Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Mayle dress for sale

I forgot to mention that I also have a size 2 Pilar dress in ivory, new with tags, never worn. Evan picked it up for me but got the wrong size. I could never fit into it.

Again, please leave a comment if interested. Thank you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mayle for Sale, Part XII

This time, I'm selling a few things myself. If you are interested, send me an email or leave me a comment. I can send you measurements on request.

First, my Thea in putty, size 8. This makes me sad but it's time for reality. I love this dress. I've never worn it. It still has the tags attached and is in brand new condition. Alas, it runs small and would fit a 6 better than an 8. Even my recent weight loss has not helped as this dress is meant for someone with a narrower ribcage and shoulders. I hate parting with a dress that was a big favorite, but maybe some day, the 10 will turn up. It needs to be worn and loved. My camera is broken, but I'm going to borrow Evan's and take some photos.



Second, my Suvi top, Fall 07, size 10, pictured above (the first picture is a full length view, then there is the front, then back). Because of the color, the details are lost, but there are tiny pockets at the front. It is a silk wool crepe and fully lined. I wore this once and wore it briefly. It is lovely but too similar, I fear, to my Paradiso Mitsuko (almost identical cuts), and that is the top I pick up when I want something like this. As I have acquired a couple of covets recently and am dealing with reduced closet space, it's time to sell this to someone who will love and wear it. It is trimmed with the winter lace used for Danya, which I also own, and is a lovely and rare piece (not featured in the look book).

Finally, Lina, my knitted dress/sweater dress from Fall 07/pre Fall 07--again, pictures will follow after I borrow Evan's camera). I love it but it doesn't love me--the buttons on the sleeves and neck are touches that I couldn't resist. But I have an allergy to wool (well, to lanolin) and bought this because it was so pretty and figured it wouldn't matter (the same logic that convinced me to buy shoes that were a size too small). But my skin resists: the lanolin content must be high and it has to go. It is a Medium, and would fit a size 6-8 easily. Worn once for about 10 minutes, to pick up the New York Times from the lobby.

The blue dress is sold--if you are interested in the top, please leave a comment. Thank you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

From Cindy: Adventures in Franken-Mayle: yes, I DYE!

Here is the promised guest post. Thank you Cindy. I just wish Jane had made these dresses in the colors you chose.

Over to Cindy:

Upon scanning the Mayle Spring 2008 lookbook, I swooned.  Mexican funeral!  Flowers everywhere!  After a second pass, I begin to feel pangs of dismay – the book was full of covetable pieces, mostly in ivory.  Frankly, I fear wearing all-white ensembles because I thoroughly enjoy eating and sitting.  Notwithstanding, I purchased the Adela dress and the Bibi dress, convinced I would wear these beautiful pieces bravely.    

After languishing in my closet months later, tags and all, I decided to finally take the plunge and explore dyeing.  I fantasized about the dresses’ Franken-Mayle potential – how would ochre and plum silks look with enamel buttons?  

I wrote to Ms. Mayle, seeking dyeing advice for my Spring 2008 ivory silks.  Would the dresses shrink?  How would they dye?  She wrote:
“Hi Cindy-
I know that the dresses are made from sand washed spun silk and that the silk was dyed before construction.  I don’t think the dresses should shrink significantly when dyed but I’m not sure what the content is for the thread and I worry that it might be poly in which case, it wouldn’t dye with the rest of the dress, resulting in contrast color stitching. 
All the best with your dyeing adventures!
Based on the fact that I didn’t really understand most of Jane’s e-mail, I decided immediately that DIY was out of my league.    

With a little googling, I learned that silk is a protein fiber that takes up dye beautifully.  The dyeing process varies depending on the type of silk and how the silk was pre-treated.  Dresses, however, are constructed with many other materials that are not dye-friendly – in particular, synthetic threads and linings, along with other un-dyeable details.  Mayle, fortunately, constructs most garments with silk linings, which eliminated the possibility that the lining would shrink disproportionately compared to the outer layer (positively horrifying). 

During my internet searches, I only found a handful of places willing to do “individual garment” dyeing.  I chose Metro Dyeing for the following reasons: 1) they had a write-up in New York Magazine; 2) the business was conveniently located in the Manhattan garment district; 3) the cost per dyed garment was $50; and 4) upon e-mailing, they agreed to let me unburden my dyeing neuroses in person.  Their website:
(They have a great “before and after” section where they feature Courtney Love’s dyed stage costumes.  Very reassuring!)

Craig, my friendly and helpful contact at Metro Dyeing, made me realize quickly that dyeing is not for the faint of heart.  The maximum shrinkage rate for a silk garment is approximately 4%.  If you’ve dry-cleaned the garment, the dye may settle unevenly.  The details on the dress would be affected by the agitation process.  The synthetic materials (like the bib on Bibi) would not dye the same color as the rest of the dress but would pick up some dye if there was some organic material in it (like the cotton in the bib).  Even color choice can be minefield – yellows and greens are unpredictable and require harsher dyeing processes and temperatures; purples and blues are easier.  Dyeing any garment black would require multiple passes and a true black was not guaranteed.    
But there were plenty of positives – Craig and his team are fabric dyeing professionals and would work with me during the dyeing process until I got the color I required (at no extra charge!).  He told me that the dyes were safe for sensitive skin, would not be affected by dry cleaning, and ultimately, he reminded me that I wouldn’t wear the ivory pieces as much the dyed pieces. 

I settled on a dusky purpley plum for Adela and a navy blue for Bibi.  Here are the intermediate results, post-work up, about three weeks after the first dye:





Upon viewing the dresses within the first 24 hours post-dye, I wished Craig hadn’t let me come up for a peek.  The results were terrifying.  The dresses felt like dried paper mache.  Most of the detailing – hems, straps, buttons - needed mending.  The synthetic threads and bib had taken up little or no dye.  But at least the dresses hadn’t shrunk much.  They had shrunk proportionately, perhaps by less than 2% total.  Craig suggested steaming the garments.  After about a week and two steamings, the sandwashed softness of the silk returned.

Encouraged, I searched for appropriate final touches for my dyed pieces.  To re-color the bib and obvious contrast threads, I turned to Dharma Trading Company ( and purchased colorfast, dry-cleaning safe fabric markers that didn’t require special “settings” (i.e., ironing).

I found mother-of-pearl and brass buttons to replace the original peach buttons on Adela (thank you, Moya!) and asked my tailor to replace the white zipper on the navy and black Bibi with a black zipper.  With mended hems and re-sewn details, button and zipper replacements, and painstakingly hand-colored contrast threading, here are the final results, almost two months after I sent my garments to Metro Dyeing:




Voila, that concludes my Franken-Mayleing!  I am very pleased with the final dresses and I have loved giving my personal touches to these pieces.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and find that this post encourages you to consider dyeing (with all kinds of caveats!).  I pass this along to you as Jane wrote to me, “All the best with your dyeing adventures!”

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I may also have two or three minor Mayle items to sell, which I'm going to post here first. I think I may sell my blue knit dress from prefall 07, a Suvi top in ivory that I don't think I'll wear because I haven't worn it yet (fall 07, ivory trapeze with the winter lace trim around the armholes). I'll post pictures and details soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Coming Attractions

A combination of work, research and unusually large amount of bureaucracy has kept me busy this week. I will, however, have some interesting material coming up, including Cindy's guest post on dyeing Mayle dresses, complete with illustrations. I'll also discuss a couple of recent finds and maybe even post (belatedly) my holiday photos--or those, at least featuring Mayle.

But for now, it's back to work. German Film here I come.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I've been crazy busy with work--as can be seen in my relatively infrequent blog updates. Besides working on the book (one more chapter to edit--the worst one, which is also the first one before I do a second final read through), there's been teaching which has taken up a lot more time because of new preps, especially my German Cinema grad class.

I've had some bad Mayle luck recently--make that bad ebay luck. One package went missing (I still have hope but it's three weeks now). Another order didn't fit me at all, teaching me that size 6s from older seasons don't work on me as a general rule. But I did get the Makino top in dove from Fall 08 which is really great (and it fits me even though it's a 6).

Acupuncture is helping me to lose weight--not a goal, but not unwelcome, as I already mentioned. As for getting pregnant, that hasn't happened. I thought I was over feeling bad about this, but I think that's wishful thinking. As I write this, I'm mourning that nothing seems to work. It's been only 7 sessions (8th today) so I realize this is premature but I want to move on with my life and this is holding me back. I am impatient to meet my child, I want him or her to have as long as possible with their grandparents, so I am pleading and praying let this happen soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Definitely back to work...

It's 9.28 p.m. and I've just finished work for the day (mostly). The craziness of the semester just landed on me and I feel swamped. I wrote one syllabus, one lecture, edited two semesters' worth of lectures for two classes and printed them all up, sorted out screenings for tomorrow, and looked for some old lecture notes. That took time. I thought they'd be on a zip disc, but when you have just moved, those are the kind of things that aren't close at hand. I discovered two were missing (along with a gold locket), and those would be the ones with the files I needed. I searched high and low, didn't find them, but then remembered my old orange ibook under the bed. It had most of the files I needed but two lectures are still missing. This is a course I swapped with a colleague who had a scheduling issue so I don't want to have to prep it from scratch, especially when I have taught something identical elsewhere.

On another note, I wish I was a size 4. Not for the usual reasons, but because so many great items in size 4 have been on ebay recently and gone for a song. There is at least one bidder who has infinitely deep pockets and bids up all the size 8s, or so it seems. Few 8s and 10s appear anyway, so there's just less to buy and more to pay.

I've also had some problems with ebay recently. An item I bought two weeks ago never arrived and the seller has not responded to any emails. Alas, I think I have to take this one up with ebay.

On a good note: Tana arrived, fits perfectly and is so lovely. I am thrilled with it. As soon as we have time, Evan will take pictures.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Finally Tana

After fussing around, wondering if it would turn up on ebay and hoping for further reductions, I finally bought the size 10 Tana from the Outnet this week. I know the smaller sizes of this dress have hung around ebay for a while and not sold, but as it runs small, I have to get the 10 and. Alas, there just aren't that many 10s in that style and people had to have sized up because the larger sizes just aren't out there. Even though prices will fall--like any bubble, Mayle will pop, and clothing isn't renowned for its ability to last through the ages with no damage--I have wanted the gold Tana since December 07. Marti and Cindy helped me out with measurements and some styling ideas, and I think it will be just long enough for me to wear without shaming myself. Given that Petulia will likely never appear in size 10, I'll at least have one of these 1960s style Mayle shift dresses. So, hopefully, it will fit and I'll be able to rave about it in a post next week. If not, I'm just out on postage. It may be the last brand new Mayle item I'll ever own, unless I find some obscure boutique with remaining stock, some discounter with Mayle (both unlikely, alas) or have the money to get a SE fall edition.

Now that the weather is so beautiful, and not so humid, sticky or rainy, I've been able to wear some of those pieces that are too pretty or delicate to risk damaging on a sticky day: Katia on Tuesday, Bianca on Wednesday, Melia with the Braque belt on Thursday (shameless copy of the lookbook) and today, Federica in persimmon (I'm so shocked the one on ebay didn't sell immediately as this is a truly beautiful dress in what is a very flattering color). I've worn Melia in the heat, but not with Braque. Along with a short sleeved J. Crew slate gray cashmere cardigan and my ivory wedges, I felt very Mayle indeed.

In other news, I'm still finding time to write even though school is back. I sincerely hope I can get the book finished before the middle of the month and then get on with finishing the proposal for the second book so I can also get that into the mail before teaching gets intense.

I've also lost some weight as a result of my acupuncture/TCM treatments. I'm not allowed much dairy and while I am not a cheese fiend, I love milk chocolate (not a big fan of the dark) which I can only have once a week (same goes for ice cream). This means I'm probably cutting out 200-400 calories a day--no late night chocolate, no hot chocolate at starbucks, no ice cream, no cookies, etc. It's not easy but hopefully all the rewards will make it worthwhile. Besides, I looked at some old photos last night (they were from 10 years ago) and my tiny flat waist and torso made me feel very ashamed of my current form. Granted, metabolisms change, but much of this is neglect and can be rectified with some effort and discipline.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Near Miss

Last fall, I tried on the Hera blouse from Holiday 08 and fell in love with it. It was a little pricey so I waited for reductions. When it was 40% off, I tried it on again and decided it was a must. But as Elise said, it was still as much as a dress. There was one Hera left, a size 10, which happened to fit me perfectly. It lingered for a while but just before the next markdown, it vanished. It's been on my wish list ever since.

Last night, it turned up on ebay in an 8. I needed the back measurements so I could guarantee it would fit me. Alas, someone else wanted it quickly, although I came very close to snagging it.

This means I'm still in the market for Hera in a 10. Again, I'll put out the call but it seems that, like Ikeliene (size 8), Vanya in dalmatia (size 10) and Mala (size 10), the owners aren't selling--at least not yet.

On another note, I received my Filipa K dress today. It is a really nice fabric--not a jersey but something stiffer. I may have been able to go down a size as the sleeves and top are a bit roomier than I'd expected, but the dress is great. I'm not a model and therefore it doesn't look identical to the picture but in many ways, it's better than expected--less indecent, better fabric and it will certainly be warm and versatile for the fall. When I have a camera, I will post photos. Or I'll borrow Evan's when I can work out how to use his timer.

Acupuncture today was as good as ever. I'm on another set of herbs and evidently my pulse is stronger and my diet/food journal had a lot of good things in it. I have to cut back dairy further--which basically means only one day a week for chocolate and ice cream. Does pastry contain dairy? I need something for desert and I am thinking raspberry or blackberry apple pie. My baking skills could do with a quick refresher. I'm also thinking about making gingerbread or ginger nuts. I love ginger and am not particularly fond of cinnamon like most English people.