The Hundred Dresses: Day 31

This is another Vogue 9929 — I’ve posted a picture of me wearing it before.

This gingham one, in particular, is really easy to wear. It goes with just about everything (ok maybe not everything, but quite a lot of things).
black gingham Vogue 9929 front

That front view was a little out of focus, try the bodice view here:
black gingham Vogue 9929 bodice

Another C+ zipper:
black gingham Vogue 9929 zipper

And the back:
black gingham Vogue 9929 back

Every time I wear this dress I think, “man, I love gingham, I wish I had a gingham dress in every color.” I once had a beautiful brown-and-cream silk gingham dress made in this pattern, which was equally wearable. I think that gingham dress finally died when a pen exploded in my pocket. (Took me a long time to figure out that some of those early ink rollerballs didn’t combine well with pressurized airplane cabins … there were many casualties.)

This one is still going strong! Maybe I’ll wear it today …

The Hundred Dresses: Day 30

The key to this dress is … keys:
key print Vogue 9929 front

I posted about this one last October, and I’ve worn it tons since the beginning of warm weather this year:

key print Vogue 9929 bodice

I’m entranced by antique keys lately — and I’m not the only one. (I saw a really interesting dress in the windows of Columbia College weighted down with thirty pounds of keys — PDF here.) This fabric is still available in lots of places … this coral/peach colorway is nice, and this more ditsy/antiquey key print is nice, too.

The zipper here is slightly out of focus, but I think it’s about a B-:
key print Vogue 9929 zipper

And here’s the back:
Key print Vogue 9929 back

This is a fun dress to wear — it feels very summery, and the green is really bright. (Also, it goes nicely with my favorite gray Keds …) When I first made this dress I thought that the dark teal color in the print would make it work for cooler weather, but that really didn’t happen. This is definitely a hot-day dress (for me, at least).

Now that we’re a third of the way through (almost) the hundred dresses — how are people liking this series? Anything you’d like to see more (or less) of? Do you like a lot of the same dress pattern in a row, or would you like me to mix it up more? More detail? Less detail? Please let me know in the comments … and if you’ve read The Hundred Dresses-the-book and have an opinion, please feel free to review it on your favorite bookseller’s site …

The Hundred Dresses: Day 29

I do appreciate the irony of these next few photos being slightly out-of-focus:

Echino glasses Vogue 9929 front

Echino glasses 9929 bodice

This is another Vogue 9929, of course, and it’s in that heavy Japanese Echino fabric. I’ve only sewn with it a couple of times but I really like it. It’s easy to sew with and very comfortable to wear. The only downside is that the whites are all more on the “unbleached/ecru” side, so if you need your whites sparkling, Echino may not be the fabric for you. (It looks like a variant on this print is still available, too.)

I bought what seemed like a lot of this fabric quite some time ago, and made a nice-enough pleated skirt out of about half of it. Which left me just slightly under what I needed for this dress, as you can see from the visible sliver of the selvage at this underarm seam:

Echino glasses Vogue 9929 zipper

Here it is close up:


A better example of me going “eh, what the heck, nobody will notice and if they do they’ll surely be polite enough not to say anything” cannot be found. You can also see that there wasn’t enough for self-fabric bias, so I resorted to good ol’ double-fold straight from the package.  (Oh and that zipper is about a C+.)

Here’s the back view:


If you went by sheer number of approving comments, this is probably the most popular dress I own. I am regularly stopped on the street and asked about it (which I use as opportunities to evangelize the many many benefits of sewing).

(If you want to see this being worn, I posted about it here. I also have this fabric in green.)

The Hundred Dresses: Day 14

I could have sworn I’ve posted this one before, but I can’t find it now. (Obviously, my tagging needs some work.) Anyway, yes, another 9929, this time in a border print!

red border print Vogue 9929

I’m pretty sure I bought this fabric on eBay with absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it. (As the bromide has it, leap and the net will be there, or, in  my case, buy the fabric and the pattern will appear. I’m waiting on quite a few patterns right now …)

Here’s the salient part, the border:

red border print Vogue 9929

I really do love those houndstoothy things. If I were doing this again (and by “this” I mean making another border print 9929 — I’ve been reading a lot of Javascript lately and have been fascinated by issues of “this”-scope anaphora) I would not just have the hem and the edge of the border coterminous, as easy as that is — I’d use some hem bias facing to give it a little weight. (Oh, and I *am* going to make another 9929 border print sometime before the fall, because I bought this fabric especially to do it with.)

Here’s the back:

red border print Vogue 9929

Here’s the neck facing — one of my favorite things about the neck bias on the 9929s is finding out how it will look when it’s attached. I don’t do much, if anything, to try to plan it out:

red border print Vogue 9929

Here’s the zipper, another “C” effort. Since I’ve made these last two 9929s I’ve gotten a new zipper foot, which has helped quite a bit (I think):

red border print Vogue 9929

In Hundred-Dresses-The-Book news, there was a VERY  nice review in the Chicago Tribune! Check it out if you’re so inclined. They called it “a refreshing sashay through the history and pop culture of the dress.” (“Refreshing Sashay” is now the name of my new band …)

The Hundred Dresses: Day 11

You’ve seen this fox dress before, but here it is again, in more close-up detail:
Fox Vogue 9929
neck binding:
Fox Vogue 9929
side zip:
Fox Vogue 9929
quizzical fox in the pocket:
Fox Vogue 9929
and the back:
Fox Vogue 9929
and the matching Tattly:
Tattly fox tattoo


The fabric is called Fox Frolic (by Aneela Hoey for Moda).

I really liked this fabric when I first made the dress, and I still like the dress now, but I am thinking foxes are getting, as the kids say today, played out. (There’s a LOT of fox stuff on Etsy, which is always the first sign.) Besides, you know I have to declare my allegiance to the hedgehog side

Oh! And if you’re wondering which of the book-Hundred-Dresses this eleventh dress would be, it’s Matt Smith! Wait, no, I mean, it’s a Dirndl, about which I say: “The Dirndl managed to be simultaneously practical and attractive. It’s close-fitting, but the deep armholes and free skirt allow for easy movement.”

And! Antipodean friends, the book was reviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald today!

The Hundred Dresses: Day 7

Getting a slow start on a Sunday … but this is one of my favorite dresses:

blue seersucker Vogue 9929

It’s another Vogue 9929, of course. I like the way the bias binding stripes worked out on this one:

blue seersucker Vogue 9929


And the zipper’s not too bad:

blue seersucker Vogue 9929


And here’s the back:

blue seersucker Vogue 9929

I’m pretty sure I bought this fabric at the Oakland White Elephant sale, a few years back. it was a remnant length but I couldn’t resist it — I love dark seersuckers — and I’m so glad I grabbed it.

Probably my favorite thing about this dress is how versatile it is. I’ve worn it with blue, maroon, pink, yellow, and gray cardigans, and in every weather from 40 degrees (with kneesocks and brown boots) to 80 degrees (with gray Keds and not much else).

And there’s a Hundred-Dresses-the-book update, too — it was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe over the weekend! (both are paywalled, sadly) Official publication date is Tuesday …



The Hundred Dresses: Day 4

Day 4’s dress is very, very pink:
pink Liberty 9929 front view

Another 9929 (I TOLD you there would be more, and I’m not done yet) and it’s a bonus dress, in that it’s made of leftover fabric from a previous dress (a Heidi, although I can’t find a pic of it now). It’s Liberty, as well.

Here’s a closer-up view of the bodice:
pink Liberty 9929 bodice view

I haven’t been able to track down the name of this Liberty fabric. Anyone know offhand?

Here’s the side zip, which should redeem yesterday’s muddle:
pink Liberty 9929 side zip

And the back:

back Liberty pink 9929


I totally forgot to take a picture of the pocket linings for this one! I am pretty sure that it’s a pale.jpgnk bandana print, though, since this is Liberty twill, not lawn, which would make it too heavy for self-pocketing.

I made this for the recent TEDxMidwest conference, which was a BLAST. So much fun. I wanted to make two new dresses for it, but I ran out of time. My philosophy for dress-wearing when I have to be on stage is “BE AS BRIGHT AS POSSIBLE”. (I only found one pic — here — sorry it’s not a clearer one.)

Liberty twill is really great for 9929s — just heavy enough to hang right, not so heavy that the dress feels stiff. I wish Liberty would bring twill back … please?

The Hundred Dresses: Day 3

Let’s get right to it, shall we? Day 3 of the Hundred Dresses blogathon:

yellow stripe 9929 front view 2

Obviously, another 9929. (You’ll be seeing a lot of these.)

Here’s the back:
yellow stripe 9929 back view

You can probably just see that the yellow stripe is not completely flush with the edge of the hem. (I decided that I did not care.)

The side zip on this was a nightmare. The zipper broke, I had to take it out and put it in again, and … well, it was just UNFUN. So that is my excuse for why it is badly placed and why the waist seam doesn’t match up:

yellow stripe 9929 terrible zip view


What I like most about this dress is how nice it looks with red:
Yellow stripe 9929 -- front w/belt

The lighter stripes aren’t white, but a very pale gray, so I really like the red with it, it feels sophisticated to me for some inexplicable reason.  I bought this fabric from but it’s sold out now; there’s an olive/ivory colorway still available that’s really nice.

The pocket lining is from this shirting that I’ve been using as pocket linings for YEARS. It was so pretty yet really wrong for any pattern I ever tried to set it up with. But so right for pocket linings, because it has this subtle texture that feels really nice when you have your hands in your pockets.

yellow stripe 9929 pocket lining view

And of course it’s not really visible in this photo, but there’s a tonal thing going on with the gray of the pocket lining and the gray of the stripe. Trust me, it’s there. I pay an inordinate amount of attention to these things.
I’ve been really into stripey fabrics lately. (I’m not sure if it’s the influence of living so close to Alcatraz now or what.) There are a lot of stripes in the fabric hoard right now, and I’ve been ogling some more. There’s this Japanese fabric that is so perfectly Japan-does-France that it hurts … Anyway, how about y’all? Are you pro- or anti-stripe? (And remember, the idea that horizontal stripes broaden anything other than the mind is pure hokum, says SCIENCE.)

Random Is Still A Kind of Order

I tried an experiment last week, and it looked like this:



There’s a lot (and I mean a lot, as I am finding to my dismay as I prepare to move house) of stuff in my closet that I don’t wear — not because I don’t like it, but because it doesn’t EXACTLY go with something ELSE in my closet. So last week I took a look at a few of the favorite things that I don’t wear as much, and thought “oh hey, why don’t I just wear all these things at once?” So that’s what I did. It’s not like they don’t go together, it’s just not the level of obsessive color-matching that I usually aspire to. (Or maybe they don’t go and I’m just fooling myself? But no kindly people came up to me in the street to commiserate with me in my affliction, so I feel okay about it.)

So this was: peacock Land’s End sweater, orange scarf that I think was a gift, although I’m not sure who from (Kate, was this from you, maybe?), black-and-gray gingham 9929 dress (which I don’t wear as much because it only EXACTLY MATCHES either a red, black, or a gray cardigan), and  Fiorentini and Baker buckle boots that I saw on Pinterest and then obsessively searched for on eBay for months, because they are truly unconscionably expensive when new. (I don’t think of them as “used shoes,” I think of it as “outsourcing the breaking-in period.”) I also have them in brown, because they are that awesome. They increase the badass quotient of any day by 37-42%.

I expect that there will be a few more random outfits than usual in the next few weeks, as I’ll be both packing things from and unearthing things in my closet. I really don’t mind packing, and I actually love unpacking — it’s the schlepping things from place to place that isn’t that much fun. But expect a post about my new sewing space — it’s slightly bigger than my current space (if not as blessed with electrical outlets, sigh) and I have BIG ORGANIZATIONAL PLANS for it.

More Autumnizing


Here’s another 9929 that’s undergone some autumnizing (autumnizing is not as drastic as winterizing). Also, I don’t think you can say “winterizing” when there are flowers clearly visible in the picture behind you …

How do I try to make a cotton seersucker dress autumn-appropriate? By adding a cardigan, knee socks, and boots. The boots are an ancient pair from J. Crew that were probably the luckiest purchase I ever made at the big thrift store at Lawrence and Kedzie in Chicago. (They were FIVE DOLLARS! For those of you keeping thrift store score scores at home). It helps that the dress is all dark colors, anyway.

“Seasonally-appropriate” for me seems to be way more about the colors and the fabric than the style of dress  … I don’t subscribe to that fashion-mag article of faith that you can take some frothy pale-mint chiffon-y dress that couldn’t be more “Easter-tide” if you wore it with fuzzy pink bunny ears, and wear it in October as long as you put wooly tights under it and a slouchy gray cardigan over it. But that’s probably just because I’m a cranky old person. Please vacate my greensward, etc. etc. And oddly, I don’t mind earth-tones in the spring and summer, if they’re in summer weights and shapes; it’s just sundress-style pastels and primary colors in winter that tweak my irk-ometer.

I’m hoping to get some sewing done over the Thanksgiving break: the plan is to make two or three more 9929s … but only ones suitable as party dresses. I have some shantung ready and waiting for colorblocking, some rainbow lamé (yes, rainbow lamé) and even (if I can find my safety goggles and a fume hood so I can cut into it) some Betabrands Disconium. Watch this space!