About a month ago I managed to see the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the DeYoung Museum here in SF, and it was lovely. If you like that sort of thing, it’s the sort of thing you really like, etc.
As I exited through the gift shop I checked out the postcard rack, and was struck by this image of an Oscar de la Renta dress featured in Harper’s Bazaar in 1969:
I was struck not so much by the dress (which is lovely, of course), but by the fabric—it was the same as some Marc Jacobs fabric I’d bought a few years ago! (I blogged about a dress I made in a different colorway of this fabric back in 2015 here.) It’s silk/cotton, not organza:
You can tell better in this color image:
Or in this of another Oscar de la Renta piece in Vogue:
It’s not uncommon for designers to revive print fabrics—most designers don’t create their own prints, but instead work with fabric houses to select fabrics for their collections. (Here’s an interesting article about the process.) Some French and Italian print houses have been around for hundreds of years, and have catalogs going back pretty much forever.
It looks like this fabric was used in the Marc by Marc Jacobs line sometime before 2009; you can see a dress made with it here:
Rashida Jones even wore something in this fabric in an episode of Parks and Rec! But I’ve only found one thing from the orange colorway—a strappy top.
I still haven’t made up this fabric, and probably the upshot of learning all this is that I will wait even longer to find the “perfect” pattern. (But I can tell you right now, it probably won’t have ruffles …)
For no logical reason, I bought some laminated denim.
If you’re not familiar with laminated denim, it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trend of the last season. Or maybe season before last? (Who can keep track any more?) Sewn up into skinny jeans, worn with the inevitable (and inevitably boring) drapey tee and fancy shoes and statement bag and jumble of necklaces. Every time I saw it, it was styled in a kind of leather-pants-lite way.
So since I am just about the furthest thing ever from a leather-pants person, I’m not sure why I bought it, other than that I thought “wow, I will probably never see this again, maybe I should get some” (this is how fabric hoarders are made, people). It showed up today and I kind of love it.
It’s shiny, but not latexy or leathery — it’s definitely denim with a layer of plastic on it. It’s very future-mod. The juxtaposition of the plain denim and the laminate shine is pleasantly incongruous.
The obvious thing to do would be to make a very fitted bombshell dress out of it, but I almost want to do another 9929, instead. The only problem would be gathering the fabric — it is REALLY heavy and thick. Maybe I should go back and do another Heidi? Or something else I haven’t thought of yet? This pattern would be really fun.
Suggestions? Has anyone sewn with this stuff before?
More dotted swiss! Remember the pink dress of last year? Well, it will soon have a cousin (oh, and here’s me wearing it). I also bought some bright green, but it’s sold out now … I love dotted swiss. Not sure why — part of it is that I love the texture, but that can’t explain this level of devotion. Perhaps because I didn’t get enough party dresses as a child? I’m making up for lost time now, in any case.
On a completely different tack is this chambray (which also comes in brown, click any image to go to the store page at Fabric Mart)
I love this fabric so much I’ve been dreaming about it. I’m pretty sure this is going to be my favorite dress of this summer, if I can just decide what pattern it wants to be! It is so lovely and crisp, but it’s also lightweight. It may have to be a shirtdress like this one … maybe with a deep, topstitched hem to weigh it down? Still thinking.
This next fabric was a total splurge. Way more expensive than I usually am comfortable with (although it’s plenty wide, so that’s a plus).
It’s a linen-cotten blend from Marc Jacobs, pretty heavy, I think. This is going to be a horizontally-striped dress, with the fullest skirt I can manage with the yardage I bought. Really. I saw it and thought YES THAT’S WHAT IT WILL BE. YES. I cannot wait.
I’m trying to remember to add fabric that I buy (or just like) to Pinterest, if you keep a fabric board too, let me know!
You didn't think that piece of Liberty from last week was the only fabric I bought in Japan, did you? Perish the thought. :-)
Here's the rest of my haul, this all from Tomato Fabric in Tokyo. First up: blue and mustard camo!
This is a really nice weight, and the blue is a little darker — not as teal as in this photo (not that teal is a bad thing).
I'm not a huge Kokka fan but this print was just irresistable:
(I've been really drawn to that mustard color lately. I love it with red, so interesting!)
Another adorable conversation print (this is a nice heavy weight):
There was also some plaid corduroy, so I bought it. Wouldn't you?
I also bought a single yard of this crazy super-narrow number fabric:
I forget who the designer is, but I saw it first made up into scarves in a department store in Japantown here in San Francisco, and loved it. But not enough to spend whatever the department store wanted, obviously. I probably should have bought two yards, because what the heck am I going to do with a yard of 22" wide fabric, I don't know. (It was still expensive even in Japan!) But I'll think of something …
Just looking at all these makes me want to jump up and start cutting things out, but it will probably be a few weeks until I have a little space clear for making these up. Suggestions welcome!
That's the Japanese Liberty print I bought in Tokyo, oh, lo these many weeks ago. (If you hadn't noticed, I got a bit behind on blogging there before Christmas … sorry about that.) I bought it at the same place I went to back in 2008 — so glad it was still there!
It took me a while to choose this — I really wanted something dark, but of course all the spring prints were calling to me. I should have taken pictures of the runners-up, but they were mostly dark ditsy florals. This one has a little more heft to it, and the olive color is just gorgeous. Here, have a closer look:
Not quite sure what this will be yet, but Vogue 8728 is a strong contender …
Getting an obsession is like getting a cold, only over a longer time period. First there's that little tickle in the back of your throat, and then you feel a little achy, and it's harder to get up in the morning, and the next thing you know you're sneezing at a Gatling-gun pace and getting carded when you try to buy Dayquil.
Sewing obsessions have the same progression … first you start to notice something you've never noticed before, and then you start thinking "huh … maybe I could make that," and pretty soon you have fifty browser tabs open, you're abusing Pinterest, and you're thinking about the shoes you're going to wear with a dress you haven't even made yet.
I'm a little bit worried that I'm at the tickly-throat stage of an obsession with guipure lace, which is just FLAT OUT DUMB. First of all, the number of occasions where I could wear a guipure lace dress in a single year is measured in the average number of fingers in obscene gestures. (And that's in a year where I decide to get married. Again.) Secondly, I've never, ever sewn with lace, and thirdly, it's ungodly expensive, and fourthly, well, fourthly, I already have a curio cabinet of previous sewing obsessions, which, like all good obsessions, are only dormant, not dead. (Shirtdresses: I am talking about you.)
But: isn't it pretty?
So: is there any kind of zinc lozenge you can take to ward off a new sewing obsession? Please send help.