Where are my scissors?

Steffe dress

I like this Cynthia Steffe dress quite a bit — except for the floaty elbow sleeves. Can anyone wear them and not have them be dripping mustard and pencil shavings by the end of the day? (Not to mention that they get caught in the ammo belt of my Gatling.) So I'd take my scissors to 'em right quick. That is, if I were going to spend $415 on this at Saks, which is about as likely as me actually firing a Gatling.

I am tempted to go hit M&J Trim, though, and see what I could scare up for a similar dress. Especially if I can find some of that peacock-print Liberty silk that I've been looking for …

Ooooh! Presents!

McCalls 8789

This pattern was a present from Rose (of Yarnivore) and isn't it fabulous? The best part was she said it made her think of me. Yes, that was my evil plan upon starting this blog, that people everywhere, immediately upon seeing a fantastic dress, would say to themselves "I am thinking of Erin RIGHT NOW." And it's working! [insert evil laugh here]

Man, oh man, lookit this one, willya? I LOVE the paneling on the skirt (a great way to combine expensive novelty prints with cheap solid cotton, and the seaming means you need less yardage overall). I love the flirty tie in the back. You know that ol' Chip at the country club, that jackass, would try to untie it after his first Rob Roy, but hey. You put a tie in an inaccessible place (in 1951, which is the year of this pattern), that's what you have to expect.

I would make this in bright yellow, with the panels being this crazy circus-y fabric I picked up at JoAnns that is bright yellow with multicolor polka dots. I saw the fabric, loved it, and then (after buying five yards) realized that it was one of the fabrics decorating the nursery of my adorable new nephew. (So, yes, I have juvenile tastes.) Luckily his parents (who have excellent senses of humor) would think it very funny if I showed up in a dress that matched their nursery.

Thank you so much, Rose!

A Seasonal Disorder

Vogue 1976

Every year, about this time, I think "I should put aside these frivolous cotton print dresses of summer, and make an entire wardrobe of sophisticated, narrow dresses in deep, solid colors." And I drag out this pattern again, and stare at it for a while. I'm fond of the cut of the red version. (The neck thing is a purchased scarf, not a sewn-in collar.) Doesn't that look like something Faye Dunaway would wear, in her role as an expert in international arms-treaty law? Or as the head of a multinational financial-services conglomerate?

I've never made this one. I buy (expensive) fabric to make it. I put it in the pile marked "Make Next." I have, on one or two occasions, dragged all the pieces out and pressed them, but I just can't bring myself to cut this sucker out. I delay and drag and then end up shoving them back in the pattern envelope. And then February rolls around and all I can think of making again is frivolous cotton print dresses.

It's a lovely pattern. Look at the seaming, the bell skirt, the POCKETS. (Click on the image to see all five views, including the marabou-trimmed evening version.) It's elegant, it's understated, in gray wool flannel and a black leather belt it would be irresistible. (In black leather with a gray flannel belt it would be really, really strange in a kind of Helmut Lang way.) And somehow I can't make it! I guess I'm just not the multinational financial-services conglomerate type.

Standing Out While Ostensibly Blending In

ebay item 8340264666
There's only a couple of days left in this auction, so get on the stick, people! (This is another dress suggested by msbelle — thank you!) I love this print so very, very much. The seller calls it "camo" but unless you're standing in front of a wall of 1960s bathroom tile, I'm not sure how well you're going to blend in.

An aside: I love camo print. I really, really do. I love to make the girliest stuff out of it. (I have a camouflage circle skirt, for instance.) It suits my rather literal ironic sense. And I know that there was fad of girly camo a year or so ago but I Don't Care. I have right now, waiting to be sewn, three yards of pink camo jersey knit. And I have a pink silk camo bias dress waiting for me to Get the Goddamn Zipper Right Already. That one may need a "fixer." Anyway. This isn't camo, but it's close, and I love it.

The seller says the buttons need replacing. I'm thinking it would be lovely with transparent brown buttons, largish. Matching the brown in the print, of course.

Again: what are you waiting for? I'd buy it myself if it weren't on the largish side. (B41/W32). It's only $20 and there are no bids yet!


ebay item 8341047686
Most people who shop for vintage hate Halloween. That's when all the party-happy costume seekers descend upon the shops, buying up stuff they're just going to destroy. Lots of shop owners keep boxes of crappy polyester Brady Bunch clothes that only see daylight between the middle of September and All Saint's Day.

(Most people who sew hate Halloween, too, since the harried moms and dithering high-school students making costumes clog up the fabric stores, getting in the way and stressbombing all over the place.)

However — if you want a Halloween dress, and not just a Halloween costume, this sexy spiderweb-print is as good as it gets. (Sent by msbelle! Thank you!) And it fits with my favorite lazy Halloween costume: The Black Widow. Black 50s dress, black hat with veil, dramatic lipstick — instant costume!

Anyway, this is up on eBay; auction ends early next week. I think it's going to go for a premium. It's a decent size, if a little small in the waist (B36/W26) and in good condition. I'd recommend you snipe if you bid on this one!

You Don't Know What You (Don't) Got 'Til It's Gone

Mignon cocktail dress
It's probably a good thing that this stunner (sent to me by vintagecrochetgirl, thank you!) is already sold. I mean, I'm sure it was $100+, and I would have probably not been able to resist it even though it's a teensy bit too small, and then it would have just hung in my closet, mocking me. I mean, I already have more cocktail-wear than the hardest-drinking noir movie divorceé ever DREAMED of, and I work from home, I have a small(ish) child, and I don't even drink!

This isn't terribly noir; it's very "my husband is a VERY successful ad executive, and we're having his junior colleagues and their wives (and that poor bachelorette Miss Adams from the office, I hope she doesn't wear her glasses, they age her SO, poor dear) over for drinks." Don't you think?

Anyway, check out Kitty Girl Vintage, one-time home of this dress, which has TONS of amazing stuff, lots of Ceil Chapman and Trigere and other Big Names. Suitably priced, too, but if you need something amazing (and don't we all, at one time or another?) you'll get something amazing-er (I know one reader just had an aneurysm at that word, hee) for your dollars shopping vintage.

Years ago I held my breath and plopped down $80 (hey, I'm CHEAP when it comes to clothes) for a gorgeous navy.jpgnk-white atomic-print wiggle dress and it's gotten more wear than nearly anything else in my closet … (it was for the all-important college reunion). Even after buying pink shoes to go with it, it's still got an infinitesmal cost-per-wear ratio. And I'm happy whenever I wear it, and how can you put dollars on happiness? (I'm getting a new digital camera soon, nag me and I'll put up a picture.)


Mouret dressI really try not to post too many magazine-y dresses: you know, incredibly expensive, where-the-hell-would-I-wear-that designer-noodling, but (and you knew there was a but coming) this one, this one is SPECIAL. I could see wearing this one. That is, I could see wearing this one if the skies opened up and deposited nearly $1600 in small, unmarked bills at my feet. Think Net-a-Porter would let me pay in dirty singles?

Exhale. This wool jersey dress is by Roland Mouret. Net-a-Porter describes it as

Espresso below knee length square neck wool jersey dress with gathered cap sleeves and a knotted skinny leather belt. Dress has darting at waist on the front and back with tiny pleat detail underneath, visible panels at shoulders, button fastening slit on the back and a wide panel at hem. Lined in black stretch mesh and fastens at the back with a zip.

but that really doesn't do it justice. Just gaze at the picture. Gaze and enjoy.

Needless to say, I wouldn't wear it with pointy-toed shoes. Round toes only, please. And it would be lovely with a camel coat and a moss green bag. Both of which I happen to already have. You know, just in case the skies do open up. Going outside now …