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 , this time in a border print!

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:

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 especially to do it with.)

Here’s the back:

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:

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):

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

Dresses: Day 13

I don’t often make black dresses, or, at least, not all-black dresses (and since I’m not from New Zealand, I also have never made an dress). But every once in a while I overcome my reluctance and put one together, like this one:

Did you recognize our old friend Here’s the bodice:

I lined the whole thing with lightweight black batiste, so instead of regular bias binding, I used Wright’s narrow double-fold, and encased the bodice and binding fabric together, like so:

Here’s the side zip, I grade this about a C-:

I put piping at the waist, because with an all-black dress, what else can you do to jazz it up?

Here’s the back:

And the pocket, which is just the batiste, not the eyelet; I figured having pockets with holes, even little ones, was not the best move:

Whenever I make a black dress I cannot help but think of that scene from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where they’re on that ship for the band Disaster Area:

It’s the weird colour scheme that freaks me. Every time you try to operate one of these weird black controls, which are labeled in black on a black background, a small black light lights up black to let you know you’ve done it. Hey, what is this, some kind of galactic hyper-hearse?

(I think of this quote so often, in fact, that I’ve saved it to for easy reference. I also think of it when I see this one particular all-black fixie in the Mission — not , but similar.)

Dresses: Day 12

Today’s dress is a survivor dress. It’s a , made in mid-weight dark blue (almost black) denim:

But wait, you say. Didn’t that Simplicity 1577 pattern have a collar? Why yes, it did:

And I did a nice Liberty-print undercollar for it, too:

And the pockets:

But unfortunately, I didn’t think to use Fray-Check and the collar raveled pretty much immediately. (Moral: always use
on raveling fabrics!) No worries, I just took it off and finished the neck edge with some bias binding.

But that’s not the only reason why this dress is a survivor — it also made it through a bike accident I had in SF last year. Here’s where I landed in the street — my keys were in the pocket and keys+acceleration+denim+tarmac = abrasion damage:

I was pretty lucky — the driver stopped, I had no injury other than a few scrapes (I was wearing a helmet, of course!) and I even got right back on my bike and rode the four more miles to my meeting. (For the SF-curious, this was in the traffic circle on Townsend … which I walk my bike through now.)

Here’s the back — you’d never guess anything had ever happened, would you?

I still wear this all the time, even with the little bit of fraying on the skirt panel (and a bit of fraying up near the top of the pocket, although I can’t blame that on the bike accident). It’s nice to be reminded both that 1) you’re tougher than you think and 2) be careful!


Dresses: Day 11

You’ve seen this fox dress , but here it is again, in more close-up detail:

neck binding:

side zip:

quizzical fox in the pocket:

and the back:

and the matching :


The fabric is called  (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 …

Oh! And if you’re wondering which of the book- this eleventh dress would be, it’s ! 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 !

Dresses: Day 10

Hey! We’re 1/10 of the way there! Don’t worry, there are still many, many dresses to come. Like this one, which is more than a little reminiscent of the dress:

This is made from Simplicity 1538, which I really liked in the pattern illustration, despite the fembots-on-the-attack arms:

I’m not as happy with it in Real Life, though, and I think it’s my own damn fault for using this super-heavy Marc Jacobs cotton/linen canvas. Wrong fabric choice, despite the wonderful stripes. Here’s the back:

(As evidence that this dress would look much better in a lighter fabric, check out this super cute gingham version .)

The back stripes are off JUST ENOUGH to bug me:

The side zip didn’t fare so well in the heavier fabric either:

And for some reason this pattern is about a inch too long in the bodice, a problem I never have with Simplicity B34 patterns. I might just make it again (but not in this fabric). And speaking of the fabric, using up this great fabric on a “meh” dress bummed me out, but then I found that it’s still on sale at . (It’s a bit expensive, but maybe I can have a second chance!)

And … was officially published yesterday! had a nice piece that makes me hopeful for the Youth of Today.

Dresses: Day 9

First off, thanks so much to for featuring in their yesterday! (I was especially gratified to see that they excerpted some of the lines that I particularly liked myself, that’s a good sign …)

Here’s another dress:

I think I bought this shirting-weight fabric in LA a few years back. The stripes are a grape-jelly purple, which is a color I don’t wear very often, but I really loved the contrast of the wild abstract circles and the shirting cotton.

Here’s a view of the side zip. I’m not sure why I always take a picture of the side zip. If I’ve done it well, there’s literally nothing to see, and if I’ve done it badly, it’s, well, bad. Should I keep showing them? Let me know.

I thought this picture would give a better view of the skirt construction, but with the stripes and circles I’m not sure if you can really see the pleats/gathering arrangement:

One of the things I love about this skirt pattern is that it is straight, not curved, at the bottom, so you can do a very very deep hem to weight down lightweight fabrics like this one. (I know you can do a deep hem with a curved hem, too, theoretically, but in practice it’s always such a PITA — the easing! — that I hardly ever bother. This hem is probably four inches deep, so eight inches of total fabric. It hangs pretty nicely. Here’s the back view:

And another close-up of that shoulder pleat. It is a nice detail, isn’t it?

And today is the official publication date of  in the US! Available wherever fine books are sold:


PS to my wonderful beta readers — your copies will be in the mail tomorrow!

Dresses: Day 8

This is a new dress — I’ve never posted one from this pattern before, I don’t think.

It’s from this pattern, which as far as I can tell is Australian. (Also, I am amazed by the namespacing of this pattern line: one letter of the alphabet, and one number? That is some concision right there.) Also, it’s labeled “Woman” just in case you needed a hint, or to enforce strict gender performance, not sure which.

This is a fantastic Saturday dress, by which I mean you can get up at a reasonable (not ungodly) hour on a Saturday morning, sew this thing up, and wear it out for a late brunch. (Not that I’ve done that more than say, twice, so far. Stay tuned.) It’s ridiculously simple. And I love this little shoulder detail, which I’ve never seen before, and which sold me on the pattern:

Such a nice way to do bust fullness. Also, it’s very comfortable.

Another thing I like about this pattern is the skirt: two side pleats, then gathers to the side seam, but the center front is flat. This is great for ease of wear without too much bulk. Here’s my (mostly) matched plaids at the waist.

And the side zipper:


And the back. You can tell this was a lick-and-a-prayer ironing job, can’t you?

I wore this yesterday, with turquoise Keds that matched this blue, and a bright orange sweater (okay, and blue glasses and an orange watch, for maximum matchy-matchyness). For some reason, this getup gets LOTS of comments (Even more when I wear it while riding my ). Mostly they were of the “that’s from the fifties/sixties, right?” type comments, but I was also asked (twice!) if I were in town for the Early Childhood Development conference (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and also “Those are some good colors!” which was followed up by a “you lookin’ good, baby!” (Usually being told “you lookin’ good, baby” makes me want to pull out my nail-studded Louisville Slugger from the Bag of Holding, but this guy was so nattily dressed himself, and had such a distinct Grandpa Aura that I just said “thank you, sir,” and went on my merry way.)

The only thing that bugs me about this dress is the neck facing — I’ve tried a real facing and I’ve tried bias tape facing and I’m not happy with either. I think I will have to experiment a bit more. Suggestions?