Saturday, August 08, 2009

Dueling Patterns - Part II

The comments left on the last post about the dueling patterns from Simplicity and Butterick have been very interesting...

So Friday evening after work, since I was meeting a friend and needed to waste some time, I headed to the Borders Bookstore in the Time Warner Center hoping they would have a copy of the newly published book, "Isabel Toledo: Fashion From The Inside Out." Of course, they didn't so I've ordered a copy from Amazon. But I did stumble across this cute and inexpensive book, "Michelle Obama - First Lady of Fashion and Style" by Susan Swimmer.

The book is now in my possession because it has such great pics of Michelle's outfits. Now I know almost all of the pictures in the book can be found on the internet, printed out and stored, but why go to all of that trouble when this handy little book does it for me. There are some interesting candid shots of the Inauguration dress without the long coat...and from what I can see...the dress DOES have princess seams. So in that regard the Butterick pattern is truer to the original dress than the Simplicity pattern.

Then Debbie Cook posted a link to a picture of both the front and back of the outfit...

Photo from

This proves that both patterns did not capture the essence of the back of the jacket...and Ann I wonder if the seams are so detailed on the jacket back because of the width of the fabric as you suggested.

Updated to include photo from Phyllis which outlines the actual seam lines in the back of the jacket!

Now I know that very few of us have access to the same type of fabric used in the original outfit...but whatever fabric we choose to will give us a little more freedom and creative licensing when making our own version. However, it has been extremely least to examine the two patterns design so closely and to imagine how I will make my own version of this momentous outfit!

Next time I will cry less and examine the details more! *LOL* One final note...we all noticed the Inauguration Outfit (maybe because it soooooo resembled the original styling!) but none of us mentioned that Butterick also did a riff on the Jacket/Skirt outfit that Michelle Obama wore to the Concert on the Mall the Sunday before Inauguration Day...

Butterick's Version:

Michelle Obama's Actual Outfit

Finally I succumbed...I did purchase the Butterick pattern mainly because of the lowered seamline on the jacket front and the Club BMV price of $4.27! *LOL* Patterns are still on sale through midnight tonight CST. I also bought the wardrobe pattern pictured now between the four patterns I can come up with my own version of Michelle Obama's wardrobe.

Well I'm off to Vogue dress is calling my name! I have no plans for the weekend except a brunch tomorrow...and if I use my time wisely, I may have not one dress but two dresses to show! Hope springs eternal! *LOL*

As always...more later!


  1. Thanks for the pictures and your analysis. I look forward to your interpretations.

  2. If you end up sewing your own First Lady wardrobe, you could call the collection, "MOmentous".

  3. I didn't notice the concert outfit until lastnight when I saw it on the Butterick frontpage.

  4. I noticed that pattern and thought it resembled the Concert Ensemble. But it's the fabric that makes that outfit. Love the double faced wool!

  5. The Mitchelle Obama wardrobe, nice. I didn't notice the concert outfit either. I'm anxiously awaiting your versions.

  6. I LOVE the concert outfit!

  7. While the Butterick pattern more closely resembles the inaugural outfit, the Simplicity pattern is far nicer and more practical. Michelle's outfit looks very chunky and ungraceful. Your sheath TNT pattern is quite flattering on you, and you do quite well following your own style voice. Besides, that coat isn't likely to flatter very many figure types. I, for one, don't need the shapeless bulk. I prefer a shorter jacket with a little shaping to give the illusion of a waist long since lost!

  8. You make an interesting point about these patterns, but if I were doing this for a client, I would have a tendency to tailor the outfit for that client, while holding true to the lines of the original. To me what makes Michelle's inaugural outfit so fab is that it is an all-time classic style, and if it doesn't have princess seams, it should. I'm not above putting something like that in cause it would make the fit so dreamy. Knowing designers (but caveat here for specifically Isabel Toledao cause don't know her fondness/aversion to princess seams), but designers love to use these seams they can show off a myriad of assets and hide a plethora of ills!

    If you were to do this for yourself, including coat/jacket, I would really shape it cause something that long and big can get boxy very quickly. Obviously a professional designer like Toledo knows that and did a great job keeping the fit beautiful.

  9. I am seriously loving that Butterick coat pattern. Thanks for pointing out it's a MO knock-off; thast makes me like it even more.

  10. Michelle Obama is such a classy lady. She is in the same class as Jackie O in my opinion. I think her style will be easier for the average woman to wear however. Jackie O was so tiny! Anyway, I am very anxious to see what you come up with for yourself. I am getting closer and closer to making the step toward sewing for myself again. It has been 11 years since I have made myself anything to wear. I couldn't find what I wanted to wear to our daughter's wedding so I designed and made what I wore. I don't know why I don't do that anymore. It's partly because I sew for 5 grands and there's not much time for anything else.

  11. I read Karen's post earlier today about the two patterns and I appreciate your attention detail about these patterns as well. I also did not pick up on the pre- inauguration ensemble at all. Though I admit to looking at that pattern a lot but did not purchase it during the recent Club BMV sale. I also missed the deadline. I have some other patterns on the way.

  12. My analysis is that princess seams work well on everyone, and Michelle is the latest in a line of stylish first ladies - Laura and Nancy both looked good in ways we regular folk could emulate, too. It's so nice to have ladies in the limelight who aren't the Hollywood types, wearing clothes no real person can pull off.

  13. Butterick couldn't have been more in our faces about the knock off, could they? Even to the green gloves and MO's hair style. I guess they figure if she can sell clothing she'll sell patterns too. The concert outfit was a knock out and the pattern looks pretty close. These are perfect for your corporate life, well maybe not in $500 a yard wool lace! The concert wardrobe seems the most versatile. Here's to your MO wardrobe.

  14. I too didn't notice the concert outfit, but will purchase the B5399 as well as B5396 during one of JA's .99 sale.

    I have the Michelle Obama 100 days of Style Collector's Issue that also showcases Michelle's great outfits from formal to casual.

  15. I just ordered the fashion book last week from amazon. You are right, I did forget about the preinauguration ensemble. I just might have to get that one as well.

  16. Carolyn,
    You are truly a professional in the sewing business. I love the way you explain and work out what is going on with a pattern. If we could all have someone that lives near or with us to help guide not only our fabric choices, but the patterns that we pick. Even with the books, I find that you do not get a real understanding of what makes a great outfit when you purchase the fabric. I see ideas in my mind, but I find that when I go to the fabric stores, everything falls apart. I would like to email you a couple of questions that I have about picking out fabric to support building a wardrobe. Let me know if it is alright to email you.

  17. I`m fan of sewing too. And I`ll use your patterns or ideeas. I adore Michelle Obama an d hope I will be abble to sew something from her vestuary.
    My english is bad, but I read without problems. I will follow your works.
    Glade to meet you.

  18. I love your blog. Thank you:-)


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