The Lot-o Gelato Outfit

I would like to tell you now about a passionate love affair that began when I was but ten years old. Like all good love stories, it is epic, spanning countries, ages, moods and needs, and yet it is simple at its heart. It is the story of a girl, standing in front of a scoop of gelato, asking it to love her.

When I was a child, my parents took me to Italy. I must say, I will forever be grateful for my parents for exposing my brother and myself to travel, to art museums and beautiful buildings and layers of history living around you and different languages and ways of doing things and really good bread and amazing places of worship and the reminder that the world is bigger than you and the way you think, and, most of all, perhaps, gelato.

Look, ice cream is good. No one is saying it isn’t. But it is the wonderbread to gelato’s artisanal sourdough loaf. It is the Venetian in Las Vegas to the actual Venice. It’s the movie, and gelato is the book it’s based on. It is a pale shadow of a thing, the sweeping imitation of life, the puppets dancing across the cave, and gelato is the moment you stand at the cave’s edge, in the sweet air of reality, knowing that you have arrived, the light blinding in your eyes but real, real as nothing has ever been before. 

It’s a pretty great dessert item, is what I’m saying. Come to the light, people. Come to the gelato.

So when I was ten, as I said, my parents took me to Italy (with my older brother of course). It was the first time my brother and I went to Europe, the first big trip my family had taken in years, and my parents were determined to wring experiences of out of every second of the day, waking at 5 to scale the Vatican then tour below it, and be in the Sistine Chapel by 11, out and onto the Spanish Steps by lunchtime. My parents were fueled by a steady stream of espresso, or as they call it in Italy, cafe, which tells you what you need to know about how Italians think about coffee, and my brother and I were fueled by gelato.

Gelato, my friends, is a revelation. It is airy, airy, how can a frozen dessert be airy, and yet it is, and luscious, bursting with flavor, the ice crystals enhancing each scent and taste instead of diminishing them. It is a dish best served cold, but without the bitterness of revenge. When it fell upon my tongue the first time, I knew, with the certainty of Juliet gazing upon her Romeo, that this was my forever love. And I didn’t even have to end up dead at 13 to enjoy it.

I would not say I am a romantic person, but damn, if gelato doesn’t make me a believer in true love. And yet, my love is NOT patient, because I want gelato as soon as possible. It is not kind, because despite its comparative lower sugar content, too much of it still makes my clothing snug. My love envies, because I want to try all the gelati, all the time. I boast of my love, putting photos of my gelato goodness all over the internet (at least, when in Italy, my love’s country fair). My gelato is proud, why shouldn’t it be? It’s gelato, damn it, king of creams. But at least I can say, it’s true, gelato  always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. At least, it does for ME.

So anyway, back in Italy 20 years later (20 years! My goodness! And yet, the devotion, the adoration, they have not waned or wandered, they were simply waiting, waiting to go home), I was back with my love.

And I also wore an outfit I had made. I mean, you want to look good for your lover, don’t you?

So I wish I could like, reach into these photos and yank my blouse down, because it’s doing that blousey bagging out thing that makes me look like I go from breasts to hips with nothing in between. BUT NEVERMIND. It is still a cute outfit!

The skirt is from my block, the very block that the person who photographed me holding both my gelato and her own, helped me make! I’m talking about Liz. When am I not, really.

It’s very hard to keep two gelati from melting.

You have to be creative and improvise.

ANYway. The shirt is a lovely lovely linen georgette (yes, such a fabric exists and it is wonderful) and a much-hacked Scout Tee from Grainline studios which I added a button placket and a bow to. At what point have you just completely re-made a pattern? I think I’ve done that about 10 times with the Scout Tee. Just wondering.

It’s a great shirt, though, honestly, the fabric is just amazing, breathable, drapey, but not as wrinkle prone as linen usually is. I felt so chic, when I wasn’t juggling gelato, that is.

Yes, this became difficult at some point. Also, Liz wanted her gelato back. So I didn’t get a TON of shots here, but I think it’s enough, right? You get the jist. The jist is gelato. Plain and simple. And this skirt celebrates that, right? Both fabrics are from Thakur, and both gelati are from Mara dei Boschi which might be among the best gelato I have ever had and is a must if you are planning a trip to Turin.

So anyway. That’s my love affair with gelato, writ large. I would cry to the heavens, I would proclaim it to the stars. But I think I would rather just…eat some gelato.

What is the first food you fell in love with? And has that love lasted?

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The Blue in Brera Dress

Recently, I was at this very cool Durer show in Milan, because my life is REALLY THAT GLAMOROUS, with my friend Liz, because she is amazing and we like to meet in delightful places and talk about how delightful we are, and there was a line in the (very extensive, mayhap too extensive?) wall text which described Milan as “the undisputed design capital of Europe”. Which….I feel like there actually might be a few people who WOULD dispute that, I don’t know, Paris, maybe? But sure, why not, let’s give it to Milan, because it really is an unbelievably fabulous city jam packed with stylish people walking past stylish buildings, doors that open to elegant interior courtyards, food that makes me want to drop everything and work in one of these kitchens, and charm to spare.

It was so hard to leave the amazing residency I attended, which was tranquil and calm, tucked into the hillsides of Piemonte. It is a really amazing place, and one you might want to consider when thinking about artists residencies, for any of you artists out there! You can also visit for other purposes, and I would strongly advise you do so. But at any rate, while it was jarring to return to busy streets (to think, I am calling Milan busy, I live in Mumbai!) and the hubbub of human life, it was also delightful because Milan is simply great. Sophisticated but welcoming, sleek but homey, with grand avenues and cute tiny streets both in spades, I enjoyed myself immensely, and so did Liz, oh, and what’s-his-face, who was also there! In fact, I made him take these photos of me after we visited the Pinacoteca di Brera, a lovely museum in the Palazzo Brera, a palace in the heart of Milan’s Brera neighborhood. Once the artistic capital of Milan, now it is a chic area of tons of fancy designer shops and thronged with tourists, but I can’t complain, I was one of them.

As I so often do when I travel, I went to the art museum, not the modern one(s), (Milan is modern as hell), but the historic ones. The Pinacoteca di Brera is a lovely collection of some excellent pieces in a very digestible way, i.e. it’s not extremely overwhelming but it has some top tier stuff, and the building is really pretty. Ah, Italy, full of urban mansions and palazzi, why you gotta be so charming? This is why said tourists do said thronging….

If you are in Milan and into this sort of thing, you should totally check out this museum. It has this stunning Rubens:

And this excellent Caravaggio:

Man, Caravaggio, am I right? What a baller. Actually, it’s funny, the first time I ever saw one of his paintings was also in Italy which…makes sense, and it was this one:

Which is in the many many rooms of art you see on the way to the Sistine Chapel and my mother, to whom I owe so very much, pointed it out to my brother and I. We’ve both been pretty hooked ever since.

After enjoying all this, What’s-his-face and I went to La Latteria San Marco for some spaghetti con limone y peperoncino (spaghetti with lemon and chilies) which was life altering but NOT before I made him take these photos of my new Colette Patterns Claudette Dress!

This is the second version of this dress that I have made, and the first, while cute, had some bodice wonkiness. I mean, I’m still going to WEAR it, already have, at least twice, but it is not for le blog. But this one turned out well, partially because I was more careful making it and partially…nope, that’s it, that’s the only reason.

So without further ado, here you go!

I mean, sure, it’s no Caravaggio, but it’s still pretty cute!

I picked up this fabric at, you guessed it, Thakur, after someone I am teaching to sew snagged some for pillows. So I’m basically wearing her couch. I DON’T CARE! It’s lovely, a nice contemporary ikat-style fabric with a good weight so its sturdy and holds its shape in the sheath.

You can kind of see the lining in this photo, sigh, sorry, I didn’t have an iron with me! AH well, at least you know I lined it, now!

I love this dress. Seriously, I really do. I cut a 12, for the hips, and did a full bust adjustment and then took the waist in about an inch or so I would have some wiggle room (GET IT?) but still have it be fitted. In this iteration I made the version with two large bust darts, rather than the princess seams.

I feel like there is a SMIDGEN of breast-flattening happening here, still, but it’s pretty cute nonetheless.

I’m not NOT proud of my stripe matching, I think given the darts on this sucker this was the best I could do. AND THAT IS GOOD ENOUGH!

And I’ll murder anyone who says differently, got it? But I really am into this make, and I’m so glad it was a lovely day in Milan so I could get this one photographed. The weather turned chilly and rainy soon after, and anyone who has been following my instagram Me Made May stories can probably tell that I’ve been recycling a few outfits over and over and praying for a warmer day. Luckily it’s turned slightly warmer here in Parma, from which I write this post, and looks like it will be nice in Venice, were we end our Italian adventures, and lovely in New York and Philadelphia, to which I will be heading afterwards, so fear not, my Me Made May outfits are sure to improve!

I have no construction notes, this is easy to put together and I french seamed the skirt and the sleeves. I did not, as instructed, hand stitch them. That sounds….exhausting. I got places to be, people! In Milan! Or whatever!

I hope you are having a lovely May, me made or otherwise!

 

 

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The Pretty in Piedmont Outfit

Hello hello! I have been busy here in Piemont, which is in Italy, of course, darlings, working on a new novel (it’s a doozy and I’m really into it. But be sure to try and win a copy of my first novel here!)  and far too busy being delighted by everything around me (what IS it about Italy that makes it so delightful?) to focus much on blogging. Also, honestly, I mean, I didn’t bring my machine so I’m not sewing here! I am knitting up a storm, though, this pattern which is really fun and the first fingering weight sweater I’ve ever attempted (oy). For those who don’t follow me on le Instagram you might have missed my #makingmaisel reveal of my dress, but I  promise to post about it when I get back to Mumbai in June! Whats-his-face left for Singapore before I could get him to photograph it for real for real, so sorry!

Seriously, though, being here has been insanely productive and creative and given me a chance to really think about my work and my life in new ways, so I couldn’t be more grateful. But of course, it hasn’t translated to documenting new makes, even the ones I made FOR this experience! It’s been too cool for the warmer weather things I made, siiiiiigh. Maybe Mumbai had affected my sewing to the point that I misinterpret weather in other places? But recently the weather finally cooperated and I got a chance to document one of the things I brought with me that I made recently, coupled with something I made LONG ago and never got a chance to document. So here we go, two in one, just in time for Me Made May (which I am doing! From a suitcase! It’s insane! Follow me on said le Instagram for updates….)

One of the people here with me is Kaja, who is totally a professional photographer and generously agreed to photograph me, which is very kind of her. Asking for her help is like asking for a modernist painter to help you touch up your apartment walls. Ohhhhh well. She was very gracious and generous, but then again, she is from Norway, they make them that way there.

Without further ado, the outfit!

I had Kaja take these photos nearby the place we are staying, against the walls of an old castle. It’s totally for sale, if you are interested!

I mean, I’m interested. Anyone want to lend me a couple of million euros?

Think about it. ANYway, to the clothing. The skirt is a simple circle skirt, and the shirt is a DEEP level Grainline Patterns Scout Tee hack. I seriously have done so very MUCH with this pattern. I’ve always loved the way a bow blouse looked, (I refuse to say pussy blow, yeeeesh, I’m American, it’s weird. I mean, unless it’s about how the pussy grabs back!). But I’ve always been concerned about the patterns I’ve drooled over, will the bow be too high, will the neckline be flattering, will I look like a librarian from the 1970’s? I’m fine with the librarian part. It’s the 1970’s I worry about. See, I love Janet’s look from The Good Place:

But then I remember this about myself:

So I knew I needed something that honored both of those impulses, in yogi-speak. Well, when you want something done well… hack it yourself.

And this shirt was born!

I’m quite happy with it, as it turns out!

The skirt is basically just a circle. I don’t know, man. It’s one of those things that you made and are forever grateful for because it’s so damn basic and useful, but never think of it again. So it’s actually nice to get a chance to show it off! I made it over a year ago, but….yeah. It’s a grey circle skirt. You get it.

It’s fun to twirl, though!

But obviously the blouse is the hero here. Why? Well, apart from the shape, which is great, the fabric is aces.

YES THESE ARE TINY PATTERNED CROCODILES.

FOR THE WIN.

Back view!

And that is that! Oh, but before I go, just so you can be as jealous as possible, enjoy my view:

YES. So right now, ya’ll, I am pretty in Piedmont and LOVING IT! Happy Me Made May to you all!

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The Chicken Little Dress

First of all, enter here to win an advanced reader copy of my novel! Or not, it’s your life.

Isn’t it wonderful how far curiosity can take you?

This is the story of the time that I grabbed a swath of cloth with fabric shopping at Thakur (OBVIOUSLY. I literally don’t buy fabric anywhere else anymore) and then ended up grabbing a second piece of that fabric while shopping there again with my friend Ana (hi, Ana!). I just couldn’t resist it, because it was too cute for words, and I knew exactly what I would make from it and what I would call that garment. (Of course, knowing what you would make from something is probably the best and most efficient and least wasteful way to shop for fabric, but I don’t always do that, much to my shame. How do you guys feel about stashing? Pro or anti?)

At any rate, this does not always happen to me, that a fabric calls out to me, like a siren, tempting me as I sail, lashed to the prow of the ship, trying to get home to Ithaca, sort of, while I bang a bunch of other ladies on the way. Sidenote, have you seen this excellent thing? It is excellent.  

But this fabric did call me. Or rather, clucked.

It’s chickens! Yes, yes it is. What was that about trying to dress more like an adult? I don’t remember saying something like that on numerous occasions, do you?

Sidenote, once Whats-his-face told me, “you shouldn’t buy more animal printed fabric” and it was the closest we’ve come to divorce yet.

How amazing are these chickens! And given that I live in India, a place where I literally constantly see chickens everywhere around me, I feel like it’s very appropriate. Of course, this is sort of a cutesy version of my reality. It’s like this:

(OTHER SIDENOTE did everyone know that Jane Krakowski starred in the London production of Guys and Dolls in 2005 AND JUST FORGET TO TELL ME????)

But my reality is like THIS:

This is a real photo from my actual life.

At any rate, I loved the fabric, idealization of chickens in my life or no, and I knew it would make a nice version of my new favorite pattern, McCalls 7503. 

As you might recall from careful reading of this blog, I made a test version of this for a fancy project. That worked out well, if a bit loose, so I went down a size to a 16 and it’s perfect! I didn’t get a chance to document said fancy dress, sigh, ah well. It’s hard to get good photos at evening events, don’t you find? What do you guys do in that case?

So at least I can show you the fit with this, my Chicken Little dress!

Oh, and that leads me back to the point about research. Took me a while, but I always get there! I loved the story of Chicken Little when I was a child. You know it, I’m sure, a chicken gets hit in the head with a leaf or a feather or an acorn, what have you, and thinks the sky is falling. He gets a lot of other animals on board with this story, and they go off to warn the king of the incoming danger. Like so many folktales and fairy tales, it has a modern sanitized ending, in which they do indeed warn the king, but the original version has them all eaten up by a wily fox who knows, even if the credulous animals don’t, that you can’t believe everything you hear. In this era of “fake news”, isn’t that a good lesson for us all?

So when I looked up Chicken Little, just to get a link, really, to the folktale, I found out that the story, like most, is much older than I thought! And readers outside of the United States might know it better as Henny Penny, which is arguably far more adorable.

Check out these illustrations of the story from different eras!

This illustration from 1916 proves that everyone looked better when we all had to wear hats and obviously the fox is a villain because HE IS THE ONLY ONE NOT WEARING A HAT GET IT TOGETHER ANIMALS!

This one is from 1840!

Another version of the story calls the character Chicken Licken, which is delicious for obvious reasons, and the original Danish version of the tale called him Kylling Kluk which is….amazing. Just absolutely amazing.

But I know the character as Chicken Little, and that is the name I have given my dress.

To the dress!

With the busy print it’s a little hard to see the pattern, but it’s adorable, I promise.

Maybe you can see it a bit better here. I rounded out the neckline on this one for variety, but otherwise made no changes, except for using bias tape instead of a lining. It’s hot here!

Oh, I suppose I also omitted the horsehair at the hem this time for the simple reason that I didn’t have any. Although I will say, it’s a bit scratchy on my other version, so I might just throw a petticoat under this (I finally broke down and bought a petticoat and it’s waiting for me in Philadelphia and I’m so excited!) if I want more swish. I feel like horsehair should be reserved for dresses with a lining, maybe? What do others do about that scratchiness?

Although it does have a decent swish right now, when I move!

Love a good twirl shot.

 

I do like that v back. This is the first version I’ve made, actually, of the three I’ve made, that is sleeveless, just like the original, and I like the armscye depth and strap thickness.

You can almost sort of see the princess seams there, but not quite. Ah, well, I suppose that’s not the end of the world. I mean, who is sitting around looking at everyone’s seamlines? Other than….people like me?

And there you have it. A dress I can wear whether the the sky is falling or not. I’m seriously loving this pattern! I’m thinking of stitching it up for a friend’s wedding, which is a daytime event, so hopefully photos to follow!

In other news, I’m working hard on my #makingmaisel garments! How about you? And congratulations to Miriana and Esme for winning patterns from the giveaway! Speaking of stash busting, keep an eye out for a fabric one to follow soon…..

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The My Audition for Hair is Tomorrow Shirt

Some projects are long in the making. They require time and space and long hours of contemplation. They live in the imagination like phantoms, lying in wait for the right fabric, the right moment in time, the right feeling. 

This is not one of those projects.

This is more of a project that is like that song by the Shirelles. You know the one I mean….

If you don’t know or at least enjoy that song on first listening then you are dead inside. Please stop reading this blog, I don’t want no zombies here. Thanks! Bye.

Seriously, Walking Dead, get out of here. You are by FAR the least interesting thing AMC has ever produced to my mind. Yes, I know about Turn. Yes, that sounds cooler to me. Come on, now, you know you are into that period! What else has Lin-Manuel Miranda given us, if not that?

Side note, how are zombies cool now? They are legit the least sexy mythical creature. They are rotting, all the time. They are the sexual equivalent of a compost bin. COME on, people!

ANYway. The point is, this was a project that I was like, oh, yeah, I want that. I want to make that. And within three days, I sure had!

It also involves a pattern company I had never heard of before! Have you guys heard of Peppermint Magazine? It is straight up delightful, with a free pattern monthly and a lot of excellent sustainable things! But also, FREE PATTERN MONTHLY! I mean, how do you walk away from that?

This month’s pattern is a blouse with ruffled sleeves, totally on trend, totally adorable.

I saw it on a Thursday, I made in on a Saturday. I took photos of it on a Sunday. I cut out two more on a Monday.

Not convinced? Enjoy the photos!

Fun fact, it was literally 105 degrees fahrenheit when we shot these photos. BUT. This blouse looked better with jeans than with the shorts I’ve made in the past. It’s so billowy that it needs a slim leg below, right? So I wore jeans. For you guys, FOR THE READERS. I know, I know, send in my candidacy for sainthood. No matter that I’m Jewish. CALL THE VATICAN!

So first of all, I was trying to be conservative with my size by cutting a size G, but this is too big. Which is fine! I still like it. I cut a size G because it said the finished bust size was a 44, and my size D chest is 42 inches at the fullest point, so two inches of ease, sounds like a plan, right? Wrong. This is WAY more than 44 inches in width! I like the loose look, don’t get me wrong, but I’m going down a size for my next try. 

But also, look, I totally like this shirt. Obviously! I cut more!

But also, again, it does sort of remind me of something….

Yes. Hair. The musical Hair.

Good lord, why do we glorify hippies? These are hippies:

Disgusting. Weird, cult-oriented, weirdness. But mostly, disgusting. You can hate the Man with showers! Right?

This is one of my favorite things among a thousand things about Mad Men, the fact that they depict hippie cults clearly:

Just horrific. Margaret!

I don’t care how happy and free she is. SHE LOOKED BETTER REPRESSED:

 

Oh, god. I have betrayed everything my mother fought for. I am horrific. BUT I’M CLEAN, RIGHT?

Yep. Hair combed, body cleansed, blouse a little 70’s  but still fairly modern!

Side view!

 

And the back! This is a stupid easy make, and I LOVE the way that Peppermint Magazine has included a ton of detailed instructions to make the finishing of seams as clear and wonderful as possible. Well done! They have so many great patterns, I’m excited to make the others!

 

 

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The Oh Noble Sheep Outfit

 

In the photos you are about to see, I am wearing two self-knitted garments. One of them took me a week. One of them took me 5 months.

Guys. Knitting. It’s a whole damn thing.

I do actually really like knitting. But since we moved to Mumbai, my knitting game has taken a strong hit. This is 100% because it is so damn hot and humid here, and the idea of handling a ton of wool is just painful. I am not a fast knitter, one-week skirt aside, so I end up spending a long time with a knitting project, most of the time. The idea of covering my lap with wool is so so appealing in a crisp fall, cold winter, or damp spring. Not so much in this tedious land of constant summer.

But I do spend time in the States, in Philadelphia and New York, and they are cold in the winter! Which, I know that that is a bummer but honestly, I just can’t even with this monotonous weather, I had a total temper tantrum the other day with What’s-his-face about the sameness of the weather, I’m a mess. So I was really excited to finish this sweater, FINALLY, and wear it in America. And then I thought, let me get this party really started! On a two week trip to the States, I ordered wool and bought a pattern and decided to challenge myself to knit a wool skirt in 7 days. And I did!

Chunky knits, man. They just HAPPEN.

In other news, I’m going to attempt my first fingering weight sweater while on an upcoming writer’s residency in Italy. I might be knitting that for a year. Wish me well.

But first, a word from our sponsors:

 

 

To the outfit!

I do feel that all these knits make ME look a little chunky, but ah well. They also keep me warm! And it was cold, as I wanted it to be. And I was happy!

The sweater is the Purl Soho Folded Squares Cardigan.  I made one for my mother in Manos del Uruguay, so then I had to do the same for myself….

The shape is lovely, and drapes well, and the Manos yarn in Clasica is SO warm and cozy. I made one change to the pattern, lengthening the sleeves. This was the same alteration I made for my mom, and we both are big fans!

A bit windy up there….

The sweater is an easy knit, but  time consuming. I started it in July, and I finished it in February, just to give you a sense of how slow I am. Row after row after row, it’s a little monotonous, but it’s fun the way it all fits together!

The skirt, on the other hand, is super easy and and very fast. It’s the Bryn Mawr skirt, which, given my own origins in Philadelphia, is very appropriate! (Bryn Mawr is a suburb of Philadelphia, and a great college! Midge went there!)

I read a lot of Ravelry reviews of this pattern and all of them said it knitted up big, so I opted for a size 28 waist, figuring that would be comfortable, but it’s enormous! It was slipping off during these photos and literally slide off of my body about thirty minutes after we took these, which was about an hour after I wore the skirt for the first time. So I’m going to insert elastic, because otherwise I can’t wear this, and it’s so cosy and cute, I want to!

It’s SO warm. This yarn is from a company called Valley Yarns, and it’s the Berkshire Bulky, and it’s a dream.

Okay, so that’s about it. Busty photos of me in chunky knits on a rooftop. But let me tell you, I was WARM!

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The Peoples of the Ancient World Dress

First of all, just so everyone knows, you are WELCOME to enter my pattern giveaway regardless of joining the #makingmaisel sewalong! Check it out, here!

When I was a child of about 12, I was already a big fan of history. Especially ancient history. I know. Knock you over with a feather. Nothing I have ever said before on this blog has ever even shaded towards that for you. But I was a kid who used to sit around reading books on young Martha Washington and Greek battle secrets and learning how to mummify stuff. As you can imagine, this made me really popular, which is good, because that was 100% my goal.

But the question is of course, why did I become this sort of human? Well, it’s probably because of a variety of factors, if I’m being perfectly honest. If I had to give you a recipe for a historically minded nerd child, because you might like to bred one yourself, it might be as follows:

10 cups historic fiction reading materials (anything from the Horrible History series to Japanese myths will do. Bonus points if you give them access to questionable appropriate series like Steven Saylor’s Gordanius the Finder books which no ten year old should read and this ten year old 100% did)

2 cups historically minded parents

1 cup access to travel and historic spaces (an expensive ingredient, to be sure. Can be substituted with appreciation for said historic spaces, if access is not possible immediately/ever)

3 tablespoon obsession with Indiana Jones

2 teaspoons costume obsession

1 teaspoon love of old-timey fonts

1 pinch of vivid fantasy life

Stir to combine, serve. Warning, becomes more potent with age.

In addition to all this, I lived downtown in Philadelphia, while I attended a school in the suburbs, which meant that school vacations were a little, say, isolated. My parents would hand me a stack of museum memberships (an optional ingredient for the recipe above), and send me on my way, to fill the long days with something other than watching television and bothering them at work. And one of my favorite places to spend a long vacation day was The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. A lot of people don’t know about this museum, but it is splendid, and well worth a visit if you are in the area. I would take my mother’s high school textbook from the 1950’s, The Peoples of the Ancient World, hugely out of date and more than a little offensive by modern standards, and sit in the galleries supplementing the exhibition texts with choice self-taught Assyrian lessons.

I think you are probably seeing why I was….alone for these trips, unaccompanied by “friends”, or whatever.

Well, on a recent trip to the States, from which I am still jetlagged, having returned to Mumbai on Thursday, I got a chance to not only visit the museum, but do so with my friend Becca, AND get a tour of the conservation lab! It was beyond my wildest imaginings and I mostly clasped my hands to my chest so I wouldn’t knock anything over.

And at the end of the visit, I got Becca to take my photo! I named this dress after the textbook, which I love and treasure and still have.

This dress is actually SUPER simple, like, STUPID simple, but I wanted to show it off because the fabric is just a star. And I bought it with my friend Ana!

It’s this lovely scuba knit I got at Thakur in Mumbai, and I just adore the print. I had never sewn with this fabric before, so that was new! And pretty easy, honestly…

Scuba knit is HOT, though, guys. It really does not BREATH. Note to self: make the next scuba knit thing I made sleeveless, because….sweat.

But look at that! I love the ferns….

To make this dress I adapted my bodice block into a princess seam, and used the sleeves from the Deer and Doe Plantain shirt, combined with a half-circle skirt.

I wouldn’t say the fit is PERFECT but it is fine. There is some extra fabric around the armholes, which…I don’t know how to fix for next time. Any ideas? The bodice in general is a little roomy, but that’s not a bad thing, I guess. I suppose it makes it easier to wear because I didn’t want to put in a zipper.

It was, of course, quite easy to make. I didn’t hem the skirt or the sleeves to eliminate bulk. I am okay with this.

This is one part of the museum from the outside. Pretty, right?

Right?

RIGHT??????

A little side view for you!

And the other side! Becca had fun with the angles…

And the back! The skirt only has one seam, so I matched it to the back seam and called it a day.

And now, some of my favorite objects (from THIS trip, I have new ones each time….) and reasons you should check out the museum yourself! And Philadelphia, in general!

Right? Doesn’t it just make you want to throw some khaki on your body and jump into a tomb?

Just me? Cool. Cool, cool, cool.

Well, at least we can agree that the dress is fun!

What were you into when you were 12/still into now? What is your favorite historic period and region? Mine changes daily, but right now, I’m really into Tang China, Mughal India, and Gilded Age New York, probably because of The Alienist, if I’m being real….)

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