…So let’s kick it off with a kid with a goatee!
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.But look at these proud gals!!
Then again, some aren’t as excited as others:
Naturally, some know they are shining stars and are unhappy about sharing the spotlight.
Others enjoy the opportunities models offer:
Some kids are kicking off their modeling career, practicing their poses juuuust so…
While others are just dazed and confused….
When in doubt, just say AAAHHHHHH
All in all, nothing’s cuter than the Sewing Pattern Dapper Dons:
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?
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…
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:
This next one made my stomach drop as I was scrolling:
OH GOD NO YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT!!!!
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?!!!
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. 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: Lauren Hutton shows up pretty often as well: Christie Brinkley had a line of Simplicity patterns that are just-eighties-enough to look retro and not too dated: Then again, some are extremely eighties: If you are in the market for extremely eighties patterns, look no further than the Dynasty line: Of course, Diana Ross works in any decade: Never forget… 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): Marie Osmond represents the seventies with this I’m-Taking-A-Women-Studies-Class-at-Cornell look: Kathy Ireland brings it into the new millennium with this pattern from The Year 2000: 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. 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?) Corey Feldman?!?!– oh no, that’s a woman. Is that Taylor Swift picking her butt?Then 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? 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???
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You could also use a well-placed 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.
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.
Think of a pun. Then, create a visual. Shellphone:
Try making something you got for free A Thing. How about those glasses they give you at the eye doctor?
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.
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.
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:
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?
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:
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.
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,
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.
Maybe you think this panda is innocuous enough, but remember, evil lives in the eyes.
Panda is watching you while you sleep. Even the technical drawings look like the blueprint of a government spying operation.
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:
And then it will waddle away without saying anything while I question my sense of reality.
THEY WANT TO TURN ME INTO A DOLL!!!
Whatever you do, don’t hug the dog or you will become part of its underworld.
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…
An item to hold
Cigarettes give a great Don Draper feel, especially when one is indulging in one’s underwear.
Or hiding one behind one’s back.
Items that can be associated with sleepwear: an alarm clock being looked at with uncertainty, a journal, or yawning.
The outline of a flask really says one is about to do some serious negotiating.
Encourage an active lifestyle with weights being lifted up to one’s mouth.
And again, make use of what you may have available, such as a lasso.
A place to put one’s elbow
Integrate weekend-at-home elements, such as the top of a fence.
One’s own knee.
If home elements are not available, air works just as well as an elbow perch as a knee perch.
Finally, elements may be tastefully combined to create a striking image.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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??
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:
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 .
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.