Thursday, January 10, 2008

Simplicity's Early Spring Line

It's like Christmas with all the new patterns coming out! So let's look at Simplicity and see what's hot and what's not. Unlike with the McCall's like the problem this time isn't with narrowing down my favorites but with coming up with five I liked. This particular line isn't horrendous, it's just ... eh. The kind that, five minutes after I close the window, I have trouble remembering.

But when has that ever stopped me from commenting?

So let's look at what's hot (or at least lukewarm) and what's not


#5 - S3510

A very cute, very easy summer dress for the little girl in your life. Ignoring that red and white item, isn't that green dress one that just looks like daisies and long summer days and lime pop-sickles from the ice cream man? You could make up a half-dozen incarnations with various fabrics, sleeves, and trims, and no one would be the wiser. Cute, cute.

#4 - 2995

I'm seriously considering holding a sewing class on campus. A sweet lady's been giving new Bernedettes to anyone who asks so I figure that, for once, everyone who wants to learn to sew can without me having to have my own arsenal of machines. If I do then we'll have an intro class (this is called a sewing machine ... this is a needle...), a beginning sewing class using one of the earlier released PR patterns, and then an advance beginners class with this one. Why this pattern? Not because it's terribly fantastic ... but it's got sleeves, a zipper, and two darts, all of which are good second steps along the sewing way and yet they're in a very simple, easy to fit dress. Plus the students should already be familiar with the very slightly different way PR patterns give their yardage requirement and layout instructions so why rock the boat. I also love how there's just such a positive "can do" attitude with these PR patterns. The variations are wonderful and really make it possible that the new sew-ers will come away with a dress they'll actually wear. So it gets on my hot list.

#3 - 3503

The more I look at this the more I like it. I mean it's like a jack-of-all-patterns; there's that cute duro-esque day dress with the kimono sleeves, that hot red cocktail dress that needs a stunner of a necklace, and that glamorous 30s style long dress with the wide shoulders that just screams red carpet. I like it. Not love it but, for this line, like is good enough to get it on the hot list.

#2 - 3502

I LOVE the Grecian goddess version there. I think it needs a drapier fabric and more gathers but the overall idea is beautiful. Not sure I could wear that style but I'd be very willing to try.

#1 - 2996

I love these shirt dresses and I swear I'll get around to making one sometime this year. The blue version is so sleak and chic and I like the 50s vibe the two longer ones are giving off. The pink version's the only one I'm not feeling. Dropped waists and gatered skirts really should be outlawed on anyone over the age of 9. But that's the only misstep in this pattern and and easy one to ignore with the two other skirt option.

Top 5 Nots coming up soon!

Friday, January 04, 2008

McCall's Spring Preview - What's Hot, What's Not

Not Hot
Starting out with what's Not because it's just so much more fun that way...


This dress is giving me bad flashbacks to fourth grade. Baggy top, gathered knit skirt, and buttons in the back? And those horribly placed pockets? Trust me, it wasn't particularly attractive on a fourth grader in the early nineties and it's no better on a grown woman. Worse, actually. I'm pretty certain that this dress is specifically designed to make a woman look her absolute dowdiest. Yes, those longer sleeves are kinda cute. Do yourself and all who look at you a favor and morph them onto a better bodice. The world will thank you.


The purple line drawing doesn't look so bad ... but that's only if you can tear yourself away from the train wreck of the blue jumper to look. Seriously, could the proportions look any worse? That tiny top with the child-carrying pockets just looks off. Granted, it's the kind of look you can envision seeing during Project Runway ... but it's usually the result of too little sewing time, a bad choice of fabric, and strange materials. We don't have that excuse. If, for some reason, you just HAVE to have a jumper like this then take your cue from the purple girl - wear it with a full shirt, use drapey fabric (maybe even a lush silk knit) and DON'T USE THOSE POCKETS! Put discrete ones in the side seams, if you like but please, by all that's holy, run from those horrible ones. They give all pockets a bad name.


This one isn't terrible ... it's just not good, either. The proportions with that neckline just seem very, very off. It looks like it's both engulfing and binding the poor model. Not exactly the look I go for when I get dressed each day.


The absolute, no doubt, unarguable worst of the bunch. It screams Happy Hands at Home in a way that makes one flinch from sewing. It's giving a tiny model thunder thighs. It looks like a maternity outfit made by a sweet aunt who only bought her fabric on sale ... back in the 70s. It's got those horrid thick fabric straps that only show up in bad sewing patterns and those oddly placed buttons that just feel so wrong. From top to bottom it's just so completely ick. Congrats, pattern, you've won top price at worst pattern of the season.

Moving on to happier grounds, the best of the bunch. Honestly, this was really difficult. There were so many patterns in this batch that I really like and would love to comment on. However, these are the five that I finally settled on as my absolute favorites. Enjoy!


It's a sack dress that also has shape - beautiful! And I love the use of the silver fabric and the totally mod gems on the green. Just too cute. And how can you not love a pattern that says, under notions, that it requires "purchased plastic or acrylic stones to creatively embellish motifs within the fabric for dress B or front yoke on dress C."


What a hot little tunic. I've got a similar one that I've been wearing to death over a pair of simple black pants. No leggings for these legs. It's worked really well, I get a number of compliments on it and it really is slimming. I'm not sure how since empire waists and mid-thigh tunics are usually my kriptonite, but it is. I might pick up this top and try and repeat the previous one's success. With a cami underneath - that's a pretty impressive v there.


This is a basic that NEEDS to be in your collection this year. High waisted pencil skirts are back with a vengeance and this is the perfect template for a lot of very stylish creativity. Added bonus - once you've got this pattern fitted for your figure it's an easy trim away from being a perfectly fitted regular-waist skirt. Since I hate the fitting step I'm all for that.


Look at that jacket. Look at it! Is that not an instant trip in time to the suits of the 30s and 40s with their small but fantastic details? Despite not having any need for the suit jackets I already have, I'm feeling a need for this one. Just wearing it is instant glamor. A definite must have for my pattern collection.


There were a lot of great patterns but this one is the one that I fall in love with a little more with each look. It's so retro modern, so over the top glamorous, that I can't stop thinking about it. Logically I shouldn't even consider it - I'm a curvy hour glass that should, by all the rule books, stick with close fitting silhouettes. Yet I keep wanting to float around in a deep olive green satin version of view C with black tulle poking out beneath and thin gold and silver celtic knots embroidered around the top band. I'm very seriously considering making it up for a wedding we're going to tomorrow evening. After all, with as little fitting as this dress has, it can't be all that difficult to make. And it would feel so very glamorous. Maybe with a little black velvet bolero ... I'm sold.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Still Alive - I think....

So one 150-page group project, one nasty sinus infection, and two trips to families later, I'm back. And deciding that maybe a commitment to a monthly theme is not a good use of this month. Instead I'll just try to get back to posting on a fairly regular basis. Starting tomorrow with a post on McCall's latest patterns and looking at what's hot and what's so not. Hopefully my life will get a little more ordered as I clean up various loose ends that accumulated over the aforementioned events and maybe I'll go back to being a regular blogger. Hey, it's a dream.