushcutter side panel

And the pocket:

Rushcutter pockets

And the back, which is just kind of ‘meh’ but at this point it would have been masochistic to take it apart to get that back panel to be more even, so …
¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Rushcutter back

And here’s a better view of the front insert, which I did actually take apart and recut when the first try didn’t work out evenly:

Rushcutter bodice

I didn’t actually make any of the adjustments to the pockets that I wanted to—mostly out of sheer laziness—so I am still having to bend over to fish things out of the very bottom. But that’s a small price to pay for HUGE POCKETS.

So far I’ve been wearing this with black tights and ankle boots, or black leggings and gray Keds. (The biggest issue is finding a coat that fits over it, because of the extreme A-line.)

Here’s what it looks like on (you can tell I’m bad at selfies …)

img_7983

I was wearing it all day, so it was a bit wrinkled at this point. (Also, I needed a haircut, since remedied.)

Pretty sure there’s going to be at least one more of these before I’m done … maybe something in broderie Anglaise for summer?

Back to the Simplicity 1577

another dark denim dress

I have started—don’t all act surprised here—making Simplicity 1577s again. I basically tried to re-create this dress, sans collar this time, because my previous version had an encounter with a bleach splash in which it came off the decided loser.

This one is in a much heavier, darker denim, which I am kind of enjoying. You might have noticed the last dress was denim, too: I have found that I’m sewing a lot of denim lately, making me look like some kind of absurd June Cleaver-as-barista. But it’s so convenient! Denim is my favorite fabric to try a new pattern in, since it comes in all kinds of weights, and a denim dress is nearly always wearable, and goes with everything.

Here’s a closer look at the bodice:
new denim 1577 bodice

I lined the pockets with some Liberty scraps I had lying around:
Liberty-lined pockets

Here’s the zipper, with the photo lightened a bit so you can see it:
side zipper

Oh, I forgot to mention that I piped the pockets with self-piping, of course.

And here’s the back: not sure why my dress form looks a little hunched over here, perhaps it was a cold day?
denim 1577 back

I made another one of these in this gorgeous black-on-black seersucker; it’s a little lightweight for winter but … I don’t know what it is about corded and ribbed fabric, but I cannot stay away. I just did a tidy of my fabric stash and the amount of seersucker I own for someone who is not a baby in rompers in Nantucket is absurd. Plus I have at least three pieces of corded cotton, including one in a bright peony pink that has probably been kicking around my stash for going on two decades.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (What types of fabric do you tend to hoard?)

Happy New Year/Dress

Happy 2017, people! Here’s a new dress that isn’t the same dress I’ve made the last dozen times:

Rushcutter denim dress

It’s the Rushcutter by In The Folds, sewn up in fairly heavy denim. I enjoyed sewing it quite a bit (once I got the pattern taped together), but I enjoy wearing it immensely.

Here’s the neck bit, isn’t it nice?
Rushcutter neck detail

Back zip, which I’m usually not a fan of, but this one is short so it’s okay:
Rushcutter back zip

I used some patterned bias tape from Daiso to finish the neckline:
floral bias tape neck finish

These pockets are HUGE. Really, really big:
Rushcutter giant pockets

Really:
Rushcutter giant pockets pt 2

They’re set a little low on the dress so occasionally I have to stoop to get things out of the bottom of them, which I find equal parts annoying and hilarious. (When I sew this again I’ll be putting a false bottom in the pocket somehow.)

This is a very, very comfortable dress, with a few caveats. First, the sleeves are a bit wide so they can get a bit jammed up in a coat. I sometimes have to do a quick ‘wrap’ of the sleeve around my arm before jamming my arm into the coat, to make sure that I don’t end up with bulgy elbows.

Also, this is a dress that’s much more comfortable standing than sitting, but that’s probably because I overload the pockets (because I can, because they are HUGE). So if you also load your pockets like Harpo Marx, you too might have to do a little adjustment and pull the sides of the dress forward when sitting so that your heavy pockets don’t fall weirdly down the sides of your chair. But it’s a small price to pay!

I like wearing this with footless tights and sneakers, or regular tights and ankle boots. I’ve worn this with bright yellow tights several times thinking that someone will say “hey, in those tights your legs look just like MUPPET FLESH,” but no one has yet. Which is probably because most of my friends and acquaintances are tactful, kind people, but it’s TRUE.

Oh, and the hem is faced, which is a treatment I always like, especially on heavy fabrics:

Rushcutter faced hem

I have a few other dresses I’ve made during this last blogging hiatus, and the goal/resolution is to post one a week until I’m caught up. Wish me luck!

Hey! Another Version of that Same Damn Dress

Gray Dotted Swiss dress

Oh look, it’s the bodice from Simplicity 2389 and that BurdaStyle Heidi skirt again! (Readers stifle yawns, reach reflexively for their mobile devices.)

This time it’s in this beautiful gray dotted swiss that I’ve had for so long that I can’t even remember where I bought it. I’ve been holding on to it FOREVER because I thought it would need to be lined, but it turns out no, it doesn’t. Here, have a closer look:

corner shoulder seam

It’s like chambray, but dotted swiss! Two of my favorite fabrics mashed together!

Here’s the pocket/zipper view:
pocket view

Why yes, that is gray-and-white seersucker piping! You can also just see that the pockets are lined in this very nice sheer gray voile.

Here’s the pocket-in-progress:
pocket-in-progress

Here’s the same piping on the shoulder seam:
shoulder seam

And finally, the back:
gray dotted swiss dress back

I didn’t even press this before putting it on the dress form, which is a miracle, if you ask me. But the fabric is very soft and light and so it seems that wrinkles take a look at it and say “yeah, no, I think I’ll try the next dress down, thanks anyway.” (Okay maybe there are a few wrinkles at the sleeve and skirt hems …)

I’ve managed to eke out a couple other dresses recently—I’ll try to get them posted soon.

Oh hey look a new pattern!

I made a dress that *wasn’t* the Simplicity 2389/Heidi mashup, finally:

Untitled

The bodice is the same one as here (Anne Adams 4687) and the skirt is (I think) from an old McCall’s pattern that I traced off ages ago to make the pockets bigger, then lost in a clutter of random pieces and finally unearthed two months ago.

The fabric is from Britex, and I sewed it up in about a week, which is surprising because usually when I buy fabric at Britex it’s so eye-wateringly expensive that it takes me ages to get the nerve to cut into it and sew it up. But this was a very inexpensive (and fuzzy!) marled cotton flannel … it’s incredibly cozy. (They don’t have it on the website that I could find, or I’d link to it.) It’s also pretty stretchy.

I lined the pockets with some Liberty print and also backed the lining with organza to try to take some of the weight (it’s heavy fabric), which wasn’t entirely successful but oh well  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :
fuzzy dress pockets

The neck is finished with self-binding—because the fabric is so stretchy I had to go and look up how to do stretch neck binding again … it’s also slightly lumpy where the ends meet:
fuzzy dress neck binding

Of *course* I piped those pockets:
fuzzy dress pocket piping
And here’s the side zipper … I found out that they make heavyweight invisible zippers, did you know that? They’re sometimes called #4 invisible zippers. (That’s what I went to Britex to buy in the first place, I think.)

fuzzy dress size view

This dress is so incredibly comfortable … it’s very warm, for cotton, and when I wore it in rainy Vancouver it shed water like a duck (if ducks were made of gray flannel). The piping at the sleeve edges and the neck make it a little lumpy to wear under a cardigan, but it’s not “shouldn’t you get those growths on your biceps looked at” lumpy. I wear it with knee socks and roper boots (but then I wear EVERYTHING with knee socks and roper boots these days, so …)

I’ve also made this in a heavy black cotton faille, which, if I ever need to play an ominous widow in an amateur theatrical production of … just about anything that includes an ominous widow, will be just the ticket. I’ll try to post about that one soon.

(Also, I updated the last post to congratulate the winner of the Gertie giveaway!)

I bet this looks familiar

Liberty Simplicity 2389

Same old Simplicity 2389 bodice with the Heidi skirt. Liberty print (although I can’t remember which one). Edit: It’s Rachel de Thames.

Liberty Simplicity 2389

And, of course, piping. (Nice fat piping on this one!)

Liberty Simplicity 2389

The zipper turned out nicely on this one—oh, this me burying the lede, I got a new sewing machine and the new invisible zipper foot is like buttah—post about the sewing machine to come soon.

Here’s a closer view of the bodice, although I think most Constant Readers of this blog could be woken from a sound sleep and draw this from memory:

Liberty Simplicity 2389

The pocket piping is barely visible, since the pattern is so busy: Liberty Simplicity 2389

And of course, the back view:

Liberty Simplicity 2389

I made about four more of these dresses over the last month, plus two more in a NEW! PATTERN! I’ll try to post those shortly.