19 June 2007

Get your favorite designer dress for "free"


"Yes, Johanna."

"Uh, remember how when I was younger you sewed all my dresses and Halloween costumes and oh, oh, you know how you're making those curtains right now for L and M?"


"Mom? Are you th.."

"Yes, I'm here."

"Well, I was thinking about how you like to sew so much and how the sewing machine is already out and in your sewing room and how JoAnn Fabric is having that big sale you told me about on Sunday...and I thought you'd like to...I thought you might enjoy..."

"You thought I'd like to what, Johanna? I might enjoy doing what?"

"Um, well, I found this pattern of a really cute dress that looks just like a dress I've always loved - a dress you'll love, too - and since I'm trying to do that whole saving-over-spending thing you, Dad and I talked about over Christmas, I thought maybe you'd like to sew me the dress."

"Sew you the dress?"

"Yeah, so I don't have to buy it. If I could even find it, which is highly unlikely, because I've been looking for it forever, and I..."

"You want me to buy the fabric, buy the pattern, sew the dress and then mail it to you? Is that what you're saying?"

"Well yeah, so I don't have to buy it. If I bought it, it would be at least...I don't know, like $300. At least $300."

"And this way?"

"This way what?"

"And this way, having me sew it for you, costs how much?"

"Well, it costs me nothing."



"I'm still here."

"So, what do you think?"

"I think you're still seven years old."

"Does that mean you'll do it?"

"(Sigh)...it is a cute dress, and the pattern doesn't look too complicated..."

"Oh my God, I love you, Mom!"

"Listen to me, Johanna, if I do this, you're buying the fabric and giving me honest measurements."

"Done and done."

And in that five-minute conversation, the classic Roland Mouret sheath dress made the unthinkable jump from my never-gonna-happen wishlist to my confirmed-for-Fall-2007 lineup.

Ladies, if your sewing-inclined parent, sibling, work colleague or even your trusted tailor owes you a favor, head on over to VoguePatterns (or Butterick or McCall), find that Badgley Mischka dress, that Alice + Olivia skirt or, if you're like I am and prefer the sexy housewife look, the 'Vogue Vintage' section, pay the $15 pattern price and strike that deal.

My Mom doesn't know it yet, but I'm already cobbling together quite the Christmas list for her: this dress in cranberry taffeta, this cape in ivory wool-cashmere, this skirt in grey herringbone...

And why not? They're practically free!


Ann said...

What I love most about your site is that you are constantly giving me new places to shop from. What did I ever do before shopbop.com? It's changed my workday! Will you (please) post a MASTER list of links of all your favorite places?

K said...

I used to sew little outfits for myself regularly. They are now all unwearable. But I often think, with a little more time and attention, I could do it f'realsies.

After all, deep down inside me, there is a 9 year old girl who only wanted a REAL sewing machine for Christmas - and got it. And that sewing machine sits in my apartment today, unused, in the guest room closet.

Let me know if you want to go pattern shopping.

Dave said...

You didn't

holiday said...

I love that dress. I bought a knockoff of the Roland Mouret dress in 2005 from Zara. It's a beautiful dress.

By the way, I think the actual Roland Mouret dress retails for about $1,000. The Black Halo knockoff is around $300.

Johanna said...


So glad to help your work day move a bit faster! If you want a master list, check out the post I did on 12 April 2007, but be forewarned...all the options will blow your mind!

You have a sewing machine? Well damn, I'm gonna hit you up next time!

Where does a gal in DC go pattern shopping anyway? doesn't that require some sort of excursion outside the District?


I did! And it worked!


I tried on that dress at Zara and wanted it so badly, but by the time I got there they only had 2 left, neither of which were in my size! Lucky you!

I do like the Black Halo interpretation, but my favorite Mouret is the straight-edged neckline with the slight poufed cap-sleeves, not the sleeveless cowl neck like the Jackie O dress. Though I for sure wouldn't turn it down! If you come across another less expensive knock-off, let me know!

And no, Mom, that wouldn't get you off the hook for your 1 September deadline!


etcetera said...

k and johanna - i also used to be SO crafty with a sewing machine. it was my favorite toy. i made outfits for my pet rabbit. and now i can't even replace a spool of thread. i've forgotten everything.

Ann said...

Jo - Thank you, thank you, thank you!

etcetera said...

j - where the hell is your afteroon post? what have you been DOING all day?! come ON!!!! haha.

K said...

There are some pattern stores in the 703, but I bet there has to be some kind of chic, little-known pattern place somewhere within the confines of 202... or close to it. After all, I just found a fantastic knitting store in Georgetown. If I ever finish the dozen projects I have in my closet (right by the sewing machine), I just might have to go there.

Dave said...

Johanna, a grown woman should not be proud of herself that she was able to con, cajole, and guilt her mother into making her a dress. As long as you get past that, well, you did it!

knew you as hannie, too said...


Are you for real? Johanna and her Mom are about as close as a mother and daughter can get. She didn't "con" her into anything. And please, we all cajole with our parents, whether we're 6, 16, or 36. We're always children in their eyes.

Dave said...

I was poking fun at Johanna, of course. The writing is quite clever. She wrote the entry in such a way that she juxtaposes the way a child would cajole a mother for a toy on to an adult asking for a dress. She wants the reader to see the adult asking for something adult on top of the child in order to entertain her readers. She is asking for a reaction like mine.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should learn to sew.

Johanna said...

I'd love to learn, but at this point, the little bit of free time I have goes to reading. I have to be making progress in a fiction book at all times or else I'll go insane.

But you raise a good point.

Original Me said...

Chiming in late here but you can get patterns at Exquisite Fabrics on K Street - and you can get very luxurious, imported couture and designer fabrics. Just lovely.