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Mar 18, 2011

Everything but Sewing

Friends, we've been honest with each other since the beginning so why change now?  I've had a busy week full of all kinds of sewing-related excitement, but when it comes to actual sewing, um...not so much.

Cathy's Comeback Dress remains a very gathered skirt awaiting a bodice -- and a crinoline.


I'll be honest: when I solicited feedback about it, your polarized opinions left me feeling uncertain.  Should I ignore the flowered-bodice people, or the black-sateen-bodice people?  (And what about Miss Sassy Lassy, who very publicly changed her mind and sounded absolutely 100% convinced both times?)  On Wednesday I even bought new fabric -- a shiny woven synthetic in the exact moss green that appears in the rose print and let me tell you side by side they looked awful.  I'm out $3 and I'm not even sure whom to blame (I hate that).

I fear Cathy may have to go to the show on Sunday in something else entirely, or perhaps not go at all.  Her most recent texts suggest that she did indeed catch her Trailways bus out of Springfield at dawn and should be arriving at Port Authority Bus Terminal sometime in the late morning.  Who knows what condition I'll find her in?

And apropos of outfits, the Vinyls are building a substantial wardrobe that's nothing to sneeze at.  Look what arrived only days ago:

Have I mentioned that Ken and Allan are more narrowly built than Brad, Ben, Grant, and Brett?  They can't really share clothes, apart from a few loosely cut shirts.  Obviously Mattel found Ken's original build too slight for the free-loving, macho Seventies and I get that.  But did Ken have to have bigger feet too?  (I mean, where were they walking?)  Or was the big feet thing just a vulgar inside joke among the doll design team?

Here's Brad, newly attired, and that is a men's outfit, right?  I mean, it was part of the same Ken clothes lot I won on eBay and it fits and all, but I don't know...were men's pants ever that flared in the Seventies?  Could someone look this up please?

Oh, and before I forget: it seems there are more Ken dolls on the way -- this time a donation from a  decluttering MPB reader (which sounds like an oxymoron).  There's nothing this blogger loves more than freebies, but I think I may have to draw the line soon.

Michael has new clothes too.  Debbie's shirt arrived yesterday and friends, the girl can sew -- not news to anyone who reads her blog.  In fact this shirt was so perfect -- cut, color, and construction -- I really just wanted to send it back.  I mean the effrontery of some people.  (AND she had the nerve to tell me don't look too closely at this, don't look to closely at that --  and of course when I did, everything looked flawless.)


I don't entirely understand Debbie's motives, but every package she sends (oh yes, friends, there have been others) come laden with all kinds of extras -- spices for Michael, treats for the dogs and, most recently, something for me (it's about time).   I think she's slowly trying to integrate herself into our family unit and I won't say she isn't succeeding.  I'm hoping an open invitation to a NYC weekend on the air mattress will satisfy her.

I should add that Michael loves, loves, loves the shirt -- he's wearing it to the opera tonight -- and only requests that Debbie's next outfit for him include one of these.

Birds of a feather, those two.

As far as my wardrobe goes, yesterday I showed Kenneth King my final Negroni shirt, you know, the one with that creepy floral baby bassinet pattern?  He proceeded to make a few minor corrections to it -- directly on the shirt with me in it -- with one of those "disappearing" fabric pens that hasn't disappeared yet.

At least he didn't autograph me.  Artists!

So there you have it, readers: new clothes for the dolls, a shirt for Michael, fitting adjustments for me, and nothing for my cousin but eight yards of rose-print sateen gathered to a piece of bias tape.

Finally, I cautiously solicit your advice once more.  What do you think of these shoes?  There are all kinds of color variations available nowadays, but 1) do you you think they're too much (style-wise not price-wise) and 2) do you think black and white is the way to go if I am going to go at all?  (They also come in buff suede-and-leather combos.)

Increasingly I seem to be taking my style cues from my Ken dolls and I'm concerned about that.

Seriously, though: men's saddle shoes -- yea or nay?

Ciao for now!


  1. I'm pulling for bigger feet= vulgar inside joke. It's just so much more hilarious that way.

    My dad was a very handsome fashionable man in the 70's and I have pictures of him in VERY flared pants with purple marbled platform shoes.

    That Debbie. Some people live just to make the rest of us look like total jerks. SEND THE SHIRT BACK! (heh heh heh)

    I'm so sick with envy you got to show your work to Kenneth King that I need to go stick my head in the toilet so I can't keep responding to your excellent post. No it's not the wine, I'm just that sick with envy.

  2. Good morning!

    I like the shoes - but in the more subtle buff and brown combo. The black and white just screams "I beat up a (admittedly large footed) schoolgirl and stole her shoes".

  3. Aw! Sounds like my building costumes for every Tom and Jane in the theatre and me not even squeaking in enough time to make something for myself. So of course when I had three days off this week I almost succeeded in building a dress, not unlike Cathy's, only mine is a pleated skirt. We can be twins.
    Anyways, it is a big old YEA on the saddle shoes! They are too clunky, in my opinion, for women but my boyfriend's saddle-style golf shoes look très sexy.

  4. Micheal's shirt looks great -- color, fit, everything!

    Be careful of that "disappearing" ink. I had it not disappear once. Transfer the markings to paper and throw some water on your shirt.

    I like the shoes.

  5. My apologies to Michael...I misspelled his name.

  6. I think I should throw the water on Kenneth King.

  7. Have not even read the post yet...but the today show has live right now a number from Priscilla Queen of the Desert...OMG are going to love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. And now after reading the post...Remember when they kept calling Bill Clinton a waffler!! I am a change her mind kind of gal too! What can I say. But I will never change my mind about you...

  9. I love saddle shoes in any color combination (big help, I know). As for Cathy's matinee dress, why not make it as separates in black and floral--even white, and have her pick the combo she likes? As for the 70s flare, well, "the larger the bell . . ." could be another vulgar inside joke. As always, love your posts

  10. Yay! to saddle shoes. Any colour. Love them.

  11. Um... YES to saddle shoes! But then again, I'm horribly prejudiced, having finally procured a pair (through much begging, batting my lashes and sending not-so-subtle email links) for Christmas. ;) lol.

    Let me just also say that I love all your terribly clever and witty posts. I never know quite what to comment, because, well, I'm not terribly witty (my sister seems to have gotten all those genes, darn her), and feel that all I can say will make me look even more like a square. ;) haha. But suffice to say: I got a good chuckle out of today's post, as I always do! :)

    ♥ Casey

  12. Thanks, Casey, and everybody! Sassy, I think Kerry was the waffler; Clinton was the womanizer.

  13. Ken got a complete overhaul in the late 60's because the public's tastes change. If it's any help I don't think his feet size has changed since.
    I say yes, yes, yes to the saddle shoes. They're something I wish to have in my own wardrobe one day, and if you find yourself overrun at your house for wayward dolls, send some my way. I'm more than willing to find space for everyone. (I'm like a saint that way!)
    And with weighing in on the skirt, not a huge fan of the flowers, it just seems like a very busy pattern, but feel free to ignore me.

  14. your blog. I wore bell bottoms in the early 70's and the flare on the pants looks right to me. I had a pair where the cuff circumference was a least 30 inches. I think the whole look depends on the fabric. The pair I remember was made of an enormously large scale green/white glen plaid.

  15. i wasn't much more than a twinkle in my haven't-yet-met parents' eyes back in the 70s, but my dad definitely wore trousers that flared... with thick-heeled platform boots. what a guy!

    i say yay on the saddle shoes. i love saddle shoes!

  16. Are you sure it's Michael who wants a codpiece?

    And flawless? Hah! You're too kind (?) and you know better. I didn't consider when I offered Michael a shirt that this would the most pressure I've ever sewn under - making a men's shirt that THE men's shirt aficionado would be inspecting.

  17. YES! on the saddle shoes. Any and all color combination.

    Graduate of an all girls Catholic High School where saddle shoes were part of my uniform.

  18. I am 100% for saddle shoes (here's a picture of my own lovely partner in a pair). Maybe in the brown/hemp colorway, not black and white? I think they'd be more versatile.

  19. Another Yes for the shoes!

    I remember my cousins wearing those huge bell bottom pants with giant shoes. I thought it was weird even back then.

  20. I think you should write a blog piece on '70's disco fashion for men.

  21. Thankfully I skirted that look (almost) entirely!

  22. I am in support of the shoes as an idea, I just personally prefer a sleeker sole/heel- I find that sometimes when the sole is too thick, the feet look out of proportion with the rest of the outfit. Also, I generally prefer the two-tone spectator oxford to the saddle shoe. While one says "Tee time!" the other is a little more sophisticated. Stacey Adams shoes come in a huge assortment of finishes and color combinations, but they might be veering a little too far from the original idea.

  23. I'm definitely voting in favour of the b+w saddle shoes.

  24. Debbie, I want to NEED a codpiece; there's a difference.

    Renee, don't you think two-tone spectator oxfords scream "BIG TAP FINALE"?

  25. I like all of those shoes, and don't worry about Cathy's dress. Stop listening to us and make it however YOU think is best. I learned a long time ago not to let people into my vision, they always had some "helpful" information for me. Usually all it did was make me doubt myself.

  26. Loving the saddle shoes, but save yourself a hassle and don't get a combination with white. The first three variations look great, get one of those.

    Sorry the green bodice fabric didn't work, I really thought it would.

  27. I love the black and white saddles as well as the white and brown. My favorite part is the gum rubber soles though. I think you can absolutely wear them in both retro and modern-ankle bearing ways and that you can pull them off. Go bold with the look Peter, and I'm not just saying that because I want you to emulate Fred Astaire as your style icon.

    It's so hard making final design choices when you don't have an overwhelming gut feeling about it. The more I have thought of your dilemma the more I am convinced that the black bodice is the way to go. That leaves the opportunity for lovely white or red accessories as well as the black. Don't deprive your darling twin cousin the opportunity to rid herself of that correctional feeling and be a girly girl once more.

  28. *Saddle shoes...a big yes!!! Love them times two. I prefer the buff with burgundy colored ones

    *Since you asked, all the same fabric on the dress and a really nice buckle if you are belting the waist. Something retro and white looks like it might pair up nicely.

    *Yes, you should dress the vinyl like you,
    not the other way around.

    *I agree with a previous commneter...go with your's been working pretty good so far!

    *as for the cod reminds me of a really funny part in the book: Single White Vampire.

  29. I'm all for saddle shoes. White can be difficult to maintain (ever the pragmatist), so I would steer toward the browns for spring.

    I am also insanely jealous that Kenneth King is drawing on your shirt while you are in it. And that the picture of you and Kenneth is appearing on all sorts of blogs - including Sal's and Audi's (who didn't even KNOW who Kenneth King was).

    One day I will travel to New York and we can all have drinks together.

  30. Yes for the saddle shoes. In any colour combination.

  31. Yes, yes, yes and yes please on the saddle shoes.

  32. I think saddle shoes are great.

    Any colour combo is great just don't pick patent leather, okay? It looks kind of pimp-ee or sansabeltish (is that a word?).

  33. Sorry, I have to say "NO" to the shoes! They are best left on gradeschoolers, not fashionable gentlemen such as yourself. And I am just wondering, when are you going to post a sew-in for Ken's wardrobel? The way your Ken club is growing, you are going to need a lot more clothing.....

  34. I graduated from high school in 1973 and college in 1977, and I'm here to tell you, the flare on those pants is 100% accurate. Sad but true.

    As for the shoes, how 1950s of you. ;) Truly, if you love them, wear them.

  35. So much wisdom here.

    I think my fear is that if I'm wearing my saddle shoes and see just one other guy wearing them too, our eyes are going to lock in shame and I'll throw mine in the back of my closet, never to be seen again. Plus $90 is a lot Ken dolls.

  36. "was the big feet thing just a vulgar inside joke among the doll design team?"

    Most likely - yes. I am married to an animator/toy designer/book illustrator and I can tell you, you'd be shocked at what they slip into those types of things just to see if they can get away with it! It's so funny. Here is an example where he has designed a new pony character (himself!)for the My Little Pony Show:

    (my husband regularly gets mistaken for Kevin Smith). I wouldn't be surprised if you see that character showing up in a future show.

  37. PS - Yes yes yes to the shoes. White with caramel colour. Classic.

  38. Yes to the saddle shoes. They are/have been a favorite at our house.

  39. I love men's saddle shoes! They've come back in style? I like the tan/brown ones, but you should buy the ones you like.

    I bought a pair or two for sons, probably in the early nineties. I've always liked them.

  40. Saddies are awesome. Period.

    If you are gonna get some saddies, try They specialize in great period style saddies for men and women.

    I got some 30s styled black and white (with a white rubber sole) from them. Also very nice customer service. I emailed them my food size and they recommended the size for me to get.

  41. The flare/flair on the bellbottoms looks good to me. The rule of thumb my crowd followed was that the flare needed to be wide enough to completely cover your foot. That's why we had to wear those big Frankenstein shoes-so we wouldn't trip on our bellbottoms.

    As to the shoes-while they are "lovely", just say no. Unless you truly love them, and are willing to wear them and not let them wear you.

    I am so sorry to hear that Cathy will not be seeing Priscilla in her beautiful new frock. I'm sure she'll be so disappointed when she gets off the bus, but I do recall a very well fitted checkered (or possibly houndstooth?) dress. I remember thinking how striking she looked in that! She has so many beautiful clothes that unless she lost(or -gasp- gained) weight while in the slammer, she should be able to pull something out of her hat(or closet).

  42. Yes to saddle shoes, any color.

    Yes, men's pants were that flared in the 70's.

    And yes, the Ken's are on their way to you, along with a few other goodies, maybe even some fabric suitable for Micheal's codpiece. 8-)) Or should I just send the fabric to Debbie?

  43. Yes to the saddle shoes. I particularly like the three in the upper left, especially the black pair.

  44. I think i'm gonna go with nay on the shoes

  45. I'm in the no camp when it comes to two-tone shoes. I don't know why, but they always look wrong to me. (Obviously not to other people, apparently local ten-pin bowling alleys have had hire shoes not returned because they're trendy with some folk.)

    Michael looks good in Debbie's shirt and the beard really suits him.

    In terms of the floral print dress, why not do the bodice in the floral and use the green fabric for the belt? Or, a pale pink bodice. The black bodice was too jarring.

  46. Yes to the shoes, except the white ones. White shoes are almost always wrong I think.

    Michael is looking very stylish, great work Debbie!

  47. Saddle shoes are a no-brainer YES. I love them on men and women equally.

  48. OK, I BOUGHT the saddle shoes -- I'll be posting soon so stay tuned.

  49. The pants were that flared and MORE in the 70's disaster years of fashion. I was there to witness it, and even caught my toe in the cuff of my flared pants and took quite a tumble down the stairs!
    Love the saddles, I hope you bought brown and white.


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