1944 White Apron with Yellow Trim and Pink and Yellow Flower Pattern on Pink Striped Dress

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Janel pointed me to the Commercial Pattern Archive the other day, in the last days of a one-week free trial, and until the gates were closed I spent hours saving pattern images to my computer and posting excited tweets about the experience. Just like the name says, it’s an attempt to preserve patterns, but the exciting thing for me is just how nicely it’s organized. You see, I’m always listening to audiobooks, figuring out when the story is set and then looking frantically for clothes made not in that time period, not in that decade but in that year. This usually involves a few Google Image searches, a trip through my bookmarks (stored as regular bookmarks, on del.icio.us and in random drafts in my gmail account), and long, windy trails of clicking and then forgetting the location of this or that image I meant to save. This is all my fault, because I’m not organized, and so that’s what makes this site so nice. I say “My book is set in 1921,” click and feast my eyes. Now, is it nice enough that I’d pay $120 a year for it? No, I’m afraid not. Happily, Erin from A Dress A Day has set up a COPA co-op, and I’m in as soon as I know where to send the check.

In the meantime, I sure did save some pretty patterns. This apron is from 1944, and I just adore it, especially that entirely useless little ruffly bit at the hem. The dress underneath is just a basic dress, just the same look and shape as one of the ones on the pattern front, so it should be reasonably correct for the 1940s. Also of note is my late 1800s illustration collection – some day soon when I am alert and not busy and have good lighting I want to do a crazy, flowered, ruffly ballgown or two from that era.

1955 Rockabilly Dress (inspired by my new Crystal Blue Trek Wasabi)

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So I got a new Trek Wasabi. I haven’t had a bike in years, much less a good one, and I’m so excited about it. This is a really geeky bike; not geeky in the sense of “My new bike is perfectly aerodynamic and has fifteen thousand speeds” but more of like horribly cute and retro. (Brian thinks I’m crazy for getting a one-speed, but I don’t mind — I never could work gears well anyways, and we live in Ann Arbor, not San Francisco.) I’ve wanted a bike for a while, one that I would actually use and love, and I think Wasabi here fits the bill. I drew this dress based on Wasabi’s coloring and a rockabilly dress pattern from Damn Good Vintage.

Jill’s Flowered Easter Dress and White and Green Flowered Easter Hat

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So when Jill saw my rendition of one of Min’s hats, she asked for me to do her Easter hat, a gorgeous confection (that Brian termed an “ultra-hat” — sorry) that she made to match her dress. That request has since been percolating in the back of my mind until I was reading her blog earlier and saw that she got robbed at a “Mad Hatter” contest.

Paperdolls always make a great consolation prize. In my world, anyways, where they also make good hobbies, gifts and eye candy.

If one was cutting this out, the hat would be cut underneath the brim, right underneath the broad green ribbon; on the large version I put a dotted line there. Krysti will have to tell us if it works anything like how I hope it does!

Mermaid Monday #2: Copper-Tailed Mermaid with White and Blue Silk Top

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This copper-tailed mermaid is sister to the golden-tailed mermaid we saw a few weeks back, and I suppose there must be a sister with a silver tail in the mix somewhere, because I can’t draw silver either and it’s high time I learned. Anyways, she is a little more fond of decoration than her sister, wearing fine silk and warm-colored precious stones daily. In truth, she is somewhat self-conscious about her tail, since she picked up the idea somewhere that copper is less precious than silver or gold, and she feels a need to compensate with expensive decorations. (Copper tails, actually, are slightly less common than either color, but somehow that doesn’t comfort her. And what’s the most uncommon color? Stay tuned and we will find out in a future Mermaid Monday.)

So I don’t forget, copper colors are, from darkest to lightest: dark umber, sienna brown, burnt ochre, pumpkin orange, mineral orange, peach, light peach and white. And of course, the colorless blender, which makes everything beautiful.