Ladies, all the ladies, gather round, I would like to talk about…sewing. Dressmaking is like cooking – in the domestic world it’s perceived as the domain of women, but in the professional world the top tailors have traditionally been men. No idea why that is. I myself come from a long line of tailors, and one of my favourite joys as a child was playing with the contents of my grandparents’ expandable sewing box. My own, today, is remarkably similar but sadly I get no time for dressmaking. The most I can achieve is the occasional button re-attachment or sock darn. I don’t even own a sewing machine, but somewhere in my ambitious imagination lurks a competent and lauded amateur dressmaker.

So when I saw a tweet from my friend Linzy, aka @angryfeet, that she’d come across some rather snazzy stars-and-planets curtains, I immediately suggested turning them into a dress. That’s exactly what I’d have wanted to do with them, but would never have gotten around to it. Linzy is no such daydreamer. She made the dress, and I wanted very much to share it with you guys because frankly it is amazing and ticks all my girlgasm boxes: a) it’s completely unique b) it’s homemade c) it’s CUTE d) it’s so geeky it makes me giggle. Even more delightful is the fact that Linzy was concerned because the pattern is not astronomically correct :D

Here’s a pic Linzy sent me of herself in the dress. What’s not to love? Now if only I could find a pair of those curtains to commission my very own.

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  1. Love the dress! I also have a soft-spot for people who are skinny enough to make me look normal-sized.

    Dressmaking is like cooking – in the domestic world it’s perceived as the domain of women…

    I hope this perception is changing, because reality certainly is. I do more cooking than my wife, and I do all of the sewing. Among my friends the men are far more likely to cook regularly and be enthusiastic about cooking than their wives. This of course is a small, highly biased sample of over-educated, white, American, liberal males. (I’m leaving out the gay/lesbian couples because I get confused talking about gender roles in these relationships.)

  2. @davew: yeah, I’ve often wondered whether the perception matches the reality. I believe in housework surveys, women do the majority, but I’m not sure about cooking.

    I’ve never met a man who can sew, though.

  3. I can sew, or at least I used to be able to. back when I had to make my own reenactor uniforms and fencing outfits. It was do it yourself or don’t have anything. I haven’t done so much lately as 1) an industry popped up and 2) my gf does a much better job at making stuff and is much faster. There are pics of me wearing some of the outfits she designed and made on Facebook.

  4. Eep! I love it! Astronomical dressy goodness *squee*

    The belt is an extra nice touch. Does it have big pockets in the front as well?

    I can’t sew worth a damn. Makes fixing my dance costumes a bit of a hassle! (Usually I can bribe someone with baked goods to help me.)

  5. @Tracey King: “I’ve never met a man who can sew, though”

    You don’t me, then. I do a mean zipper, though cloaks are my specialty.

  6. My dad sewed all my dancing costumes when I took dancing as a kid. He also darned socks. I’m not sure my mother knows how to operate a sewing machine. I’m female and knit, and have just taken up sewing.

  7. I like to sew, even made my prom dress and it looked amazing, but I don’t have a lot of time for it now. Also I love to cook, a lot, I even have a food blog.

    However that’s the extent of my domestic abilities, if a guy thinks I’m going to cook for him AND wash the dishes he’s in for a surprise and some dishpan hands. I’m finally moving into my own place and I kind of dread having to do all the cleaning myself (worth it for the independence though).

  8. I used to play with my grandmothers expandable sewing box too.

    My mom sewed a fair bit when I was young as we didn’t have a lot of money. One day when I was about 10 years old her machine broke. I started playing with it (I was always fascinated with the mechanics of it) and about 20 min. later it was fixed.

    Still don’t know how I did it.

    Anyways, I do most of the sewing at home. My wife can do it but I make it prettier. Not because I’m a boy or because I’m a girly boy but because I’m the mildly OCD one and hate it when it looks crappy.

  9. Ah, sewing, the lost art. I don’t like sewing so much as I like the results, but seeing as I don’t know anyone who can sew, it’s up to me to make what I want. I should get back to it, but can’t seem to motivate myself.

    Really cute dress. Very simple. I guess I make difficult things.

  10. @Tracy King: I do nearly all the cooking and I know that my two brothers in laws in the UK are also primary cooks. Hey I will even paint my daughters toe nails if she asks nicely. I consider it a challenge akin to painting miniature D&D figures back in the day, and my daughter thinks it makes me the coolest dad ever.

  11. Fantastic dress!!!!!
    I’m relearning how to sew right now. Worked in costume shop in high school, but haven’t really sewed anything for years – until last Christmas when I made myself a purse.
    I like the jigsaw puzzle aspect of it. Piecing things together so it looks right.
    Never made anything as pretty as that dress, though!

  12. Generalisation: while ‘cooking’ is women-work, most chefs are men.

    ‘dressmaking’ is women-work, while the majority of the heads of fashion houses are… actually I have no idea. Anyone able to talk to this being dominated by men at the top as well?

  13. I sewed most of my clothes in the olden days, when my clothes budget was miniscule. I graduated to costuming later. My father could sew; I don’t think my mother ever learnt how. I love going down to the fabric district in LA and haggling over silks and velvet to make fancy dresses [and the occasional stuffed animal].

  14. @James Fox: I consider it a challenge akin to painting miniature D&D figures back in the day, and my daughter thinks it makes me the coolest dad ever.

    Does she know you’re imagining an ogre as you paint?

  15. @Tracy King: I can sew. As I recall (from when I researched it a few years back) the studies that show women doing an overwhelming bulk of the housework also exclude work done on the car or anything done outside of the building envelope or any remodel work. If housework means washing dishes and running laundry then women do much more. If housework means washing dishes, doing laundry, changing oil, mowing the lawn, shoveling the walk, washing the windows, vacuuming, picking up after the dog, cooking, mending washing the car etc. then the answer is less clear as to how it all works out.

  16. Way cute dress!

    At the moment, hubby’s sewing skills are better than mine (He helped DD and her friend with Halloween costumes) but I’m catching up because I’m currently taking a costume construction class. Costume construction was also where he acquired his skills.

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