me-made: bumble bumble


It’s one of those days where the camera is willing but the lighting is weak. I had visions of twirling about in my newest handmade creation, but only five of my ~20 photos were remotely passable, and it’s too damn hot for work ethic. I gave up in favor of vanilla iced tea and a cookie the size of my face. I’ve got priorities, dammit.


But even if I don’t get the pleasure of fully presenting my new creation, I still have the joy of wearing it. I used a vintage bedsheet – new old stock, in fact! – and Simplicity 3878, version 1. I ended up going off book and making some modifications: I removed the collar and forewent the underarm panels entirely. The result? A dress that looks crisp and festive but that I can proudly say I made in one fitful afternoon.

It’ll get a proper shoot soon enough. This kind of whimsy is begging for a carnival.

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she soon became bone from the fish and the foam

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“Nobody swims up here,” said my godmother, when she took me to the beach on my last afternoon in California. Ha – Skye [surname redacted] swims anywhere. Fifty-degree waves? Balmy, when you’re from Vermont. Janice was happy to perch on a rock in her windbreaker; I pranced in the surf, feeling like Lewis and/or Clark. When I stripped to bra and panties and dove all the way in, no one was surprised. Then – back to Janice’s house in Occidental, dress in the dryer, and a few sushi rolls before boarding the Petaluma airport shuttle.

The me in these pictures doesn’t know she’s about to take the worst red-eye ever, complete with Chicago layover and vomitous turbulence. No matter – the Pacific is enough joy for one day.specificIX specificspecificVIII specificII specificIII specificXII specificXIII specificXIV specificVII specificXVI specificXVII

welcome to sunny hartford



Like a lot of vintage girls, I’m not much for summer. Its novelty wears off far quicker than other seasons’. Spring and fall I could savor forever; I love that in-between. Summer and winter are altogether too in your face.

So when we spirited off to ConnectiCon, I took advantage of an air-conditioned hotel to wear what vintage girls are made off. The whole corset and caboodle, plus hat and gloves and nylons. I found this late-19th-century capelet in the con’s merch room – for only $30. Yes, that’s just two digits. I also picked up a ’40s wool hat, whose winter debut I’m eagerly awaiting. I would’ve gotten into conventions much sooner had someone told me there was vintage there.

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I had a nice time at CTCon, and I’ll probably return. I have reservations about “geek” culture, though. A lot of it seems overly prescriptivist: there are certain Objectively Geeky/Nerdy things to like, and engagement with those specific things determines your status. I’ve always thought of nerdiness as “obsessive interest in specific, often obscure topics”. I’m one hell of a vintage nerd! So it’s frustrating when that meaning gets tied up with “liking things deemed nerdy”. There’s nothing inherently nerdier about loving Star Trek than about loving fashion.

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It’s disingenuous to conflate “enthusiasm” with “enthusiasm for specific things“, and I struggle to find a place in communities that do so. I’ve never cared for sci-fi or sword & sorcery, for anime or vidya games, but I sure as hell love the things I love. And I think there should be room for that.


Dress suit: vintage, via brick-and-mortar store

Hat: vintage, via Bos & Ruby Vintage

Gloves: vintage, via Mainly Vintage

Shoes & brooch: vintage, thrifted

Cape: antique (!), purchased at the con

Socks: purchased at the con



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me-made: all i need’s a fruit hat

setIIOlder ladies often find me charming, but instead of pinching my cheeks, they want to give me vintage. In twenty-four hours, one middle-aged customer at work offered to bring me her great-aunt’s hats (!!!), and another pressed a heaping sack of fabric into my arms. “It was my mother’s,” she said, “and I can’t think of a better person to have it.”

setXInside: four different prints, all neatly folded and labeled with exact yardage. I salivated all week, and on Friday night I finally sat down to my machine and banged out this set. I used Vogue 8789, that old standby, for the top. The included “petite” adjustment was the perfect crop-top length. The skirt, you boilerplate pleated number; the headwrap, the scraps. I finished in under six hours, just in time to revel in glorious kitsch at Saturday’s farmers’ market. And catch five Drowzees, but who’s counting?

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what you learn in san francisco


It is easy, when you’re eccentric, to pass for a local. “Are you going to a costume party?” said everyone ever. My no didn’t faze them; I was hardly the weirdest thing they’d seen that day. That hour, even.

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Streetcars are Darwinism in action. No seatbelts, no handholds. You’re front and center in the daily proto-hurricane, and if you slide off the metal seat, then good luck to you. When you reach your stop, you dart, frogger-style, across two rows of traffic. Crosswalks are a special kind of pathetic. You want your genes to propagate, don’t you?

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Locals, apparently, really love Lucy. They will chortle their appreciation at you across alleys and between Caltrain stops. You will feign annoyance but squeal on the inside.


San Francisco is a study both in vistas and in cloisters. The city is pruned and piled, neighbor over neighbor and skyscraper over subway. But it collides with fierce wildness in all directions. Ocean roaring hand in hand with hills. To a lifelong San Franciscan, I imagine it would feel like living in an ant farm. To a four-day tourist, it felt like joy.


Dress & scarf: made by me

Shoes: Famous Footwear


San Franciscans are the friendliest lot I think I’ve ever met. Full of compliments and cheer. When I thought I was going to miss the bus, a man onboard told the driver I was his sister and made him pull over and wait. A bookseller let me read a map without buying it; a cabbie, when he heard I was from Vermont, asked me how my pet moose was doing. At coffee stands you can linger over fixings without being stabbed by some asshole in a hurry. East Coasters know the trauma.


The Larkspur Ferry Terminal is but a stone’s throw from San Quentin State Prison. It’s odd, enduring a quotidian commute just a fence away from death row’s finest. A real uncanny valley vibe. I’ve been interested in crime as long as I can remember. Next time I’m here, I’ll make a point to visit Alcatraz.


I see how a person might leave their heart here.

me-made: and we’re back!


In one week I’ve attended a wedding on one coast and a funeral on the other, and in between I took four (yes, four) memory cards of photos. I bounced from San Francisco vistas to hidebound Connecticut, and I’m finally home in Vermont’s mountain cradle. Even humidity feels like a hug when you’ve been gone so long.

I have at least five posts’ worth of photos to share, but first: what I wore to Ozy and Topher’s Princess Bride wedding!

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My friends, if you’ll recall, flew me out to shoot their wedding, calling it cheaper than hiring an Actual Photographer. (It’s the Bay Area. I believe it.) It was a working vacation for me, but I still had to bring the Fance. Black tie, and no ketchup stains this time. I was representing the entire Eastern seaboard.

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When I first discovered Simplicity 65C, I knew how lovely the design would look in my grandmother’s vintage lace. My first iteration thereof, the beloved rose dress, was the practice round: I’d have to be on way, way fewer meds than I’m on to cut into fifty-year-old lace without a template.


But! I’m thrilled to say that the practice paid off. This dress turned out exactly as I’d pictured. Better, even! It was my first time stitching multiple layers of fabric together, but there was no tension between the base and its more delicate topskirt. No awkward snags or inevitable unpickings. For the bodice, I used three layers of white linen. A cream floral tablecloth for the skirt. I love the blush of orange and pink beneath yellow lace. I have a second identical tablecloth, and I’m considering a whole other dress.

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The scalloped selvedge originally bordered the whole length of fabric. I picked it off – fortunately it was merely tacked – to edge the bottom, and added a sash with the leftovers. I love my fancy summer dress!  My black-tie selection, until now, was mostly velvet and taffeta. This one, thanks to its linen lining, definitely beats the heat.


I topped off the dress with a hat I bought in White River Junction back in April, which makes its blogosphere debut today. With matching gloves from my costume trunk, I felt positively Californienne.

Much more to come in the next week or two, including downtown Frisco, the Pacific Ocean, and shots from the wedding itself! It was literally, actually Princess Bride themed.