The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

And Now We Start The Red Carpet Season – Golden Globes

Actually all in all this was a good night or fashion.  The Golden Globes starts the Red Carpet season and is touted as the most fun of the awards shows.  But I thought the fashion was really fabulous.  OK so why do we care about the fashion?….I mean it’s folly right?  Well, the Red Carpet has elevated as just as much a fashion-setting authority as the fashion shows themselves.  It’s one of the few times we regular folks get to see a garment work the look and see how it really looks in real life – like we’re gerna wear some of this stuff.  But you know there is a lot to learn and take away from these red carpet looks. And being sewists, we can adapt, extract, alter and otherwise reconfigure our looks accordingly.

So here goes…..

One really strong trend was the low-cut trend, and it gives me a chance to talk about the comfort level of this neckline.  There are three anchor points on the bodice:  1.)left shoulder, 2.) right shoulder and 3.) waist.  When these three are anchored, then garments don’t do pesky things like strap falling of shoulder, having wardrobe malfunction and just generally being uncomfortable to wear.

Case in point. Notice how tight tat rope waist line is around her waist – see how it digs in? Also notice how the waist line rides up a little in front?  That’s bcause the waits needs to be connected there so that that neckline stays very close to the skin.  It doesn’t bother me how tight the waist is (the muffin top effect is both above and below the waist, the waist is so tight), because it has to be this way to fit properly so that the dress doesn’t gab open in front.  But this neckline takes away from the support between the shoulders and waist.  How?  Because when there’s no fabric (support) below the bust point, there’s nothing to prevent this from gaping open.  Think of a slit on the side of the dress and the dress being tight – so what would hold it together? being really taught?  Well, that’s one way, but you can see how it wouldn’t work well.

What happens when you bend over or even hug someone?….this dress gabs and the girls can fall out way too easily!


Here you can see a typical solution to this…just under the bust point is a transparent tape that holds the bodice together so that this makes the dress a little more comfy.  Often what will happen on the red carpet (as opposed to the runway) is that there will be a skin-toned insert in a stretch netting or sheer so that it looks like there’s nothing there, but the dress stays in place much better.


This looks like a stretch bodice top, and this is something that is a lot more practical and feels so much better.  If you have to have something cut down to your navel, do it in stretch, as it will stay in place much better than a woven.


Here’s a great example of too low and just right.  The dress on the right is so squished down so tight that you wonder if she isn’t getting a mammogram!!!  The gal in black has a great waistline.  Notice where the bust line is?   It’s right at the lowest point of the neckline.  This makes this dress comfy and secure to wear.  The caveat here is that Hollywood actresses love to be dramatic and it’s much more dramatic to have a lower cut neckline.  That’s fine for them, but for the rest of us who have to get in and out of cars by ourselves, and want to hug and greet people while we’re in our dress-up outfit or other outfit, this neckline (the low-cut one) doesn’t work.



How about color? What about yellow or yellow gold….

OMG – what a fabulous start.  Yes she’s preggie, but what a classic look.  Frankly I’m sick of the tight-as-skin look for preggie nominees.  OK great, you’re proud, you’ve been working out and you want to convey that you might deliver tonite. Frankly, we could care less and more importantly it’s TMI (too much information).  Here is a stately look of a responsible-looking person in a classic dress up look.  Do you have figure problems (or are pregnant) here’s your look.  No figure problems:  that’s OK, this is so classic it look great on anyone!!


In Versace, Reese Witherspoon looks fabulously glamorous even in strapless (which you know I’m bored of), but the pleating criss-cross makes this totally couture and beautiful to wear.

This isn’t really truly yellow, but yellow enough, and besides this gal seems to be one of those gals that is always in the right outfit. I do NOT like the black underwear under this, and would much prefer to see it be skin-toned or all dark under, but that’s easily fixed from a sewists point of view.

This was my fav yellow dress and here’s why.  Viola Davis is not a shy flowers.  She’s the spice that shines on the shelf, but shes’ so grounded that she doesn’t need to have a design that is orbit Mars (or otherwise foolish or crazy). She has a classic design, but it’s strong on her.  On Sarah Jessica Parker or Amy Adams, this dress wouldn’t shine nearly as well.  The contrast is what makes this work.

Here’s three examples of how white can look on three different complexions.  Who looks best?  It’s the one with the most contrast – Viola – she looks most dramatic and most striking.  As an actress on the red carpet, that’s what she’s after and she doesn’t shy away from it.  Lupita Nyong’o  doesn’t look as good and Kerry Washington looks washed out.  It’s not at all that they look bad, it’s just that Viola stands out so beautifully.  Viola knows this and wears colors accordingly.  It might be boring for them to answer the same fashion questions, but this IS what most want to see on the runway.  And there’s a lot to learn.

So what to do if you’re contrast doesn’t work in white…..go to color:

Since Kerry has warmer toned skin a green works beautifully for her.  Lupita has more of a blue-toned skin and blue or the cool side of the color wheel works great for her.  You can see here how these gals really shine in color where Viola who has a darker, warm-toned, striking skin tone, does gorgeous in white, therefore her bright day-glow yellow looks ultra-excellent.  This contrasting idea works with all skin tones.  In contrast, within your warm or cool skin tone, makes for a great look.

Yeah, I know I just got through talking about skin-tone contrast and this is that rule broken, but I like this dress or another reason.  This dress is not in contrast, and to be honest it’s not Sarah Jessica Parker’s best look,  but I like it for other reasons….love LOVE this silhouette.  This is a silhouette that looks remarkable on most figure types.  Not this tight, but this look.  This raised waist – not empire but raised is hot and the hint of it, or a mere indentation just below the bust is enough to hint this shape, hence the ability and look that flatters almost all figures.


This is also one of the stars of the red carpet last night.  Notice how this jacket fits on the shoulder (on Octavia’s  shoulder) and the rest of the jacket fits and does no pull.  She has a few minor wrinkles on her side bust, but my bet this is due to the position she’s in and not a garment ill-fitting.  The point is that everyone can be fit.  So saying that you’re too big here or you’re too this or that, doesn’t work….take this pic and put it in your studio and know that you can be fit.  There are great fitting mechanisms in here like lots of seams, darts, a nice sized armhole and many pieces to the pattern of the jacket.  The more pieces usually means a better fit, and a more economical cut.


It’s lots of fun to watch these red carpet runs, and even if people poo-poo it as being frivolous or not meaning much, remember that these are the fashion that will show up tomorrow and they will give you heads up on ideas for future garments.  So enjoy them!!!  More are coming.  The red carpet ends with the Oscars the end of February or first part of March, so they will be fast and furious.



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