My neighbor/best friend is out of the country for two months, and asked me to drive her car every two weeks. I gave up my car last July and have a fantastic car-sharing arrangement with another neighbor. He parks in my parking space (we had to buy them separately and there were only five for seven units) and I drive his car once a month, to Fashion Sewing Club on the second Saturday. Once a month is really enough for me to run errands (I can walk to several grocery stores and take a quick metro trip to Target), but Joann seems to have a pretty fixed schedule for when pattern brands are on sale. Simplicities are always on sale the second Saturday of the month. I haven't caught any other sales in almost a year!
So when I saw that Vogue was on sale this week, along with McCall, I decided to head to the suburbs (braving cherry blossom traffic to do so).
My Joann is somewhere between Lindsay T's Pit of Despair and Cidell's Shiny Shiny one. It's clean and the employees are friendly, if not knowledgeable. The pattern drawers work. But they are never fully stocked and they are slow to put out the new books. And the fabric selection is abysmal--rows and rows of shiny polyester with one or two knits (literally one or two) and one or two cottons. So the new Vogue book wasn't out, nor were the new patterns stocked. That's ok, as I had almost a year of Vogue to catch up on.
So I like dresses, maybe? I didn't even realize until I got home that it was all dresses, other than the Alice + Olivia pant. Now, I am still not convinced I will ever make pants, ever. The fly front fills me fear and trembling, and I hate wearing pants (partly because RTW don't fit me and look pretty bad), but I've seen so many great pants from these patterns I figured I should pick one up while I could.
I was thinking about the dress obsession and I recovered a suppressed memory: When I didn't have time to sew, I didn't wear dresses. Because I am a pear I am three different sizes, at least (small on top, medium in the middle, large on the bottom). If we can reach far enough into our memories to remember "back in the day," there was a time when dresses were fitted rather than billowy and empire-y. So I simply couldn't buy RTW dresses that fit. If it fit at the hip, it was grotesque at the bust. If it fit at the bust, I couldn't even pull it all the way down past my booty. Apparently, I am now making up for lost time! According to my stats from last year, dresses are a little over half of what I make.
The Vintage Vogue 2401 will be interesting to sew. It's a little bit like the Butterick 4790 Walkaway Dress, but I love the collar and that it ties rather than buttons. They really don't make sewing patterns like this anymore. The pattern pieces are seemingly random shapes and the sewing is non-intuitive, based on my somewhat confused reading of the directions. But the result is cool. Nowadays, other than a few Vogue patterns, the companies don't want to make it so challenging for the sewist.
I didn't find a single McCall I wanted. When I used to sew exclusively with the Big Four I think I sewed more McCall than anything. But other than McCall 5752, which I bought ages ago at regular (40% off) price and made up for Miami I wasn't interested in anything. Partly because I have half the patterns in the book already, ahem, but I'm ignoring that part of it.
I bought Butterick 5318 at regular (40% off) price, because they never seem to go on sale and I never have enough knit dress patterns. It looks a little bit fussy to make with all the tiny pleats, but the result looks really cute.
And speaking of Butterick--the Joann I go to (Seven Corners in Virginia) is right next to a Dress Barn, where they had Butterick 5130 in the window. I am serious. It was identical. I hope that Butterick has sued them for copyright infringement. I hope Buttericks go on sale while I still have access to a car, because there were a bunch more I wanted to get.
So despite the abysmal fabric selection, I gave it a once over. I found this cotton print misfiled with the knits.
I hemmed and hawed over for quite a while. I love the colors and the print but it is perhaps a tad juvenile for me. I am trying to look slightly (and I mean very slightly) more grown up at work and this print doesn't really fit in with the plan. But in the end, I was won over. On sale it was $4.79/yd and I am always thinking I don't have enough cotton prints.
It's going to immediate use as the Vogue 1086 Tracy Reese dress. I know I recently said I wasn't wowed by this dress, which I'm not. But if you put aside the fact that it's Tracy Reese and what a bummer it is that she chose this rather simple and conventional look to share with the sewing world rather than, say, this fabulous blouse and high waist sailor pants, this Roaring 20s throwback, or this very similar dress but with flirty frilly sleeves, all from her Spring 2008 collection, it's a perfectly cute little dress.
I can't even find Vogue 1086 in her show; is it a toned down version of this? The Vogue 1092 suit, on the other hand, is directly off the runway.
I've had a few comments lately asking me about the shoes I'm wearing.
The green sandals I wore in Miami are Dansko Mirabelle, which Dansko doesn't seem to be making anymore (boo!) but a few places seem to still have it in limited size and color range. I have flat feet, bad ankles, and a very bad lower back--not to mention I walk at least three miles a day for my commute--and I absolutely have to wear comfortable shoes. Finding Dansko several years ago literally changed my life. I cannot say enough good things about them.
I need the staple clog style bottom and I bought Mirabelle in black, brown, green, lilac, and red. The only color I don't have is blue, but by the time I realized Dansko had stopped producing the Mirabelle I couldn't find them anywhere. If anyone ever runs across Mirabelle in blue in a Size 37 PLEASE let me know!
I'd recommend trying them in the store first before buying, if you can, to determine your size. I wear a 37 in staple clogs and a 36 in the other styles. Zappos carries the full line of Dansko, and they have free shipping and returns. And don't forget to check their closeout site, 6pm.com, to see if they happen to have your shoe in your size at a discount. I also periodically pop by the Dansko Outlet; these are "seconds" but I've never managed to find the flaw in any of the pairs I've purchased, and they are discounted by about 1/3. You have to keep checking, because they don't have much of a selection
Danskos are not cheap (but not so very expensive either, compared to department store shoe prices), but are absolutely worth every penny and more.
I also got a question about the crazy beaded cowboy boots I wore with my tulip skirt. Those I cannot help with, unfortunately. I got them at Ross several years for $15. Ross is not a pleasant shopping experience, but you can find great stuff there. When I used to buy clothes that was my main source. There is one next to the G Street at 7 Corners and I sometimes stop by to check out their shoe collection. It's mostly crap and I am really working on not buying crap shoes, but they do have a fair amount of Aerosoles and Easy Spirits and sometimes Born (I got Born boots for $15 a couple years ago) and even Dansko. To me, the shoe prices at TJ Maxx are not really worth the effort of shopping there; I'll just go to DSW instead for a slightly easier and nicer experience. But the prices at Ross are significantly lower than either of those two places.
I have a favor to ask. I mentioned a while back that my twin nephews, Cash and Fox, had been born. Lots of pictures on my SiL's flickr! My SiL loves twin outfits for them and she and my brother both love kitschy things and I thought it would be so fun to have little garage mechanic style name patches for them. I could embroider them by hand but it won't look the same. I don't own or have any desire or use for an embroidery machine, but it would be handy for this project. Is anyone willing to make me name patches like this? Just let me know and we can work out a price!
It's cherry blossom time and I finally made it over there on Saturday. It was very windy starting on Friday and I was afraid all the blossoms would be gone by the time I got there. There were HORDES of people (good for the DC tourist economy) and it was windy and a little chilly, but there were plenty of blossoms and I was satisfied for another year.
Here's my parting shot. The rest of the photos are here.