The Blue Gardenia

Celluloid style: Bette Davis's terrific top in "Now, Voyager." October 7, 2014 17:24

Almost the spitting image of the fabulous white blouse in "Now, Voyager."
Almost the spitting image of the fabulous white blouse in "Now, Voyager."

If you love old Bette Davis movies as much as I do, then you doubtless love this simple, yet sensational top from Now, Voyager, one of my favorite Bette Davis films. Who can resist the reincarnation of the plain duck into a beautiful swan? To emulate the look, use McCall 3637, copyright 1940. It's a steal and such a popular bust size, too.

The original. The original.

And, yes, this pattern can be yours for a mere $39 at The Blue Gardenia, where we offer patterns suitable for the snootiest fashionista. In case you care, we happily ship abroad.

Celluloid style: The white blouse sexed up on Kathleen Turner in "Body Heat" June 14, 2014 18:33 2 Comments


In Body Heat, Lawrence Kasdan's steamy 1981 homage to film noir, Kathleen Turner is beautiful. She's sexy. She's cunning. And she plays William Hurt's character, Ned Racine, like Yo-Yo Ma plays the cello.

Her character's clothes in the movie, Matty-Mary Ann, are simple and classic. Like this white linen blouse. You could emulate this blouse with McCall's 4583 from 1943. And, yes, you can find this pattern at The Blue Gardenia

The short sleeve version will do the trick. Snappy shorts and slacks, too.
The short sleeve version will do the trick. Snappy shorts and slacks, too.

Screen sirens heed the call of 1950s glamour at the Oscars. March 3, 2014 01:12

US-OSCARS-ARRIVALSI wouldn't trade my fabulous Pantone Bone China cup in Emerald for many of the Oscar gowns this year. They were that dull. Stars, buy a vintage pattern and find a good dressmaker. OK? Really. Get with the style program. I do love  – indeed lust  – for Amy Adams' Gucci. It's a good thing I don't have offspring, because I would so be up for trading. jlaw_oscarsI also have a strong attraction for J-Law's Dior. But then, she is my girl crush and she can do no wrong. She and Meryl are my fantasy BFFs. Unless, of course, they suddenly shoot someone for texting in the theater or playing loud music at the gas station. Then, babes, the romance is over. Kaput. The train leaves the station without you. 86th Annual Academy Awards - ShowWhat did you think of Whoopi's rehash of Julia Robert's Dolce & Gabbana look at the Golden Globes? I think Whoopi really kicked up the style quotient. I know that's the unpopular choice. But. There ya go. I think I may have to put my own spin on this look. viola_escadaI am on the fence about Viola Davis's Escada. The color is my favorite. The bodice is delicious. But there's something about the skirt that seems just plain wrong. Love her hair, though. I would have liked to see a more colorful lip. I really want to read your thoughts on this, but we are having a slight malfunction on the blog comments. Hope to have it fixed ASAP. Bear with us, please, dear readers.  

Golden Globes 2014: Dull & duller. But a few dreamy dresses. January 12, 2014 18:01

Am I the only person who found the 2014 Golden Globes as dull as an Albuquerque coffee table undusted for a month? Even the majority of the gowns let me down. There were a few highlights, a few gowns that inspired closet lust:

Lupita Nyong'o, above, of Twelve Years a Slave, takes home the Blue Gardenia Dennison Blue Foil Star Award. If I hadn't already bought red silk charmeuse for a bias cocktail number, I would definitely copy this Ralph Lauren beauty for my Valentine's Night fashion pleasure. Day length, though.  His Bertness would definitely approve. Maybe my birthday dress? In blue?

Sandra Bullock
also stunned. Her Prabal Gurung gown took colorblock to new heights. But what is it with older women and long hair that would look more appropriate on a teen? A sophisticated updo would have made this look perfection. Nice lipcolor, though. Is it Chanel Paris again?

Paula Patton
should pinkslip her stylist. This Stephane Rolland design — and I use that word loosely — looks like a boring white sheath with a fluffy dishtowel tossed over her shoulder. Perhaps the star was doing kitchen duty afterward?

What was Julia Roberts thinking in her Dolce & Gabbana? Was she referencing Sharon Stone's seminal Gap shirt and black evening skirt look? If so, she failed. Miserably. And that sparkly belt? Yikes. I hope I don't have nightmares about it. Roberts' hair was sensational, though. Loved it. Absolutely.

And guess what? The new Blue Gardenia website is up, and we are already getting compliments. Hop on over and let us know what you think. It is so easy to shop! Hope you love it. Passionately.

That touch of fashion: Doris Day is every inch a star in Givenchy. December 29, 2013 19:28


What a luscious look for the ever-so-lovely Doris Day. I adore this satin coat. It's elegant. It's classy. It is oh-so-chic. Indeed. And the delightful Simplicity_coat strawberry ice cream color looks dreamy enough to eat with a spoon.

Day's coat is designed by the masterful Givenchy. Givenchy, as you know, was Audrey Hepburn's favorite designer.

You can easily emulate this look with Simplicity 5103. Simply make View 1 and shorten the sleeves.

Mood has a lush silk satin that would be quite beautiful whipped up in this haute couture style. The pink is Duchess_satin_silk more muted, but still gorgeous. And some might even say this subtle color is much more sophisticated.

One of my favorite Day quotes: "I find beauty everywhere. I find beauty in my garden." And certainly, either pink looks straight from the petals of a peony or a rose.

You may buy this wonderful coat pattern at The Blue Gardenia's outstanding sale. But don't tarry, because patterns are rushing out of here faster than corsages from the florist at prom time. The skinny:

End of the Year / End of an Era  Sale!

Now through Midnight (PST) December 31, 2013

Spend $100 (before the discount) — get 20% off.

Spend $200 (before the discount) — get 30% off.

Spend $300 (before the discount) — get 40% off. 

Spend $400 or more (before the discount) — get a whopping 50% off.

Payment is by PayPal only, 

except for established customers, who may arrange for payment  by check.

Yes, you may buy gift certificates for that special someome —

offering sales rates honored through January 2014.

Star-spangled style: Show off your shoulders like Liz Taylor. December 23, 2013 15:30


The young Elizabeth Taylor. Sigh. So beautiful. So glowing. So glamorous. As fresh as a newly opened rosebud. If you want to channel this sexy vibe, I Vogue-S-3313 suggest Vogue Special Design S-3313.

Ms. Taylor, I have read, was most particular about her lipstick. I suggest Bobbi Brown's Hollywood Red, and for that dewy, perfect skin, Laura Mercier's illuminating tinted moisturizer.

What's your favorite Liz movie? I'm partial to Butterfield 8, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Wolf and A Place in the Sun.

Don't forget to stop by The Blue Gardenia's fabdabulous sale. Here are the details:

 End of the Year / End of an Era  Sale!

Now through Midnight (PST) December 31, 2013

Spend $100 (before the discount) — get 20% off.

Spend $200 (before the discount) — get 30% off.

Spend $300 (before the discount) — get 40% off. 

Spend $400 or more (before the discount) — get a whopping 50% off.

Payment is by PayPal only, 

except for established customers, who may arrange for payment  by check.

Yes, you may buy gift certificates for that special someome —

offering sales rates honored through January 2014.

That touch of fashion: Doris Day's top is all about the neckline. December 18, 2013 01:00


Doris Day and I have a few things in common, besides the obvious two: we are female and have freckles. We both like Michael Buble. We love animals. We're less than fond of parties. And we both like this simple yet McCall's-3321 elegant neckline.

If you like this neckline, too, may I suggest you replicate it with McCall's

3321, copyright 1955? I love the slim silhouette, the wide collar, the pleats in the back of the skirt. Fetching. Absolutely.

And, yes, you knew this was coming, didn't you? You may buy this pattern at The Blue Gardenia sale, going on all of December. Come January, we debut our new look with all those bells and whistles you've requested. And, then, prices go back to normal. So, sewistas, now is the time to stock up on stylish patterns and jewelry. Hurry.

(Photo of Doris Day courtesy of Fanpop.)

Celluloid style: The perfect 1940s Lauren Bacall slacks pattern. December 10, 2013 16:49


This Celluloid Style is inspired by an InStyle magazine layout. I prefer Vogue_slacks_40s a vintage look. Naturally. So I have put together my very own version of lovely Lauren Bacall's ensemble. 

I'd start with Vogue 9358, from the 1940s. This is one of those marvelous twofer patterns: You could also do the overalls. Isn't that neat? Absolutely.

I think these slacks would be luscious in this Italian wool from Michael's Fabrics. Totally luxurious. Wool_slacks

And I would choose true vintage style shoes from Remix. They have many great styles that would work. My favorite: The Gran Via. They are on sale right now  on for $49. Gotta love that!

Bacall is also wearing a sweater, and I'll leave that choice to you. Perhaps there is even one in that rich teal in your closet right now. GRAN-VIA,jpg

You may get this slacks pattern ––– and oh-so-many more ––– at The Blue Gardenia's End-of-an-Era sale. Patterns are going fast, and it's first come, first served. So. Let those fingers rush right over. Don't delay. And, clap your hands, come January, our new site with all the bells and whistles you've asked for. And that you deserve. Yippee skippee.


Celluloid style: The Lady from Shanghai before she's revealed . . . December 8, 2013 11:25


. . . as a scheming and deceptive murderess. Rita Hayworth, as Elsa, is at first sight a captured and wounded dove, married to a loathsome, wealthy man. Orson Welles, as seaman Michael O'Hara, cannot resist her. Absolutely not. As he says upon their meeting: "From that moment on, I did not use my head very much, except to be thinking of her." Emerald_drab_novelty_wool_crepeHis last line in the movie is also about Elsa: "Maybe I'll live so long that I'll forget her. Maybe I'll die trying."

The movie is complex; Rita is at her best. The clothes are sexy, elegant and ladylike, except when Rita lazes about a boat scantily clad in sunsuits and the like.

If you'd like to duplicate one of my favorite looks in the 1948 movie, may I suggest these two patterns:

Vogue 5259, a broad shouldered jumper dress, copyright 1945.

And Simplicity 2977, from 1949, as the blouse.

Warm_beige_silk_charmeuseI think I would choose the emerald drab wool crepe, shown above, for the jumper and the warm beige silk charmeuse at Fabric Mart Fabrics for the blouse. I'd go with the matte side of the charmeuse showing. Both fabrics are luscious, and I admit having a powerful lust for them both. Santa? Are you listening?

Naturally, both of these are available at The Blue Gardenia. But you knew that, didn't you? And you may buy them both at our fabulous End-of-an-Era Sale!

An overflowing cornucopia of style at the Oscars. Doncha think? February 24, 2013 17:12 2 Comments


As always, my favorite thing about the Oscar ceremony was the fashion. This year did not disappoint. My tip-top selections:

Perhaps not the popular choice — I noticed while trolling for pics that this made some worst-dressed lists — but this is my favorite 2013 Oscar dress. Donna Karan Atelier's design for Kelly Rowland simply stunned. It's sexy. It's unique. 

I am also smitten with Fan Bingbing's Marchesa design. There are those who think it overwhelms the Chinese actress — and I admit it does indeed look better on the runway model. But Ms. Bingbing still looks lovely and smart. It's a perfect update of a 1950s look. Vogue, Butterick, copy this pattern, please. It's just the attire for my lifestyle. Perfect for reclining on the sofa or baking cookies.

Another favorite: Naomi Watt's armored column, courtesy of Armani Prive. Sophisticated. Strong. And she looks most fetching in it.

I also love the Valentino Couture frock of Jennifer Aniston. Gorgeous tomato red. And a style fit for a princess. She never lets me down. 

So. If you could command a pattern company to make up one of the Oscar gowns, which would it be? Do share. One of these gowns? Or something entirely different? I am eager to know. I am.

Hard, fast and fashionable: Bare midriff, PJs, petals in her hair. November 17, 2012 09:47 2 Comments

This is one of my favorite Ida Lupino images. I came across it years ago at an estate sale in Houston, Texas. Naturally, I was looking for patterns or sparkly rhinestone beauties, but what I found were several images torn from magazines and pleated crepe scarfs in every color imaginable.

I left the scarfs and bought the pictures and a 1970s harvest gold ottoman, which I had reupholstered in a lovely green and black Maharam print. A fabric worthy of gardenias and glam jams. Very Odalisque in clothes, you might say.

Simplicity_1230_1944The house was beautiful — one of those lovely and large and vaguely Craftsman style homes in Montrose, not far from our home. The woman who owned these things had obviously had quite an eye for fashion and all things beautiful. There were, alas, no pictures of her, nor any sign of a man or companion. She had one sewing pattern — a Butterick from the 1950s. I was so curious about her story. Did she lead a glamorous and love-filled life? Did she party at the legendary Shamrock Hilton and dance the nights away in carefree abandon? I hope so.

If you'd like to emulate this Lupino look, I suggest Simplicity 1230, View 2, in rayon crepe. I've had this pattern made up twice, once in a lime Gray_crepe_lupino linen, once in teal linen. Very sexy, very comfy. And this crepe from Gorgeous Fabrics has 1940s flair

If you'd like to recline in these pajamas with a flower in your hair, you can find this pattern at The Blue Gardenia, where the patterns are counted, the jewelry is sparkling, and domestic shipping is free. (We happily ship abroad, of course, although there is a fee, less than the postal service charges us. You may choose Global Priority or Global Express. We love them both. We do.) And we take American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Paypal and Visa. Isn't that fabulous? Ever so.

Star-spangled style: Ms. Lake owns the sexy shirtdress. Totally. September 23, 2012 09:58 1 Comment

It's simple. It's sexy. And it's oh-so-comfortable. The shirtdress. It can go to the office. The grocery store. The elegant bistro with starched white tablecloths and ivories that tinkle. What could be better? And who wears this style with more panache than Veronica Lake?

Lipstick_crepeThis is an easy look to emulate — the fashion — of course. You might, however, have to don a wig to get the golden waves that cascade with perfection.

You might choose McCall 5453 to make your frock. (Details, if you please: McCall 5453 Dress Bust 34 Complete except for easily duplicated belt Copyright 1943 $26) This pattern has a few extra style riffs that put this right over the moon. Totally. Completely.

And for your fabric, may I suggest the lipstick wool crepe at Mood Fabrics? A mere $14 per yard, 57" wide and made in Italy. (I love that Mood sources the country of origin.)

Lake_shoeAnd for the well shod foot, my choice is this spike-embellished Lola Cruz platform pump. Worthy of swooning. It is. You can find it at Amazon, on sale half-price. Isn't that a kick?

So. I've done the tough homework for you. The sweating. The crying. The click-click-clicking. My fingertips are bleeding. But. You're so worth it. You are. All you have to do, my pretty, stylish ones,  is follow the links and you'll be one fashionable 1940s babe, referencing none other than noir vixen Veronica Lake. Oh, yeah, and you'll have to do a little sewing. But. Think of the pride you'll have in your finished product. You'll be all aglow with pride. Absolutely.

And, yes indeedy. This pattern can be yours at The Blue Gardenia, where the patterns are counted, the jewelry is sparkling, and domestic shipping is free. (We ship abroad as well, happily. And we charge less for shipping than the postal service charges us. Isn't that delightful? We think so.)

Celluloid style: A look Rita Hayworth and Kathleen Turner share. August 11, 2012 08:24 1 Comment

The red pencil skirt. The white blouse. It's a sexy winner in the sartorial sweepstakes for both screen vixens. Rita shimmied in Miss Sadie SadieThompson. As a woman with a shady past, the feminine bit of lace at the collar hinted she was primed for redemption.

Kathleen, on the other hand, as Mattie Walker, smolders in Body Heat. Her skirt is so tight it wrinkles — the better to entice Ned Racine, played by William Hurt, to shatter the glass door to get to her. And lace? No way. This woman is focused on the money. Her tailored shirt is ready for Wall Street.

Mccall_7768_1949I love this look. So much that it is on my sewing plan for fall. I have, after all, proven I can make a skirt and a dress. So. Surely a shirt is not out of my reach. No lace, no frills for me, though. I'll share my pattern choices with you soon. (Must find McCall 7768 in my size. This blouse is perfect.)

An excellent way to wear this look: McCall 7768 from 1949. I adore this blouse. I do. (I need Bust 34 for my own self. You recall my rule: I may only keep patterns that are my size!)

The details: McCall 7768 Blouses Bust 40 Complete Copyright 1949 $37

And, of course, you can choose any pencil skirt you like. I suggest a multipurpose pattern like Simplicity 4046. That way, you get the skirt Body_heat_skirt and a fabulous top and maximize your dollars.

Info: Simplicity 4046 Blouses and Skirt Bust 34 Complete $18

Both of these smart vintage patterns can be yours. Truly. There are even more choices to get this look, and you'll find them all at The Blue Gardenia, where the patterns are counted, the jewelry is sparkling, and domestic shipping is free. (And, yes, we happily ship abroad for a fee — just what the post office charges, in fact.) So drop by. Do. You'll be delighted you did. I know it