The Handbag-Industrial Complex

That's what I blame for the lack of pockets in modern women's clothing. Somehow the handbag manufacturers got to the garment industry and made them an offer they couldn't refuse. "No more dresses with pockets," they hissed, "or else." Then they smiled evilly and tossed a lit cigarette onto a bolt of silk chiffon.

Thankfully, patterns such as this still exist, passed from hand to hand in a kind of sartorial samizdat.

I haven't made this one yet as I can't decide whether to make the main body of the dress in plaid, and the shoulders in stripes, or vice versa. Or perhaps the main body in pink with white polka dots, and the shoulders in white with pink polka dots. Either way it will be an eyesore, of course, but a happy eyesore. (Besides, if you're going to defy the handbag-industrial complex, you must do it with brio.)

Click on the picture to see the whole pattern envelope in a new window.

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0 thoughts on “The Handbag-Industrial Complex

  1. Soul sister!! Indulge me for a moment –I love your site! I’ve been sewing my own dresses since jr high and I love old patterns. I have been rockin’ the prim-n-proper-lady look for years! Often, strangers come up to me in public and compliment me…no doubt that happens to you as well. What undeniable class and talent — Good job!

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  2. Aw, man. I was going to say “Hey send that with the Claire McCardell dress and I’ll trace it, too!” But a 38″ bust is too much for me to take down with my minimal drafting skills (I need a 34 bust). BTW, what *is* the size on the McCardell?–Lydia

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  3. I think the McCardell is a 36. And i hear you on the drafting — someday I’m gonna learn drafting, yes I am.Thanks for the nice comments, AnotherErin!

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  4. I like to THINK I can function on pocketfuls. My treo600 fits very nicely in the pocket of the dress I’m wearing today …My usual pockets-only-I’m-not-carrying-a-bag contents are id, cash, credit card, treo, and lipstick. The cash is to buy something to read. 🙂 But most of the time I am carrying one. I’ve been co-opted!

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  5. There’s a scene in All About Eve where she’s storming around the house before the party (? I most recently saw this as a clip in a museum, so I may be out of context). But the point is, her fabulous gown has POCKETS. Stunning to me. I think part of it is the full skirts we don’t wear as much any more — pockets do muck up the line of a straighter/tighter skirt.

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  6. Yeah, there’s no room in most of the skirts I like, and if there is — the fabric’s too stretchy to take the weight.I’m not even a big bag person, but the money clip, car keys, PDA and phone are just too much for most of my clothes. I guess a guy would probably leave the PDA at home — I can’t see it all fitting in their pockets either.But hey, at least you can fit a book on the PDA …

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  7. I keep forgetting that I could have pockets with my full skirts & petticoats, but I’m terribly fond of my handbag collection. Besides, sturdy handbags are useful for self-defense! And I carry *way* too much stuff for it all to fit in pockets anyway.

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  8. I have a hard time even finding *pants* with pockets these days that aren’t jeans or khakis, forget about dresses (which I have exactly 2 of) or skirts.BTW – I mourn the demise of this era of dress-style. If I knew how to sew and alter, I’d be wearing a lot more dresses because the ones I can buy at the store all suck.

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  9. Jesse, the dress worn by Bette Davis in All About Eve was an Edith Head. If I recall correctly, the pockets were something Davis insisted on, reasoning that Margo Channing was a busy woman who needed fashionable, useful clothes. She had several copies of the dress made in different colours for her own use.

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