sewing small talk: on-screen inspiration

Hello friends!

Last weekend I introduced S to the wonder that is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. There’s so much to love about the series. I adore the vintage Jewish New York aspect, which I somehow absorbed after living in Manhattan for 25 years. I still find myself using yiddish words like mensch, bubkes, shmaltzy, kvetch, and oy! (which makes absolutely no sense when you’re speaking Spanish, since it sounds like hoy–today). And I adore these fast-talking shows like the Gilmore Girls (same writer) because they’re so much like the old cinema I adore: Philadelphia Story, Casablanca, Desk Set, all those old films with Lots. Of. Talking. And let’s face it, I also love miss New York.

And, let’s not forget, Mrs. Maisel also has great fashion! The colors, the silhouettes, everything about it is fashion-y. S loves it too. So here’s my question for the week:



Mrs. Maisel got me thinking, what are your favorite movies and TV shows that feature fashion, either as the subject or simply for the great costumes? Your list can include documentaries, classics, or just films and programs that feature fabulous fashion.

A few that come to mind for me:

  • Hors de Prix (also with Audrey Tatou): just very chic Euro fashion
  • The Crown
  • Funny Face
  • The September Issue
  • Bill Cunningham: New York
  • Dior and I
  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg)

I also love any Godard film featuring Anna Karina, as well as anything starring Katherine Hepburn or Audrey Hepburn.

What’s on your list?




  1. Mim

    The gilmore Girls!!! oh… this pink coat <3

  2. Barb

    I’m a knitter so I loved Lilyhammer for all the amazing Nordic knits. Also, someone gets killed with a knitting needle! The Harry Potter movies also feature some fabulous knitting.

  3. Nan Mosher

    Rear Window. Grace Kelly looks amazing in every costume. Even the final scene with her in blue jeans.

  4. Karen Mulkey

    Don’t forget Downton Abbey.

  5. Holly

    I loved the first season of fashion in Mrs. Maisel, but not the last season. I loved the matching gloves and hats. I especially loved her mother’s clothes.

    I just saw Midsommer on Amazon. Oh those white dresses with embroidery, I love them. Not a kiddo film! I could wear one every day of summer.

    The Great Gatsby
    Downton Abbey
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    Pretty Woman. Oh that polka dot brown dress.
    Game of Thrones

    I think films should come with patterns. Forget the toys and other merchandizing.
    What all these clothes have in common…they are made with care, thought and couture embellishments: embroidery, beading/ sequins, fabric manipulation, and passementerie. Finally everything fits. In Downton Abbey, not everyone is rich and young and thin….but darn, all their clothes fit. Audrey Hepburn could wear a sack and look elegant. The movies are always fixed on youth and beauty, which is why I love the kitchen staff and the dowagers.

    I had to knit a Sontag after watching an Irish film. I made my husband a BAMF costume after watching Outlander. Gotta get going on that Mid Sommer dress. Need this pattern!

    1. The brown polka dot dress! That was the epitome to fashion to me in high school!

  6. Kate

    Rear Window with Grace Kelly is at the top of my list. I also really liked the clothes in the Australian series A Place to Call Home, set in the Fifties.

  7. Rocky_Bayou

    Grantchester, on PBS.

    1. Rocky_Bayou

      Grantchester, on PBS.
      (My previous entry had the wrong email address.)

  8. Helena

    The original Thomas Crowne Affair and Bonnie and Clyde. Also UK TV show The Fall.

  9. Martha

    Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair!

  10. Tiphaine

    On the movies side:
    – Rear window as well,
    – Pandora with Ava Gardner and
    – Casablanca (Ingrid Bergman’s hat and trench coat…).
    On TV:
    – Downtown Abbey for all the fashion period cover and the so classy feminine clothes (among everything I love about it),
    – I am a huge fan of Mrs. Maisel
    – and some of the Australian shows as Dr. Blake (which takes place during the 50/60) and Miss Fisher (awsome, awsome clothes from the 20s)
    – Game of thrones and Outlander are great as well
    gosh, I think I am much ore of the past on this aspect….

  11. Mary Kolb

    My favorites already mentioned ….. Downton Abby and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

  12. G

    Remember the mad men frenzy? Also, how to get away with murder, the second role of the series lie to me. And basically any law series, from ally mcbeal to the good wife.

  13. G

    Ah and also the movie the dressmaker with Kate winslet.

  14. Joanne

    I LOVED both the story and the outfits Saoirse Ronan wore in Brooklyn…how they changed with her, and how different she was when she went back to Ireland to visit her mother.

  15. I love all of those you’ve listed, but my current fashion inspo/obsession is Scandal. Currently plotting how to use Liesl + Co patterns to channel Olivia Pope

  16. Penny Hammack

    Hands down, Downton Abbey. I’m still trying to incorporate some of their designs into my modern day garments.

  17. Mary

    A PBS series, Miss Fisher’s Mysteries, set in the 1920’s in Australia.

  18. Pal Koenig

    Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries (1920)
    Frankie Drake Mysteries (1920s)
    The Women (1939)
    That Girl (1960s)
    and believe it or not, I check out all the alien dress on Star Trek
    There is also a sequel to Ms Fisher Modern Mysteries set in 1960s Melbourne but I haven’t seen that one yet

  19. Cathie Paski

    The Crown, Victoria, Amazing Mrs. Maisel, Katherine Hepburn movies.

  20. Darci

    I enjoyed Gossip Girls for the fashion. I recently watched it and it’s interesting to see which aspects have not aged well.

  21. I love the costumes and look of things in Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. Also, whenever I watch the show All Creatures Great and Small, it makes me want to sew wool skirts and jackets and knit sweaters. I wouldn’t say I watch that for the fashion, but it’s still interesting. I also like the fashion and decor of the main character and her room in Penelope with Christina Ricci. And Black Panther and To Catch a Thief are cool as well.

  22. Miss Fisher- everything she wore was fantastic
    Mary Poppins returns, the skirts were just amazing

  23. Joyce

    Some previously mentioned I love and and others I’ll check them out. So thanks for the conversation… The other one I can think of is Ladies in Black. I’ve seen the stage play which was very good, the movie had some great costumes as well.

  24. Julie

    I love this topic so much! My picks:

    – Any Doris Day movie.
    – The Band Wagon (1953)
    – Mahogany (1975)
    – The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
    – Blue Jasmine (2013)
    – Elle (2016. Warning: this movie opens with a sexual assault)
    – Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

    I love movie wardrobes that might have just 1 or 2 pieces, but are so classic they look contemporary:
    – Roman Holiday (1953)
    – La Pointe Courte (1955)
    – Bonjour Tristesse (1958)
    – Three (1969)
    – Annie Hall (1977)
    – Les Rendezvous d’Anna (1978)
    – Against All Odds (1984)
    – Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
    – A Perfect Murder (1998)

    On TV:
    – The Good Fight
    – Insecure
    – Blackish
    – Sex and the City (1998-2004)
    – Julia (1968-1971)
    – That Girl (1966-1971)

    – I recently re-watched The Trouble With Angels (1966), and noticed for the first time that Sybil Connolly designed Haley Mills’ wardrobe, and the nuns’ habits.
    – My favorite thing about Rear Window is Grace’s Mark Cross case.

  25. Sophie

    I love everything Blake Lively wears in the Age of Adaline. That wine-red gala dress especially, but even when she wears a turtle neck she just looks so unapologetically feminine!


    The Group, especially Candace Bergen’s costumes. Many of my favorites are already listed above. The Australian series A Place to Call Home, The Collection.


    Oh….and also The Phantom Thread.

  28. M

    • Downton Abbey of course
    • Great Expectations (1998 with Hawke and Paltrow) and how the clothes were all shades of green
    • Most Wes Anderson movies – love the uniform aspect to the costumes, especially Royal Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic
    • Bill Cunningham New York

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