Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sewing Through the Cinema--HouseBoat

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.

A 1958 a romantic comedy about Tom Winters, a widower who makes up his mind to raise his three busy children on his own. In comes Cinzia taking on the role as a live-in nanny and housekeeper, when she is actually an Italian socialite. Much of this fun and mayhem takes place on a rickety old Houseboat.

Sophia Loren
and Cary Grant

Two years prior to filming Houseboat these two met during another production, a relationship began and Cary Grant who was 30 years her senior and already in his 3rd marriage, proposed to Sophia Loren.   She turned him down, their love affair was brief but their friendship continued throughout their lives. 

Really cute trailer from Houseboat

Costume Designer:  Edith Head
"What a costume designer does is a cross between magic and camouflage. We create the illusion of changing the actors into what they are not. We ask the public to believe that every time they see a performer on the screen he's become a different person." E.Head
Here she is during a fitting on set for Houseboat.
Considering that Sophia Loren's height was a bit under 5'9 and sporting a 24 inch waist, Edith Head was a very petite woman.
With Edith Head as the film's costume designer, it's no surprise that Sophia Loren had some amazing fashions.

Nothing so fabulous as a perfect crisp white wrap blouse! Kind of like wearing that special guy's white suit shirt, tied tight at your waist.
All those skirt gathers sit lovely on Sophia Loren's curves, but try for a more controlled sense of volume, 6, 9, 12 gores should do it.
No, I'm not talking about a HORROR FILM about GLOBAL WARMING!
totally different gore on Gore...
gore: noun  :  a tapering or triangular piece (as of cloth in a skirt)

Sophia Loren did not win an Oscar until 1962 for her role in "Two Women".  She did give that old gold guy a run for the money in this gorgeous gold gown. 

although this isn't an exact match, this pattern has the right bust structure to give the look that Sophia Loren has all on her own.  Nothing wrong with getting a little structure help.
Vogue 2372 DejaVuPatterns

ON that note...
Before we go any further...
Let's talk about about some support- getting that shape (or ummm close to that shape, or even not so close, OK  in the same zip code as that shape) it is going to take more than a pair of spanks or a push up bra.  We are talking structure here, under garment structure. With the proper undergarments 1950s fashions sit, fit, flow, and flare much better.  
          wow, sure a whole lot of bursting bust chat & ads in the 50s...
    Corselet MrsDepew                                  Corset MantuaMakerPatterns
Ok so one of the things to look for when seeking a curvy-curvy-curva-palooza silhouette, think BASQUE.  First thing that comes to mind, an excellent Basque restaurant in Fresno California...

 But never mind not that, a BASQUE Waist! 
basque is an item of women's clothing. The term, of French origin, refers to a type of bodice or jacket, and in modern usage a long corset, characterized by a close, contoured fit and extending past the waistline over the hips. It is so called because the fashion was adopted from Basque traditional dress, initially by the French and then throughout Western fashion. (thanks Wikipedia!)
I also love the term Torsolette--it's fun to say, like saying Toulouse-Lautrec. Okay! So, Back on track
That's what I'm talking about!
Below is a Pattern Patter Team Treasury inspired by the lovely fashions in Houseboat
 Here's another treasury inspired by Houseboat, featuring some Pattern Patter Team Vintage Sewing Patterns, designed by Edith Head, along with other fun Etsy finds.       Click here to view this treasury on Etsy


  1. Amy, I love your cinema features so much! This is possibly my favorite so far. Please keep writing these!!!

  2. What a fun post!!!! Thanks so much for adding my corselet pattern!

  3. Amy, Thanks for another interesting, eye-catching cinema feature. I enjoy them and the fashion of the period so much!

  4. Another great cinema feature, Amy You always strike a home run with your pattern research.
    That white wrap blouse Sophia is wearing--I sold a knock-off pattern in about 8 hours after listing.
    I was surprised it sold so quickly--Now I know why.

    1. They do sell fast, I had a few in the blog as I was working on it, and they kept selling before I could post the blog. :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Wonderful blog. Love the articles and dress patterns.

  6. Wonderful! I love the flip and swing to the hem of her dress in the movie poster.

  7. Another great look back at classic movies and classic fashion. Love these blogs.

  8. Wonderful post, and absolutely beautiful patterns! Sophia Loren could make a paper sack look beautiful!

  9. Love it! I love wrap blouses! The Basque Waist is amazing...Thanks for posting! I will share

  10. Amy, you've done it again! Such a feast for the eyes. Thanks so much for another great blog article.

  11. What a great article! Doubly great to have patterns to match all the fine fashion!!
    Do you mind if I add one here? I have a pattern for the overskirt for the one piece bathing suit:

  12. Amy this is amazing! Gorgeous and well researched and written, thank you!!

  13. I love the fashions in these movies, and the patterns to make them! You've done such great research to show them to us.

    Thank you for including my pattern in your article!

  14. Really great article. I LOVE old movies with all the outfits and old antique house furnishings!

  15. Fabulous post, Amy! I really miss the classic stars, especially around Oscar time; I'd rather watch re-runs of the event from decades ago than be bored with the lackluster showing of modern ones.

  16. Thanks-there is nothing better than the glamour of classic fashion and the stars who wore them! :)

  17. Fantastic Blog...you always manage to find the best matched patterns !
    Love your work, Amy !

  18. Gorgeous fashions! Shame on me, I've never seen the movie. It's on my list now! Thanks so much Amy!

    1. Yes you should watch it, really cute movie! :)

  19. You really dig deep and put together a good read and for those of us who sew where to find the patterns. Great article!

  20. Perfectly wonderful blog post! Fabulous patterns and great style!

  21. This is absolutely wondlerful! Great information in a very entertaining fashion! Thank you.

  22. WOW! Really enjoyed reading this! Fantastic patterns! Thank you for including one my patterns!

  23. Lovely patterns to match the fashions...thanks!