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.")
I moseyed over to the website yesterday, completely unaware that you'd posted your fall 2012 patterns. Ignoring the voice that said I wouldn't be getting back to work for at least half an hour, I clicked on "new sewing patterns" only to be confronted by THIS:
I don't know how long I just sat there, confused. Why were these women contorting themselves into pretzel shapes in high rise windows? When I finally got around to exploring the new designs further, I understood.
They make me want to jump out a window, too.
I can usually count on Vogue for a bunch of squee-inducing patterns and a couple of "what the hell is thats?!", but they changed things up on me this time. What isn't icky is just plain boring and/or made in the worst fabrics imaginable. Take a moment to remove any sharp implements from your reach -- I don't want to be responsible for you poking out your eyes -- and let's delve in further, shall we?
Let's start with 1312, the dress modeled by a woman squatting over the New York skyline. It's actually pretty tempting when you check out the line drawing:
That flared skirt looks really fun to wear...although the fact that it flares out from a raised waistline may make the whole thing too wide to be flattering for me. Would it make me look like a giant pastry? Oh, and did you know that the bodice is in a contrast fabric? No, neither did I -- because there's nothing like black silhouetted against a window to show details! GOOD ONE, VOGUE!
The real criminal in this lineup is 1323. Let's take a look:
The shirt is fine, but the pants -- oh, my. Elastic at the waist and the cuffs? Side pockets and a fly front? Made in a shiny black satin? Why why why? I suppose they're comfortable, but you can say the same thing about pajama jeans and snuggies. Perhaps someone will look adorable in them. That person will not be me.
In 1322 we have Donna Karan's Frankenstein creation: the blazer cape. Really, it looks like two men's suit jackets cut up and refashioned into one garment, and all I could think of was the time in high school when I put four-inch shoulder pads into a men's pajama top to emulate David Byrne in STOP MAKING SENSE. (Yes, four-inch shoulder pads. It was the 80s.) Why go to all that work tailoring to be asked, "Hey, did you cut up two coats and sew them together? Cool!"
As for the rest of the window jumpers...1315 and 1314 are perfectly serviceable knit dresses, though not that exciting, so I guess I see why Vogue decided to have the models contort themselves. 1324 is interesting, though I don't suggest making the blouse in a flesh tone -- unless you're going for the "I had spinal surgery and they didn't bother closing up" look:
Does it get better once we get out of the high rise windows? No. No, it does not. I present to you Vogue 8832:
That's -- what? Huh? Maybe it looks better from another angle.
No. It does not.
Who are you glaring at, Vogue model? The designer? Your agent? The manufacturer of that strange fabric?
She wasn't the only unhappy model. Look at the woman forced to wear 8830. The design itself isn't bad, but that FABRIC!
Unfortunately, making that face didn't help her any. They put her in equally hideous fabric for 8840. I like bright colors, but both the pants and shirt in this print are a bit much:
I'll skip the only slightly odd Sandra Betzina vest and coat and the baffling Katherine Tilton shirt pattern and end with 8843, the Marcy Tilton bag pattern:
All three views show a woman carrying a banana leaf above her bag. I have to say, I haven't seen this before.
New Yorkers: is this a thing the rest of us don't know about? I mean, here in L.A. there's a neighborhood where the hipsters are wearing top hats, so I suppose anything's possible.
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:
This week's UFF inspires terror in me for what it might do to my, er, assets...and I'm only a B cup. Who at Simplicity thought backwards suspenders (with their nice "cross my heart" look) and a tight empire silhouette was a good idea?
Welcome to Unfortunate Fashion Friday, a new feature here at PJ where I share the odd, the horrifying, and the just plain wrong. (Let me state right at the outset that I'd love nothing more than to be proven wrong about my UFF choices -- so when one of you makes an amazing version of something I've picked, send it my way!)
On to the mockery. The Big 4 are busy releasing their new spring lines. There's some great stuff out there, and then there's McCall's 6280:
Those of you who grew up in the 70s & 80s like I did probably remember the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ads that purported to tell the creation myth of Reese's yummy wonders. A librarian might be standing on a ladder eating a chocolate bar, only to accidentally drop it into a patron's open peanut butter jar after he bumped into the shelves, or a quarterbacker running down the field might ram into a cheerleader and the same chocolate bar/peanut butter jar confluence would happen. (No, they never explained why people were walking around eating from open peanut butter jars.) The point is, the wacky collision would always result in one person exclaiming "You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!" to which the other would reply "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!" Then both would realize that the two flavors were fantastic together.
Here's an example:
Which brings us back to that dress.
It's never good when you look at a design and your first thought is "What the hell happened there?" Really, I look at this dress and all I can do is envision the wacky, Rube-Goldbergesque collision at McCall's HQ that caused two halves of cute dresses to get stitched together like Frankenstein. Maybe if it were done in all one fabric. Maybe if that lovely cape collar extended to the other side...maybe if the interesting hip detail extended to the other side...
You see where I'm going with this. Asymmetry can be cool, but these are two great tastes that do not taste great together!