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Nov 1, 2011

Halloween recap + NEW FABRIC!

Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen?  Princess Margaret and nephew Prince Edward?

To say Michael and I weren't exactly the most-easily recognized couple out on Halloween night is an understatement.  But at least neither of us was Zombie Steve Jobs.  Or a sexy secretary.

I'm not entirely sure what Michael was dressed up as, but I think it's obvious which one of us grew up in the suburbs (Hint: it's not me).  That "Woof" tee shirt is Michael's own creation, made with Swarovski crystal letters we ironed on with my Elna Press -- the first time I've used the darn thing in months.

The leopard leggings are something Michael bought for the cabaret show, though he ended up wearing my leopard pants.  We never did make it to the Halloween parade -- Michael was cold and my feet ached -- but we had a lovely Italian dinner at Donatella on Eighth Avenue instead.  We were seated next to a witch, a zombie, two pirates, and a French couple.

File under Don't Ask If You Don't Want To Hear The Answer -- the topic of Cathy's hair color.  I asked Michael if he thought Cathy needed to go a shade or two lighter.  Cathy has such a delicate complexion and she is a "summer," like myself, after all.  (A few months ago I did try to find Cathy's do in a somewhat lighter shade of brown, with no success.  Apparently Motown Tress has discontinued her style, do you believe it?!)

Not only did Michael answer Yes quite emphatically, but he also asked if we couldn't find something with perhaps a little gray in it!  Cathy was not amused.

Friends, even I am getting a little tired of seeing Cathy in that vintage McCall's rose-print cocktail dress, so let's move on, shall we?

I went fabric shopping yesterday and am now ready to begin my 1944 outfit project!

As you'll recall, I'm making the Butterick coat (above left) out of the dusty rose vintage wool blanket I bought a few weeks ago at the flea market.  I hope to enter it in the Pattern Review Refashion contest, if all goes well.

For the jumper, I wanted something with a pattern -- classic and a little conservative, to go with the period.  Here's what I chose:

For the blouse, I bought a cream and black polka dot poly charmeuse.  I've never made a Forties blouse before and never worked with poly charmeuse, so it should be interesting.

And that, dear readers, is that!  It seems like Halloween kicks off a holiday season of overeating that doesn't really end till Easter.  Oye.

Your fabric and hair color comments are most welcome.  You'd be surprised how hard it is to find a good pixie-cut wig that has some length on the sides and doesn't have all those irregular razor-cut edges.  What are all the Jane Wyman clones doing?   Could this work?

Have a great day, everybody! 


  1. hm... Perhaps a different evening gown will have to be a future project? And I think I have a reddish wig in that style around here if you'd like it.

  2. Confusion .... Michael and I? My eyes must be tired. I could've sworn that's Cathy in that mirror. :)

  3. I love the polka dots, but you're brave to sew with poly charmeuse! It's always driven me bonkers because of the slippery wiggles & fraying. Can't wait to see the whole ensemble, though. :)

  4. It's rare that I have such an immediate positive reaction to the fabric pairings I'm seeing around the interwebz these days, but I just melted when I saw the plaid and polka dots you chose to go with that dusty rose wool. well done, sir.

  5. Cathy's rose-print dress is smashing; I never get tired of seeing it. You did a beautiful job.

    The Kandi wig might work. I realize that Cathy is fond of the Jane Wyman look, but those bangs didn't even do any favors for Jane Wyman. The softer Kandi look might flatter Cathy a bit more than the JW 'do.

  6. How about Cathy goes auburn in a decidedly structured pageboy? Sort of a "smoldering good girl" look.

    With her nipped waist, subtle pattern-on-pattern interplay, a string of pearls and her agency instilled sophisticated mannerisms; it's the perfect recipe for career rejuvination.

  7. I like the dark hair on Cathy, perhaps I am the only one?

    I can't wait to see the coat, it should be delicious in that pink wool.

  8. Re: wig - could you perhaps find the right colour in a slightly longer style, and then treat Cathy to a trip to a hairdressers (taking the original darker wig wig you) and ask the hairdresser to style/cut it the same?

  9. Claire, our next door neighbor is actually a semi-retired wig stylist!

  10. I rather like Cathy with the dark hair, but if she's wanting a change, I bet something warmer (like a sort of auburn-- but not *too* red, or she might have trouble wearing some of her outfits that looked fine with the dark hair) would look wonderful with her skin tone. And I'll second Noile's call for a softer cut.

  11. perhaps not a recognizable couple costume set, but i would go as far as to say y'all definitely had the most interesting couples costumes in the city ;)

    michael should 'fro out his hair & wear leopard pants more often - it's a good look for him!

    and as far as cathy, i don't have any advice for you. i myself tend to go darker in the winter, so naturally i think her hair color looks lovely as is.

  12. As a semi-retired wig stylist myself, I'd like to see Cathy in something lighter, just a little bit longer and with maybe a bit more volume and slightly you think that might interest her?

    And I agree, the fabrics and their interplay are smashing.

  13. I'm guessing now...Michael is Frank-n-furter from Rocky Horror? No? I have no idea, really.

    I second the "buy longer and have it cut" suggestion. The preferred style now is longer hair, even on women of a certain age, so a page boy might be a nice update.

  14. I love that polka dot fabric! Cathy's hair looks lovely the way it is, I prefer dark. And her dress, perfect. When I saw the Michael in his outfit, I also thought Dr. Frank-N-Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show.

  15. I'm thinking Cathy would look smashing in something a bit more bouffant, and perhaps a bit lighter, though not too light. And the color change isn't really essential - just less Jane Wyman, more Cyd Charisse. YOU know.

  16. I forgot to say -

    If Cathy decides to go longer, I do hope she'll be very judicious about the cut. I note that Cathy favors bangs, which are tricky with longer hair - they can make the youngest and loveliest among us resemble Bette Davis in "Dead Ringer." Or the late, great Charles Pierce's impersonation thereof.

    Other pixie-cut wearers worth a bit of studying are Gina Lollobrigida, (briefly) Elizabeth Taylor, and my personal favorite, Jean Simmons.

  17. And P.S.:

    A terrific portrait of Lollobrigida done at the time of "Beat the Devil" (1952) is available here:

  18. Mixing prints (your blouse fabric) with prints (the plaid wool) was just not done in the 1940's - according to my mom, who was a stylish young thing in that era. The deliberately mismatched look didn't gain favor until much later in the 20th century. Save the polka dots for another project and go with a solid-colored blouse if period accuracy is important to you here. (If it isn't, you're set!)
    -- stashdragon

  19. The wig at the link will look good on Cathy, the softness will work well with her overall look.

    When I saw your Halloween photo I thought-- hmmm...eighties rock glam meets 40's sophisticated glam.

  20. The polka dots are lovely. Good luck with the slippery poly. Based on my struggle with something similar last week- cut generous seam allowances and don't spare the pins!


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