I loved slumber parties when I was a kid. Loved them. Eating lots of junk food? Screaming because...well, screaming just because you're a tween girl jacked up on sugar? (One memorable slumber party of mine featured the lot of us laughing and shrieking in horror when our Irish Setter drooled in the chip bag. The "ewws" and "grosses" probably carried for miles.) Staying up as late as you can manage? Heaven!
So in my mind pajama parties are generally pure, innocent fun. But when I look at McCall's 5649, I'm concerned about what Pink Ruffles and White Nightie have planned for Pink Gingham:
Ruffles and Nightie seem to be having a discussion about what medical procedure to perform on Pink Gingham. (What IS Ruffles hiding in her pockets?) Sadly, Pink Gingham -- who, I hate to say, looks about as dim as my aforementioned Irish Setter -- is right on board with the shenanigans. She's prepping by taking her own pulse!
McCall's 5693 is more of the happy PJ vibe I remember -- but damn if it isn't WAY BETTER than any slumber party I attended:
Here Flowered Muumuu and Green's conspiring have resulted in something fabulous: Pink is FLOATING! And I thought "light as a feather, stiff as a board" was fun!
(But...what is up with Pink's left hand? It's freakishly long and quite possibly double-knuckled!)
Normally I'd consider a long formless duster incredibly boring, but check out Simplicity 2495:
I adore the blue cat-eye glasses that Blue is wearing -- so much so, in fact, that her whole look strikes me as cool. Shoes to match your glasses? A coordinating dress and long vest? Sign me up! (I guess this "styling" the Project Runway judges keep yammering on about is important.)
I bet she makes a mean martini and has a wicked sense of humor. She knows where to find cool beatnik coffee shops, works in the best bookstore in town -- and even though she can't carry a tune to save her life, she's fearless at karaoke bars. I think I want her as my new best friend.
Granted, McCall's 3493 isn't as maddening as McCall's 3435, the pattern illustration that nearly drove me out of my mind. The chair actually is part of the main illustration, instead of being thrown in as an odd focal point. And it's pretty.
Still...why is Blue staring at it with such admiration? And look at how Brown has her foot perched precariously on the chair. As distracted as she is, she's going to trip and fall as soon as she tries to move. Is that what Blue is secretly hoping for? Or does her fascinated gaze have less to do with the chair and much more to do with the proximity of her gloved hand to Brown's bare one?
I am one of those people who looks horrible in most photos. I mean it. Nine times out of ten, the camera will catch my eyes somewhere between half mast and closed and my smile crookedly sliding off my face. Recently I found a baby photo where I sported that expression. It actually was a tremendous relief: I realized that my horrid photos could be blamed on genetics.
If you think I'm going to post examples here, well, you're sadly mistaken. But if you want an example of how my eyes tend to droop like saggy curtains, making me seem drunk? Check out Advance 9926:
And Advance 2831 really knocks it home. It's the whole package: insipid smile, closed eyes, dork dork DORK! Really, I swear this could be me:
These illustrations are almost as confusing as the one with the mysterious chair I posted about last week. The whole advantage of illustrations over photos is that you don't have to deal with awkward moments like these. What made the illustrator decide to go this route? Why capture your model at the worst possible moment?!
Maybe...maybe some models curse illustrators the same way I curse cameras. It's the only explanation I can think of!
Peruse vintage patterns for a while, and you'll quickly notice an oft-used convention in the illustrations: two "normal sized" models and one "mini," squeezed in to show the back view or a third option. Usually, it works just fine and dandy, like in Simplicity 2402:
There, the poor mini doesn't even get the benefit of a full body! Here's another example -- Simplicity 8535:
Sure, Magenta looks like the kind of bad girl who would beat up someone two thirds her size, but we just accept that Black is in her own separate reality and move on.
Sometimes, however, the Two Big/One Little goes horribly, horribly wrong. Take Vogue 1059:
Yikes! I don't know whether Black is petting Little Print with her absurdly large gloved hand or if she's just conjured her out of thin air, but I guarantee you she's up to no good. I predict she has a whole host of nefarious plans that she'll be sending Little Print out to enact. Is Red in on the plot? From the look on her face, I have to assume so.
This I do know: if I wake up in the middle of the night with Little Print standing next to my bed staring at me, I'm toast.
When Mr. Pattern Junkie and I first moved in together, we rented a nice little house (emphasis on "little") in the hills near the Hollywood Reservoir. The house, besides listing so badly to one side that visitors would be momentarily seasick when they entered, had one major flaw: the Dreaded One Note Bird.
The Dreaded One Note Bird had a "song" consisting of one monotone note: tweet. Every time the same length, the same note, usually at very regular intervals. All day, every day. Now, you could go days without noticing the Dreaded One Note Bird. But then, suddenly, it would permeate your consciousness: tweet.
At that moment, you knew you were doomed. Because then, the only thing you could notice for the rest of the day was the incessant tweet of the Dreaded One Note Bird.
What, you may ask, does any of this have to do with McCall's 3435, what with its pretty Peter Pan collar, flared skirt and knife pleats? Really, it's just a darling dress:
Except for that chair.
The more I look at this illustration, the less I can tear my eyes away from the chair. Why is it there? Why? What mad impulse made the illustrator think, "Hmm, this drawing needs a little something more...a little something to, oh, draw the eye away from the dresses...Should I put a plant? A tiki stand? A garden umbrella? No, a chair would be perfection!"
Really, I try to focus on the pretty puffed sleeves of the yellow version or the knife pleats and pearls -- but DEAR GOD WHY IS THERE A CHAIR IN THE BACKGROUND?! And why, if you must put a chair there, why oh why dash off the plainest most boring chair ever seen? Put some effort into a wingback, please, or maybe entertain me with a chaise lounge or -- WHY THE CHAIR? Is there some symbolism I'm missing? Some hidden message?! Is this a statement, or are you just messing with my mind?