The Number 6 Dress

A girl ain’t afraid to show her white gams.

Sorry, didn’t mean to blind y’all but I’ll blame it partly on the camera. I’ve been naively shooting white-ish things against black backgrounds, resulting in 1. blow-out which results in 2. lack of detail. I’m going to have to stop sewing and wearing white. Soon.

I’d intended to wear my cute leopard pumps with this dress. I already had the boots on and thought, yeah, now this is getting more sci-fi. (My friend says these are my steampunk boots. I geekily confess I didn’t know what he meant, but read on.)

I’d been wanting an excuse to experiment with ponte knit/doubleknit, and then I discovered all these patterns with loads of seams as detail. I bought Butterick 5559 as soon as it came out… but wait! there was this fantastic Vogue 1135.

Finally, I settled on the cover dress from September’s Burda (right). It seemed the riskiest style-wise but I kept coming back to it. Something about those sleeve wings and the way-below-knee length took the Burda dress to something a bit more unconventional. I took to calling it the No. 6 dress.

This week’s theme at Sew Weekly was television character inspirations. So I thought it a good excuse to jump in and offer mine, except…

Number 6 drove me mad. We never thought a show would replace our beloved Alias, but then a friend got us hooked on Battlestar. We started rooting for Adama and Laura. (Do they ever end up together? We’ll never know; we stuck it out for four seasons, and hit the permanent pause button when everyone became a Cylon.) We loved Starbuck, the most vulnerable and volatile character until the goofily mystical, am-I-a-god-angel-cylon-woman-resurrected plot turn. The Number 6 and Dr. Baltar plot, on the other hand, had nothing to lose.

It could’ve been about Baltar’s transformation, his growing out of manipulative and abusive relationships, but that story continued go from worse to worse. Number 6 remained, throughout the series, something of a Freudian ploy.

Still, I found myself thinking that this dress was made for her (‘cept she preferred a lot more cleavage). Must be the sleeve wings and architectural body-consciousness; I feel like a sci-fi supervillain. And D loves it on me so we’ll have to scour another planet for our next date.

The Burda pattern is a petite, and everything fit perfectly except for the length from shoulder to bust, which I should’ve checked first–there’s a seam landing right on my, um… I’m also really into doubleknits right now. They’re incredibly easy to sew, but quality varies hugely. This is a nice quality poly/rayon/lycra ponte from Marcy Tilton, but it emitted a really funny smell whenever I pressed it. It was difficult to get a good press and I blame that on the poly element. (There are all rayon doubleknits, but they’re harder to find.)

For the record, I’m not a huge sci-fi person. I don’t like how character and plot often gets sacrificed at the expense of philosophies, particularly when they try to tie themselves up into a neat conclusion that reads like cartoon Buddhism. And this is what failed Battlestar in the end–no triumph only that “the conflict is within you so make friends with the evil side of self” sort of thing. I had my Dune and Bladerunner phase somewhere in my 20s but now I find most of the ideas in them so labored. But if they’re stylish and like Battlestar, full of hot-topic political metaphors really relevant to the times, then count me in.

I do like high-concept films with a bit of a science fiction tinge–something like City of Lost Children, 12 Monkeys, or the more lately Hollywood Sherlock Holmes–mechanical gadgetry meets Victoriana meets futurism. Yes, you might say, steampunk.

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