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Oct 29, 2010

Cathy Wants Clothes

Friends, it should come as no surprise that I hear from my identical cousin Cathy about as often as I hear from Elaine (The Selfish Seamstress), which is to say, not very often.

My cousin doesn't read Male Pattern Boldness and why should she?  She doesn't sew and, frankly, she's not much of a reader beyond the latest self-help snooze-fest or diet-of-the-month drivel purchased impulsively at the airport.

But occasionally Cathy will pop in to let me know how she's doing and give me a brief summary of her activities.  Her latest email was brief to the point of rudeness:  I need clothes.  Have you ever?

Relatives can certainly work your nerves, cousins in particular.  Remember Samantha's cousin Serena?

And Jeannie's cousin, whats-her-name?

And wasn't bendable leg Francie cousin to old stiff-kneed Barbie -- or merely a close friend?  I forget.

Then there was that other Cathy Lane.  Or is that Patty?  What was the difference between those two anyway besides a headband and a bad British accent? 

But enough TV trivia.

Readers, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, blood is thicker than water, long story short, the time has come for me to stitch up something for my cousin once again.  I know some of you will be delighted, others disappointed, but I can't please everybody. 

The other day I discovered that Pattern Review is holding a new challenge contest starting November 1.  It's called One Pattern Wardrobe and you have two weeks to create two complete outfits out of at least three items you sew yourself, all from the same pattern.  You can read more about it here.

I thought this sounded perfect for Cathy, who has been begging me all year for some separates, as opposed to those gorgeous vintage frocks she claims she can't wear anywhere.

I spent many an hour digging through dozens of Hate-y Eighties atrocities on eBay and Etsy before stumbling upon this 1969 gem:

Granted, it's a little, shall we say, suburban as illustrated, but I think with the right fabrics and accessories we can dress it up.  I love the top with shorts (2nd from the right) and of course, the full pantsuit ensemble is very Catherine Deneuve in early Seventies Yves Saint Laurent.  The whole pattern actually.

And Cathy can wear her hair long or short! 

In closing, I can't wait to go fabric shopping and start burrowing myself among the $2/yd bolts.  No velveteen.

If you have strong opinions about colors, fabrics, hair treatments, turbans and veils, etc., please let me know before I've already completed the photoshoot. 

It's nice to sew a mens Western jacket from time to time, but let's face it: girl's clothes are a lot more fun, don't you agree?

Are you entering the contest?  Do you have a cousin you believe has evil powers or at least, doesn't have your best interests at heart?  Or maybe a MIL.  Unburden yourself here.

Happy Friday, everybody!


  1. My MIL's only evil power is her ability to turn ME into Pouty McCrankypants in three seconds flat.

    The very concept of bendable-leg Francie makes me giggle.

    Finally, are you going full pantsuit? Because Cathy could ROCK that.

  2. The blue&white pants on the pattern(2nd from left) look like a double knit to me, one of those bulletproof late 60s/early 70s ones. The next pic looks like wool double knit. Some of the new heavy knits with a bit of spandex would be great as you get to fit close to the body and don't get masses of wrinkles across the pants, just like Crimpolene (eek!) but much, much better.

    I'd do tropical weight wool if you can find it or a nice linen type fabric or red, white and blue cotton duck for the American sportswear look so popular back then, with white shoes and polka dot scarf, please. No turban. See the chain belt on the shorts? So, is it going to be good girl, slightly bad girl or chic Parisian girl?

  3. Knock yourself out! Looks perfect for Cathy.

  4. My local thrift store is choked with polyester double knits that only a Cathy clone could rock, but I personally advise against it for chaffing reasons.

    Are you going to alter the jacket o lace up? Just hoping. . .

  5. I was wondering when Cathy would get a new outfit... I vote for the pantsuit! With platform shoes... and I liked Heather's idea of the polka-dot scarf!

  6. It looks 'perfect' for Cathy! She can wear it with her 'rope sandals'!

    P.S. Your western jacket turned out beautiful. Very stylish - especially here on the west coast. It is part and parcel of the Marachi costume.

  7. Great news! I am in the "delighted" camp over this new planned project. I vote for second from right and second from left.

  8. How about a more up to date look for Cathy? The pattern is great and could easily look more modern with the right fabric and accessories.

    I hate to be the one to say this but Cathy's age and vintage wear might not be the best combination. We don't want her to lose her fan base because she seems stuck in the past. Also, something more up to date could help boost her career and self esteem (not that she's ever had a problem with that).

  9. Please include some plaids is all I ask. Or at least houndstooth. If Cathy is going to wear shorts this time of year, she's definitely going to need some of those over the knee high boots. Preferably in white, you know gogo style. Let's think spy girl. James Bond. Long hair is a must. And yes, girl's clothes are much more fun to sew and wear. Thank. You. Very. Much.

  10. Have you ordered the pattern yet? It's a size 12/34, right? If so, it's awful! I hate your choice! You should send it to me to dispose of...

  11. I'm overwhelmed by the possibilities!

    Rachel, the pic is indeed 12/34 but the pattern I bought is 14/36. Look around, you might find the 12/34 for sale somewhere.

  12. I loved the Samantha/Serena clips. I used to be a huge fan of Bewitched when I was a young lass.

    The physcial difference between Patty and Cathy was that Patty's hair flipped up in an energetic springy way; Cathy's turned under, demure and lady-like. Patty was impetuous. Cathy was calm.

    I can see I watched way too much TV back then. I make up for it now by hardly watching at all.

  13. I love that wardrobe pattern! Please please please help Cathy bring the pantsuit into fashion again. I actually love all the pieces, especially some of the short combos- (I'm kind of dying over the idea of the turtleneck/jacket/shorts especially..) If you go for a patterned fashion fabric, please also consider the idea of a bold vertical stripe for the pants. I know it would make them more of a 70's flashback, but they would be so insanely fabulous too!

  14. I love this pattern. I like the idea of doing trousers with a large print, like these, perhaps:

    Also, I really like the picture of the jacket in the middle. The orange-y red with gold buttons would look really nice, I think. Shorts with knee highs and heels like the ones in the picture would be amazing too, but I imagine it's pretty cold in New York at the moment.

  15. I'm thrilled with the retro choice. And thanks for the Bewitched montage . . . my kids loved it. It's fun strolling down memory lane with Cathy Lane!


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