McCall’s M5965: Seven T-shirts and a story about KISS

 The Pattern:
McCall’s M5965, TODDLERS’ AND CHILDRENS’ GOWN, TOPS, AND PANTS, copyright 2009 The McCall Pattern Co, Inc.

This cover art has way too much color and business going on. 
All that pink and yellow. And red. And black. And soccer balls. And cupcakes. And lizards. It’s jittery. It’s noisy. How are those kids supposed to sleep with all that racket! 
Yes, on the one hand this is a totally silly, irrelevant complaint, but on the other hand: it is totally relevant as the cover art here is supposed to be selling me pajamas. I don’t feel relaxed when I’m looking at it. MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED, GUYS.  

But I bought it anyway, so joke’s on me. 

Fat Henry (image under copyright by AE), The Sink, Albums on the Hill, Dot’s Diner

The ones I made are not pajamas though! No way, man.
This is the All Food (except the ones that aren’t food) T-shirt Tour Of Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is a good place. You should go. 
These were all adult size T’s, bought by AE and brought home for me to cut down. 
Not pictured:
Lucille’s— because the size womens’ small only needed re-hemming to fit a kid (jeez),
Illegal Pete’s— because they actually had a kids shirt for sale and AE bought it (yay),
and Juanita’s— because they don’t exist anymore. Sorry kid, no Praise The Lard. 

Centro front and back, Boulder Bookstore (with tatooed Shakespeare) front and back

I made these factory style, which is when the time gets interesting: you divide the work by process, not by garment, and for a long time it feels like you’re making no progress and then all at once you have several finished garments, and you divide the total time by number of garments to see how much each one cost. Or timed. 
Except I didn’t bother keeping track of time. 
Dang it. Would’ve been good to know.
I organized construction of these seven shirts by thread color: first group of three shirts with all the machines in white thread, then second group of four, with all the machines in black thread. 

And now for KISS:


Ok, so this one time, I was at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I was working as the alterations person for a stylist for a photo shoot for a singer. They were shooting on the penthouse roof, I had a little portable costume shop set up in a corner of the wardrobe suite. 
At one point in the afternoon, I walked across the hall to the other suite, the catering suite, for a coffee, and had to pause and regroup a little at the fancy-ness of the spread. Just, food and sparkling glass and silver and ice and linens every whichaway. I mean, I have been to weddings with less elaborate food situations than this photoshoot. 
I steadied, got myself a coffee (four choices of brew, seven varieties of milk, representing all the major plant and animal sources) and was thinking to myself, “Hollywood, I love you,” while I wandered over to the window to do a little people watching. 
And right there, a few stories below me, sitting in the outdoor patio of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf across the street, was Gene Simmons. 
Not the real one, but a costumed actor who had wandered over from the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. He, too, was taking a break. Just chilling. In full-on KISS makeup and leather. On the table in front of him was an iced coffee and some kind of large, pointy scone type pastry. 
I was about to turn and go back to work —because really, that image was enough to make my day forever— when I saw a lady run out of the coffee shop, have a quick, smiling conversation with Fake Gene Simmons, then she ran back inside, and came back out dragging two kids. She positioned these kids next to Fake Gene Simmons’s table and stepped back with her camera. Meanwhile Fake Gene Simmons stood up, grabbed the scone, stuck it in his mouth, put an arm around each kid, and turned to camera. 
His photo-tongue! He had a long, pointy, Gene-Simmons-style fake tongue, for photos!
And then I went back to work, thinking, “Hollywood, you just keep on giving.”
I can’t name a single KISS song. In fact, before writing this post, I looked up the titles of their most popular songs, and didn’t recognize any of them. Which makes it all the more awesome that they are a major cultural symbol, imbedded in my pop-consciousness, on the strength of make up and costume alone.

Sew It or Throw It: 
Sew it. Raglan ringer-T’s are the super cute-est. The 70’s vibe is fun to see on a little kid. There’s lots of room for playing with color here. I dig. 


15 thoughts on “McCall’s M5965: Seven T-shirts and a story about KISS

  1. Well you know I’m a fan of your work, but I have one question that simply hasn’t be answered by your post today: who are these all for? Do you have kids or are you in fact Sleeping Beauty and living with some small people?


    1. I really should have kept track!
      It felt like too much bother, but now I regret my laziness.
      Glad you liked the cover art commentary. I think this envelope could look really great if they stuck with two colors and maybe one print, like grey, white, and a grey & white star print. For me the whole appeal of this pattern is the possibility for color blocking, which they have lost amongst all the prints and colors on the envelope.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a super satisfying Hollywood Moment. Right up there with that time I saw a guy walking to work the courtyard at Grauman’s, wearing his big purple Barney costume from the waist down but carrying the giant stupid looking Barney head under one arm. So weird. I wonder how much those guys make per photo these days.


  2. Oh! A detachable tongue! How uncomfortable to have to have in one’s mouth (makes me think of a song about a different detachable appendage from the mid 90’s). These tee’s are so cute. I could imagine them on the dwarves in a modern remake of Snow White…..


    1. All I could think of for detachable appendages was that one They Might Be Giants lyric that goes “everybody wants prosthetic foreheads on their real heads,” but that didn’t see quite right, so I googled and totally found the song you are actually referencing. Ha! Thanks Internet!


  3. Haha! The thought of that fake tongue!!
    Quite like a little production line myself, and you’re right, seems like no progress, then suddenly all done. These t-shirts for kids…great!


  4. Man, that’s quite a story! I have no clue what to say other than that like everyone else I can’t get that detachable tongue out of my mind now. And it makes me crave croissants?… What is wrong with me?

    Changing the subject now: your son is so lucky. From the photos I’m guessing he might be too young to know it. Your refashioning prowess is impressive. Hail to the queen!


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