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Dear Kay,

I’ve got a few things on my mind that I can’t quite shake. Apologies for the lack of photos on the first two things here, but these are worthy clicks, I promise.

Thing No. 1: That Dress, Oh Wow

I can’t stop thinking about this dress. Ladies of the eighteenth-century French court let themselves go by ditching their corsets and embracing the robe volante, a gorgeous swath of unpinched lavishness. I can see the direct line from the extraordinary gown in that link to . . . The Tale of the Mustard Muumuu. (Which provides an excellent lesson in turning a mustard muumuu into a mustard maxi skirt. Clip ’n’ save!) (Thanks to Adrienne Martini for the link.)

Thing No. 2: Tom of Holland and That Boxpleat Jumper

Take a look, if you will. Tom got hold of a sweater’s worth of Daughter of a Shepherd yarn, something I wish I could do, and he made a jumper from Cecilia Campochiaro‘s extraordinary Sequence Knitting. It’s a mashup of two fascinating things: deep deep dark sheepish yarn and mathy knit-purls. I have two skeins of this yarn and yearn for a sweater of this richness.

Thing No. 3: Steering Wheels and Tiny Cars

During our staycation, we visited Nashville’s Lane Motor Museum, a haunt when the boys were young. It’s the largest collection of European cars in North America, who knew? Interesting to come back with large-sized fellas who used to be shorter than the amazing tiny cars in this collection. I became obsessed with the beautiful dashboards and steering wheels of these wee vehicles.

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And the cars? Adorable.

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Wish I were heading out on a road trip in one of these little babies. Happy Friday to all!






  • Wow, that Boxpleat Jumper is intense!

    • It’s such a great example of how basic knits and purls can create dramatic dimension.

  • We just learned of the Lane Motor Museum and can’t wait to go there when we next visit Nashville.
    And, you reminded me of Haley’s favorite maxi skirt – made from a thrifted muumuu when she was 6 or 7 and Worn. Out.

    • Haley Needs a New Muumuu.

  • Awww! I showed the pic of the Fiat pick-up truck to my husband. His remark: “I bet you could get 5 bales of hay in the back of that.”

    • Or half a dog. I think that little truck is my favorite.

      • Me too. I want that truck. (AND The Sequence Knitting book). Thanks for all the links.

  • what fun! I love cars. great photos. thanks for sharing.

  • I wasn’t going to say anything, especially since I comment rarely, if ever. But I have a big problem with the Muu Muu redo, and this article explains why better than I can. I’m all for refashioning clothes, but I think we can all be more thoughtful about it.

    • I have had the same thought about refashioning, except that such a huge proportion of thrift store clothes wind up being dumped in landfills. As long as refashioning is a niche rather than a large scale industry, I am skeptical that it would have a big impact on availability of plus size clothing in the thrift store.

      Not the same but related: In the knitting community there are folks who buy thrifted cashmere and other luxury sweaters and re-use the yarn. Thrift store managers say that these items typically don’t sell as sweaters to low income folks who don’t have the time to deal with fabrics that need special treatment.

      • Bibliogirl, thanks for the link! I also have a plus-sized problem with the Muu Muu re-make, and others like it. I love creativity, clever re-purposing and saving money. And, I am not just talking theoretically about this, as I a am plus-sized thrift store shopper on a limited budget. Something that might make others think, “Cute, but too much fabric,” evokes a response in me something along the lines of “This is great! And it might fit me!” Finally, I don’t appreciate the mocking tone (implied or stated outright) of many of the makeover tales. In this very story the blogger says, “Oh, the horror!” of the original dress, and she’s not just talking about its fabric and color. I experience it as another form of fat-shaming..

  • So much goodness in this post. That book is def on my want list now. And those dashboards brought me back to the wayback. I rememner muu muus from Guam when my dad was stationed there in the 60’s. I am all for bringing them back.

  • Speaking of Adrienne Martini, have you noticed that her links open in a new tab? That keeps forgetful people, like me, from closing the tab and losing the blog. Won’t you please consider it, MDK?

    • Lee, you could go into your browser settings and select ‘open links in new tab’ or on my Android tablet I long touch a link and select ‘open in new tab’. This saves me from having to backtrack to the original post.

  • I, too, heard that NPR piece. As a costume historian, I have to point out that it “left out” some important points: 18th c. women DID NOT abandon their corsets; the robe volante was worn with a corset. What makes the garment interesting, is that it does stand in sharp contrast to the formality of women’s dress that was worn at the court of Louis XIV. French Court dress has a very particular style and cut; life at the court under Madame de Maintenon (Louis’ morganatic wife) veered towards the conservative at the end of his reign.

    Yes, this dress is less restrictive; but no, it was not worn without a corset. They did not make that clear.

    It is a beautiful piece, and what makes it so remarkable is that it is still in-tact. Fabrics were re-used in the 18th c, this example was not re-made into later version of an 18c. dress.

    Now, can we organize a road trip to Paris to go and see it?

  • Uh, oh…I feel a mashup coming on…something involving a muu-muu, Shetland wool, a riding mower, and Ann doing 95 mph on the freeway….

  • Great post! Educational, fun, funny interesting to look at. What more could there be? I especially loved the before and after muu muu pics. I should probably hang them on my closet door since my heart leans towards the muu muu altho thankfully, despite my warped sense of body image somehow I’ve never quite acquiesced.

  • How could I not have known about the Lane Motor Museum? I can’t wait to go. This would be perfect for Fall Break which is so short now a days that it has to be a staycation. Thanks!

  • Oh, how I love me some vintage cars with those beautiful steering wheels–and so wee! Sigh.

  • We took some time out from wedding festivities and visited the Lane museum in 2011. We love the wedding photos but the ones ones we took at the museum are still passed around as the highlight of that week.
    You know you’re old when you mention what you did in college in the early 70’s. But we used to revamp beautiful 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s thrift shop finds and turn them into mini skirts so short I blush at the memory now.

  • In keeping with the “cars” theme, this feed on Instagram brings me my daily dose of whimsy. So much love and respect for her work.

  • I’m going back to click the links, but first I had to scamper down here to the comments because I cannot contain myself: I have been talking about my yearning for a real steering wheel for YEARS! The kind that was THIS BIG and narrow and elegant and had a horn in the middle where a horn belongs. When you turned one of those steering wheels, you really knew you were driving. Thank you for this gallery, which made me say, “oooh!” several times.
    And like probably everyone else here, I love the truncated truck. I am actually in the process of trying to find a small truck, and that’s a nifty goatmobile if ever I saw one.

  • I’d be happy tootling around in that little minty colored truck-car. I’d knit a colorwork sweater in grey and mint to go with it.

    PS I used to own a vintage real hawaiian-from-the-islands muumuu that I wore out and about ,back in my younger, vintagey wearing days. (ie when I dressed cooler than I do now, way before mom clothes and such). Kinda wish I still had it. It did not look like that mustard thing.

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