Vintage Red

Dedicated to Vintage Pattern Reproduction.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Posted by Carisa |

On a scale of 1-10, how wrong is it name a blog post solely based on a song that is going through your head? Thanks a million Aerosmith, but if you could actually play more than just that one line through my head I think I would be going a bit less mad right now. 

So I am working on a very interesting project for my friend Heather. Heather and I met in Chicago about 10yrs ago when we serving time in retail hell. Before I left for the UK I made her a bitchin' white coat that, well, can only be best described as a lab coat really. As seen in this stellar shot taken in my photography class in London:

So I promised her after I left the UK that I would make her a 1940s replica of a US Military Jacket. I believe she took her inspiration from this scene in For the Boys:

Well, I kinda never got around to it, till last year (5yrs and counting) and then procrastinated. And of course, she has now changed her mind (good thing I was lazy right!) She is now totally into Steampunk, and for those of you that had to look this up like I did,  
"the term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era Britain — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date."
  -- Wikipedia

Kinda like this

So now we are on to bigger and better and I have started making this new jacket. As I am SURE I have mentioned (screamed) on previous occasions (all the time) I am by no means a designer, nor do I really like designing. Unfortunately heather totally conned me into it and this is what we came up with.

It will be a dark green, heavy twill, with brown leather belts (anything black on the drawing) There will be a stamp print using vintage pictures on the yolk and one sleeve. All "buttons" are actually brass cogs and wheels that were found online. I'm hoping the fabric freys quite a bit so that I can sew some of the seams on the outside to give it a more weathered look, as well as a copper lining on the inside. I'm not sure you can really see the vision from my poor drawing, but here it is at any rate!

 So I have made a mock-up of the "general idea" and am sewing it together tonight! More picture to follow tomorrow!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dear Vogue

Posted by Carisa |

Dear Vogue,
I know that everyone is super excited about your Fall line. I personally believe, that after looking at your new patterns, you have single-handily crushed my dreams for my favorite wardrobe season. And I'm really not cool with that. Let's see a few examples of your poor taste shall we?

Exhibit A:
It is NOT Hammer Time. So put DOWN the parachute material and let's think about this rationally. (Please note this very useful equation when making important Fall Pattern decisions.)

Exhibit B:
If I wanted to look preggers, I would get preggers. Why you feel the need to strategically place gathers in a dress so that it will give the appearance of  pregnancy, is beyond me. Hasn't my boyfriend been through enough just by dating me? Does he need to be scared to death? 

Exhibit C:
Poison and Scorpion called, they want their pants back, they've been looking for them everywhere.

Exhibit D:
I don't even want to talk about what's wrong with this. But I'm pretty sure even Sarah Jessica Parker wouldn't wear this (I'm so going to regret saying that, she is totally going to wear it to an event, sigh, oh Sarah...)

Now Vogue, I don't think I need to continue on about my feelings towards your new line. I mean, everyone has an off design or two, you can't please everyone, they can't all be winners...blah blah. I also understand, from my internet browsing, that I am in the minority on most of these problems I have, and I'm OK with that. All I ask is that you please stop encouraging the young and annoying fashionistas of the world who are bringin' it back old school 80s/90s style.

I know I know, I was not above reproach several decades ago when I was rockin' the big hair, side pony, baggy Bon Jovi t-shirt, and stirrup pants. But I would like to point out that in the mid-90s (snort) I packed that up and sent it where all bad fashion goes to die, in exchange for leggings and an oversize plaid button down shirt, just like everyone else did. I never dreamed, even for one moment, that it would ever be regurgitated back at me some 30 years later to relive the horror.  I left that 80s garb in the time capsule of yearbooks and unburned pictures where it belongs. (except the Bon Jovi shirt, come on it was a tour shirt! It will totally be worth something someday, possibly)

Vogue, we left the 80s and early 90s right where we left them for a reason, a really good reason might I add, and you too will look back on these designs and say what I'm saying to you right now, W. T. F.

Your Biggest Fan,

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

When Boyfriends Make Bad/Good Decisions For You

Posted by Carisa |

Sunday Morning Breakfast: Senior Moose
Me and Boyfriend:

Me: Ok, tell me I don't need buy a new sewing machine
BF: You totally should
Me: (spitting out drink) What!
BF: Why not, it's your only hobby really (sad) and the one you have is really old
Me: But I really shouldn't spend the money, that is what you are supposed to say to me
BF: Meh, and if you got a new one, you could do all kinds of new things and be faster
Me: Ok you are NO help, I asked you because you were supposed to say no
BF: Sorry, I think it's a good idea, how much will you spend
Me: I don't want to go above $400-$600, and $600 would kill me to spend. It's so much.
BF: Wow, I thought you were going to say at least $1200
Me: God no!
BF: I say do it, I mean if I can have a $14,000 motorcycle you can have a $600 sewing machine, at least yours makes stuff
Me: Agreed, get a new hobby
BF: No, are you done eating that?

OK, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought boyfriend's were supposed to be your "better half" (snort) and give you "good advice" (snort snort) and stop you from spending tons of money (bahaha, snort, bahahah, snort) Wait, if I can't get through that sentence without laughing out loud, well, I should have know better than to ask him right? Sigh.

So I guess I'm on the market for new sewing machine! Anyone have any ideas?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Trenchy the Naughty Coat

Posted by Carisa |

As promised, I have finished my trench coat! I actually finished ages ago, but because of my, ahem, addiction to certain crime shows that will not be named (Bones), I haven't posted in a while (millennium). I used the McCall pattern 5525 and did regrade it to my size with the ever so accurate, add-an-inch-everywhere-and-fit-it-to-me-later, method. I knoooow I was supposed to do it the "right" way, but once I saw how many pieces there were I decided against it, because I have better things to do (lazy).  So here's the low down...

THIS, is the finished product, note that I am just taking pictures now and have worn it numerous times, thus there is a bit of a I-haven't-seen-an-iron-before feel to it, or wrinktastic as I call it...ignore this please. Yes, that IS the dress I was working on regrading on the form...I plead the 5th on the grounds that it might incriminate me as an addict with a TV watching problem.

Things I learned:
1. McCalls does NOT always know best. -- Why you ask? They don't really specify to do any interfacing on the belt, thus what results is a puny and poor excuse for a belt. So instead of a belt, I have a trendy tie in the back...pathetic. You would think after years of sewing I would think "Oh McCalls you think you're so smart but you aren't" no, instead I went "Sweet!" and then did a little cabbage patch dance of delight to not having to do more pre-sewing work.

 2. I am far more OCD than originally thought. -- WHO knew that a trench coat had so many parts and detail sewing? I spent more time Topstitching than I did sewing or picking out the lining (please see gross error in judgment or #3)

3. No matter how bitchin' you think it's going to look, there is a REASON they don't call all fabric lining. -- Now, I'm not saying I don't totally heart my lining, because I think it's awesome. The problem is I made it out of the same fabric as the shell of the jacket and there is not only added bulk but a serious lack of movement, Normally I would never stray from using fabric called lining, but it was so pretty...

Dear Lining Gods,
I got you message and I think you kinda of suck for your poor attitude and lack of clarity on informing me that I was making a mistake on fabric choice. But overall I stand by my decision purely on how fantastic it looks, and I hate being wrong.

Now tell me it doesn't look kinda bad ass?

The yolk:

The pockets:

The Fully Monty (yes that is my boyfriend's hand, he would make SUCH a good Vanna, no?)

So there you have it folks! I will never make another trench again, A: Because I have one now, and B: Because it took way to long to make. (Please note that B will be a distant and strangely fond memory by the time A is no longer true. Sigh)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Really? I mean Really?

Posted by Carisa |

Does the last post read Feb 25th? Impossible! OK maybe it is totally possible. I would love to say it was because I've been uber important and busy and that's is why, but in reality, I just haven't done a lot of sewing. I did finish my jacket and will post shortly on my "maybe that was the wrong lining for this project" jacket. I have found that there really is a reason some fabric is actually called lining, weird. But this you will learn more of later so stop bugging me already...geesh...oh wait, that's the jacket talking, shut up jacket.

Other than that I got a promotion (woot woot) it's basically the same job (bummer) but with more pay (super). So that has been taking up time, and then I started watching the series Bones, and I'll be honest, that is really what has prevented my sewing. Shameful, I know. But. I. Can't. Stop. Watching. OK OK OK, it' actually the ONLY reason I haven't been sewing, who told you! Don't think for a second though that my boyfriend has not mocked me episode by episode. But I am immune to his snotty comments and will continue my viewing! (I'm in the middle of Season 4, um WTF with the Season 3 ending!)

So, that's me, my life, and where I've been. I'm not exciting I know, but more sewing will occur! Besides, it's really my only hobby. I don't think I can obsessively watching crime shows is my hobby..or can I...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

OH the Irony of it all

Posted by Carisa |

Oh Look at me! Blogging twice in one day! Score! I just have to mention this story and didn't want it to get lost in my other post, because I find it to be quite ironic and funny, in a laugh-instead-of-cry sorta way.

I decided I needed a new project on Saturday, so I rummaged through my old patterns and found a lovely mid-thigh trench coat pattern I just had to have (there is a strong possibility I may have a slight obsession of jackets, just as a warning). So I went a few blocks over to Joann Fabrics (because I live in Seattle and there is really no choice for inexpensive fabric stores, sooo sad...I miss you Vogue Fabrics in Chicago and Shepherds Bush Market in London!) Anyways, I got this faaabuluse deal on some cotton sateen!

These were my choices, at first I wanted to go with a really bright color like the blue, but after looking at it in the mirror, although it would have looked killer with my red hair, my sizable everythingelse, would not have fared so well.

Behold! My future masterpiece! dark Red with a black and white lining.

So why do I find this ironic? Well I got home and realized, I have, ahem, grown a bit, ahem, and the pattern no longer fits. So guess what? OH THE IRONY!!! I have to resize it. Oh yes, I laughed, so you might as well laugh too. Since I won't be distributing the resize, I got out my trusty paper and sized away, it was actually really good practice and I learned a lot. It's a modern pattern so it's already multi-sizes (just not my size, booo) so it was interesting to see how they gave a little more hear and there and a little less in places for ease. Très Intéressant...

 I'll post more as I get more of it done!

Don't worry, I am aware that if I blogged more frequently I would not have to write such long post, I promise to do better! To preface this posting, you should know I’m kinda in love with technology, and border on OCD perfectionism in things that I do. Combined, these two lovely personality quirks lead me to trying my hand at computer drafting (well my cheap version that is). Let me explain why, in my crazy brain I think this is necessary…

Hand Drafting:
Drafting on paper is super fun, but has a huuuuge margin for error for people who:   
A.   Don’t have patience (me)
B.   Move paper around easily because they are clumsy, have no ability to keep everything but hands still ,and have boobs that have a mind of their own and are often heard giggling when they move said paper (me)
C.   Are easily distracted by anything that isn’t what they’re doing at the moment, thus leaving   project to wander off (me).
D.   Are named Carisa (I blame that stupid Clarissa Explains it all show…somehow…)

If you manage to draft it then you have to cut it a part in several strategic points, spread them out by an array of different centimeters, and redraft it for each size (zzzzzzz). Causing more scandalous boobie paper movement and more errors (boobalized of you will) 

Well I don’t know about you, but I’m a total perfectionist, and if I’m going to do something it’s going to be as perfect as I can get it…especially if someone else is going to see or use it! Therefore, my next idea was scanning! I thought, oh I’m SOOO gonna knock this outta the park, sans cork and steroids. 

Scanning and Editing: 
Just know that scanning is a sucky idea for the following reasons:
A.   If you go to Kinko’s, or any other printer, it costs a fortune to have it scanned, and there is a strong possibility that they tear your paper while running it through their monster scanning machine. If you think this isn’t a big deal, think about how much time you took making it as perfect as it could be and then hearing “ooops” while waiting. Yeah, I think “going postal” would have a new ring to it for you.
B.   Scanning on a scanning bed seems like a rad idea, if you have one at your disposal. Know that you will spend HOURS, matching up the scans that you had to do separately since most scanners are 11x17 at their largest. HOURS. 

My scanning experience:

I personally tried the work scanner idea (insert boring day at work) and ended up spent hours using a program to connect the pieces together called GIMP, which is almost exactly like our friend Adobe Photoshop but f-r-e-e, my favorite word. After a very long time piecing it together I had to save it as a jpeg and then open it in AdobeAcrobat to make it print in pieces like a downloadable pattern (see, I said techie nerd, if you understood any of that you too have a problem and probably an iphone or crackberry. Don't you! Admit it!)
I got it home to try out my masterpiece by comparing it to the original and I swear I thought my boobs has somehow been involved again because it was crazy off aspect. (argh)
Doesn’t it even look a bit off? (well it 's, I swear) It’s the bodice front piece, ack…

Never one to give up easily I tried taking measurements and going back to GIMP, to rearrange till it worked. HOURS later, much cursing, a few temper tantrums, and several diet cokes later, I realized it just wasn’t going to work. 

Now at this point you are thinking, why don't you just put down a few hundred and get a FashionCAD (thousand actually) or another pattern drafting program. Well I don't know about you, but I'm really poor, and I have to make do with my limited resources! Unless you wanna give it to me for free, I'm all about free :-)

Again not one to throw away a perfectly good idea (I think we can add stubborn to the list of personality quirks, right about now), I convinced my IT department to let me download Adobe Illustrator. I haven’t used this program before but I heart it already. It is based on a vector system  (geometry) instead of raster format (graphics), (I can't believe I know that) so it is much cleaner and easier to use. I just click, type in the angel and the length of the line and there it is! I am not kidding that I seriously want to fake a baby or something and run home and start using it! (I told you I was a huge dork right?)

Who said you would never use a protractor again!!! 
Crap, I totally lost that bet didn't I.
I owe you a dollar Meredith.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Mad Tracer Strikes Again...

Posted by Carisa |

Ok Ok I knooooow that I've been a naughty blogger, but I really have been productive! (sorta) So in my last post I was going to start tracing my vintage pattern to resize! I did trace last week as promised and it went really well once I used a ruler (stop laughing, no I didn't use it last time.) and the new love of my life, architect paper. I'm constantly amazed by this paper people. It is on a role and it, of course, like all paper is want to do, rolled right off the table within a few minutes of use. So I immediately use some choice profanity and then thought "well there goes the paper, now it's torn...blah blah" ranting and raving and then went to snatch it off the ground to salvage the role. Well low and behold, it's isn't torn. It's not even wrinkled. In face I'm pretty sure it was laughing at me while mocking me for doubting it's paperlicious superiority. If it had fingers, it would have pointed while laughing, I'm sure of it. I was blown away by how fragile I thought it was but it's actually really durable. It doesn't wrinkle, or tear. I was even using heavy "weights" on it and when I moved them around it didn't even leave a mark. Booyah!
Speaking of weights. I thought you would all find this as amusing as I did. I found myself, fully prepared to get down with my tracing the other night, to realize I had nothing to hold the super-awesome-tracing-paper down. Being the resourceful smurf that I am, I walked into the kitchen and snatched a few cans to use. I must say once looking at them I thought, they are like my own little military toops! Look at them, all lined up and ready for duty...

But then I thought, no way the military would be involved with super-awesome-tracing-paper, it's just too cutting edge. This calls for superheros...dah dada to save the day! So I took them in a more flattering up shot, to show their true greatness. (yes, you are correct, I do have way to much time on my hands)

So then I got biiizay with my tracing, and it actually went WAY better than I thought. No really, I don't know how I made it so hard last time. ha, actually I do, but still. The paper was a dream and the only problem was if I accidentally moved the cans or shifted the paper, it was a total pain to line it back up again with the pattern underneath it, but that's what I get for moving stuff.

So after this epic adventure with canned food (please note that no food was harmed in this process, that happened later when I made chili and chicken pies from good.) I mentioned to my bfry that he should stop by Home Depot (oh the agony for a carpenter) and grab me some of those lovely slate tiles that are really heavy but about 2x2, peeeerfect size for a paperweight! And then I could make some fetching little covers for them, and then, voila! Fancy fabric weights! I saw this idea on and only wish I was so crafty with HomeDepot supplies. He of course said no because he always has a better idea "why would I do that when I can just make you some steal ones from scrap steal in the shop?" (smarty pants) Therefore, someday, in the foreseeable future, I will have brand spankin' new weights to trace with...muahahaha.

Until then my S.H.I.E.L.D. team will be workin' hard for the money. Did I really just combine a vague comic book reference with an 80s dance song? Sigh.

Next time on S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Mad Tracer we will explore computer aided design and the Mad Tracer's compulsive perfectionism at it's darkest. Until then...break out your leg warmers, full body leotards and that old sweatshirt and dance, dance, dance...

Officially. Gone. Crazy.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

How Hard Could This Be...

Posted by Carisa |

I was reading a comment response thingy on the SewRetro site to my Paper Tracing Blog, and geogrrl mentioned that their personal motto was "How Hard Could this Be?" After I was done laughing so loud that my boss asked me what was so funny, I decided, what a perfect title for a blog explaining why I haven't done anything at all in the past few days!

I find that I try really hard to be productive in the evenings, and I find that people, as in social situations, are like my shiny objects of distraction. Such as this weekend for instance, I was all set to get down with my tracing, and instead fell prey to a suggestions that I should watch the train wreck that is Jersey Shore (if you have not watched, please don't, it's for your own good). I finally tore myself away once I realized I had wasted 4hrs on the worst MTV show to grace their station since Cribs (yes, I sadly Wikipedia-ed it to find out if Sammi and Ronny were still together, they are.) Then Monday, well that was dinner and Wii night. And then yesterday, I even skipped a beautiful day for crew practice, just to get my trace on, and well that turned into grocery shopping night.

The moral of the story is, I am apparently incapable of doing more than one thing in a night, eventhough I'm home by 5pm.

Tonight is the night people! I WILL trace!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Paper Trail

Posted by Carisa |

Greetings! After completing my 2nd Grade masterpiece (and yes, it is on my fridge, I signed it and everything!), I decided to actually do some r-e-s-e-a-r-c-h on what people use to trace patterns on. I ended up going with the architect paper which I purchased last night and then promptly put it aside to watch a Netflix movie (who can resist Dean Martin? WHO!)

So here's the low down on the paper and such.

Medical Exam Table Paper

Pros:  Easy to find and cheap.
Cons: I believe it only comes in 21” wide and from the exam paper I have seen it’s not as transparent as I would like it. 
Purchase Info:  Can be purchased online or at medical supply stores for pretty cheap, or stolen from your Doctor’s office when no one is looking (I’d wear a large coat if I were you). and sell them.
Comments:  Many people mentioned that they went to their doctor to ask about it. Really? I envision this conversation going something like this: "Hey so while you're down there, how much does a girl need to pay for a roll of this stuff, or does it come free with the service?" I obviously don’t have a close enough relationship to my doctor. It might have something to do with the whole weighing you before you even get into the room stunt, “you weigh xyz“”yeah I need a little less chat and a little more get me (blank) outta this room”. A real chit-chat killer in my opinion.

Regular Tissue Paper

Pros: Cheap Cheap Cheapity Cheap
Cons: Tears really easily
Purchase Info: Pretty much any local Walgreens or grocery store. Online would be a good bet.
Comments:  hahaha, I know I like doing things the hard way, but I’m pretty sure the majority of my hair would be pulled out trying not to tear the paper. And I super like my hair, right where it is.

Pattern Ease (and other similar products like TrueGrid) 

Pros:  You can sew it, press it, and fit using it.  Doesn’t slip around on the fabric when using it to cut. Doesn’t tear.
Cons: The lines are not not always true (so they say). 
Purchase Info: Non-woven tracing material, Can be purchased at fabric stores like and
Comments:  I think the lines would give me a killer headache after a while and I was really never good at coloring inside the lines.

Swedish Tracing Paper

Pros: Similar to Pattern Ease but with no lines. Durable, can be sewn and pined, doesn’t sip on fabric, can be ironed.
Cons:  Pencil doesn’t erase well on it. Predominantly sold online, unless you are blessed to live near a sewing mecca. 
Purchase Info: Birch Street Clothing, NearSea Naturals
Comments: I think I will probably try this at one point, it seems really amazing. And no lines to get in the way!

Non-woven Soil Separator Cloth (Common brand Weed Blocker)

Pros:  Thin and transparent. Can be sewn.
Cons: Difficult when using pencils. Sharpies bleed through. 
Purchase Info: Can be purchased at most home stores in the plumbing (no idea why) or gardening department. Online it can be purchased at Carriff ,
Comments: I don’t like nature really; I mean we have a very good business relationship where we stay out of each others way, while admiring each other from afar, through glass. I don’t think I would really enjoy going into a place full of it….shiver.

Dotted Pattern Paper

Pros: Durable, faint dots won't get in the way as much as a grid
Cons: Can only be found in one store (that I know of) 
Purchase Info: Can be found at Steinlauf and Stoller
Comments: From what I could find on it I think this is pretty much like the architect paper below, but with dots. I only found one seller for it, he is located in New York (link above) and I am not so luck to live near a fabric mecca such as NYC (sniff sniff).

7lb Architect Sketching Paper (Bienfang No. 107 Canary sketching paper is most poplar)

Pros: Is transparent enough to not need bright light for tracing. Very durable. Pens and sharpies do not bleed through. Can be found at most art stores. Comes in various widths.
Cons: I couldn’t find anyone that didn’t like this paper. 
Purchase Info: Can be purchased online at and
Comments: I chose this to start off with and am on my way home to purchase J I’ll have to leave a bit early because the closest place closes at 5 (WHAT a SHAME that I have to leave early, I’m crushed, really I am).  I did find that although everyone talks about Binefang online, all you have to do is ask for 7lb sketching paper and there is a plethora of other brands out there, make sure you ask if it’s on a role though, it is also sold in pads.

Can be found at art stores and such, for about $1 a foot

Pros: Very durable and transparent. Pens won't bleed through.
Cons: Probably the most expensive of all the choices.
Purchase Info: Utrecht, and all sell Vellum. 
Comments: I'm cheap.'nough said.


Pros: Cheap and totally old school
Cons:I think we all know how horribly wrong this could go. Bleeding on fabric and your hands, hard to see markings.
Purchase Info: On your doorstep (or someone else's doorstep, I won't judge). And any supermarket or bookstore.
Comments: Tell me you don't love that picture I 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Second Grade Tracing Project

Posted by Carisa |

I don't know about you, but when I was a kid I never followed instructions, I'm pretty sure "I'm sure this will work better" was my motto. And then, as it is now, doesn't really ever work for me the way I think it will, yest I still do it.

You are correct, I made my first attempt at grading! Well, actually, step one, tracing. Apparently I need to go back to 2nd grade.

Experiment #1:
Aim: To accurately transfer a vintage pattern to a new pattern that can be altered without harming the original
Hypothesis (optional): That I am a bitchin' pattern maker and can do this in a day
Equipment: Tracing Paper, Pen, Rulers, Endless amounts of patience
1. Use a tracing paper that you can see through, you can scan or retrace on sturdier paper later
                 Inner Child: Laahame. I say use brown paper, it's A; Cheaper, and B: sturdy and you can use it to make 
                 everything off of! Two birds with one stone.
2. Trace the pattern, carefully, recording all notations on the original pattern. 
                Inner child: Whaaaat! Do you know how long that is going to take! Skip it, you should do a "dry run" and 
                not put the marking in. You can always fill it in later. Dude, I should totally write instructions, move over, 
               give me a crayon. 
Safety/Risks: Possible alcoholism by end of session.
Results: A completely unusable pattern for regrading. No crayons were harmed in this experiment.
Conclusion:  In conclusion I turned my frown upside down and used it to make a muslin cut out. I'm sure my inner child was planning that all along.I vow to never make short cuts again (lie), and will be purchasing tracing paper tout de suite! I did however use it to sew a muslin of the dress, because I was really curious to see what the finished project would look like.

Pictorial Evidence:

Laying out the pattern

The decision to use my useless "pattern" for a greater god, a mock-up of the dress...

A close up of the final muslin. Note to self: get something more fun for fabric. Muslin = utter snooze fest for pictures.

Totally random side note for amusement purposes: 
I often "argue" with my boyfriend about leaving stuff about, such as piles and piles of papers. Therefore, I occasionally get my passive aggressive side on, and take them and make new 'arrangements" out of the piles, totally screwing with his "filing system".
Mean? Yes.
Funny? Yes.
Worth it? Well I thought so, until he got even.
So I was tracing up a storm a few weeks ago and left my sewing table in the living room (which, incidentally, is the best thing I have ever bought in my entire like, sorry Ipod, you have been replaced!). We were having people over and he was complaining about me leaving it in the living room, which I snapped (while cooking the ENTIRE dinner) that he could just move it if he was going to be such a baby. All I heard was a "oh, I see. I'll get right on that" in the tone I used to give to my mom when I was going to be a smart ass about something.

I think a picture will do it justice.



Need I say more? I got served. Touché honey, touché...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The First Pattern...

Posted by Carisa |

I was trying to decide what pattern to start with and thought it would be gut wrenching to pick one out of the many that I have laying about. Then I saw one that I always keep out, kind of for good luck. Let me explain. 

(insert hazy and terribly biased flashback here. Maybe even an 80s starswipe, oh yeah, old school flashback)

 Many many moons ago, ahem, years ago. I was living in Chicago, drowning in retail misery and in a pretty sad little funk. I had graduated from an arts school in Arts Management (insert snort of laughter here for an "Art" school having a management program), and realized, hey, management sucks, a lot. And what sucks more than management? Retail management, oh yeah, soul sucker. So after drowning my sorrows in the bottom of a vodka pineapple (I know right? All I needed was an excessive amount of pink velour and some pom poms with that drink. My prior lameness is duly noted and I am appropriately shammed. I'm sorry if you are offended and over the age of 23) I dusted myself off and decided to change it up a bit, so I move to London to attend school for Costume Design. Well, I won't go into great detail about what happened (we'll save that for another day) but lets just say it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be and there were many "I hate designing all I want to do is sew" comments thrown about.

Upon my first few days I realized that, aside from a few of us, everyone was under 22 (eek). I immediately forged a drinking/whinfest friendship with a lovely British tart (ahem "lady") by the name of Anwen. We were united in our general hatred of designing and our love of sewing. I moved back to the US a year later and we have stayed friends (duh). Last year was my big 3-0 and Anwen sent me a beautiful vintage pattern. I knew the second I looked at it that something special needed to be done with it and it has remained out, flirting about my sewing room nagging me (with a snotty British accent) that "doing something with it" meant picking it up.

So here we are (starswipe back to present, and still seriously biased, day)

Behold my first pattern, for your viewing pleasure! I will be posting in a few days more about my progress. With pictures of course, because let's face it, we don't really read anything unless pictures are involved. Maybe I should do a post where, in-between sentences, I just post random pictures, oh that is SO going to happen…

McCalls 5412 (1960)

Friday, January 15, 2010

101: Intro to Moi

Posted by Carisa |

So, I notice on a lot of sewing blogs, people just do a first post all willy nilly, and I always feel a little let down. Where's the intro? The Setup? The reason you started it in the first place? Now don't get my wrong, I'm not trying to pee in your cheerios for those of you who have blogs that don't do intros (ok well kinda). But I'm A: Nosy and want to know more about you, and B: I don't understand how, on one of the vainest mediums next to Twitter updating (I mean really?), that one would choose not to do a little performance of the (Enter Name Here) Show? You know, get your inner Vanity Smurf on!

So here we go...her's my INTRO (consider your cheerios peed in)

The Carisa Vanity Show (Season 1, Episode 1): I Got Your Cheerios Right Here

When I was 8, my grandmother and mother taught me to sew, in the hopes that learning to put something together, would stop me from dismantling everything in the house  (I mean. as if Barbie neeeeded that car or something, geesh!)

Well it worked, I haven't dismantled a doorknob in years (well I did finally learning how locks work, thus ending my need for scientific experimentation on the subject.) Since then I have dedicated my spare time to sewing, and learning as much about the craft as I can. Oh and being lazy.

So here we are, in Blogland, 20-plus years later (eek), and my new challenge is to take the vintage patterns I have (read: serious pattern collecting problem to the tune that it is quite likely they will find me dead underneath them in the next Lifetime reality show), and create multi-size patterns that everyone can use. I know far to well what it is like to squeal with excitement on viewing a beautiful vintage pattern, only to sigh loudly and curse my enchilada addiction, when I see it doesn't come in my size, or even close to my size (boo).

The catch you ask? The reason you will come back and that I'm blogging instead of working right now? Well, honestly, I haven't graded a pattern before, plus I'm really entertaining, I make myself laugh at least 2 times a day. So if you decide to visit me again, you can follow along with me on this new scientific experiment (um, maybe don't mention to mom, she still has flashbacks and screams when someone says "experiment" à la turrets style. Poor UPS Guy.) Here, on this site, is where I''ll be your free entertainment about my process of learning grading, my mistakes, my triumphs, my inability to sew a single garment without sewing something in upside down or backwards at least once (I mean every friggin' time.), and a host of other useless facts about moi.

Hopefully you will enjoy it, and hopefully someday, you will be able to come here, and squeal with delight when you click on a fabulous vintage pattern and it does, in fact, come in your size. Until then, my sarcasm and pictures will be here for you enjoyment.

So I'll see you around then?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Coming Soon...

Posted by Carisa |