It’s okay guys, I got this one.

Excuse me for a moment while I do something uncivilized and welcome you into my closet. I am currently in a state of amazement! I just finished the last bit of my laundry and picked up my clothing from the dry cleaner this evening, and spent a minute hanging it all up in its rightful place. I thought I had collated all of my me-made clothing before the month started, however I didn’t quite accomplish it to the exact extent that I have today. I mean holy moly can you see what I am looking at here below??? Are you as impressed as I obviously am with myself??

Team Me-Made in the center with 41 items:

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Team Retail on the right with a total of 21 items:

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To think I actually wondered if I would make it through the month with enough outfits!  Granted there is a slight exaggeration at play – this photo doesn’t show the contents of my dresser which is full of store bought jeans, pants, t-shirts galore….

So anyway – on to today’s outfit,  brought to you by a special woman named Pat Mahoney.  Or actually two special women. The first is my friend Gretchen,  the woman behind http://www.blogforbettersewing.com who I know from our time teaching together in NYC.  If I ever grow a pair and quit my day job to do what I really want when I’m a grown-up,  she gets a lot of credit for being inspiring. 

So it was Gretchen who turned me on to Pat’s Custom Buttons & Belts of Lodi, CA.  You can call Pat and request a catalogue,  or write. That’s correct,  she has no website and conducts business by snail mail. Naturally I ordered my catalogue that way, by sending her a post card. Here’s the catalogue and order form she sends you so that you can mail her back your fabric and specs. Hand written no less!

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Yes, you can buy a little kit at the fabric store to make your own buttons.  You could buy a belt that kinda goes with your dress. If you’re lucky to be in NYC you can get them done at Steinlauf & Stoller….but none of them will be like Pat’s. They’re more unique and her craftsmanship is like something from a bygone decade.

I was making this particular dress out of a yarn dyed check silk crepe, which is unusual for me to wear – I can’t stand to buy something with mismatched stripes or plaids and hardly ever sew them because they’re a total pain in the you-know-what to match. But, surprise! Here’s the final result of such tedious efforts:

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When Gretchen saw me making this she asked me what kind of buttons I would be putting on the front of it. Now I’m not normally a stickler for details like buttons, zippers and the like. Something about the effort involved in making this dress however seemed to demand a little more attention. So I not only went for Pat’s custom buttons but also a matching belt….

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….which I didn’t actually wear today.  Instead I went for this sort of dress-masquerading-as-a-shirt look that we seem to be championing at work these days.  Sometimes you have to give new things a try…. ok, I tried it and tomorrow we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming!

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