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Aug 15, 2011

The TOP SECRET Dress Project

Welcome readers!  I know many of you are still recovering from MPB Day festivities, but we must move forward nonetheless.  A buffered aspirin is good for most headaches but rashes that persist for more than a few days should be checked out by a doctor.

Friends, there is so little I can say about my next sewing project that it almost isn't worth writing about.  But I'm going to try.

As many of you know, since March I have been contributing weekly blog posts to a certain commercial sewing website.  I've rarely mentioned them here mainly because they were usually rewrites of material already posted on Male Pattern Boldness and I lived in constant terror that they would figure this out; nine times out of ten I didn't even change the title.

Anyway, for said website, I will soon be leading a sew-along.  I'm very excited about it, and I can guarantee that all material will be fresh, or as fresh as anything I post ever is.

As you can imagine, I am very reluctant to say too much, and yet I feel it is my responsibility to keep my readers informed.  I think when people we're close to keep things from us, on a certain level, we know it.  An old therapist said to me (she wasn't old, she's just no longer my therapist. In fact, I have no therapist -- do you think I need one?) that your secrets are your sickness -- about as original as the posts I reran on the aforementioned website, most likely, but nonetheless, I've remembered it to this day.

That is why I am an open book -- indeed, you might wish I closed it more often.  I just can't.  Parenthetically, I was shocked by some of the probing questions I received from MPB Day attendees, questions I wouldn't even ask myself, though I've started asking and I'm very uncomfortable with the answers.  But I digress!

Here's what I (think I) can tell you about this top secret project.  We'll be following a dress pattern of their choosing.  It's a downloadable pattern.  They've provided me with the fabric (which I got to choose from a top secret catalog) and notions, but I still had to download the pattern and print it myself -- which I'm still a little bitter about.  There I go: I've said too much again!

I think I can share the following images with you without putting myself at risk, but please don't pass these around or repost them on your blogs or link them to my Wikipedia page!

Here's the pattern.  It only looks like a short novel.

The biggest secret of all, friends, is that this dress is not for Cathy.  It's for New York actress Leah X  (Not her real name).   Leah X is quite a bit younger than Cathy, quite a bit slimmer than Cathy, and --  now don't shoot the messenger -- quite a bit prettier than Cathy.

She's also doesn't give me attitude.

Here's the pattern, which I started taping together early last week and finally finished on Friday, now ready to be cut.  Have you ever taped one of these patterns together?  You know those famous Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, Italy?  I'll say no more.

I shouldn't show you the fabric.  I musn't.  Maybe what I'll do is post a pic and leave it up for a few hours and then delete it.  Pretty, no?

As with all downloadable patterns from this website, you have to add the seam allowances yourself, which I can live with.  You also have to add almost all the other information as well.  In the end, this actually forces you to pay more attention, so it's a good thing.  Please don't ask me about the instructions.

Since I'm making this for Leah but have limited access to her -- though I do have her measurements -- I'm making a muslin of the bodice and using 1" seam allowances just in case.  You'll notice I've also traced the original pattern pieces onto yellow tracing paper -- no way am I downloading that pattern again!

Here's the bodice muslin.  Leah is coming by late this afternoon for a fitting.  Shhhhh!

Readers, I must stop here.

There may be more information about this tomorrow.  Or not.  If you don't hear word from me in the next few days, please, please go to the authorities.  Give them this code: 4591117!!!   (The exclamation points are part of the code, not a commentary on it.)

They'll know what to do.

Any sewing secrets to share?  (We won't tell -- promise!)

Happy Monday, everybody!

PM UPDATE:  So far, so good.  Moving forward, this project will be referred to as "Aunt Hilda."  If you must ask me about it, a simple "How's your Aunt Hilda?" will suffice.   I'll know what you're talking about, as my real Aunt Hilda has been dead for decades.


  1. You're hysterical. Looking forward to the big reveal!

  2. oh dear! I might have done something horrible. Two men in suits came by here looking for you earlier...I may have mentioned that you live in NYC! EEEP. hope you are ok (p.s. they said they were just in town to test the quality of the scotch--I didn't ask any questions).

  3. Suzanne, that's exactly what my therapist used to say about me, but I don't think she meant it kindly!

  4. Thanks, Debi. I'll leave you my broken knee caps.

  5. For the downloadable patterns, try Mono Aqua glue. I can't imagine taping these things together. It's available through scrapbooking places, but I get it on the internet by the case, because I use pattern drafting software.

  6. Sewing since 2009 and making dresses for actresses now! I am not worthy...

  7. Ugh, taping together sheets for a pattern! Fortunately, the pattern also seems to be available in a recent Burda magazine, so one could trace instead... Why does BurdaStyle try to pretend that the magazine doesn't exist?

  8. Much as I am a huge fan of Cathy's, I can't help thinking that Leah will do your 'secret' gown proud.

  9. I made this a couple of weeks ago...if only i'd known i could have waited and been part of the gang! Its pretty snazzy though.

  10. You had an Aunt Hilda??? Maybe it was a great-aunt.

  11. Oh my god the secrecy, looking forward to seeing the fabric! I hope Cathy's not overly jealous about you having a new model... Wouldn't want a cat fight.

  12. Mary, it WAS my great aunt! Are we related or something?

  13. Oh, Peter, I do hope we don't have to send out the troops looking for you after this one! Just kidding.

    Looks like the dress is going to be lovely - I can't wait to see the fabric and the finished are SUCH a tease for giving out so little info!

  14. Here on the left coast - since most of us have had "friendships" with therapists for various reasons - when referring to a "fomer therapist" we usually say "a friend" of mine - only slightly blurring the lines & not to be confused with "an elderly theriapist."
    Your lovely mannequin Leah X is very beautiful and looks to be a size zero - which I was at age 7 - of course I was tall for my age. You rock, Peter, you are my kind of mishigas.

  15. Oooh, Secret Squirrel, a special assignment! This is going to be exciting!

  16. Finally sat down to catch up on the blog reading about ahem, Aunt Hilda
    so sad I missed her photo. I will just have to wait for her arrival I suppose...sigh.

  17. Barbara Feldon...<...sigh...>

    I think I'll be watching from the sidelines on this one - I don't think the style suits my figure and (unless I redraft it for an 11 year old) there's no-one in the house who's going to wear it.

    Have fun, everyone, I'll be watching. From inside the cigarette machine, the airport locker, in a mailbox or wherever else Chief sends me.

  18. Please don't ever let me download a pattern again. I can't believe I've done it 3 times!!!! What a pain! Good idea to trace it in tissue. Have fun with the sew along, I'm not wearing that style anymore. I'll be looking forward to seeing all the results, 'tho'.

  19. Please don't get a therapist. Blogland needs you just as you are.

  20. This was too funny. And I'm super excited to hear more!

  21. Oh no! Secrets drive me insane! and tid bits of information will drive me over the good will come of this for me ;P Oh i'm sure in the end i will love Aunt Hilda, but in the meantime she will send me batty LOL


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