Monday, January 26, 2015

Sewing through the Cinema~The Long Hot Summer

by Amy~ViennasGrace

        Get your tissues ready, no not that kind of tissue silly, this isn't a tear jerker.  I'm searching sewing patterns modern and vintage to find the looks featured in classic films. Although it might not be possible to duplicate the exact look, I'll show you how to easily mimic the feeling of the style. Soon you'll see that a silver screen wardrobe is only a pattern away.

The Long, Hot Summer~a 1958 film adaptation of William Faulkner's literary work. Set in 1950s Mississippi, filled with over the top colorful southern characters.  The Varner family is an interesting crew, led by domineering father Will Varner (Orson Wells) with 24 yr old "spinster" daughter Clara (Joanne Woodward) a spineless needy son Jody (Tony Franciosa) and his flirty bombshell wife Eula (Lee Remmick).  Their lives collide with the bad reputation, misunderstood traveling guy, Ben Quick (Paul Newman... dreamy blue eyed Paul Newman).  

Here's the movie trailer

 I'd love to spend an evening with this dramatic group of characters, having after dinner mint juleps on the veranda... during a long, hot summer.  Oh but what would I wear?? Eula and Clara both with such great individual style!  I love elements of both...hmmm what to do, what to do...
mint julep:   noun  minty summer cocktail
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
boil together until sugar dissolves then strain out the mint leaves
(this is your mint simple syrup)
after this cools add 
32 Oz of Kentucky Bourbon
poor over ice and top with a few mint leaves
serves 8 maybe, but more like 3
There are a few dresses that really stand out in this film, and I could whip up a great vintage dress to match their southern glamour.  That classic yet va-va-voom look, perfect for my imaginary evening with the Varner family.

Flirty Eula, shuffling across the room in this screen shot,  wearing a true wiggle dress.  See, no slit at the hem line...tiny steps, tiny steps, tiny steps

Finding all that bombshell action in one dress might be a little challenging,  so I'll focus on the basic silhouette of this dress to achieve all of Eula's Southern Charm.
These key features are a must
1. Wiggle, pencil, fitted, slim skirt dress
2. Wide collar bone neckline
3.  Collarless
4.  Fitted midriff
midriff: noun  The middle outer portion of the front of the human body, extending roughly from just below the breast to the waistline.

Found  some great options.  An inset waist or even a cummerbund, both give that oh so fitted midriff.

What about creating that look with SEPARATES?!? 

McCalls 4680 GreyDogVintage         McCalls 8299 Fancywork

In one evening scene Clara wears a black dress that trumps all other LBDresses out there. TO DIE FOR! Crazy for this dress.

 These key features are a must
1. One cut sleeve to bodice-kimono sleeve
2. Fitted midriff
3. Draped high neckline-think of it as a controlled cowl neck or an exaggerated bateau.

bateau:  noun (not the boat, the neckline)  The  A wide high neckline that follows the curve of the collarbone and ends in points at the shoulder seams.

 This one is pretty close! The view in red, add a belt for a more defined natural waistline.   It even has the empire waistline seaming with a blouson style bust, The perfect balance of cowl-meets-beateau neckline, plus the fitted midriff.
Simplicity 1510 CherryCorners

I think all of these work too!

Why not try separates?
Great draped necklines!

 then...add a high waisted skirt for a sleek more fitted midriff.

Simplicity 3495 Fripperie         Vogue 8697 ThePatternSource               Vogue 7697 DejaVuPatterns

Movie trivia time

What a couple!  The Long Hot Summer was their screen debut as an official couple.  They were married by the time the movie was released.  The two met 5 years earlier during a Broadway production of Picnic.  Joanne was just an understudy.  This non-Hollywood style couple were married for 50 years until Paul's death in 2008.

    The Long, Hot Summer wardrobe credit goes to two of Hollywood's heavy hitters-
Adele Palmer (costume design)
and Charles LeMaire (executive wardrobe designer)
Both of these designers were career studio designers, each with an enormous filmography.  They also designed a few sewing patterns,  Adele Palmer for Advance and Charles LeMaire for Spadea.  Best to keep an eye out for those rare gems.

  Stumbled on 
this German movie poster, ΓΌber cool!


And this vintage vinyl is available on Etsy check it out at
The Vinyl Frontier

Now, back to the dresses, here are just a few worn by Eula and Clara Varner in The Long, Hot Summer.  Great attention to the details, lovely collars, lace accents, pleats, darts, and the fitted midriff. 

I think it would be a great balance to add a bit of each gals style. 
Oh the southern charm in these lovely vintage sewing patterns, all patterns featured are all from members of the Pattern Patter Team for sale on Etsy.  
(L-R) Simplicity 1031 ShellMakeYouFlip     McCalls 3481 ComeSeeComeSew
Simplicity 3563 AdeleBeeAnnPatterns     Advance 9556 sewbettyanddot     McCalls 3781 Redcurlzs

(L-R)  McCalls 4957 FarfallaDesignStudio    McCalls 9819 FriskyScissors
Simplicity 8288 PinkPolkaDotButton     McCalls 5690 EleanorMeriwether
Simplicity 2105 RosesPatternTreasury

How can you get all this style into your closet? 
I told you, pull out your tissues! Pattern tissue that is, 
go sew it girl! 
Below is a Pattern Patter Team Treasury inspired by the lovely fashions in The Long, Hot Summer.
                                 CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON ETSY

Here's another treasury inspired by The Long Hot Summer, featuring some Pattern Patter Team Vintage Sewing Patterns, along with other fun Etsy finds.
                                         CLICK HERE TO VIEW ON ETSY

Thursday, January 22, 2015