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Mar 16, 2010

The Joan Collins dress

So I made a decision about what to sew next for Cathy!  (drum roll please)


Hold onto your hats, kids, we're going back to the EIGHTIES!

(Who groaned?  WAS THAT YOU, RIPPLE?)

I bought this pattern on eBay many months ago and I don't even remember why.  I was never a big Dynasty fan, though I did once borrow a Joan Collins beauty book-on-tape from the library and loved the way she pronounced vitamins, vit (rhymes with fit) - amins.  So veddy British.

Anyway, I was looking through my patterns yesterday when it hit me: I would make this dress for Cathy!  I even have the hat for it.

I think she's going to love it, peeps.

In fact, I was so enthusiastic about it that I looked online to see if there were any other Joan Collins patterns.  And there ARE.  In fact, there is an entire McCall's DYNASTY by Nolan Miller collection!

I know you're going to think I'm crazy (I say that a lot, don't I?) but I want to collect and make them all.

Feast your eyes on these and tell me they don't make you fantasize walking down a sumptuous marble staircase with John Forsythe on your arm -- or just being really bitchy.

And these are just some of them -- there are more, a LOT more!  (But where is Heather Locklear?)

I decided to use a vintage flowered Ralph Lauren flat sheet from the Eighties (I used to have the same sheet, so I know) I had in my stash that I think works very well.

This is a real departure for me and my identical cousin, but I think it's going to be fantastic -- and fun.

Here I am modeling the bodice yesterday. 


I hope Cathy has triple-strand pearls because I sure don't.

What do you think?  Is this a fashion faux pas or flat-out, unadulterated brilliance?

Have you ever made/worn any of these Dynasty outfits?  Do you think I can bring these shoulder padded, cap-sleeved creations back into fashion singlehandedly?  Twenty-five years is too long to wait for a revival.

I'm still wondering what happened to the McCall's "Green Acres" collection.

If you worked for McCalls, what collection would you most want to create?  (You have the entire history of television at your disposal.)


  1. I knew you would get back at me for gloating, but to cast me as a narrow-minded 80s hater? No, no, no, no, no. In the eighties I had big hair and Laura Ashley dresses with puffy sleeves and ruffles and I refuse to feel bad about it! If anybody can rock this look in a 2010 context, it's Cathy, so bring it on.

  2. OMG, I saw this pattern yesterday and was seriously thinking about buying it!!! And I would definitely make it and wear it . . . I don't care what they say, I still love a big shoulder! Confidence and attitude is everything when you wear such a bold style, and I think Cathy's got both in spades!!

    If I were to recreate a TV series clothing collection, "That Girl" is the first series that comes to mind . . . love the late 60's "business woman" wardrobe! And Ann Marie had just the cutest little apartment!

  3. Oh, Cathy's dress is going to be fab-u-lous! Dh and I just watched Bogart and Bacall in The Big Sleep this weekend. Loved the fashion and I found myself thinking that everything worn in the movie was so in style now! Dh and myself are both a 40's kind of personality.

  4. It's not television but I would love love love a 'Titanic - the movie' collection with Kate Winslett on the pattern covers. *sigh*

  5. And don't forget Mary Tyler Moore! Peter, Cathy will be flabbergasated at your "flat-out, unadulterated brilliance." Though I much prefer the long black version. I always think black is perfect for being bitchy. -- San Antonio Sue

  6. I'm a child of the 80's and I have to admit that I really love that era alot. Yeah, it was crazy and there were some crazy fashions going on, still I get goosebumps when I see shoulder pads and vests and crimped hair and such. The movie, Pretty In Pink, is one of my all time favorites and not just because its a goofy story. I love Molly Ringwald's fashion sense. I'm dying over this Joan Collin's collection, especially the "9035." I love that suit. So perfect!

  7. This dress is GENIUS. I love the 80's. Big shoulders give you Super Powers, everyone knows that

  8. The dress will be great. I've maintained all along that there were a lot of cute things in the 1980's.

    Here is a link to folding templates from The Scientific Seamstress. I just saved the file and printed my templates. They will be quite useful. I love using templates when pressing shaped items and hems.

  9. I sewed a few of the Dynasty patterns when I was pregnant in the 80's. I could be wrong, but I am remembering that some of the ones I had were actually maternity patterns. I tended toward the Linda Evan's style except that wonderful Joan Collin's Gaucho ensemble. Cathy would love those! (With boots.) I have to get up to the attic to see if I kept any of them. What fun!

  10. Yes, yes, Beryl, you are correct: I saw a few. Here's hoping Cathy never needs one of those!

    Working on the shoulder caps as we speak!

  11. Ohhh...I can't wait to see it! I also really like McCall's 9247!

  12. I totally dig that dress! The shoulder flounce is totally current. My mom just sent me a big box of 80s patterns. None are Dynasty specific but the era is unmistakeable. BTW, I'll be in NYC March 26-27.

  13. The bigger the shoulder pads, the better. I would love a Mad Men series of patterns. A ton of "Joan" and "Betty" patterns would be mind-boggling.

  14. I think Ripple and I had the same things in our closet in the 80s! In fact, my sister had us all wear Laura Ashley dresses in a print eerily similar to your vintage sheet as bridesmaids dresses.

    Love McCalls 9035... fabulous suit. The gauchos are a must, too. I had several pairs.

  15. I have the same fetish, only I'm obsessed with the "It Girl" patterns featuring Marlo Thomas from the late 60s, early 70s. Delish.

  16. To make this work, Peter, you've got to find some foam shoulder pads - at least 1/2 an inch - 3/4" is probably better. And big clip on earrings. (and yes, I loved the 80s..why do you ask?)

  17. Love it! I don't know why, but just seeing the first pattern made me immediately visualise bitchy women walking with extra swivelly hips.

    Sometimes I marvel at the random way my mind works, lol. I've never even seen Dynasty...

  18. Oh, Sarah, I'm sure you can just YouTube some episodes.

    Toby, my shoulder pads are going to be up to my ears!

    Lisette, I think you mean "That Girl." Loved Marlo!

    Slapdash, drop me an email when you're coming and we can go fabric shopping.

  19. You are utterly terrifying me ... i wore those crimes against style during the 1980s and i'm never going back again. I love the elegance of the 1930s through to the end of the war ... that period does shoulder pads well. I can't wait to see this when it's finished because it's such an elegant style ... and I think it'll look very nice on you! LOL

  20. Hello. 9035 is beyond fabulous. Do that one next.

  21. Have you ever seen "Scrooged"? OMG, M9305 looks JUST like Claire in that dream scene where she is smirking about the starving children. I found a link here:
    Disturbing! You don't want to look like Claire from that scene!

    But the Joan Collins wrap dress for Cathy?! Yes, you do want to look like that. Cathy will look fab.

  22. In the 80's my BFF and I used to read the Personals and I remember one where the guy wanted to meet a woman "who doesn't wear Nordstroms Shoulders" Needless to say, paroxysms of laughter, spitting coffee etc ensued. Cathy will LOVE that dress. Perfect. Love 9035 too.

  23. I always loved "That Girl". And in fact, I have a collection of "Marlo's Corner" patterns. It was a McCall's line in the 70s and the patterns are actually quite nice.

  24. Dude you are so preaching to the choir.

    I was a HUGE Dynasty fan. I watched it every week religiously. I can't tell you what it was about, name any of the characters or summarize a single episode but I do remember those clothes! Yes, I watched to show strictly to see what they were wearing.

    (I can kind of confess the same thing about Charmed, too.)

    Now as to vintage/retro patterns, my next planned dress is a...eep... Marie Osmond.

  25. Oh my goodness, that fabric is Perfect!!

  26. I have a Diahann Carroll pattern from the time period too, but I don't think it's from the Dynasty collection. Those are fab!

    That sheet gives me a Laura Ashley vibe.

  27. I'd like to see a line of Sex and the City patterns. Great dress, Peter.


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