The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

What Kate Wore and other stuff….

I love this sort of stuff.  Why?  Cause this answers exactly why we follow folks like Ms. Obama….Kate…awards shows….runway shows (for the fashion on and OFF the runway).  These are the trendsetters and the folks who are wearing what we will be wearing, if not now, then sometime in the very near future, no matter how much we say we aren’t.

Click the picture for the site

Now a lot of folks will poo-poo this idea, but it’s very valid.  And the folks who are being watched are very well aware the effect they have on fashion.  One of the grand things about Kate is that she was in the biz for a while, and understands great fashion, plus she understands about promoting her homeland.  So even though she may wear some other stuff (recently she gave a nod to an Irish designer), she’s pretty good about sticking to the British or at least British Isles designers.

I think Ms. Obama tries to do the same thing and promote American designers as well.

Click the pic to go to the site

The only difference here is that you can’t immediately buy what Mrs. O is wearing you have to go out and search for it…..

….but of course not for we sewists, cause we can see what both ladies are wearing and go with it.

I’ll start with Mrs. O and do Kate tomorrow.

OK – let’s start with this lovely dress.  The style – it’s a criss-cross design, which is great for Mrs. Obama as she doesn’t really have a full bust problem, and doesn’t really have a waist problem, so showing off these two assets works for her.  Probably if she has a figure problem it’s her hips, but this dress works nicely to show off the good parts of her figure.

The caveat – if you do have a large bust this is not your style.  It will only accentuate your already large bust.  If you have a thick waist, and small bust, go for it – this is a great look for you.

The fabric – it’s a knit and two different prints.  They work because one is rather large and dominant and the other is small and foulard-ish (I liken foulards to tie like fabrics – they are smaller and so over-all that at a distance they can look like a solid, but they aren’t.)  They are both in the same color family.  When you’re matching prints like this, they don’t have to be the same color, but it’s nice to have a general family that they can compliment each other.  For example don’t put a purple/yellow print with an orange/blue one and think it’s going to go together – both combinations are too much.  The best rule for combining prints is to make one definitely dominant and the other receding.

The pattern – I love messing around on cause you can download a lot of them and I’m usually creating something late at night when no normal store is open!!!  I found this KwikSew 2694 that I really liked for this look.

What I like about this is the criss-cross is excellent – it’s not too low and not too high.  The other thing I liked is that version B has the waist already done for us.  So what you would do is use version B, lower the upper waist a big and raise the lower waist a bit, then cut that in one piece, then trace off this piece and make it 1″ larger (add ½” on top and bottom), and ruche that into the waist piece.  Next is you would add a simple A-line or slightly gathered skirt (depending upon your figure size and style), and you’ve got it.  The sleeves are already in the pattern, so you could pick the sleeve length you like (I happen to love ¾ these days), and off you go.

This is a simple dress to accomplish and has some great look to it.  For me what makes this dress great is the simple ruched waistband, and the fabric.  It’s a knit and yet very relaxed and works well with Mrs. Obama’s figure shape and size, but also her style of life and her coloring.  It’s a great look for any of us.


  1. I’m pretty busty and I think this style can work pretty well, but you’ve got to wear a camisole! And you’ve got to go with view A. I’ve tried so many times to make tops with an empire waistline and even when I get the placement right, it puts way too much emphasis on the boobs.

    I love the print mixing on this. I’m totally stealing that idea. Now the hard part: finding two coordinating prints!

    (is Mrs. O wearing pirate boots? hot!)

  2. Vespabelle – if you’re busty, just make sure you don’t suck in too much immediately under your bust….make sure that line from under your bust is as graduated as possible….that means your waist will be just a little lower (I think this pattern it’s a little higher), but also what I like about this pattern is that the criss cross goes way over to the side (and you can make it go over a little more cause this is knit), and that means that the criss cross point in front is going to be a little higher. One thing a first lady has to do is keep “the girls” in check!!!

  3. Claire, I love this post. You are a natural teacher. You show us a great fashion idea, tell us who it works on and why, and then you even tell us what pattern to make it with. Thank you so much for all this valuable information.

    • Mary – I think this is fun and these two ladies are so full of fun great ideas in clothing. Sometimes you look at a yardage of clothing or a pattern and haven’t any clues, and searching through sites of famous folks, really does help gel ideas about what to do and what will work for you! Glad you liked the ideas here.

  4. Hi Claire,

    I am so happy that you are back blogging. I tried to connect with your FB but found it very unfirnedly, This format works well for me.

    I really appreciate your comments about the wrap dress and big busts. I always thought they were what i should wear but i find them not right. I have narrow shoulders, a bigger bust, short waist, some waist definition and very narrow hips with a flat derriere.I would really appreciate it if you would show us some “people in the news’ like this and identify some patterns for dresses that would work. I am asking for a lot. I think Catherine Zeta Jones has a figure sort like the one I described.

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