Wednesday, May 22, 2019

McCalls Patterns for Summer 2019

I blame the thrill of the new.  I have so very many sun dress patterns stashed away, and yet, I must admit that I find a few of the new McCalls Summer Patterns quite tempting.  And I usually prefer Butterick or Vogue.  McCalls 7950 is my favorite in the new catalog, especially the tie front option paired with that button front skirt.  Totally adorable!
I also really love the back of McCalls 7952.  Do I need an open back sun dress?  No, but those criss crossed straps are quite wonderful. 

McCalls 7951 has a similar issue.  I suppose I could add a cardigan during business hours, but that is a very open back.  I do like the long version with the ruffle, although I think that the ruffle might look better a skosh deeper.
While McCalls 7949 screams 1990s to me, I actually like the tie front version.  And by using a different sleeve from another pattern, I might get something I would want to add to my closet.  Yes, this has definitely possibilities.
And while I love the idea of these gathered waist peasant dresses, it is hard to stop thinking about rolls of fat through the midriff.  I can't unseen it, even on model sized bodies.  The possibility of the bodice riding up seems very near impossible to escape, and the likelihood of looking like a stuffed sausage too great.  The idea is cute, just not so much in reality.
The final design that caught my eye is McCalls 7958.  Although, if I had to guess, I probably have at least two other patterns in my stash that could be used to recreate this exact look.  So I will probably skip this one, but it does remind me of a couple of patterns that I wanted to get to last year.  Which I should get to soon.

What do you think?  Are you ready for summer sewing, or is the weather in your neck of the woods being stubbornly chilly and wet like it is in the Bay Area?

[Click on image for source]

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The 2019 Met Gala

The theme for this year's 2019 Met Gala is "Camp: Notes on Fashion," which turned out to be an excellent choice as far as the red (or pink) carpet goes.  And for those of the attendees who chose not to dress thematically, well, they looked rather boring and out of place.  There were lots of Vegas showgirls, feathers, headdresses, some Barbie references thrown in for good measure, and some people definitely went with a rather avant guard take on the theme of the day, what I would call almost surreal in nature.  Another important factor in the evening's garment choices . . . confidence.  If you aren't secure wearing something ridiculous, no matter how fantastic the joke is, no one is going to get it.  Well, let's take a look at what everyone came up with!   

In my opinion, Janelle Monáe wins the night (if in fact it is a competition, which, let's be honest, it is).  I believe Christian Siriano created this piece, although I suspect Ms. Monáe has a lot to do with the creative aspects of her outfits.  One could argue that most of her red carpet looks, and even her everyday looks, are very "Camp."  I think she looks fabulous, from the perfect length on the skirt, to the fabulously exaggerated skirt silhouette, to the stack of hats perched atop her head.  I might call this more Surreal than Camp, but I love it, whatever you call it.  I even see a little Ballet Russes/Paul Poiret in the mix.  I am finding it hard to pick this apart, although is that a loose thread at the hem, or did someone else leave that there?  But joking aside, this is pretty close to perfect, and worn by someone who know exactly how to pull off such a major look.  Brava!

Now Tracee Ellis Ross comes in a close second for me.  This is amazing, and she is clearly having a blast.  Love the draping on that skirt!  I would have liked to see a fabulous necklace front and center in that frame,  though.  And what does the green purse have to do with anything?  Leave that at home, next time, or let one of your entourage carry it for you!

Okay, this just keeps getting better.  Lily Collins as Pricilla Presley is completely over the top, but magnificent.  The hair and makeup is amazing, and while that much dress could go wrong in so very many ways, the proportions are excellent.  Even the choice of a black shoe paired back with the dark hair speckled with florals looks perfect.

Now, in the real world, I would think that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley looks stunning in Oscar de la Renta.  The gown paired with the feathers is stunning, and she looks like she could step in for Ginger Rogers (minus the dance ability and talent, of course) but this is not ironic, or even that over the top.  Yes, there are a whole lot of feathers, but I don't think this was in the spirit of the evening, and therefore it stands out for the wrong reasons.  She should have saved this one for another event.

The same goes for Kate Moss in Marc Jacobs.  This outfit is amazing.  But is it "camp"?  And I hate the messy hair.  But the silver sparkles are to die for!  The makeup and accessories are a perfect match for the ensemble, and the length of the skirt is spot on.  Jean Harlowesque, for sure!  But is this "Camp?"  Not when compared to the rest of the crowd.

And here we have another "look at the beautiful people" theme with Tom Ford and Gemma Chan.  I suppose that headdress belongs in the "Camp" camp, but the dress and matching cape belongs on any red carpet.  Boring, Mr. Ford.

Now, this is more like it.  Julia Garner is wearing Zac Posen.  It's quirky, for sure, but the draping on the dress is exquisite.  This is what Zac Posen does best.  His obsession with the 3D printing is relegated to the headdress this time around, and it works beautifully.  And the Pre-Raphaelite curls with the dark lip is stunning.  I love this look!  And I generally hate silver and gold together, but this is wonderful!!

Wonder Woman finally gets to wear a cape.  I have said it before and I will say it again: Gal Gadot could wear a potato sack and look amazing.  However, I am not in love with this particular look.  She makes it work, but her stylists could have gone so much further.  I also think a deeper pink lip would have made her face stand out a bit more - and I would rather look at that than this outfit.

This outfit belongs on Cher, not Emily Ratajkowski.  The fact that this was designed by Bob Mackie just adds insult to injury.  I actually love the Nefertiti reference, and the look is stunning.  I just don't see the personality and showmanship needed to wear something like this.  And the fact that she looks bored doesn't help matters.

Here we have another Cher appropriate outfit, this time on Jennifer Lopez.  She is much more capable of pulling off the look than Emily, but is this any different than any other Jennifer Lopez outfit by Versace?  If you take off the beaded hairpiece, she might be attending any formal event.  I wish she had gone further with it.

Now, Katy Perry is another one who should have had this theme down pat.  However, this is not what I was expecting.  It's over the top, for sure, but what exactly was she going for?  And the way the headdress sits on her head is awkward.  It looks like the bedazzled a wig cap, for goodness sake - which is just sloppy.  I do love the shoes.  I was hoping to hear that American Duchess Historical Footwear was somehow involved in their creation!  One can only hope that her aspirations to play Lumière in Beauty and the Beast will come true.

I was hoping for more from Moschino.  Jeremy Scott could be considered the King of Camp, but I am not all that impressed with this outfit on Gwen Stefani.  Don't get me wrong, she looks fabulous, and like she is having a great time.  But his ensembles can be so clever, and this just seems over the top and obvious.  The fact that the bodysuit of jewels drops below the leotard just looks sloppy and unintentional.  If you are going for tacky, you have to be perfect with fit and proportion.

I am slightly confused by this one.  Is Nina Dobrev going to sit on the front of an expensive car or ship as a hood ornament and/or figurehead?  Zac Posen seems a bit obsessed with plastics and lighting these days.  Sure, push the envelope, but this seems so far outside his style and strength.  I blame the Met Gala dress worn by Claire Danes a few years back.  Posen received so much press over the light up dress that he is stuck on a theme that doesn't work with his aesthetic.  Also, aren't we supposed to be using less plastic?!  I guess this is one way to assure his designs will never disappear.  Also, I hope she doesn't get tired because sitting down seems impossible in this.

At first I thought that Emily Blunt was wearing Dolce and Gabbana; turns out, this is Michael Kors.  It's very gold.  Very, very, gold.  It think Sharon Stone's character in Casino would be jealous.  I think the makeup could be a bit bolder, but she does look lovely, as always.  But I wanted more from her.  I am disappointed since she often has such wonderful style on the red carpet.  In some ways this is too much, and in others, not nearly enough.

Billy Porter does it again in The Blonds.  He out Gaga-ed Gaga, being carried in by six men wearing nothing more than gold pants.  And then he unfurled.  This is definitely over the top.  Anyone else would look ridiculous, but he definitely puts on good show, right down to the gold leaf makeup!  If this isn't Camp, I don't know what is.

All I can say is that someone better let Celine Dion take this Oscar de la Renta home with her.  Is she still performing in Vegas?  Because this is perfect.  She looks like an Erte illustration come to life.  And I imagine this is a hoot to wear with all of the movement from those strings of beads.  The only problem here is when her arms get tired from being outstretched - keep showing off that beaded goodness to its best advantage Celine!  You can do it!  Her face is slightly strange, all eyes and no mouth, but I am so distracted by the rest of the outfit, I almost can look past it.

My first thought on this dress was, why is Kim Kardashian West copying Beyonce's rubber mess from the Met Gala a few years back.  On second glance, however, I cannot really tell what this Mugler is made from.  The overly tanned skin, and the plasticness of her face and body is rather revolting to me, but could she be making fun of herself?  And the use of the crystals to make the dress look like it's dripping wet is rather genius.  I am not a fan of Kim, but I find the garment extremely clever.  The hair . . . I get that she wanted to look wet, but the stringy ends are the only sloppy part of this ensemble, and I find it distracting.  As far as Kanye goes, he looks like he got tired of waiting for Kim to finish getting ready, took a nap, and ran out of time to put anything on but a tracksuit.  Lazy, and boring.  But Kim, this dress is magical and a work of art.  Those beads really look like droplets of water, and it is mesmerizing.

As for sister number one, I think Kendall Jenner as Barbie takes Vegas is pretty great.  My one real problem with the dress is the lopsided feathers.  It doesn't look purposeful, just like she lost half of her wings.  Perhaps she could take some tips from Celine and use that feathered arm to pose the heck out of this thing.  But the makeup and hair are perfection.  I am not completely sold on the necklace, but that could be the lighting.  No, I think I want something more lavalier in silhouette to match all those sharp pointed feathers and beading.

Now this has got to be the most tasteful "camp" I have never seen.  I think Zoe Saldana blended over the top and classic with this Michael Kors.  I love the purple orchids as a contrast, and the Studio 54 hair paired with the feather jacket is spectacular.  But perhaps it isn't fair to look quite this good when being over the top is part of the theme?  But the color pairing . . . it's gorgeous on her!

An icon wearing an image of herself.  Not many people could get away with this, but I think that Diane von Furstenberg comes close.  Lady Liberty's crown and torch look cheap, which makes this ensemble less than perfect, but I appreciate the sense of humor.

I wish that the silhouette of this frock was a little more contained.  How Julianne Moore looks so great in this color is a mystery to me, but it makes her glow.  The overruffled gown by Valentino, however, needs some waist shaping to keep her from looking too Jessye Norman in a caftan.  And the choice of blue earrings and no necklace with that scoop neckline is a strange choice.

This lady has range on the red carpet.  I often think that Kerry Washington fancies herself a Lupita Nyong'o when is comes to fashion - she is not.  But Lupita knows how to handle herself on the red carpet, and this is proof.  I especially love the golden hair picks; sort of Nefertiti goes wild kind of thing.  The outfit is all over the place, but somehow it works (notice how perfect the fit is on her).  The proportions are excellent, and that eye makeup is amazing!

Hamish Bowles dyed his hair to match his feathered wrap?!  He looks wonderful in Maison Margiela.  I like that the cape has slits for the arms to go through - so much more wearable than without, right?!  I mean, how else are you going to hold the basket while perusing the salad bar at Whole Foods?

I really want to like Rachel Brosnahan in this Erdem piece, but I think the makeup is too minimal, and she gets lost in all that floral.  I also wish the bows were graduated to make the shoulders appear larger, and the waist appear smaller.  In a similar vein, I think that those bodice ruffles could have extended more toward the shoulder to improve the silhouette.  And do I spy horsehair in the flounce ruffles?!?  Oh no, I thought we were going to get through an entire red carpet lineup without having this issue.  The color show through is distracting, and I don't see why those ruffles needed the extra support.  Oh well, I guess it's tradition at this point, and someone has to use the stuff inappropriately.  Finally, I don't get the hairstyle.  This has potential, but needs more work.  That color is luscious, though.

I call this one "aging supermodel wants you to know her body still looks amazing."  This is just unnecessary.  And the fit in the crotch region just looks painful.  Perhaps if the feathered jacket was attached as a sort of tail à la Vegas showgirls after she removed it, with an added plume on a sparkly headdress?  But this just looks unfinished and silly.  Is Chicago still playing on Broadway?  Is Amber Valletta going out for the role of Roxie?  Because that is the only excuse for this. 

Paging Cher.  Ciara  has raided your closet.  Are you going to put up with this?!?  Now, this is a whole lot of look by Peter Dundas.  Love that green color, love the hair.  I wish the cutouts were a little more extreme through the bodice.  This doesn't look like it went as far as it should.  How about more of a neck cutout so that she could wear some oversized choker necklace dripping with beads.  As it stands, that necklace is chintzy.  Her face looks stunning though, framed in that crazy wig!  And in a case like this, a thigh slit is appropriate (and I don't say that often!).

I will give Zendaya points for the theatrical spectacle that was her Cinderella inspired walk down the red carpet, complete with missing shoe and a dress that lights up with a little help from Law Roach/her Fairy Godmother.  But the fit of the bodice is distracting to me.  Perhaps the lightshow necessitated some bulky equipment?  Fabulous idea, not so great as far as execution goes.  And look at that sloppy hemline - the overskirt is too short at the front.

I know Hailee Steinfeld is making a statement, but I do wish that the execution of the skirt was better.   Why couldn't the phrase be added to a completely ruffled skirt?  The skirt looks unfinished as it stands, and I hate that you can see the hoops beneath the letters.  I do like the wild curls with the off center part and oversized bow.  But I can't tell if the petulant look is in character with the ensemble, or she is just bored with it all . . .

I like the mermaid theme, and I can't remember the last time that Kylie Jenner was this covered up.  The Versace gown has a great silhouette and the feathered sections are nicely balanced.  Overall, not bad.  Although I do wish that the bodysuit matched her skin tone a little better, or that they went with a more lavender or purple shade.  As is, it looks cheaper than necessary.  

This Zac Posen design on Katie Holmes is clearly a direct knockoff of the Charles James Butterfly Gown - but then he had to go and add the plastic.  Why?  It makes me think of Ursula from Little Mermaid.  Maybe that was the point?  I don't know, it seems like a cop out, like "let's camp up a beautiful red carpet gown with some 3-D modeled plastic bits to fit in with my personal plastic wear theme for this year."  I also noticed on Instagram that she removed the plastic after the red carpet.  Was it uncomfortable, or did it fail?  Quite sure that the technology was unnecessary and forced in this case.

Okay, now Jeremy Scott has redeemed himself.  This is more like it - a glove being worn as a strapless gown, fingers dragging behind as the train.  Brilliant, Violet Chachki!  I feel like something unexpected should have been done with the gloves themselves, but this is so wonderful, I am going to let it pass.  

Now this is how you do an unbalanced silhouette!  Laverne Cox looks stunning in Christian Siriano.  Some of the beading/embellishment on the gown itself looks a little heavy, and the flared cuff is probably overdoing it just a touch, but she looks wonderful.  I love that the hair matches the eye makeup.  I don't love that extra line on the lip, though, and I am not completely sold on the nails.

To leave things on a high note:  this spectacle is extraordinary.  Salvatore Dali would be proud!  Now, is it Camp or Surrealism?  I am not sure what the answer is, but Ezra Miller in a tailored Burberry jacket with a crystal corset and matching hostess gown skirt is phenomenal.   The fit is wonderful, which is so important when someone takes something this far.  It doesn't look like a joke, it looks like wearable art, and I love it!

Thanks for playing along!  I am actually rather surprised by how much I enjoyed this evening's red carpet festivities.  I had no idea what to expect, and the over the top crazy really makes it easy to focus on proportion and silhouette when every expectation is allowed to be thrown out the window.

What was your favorite look of the evening?

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Spring 2019 Patterns from Butterick, Simplicity, and Vogue

Butterick, Simplicity, and Vogue Patterns (all produced by the same company), released their Spring Catalogs within days of each other.  And while nothing has me clamoring for my nearest JoAnn Fabrics to scoop up the latest designs, there are a few that stood out to me.

I am sure it will come as no surprise that the one vintage reproduction from Simplicity is first on my list, even though I will probably never wear a bikini top with a pair of shorts.  But I can see myself altering the top to have a little more midriff coverage, and I will admit that I think the whole outfit it adorable, if not relevant to my wardrobe needs.

Cynthia Rowley has two new patterns released in this catalog.  The bathing suit and coverup is cute, but I have no use for it.  Should I find the need for a swimsuit, you better believe I would choose the retro Simplicity design over something modern!  But this dress looks nice.  There is really nothing special about it, so I have a feeling that the gingham fabric is what has me taking a second look at this one.  I have so many of the Cynthia Rowley designs for Simplicity, but other than the two that I made many, many years ago, I never seem to choose her patterns, so perhaps I should skip this one.

I do love a great shirtdress.  And the color blocked check print is really lovely.  However, this design has no waist seam, and that is just a recipe for disaster on me.  But I do find the print color blocking to be a striking combination!

And look, Vogue had the same idea with their own version of this design.  This one, however, has the same issue for me . . . no waist seam.  Thankfully, I probably have five other shirt dress designs calling my name from the sewing room.
The final Simplicity design that made me take a second look is this blouse.  I love the technical drawing, but it looks less than fantastic on the model.  Also, I never know how to style these things - I think they work best with a pair of pants, which doesn't work with my wardrobe.  I also know from experience that elastic waisted blousey garments do not look very nice on my body shape which means I would probably want to do some major alterations.  But I do love that neckline with the puffed sleeves!

Butterick also has a single vintage reproduction pattern in their new collection.  It's a cute halter dress with a bolero.  This is certainly a familiar silhouette and design, and not the most interesting choice, but I do like the addition of the coverup.  The sleeve cuff and collar look very smart.
At first glance, I was going to pass by Butterick 6679, but once I realized it was made for knits I took a second look.  I may want to add this to my collection because I have very few made-for-knit patterns in my stash, and I like the silhouette of this one.  Will this particular pattern make me want to use the knit fabrics I have languishing in the sewing room?  Perhaps.  I could definitely see the knee length full skirted version in my wardrobe.
While I like the look of this pattern (possibly because it reminds me of a 1960s silhouette, the drafting seems slightly off to me.  I think that the length of the overshirt makes the waist appear bigger than it really is, which makes the dress less flattering than it could be.  Now, is the pattern worth the price if I am going to want to make alterations? Maybe not.  But I do appreciate the vintage flair.
The final Butterick pattern that stood out to me was this blouse.  Yes, I am still looking for my holy grail top that magically goes with everyone and which I can make in every color.  I cannot imagine that this will turn out to be the one, but I find it hard to resist a blouse with a bow.  So, there you go.

There were no new Vintage Vogues released, which is a bummer.  This Nicola Finetti has a very 1950s silhouette, though, and I do like that the curved princess seamlines are unexpected.  But mostly, I think I love that textured fabric!  Does it come in any other colors?
I also find myself drawn to this Tracy Reese pattern.  I love the criss cross shoulder straps, which I think are quite flattering.  I don't love the thigh slit, but that is easily fixed.
And you know how I love an off the shoulder drape!  This silhouette is on the modern side, and I think that the shoulder straps are a bit too far out on the shoulder, but that could be a fit issue with the model.  Then again, can I really see myself making this, or will it get added to the stack of designer Vogue patterns that I never got around to sewing?
What do you think?  Do you have any new favorites that you can't wait to start cutting out?

[Click on image for source]