don’t trust the pattern envelope

I wish I was one of those people who can easily see beyond the images on the pattern envelope. I’m not. Sure, I look at line drawings, but the styling can really put me off investigating a pattern’s potential.

So no wonder I totally got punked by McCall’s 6891. Take it in. The dress looks boring in the photo and doesn’t fit the model all that well. I picked this one up during one of the big sales, threw it in with the other Big Four patterns, and almost completely forgot about it.

And then McCall’s posted this photo on Instagram:

Image found here.

After a brief moment of total confusion came a consuming obsession: I have now spent several days studying photos of Kirsten Dunst. (If you want to do join me, Go Fug Yourself has covered this dress pretty extensively). I have also gone on an extra-sewing-list affair with muslining this dress. You know how I keep moaning about how impossible I find fitting the upper half of Big Four patterns? Yeah… the muslin stage was interesting. But I didn’t cry even once over those several days of tweaking. Swearing doesn’t count. I kept pinching, cutting, and altering like my life depended on it.

The dress has now been cut out in the “good fabric,” which is actually not that good in terms of quality (poly-cotton, what can I say). The color is definitely good (not lemony good, it’s blue), and I’ve found pretty good buttons for it. It might end up being just take one for this pattern. But, hey, I’m not going to be swanning about in Cannes anyway. For swanning about the canned goods section of the grocery store it might just do. Progress report soon.

But let’s get back to that pattern envelope. This dress was apparently inspired by a 1947 Dior dress… so how do you go from there to that styling? What’s the creative process here: “If Dior designed for the modest kindergarten teacher…”? (No offense to kindergarten teachers, this styling to me says “great for working with active children!” )

Why would you downplay — nay, conceal — that your inspiration was a stunning classic design? Literally everyone who’s sewn and reviewed this dress on Pattern Review has achieved a better, more flattering, and eye-catching result than that sad pattern envelope image.

You want this in plaid, McCall’s? Then follow this lady’s lead, because that’s how you do plaid for this pattern.  Or, like this. You want to tone down the glamour factor slightly with chambray — this lady’s version looks practical and quietly elegant. And this is another example of how stunning this dress can be in a solid color.

Seriously, McCall’s, do you want to sell this pattern or not?


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I write about sewing, knitting, and may sometimes be tempted to talk about books.

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