I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
No more singing mice, ladies. Things are about to get fierce up in here.
Reader Amy took issue with the girly sweetness of prior sewing film scenes explored here (Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty) and proposed something with a little more bite, if you will: Selina Kyle's transformation into Catwoman in Batman Returns, as portrayed by Michelle Pffeifer.
I gave it a watch, and damn. This is some powerful stuff. To start with, it's visually stunning. The film was directed by Tim Burton, and his trademark aesthetic shows through in every shot. Also, there's something very retro about Selina Kyle (though I suppose the aesthetic of comic book films is, in general, very retro). We first see her in this lovely cocoa-colored suit. I know she's supposed to look mousy here, but look at that amazing vintage tailoring!
Her transformation into Catwoman is full of pathos and rage, and it all takes place in her girly, super-retro apartment. She refashions a vinyl trench into her kickass cat costume with wild handstitches and the help of a vintage Belvedere sewing machine.
Amazing stuff. I do remember seeing this film when it came out in 1992, and I only recall being freaked out by the way she was acting all unstable around her cats. (Someone think of the kitties, please!) I'm not a huge Batman fan (much to Jeff's chagrin), but this film obviously warrants a re-watch as an adult. As reader Amy put it, this scene is chock-full of the symbolism of her transformation. There's something completely captivating about this character who takes her rage and sadness and sews it into a new persona. See it for yourself below.
All together now: "I don't know about you, Miss Kitty, but I feel so much yummier."