Tag Archives: LOLSew

LOLSew: The Kids Are All Cute

…So let’s kick it off with a kid with a goatee!

05 May 08 Butterick 3492

If you aren’t thinking about Zach Galifianakis’s Five Year Old Who Complains About Having a Beard, you are missing out on the simple joys in life.

You have to admit, when it comes to sewing pattern envelopes, kids are just like LOOK AT MY NEW OUTFIT compared with some of the adult models who seem to be realizing their dreams of Naomi-level supermodel fame is fading with each sewing pattern gig.06 June29 NL6031But look at these proud gals!!

06 June29 mccalls 9478

Daisies in my hair, don’t care

06 June29 s&s 3409

In 4th grade, geek is chic!

05 May 08 Simplicity 7080

Grrrlll…I do not understand what you’re wearing, but you are killing it!

05 May 08 Mccalls 9120

Does this come in adult size?

Then again, some aren’t as excited as others:

05 May 08 McCalls 7842

I think someone would rather wear the bear costume.

05 May 08 Simplicity 7108

05 May 08 Xmas story

Naturally, some know they are shining stars and are unhappy about sharing the spotlight.

05 May 08 Simplicity 5865

Where’s my agent? This was supposed to be a solo shoot.

05 May 08 McCalls 5952

She’s already practicing her best Naomi

05 May 08 Simplicity 6351

“Now give the flowers back to your sister and apologize so we can finish this shoot”

Others enjoy the opportunities models offer:

05 May 08 Butterick 6025

Some kids are kicking off their modeling career, practicing their poses juuuust so…

05 May 08 Simplicity 6307

05 May 08 Mccalls 7070

05 May 08 Vogue 2645

05 May 08 Mccalls 2651

05 May 08 Simplicity 8567

While others are just dazed and confused….

05 May 08 Vogue 1293


05 May 08 New Look 6136

Are my parents coming back?

When in doubt, just say AAAHHHHHH

05 May 08 Simplicity 6010

05 May 08 Simplicity 9723

05 May 08 Butterick 4849

All in all, nothing’s cuter than the Sewing Pattern Dapper Dons:

05 May 08 Simplicity 9349

05 May 08 Simplicity 7414

05 May 08 Simplicity 9887

05 May 08 McCalls 8585

Bitch, I’m fabulous

05 May 08 it's called fashion


LOLSew: Let’s Give That One Another Look-See

You know how sometimes, you’re doing some interneting (inebriated or not), and you see something that requires a second look? Sewing patterns are GREAT for that. Here are some patterns that just did not compute at first glance.

Admit it, when you saw the girls on the Butterick pattern above, another image came to mind:

Creeped out yet? How about this creepy AF pattern?07 July27 McCalls9262

Try imagining this: you arrive late at your AirBnB and go straight to bed. Later, you wake up and go snooping around at night only to see a bunch of kids standing in the corner. CREEPED OUT NOW?!?! I give this pattern a NO THANK YOU.

Moving along…dododododooo….just some boxers…

07 July27 Burda5229


















….uhhhh, wait

07 July27 Burda5229 cropped

Ok, so I did see an armless, headless female torso that only a serial killer would appreciate.

Her head can be found on the censored version, not doubt designed to appeal to prudish American sensibilities:

Speaking of prudish American sensibilities, watch your hand, lady!07 July27 McCalls4325

Ok, now I’m just being immature…07 July27 OriginalRedHeel07 July27 OriginalRedHeel Cropped

This next one made my stomach drop as I was scrolling:


07 July27 Simp1537Hahahaaa, it’s just a purse. I just…it looked like…she was going to…well anyway, why the hell is she holding it up to her face like that?

Sometimes I just don’t immediately get what the concept is meant to be. What is this girl holding? A potato? And how is she holding it with her fingertips like that?

Now I see it. DUH, it’s a mid-hit paddleball with a red ball RIGHT OVER THE GIRL’S RED SHOE. Ughhhhhh….why did this shot make the envelope and WHY DOES IT BOTHER ME SO MUCH THAT THEY DID?!!!

No matter how my times I look at this one, I just. Do. Not. Get. It. Apron lingerie?

LOLSew: Sewing with Celebrities

As happy as I am to be back in the Pacific Northwest, I do miss the occasional celebrity sighting that I got in LA. I’ll be returning in May for a wedding but like true love, celebrities never appear when you are searching for them. Sigh. At least I can experience a similar moment of EEP! when I am looking through vintage sewing patterns. I never watched Lizzy Maguire, but I do own a few patterns from Hilary Duff’s McCalls line. 04 April4 Duff pattern It is really hard to imagine some of the newer Disney princesses designing a line of sewing patterns. But looking at some vintage patterns, I guess it wasn’t quite so unusual to see familiar faces in the catalogs at Joann. Surely most vintage-pattern enthusiasts have seen a Brooke Shields pattern or two: 04 April4 M9566Brooke 04 April4 M9088Brooke Lauren Hutton shows up pretty often as well: 04 April4 lauren hutton 04 April 4 6644huttonChristie Brinkley had a line of Simplicity patterns that are just-eighties-enough to look retro and not too dated: 04 April4 9742Brinkley 04 April4 9695Brinkley 04 April4 8944Brinkley Then again, some are extremely eighties: 04 April4 8903Brinkley If you are in the market for extremely eighties patterns, look no further than the Dynasty line: 04 April4 2275dynasty 04 April4 9484dynasty 04 April4 collins Of course, Diana Ross works in any decade: 04 April 4 | 6779diana 04 April4 5874diana 04 April4 5875diana Never forget… 04 April4 diana-ross-lil-kim-boobie The eighties do seem to dominate when it comes to celebrified sewing patterns. The earliest example I could find was this one, with Loretta Young playing the part of the perfect sixties Catholic many in her day pretended to be (OOF– my apologies, I never knew the rest of the story): 04 April4 loretta young Marie Osmond represents the seventies with this I’m-Taking-A-Women-Studies-Class-at-Cornell look: 04 April4 marie osmond Kathy Ireland brings it into the new millennium with this pattern from The Year 2000: 04 April4 kathyireland Oh and, according to the envelope, the new millennium does not consider bag E to be a fanny pack, but a “body contour bag.” When in LA, there are also times you THINK you see someone famous, but your eyes deceive you. Sometimes it’s just someone very good looking, and others are just a visual trick. Once, when Emily’s mom was visiting, I convinced myself Penny Marshall was walking into the restaurant where we were lunching. I get really excited when visitors get the chance to see the famous. It was bright outside, so her face was hard to see, but the hair, the gait. Definitely her. I wanted to wait until she entered the restaurant to point her out. A young woman with a clipboard (CLEARLY her assistant) left the car first and waited by the door. Finally, she walks in and…is not Penny Marshall. Oh well. Other times you’re just not paying attention. There was the time Norm from Cheers was sitting behind me at a bar. Emily spotted him and took a stealthy picture of me. I was like “why did you take a picture of me on my phone?” because I’m vain or something. Then, she was like, no, look BEHIND YOU. 161 Cheers, Norm Anyway, back to the patterns. If you look at this one with the corner of your eye, it SORRRRTA looks like Jennifer Lawrence (or am I pulling a Jon Stewart?) 04 April4 Butterick 4854 Lawrence Corey Feldman?!?!– oh no, that’s a woman. 04 April4 corey feldmanIs that Taylor Swift picking her butt?04 April4 Simplicity5937tswiftThen there’s the mystery Tommy Lee Jones pattern. This is the only picture I have and I can’t confirm the number (but it does look like the Simplicity logo). The etsy seller has listed the item as unavailable. Does it actually exist? Is it really him? 04 April4 TommyLeeJones What do you think?  Can this one count as a Sewing Pattern Celebrity Sighting? Anyone I’m missing?

EDIT: I was recently pointed to the mystery TLJ pattern. It’s Simplicity 9994 from 1981, but I’m not totally convinced it’s him. Even for the eighties, the guy on the pattern doesn’t quite have the same juts on his jowls. But Maybe? IS IT HIM???

The River Rat, 1984

LOLSew: Accessories Make the Outfit, Props Make the Lifestyle

01 Jan27 book

You can create high-quality fashion and lifestyle photos for your blog or Instagram on a $10-an-hour salary. Accessories and props are everywhere if you are resourceful and keep an eye out for potential. Using these classic images from the Sewing Pattern Era as inspiration and tips that fit into the modern Recessionista’s lifestyle, you can create the social media illusion of the exciting, glamorous life you want your followers to think you have.

Living Accessories

Cats make stylish photo props indeed. Now that cat cafes are popping up everywhere, you can set the stage for your handmade robe during your lunch break and never have to lose your rental deposit from scratched-up blinds.

01 Jan14 Advance 7816 kitten

As you walk past the barista, tell him you have to use the bathroom and after the shoot, just walk out really fast and pretend not to hear him yell at your back “Hey– restrooms are for customer use only!”

Dogs are certainly making a comeback. Live in a rental with a no-pets policy? Try standing in front of a posh cafe until someone ties up their afghan outside. Slip the leash over your wrist and take the picture quickly, while the owner is ordering.

01 Jan27 dog

Wait around after closing and maybe the cafe servers will bring you some leftover croissants.

A beagle makes for a playful shoot. I am actually getting PAID to keep up my baby style Instagram because I am baby-sitting my niece at the same time.

01 Jan27 beagle real

Just don’t tell my sister I have her daughter on Instagram. She’ll probably have a huff about how it’s inappropriate or “toddlers shouldn’t be used as props.” I think she’s just jealous because she doesn’t have time to use social media now that she’s a mom and I’ve worked up to 1000 followers.

Seagulls as a Found Object are a little unpredictable but can be surprisingly effective for making your bus stop look like a spontaneous park outing.

01 Jan27 seagulls

Note: only use Found Seagulls as Living Accessories. Seagulls are the thugs of the bird world and you don’t want to risk attracting too-large of a flock using food or else your followers might think you Try Too Hard.

Use a parrot for the exotic look.

01 Jan27 parrot

Surely someone you know has an uncle who has one. Or just slip into a Petco.

If you feel uncomfortable harassing animals, try using humans! On any college campus with an art program, you are bound to find an outdoor artist on a sunny day. Just walk up behind a young man painting a fox and pose around him. He doesn’t mind at all.

01 Jan27 artist

Focus on the accessories

If you find yourself in a bind and unable to secure any props, your accessories become your props. Give them center stage and an I-Mean-Business expression.

01 Jan27 headbands

Headbands from first grade picture day that you found in your parents’ basement are retro now. Pairing it with a bad ass resting bitch face makes your shoot #minimalist, not bare (Disclaimer: Bad Ass Resting Bitch Face is now the name of my perfume. I’ve already had it trademarked).

As a living accessory/accessory mashup: while wearing some stylish glasses, step on some beagle’s leash. Unapologetically stepping on leashes is not only free but it is being a boss.

01 Jan27 beagle

Go on location

Try shooting at a farmers or flea market. They’re free to attend and allow for free use of props until someone asks you to leave their booth because they have a policy against photography.

01 Jan27 golfbowl

No one looking at your Instagram will know you don’t regularly partake in recreational activities such as bowling or croquet whilst wearing vintage dresses.

Because they are usually held in the morning, flea markets make especially great pajama shoot locations. Anywhere else, a man holding a golf club in his jamjams is a little off-putting. At a flea market, it is simply an opportunity to promote your online presence when someone asks you if you need help.

01 Jan27 golfpj


If you are looking for a flirty shoot with tasteful partial nudity, request a friend take a candid shot of you powdering your side-boob.

01 Jan27 powder roomYour friend might respond with “I don’t want to take a picture of your boob.” Just tell her you’ll change your Netflix password and she will oblige. Enticing!

You could also use a well-placed newspaper.

01 Jan27 newspaper

If you don’t want to use your laundry quarters to buy one, use the one that has been sitting on your apartment building’s lobby table since 2013. Be sure to put it back, though. You don’t want to give the other renters the idea you have time to clean up after them.

On the other hand, you probably won’t lose your accounts with subtle headlights and you will definitely gain followers.

01 Jan27 headlights


They can’t all be winners, but be creative.

If you are having trouble conveying a historical context, go overboard by adding a gun and the Declaration of Independence.

01 Jan27 bicentennial

Think of a pun. Then, create a visual. Shellphone:

01 Jan27 shellphone

Try making something you got for free A Thing. How about those glasses they give you at the eye doctor?

01 Jan27 eyeglasses

Innovate with a chainsaw, edit with a scalpel

To avoid putting out something too radically avant garde, think about your audience. Get a second opinion on your more risky styling choices.

01 Jan27 tampon balloon

A giant tampon for a little lady is ironic for some, off-putting for others.

Follow these easy steps and you’re on your way to a raise in followers because you are definitely not getting one at work.

LOLSew: How Much More Niche Can You Get?

Rather than waiting another several weeks before I get motivated enough to do a full post, why not just share these things as I come across them? I shouldn’t make you wait any longer to appreciate the existence of this gem:

07 July28 HorseClothing
From TheHowlingHag via Etsy

Something I find especially interesting about vintage sewing is all the stuff people used to sew. Now, it’s such a novelty to sew something like underwear because it’s optional. It’s a luxury to be able to spend your free time making something you can buy for a few dollars (and oh man do I have some vintage underwear patterns to share…at some point).

But, horse clothing? So many things have to come together to make a person a target reader of this book, right? And it was first published in 1983, not exactly during Make Do And Mend (by the way, after Googling that I learned there is a band called Make Do And Mend, who would have thought?). Asides aside, this person would also have to have a horse (or an interest in horses), AND understand a horse’s sartorial needs. Plus, they would have to enjoy sewing. For horses.

Is it crazy that this book blows my mind?

LOLSew: The Patterns of Your Nightmares

If you don’t know by now, I am clearly on Etsy way too often. I recently read a really interesting blog post from Raptitude on ways people are always trying to avoid discomfort. I could definitely relate and it hit me pretty hard, so go read it on your own time. Now is not the time to get deep.

Now is the time to get creeped (hah! did not plan that at all).

Clowns need no introduction, of course:

04 Ap5 70s clowns

I can’t help but feel like the adult clown is trying to get away with Blackface, which means this birthday party is not going to end well.

I wonder what makes some things nostalgic– like Mad Men-type midcentury dresses— and other things macabre. Take the 70’s for instance. Why were the 70’s so creepy?

04 Ap5 AnimalCostumesDogMask

If someone told me they were dressing up in a bunny costume and then showed up to my door at night looking like this, I would cry. Even the shaggy dog in a burglar mask freaks me out. Is it the fuzzy photography? The dead eyes peering into my soul? Speaking of dead eyes,

04 Ap5 Little Orphan Annie

Thanks for ruining my childhood, 70’s. I’m sure I’ve become a victim to my own bias, but after the first couple of creepy clowns, some patterns just make me uncomfortable.

04 Ap5 Huge Panda

Maybe you think this panda is innocuous enough, but remember, evil lives in the eyes.

04 Ap5 Huge Panda Eyes

Panda is watching you while you sleep. Even the technical drawings look like the blueprint of a government spying operation.

04 Ap5 Panda back 04 Ap5 Panda Front 04 Ap5 Panda side

I’m never going to look at stuffed animals the same. I swear I will wake up in the middle of the night to this penguin staring at my silently:

04 Ap5 Penguin

And then it will waddle away without saying anything while I question my sense of reality.


04 Ap5 Teddy Bear

Whatever you do, don’t hug the dog or you will become part of its underworld.

04 Ap4 dog costume


LOLSew: How to Style Patterns for Men

There are a number of elements that should be integrated into the envelope design of a pattern for men’s clothing:

A perched leg

Make use if what is available- such as an empty barrel…

Western 232

Or air!

Simplicity 6247

An item to hold

Cigarettes give a great Don Draper feel, especially when one is indulging in one’s underwear.

McCall 7905

Or hiding one behind one’s back.

McCall 7499

Items that can be associated with sleepwear: an alarm clock being looked at with uncertainty, a journal, or yawning.

Simplicity 1635

Business cards?

Simplicity 5029

The outline of a flask really says one is about to do some serious negotiating.

Simplicity 6256

Encourage an active lifestyle with weights being lifted up to one’s mouth.

Kwik Sew 1819

And again, make use of what you may have available, such as a lasso.

02 Feb09 Simplicity 8473

A place to put one’s elbow

Integrate weekend-at-home elements, such as the top of a fence.

Advance 3968

The mantel.

Simplicity 9124

One’s own knee.

Butterick 2125

If home elements are not available, air works just as well as an elbow perch as a knee perch.

Simplicity 8541

Finally, elements may be tastefully combined to create a striking image.

McCalls 7558

LOLSew: Hello Ladies or the Ambiguously Lesbian Edition

I had a feeling this would turn into a sewing blog. But I reserve the right to write (whoa) about whatever I want. And today I am CHOOSING to write about sewing. Again. And lesbians.

My tendency is to assume everyone is gay until I learn otherwise, but perhaps that is the fantasy world I live in. Recently, I started noticing a covert underground culture in vintage sewing patterns. For example:

Image of front of envelope for dress pattern McCall's 4649

McCall’s 4649

I love how Hat is keeping an eye on Red’s husband as she gets her Goose in. Speaking of husbands, it’s clear what the situation is on this Vogue pattern:

Image of front of envelope for dress pattern Vogue 8957

Vogue 8957

Blonde is breaking up with Red, claiming she can’t hurt her husband. Red is trying to convince her that she could make Blonde happier than she ever thought possible if she would only run away with her to that organic farm in Upstate New York they’d always dreamed of.

Image of front of envelope for dress pattern Butterick 4810

Butterick 4810

If you ask me, that kind of eye contact says they’ll be doing much more than sit-ins at the Women’s Empowerment Council. P.S. I love the stamp, “Beside the Peterborough Drive-In.”

Other patterns are not ambiguous at all:

Image of front of envelope for dress pattern Advance 9928

Advance 9928

These are just two ladies in love, there’s not much else to it.

I might be reading too much into some sewing patterns, but if this isn’t a lesbian party I wasn’t invited to, I don’t know what is:

Image of front of envelope for dress pattern Simplicity 5320

Simplicity 5320

Aside: can we please bring back the term kiki?

Finally, I hope to see a reinterpretation of this image on the cover of Monica Nolan’s next book:

Image of front of envelope for dress pattern McCall's 2189

McCall’s 2189

A 1970’s fashion designer hires a cute new pattern-maker who is getting in the middle of more than just a design and finished garment. If you’re reading this Monica, I’m full of ideas.

I realize I don’t have a lot of followers yet, but if you find any ALP (I’ve decided Ambiguously Lesbian Patterns is now a thing), please link to them in the comments. I live for this shit.

LOLSew: Impractical Edition

I love everything about sewing patterns- the awkward poses, the ambiguous illustrations, the unnecessary ruffles. And let me tell you, I’ll be the first to squee when I see a pattern for a 50s “playsuit”. That said, I can’t be the only one to question- where does one wear a shorts/bra combination (of course, not all of us are lucky enough to walk the red carpet at the VMAs)?

I am very much a practical sewer. I want to make things that I can wear over and over in any situation. I don’t understand the “office to evening” transition that magazines keep trying to explain to me (which often includes the simple, yet practical advice “take off your blazer”). I’ve worn the same outfit plenty of times in a faculty meeting and out to West Hollywood on a weekend.

I realize there are certain class, race, and age privileges that allow me to get away with many things I wear in certain settings.  But tell me: where does one wear this??

Image of vintage sewing pattern New Look 6721 with blazer, culottes, cropped bra top and skirt

New Look 6721

Ok- I could see a 19-year-old rocking the bra/skirt combo at a SXSW show. And oh my god, do I love the idea of the clock striking 5:30 and a woman storming out of her office, whipping off her boxy blazer and shaking out her tight Palin bun for HAPPY HOURRRR. Maybe it’s B-cup envy, but unless it contains an underwire or is used for sweaty purposes, it is not a bra for me.

I’m not even sure if it’s necessary to comment on this one:

Image of Simplicity sewing pattern 1709 with tailgating accessories, including beer holster, covers for chair and cooler

Simplicity 1709

First of all: let us commend the man in the picture who wears a 12-can “bandolier” lovingly crafted by a special person in his life (commend him equally if he hypothetically made it himself). We’re talking practicality here, though: one cannot just walk through security at a Cowboys game with a fucking beer holster on. “But there’s a thing called tailgating!” you say—YES BUT WHEN ONE IS TAILGATING, ONE HAS A COOLER IN WHICH TO STORE BEER, NOT FLEECE.

And the cape trend: so glamorously vintage in images so…turtley in real life .

Image of vintage sewing pattern Simplicity 7262 with three women wearing a large cape, one holding an umbrella

Simplicity 7262

I love the woman holding the umbrella with a limp arm.

I hope this post doesn’t come across as condescending. I love clothes, but I hate “fashion” because it’s so arbitrary and snobby. I have worn my share of gaudy and unpractical garments– I still have my poncho circa 2004, even though I could never figure out if I put my purse on the inside or outside (this probably explains my wariness of capes). Nevertheless, I truly believe everyone should sew or wear whatever they want, whether it’s Uggs and sweats or stilettos and a leather skirt, and not worry about whether or not it’s “on trend” (shudder). I love having a sense of humor about what I wear.