New 1577; Same Old Me

I know this is a terrible picture, but here it is anyway:
Simplicity 1577

Note to self: ambushing sleepy twelve-year-old son on first day of summer vacation, saying “hey will you take a picture of me?” does not result in quality photoblogism.

But, this is a new Simplicity 1577, made in a few hours over the weekend. It’s blue chambray purchased at Fabric Outlet in the Mission *last* weekend, which is probably one of my fastest fabric-purchase-to-garment-sewn turnaround times in years. It’s really, really nice fabric — not terribly wrinkly and super-comfortable, especially since it seems to have no stretch to it.

Anyway, you’re seeing a picture of me in it since I have been really lazy about wrasslin’ my dresses onto the dressform for Proper Photos. By the time I get one made, I just want to WEAR it, and then I have to remember to go back and take the pictures, and that means waiting for good light, which means the weekend, and … with one thing and another, it just becomes TOO MUCH. So I figured I could either get over my laziness when it comes to new-dress dressformage, or I could get over my apprehension that posting pictures of myself leaves me open to “helpful” feedback on my weight and general appearance in the comments. (Which has actually never happened that I can remember, so … bad pictures of myself it is!)

Accessories here are a pair of Liberty Bensimons and one of my favorite Swatch watches (it has a really difficult clasp and the face is hard to read, but other than that it’s a very nice watch). I was going to wear this with a pink sweater, to match the shoes, but I ended up taking it off — the weather was gorgeous here today. The pockets are lined in a different Liberty fabric — when I do get this one onto the dress form, I’ll show you.

Challenge Made and Failed

So I had this idea that, for one week, I would try to wear only things I HADN'T made myself. The few RTW pieces I have, vintage, etc.

I made it to Monday: 


one day only!

Seriously, I woke up Tuesday morning and looked at the three (!) daywear-appropriate, weather-appropriate choices I had (two purchased RTW skirts and a vintage dress) and said "The heck with this" (or words to that effect) and went straight back to my regularly-scheduled rotation of made-by-me stuff.

I'm not quite sure what I was trying to talk myself into, except that sewing does take a lot of time (which I'm short on right now, as I'm sure you might have noticed from the dearth of posts recently) and perhaps I thought that if I could get back into the swing of wearing RTW, I wouldn't feel compelled to sew so much. ("Pfffft, fat chance," is what I think my answer to myself was.)

Anyway, if you're interested, the sweater is a J.Crew "Jackie" cardigan purchased on eBay; the blouse is this dotted-swiss wonder from Boden; and the skirt is a pink wool Cynthia Rowley (with great pockets!), bought at Filene's lo these many years ago (I'm pretty sure it's more than five years old). The belt is from H&M, bought in a pack of three. Invisible in this picture (and invisible on my legs) are a pair of microfishnet tights, also in pink. The watch is one of my favorites, a silver plastic Swatch.

So anyway, that was the beginning and end of my RTW challenge. What wardrobe challenges are you working on (or giving up on)?

In Which I Pretend to be a Real Fashion Blogger(TM)

So the nice folks at ASDA sent me an email last month asking if I would like to "style" one of their party dresses for a blogger challenge. I pretty much never do this because most of these dresses either don't come in larger sizes, or they cost the earth, or both, which means whatever they send isn't relevant to everyday life. Also, agreeing means I have to rope the long-suffering Mr. DressADay into taking a picture of me, and THEN I have to post a picture of myself wearing something goofy. 

But, as it turned out, the dresses are from the new super-cheap George line (£20!) and come in larger sizes. Plus, I'm trying to be less self-conscious about posting pictures of myself. (And it's good I'm trying to be less self-conscious, because, frankly, in these pictures I look like a muppet, in both the US and UK senses of the term.)

Here's the dress ASDA sent: 

Screen shot 2012-01-08 at 12.48.41 PM

Yeah. This is not an optimal dress for a forty-year old. When I got the dress I found myself playing a version of the game I play in airports while waiting for my checked luggage, which is "What will I wear if my luggage is lost?" My usual lost-luggage-catastrophe plan (which, thankfully, has never been put into effect) is: run to H&M and buy a black skirt and black t-shirt and a couple of bright cardigans/pairs of tights (depending on season), and hope for the best. Only in this case, the "black skirt/black t-shirt" was "cream-colored cotton lace dress". 

So here's how I muppetized it:


ASDA George Dress #1

I was thinking kind of "late-80s/early 90s revival", because that's pretty much the last time I wore my skirts this short. (And I really loved that fuchsia-neon green combo back in the day, but never had the guts to really go for it.) The sweater is from Land's End, the tights are Hue, and the boots are a pair of Donald Pliners I bought on eBay ages ago, and which I wear when I need to add a dollop of bad-ass to something that would otherwise be too prissy. The watch is a vintage '80s swatch, too, in translucent pink. The lipstick is NARS Funny Face.

This dress is a UK size 12. (It fit fairly well — there were tie strings in the back to pull in the waist but they bugged me so I cut them off.)

Here's a better view of the boots (I really love these boots, but they're "parties only" since the heel is so high):

ASDA George Dress #2

I think if I were a bit younger, or if I lived in San Francisco Proper (or lived in Brooklyn and worked in fashion publishing) I would actually wear this outside of my fenced back yard. The only thing that's missing is some jewelry … I thought that an armful of lacquered skinny Indian bangles in bright pink and acid green would be nice, but I (of course) own no such thing, because bracelets are a pain when you type all day. 

(Supposedly all the bloggers participating will vote on the "most creative" look and the winner will get an ASDA gift card. I have about as much chance of winning as I do of attending the Met Ball this year, but I figure I should disclose that anyway.)

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled random sewing blogging.