Labor Day Dress

September 6th, 2012

I was so busy researching early political and economic controversies surrounding Labor Day that I forgot to tell you what I wore.

First, I should explain that we attended a Labor Day Picnic & Bingo game, with a 1950s theme. Everyone brought mid-20th century Americana food, and many dressed the part as well. I wore my Jiffy Shift dress. Technically it’s a 1960 pattern, but I think the cinched waist (courtesy Gram’s black belt) and awful fabric (courtesy local thrift shop) count as late 50s influence?

Jiffy Shift

And I should also explain that the picture was taken at a rather strange angle — and that I curled the wisps that always escape around my face into bangs, which looked awful and necessitated the cutting off of my head for the protection of posterity. The shoes are definitely not 1950s style, but they ARE Keds, and they did match the dress…

Jiffy Shift, 1960

August 24th, 2012

Tonight I began work on what should be a fairly quick project. The pattern belonged to my grandmother and is dated 1960. The shape is truly simple — nothing more than a front, two backs, and a neck facing. The sleeves are cut on and the waist is shaped by a belt, or not at all.

I’m using a rather awful fabric, discovered at the thrift store. There really isn’t anything else you could make with this fabric.


The pattern is single size, 10/12. My measurements are size 14 according to the envelope, but the pattern seems to fit okay as is. Though it’s hard to tell in tissue paper…I do usually end up taking things in when I size them based on measurements. Either I measure myself wrong, or maybe I just like tight clothes? Anyways, I plan to alter the pattern just ever so slightly, mostly to lower the bust dart, which I must do on every commercial pattern.

Back to cutting!

Teen Idol

January 24th, 2011

I don’t often talk about it, but I married a former teen idol.

Billy Kidd

His real name wasn’t commercial enough for fame and fortune in 1963, so they called him Billy Kidd. His first and only 45 rpm single record was made on the LarBell label — owned by the founders of The Four Preps — and features a very young Glen Campbell on guitar! Unlike many teen idols who only possessed a pretty face, mine was also a poet. He wrote both songs on the record:

Side A — “A Letter to Hayley”

“A Letter to Hayley” was later released by the aforementioned Four Preps (with some minor lyric changes) as “A Letter to the Beatles” and enjoyed a brief run on the pop charts before Brian Epstein got it pulled. In the early 2000’s, a Swedish concern released a compilation album of ‘forgotten’ teen idol tracks and included “A Letter to Hayley.”

Side B — “I Got Better Things to Do”

Less than a year after Billy Kidd made his debut, the Beatles landed in America and the world of popular music changed forever. By the Summer of Love (1967), the Kidd had transformed into a beautiful, bearded bard of the San Francisco folk-rock scene. Luckily for me, he was only passing through that world as well — on his way to a Greenwich Village garret, me, and whatever else is still waiting around the corner.