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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Is it just me or is it going a little nutsy out there?

First before I get into the thoughts of the moment I want to tell you I appreciated your comments to my last pants post.

Thanks you for your sympathy for the shots I shared with the www of rarely viewed parts of my body. To be honest I should have been embarrassed about showing views of my pants that were less than flattering but I wasn't.

Not one bit.


It's not that kind of blog. Aspiring to fabulousness is not on my agenda. What passes as snappy dressing in my world may not work for a lot of people, but if I think I am a sharp dresser, considering a lifestyle that involves a lot of dog-walking, grandchild talking, student entertaining and basement sewing, then I am, to me, in this life, snappy. Maybe even, on good days, nifty too.

I'm holding the line on this one.

More to the point I try to share as much as I can in this blog that I figure might be useful to someone who is working on their own snappy dressing, in their own place.

So if I see a pattern and wonder, it looks good on that model, but what would it look like on a person like me? and I find out, then that's what I share.

If the sight of me, front, back and sides in my clown pants inspired you to never make striped pants ever in this lifetime then I have personally saved you a yard and a half of 60" fabric.

That's all to the good.

Now onto patterns.

I am on high alert on patterns at the moment. We have a big wedding of my NYC son and the nice girlfriend I told you about, in September. I am making four flower girl dresses, probably a couple of dresses or outfits for me (unless I see something to buy that will save me the trouble), at least one dress for my daughter, and probably the same for my other son's girlfriend.

I have been thinking a lot too lately about comfort and wearable clothes. And much to my surprise, and taking into account that I am the last person in North America not to watch the West Wing, I am catching up on Netflix and enjoying seeing just how wearable that recent era's clothes were.

I look at this and I think you can move in something with that ease:

And I look at this below, and wonder if any blogger in ten years will be saying that outfit made the best of a woman who wanted to be at ease and elegant. 

And I'm not wearing anything like this to any wedding I can tell you. 

What must the model be thinking when she put this on (apart from they don't pay me half enough?):

And the new Vogues I have been holding my breath over have failed to inspire too.

This is what I mean.

The best of the bunch IMO but let's face it, that is some serious sewing in those seams but if you achieve it you better damned well hope there are a lot of sewers in the room who get it - otherwise everyone else is just going to think you've just got a plain dress on.  Also anyone want to write a tutorial on how to do a FBA on that one? Pardon me while I lie down in a dark room with a cool cloth on my head.

Ricci is alway interesting but do you see where that slit is ending? Now picture it in the body that was inside the clown pants. Now picture it in that body in that skirt sitting down on some sofa making small talk. And what's with the drawstring dangling on the sides? Like you forgot to tie the bow. Can't be for drawing, that skirt's tight enough.

This is the outfit you wear if you are the kid who didn't turn out that good. At least it shows what to wear with these shoes which are the kind of shoes you see in the store and wonder what you would wear with them. Well now you know.

I liked the shape of this coat and wondered if I should go all wearable art until I saw this back neck view. I believe this is why I put in neck darts. You sew this and you are going to spend your whole life moving your neck around and pulling at it towards the front and trying to get it adjusted.

Sandra Betzina is a very nice person but sometimes I wonder. This is exactly the kind of dresses my sisters and I made when we were working with sheets and safety pins. No one in the world is going to put this on and look in the bathroom mirror and say "damn I look good."

I guess when you are trying to do something different with a plain shirt you might think of this. Reminds me of the many sleeves I have inserted on the wrong armhole, but didn't leave them like that.

OK. You know those little pictures Vogue has at the side that tell you what body shape this would look good on? Well for this one I expected those squares to be blank.

This is exactly the kind of top you make and you go out in and go home at lunch and change because you don't know what you were thinking. You start out saying you are edgy and then you remember you are actually a person who used to order out of the Avon catalogue. You just want to go home.

The model is thinking - I wasted all that fabric. She would be better off with clown pants and I mean it.

Have you checked out Pinterest for mother of the groom outfits? More like let's bury mom in this outfits. This one deserves pinning to that board. I thought the ensemble below was dumpy but that was before I saw the dress. And not all shades of green look good in shiny.

At first I thought this was interesting and might be a challenge to sew and then it reminded me for some reason of paper plates. And once you have started to think something looks like paper plates you can't stop. Trust me.

Now what am I going to wear to that wedding?


MV Pierson said...

Your comments about these are spot on. Pinning sheets, paper plates. You made me laugh out loud. At least it will be easier not to buy new patterns.

knitmachinequeen (KMQ) said...

Funny but true!

Judith Stansky said...

Please pull out all of your persuasive stops and get someone to do an FBA tutorial for that wonderful green dress. I don't know where to begin, but it's so lovely, and I have just the fabric. Pretty, pretty please.

Mrs. Smith said...

HAHAHAHA! Best review of the new release ever!!! :)

Lynn said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I laughed and snickered at your comments. I really did want to like a new pattern or two this season -- I wanted something new and exciting to sew. However, I did not want exciting like the Vogue styles. I am 5' tall! Can you imagine just how dumpy someone as short as me would look in any of these!? There is only so much adjustment for height and size you can make!

Oh, and the clown pants -- think of me laughing any time you mention them!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

It's interesting to read your take on the new pattern release. Personally I like a lot of these patterns but I respect the fact that they may not work for you.

HalifaxFaye said...

Hilarious post tonight. Here's my giggle. I have been recently getting some patterns and other sewing things ready for the big toss and I swear that I have the pattern for those culottes from the 80's. I didn't make them then, and I'm surely not now. Love the shoe note too, made me think of outfits that black singing groups wore in the late 60's, and you're spot on again about lack of wearable patterns. Oh well, my budget will not take the hit this season.!

Phylly said...

Well, crumb! I really liked the "paper plate" top, but now that is all I am going to think of, too. Besides, I would probably have to be 5'10" to carry the look off and I am a foot short of that. Oh, well. Back to my Yoga pants and knit tops!

Angela M. said...

Thanks for the laughs! I completely agree... gotta some sometimes I wonder about the designers. Do they realize that the vast majority of people sewing their clothes want to be able to wear them in the real world?

badmomgoodmom said...

Thank-you for the honesty and good laugh.

Digs said...

Comedy central is waiting for your call. :)

jain1023 said...

You rock! Hilarious and carismatic!
Definitelly made my day

Jessica Walker said...

I am usually a lurker, but this was too funny, and so true. Thanks for a good laugh!

sdBev.wordpress.com said...

Your comments are hilarious and unfortunately spot on. I am seeing too much 'fashion' that I used to dix so I would have a nicely fitting attractive garmwnt

Catherine Daze said...

I loved this collection but your comment about the paper plates made me laugh out loud. Once you see it you can't unsee it! Still buying the pattern though. I'll make it in black,

wendy said...

Thank you, you made me grin over my muesli :) I would stick to a tnt. Dress pattern and get some wow fabric.

Cleverclogs said...

Alas yes. I was dithering about that big shirt. I rather like the design, and Marcy Tilton has some lovely versions on her blog, but my short teapot shape would not look edgy in it. I see another season using my t&t patterns!

Anonymous said...

I am really loving when bloggers review new pattern releases. I agree with 99% of what you're saying but I do think the shiny green ensemble has potential -- only not in shiny green (maybe a lightweight brocade instead?) and while I completely agree with the "paper-plate" analogy (I have some Chinet platters that are the exact shape of that shirt!)I do like that shirt, except: FBA issues. Thanks for a great start to the day!

Janet said...

Oh my gosh. Thank you for this. I am curious about your thoughts on the Marcy Tilton dress. I love Marcy Tilton, but I can't figure out that large shirt. The seaming at the back is asymmetrical - slightly! I have enough trouble sewing straight!

Graca said...

I like, no, love the new releases, and some of the ones you don't like are my favourites! :) To each their own I guess. I can't wait sew some of these.

Barbara said...

Not meaning to offend anyone with my pattern choices. We all have different styles and lives, which is actually why we all sew. For those of you who found my misses to be your hits, great. I look forward to your versions. After all I am generally proved wrong about something at least twice a day.

Judi Pinkham said...

You made my morning!

LyndaSewing.blogspot.com said...

I so love your comments and wish you were close to me so we could become in person friends. You frequently say the things I'm thinking, and sometimes clarify why I think something is so awful!
Have fun with wedding sewing!

chesneykat said...

You crack me up! Mostly because everything you say is true.
I, however, still like the striped pants!!!

sewingkm said...

This review of new Vogues was hysterical! I, too, contemplated the white long jacket but your paper plate comment is forever in my head. My suggestion for your son's wedding outfit is to find a fabric you really, really love and just sew it in your favorite pattern - you know the one that garners so many compliments. It'll be a winner! Please keep up posted on all the dresses flying out of your hands! Karen

mrsmole said...

If any of those patterns were made up in RTW and hanging on a rack in the formal wear section of a store we would just turn and run out assuming we had entered a costume rental shop instead...paper plates, origami fans anyone? And poor Sandra Betzina...can you tell that there is a woman's body under that freakish off-center thing? The rest just say,
" have run out of good ideas to flatter a woman's body so let's just turn out crap and they will buy it".

Louisa said...

Laughing so hard I have tears running down my cheeks! That is definitely the most hilarious new pattern review ever. Not to say that SOMEBODY couldn't make fabulous garments with these! I wouldn't though. Besides, I have enough things in the queue that I haven't sewn already!

AlaskaBerninaGirl said...

I'm for the paper plate look, you could transition from wedding to reception seamlessly, haha. I love your takes on the new patterns, thanks for saving me the time.

Happy sewing...

It's Suitable said...

Agree with your review on the patterns you covered. They aren't targeting a "mother of the groom" demographic. The green suit would be nice in a navy blue or silver. I found Butterick 6127 to be classy with a little jacket to cover the conspicuous spots. ;-)

Paula said...

Oh gosh I had my laugh of the day. Your take on the new patterns was hilarious.

Dr. Fun (AKA Sister) said...

Thanks so much for the big belly laugh of the day!

/anne... said...

My sympathies - my one-and-only DD (so no pressure, you understand) got married in June (June here in Melbourne, Australia is _cold_).

I made her dress - which went mostly OK, so that was fine.

I, on the other hand, could not find fabric for my outfit. I wanted a pretty print. I wanted to look a bit festive, but not like a left-over present from Christmas (like the truly attractive shiny green outfit above. Not.). Could I find a nice print in a colour that didn't make me look like I had a heart condition? Not even close. And I so didn't want to wear black...

Six days before the wedding, in a breather during the sewing marathon, I found a dress online that 1. was subtly sexy (as Mother of the Bride, I'm required to look moderately attractive. so the groom's family don't think the bride will end Letting Herself Go), 2. on sale (yay!) 3. and so beautifully cut that, as a sewer, I wouldn't do the old "why buy it, I could easily make it". 4. it was black. Ah well, never mind - the dress is gorgeous.

I finished The Dress at midnight on the Thursday, and picked up my dress on the Friday morning.

So if you would like some design inspiration, I can recommend Carla Zampatti (an Australian designer) - her clothes are proper grownup things. Not all of us are proper grownups all the time, but it's handy to have something in the wardrobe for the occasions when you want to give that impression.

Good luck!

Vicki said...

I read this after reading some other blogs about how great the patterns were. I think you have some valid points that may have been missed by others - Love your observations and humour. That yellow pantsuity thing is hideous!

Anonymous said...

A cautionary tale, perhaps? I made mother of groom dress for myself in November/December (I'm slow....). After much consideration decided that the purpose of my dress was to illustrate how truly delighted I am about this new marriage, so needed to be festive and comfortable and warm.

It was ...OK. The best sewing I am capable of (so technically fine), but the fabric was too shiny in the pictures, style a bit too billowy. In retrospect I would have gone a different direction but it was not about me, right?

I'm confident you will make better choices and that it will be a fun ride for us readers. Not that it is about us.....


Anonymous said...

You make me laugh....!!!
Ria in Melb.Oz.

Bunny said...

Thanks for the smiles. You observations are astute, and I agree other than I really like the impossible to FBA Sheath dress. It would be a fun challenge and when the boring dress walks into the room, I will feel like I do when I have exciting undies on beneath grandma comfort clothes.

Sandra Kay Daniels said...

You just tickle me! You have a great sense of humor; I am immoderately disgusted with the patterns. 99% are overworked and underfitted. What bodies are they using when they design these dresses? Who wants to look like that? Don't they make up these patterns to try them before printing? It is just not that hard to design something elegant and flattering. Maybe the technical robotic software for pattern-making was designed by the high=end RTW designers to ensure their jobs. It all seems like a bunch of gooses running this industry. If I were 10 years younger and had the financial backing I would offer to rehab Vogue and McCalls. But as they say, "the first step is to admit you have a problem."

Anonymous said...

Very funny review of the new Vogues. They are indeed deadly.I think 1979 wants its gauchos back, and I'm pretty sure that sleeveless yellow double-breasted vest is a reboot of an early 80's number--very Nancy Reagan.

As for weddings, the clothing in the stores is hideous. Since Eaton's closed there is nothing to buy in Canada unless you have gobs of money to spend at Holt's and even then it's hit and miss. The Bay tries but fails...try getting a dress with sleeves for god's sake that isn't something you'd wear to work.

At least there are so many options when you can sew. I had a horrible time getting dressed for my brother in law's Catholic wedding last June. June is a wily month in the prairies--it can be scorching, pouring or cold. Colours were limited due to the wedding party's and mothers in law choices, so I ended up pairing bright pink with the By Hand London Elisalex pattern, which was not an easy dress to put together, due to bodice issues that other bloggers have pointed out. The dress eventually turned out fun and comfy and great to dance in, but not after a lot of changes in the bodice and the overall construction method. The big skirt is surprisingly flattering and hides a multitude of sins. I didn't even care that bright pink isn't something you're supposed to wear once past 40.

I can't imagine the journey to get dressed when it's your own kid getting married. Those Australian patterns look like good choices. Yay Anne from Melbourne.