The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Roundup for the Grammys Fashion

Usually I don’t even bother with the Grammys cause they are so far out there, that the Hubble Space Telescope can’t even see them!

But this year is different.  If you EVER needed proof that the fashion trend is changing (like my screaming it daily isn’t enough), the Grammys will do it for you.  There were the usual weirdos, but that’s just the Grammys .  The real surprise is the plethora of fabulous looking dresses, that you and I can wear….so here goes (not in any particular order).

Miranda Lambert

Wow – this is my idea of an evening gown, pretty, flattering and fitted well.  What can we take away from this for fashion and execution?….fit and style.  For one thing it’s a nice transition from strapless to non-strapless; the netting at the top, yet the trim around the sleeves and neckline are a definite statement to bring out the non-strapless look.  Notice how this gal is not wafer thin, yet looks very attractive and shapely (it’s that most of the shape is under the bust – high-waisted so that no muffin-topping is seen around the waist).


Here’s another gal who is not wafer thin (Hallelujah – could this also be a trend?!!!!) and dressed in black (black recedes, white projects….black will always make you look thinner), a nice thick waist band piece around the waist and high up keeps her from looking too fat around the midriff and hips – it keeps the silhouette line looking smooth.  Also the 3/4 sleeve is a great treatment for keeping the dress from taking over the owner.  Nice bateau (boat neck) neckline that is always attractive (it moves the eye widthwise across the shoulders and makes you look wider there.  Note:  if you already have broad shoulders, don’t do this – keep to a scoop, V-neck or something lengthy.)

Paris Hilton

Of course Paris has to do something just a little off plumb, but mostly this is really beautiful – we’d all wear the center piece with either a nude or slightly contrasting piece under the garment, in this case I wouldn’t wear anything too contrasting cause it would take away from the dress – that’s why the nude under slip is the best look for this beautiful dress – it shows off the lace detail without taking away from the whole delicate beauty of the dress.  The belt is a nice touch (Note –  it’s a great addition to a great dress.   Classic cap sleeves (looking for a great style as an alternate to the cap sleeve?…this is a wonderful style to keep in mind).

For those of you taking my lingerie class this spring, this is great inspiration about how to insert lace or insertions into a blouse or top.  It’s a classic beautiful style.

Katy Perry

Why do we watch the movie stars and Hollywood?…well, I have one main answer – this is our “royalty”…..since we don’t have a queen or king to view (check out this blog intro on why it’s so fun to keep up with the fashions of the royalty), we look to our movie stars to exemplify glamorous, and this year, these gals fulfilled our most beautiful dreams….isn’t this dress fabulous.  It’s an overlay onto a beautiful just slightly shaded different colored gown.  Something else that’s fun to do and you can take away from this, is putting a different color under chiffon for a fabulous look.  Summer is coming, a wispy chiffon jacket over a different colored top is a beautiful look and gives a new personality to the chiffon and the top….color combos like magenta over sapphire blue; orange over tomato red (or vice versa), yellow over light green; purple over pale pink – all these combinations can be really striking.

Kimberly Perry

Another gorgeous black dress, with the glitter and twinkle above…two things immediately, one is that tie thing which isn’t all that great, but it’s not a deal-breaker, the other is that the glitter and twinkle is at the face and it’s not sequins.  A fact about sequins and rhinestones is that they do reflect the flash of the camera, and it can often show up as a white reflection on your face – IOW, a dress like this can make the wearer’s face have white spots.  Most of the time you can digitally morph those out and a good photographer will do that, but it’s nice to know when you’re wearing it.  Here’s another belt again, another great look.  Ms. Perry is young enough she doesn’t have to worry about sleeveless, so this is totally appropriate.

Taylor Swift

Va-va-va-voom – How gorgeous is this?  The gold on a sheer over a nude color (but see how appropriate it looks – it makes the dress shine and if she had worn only the sheer dress, we would have remarked about how it was just too much showing…TMI [too much information]).  This is so beautiful – love the Greek key-esque detail on the trim on the bottom, the artistic swirling pattern throughout the design (which is symmetrical – the detail here is fabulous) the gorgeous high neck, the elegant neckline cutaway, the sleeve caps, there’s not a belt, but a nice waistline trim giving the illusion of a belt, the whole look is just what we expect on the red carpet.

Dianna Ross


I didn’t give you the title here, cause I didn’t catch who this is the first time.  But what I did see is how beautifully she’s dressed for her full shape!  Great jacket, that flares at the hem – this is a classic look for making you look like you have shape and avoiding the straight up and down look that comes from clothes that fit off the shoulders.  And speaking of off the shoulders, notice how her jacket fits right on the shoulders (even though her arms are up, and this causes the shoulders to raise up – this doesn’t bother me here in this pose).  The jacket looks like a nice thick silk -possibly even a 4-ply or thicker silk crepe, with tuxedo striped pants.  I’m sure she was very comfy in her wonderful outfit last night – even if she wanted to stop in the name of love!

I picked this out cause this is the shape of a lot of my clients and just frankly a lot of us.  It shows how pretty you can look and not be wafer thin.  The very first thing you absolutely must do is you MUST have your shoulders on your shoulders, not half way or part of the way down the arm.  The problem with buying RTW (ready-to-wear) is that when the size is graded up, they grade up the length and the width throughout the pattern.  Most of my fuller-figured clients and students don’t gain a lot of weight in the shoulders – they gain it in the bust, waist and hips – this is where the grading needs to be – not in the shoulders.  Ms. Ross looks exceptionally beautiful here and one big reason is that the jacket fits on her shoulders.

OK – one more point on this – notice Ms. Ross’s stance?  This is not a good stance for fitting.  We fit with our arms to our sides, standing up, weight on both sides. This is how you should fit yourself – if you’re having to stand on one hip, raise your arms, put your hands on your waist, to make an outfit look good, there’s something wrong.  Although Ms. Ross is looking good here, I’m sure she’s making a point or chatting with the photographers and probably practiced how she would pose at home and decided this was her look for the night – that’s fine, but for we sewists, let’s just use the traditional way/stance for fitting and work from there.  If when you sit down, raise your arms or have your hands on your waist, the jacket wrinkles up or doesn’t fit well – just remember this picture – we wouldn’t want the jacket to fit on Ms Ross in this stance and look poorly fit with her arms down – and BTW, neither would Ms. Ross!

Joyce DiDonato

Another glamorous dress.  Although this is strapless, the dress is just fantastically gorgeous with all those layers of sheers on the dress.  And don’t think this is just a look for the red carpet.  A beautiful chiffon or sheer type jacket, layered is really beautiful – IOW, think about underlining the chiffon jacket with another color and the top layer having a print or design on it.  When you underline it like this, this gives you a chance to finish all the edges inside so that it’s just a beautiful inside as it is outside, and the ability to just face the whole garment and finish the edges in a very attractive and professional look.  The jacket still maintains the wispy chiffon-y look, but has an added enhancement to the color and nap of the garment.

Joy Williams

I like this look, cause this is a great idea for revamping your current strapless dresses…make a little shell type top in a beautiful lace, chiffon (print or not), or partial see-through type fabric, then fit the dress over this top, and tack in place.  You have to do this on a mannequin, but this makes a very effective and updated look for your strapless dresses and tops

Well, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.  Frankly I’m excited and have a ton of new ideas to play with – now to the studio!


  1. Claire – thank you for the quick commentary on last night’s parade of fashions.

  2. Hi Claire, I sent you a friend request so I can comment via your FB posts. Courtenay

  3. I always enjoy your take on red carpet events!

  4. Just found you again after awhile. I hate how people do not fit their shoulders and I agree with all your comments. Although I sew, I let a tailor completely raise the sleeves/shoulders on a new coat. Cost 3 times the amount of the coat but you should see the fit. Since I fall between 2 sizes, I always have my good jackets graded at the shoulders. When I go out, I just want to grab a bunch of pins and show strangers how their clothes should fit. If we could just get people to not worry about the size of ready to wear – it would be a beginning step towards fit. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

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