The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Golden Globes 2016 – Teachable Moments

I asked you all to start out the Red Carpet season with a different outlook than what you normally see or hear about in the reviews the next day.  So let’s look at some of the teachable (learnable?) moments that the Golden Globes provided.

First – it was a stellar night and lots of great stuff to choose from – good and bad, but I’m only going to talk about the good – OK well, there’s some bad too – can’t help it – that’s life!

There’s nothing like a diva gown.  This is what Hollywood is all about, and there’s nothing more special that when it’s done correctly.  I sometimes wonder if Zac Posen thinks that all his students, followers, etc., are watching to see how he executes a gown.  This is fit skin tight – no ease, which is great and all well for a formal gown, particularly around the bodice.  But what’s really stellar here is that notice how the seams don’t pucker (you can click the pic for a larger version)?  And how all the fabric lays smoothly.  That ain’t luck.  That’s fitting, with darts, seams and proper placement of darts and seams.  All this without orbiting Mars (which BTW is my saying for it’s a down-to-Earth look – it’s practical, it’s doable, and it’s pretty and normal – not so far out in the universe that it’s un-relateable or unpractical).

TM: (Teachable Moment): You think you can’t be fit?  You think you can’t fit seams without puckering?  You can and this dress proves it.  Sometimes, it’s not easy, but it can be done.

I loved the E! Online Glambot and showed this gorgeous dress by Genny perfectly!

So here’s the deal with this gown. This works great for divas, but that low neckline can only be maintained by standing straight all the time. The minute you bend over, the girls are loose and rolling around in there free range and all! TM:  Don’t do this low cut – it’s hard to wear, even for formal evening things, unless you’re a diva or going to change into something about an hour after you put it on. So here’s a great dress on a regular figure, unless you’re living on a treadmill, but the rest of us have lives and things to do besides living on a treadmill (or like me you avoid one like the plague!)  But here’s a simple accentuate and de-accentuate solution.  Queen Latifah has a large chest and shoulders, so here her dress is cut out and her shoulders in darker tones recess, while the bling is all around her face and the rest of the dress is classic to form a beautiful background to the bling. TM:  Accentuate your assets and even if you have parts you don’t like, pick out your favorite parts, smile, ankles, wrists, anything and accentuate that while you let the bad parts fall to the background. So here’s part 2 of accentuate your assets, and another regular figure.  The master of blocking Prabal Gurung has really done a classic beauty for Ms. Schumer.  She has a thick waist and not a svelte figure, so he’s put in side recessing dark black panels to fall into the background, and the same with the skirt – to look smaller and recess, while the bold, projecting white comes to the front and because the side panels are at an angle, it makes her look like her waist is a lot smaller than it really is.  If this were all in one color, she would look like she gained 15 pounds.  As it is, she looks fabulous. TM:  Using color blocking really works.

I should probably disqualify my self on this one, but I won’t, I’ll just give you a caveat and you can go from there.  You all know I’m a huge fan of Outlander, and so when the major actress star goes to the Golden Globes I won’t hesitate to put her on my blog.  She was also a former model so that gives her a few creds for walking down the red carpet and doing the E! Online Glambot, which I loved.  This is a gorgeous creation by Alexander McQueen in great lace.  The lace is a very delicate Chantilly not heavier lace.  It’s also got a gorgeous black slip under the delicate lace dress, but using this as a starting point, you can develop a lot of looks for yourself that meet your style, shape and size.

GG2016BFor me having a lace overlay in delicate lace over my leggings and tank top in black is the perfect thing for dinner out or a little dress up for an event or just wan to look nice .  This is a look that works for my life style, shape and size.

TM:  Use any part or parts of these gowns to inspire you to do something that is for your life style, shape and size.


There’s really no excuse for this, and it’s not Lily Tomlin’s fault.  The dress on the left is the one she wore to the Golden Globes and the one on the right is the one I fixed (digitally).  This is a very simple process of releasing the seams and darts around the stomach area.  This dress is too tight there and will ride up so that the fabric can find a smaller place to rest as the stomach area is fitted to tightly.

TM:  Think fit – it’s worth the effort.  Even though this isn’t the huge award show, most red carpets now, even premiers, have paparazzi out running amok, so there are going to be photos which behooves a person to look nice and well-fitted is a part of that good look.  And even though your life may not include a red carpet, there are plenty red carpet moments – like making a presentation at work, accepting an award, attending an event for your kids or family who are accepting an award, or just going out to a fancy place for a celebration dinner – all of those should require you to look well-groomed and part of that well-groomed look is being fitted well.  Ms. Tomlin does not have a svelte figure, but she also was not fitted properly which exacerbated her un-svelte-like look.  Ill-fitting clothes do accentuate the bad parts of your body, so make the effort to fit well.

Prints are normally taboo on the red carpet, however you see them periodically and when you do they should make a statement.  What’s the statement in this print?  Look carefully.  The whole print is centered (no pun meant) around a circle just below where her left pocket is.  I’ve already talked about the low-cut below the bust line, but this is Hollywood, and they are most likely taped or glued into that dress – that’s fine for Hollywood, but not for us, so don’t do it.  But here I wanted to talk about the print – now that you see the design in the print, think carefully how you would cut this out.  Where would you lay the left and right bodice?  Where would you lay the left and right skirt?  Thinking carefully on this, you can see that this fabric is pretty much woven for the design of the dress.  The Zuhair Murad, the designer, probably designed this fabric for the dress, which is the height (to me) of couture, cause you have to know about how to put together a dress to figure out that this is so awesome.

TM:  Try this on a simple dress pattern you have:  work at laying out the pattern on a print so that there is an interesting central point that you can cut your pattern around.  Realize this is NOT an economical way to cut, but a way to be more artistic and cut with a certain point of interest in mind.  Also do make that point of interest a sensitive part of your body.  If you’re sensitive about your bust or hip size, don’t make the central point that point you don’t like – make it one you do like.

One of the unsaid rules of the red carpet for a beginner is “Don’t wear red!”  The reason is it gets lost in the red carpet.  But of course, once you know that, and you’re a pro at this red carpet thing like Amy Adams, then it’s OK.  Also this dress is a classic!

TM: Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist ~ Picasso!

Another disaster, and there’s no reason for it.  And again this isn’t Katy Perry’s fault, but the stylist and the fitter.  Drooping boobs is bad enough but to accentuate them is inexcusable.  All this requires is a simple alteration at the shoulder, and voila, a much more fitted and finer look.  Also the dress is too tight and causing parts of the bodice and skirt to ride up and down looking for a place that’s smaller to rest.

TM:  See Lily Tomlin – aka – fit your garment, especially for special occasions.

Holy Cow!  I think the Earth just moved!!!  When the queen of weird costumes comes out in a beautiful glamour outfit, you know it means something important.  It means that pretty and beauty is hot.

TM:  Pretty is in!


So what’s the huge takeaway from the whole night?  There’s not really one style, and that’s a movement in itself.  Fashion is now saying there is no one “look” or fashion trend, other than a more individual look for yourself, which is fabulous for we sewists, cause we know ourselves way better than the regular consumer.  The other takeaway here is that pretty is in!

So go make something individual and pretty!  See how much you can learn from the red carpet.  The next big show is the SAG Awards on January  30th on TNT and TBS.  sig2


  1. Is there any kind of a ratio to use on these types of gowns at the bottom? For example, Lilly seems to look even shorter due to the hem span in her dress.

    • Not really. Here’s what I do for my debs and brides, which depends upon the design. A lot of brides want a train that lays flatly, while the dress is more mermaid shaped. That means it is close to the body till about the mid-thigh region and then flares from there. To get enough fabric for the dress to lay flatly, requires godets, no matter how full and flared I make it at the hem. Some brides like the flare to start at the waist and want it medium to A-line, which is a lot thinner dress. Some brides want a straight line from the waist to the floor, which takes no godets, just pie-piece shaped. So really the short answer is how twirly or full do you want the hem – the twirlier (fuller), add more fabric; the thinner (more architecturally sculpted) the less at the hem, but there is no magic number – it depends upon the design.

      As well as the design, if the design is thinner, usually that’s a stiffer fabric with more body like elaskene or zibalene (there are a gazillion ways to spell this elaskane, zabalane), or peau de soie or duchess satin. If the dress is to have a train that lays flatly and usually a mermaid dress, then that’s usually in a more limber or drapier fabric.

      Hope that helps. Were you thinking of one that you liked more than another?

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