I don't think I need to explain why I threw McCall's 3442 into the "unfortunate fashion" pile:
McCall's 3442, 1972
To be fair, the actual pattern -- the pants and "shirt-jacket" -- are fine. But the (entirely fictional) fabric is a terrifying example of 1970s double-knit wonder.
Red Plaid Pants is actually the best-dressed one of the bunch. I think he and Green Boots -- green boots! -- are congratulating each other on Green Boots' fashion choices. (Really? A red lumberjack shirt-jacket with key lime boots?) Meanwhile poor Navy Plaid looks on...whether in disdain for his compatriots' fashion choices or sadness that they have not noticed his white webbing belt, I cannot say.
Even great designers have their missteps. Behold Bill Blass and Vogue 1461, the Bermuda jumpsuit (shudder):
I admit it. There's an evil little part of me that wants to devote my limited sewing time to making this for Mr. PatternJunkie just to see the look of horror on his face when I present it to him. (He'd never wear it. Mr. PJ is an old school punk rocker who prefers black fabric, skulls, and insists that "shorts" stop about four inches above his ankles.)
A Bermuda jumpsuit may not be worth hours of sewing time, but milliseconds of Google searching to see if I could catch one in the wild? Certainly! Sadly, I could find no evidence of any 1970s survivors...but at the extraordinary website MyJumpsuit.com ("Enjoy Your Lifestyle...Work Is Allowed...Fits Your Activities") I found the elusive shorty jumpsuit for men:
Nope. Not even the magic touch of Bill Blass and his welt pockets and self-tie belt can save this.
On the other hand, MyJumpsuit.com has a costume section. I never realized how many male costumes revolved around jumpsuits. Mork, Super Dave, Jack LaLanne...and of course, my favorite, Jesus Quintana from The Big Lebowski.
Mr. Pattern Junkie may be getting a jumpsuit after all.
(And if by some chance you HAVEN'T seen THE BIG LEBOWSKI...well, enjoy the Jesus Quintana scene, a sublime four minutes of madness. To quote Donny, "I am the walrus.")
Those of you in northern climes may be welcoming fall, but it's still sweltering here in Los Angeles. Dreaming of sipping mai tais and ordering a pool boy around? Simplicity 5971 is the outfit for you, madame:
Beautiful seaming, a leg slit worthy of Angelina Jolie, form-fitting yet with a sweeping sleeve -- what's not to love? Someone bring me a margarita!
Oh, Kwik Sew. How many times do we have to go through this? The purpose of a pattern illustration is to make us want to use your pattern. Not to evoke thoughts of a particularly gruesome CSI episode, Hannibal Lecter or childhood despair:
What woe troubles the little tyke of Kwik Sew 449? Is Mom getting into the rum again? Did Dad kick the puppy? Or are those little footie pajamas just not fitting the way they should?
Butterick 4489, on its own, isn't bad enough to qualify as Unfortunate Fashion. The "pocketed pull-on outfit" is boring, sure, but it's the institutional blue and the ice cream cone that push it into UFF territory for me:
With that smile, that pose and that outfit, she has the look of someone who has finally earned enough Good Points for a Trip Outside. Maybe she was committed for making Crazy Caps?
I don't know about you, but my mind immediately went to the scene in Girl, Interrupted when Whoopi Goldberg took Winona Ryder, Angelia Jolie and all the other beautful mentally-ill girls out of the hospital for ice cream. It didn't necessarily end well, but anyone who's ever seen a movie could've told you that. (Of course, by "didn't end well," I mean it ended in a "unfortunate yet endearing way which let us feel like we were laughing with mentally ill people instead of laughing at them, even though the movie was doing just that.")
Here's the scene -- in Spanish, because it's always better to watch WASPish characters with telenovela voices:
I know lately I've been reserving Fridays for Unfortunate Fashion, but I can't bear to put Betsey Johnson in that category. I love her over-the-top stuff, and have several of her 1970s patterns. Check out this early wonder that just showed up on the Vintage Sewing Pattern Wiki, Butterick 3850:
What Sensational Accessories! Can you resist a carpenter's apron with pockets for pencils, keys, lipstick, junk and tools? A tote bag with "hello" suspended from a woman's lips? I can't!
And yet...the hat. Betsey Johnson, my pop-punk princess rebel, you fail me here. The "Don't bother me...I'm pretending to study!" just screams Fabricated Teen Rebellion. (If you're pretending to study, shouldn't it say "Please Bother Me"?)
You're a hair's breadth away from getting an Unfortunate Fashion stamp, Betsey. Watch your step.
There are a few baffling and downright disturbing things on the pattern envelope for Kwik Sew 1179:
The child in the rabbit towel appears to be engaged in some form of modern interpretative dance. What, you think a rabbit head towel would be too bizarre? Trust me: I was in a modern dance troupe in college, and anything can happen. For one piece, the choreographer instructed us to come to rehearsal with "kneepads, long underwear and a flashlight. The long underwear should be small enough to fit on your head." During one concert, we realized there was a nail sticking up out of the dance floor, so during the pause between pieces another dancer and I crawled onto the stage with a flashlight and a hammer to find it. (Why didn't we just turn on the lights and walk out there? I don't know. Dancers aren't known for logic.) We pounded it in and crawled offstage. The audience broke out in rapturous applause.
What's happened to the child between photo one and two of the cat sleeping bag? Has the sleeping bag digested the child? Or was a vanishing spell involved?
Speaking of which...I'm not a parent, but I imagine that it might be distressing to make your young 'un a sleeping bag that essentially made her look like she was sleeping in a piece of roadkill. A piece of roadkill wearing a vest.
Four rows of ruffles at the hem! It looks like it would be so much fun to walk in -- you'd swish and rustle and make a grand entrance. Let's not even get started on what it would be like to dance in it.
It's from 1935, but I can't be the only one reminded of this dress style that was so popular in the 1970s: