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Forum > Beginner's Forum > ISO patterns for classic (80s-90s) Carole Little ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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ISO patterns for classic (80s-90s) Carole Little
need patterns for similar clothing
Member since 3/22/13
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Date: 3/22/13 9:20 PM

I am reading a basic sewing book and it advised me to go into my closet and find the things that I wear all the time as one way to identify my "style." Well, the things that I wear OUT are my old Carole Little 2 piece outfits. They are in disgraceful shape now. I am thinking about taking them apart to create a pattern but would prefer to find commercial patterns. These are flattering, multi-fabric business clothes. I can post pix if helpful. Google searches get me nothing except "vintage" carole little patterns (not quite what I'm looking for). Help!

Pamela R
Pamela R  Friend of PR
Ontario CANADA
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Date: 3/23/13 3:45 PM

Pictures would certainly help .

I do not follow designers or ready to wear.

California USA
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In reply to GlassworkQuilt <<

Date: 3/23/13 6:10 PM

Maybe just go get some real now old, Carol Little sewing patterns made and sold by Vouge Patterns back more in the 1980's. Vouge did have quite a few of those, I even still have some and remember sewing clothes from them. Basic style things there were most often, simple pieces and shapes, with top stitching detail only and pretty geometrical and not a lot of little fussy details and small fussy things all fighting for attention with each other.

Failing that, just look at the shape and style of the clothes you already got and like and then go look at sewing patterns from all companies. Try to just ignore the color photo's and photo of a model wearing any of those clothes, and instead just look at the line drawings on the back of the pattern envelopes instead. Because that is what really tells you what is going on with that pattern each time. If not used to looking at the base line drawings of a pattern instead, it's just way too easy, to get mixed up and influenced by fabric, color choice or even what a model looks like in some clothes in some photo someplace for a sewing pattern.

If you want some more current designer based clothes you can still buy a brand new Vouge pattern for, and also just go into the large department stores and even snoop shop and try on the same or close to kind of outfits made from the same designer before sewing up your own, maybe check out and look for Chado Ralph Rucci, or Anne Klein, or even DKNY or Donna Karan Vouge Patterns now instead. All of those, just designer wise are all most times still keeping with pretty simple and basic large shapes in the pattern pieces in the styles of the clothes there, and don't tend to have a bunch of fussy details detracting from the effect, and they also tend to have some mix and match pieces in the same pattern envelope sometimes and tend to be sort of "women's work wear" if you want them to be.

I think "Carol Little" as a design house is a done deal and not coming back ever.


dresscode  Friend of PR
Florida USA
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Date: 3/23/13 6:17 PM

Look for old Ellen Tracy patterns too. They were similar coordinate patterns...just not in the prints Carole Little used so much. If I recall, many of those fabrics were rayon. There used to be an outlet in LA where you could buy CL fabrics but then they went overseas.

Sauvage  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/24/13 0:52 AM

I loved the Carole Little things I had about 20 years ago. So colorful, and there really wasn't much else like them. You should take pictures of the ones you have so we can see them.

In my hazy recollection it was the prints rather than the patterns that were distinctive. I sometimes find prints that are colorful and offbeat with search terms like "tribal" and "primitive" and (this is a new one from Fabric Mart) "archeological." Those are the fabrics that most remind me of my Carole Little stuff, though they're not quite as vividly colored. And rayon, like dresscode says.

2015 inventory:
Yards sewn: 15
Yards purchased: 0

" much bigger on the inside." Doctor Who, "The Doctor's Wife," 6.04, by Neil Gaiman.

LuceLu  Friend of PR
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.

Date: 3/24/13 7:49 AM

Information on the Carole Little brand

It is really sad. They really killed off good creative accessible design. Now it is mostly schlock no matter who's name is on it. I remember going to boutiques in the 80's and 90's where you could find original looking stuff that was not necessarily chain mall store stuff. It cost a little more but they were good pieces. But one could even find good quality work clothes at the chain stores like Casual Corner and in the department stores. I had some Carole Little pieces, but as above, they did not last forever. Some of the outfits, even if not worn out, would look really dated now.

Oh boy, I just read bunch of articles-- she is a real rags to riches to rags story. There was even an 18 month spate of what was called "the Carole Little Murders" in the LA garment district related to her downsizing in the 1990's. Very dramatic. She was even on Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous in the 80's.
-- Edited on 3/24/13 7:59 AM --

LonestarLady  Friend of PR
Texas USA
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Date: 3/24/13 12:08 PM

Wow - crazy history about her company!! It reads like a made-for-TV movie.

Elona  Friend of PR
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In reply to GlassworkQuilt <<

Date: 3/24/13 12:18 PM

Here are some images of vintage Carol Little sewing patterns. You might be able to use them as a jumping off point.

But pictures of your favorite garments would help us.

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