Messy Maxi

I’ve always had a problem with maxi dresses, because the people who make maxi dresses like to assume that you’re a reasonably-sized human being, which I have never been.

And it’s a real shame when you’re a Hobbit with Elvish aspirations, fantasizing about gliding effortlessly down a hallway in a flowing dress without the dress immediately catching under your feet and resulting in a total collapse.

So why I decided to buy a particularly flowy maxi spring dress off of Amazon, I’ll never know.

Actually, I do know. It’s because one of the reviewers described herself as a petite Asian girl, standing at only 5’1″, who decided the dress was perfectly reasonable if you wore shoes with a little height. I couldn’t see the shoes she wore in the picture, but I have to assume now that they were Herman Munster boots.

So I bought this dress off of Amazon, and upon wearing it, discovered that it completely swallowed up my feet and an inch of ground around me. Which meant, unfortunately, that I would have to hem it.


If I owned six inch heels, this wouldn’t be a problem.

Now, I have a sewing machine, but it’s mostly for show. It’s not like anyone ever comes in my room, but if they did, they might see the sewing machine and might assume I’m a crafty person, when in actuality I have the creativity and sewing prowess of a stick of soft butter.

A stick of soft butter with the inability to create an even new hem on curved section of fabric.


I started by setting up my sewing machine, a process which took forty minutes because I couldn’t figure out why the bottom thread wasn’t catching. It was because I was turning the wheel the wrong way.


You would think measuring would help, but in fact, it doesn’t help if you do it wrong.


I pinned the dress to mark where I wanted to cut, so that there was only a moderate amount of guesswork involved.


I could make a scarf out of the excess material! I kid, of course. I’d never make this into a scarf, I’d just wear it as-is until it resembled more fray than fabric.

So I inexpertly pinned the hem into place, and I thought I did a pretty good job. And then I tried to actually sew it, and it turned out that I had done quite an awful job, unless my goal had been to create the world’s most uneven hem.


It looked okay until I realized I was creating a top-heavy hem. Next time I won’t sew so close to the bottom of the dress. Learning!


The middle part is just the way the dress naturally hangs, I swear.

The end result was mildly disappointing, but I could see my feet again, which was nice. Overall, I find the dress to be acceptable, because you don’t realize how badly it’s hemmed unless you really stare at my feet, and only a small portion of the population would be interested in that anyway.

And to think that my poor sewing machine could have been placed in a loving home.

Frizzled Wizard World

If you want to instantly connect with women ages 18 to 40 who are in some way involved in public education, dress up as Ms. Frizzle and walk around a nerd convention.


This is from Halloween of last year, but the costume’s… somewhat the same. Mostly.

My friends and I went to Wizard World Philadelphia recently, and of the three of us I was the only one who dressed up, so the other two had to suffer while teacher after teacher pulled me aside to gush over how much they loved Ms. Frizzle, and take pictures with me.

Well, I enjoyed it.

There were people out there with far more impressive cosplays than me, mind you.


After I took a photograph, as I walked away, I could hear them fluttering about how Ms. Frizzle had just asked for their picture.


I saw this fellow standing off to the side and I stared at him for at least three seconds before I got it. It’s Milo! From Atlantis!


Just look at that. That’s impressive. I honestly can’t tell how old the middle lady is, she could be eighty or twenty under all that makeup and wig. 


Yondu Poppins. He said I wore a dress better than him, but I have to disagree.

Dressing up as Ms. Frizzle was fun just for the bug of nostalgia it infected people with. Vendors stood up in their booth and scrambled after me to get pictures. I heard people shouting (and whispering) “Ms. Frizzle!” to me and to each other all around the convention center. People gushed.

There weren’t many children around, but one little girl desperately wanted a picture with me and I let her hold Liz for it. When my feet started to give out in the yellow high heels and I was leaning against a wall to put on my emergency flats, a mother pushing her little daughter in a wheelchair did a double-take, stopped, and then made a beeline for me.

“Look!” she said to the girl, who didn’t seem able to talk, “See that? It’s Ms. Frizzle! See the Bus? See Liz?”

It took a second, and then the girl’s face lit up like a Christmas tree.

It really sticks with you, things like that. Especially when you’re just an idiot in a dress your sister made you, with one shoe off against the wall of a convention center.


Also, Rose from Doctor Who was there. I took a picture from a distance so that I didn’t have to pay money or talk to people.

Seatbelts, everyone!

When I decide to cosplay at comic conventions, I go as Ms. Frizzle, because I happen to look like her already and also because my sister made me her costume and I’m too lazy to make my own things.


Liz says hi.

I’ve collected bits and bobs for the costume over the past couple of years, but if there’s one thing that’s difficult to match with a cosplay, it’s a purse or bag. Unless the character you’re dressing up as specifically carries some kind of bag, it’s rough to haul your things around the convention center and still look authentic. When people want to take pictures of my outfit, my tactic is usually to drop-kick my purse out of the scene, and hope they’re done before someone steals it.

At last I caved and ordered a school bus bag on Amazon, despite the face on the front looking like the clown from my childhood nightmares.

Fortunately, by pure random happenstance, one of the Amazon reviewers also cosplays Ms. Frizzle, and she had a solution: Paint a better looking face on with acrylic paint.


I wonder if acrylic paint could give me a better face, too.

The only problem, as we’ve established, is that I have the creativity and artistic talent of a walnut with a degree in mathematics. My method of painting was to hope for the best.


I outlined where the new face was going to go with pencil, but I really don’t feel like it gave me more confidence.


Oh God, this is worse, now he’s wearing a death mask.

Having ever used acrylic paint before, I was actually surprised at how forgiving it was. If I made a mistake, I could wait for it to dry and the paint over it, even with white paint.


All up in his grill. I’ll see myself out.


At this point I realized nothing was going to cover that little tip of the original smile on the left, but I also didn’t care enough to change it.


It’s something!

The end result was acceptable for my low standards, which mostly consist of “will it look decent if someone snaps a picture of it from ten feet away?” I spent some time observing it from ten feet away, and it looks decent. Mission accomplished.

Now all I need is a sonic screwdriver and my Ms. Frizzle costume will be complete.