Hot! The “Gleeking Out Emma Pillsbury Style” Outfit

The Facts
Fabric: Grey Kona cotton $8, aqua houndstooth cotton $10 – calling it free because I bought it with a gift certificate from Christmas
Pattern: Simplicity 2154
Year: Contemporary reissue of 1960s pattern
Notions: 7″ zip $1, interfacing remnant $1
Time to complete: 9 hours (18 eps of 30 Rock)
First worn: To take pics at the library
Wear again? With some ironing!
Total price: ~$10
In seeing this theme pop-up I at first had the strong inclination to do another Mad Men dress (Peggy’s all grey dress with the bow at the neck.) But husband said that was cheating! So then I thought, well, I can do a similar dress but also do a capelet and call it Sherlock inspired! But then the weather got a bit hot and I had a third and final idea. In trying to think of ladies on TV shows I used to watch, but don’t anymore, I remembered how much I loved Emma Pillsbury‘s outfits on Glee. I basically haven’t watched since the end of the second season, so I have no idea what’s going on any more, but from the pics of her I looked up, Emma still has the same cutesy style.

Pencil skirts, blouses and cardigans are basically her signature style. Oh, and in candy-colored hues and prints. Basically, if it comes from J. Crew or Kate Spade, she’d wear it. I knew the Simplicity reissue was a good pattern fit and I looked through my fabric stash to see what would fit together, and fit her style. This aqua houndstooth print was sort of a no-brainer. When I bought it I though I’d make a blouse with it, but a skirt seemed more “Emma”. I wanted to wear my grey pumps with it so I had to go with a grey top.

It just now occurred to me that this was also the palette I chose for the Pantone challenge, I’ve just reversed top/bottom. Probably that had a lot to do subconsciously with my final decision. You find something you like and keep doing it a couple times.

Anyway, the skirt was easy enough to put together (ignore the wrinkling, it just couldn’t be helped this week). The zip is probably one of the best I’ve ever done – each time just gets easier! The top however…le sigh. I didn’t really want to bother with the side zip, so I thought I’d do all the construction up to that point, baste the one side seam, and do the “Mena Test”. I even skipped the center front seam to allow for a little more room. It was a success! However, I had to undo the back key-hole detail (why do you need a key-hole on your back?!?!) to get my apparently giant head through. Even with the extra room I had given myself, my head was still too large! I’ve never had that happen before (cue sad trombone). And next time, depending on the fabric, I might skip the interfacing on the collar pieces. They are a little too stiff and stick out like wings in the back.



Liz has been sewing since April 2011 but has been crafty all her life. Her full-time job is as a museum curator at a smallish institution, where her DIY skills often come in handy. Liz likes to sew while watching TV, which she uses to measure the amount of time it takes to finish.


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  1. “Cue sad trombone” made me laugh out lound. I love this look on you. I LOVE that top!

  2. I really like the blouse, the bow is so pretty, I hope you can make it again and get it just how you want it. The colours do look great on you

  3. You made me laugh out loud! I think the outfit is great but I understand “blouse” issues : )

  4. I think the top is absolutely adorable.

  5. Nice work. I’m a little over Glee as a show but I still love Emma’s outfits. I think I’ll have to put that pattern on my 2013 list too since every time I see something made from it I think its a totally different pattern that I love.

    • Agreed about the show, I think they are steadily losing a lot of viewers – especially now that a lot of the original cast has graduated. You should! I think it’s really versatile. You’ve got a basic cardigan, basic skirt, classic jacket and cute-as-heck blouse! It’s hard to go wrong.

  6. Very cute! I love this outfit. I need to make this pronto.

  7. I love this outfit-especially the top. Sew Weekly just makes me realize there are a lot of patterns out there I am overlooking. I love that first photo-it shows off how pretty you are.

  8. Oh well done Liz – what a lot of effort you put in this week. The blouse is as everyone is saying – fantastic. It looks better than the pattern photo. It really suits you and I love the colour. You remind me of Audrey Hepburn you lucky thing.

  9. Fab outfit! really love that blouse. I kinda want the pattern for that alone! So surprised by the ‘head won’t fit’ issue. That’s hilarious (I assure you, your head appears normal sized. lol) It reminds me of a time (about 10yrs ago) when a friend and I went shopping in China town and all the sales girls told us.. ‘nothing for you.. head too big’. hahahahahaha…It’s been an ‘in’ joke with us all these years.

    • reminds me of shopping in Maylaysia it was “you’re too big” – nice, got lots of cheap makeup and handbags that trip!

    • Thanks, Casey. So I just realized that I apparently misread the directions. The back is in fact supposed to have a button/loop closure. But I somehow missed that and closed it up like the directions for the front. I thought it seemed fishy when I was doing it, but I went along anyway and paid a needlessly shaming price! Oh well, live and learn.

      • Haha I thought you not being to get your head through was a little strange…I made this top a while back and didn’t want the side zip either but found the sizing surprisingly large even without a zip (I did interface collar but agree its probably better more floppy). The fact that you didn’t make the loop & button at the back all makes sense now, I wouldnt be able to get my genuinely large head through without those. So relax, your head size isn’t an issue :)

        Love this whole outfit, the pencil skirt shape & colour are sweet, but that top and especially it’s colour are wonderful….and a dead ringer for Peggy’s too whilst being cooler without the sleeves. Love ‘le sigh’ my eldest has just added that to her vocabulary :)

  10. OMG! I love your take on Emma! You look great. I have got to really try this pattern out.

  11. I am a Glee fan and I love your outfit, it is so Emma in muted tones. All you need arexher crazy pamphlets.

    • Thanks, Aiesha! I thought about grabbing some weird ones from the library desk but we were trying to be sneaky in the stacks. :)

  12. OMGosh!! LOVE IT and I LOVE the pattern!! I have been drooling over that one! LOL

  13. Stunning first shot Liz. You look beautiful. I showed my Glee loving daughter your Emma outfit and she said you’ve pulled together Emma’s look perfectly. This pattern is great, I’ve made this top twice and teamed it with pedal pushers. Glad to hear you worked out the loop closure for next time :)

    • Thanks, Kazz and daughter! :) Yeah, I’m letting this be a lesson in carefully reading directions when I feel something is wrong.

  14. I’ve just found a post about Emma and Harper that shows they’re actually trendier than people give them credit (and obviously as we chose them as inspiration, we are likewise trendy). The What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear site spotted they both wore an Anna Sui skirt: Saw this and thought I had to tell you :)

  15. So cute! I love this blouse on you. And the cool, understated color scheme seems more your style than the often odd– yet pretty– colors Emma wears (at least in the first two seasons, which is all I’ve seen).

  16. This outfit looks fantastic on you! Lovely colors. And, aqua houndstooth cotton!? I’m going to pretend I’m not jealous of that find! ;-)

  17. You are def channeling Miss Pillsbury, I love it!