The Mystery of the Themed Fabric

sent me this fabric, and asked me what I thought could be made out of it … my initial response is that you could make a really big mistake out of this fabric!

But then I got to thinking, and realized that it would probably make a pretty good button-front shirtdress, especially if you pleated the skirt so that you got nice, even Nancy-stripes out of the checkerboard design. (Just about any novelty fabric will work in a shirtdress, because the form is so simple.) Also, I'm fairly sure that you could get Nancy Drew-themed buttons, although a cursory Google does not bear this out; you could also use the Nancy-face squares (or, more interestingly, the dialogue squares) to make big covered buttons.

You could also make a big circle skirt and make bias binding to trim a matching pink cardigan. Embroidering a big "ND" on the chest would be a nice touch.

I could also see this as a sheath dress, although you'd have to line it.

What would you do? Make sure to put pockets in it — Nancy Drew strikes me as the kind of heroine who always has a pocket. And a bobby pin in her hair in case she needs to pick a lock.

I have nearly talked myself into buying five yards of this damn stuff, and I'm not even a big Nancy Drew fan! If you want some, click on the image link. It's $10.99/yard, and there's only the pink and brown colorway — blue and brown is sold out. If you end up making any style of dress with this, please send me a picture!

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Thanks, Mom!

Jen (who was Macojero on eBay) has opened up her new pattern site, , and to celebrate she's offering us a "virtual hot dog" at her grand opening! Use the code hotdog on her site and get 10% off.

Now, as you know, it is my solemn responsibility as a blogger (it's in the Blogger's Code, which I recite to myself each time I begin a post) to test out discounts before I make them public, just to make sure that everything is working as advertised. So I browsed around the new site and very shortly found a pattern I couldn't live without:

And, yes, I am planning on making this up with two different fabrics; maybe a dark maroon/light magenta combo or perhaps in gray and black … and yes, the discount works fine. (Don't forget to enter it on the page where you choose your payment method).

Thanks, Mom!

These? These are the "before" pictures

The biggest consolation of my upcoming move (other than being able to indulge my love of making list after list) is that I will have a sewing room. I do have a sewing "space" now (and I know I'm lucky to have that–I too have spent years sewing in the dining-room wilderness!) but not even the City of Chicago considers it a "room." (There's no window, and in Chicago you must have a window and a closet to qualify as a bedroom.)

I'm giddy about being able to set up everything from scratch, ergonomically, and with Martha-level organization, in a room WITH A SKYLIGHT. Oh, the sewing gods, they have heard my prayers and rewarded my burnt (well, ripped) offerings.

So here are the "before" pictures. Watch for the "after" pictures in, oh, about six weeks. (In my fantasies, the "after" pictures will look like a spread from Real Simple, right down to the matching boxes with letterpress labels).

Fabric "storage" and cutting area:
sewing room picture

Patterns (about half of all I own, the rest are in comic book boxes and file drawers, marinating):
sewing room picture

Slightly more in-focus view of the fabric (there's some Liberty on the table):
sewing room picture

Where "the magic happens":
sewing room picture

The "after" pictures will be taken in NATURAL LIGHT. Oh, I can't wait!

I, Magnin


This is from the old department store , by way of .

I have to say, I've never seen something from this era with an I. Magnin label that I didn't covet. This dress would be mine, as well, if it weren't for that pesky "I don't have a 25-inch waist" problem.

Seriously, the buyers for I. Magnin must have had some kind of code of fashion ethics, something that let them do so much good. Something like:

1. An I. Magnin dress may not make a woman look frumpy, or, through being worn improperly, allow a woman to succumb to frumpiness.

2. An I. Magnin dress must be fashionable, except where such fashionableness would, in fact, be frumpy (conflict with rule #1).

3. An I. Magnin dress must be interesting, except where being interesting could conflict with #1 and #2.

Do you think they had a poster listing these rules in the break room? I hope so.

Of course, there is no I. Magnin any longer; they were eaten up by the horrible Macy's, the same chain that just ate Marshall Field's (and couldn't even ).

(Click on the image if you want to check out the eBay listing for this dress.)