If the Women of Younger Were Home Sewers

Who’s excited for the new season of Younger?!?! Did you know that the costume designer for Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada, Patricia Field, is also a costume consultant for Younger? Well, in honor of the new season and the spectacular fashion, I’m going to pretend each character is a home sewer and figure out what patterns they’d sew!

Scandal: Wine Cardigans & Other Patterns for Our Girls

Today is Thursday and that means one thing: Scandal is on TV tonight! We’re playing our little game of matching our patterns with TV characters, having previously looked at Girls and Downton Abbey. It’s Scandal’s turn! Grab a big glass of red wine and let’s start with our star, Olivia Pope.


Wine cardigan patterns for Olivia Pope, as picked by the McCall Pattern CompanyWe have a gazillion woman-in-power patterns that would work well on Olivia (see: capes, fitted jackets, sheath dresses), and many of you have pointed out patterns that remind you of Ms. Pope. But let’s focus instead on what Olivia wears after she hangs up her Gladiator hat for the night: the wine cardigan. I love that phrase and wish I’d coined it, but the credit goes to the Fug Girls of Go Fug Yourself:

“It speaks to a genre of cardigan that is particular good for drinking wine: large, soft, swingy, rarely with buttons; just something you can tuck around yourself, almost like a blanket and a robe together,” GFY co-founder Heather Cocks explains. “An end-of-the-day cardigan is such a regular person touch, because sometimes we all just want to bury our stresses in something snuggly that won’t judge our fourth glass. When Liv has on her Wine Cardigan, it’s go time and a bottle of Cabernet is about to die.”

For Olivia’s wine cardigan outfit I chose McCall’s M6658, a comfy-chic ensemble if there ever was one. Sew the sweater and pants out of tissue-weight cashmere for uber comfort and luxury. And don’t stint on the wine either.


First Lady Mellie of Scandal looks great in sheath dresses with little details. Pattern from the McCall Pattern CompanyMellie, Mellie, Mellie. We love every crazy bit about you, and we were 100% behind you during your Smelly Mellie phase. Yeah, we’d vote for you as president, you nutty vixen. Just keep wearing those sheath dresses. I think Vogue Patterns V1369 by Kay Unger is perfect for Mellie, with its pleats at the waist and the asymmetrical neckline. Make it in a shade of power red.

Rumor has it that Bellamy Young, who plays Mellie, is actually a sewer herself. She visited Mood Fabrics a year ago and tweeted this: “Few more soothing places than a fabric store.” Word.


Abby on Scandal sticks to politically safe dresses and jackets, now that she works for the White House. Pattern by Vogue Patterns.Can I just say how bored I am with what the writers have done with Abby’s character? She is a walking advertisement for not going into politics. I mean, just look at the boring clothes she has to wear now: plain sheath dresses and bland jackets in mousy colors. When she was a Gladiator she wore sexy DVF wrap dresses or silk blouses and pencil skirts. Abby was hot! Let’s hope she forsakes her dull job to save Olivia and returns to being a Gladiator. In the meantime, I think Vogue Patterns sheath dress V9050 is a step up from her on-the-job sheath dresses of late.


Quinn would rock a bomber jacket. Pattern by McCall's.I love Quinn. She’s the most real of the Scandal women. She actually uses contractions when she speaks! (Olivia Pope hates contractions.) Quinn gets the job done, and she dresses casually, just in case there’s dirty work involved (and maybe a little blood too). Moto jackets are so her, and we can also see Quinn wearing a bomber jacket for the spring weather in DC. I’ve chosen McCall’s pattern M7100, and I think Quinn would rock it in butter-soft black or tan suede.

Wow, we’re so excited about your enthusiastic reception to the wrap dress sewalong. Have you been thinking about patterns to sew? I’m actually deciding between a few myself. Next week we’ll talk more about testing out RTW wrap dresses before choosing a pattern, so don’t feel you have to rush into anything. There’s lots of time…

If the Women of Downton Abbey Wore Our Patterns

Last week I wrote a post on what if the women on the HBO show Girls were home sewers and used our patterns. It was a lot of fun to write and you readers seemed to enjoy it. So this week I thought I’d take on the lovely women of Downton Abbey.

First of all, the very thought of Mary, Edith, Cora or any Grantham being a home sewer in 1924 is well, just so silly! Of course they’d take trips to Paris to buy couture or to London to see a dress show. So with Mary, Edith and Cora I’ll speculate on the types of patterns they might ask a dressmaker to make in 1924, and further suspending disbelief, as a 21st-century women in 2015. (Many thanks to Seamstress Erin for suggesting the patterns-of-today touch.) For Anna, Mary’s handmaid, I’ve picked two patterns she might actually sew herself in 1924 and 2015. Read on!

Dressing Lady Mary of Downton Abbey in patterns from 1924 and 2015.

Lady Mary: I think this past Sunday’s episode was the first time Mary indicated an interest in fashion. “Oh, yummy!” she gasped at one of the frocks in the London fashion show she attended with Aunt Rosamund. It’s easy to imagine her embracing the new shapes of the 1920’s and yearning for a bit of discreet sex appeal, so I can definitely see her in the 1924 Butterick pattern on the left, with its diaphanous sleeves and skirt with breezy godets. For the Lady Mary of 2015, how about this new Ralph Rucci for Vogue Patterns ensemble as the perfect attire for an “informal conference of northern landowners,” wink wink? The beautifully-shaped jacket keeps it all respectable, while the lower skirt and top—both made in semi-sheer silk, are ever so flirtatious.

Dressing Lady Edith of Downton Abbey in Butterick and Vogue patterns from 1924 and 2015.

Lady Edith: Oh, dear Edith, I do so wish they’d give her a better storyline, and soon. There is a fun girl trapped inside her, I’m convinced. Fortunately they costume Edith in pretty clothes, and this green 1924 Butterick dress with satin roses would be smashing on her. Time-traveling to 2015, today’s Lady Edith is still unlucky in love, but she’s firmly in control of her own destiny these days. Daughter Marigold lives with her because, c’mon, it’s 2015, and Edith would be quite the yummy mummy about town in this Donna Karan for Vogue Patterns top, skinny pants, and fringed jacket outfit.  You go, girl.

Dressing Countess Cora y of Downton Abbey in Butterick and Vogue patterns from 1924 and 2015.

Countess Cora: Art historian Bricker to Cora:”Everything in Downton is beautiful, including its mistress.” To quote the very funny New York Times recapper Louis Bayard, this come-on is “not the last word in suave, but since Robert appears only to have eyes for Isis the pooch, this is about as good as Countess G is going to get.” Now that we’re seeing the artistic side of Cora, let’s imagine her in this 1924 Butterick pattern with a decidedly Spanish influence. For trips to galleries with Bricker, the Cora of 2015 would wear this Vogue Patterns curving, sculptural jacket in white paired with slim ankle pants. And if Robert is still blind to his wife’s loveliness, well, she can always come back to New York where she’d be much appreciated.

Dressing Anna of Downton Abbey in Butterick and Vogue patterns from 1924 and 2015.

Anna Bates: Here’s another one deserving a little happiness! Would it have been that boring to make Anna and her husband Mr. Bates just a pair of really nice people living quiet, contented lives? And maybe a baby in the future? Sigh, I guess so. For Anna’s off-duty Sunday outings with her hubby, she’d sew this smart 1924 Butterick number with the attractive button detail. (Baxter would have taught Anna how to sew on the sewing machine they added to the household last season.) For her 2015 imaginary life, I can see her looking all kinds of cute in this Vogue Patterns culotte jumpsuit, especially if it’s made in a lightweight stretch denim à la Dior. Perfect for a day trip to London to see if her husband really could be a murderer.


As I write this it’s Monday and we’re being bombarded with snow in Phase 1 of what NYC Mayor de Blasio says “will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in the history of New York City.” Fingers crossed we don’t lose power, ’cause I need my wifi and I need my sewing machine! (Food and warmth are also good things to have.) Hope as you’re reading this on Tuesday that all of us on the east coast woke up to much less snow than expected!