Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A Very Warm Wool Coat


In an effort to keep my resolution of posting more of my finished projects on the blog, here is Simplicity 8509.  This is actually the second version of this design that I have made.


The first was a bit of an experiment, and when it came out even better than I expected, I jumped right into this wool version.  And adding another swing coat to the collection could never be a bad thing!


I shared quite a bit of my construction work on this garment from wresting with the heavy fabric, to the lining, making the most of sewing tools, to adding some patch pockets, and finally, the finishing touches.


The extra work and time was definitely worth it.


And while I finished the sewing on this coat last winter, it has taken me this long to post finished photos.


I am currently working with wool in the sewing room, in the beginning stages of making another wool coat (this time with a 1940s flair).


I am going to do my best to finish this one before the weather turns.


They definitely take some time, but finishing a lined coat is so fulfilling.  And getting the bulky wool out of sewing room bureau and into the coat closet creates lots of room for more new fabric treasures.  (Although that can be a rather dangerous situation!)


Coat:  Made by me, Simplicity 8509
Blouse:  Made by me, Simplicity 1692
Skirt:  Banana Republic
Shoes:  ReMix “Babydoll

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The 2019 Golden Globes Red Carpet

The 2019 Golden Globes are this evening, which means lots and lots of red carpet gowns, a few trousers and pant suits to keep things interesting, and quite a few questionable choices made by stylists and stars alike.

First up is Caitriona Balfe in Moschino.  If that center front skirt was sitting properly, and the bodice was made of the burgundy velvet instead of the black and a jeweled brooch in place of the velvet rose, I would be loving this.  And can we get those bobby pins from 1999 out of her hair, please.  So much to work with, but this one just doesn't quite make it.  The pointed toe shoes are the right choice, though.  But really, every time I see this silhouette it makes me think of this gorgeous Dior which I love so very much, which explains why I want this particular dress to really work.  Alas, it doesn't get there, in the end.  Oh how I do love a dramatic silhouette!



I suspect that Claire Foy is wearing vintage.  While I have trouble with the color yellow, this is a rather lovely choice, and those sprays of rhinestones(?) are gorgeous!  I would have preferred a large diamond cuff to the ribbon, but she is making a statement (and perhaps the cuff was traded last minute for the ribbon, which I would have like to see tied in a bow instead of a knot).  I also think her eye makeup could be a little more daring, and I would have liked to see a little less brown tone in the lipstick.  But look at that embellished silk!!!  Excellent choice, Claire!



I am so used to seeing Rachel Brosnahan in vintage thanks to Mrs. Maisel, that I am thrown when I see her on the red carpet, this time in Prada.  This color is not quite right for her skin, although I do think the dress itself is stunning.  The hair and makeup, however, are rather bland.  But at least she bothered putting the hair up instead of having it hang there like so many of these women do.  And it looks like she may be wearing a ribbon wrist corsage as well?  Now that I see the mismatched bracelet situation, I think that Claire made the right call regarding jewelry.



Speaking of inappropriate hairdos for a red carpet . . . Lucy Boynton's hair is adorable for everyday, just not with this dress.  And while we are looking at the Celine dress, I have a few comments.  First off, I would love to see an exaggerated sweep of the sleeve gathered into the cuff - these just don't seem quite long enough.  Sure, dinner is served at this event, but let's be real, do you think they actually eat?!  No sleeves would have been harmed at the table, so why not make them dramatic!  Interestingly enough, the skirt is a little too long (they should have used that excess fabric for the sleeve length).  The cummerbund band dips at the center front making her look a bit poochy.  This gown had the possibility of looking very 1940s siren, but it doesn't quite get there.  I do love the shoes, though.  And in this case, the slit works.  So very close . . .



Hello, gorgeous!  Catherine Zeta Jones is back in emerald, and all is well with the world.  The dress by Eli Saab is not my favorite (the slit doesn't work for me in this case) and the pleating at the bodice looks a bit too napkin-like for my taste, but that COLOR!!!  And the ring!  If only she had a bit more color on the lips, though, because it's difficult to complete with that liquid emerald.  I am also questioning the shoe choice, especially when they are obviously too small.



Now, I am not sure who Jeannie Mai is, but the minimalist makeup and classic center parted hair really work for her.  The neckline of the dress doesn't quite do it for me, but the textile is pretty amazing from the pictures.  I wonder, is it terribly itchy up close?  And I would like confirmation that this is silk and not polyester.  If it's the former, may I have five yards, pretty, pretty, please!



Amy Adams went for sleek in Calvin Klein, unfortunately, it looks like something went wrong with her Spanx.  There is some weird thing happening about an inch under the high waisted seamline, and it detracts from the overall look.  She probably would have been better without the shape wear altogether.  And I wish the neckline did not dip quite so much; a half-inch would probably do it.  The bare shouldered look with the long sleeve is gorgeous, though.  And that color makes her eyes look amazing.  But again, the naked lip is confusing to me.  And she may have overdone it with the rings!



Here is another textile that I adore (just so long as there is no poly content and the brocade doesn't itch terribly).  Camilla Belle chose Jason Wu, and I love the embellished embroidery at the neckline.  I am not, however, sure about the plain black belt.  I would have liked a green to pick up the brocade bits.  And what is up with the hair?!?  Couldn't she be bothered to wash it this morning?



You didn't think we were going to escape the curse of the horsehair braid, did you?!?  This one should have worked as a tea length dress since it can't drag on the floor and create strange folds in the fabric. No, this time the tulle is so sheer you can see the bands of the darn stuff right through Keltie Knight's dress at the hem and in the middle of the skirt.  Those dark princess seams are bugging me, too, Paolo Sebastian.  I normally adore navy with stars and constellation motifs, but the execution of this dress leaves something wanting.  Too bad, I love the idea, and those strappy sandals would have really topped off a stunning dress . . . this just isn't it.



And now I am going to mess with my pretty rainbow colored order and post this monstrosity, because the horsehair is getting more and more out of control!  People, this stuff is not supposed to be visible through the dress!!!  Jameela Jamil is wearing Monique Lhuillier.  The designer is too distracted with her home goods line these days and she is making a mess of her dresses.  That is the only explanation.  This thing looks like it was made by someone who just discovered what fun can be had with a whole lot of horsehair braid.  Let's put it everywhere, and bend it, and twist it, and don't bother to hide it even though it should not be visible!!  And is the bodice an actual tube top?  Because it sure looks like it from here, especially with all that pulling at the bust.  And just say "NO" to randomly placed bits of stuff that has nothing to do with the rest of the dress.  Just because you have the appliqués doesn't mean you have to use them, Monique.



Now, Lady Gaga has had her ups and downs on the red carpet.  Red raw meat, for instance, does not belong here.  And I would question multiple Kermit the Frogs as well.  But this Valentino is exquisite.  Yes, she is falling victim to the horsehair in the hemline when viewed at certain angles, and it looks like the bust could have been slightly more fitted.  But the opera coat with train in that gorgeous electric lavender with the diamonds and the glorious eye makeup and the matching hair is AMAZING!!!  I am going to forgive the lips because it fits with the whole 1960s styling and she looks radiant and not washed out.  So, so good!!



Lupita Nyong'o  is back!!  She made a few stumbles on the red carpet in the recent past, but she is looking radiant in Calvin Klein.  These ladies that know how to choose colors are miles ahead of the others.  My one quibble would be that the rounded neckline might be a bit more flattering if it extended out toward the shoulder by an inch or so on either side.  I love this so much while she is simply standing still - can you imagine the movement this dress would have!



Hate, hate, hate the styling on Molly Sims, but this floral decadence is lovely with the slightly vintage inspired silhouette.  I think I spy a yoke and rounded insets on that skirt which you rarely see in contemporary designs.  But the smokey eye with no lipstick and the strange earrings it too much.  Too bad, this kind of reminds me of Vivien Leigh's floral number that she wore to the Oscars in 1940.  The dress deserves better styling.



And we get more amazing brocades from Ralph & Russo on Penélope Cruz.  Lipstick aside, she looks amazing.  I love that dramatic halter neckline with the oversized bow at the back.  Can I get some of this fabric, too?!



Okay, it was going to have to go terribly wrong at some point.  What the heck was Emmy Rosum thinking?!  The bodice makes her look wide with no shape.  The hair is atrocious, and the muted pink color makes her look sick.  Perhaps this Monique Lhuillier would work for someone else, but this was a terrible mistake for Emmy.  There is really nothing good here.



And while we are talking of mistakes, what the heck is happening here with Julia Roberts?  Again, the color does not work with the skin tone.  How can these women and their multiple stylists and minions not see it?!?  From the neck up, she looks gorgeous.  But as soon as you put that washed out champagne next to the skin which is a similar tone to the hair, it all goes horribly wrong.  Which is completely ignoring the mess that Stella McCartney put together.  I love a red carpet trouser paired with feminine trains and bodices, but this just doesn't work.  The train just hangs there, the belt looks like bare midriff because, once again, it matches the skin tone too well, and the competing textures of the whole outfit clash terribly.  Contrast can be a beautiful thing when done correctly, but this misses the mark by a mile.



But then I see this mess, and I think Julia's choice is suddenly not quite so bad.  Yikes!  Did Elsie Fisher make an enemy of her stylist or something?  This Kenzo pantsuit thing is disgraceful.  Paging Claire Foy and Evan Rachel Wood who really know how to rock pants on the red carpet. Someone put this poor thing in upholstery grade cotton velveteen, didn't bother to fit her, and then, on top of it all, forgot to steam the pants.  The belt is also oversized and sticking out at an odd angle.  Oh, and they also forgot her lipstick, although at this point, who cares.  She also has that ridiculous mid 90s two pieces of skinny hair hanging out at either side of her face.  Make it stop.



Now I am beginning to think there are a few of them in on some horrible joke.  This may be even worse because Judy Greer should know better.  And so should Alberta Ferretti, for that matter.  The oversized palazzo pants paired with an oversized jacket is just sloppy.  And the hair looks like she just got out of bed with a scrunchie in her hair.  Those welt pockets look well constructed, though, so I will give Alberta Ferretti credit for that.



As a palette cleanser, I give you Tony Shalhoub.  The white and black of his outfit even coordinates with the black and white in his beard.  Very dapper, Mr. Shalhoub!  Love the tone on tone shirt and bowtie! 



This black and white Monique Lhuillier is not nearly as chic.  Amber Heard made some mistakes with this one.  The skirt may be long, but the look is much more 1980s Madonna in a bustier than red carpet fare, all the way up to the hair.  I also don't understand the elongated bodice.  I think it's the mid seventeenth century where the bodices get really, really long.  It wasn't especially flattering then, and it sure isn't here.  And is that neckline supposed to be asymmetrical or not.  One side looks pointy and the other is rounded, but neither is extreme enough to be sure it was done on purpose.  This is a big "no" all around.



Now for the ladies of The Favorite.  I think this is reminding me of a vintage YSL gown which I loved.  But this one does not fare quite as well.  That upper tier of ruffles is shorter than the other two which makes it look like a mistake.  I hate the hair - the dress may actually have been improved had the hair been pulled up, allowing her shoulders to be seen.  And the choker is just . . . odd.  This could have been really special, but somewhere along the line, it went bad.



Olivia Colman does a much better job, I think.  Her makeup is beautiful (she clearly didn't take lessons from her character in this regard!).  The Stella McCartney gown works really well on her.  I love the mesh under that split sleeve.  It's a bit edgy, and I would have liked a more edgy earring choice, perhaps a stiletto of some kind, but overall, I like this very much.



For a less successful take on this silhouette, here is Glenn Close in Armani Privé.  Those slits really need to extend upward or this begins to look like a fashion straight jacket.  I do love that stylized rhinestone bow that continues down the entire length of the ensemble, though.  Too bad, this could have been terribly chic, but it just looks a little too uncomfortable (which is saying something on a red carpet!!).



And then we have Emma Stone.  The fit on this Louis Vuitton is atrocious.  Is the bodice supposed to be fitted or loose?  The waist looks too big and therefore sits too low on her body.  The sequins look cheap and the nude color does nothing for the actress.  Her makeup does lovely things for her skin tone, which is about the only positive thing I have to say about this ensemble.  This is a mess, and her facial expression suggests she knows it, too.




How Heidi Klum manages to make every gown she wears so cheap is beyond me.  The woman has the body of a model; for goodness sake, she is a model!  Her job is to make clothing look fabulous, right?!?  I am starting to think that this is all Monique Lhuillier's fault.  Every one of her gowns this evening are strange.  This looks like something a teenager would do to a cheap dress she found at David's Bridal for her prom (and I would bet that those strange floral bits and bobs are glued on).  That's it!  This looks like a Project Runway challenge gone wrong!  Not good, pretty lady.  And can't you do something with your hair.  Please note that this is not the Victoria's Secret runway.  No beachy waves, please.



I call this Monique Lhuillier dress: "When bad proportions happen to good people."  Keri Russell is beautiful, and this garment does absolutely nothing for her.  The top half is oversized and sloppy, and the bottom half is unflattering, making her look rather shapeless.  The hair is terrible and looks like she just gave up.  Maybe this would be bearable with a dramatic lip . . . no, that dress would still look horrible



I want to love this disco queen look on Thandie Newton.  The hair is excellent!  Her smokey eye is wonderful, and I can even work with the nude lip in this case.  But the fabric looks like something I could find in the spandex section of JoAnn Fabrics, with little plastic bits glued on.  I am sure the fabric is as expensive as can be, but it just doesn't look it.  And I wish those cut-outs were a little bit larger as these get a bit lost in all that shine.  If you are going to go full out disco ball, go for it, for goodness sake!



I believe Alison Brie must have thought she had a ticket to the Victoria's Secret runway show because Heidi Klum was invited.  There looks to be a black bow trailing behind this Vera Wang.  The dress is a little all over the place, and not necessarily in a good way.  It does fit, so I will give her that.  But the hair is messy, and the lipstick washes her out.  Surprisingly though, the seafoam color does not, so she should revisit the shade.  I just wish someone hadn't gone at her bra with a Bedazzler and then decided it had to the focal point of the outfit.



Julianne Moore's fashion choices are generally spot on.  This Givenchy is questionable, however.  From the back, this has possibilities.  She does the Mod 1960s thing extremely well.  From the front, however, the top of this dress looks like some boring corporate woman's wear from the 1990s that is not especially flattering to her body, paired with some strange meshy form fitting skirt.  And while the back of the dress is the only part I like, the back of the hair is terrible.  From the front, I love that deep side part on her, but as a whole, this is far from my favorite Julianne look.  And I wish she would get back to jewel tones which make her hair and skin look amazing, instead of all the black and white.



At first glance, I love the drama of Sandra Oh's choice.  And this is a lady who can wear pale colors!  I love the hair, and appreciate that the stylist knew where the shoulder drape would be and so they placed the larger portion of the coiffure on the other side.  I love her makeup, the jewels, and the fit of this gown is just perfect.  You know, I really love this ensemble.  I am trying to find something I don't like, but I just can't do it.  Sandra, you look beautiful!



And I can't leave without mentioning Janelle Monae!  She's always a wild card, this outfit is, too!  I am getting some sort of Egyptian vibe from this outfit.  I am not so keen on the hat, but I love the hair, and the tunic proportions work for her quite nicely.  On anyone else, I would call this a huge mistake, but somehow she manages to make this look chic and not ridiculous.  My only real beef is that the watch looks like it has a red band, and I am not sure why.  But if the lady wants to wear her warrior princess ensemble, that is fine by me.  And I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!



There are so many more dresses, but I need to get to bed before things get super snarky around here!  What did you think of the red carpet this year?  I can't wait to see what comes next!

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Spring Patterns from McCall

The new Spring McCall catalog was released last week, including this vintage reproduction from The Archive Collection.  At first glance, it looks lovely.
However, there isn't a whole lot going on here.  The low back on the dress is stunning, but this is really just a very basic sheath dress.  I do like the four darts on the skirt front and back instead of two.  But I am confused as to why the back drape is cut in two pieces when there is a side zipper, and the drape is clearly a separate piece.  Then, the separate cummerbund is another added layer.  That seems like a lot of bulk in an area that a 1955 silhouette is doing its best to stay tiny.  But I am pleased that The Archive Collection is still around.  I am just hoping more complex options will show up soon!


I love this Edwardian style corset from Angela Clayton . . . but do I need another costume pattern to add to the growing collection?  Probably not.  But this is beautiful.


I was excited to see the interesting design lines on this dress (the ruffles outline the curved seamlines).  Although the reason I was first drawn to the dress is the floral print, which is not a good reason to purchase a pattern.  But there are some definite possibilities here.  And goodness knows, that fabric is probably made of polyester.



Normally, I am a huge fan of cold shoulder designs.  And I want to like this.  The ruffles, the seamlines, they are all wonderful.  But something about the wide straps with the small cutout on the shoulder makes the feminine design look mannish to me.  Something about the proportions are off.  I am trying to decide if it is worth a little work to figure out the problem, or if I should just move on to the next design.  Maybe the sleeve is too long or too wide?
And here is a lovely little skirt.  I was really quite excited about this one at first glance, but the waistline is slightly north of the natural waist, and those garments have a tendency to rotate on my body over a day of wear.  I do love those pleats, though.  Perhaps View D with the fabric belt would solve my potential issue.  And can you ever have too many classic button front skirts in the wardrobe?  I think not!
The curse of the slightly asymmetrical button front dress returns.  The McCall designer really likes this look!  I previously mentioned my issues with McCall 7863 which has an asymmetrical bodice, and I don't think the issue has been resolved with this design.  The pitch of the diagonal is not steep enough, making the finished dress look like it has been cut off grain to me.  That curved bodice seam is gorgeous, though.  And I would be curious to see how the View C sleeve is constructed.
At first glance, the two David Tutera dress patterns remind me of a Macy's department during prom season.  But McCall 7895 has a lovely bodice and neckline treatment.


The second, McCall 7896, has a very distinctive prom feel, but this cold shoulder silhouette is something I can get behind.  I really do think my issue with the Nicole Miller design above is the wide neckline.  As for the rest of the dress, that trumpet skirt screams Barbie prom dress, but this one might be worth it for the bodice pieces alone.  I see it paired with a full pleated 1960s skirt that balloons out from the waist and stops at the knee.


And I just wanted to share this one because it sure looks like there is no facing under that front and center button and loop closure?!  I can't quite tell in the model shot, so I am going to have to investigate when the pattern finally show up at JoAnns.  There must be an underlap or facing, right?  But this technical illustration is really confusing me.  


What do you think?  Any new favorites to add to your collection?

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