A Pattern Card

Occasionally you buy something and realize that it’s perfect, a paragon of fit and utility, and you wish you had it in every color. This is a wish that the Directrice can grant. Well, not me personally, but I can set you on the path: If you find yourself a good seamstress, your paragon can be used to make a pattern or taken apart to become the pattern. And then you will be limited only by your imagination and wallet!

Behold my perfect shift dress, made in elegant wool challis modeled on a denim dress purchased at Ann Taylor c. 2002.

After realizing that my little denim dress had great lines and fit perfectly, I took it to a Hong Kong tailor who visits Washington D.C. four times a year and makes shirts and suits for a number of my colleagues. He took my little dress back to his workroom in Hong Kong and a few months later, a wonderful package arrived: simple brown paper, covered in colorful stamps, and inside were the old dress and a new one.


The details: a simple yoke detail above the bust, welt pockets along a slightly dropped waist
The details: a simple yoke detail above the bust, welt pockets along a slightly dropped waist
In case you are wondering about the background — I was outside the city today, visiting friends for dinner. Because they have a beautiful Japanese garden, I changed clothes in the middle of the visit to take some pictures.

But enough small talk. What do you think of my shoes?
Aren’t they fantastic? I find them riveting . . . and I think they prevent the dress from feeling stuffy. Fun, right?
No one fails to react to these shoes: love 'em or loathe 'em
No one fails to react to these shoes: you either think they’re wonderful or dreadful

In case the office is cold — why am I acting like that’s a possibility, when it’s a certainty — a little sweater with half-sleeves. I bought this sweater from JCrew years ago in black and ivory. The two are among the most useful things in my closet; they’re perfect for wearing with dresses. I wish that JCrew would reissue this sweater. And Ann Taylor should definitely reissue my dress!
In case you missed this article in the New York Times a few weeks: you are cold; it’s not your imagination.
Is my employer trying to prolong my life cryogenically each day? To what end?

Dress: Made by Daniel Leong, patterned on Ann Taylor model; Sweater: JCrew; Shoes: Tory Burch; Bag: Coach Poppy Tote

6 thoughts on “A Pattern Card”

  1. I’ve always dreamed of having something hand-made like that. What kind of “good lines” should I look for — good lines on me? Or good lines from a tailor’s eyes?

    • Hello Regina — Great lines for you, something that fits and flatters your figure perfectly, are worth replicating. From the perspective of the tailor — or perhaps more accurately, mindful of the cost of the tailor — simplicity is better. The more pieces and seams = more labor.

  2. This dress is stunning, and definitely something I’d consider if I could just find the perfect-for-me dress. I like the effect given by the shoes, and agree that their uniqueness brings a new level to your outfit.

    Have you ever had one of your tailors’ make you a new garment from a picture in your mind, or influenced, but not patterned from, another garment? That’s probably where I’ll end up, not having the right starting point so far.

    • Hi Cathi — I haven’t tried a new garment from scratch without a pattern (from a pattern or a model), although I have thought about seeing what they might make of a photograph from a magazine or the Internet. Sometimes I will have them alter clothes significantly, which involves re-cutting them . . . and then we are working from an idea in my head and that’s fun. Thanks so much for reading these older posts!


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