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A friend of mine once remarked that physically attractive women could be divided into three categories of attractiveness: Beautiful, Sexy, and Cute. I don’t think this is the only possible way of dividing the space, but it seems as reasonable a taxonomy as any. I also don’t think it’s quite so simple, as I find that women generally possess all of these qualities in different measures and ratios, and perhaps some even in equal measure. But I think my friend’s point is rather valid that for many or most women, one of these qualities is more dominant (Primarily Beautiful, Primarily Sexy, or Primarily Cute) than the others in their attractiveness. (I think the same taxonomy could also be applied to men, but I think people use those words differently when talking about men, so I’ll just ignore the topic of men’s attractiveness for this discussion.)

If the Selfish Seamstress may be so bold as to assume that she is at least somewhat attractive to some person somewhere (and we are talking about being attractive on the outside, as everyone knows that on the inside the Selfish Seamstress is purely hideous with no redeeming inner beauty), then she would have to also (somewhat grudgingly) place herself squarely in the Primarily Cute pile, rather than the Primarily Sexy or Primarily Beautiful pile. Moonfaced, round-eyed, and no larger than your thumb, this seems the most obvious categorization.

So why am I thinking about this today?  Because I’ve recently purchased some awfully cute prints (contrary to popular belief, the Selfish Seamstress does not hate prints):

That’s an Amy Butler polka dot cotton, earmarked for a light spring trench jacket.

That’s a bold floral Amy Butler cotton sateen in a light decorator weight, intended for a simple 3/4 length coat, to be worn with the simplest of sheath dresses and updo. (Sigh.  If I must be forced to admit it, I got the idea for such a coat after seeing a floral coat on some random lady on some random TV show.  She’s NOT my style icon, but I just like the coat, okay?)

This was a vintage find- 8 yards (!!) of cotton with a French market scene border print, destined to become a sundress with spaghetti straps and a full, full skirt. I would love to find a cardigan in that shade of French blue to belt over it. 

So what was the point of that whole prelude about cuteness?  Simply that I think that if you fall into the Primarily Cute bucket (not literally fall into a bucket of cuteness), you have to take especial precaution with your cute prints. A tall, skinny, exotic model can make a pink flowered chiffon Anna Sui babydoll dress look chic and edgy; the same dress on the Selfish Seamstress would look as though she had indeed stolen it off of a baby doll. For me, it is imperative that a cute print be paired with a sophisticated or even austere cut, unless I want to look like a giant toddler. 

Particular details of cut about which I have to be careful: the aforementioned babydoll silhouette, puff sleeves, flounces at the hem, Peter Pan collars, empire waists, a-line dresses (a-line skirts are ok), bows. Most of these I think I can pull off in some cases with a sophisticated or plain fabric, but you won’t catch any of them stepping out with any of the prints above. Incidentally, I would also warn the ladies in the “Primarily Sexy” category to be careful when pairing cutesy print + cutesy cut.  Could end up looking a little costume-y, if you know what I mean.

In any case, prints are still a gamble for me, and even sticking to simple fitted bodices and tailored trench details don’t guarantee that the garments I have planned for those fabrics won’t be flops. But I guess that’s just trial and error at work.

How about you?  What elements and combinations do you love and what do you know to stay away from?

[UPDATE #2: Yikes, Für Sie has totally redone their website since I posted this over the weekend, and now I can't find any of their sewing or knitting instructions anymore! I'll keep hunting and post a new URL if I find them. Sorry!]

Well, seeing as how I’ve made zero progress on Burda 8.2009.128, I may as well just blather on about other sewing-related stuff to you, right?

I just discovered a couple more new cute freebie patterns for some easy, drapey garments for summer.  They are this darling little drawstring tank dress, a knockoff of a current season Tim Hamilton dress:

And a drapey wrap overblouse and tank combo, a knockoff of a current season Maurizio Pecararo outfit:

And now for the catches. Yes, once again the instructions are in German, put out by the magazine “Für Sie.” Hey it’s not my fault that German women’s magazines make an effort to give you lovely designer knockoff DIY projects and English language magazines don’t! But really, the patterns themselves look so simple (one or two pieces per garment!) and there are some illustrations to the instructions, so you can handle it, right?  Oh yeah, and you have the scale the patterns up as well because they’re not full size.

Hey, don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.  And wouldn’t you rather I share my freebie findings with you than keep them to myself?  :D

The patterns and instructions (as well as instructions for a couple of other projects) are here in this pdf. Good luck! I’m off to go do some sewing.

UPDATE:  Okay, because Meredith P. asked, and Meredith P is a lovely faithful reader, I’ll help you out a little bit, even though helping goes against everything I believe in. The scale is a one square to 1 cm (apparently you can get pattern paper with a 1cm grid, though I’m not sure how readily available this would be in an American sewing store?)

For the Hamilton dress, you need 1.6 meters of ribbed silk (faille perhaps?), two large silver beads and two small silver beads, or two silver-toned “endpieces” for cording (basically something to put at the end of the drawstrings.) They suggest adding 2cm seam allowance and 5cm hem allowance. For the arm openings, you need 4 bias strips of 55 cm each, and for the neck opening you need 4 bias strips of 70 cm in length. For the four drawstring pieces, you need 3 x 60 cm bias strips.

For the Pecoraro ensemble you need .85 meters of light blue crepe de chine, and 1.2 meters of green crepe de chine for the overblouse, and two hooks and eyes. Same 1 square = 1 cm ratio. Seam allowances are 2 cm everywhere except on the arm and neck opening, which is 1 cm. For the tank, you need 2 bias strips of 4 x 50 cm, and 1 bias strip of 4 x 70cm.  For the wrap blouse you need 2 bias strips of 4 x 55 cm and one bias strip of 4 x 30 cm.

Regular readers of this blog (not that you are in any way regular, as you are all special and magnificent!) are probably already aware of my obsession with vintage gowns and vintage gown patterns, namely those from the mid- to late-1950s. Of course, my occasions for wearing frothy 55-year old tulle and organza confections dwindles as my age increases (and it’s been more than two years since I’ve gotten my butt out to a swing dance, which previously was how I “justified” sewing and buying such gowns, even though 40s and 30s fashion would probably have been more era-appropriate.) But the love is still there.

If a magical fairy came to me and said she would imbue me with the design abilities of any designer I liked, there are days that I would pick Dior or Givenchy or Chanel. Ahh, to have that genius and sense of style and beauty. But today (and many other days), I crave the skills of a much lesser known creator of marvelously and brilliantly draped 1950s party garb, Ceil Chapman. I don’t know much about Ceil Chapman (you can find a bio of her from the Vintage Fashion Guild), but wowee zowee, could she drape! And her eye for those gorgeous feminine lines and silhouettes of the 50s – the wide necks, the wasp waists, the elegant deep backs, the use of ruching to flatter the bust and hips… *swoon.* Nonstop feminine glamour. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

Right?  Am I right?  Ah to be able to pull out a couple of yards of taffeta and your dressform and be able to whip up something like this. Well, we’re (sort of) in luck, because as it turns out, the Spadea pattern company did publish some Ceil Chapman designs! They’re hard to come by and can get pretty pricey, but they do pop up on eBay and other vintage pattern places:

And even luckier for us (and by us I specifically mean “me”), Vintage Fashion Library produces a reasonably priced ($24.99) Spadea pattern reproduction of what I find to be one of Ceil Chapman’s most beautiful and iconic designs, the “Skylark.” (This name should have been a more graceful and evocative dress title, but I think Buick came along and ruined the  mystique.)

The portrait collar and draped bust, the draping across the hips, the slim skirt with flowing panels… it’s almost too much 1950s goodness crammed into one dress! I’d been waffling on buying this pattern for a while and finally I decided I’d better just get one because surely at some point in my life I’m going to want to wear that :)  (And yes, I was sure to buy mine before telling you about it, but there are more copies still in stock, so if you want one, head over there.) Granted the pattern is for a 34″ bust and I suspect that figuring out how to re-engineer that elaborate bodice down to 29″ (Sigh. So not a figure built for the va-va-voom 1950s fashions that I love) will not be trivial.

So there you go. Ceil Chapman is the person I want to sew like today. How about you? Who’s your current fashion and design idol?

Back when Burda revamped their website a few month ago, a bunch of their free pattern downloads disappeared from the German website (which had always had more free downloads than the English one). I read on a German sewing discussion board that Burda was planning on discontinuing free pattern downloads altogether. Sad!

Well, it looks like things have changed! Burda has been releasing a few free patterns for download from the magazine (appears to be at a rate of about once a month thus far) as a “Perwoll-Wohlfühl-Look,” which I’ll translate (perhaps incorrectly) as “Perwoll Comfort Look,” with Perwoll apparently being a detergent brand. Any detergent that sponsors free sewing pattern downloads is cool in my book. I bet it keeps your whites whiter and your colors brighter too. 

Look at the gorgeous pattern that’s now available for download (this one is from the May 2009 issue):

I’ve seen this one made up a bunch of times and it’s gorgeous. And if you didn’t happen to buy the 5.2009 issue, well, it’s your lucky day! And yes, since you’re probably wondering, the instructions are in German.  But surely with so many blog posts written about this pattern, you can piece it together, right? :)

There are a couple more cute freebies (not really my style, but could look great on you!):

 

You can find all of the downloads here. Have fun and here’s hoping for more great Burda freebies in the future!

At long last, I have finally gotten around to adding new merchandise to the Selfish Seamstress Store! That’s right, you can now pick up t-shirts, mugs, and totes with all of your recent favorites, like “I just don’t want to,” “You bloodsucking leech,” “If I’m so selfish,” “Sweet beloved stash,” “I mended your pants,” and of course “When monkeys fly out my butt.” Classy! And of course, you can still get merchandise with all of your favorite classic haikus.

100% of royalties from all new purchases will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading institute for research on and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases. You can read more about this wonderful non-profit institution here.

Your generous purchases of Selfish Seamstress merchandise have already resulted in donations of $270 to the Atlanta Humane Society, and $464 to the American Red Cross and $120 to Doctors Without Borders to help with disaster relief efforts in Haiti. (Actually, a little more than that for the Red Cross but I still have to tally it up.) So how about another fun mug or shirt to help some children who are in need?

Once again, here’s the IMPORTANT NITTY GRITTY:

1) All of the royalties I receive will be donated. Please navigate to the Selfish Seamstress Store from a link on my blog – if you do so, Zazzle will double the royalty from 15% to 30% – that means you pay the same for your shirt, but twice as much will get donated! If you get to the store from a bookmark, by typing in the URL, or from any other link on the web, the royalty will only be 15%. (The remainder of your purchase price goes to Zazzle for producing the merchandise, operating costs, etc.)

2) You can get any haiku you want on any t-shirt, mug, or tote.  So if you love the “Sweet beloved stash” haiku, but want it on baseball T instead of a ringer T, just click on the item and go to “customize.”  This will allow you to play with the colors and styles to get exactly the haiku you want on exactly the shirt, mug, or tote you want!

For personal reasons, supporting research and treatment of childhood cancer is a cause very near and dear to the little empty space in the Selfish Seamstress’s chest where her heart would be if she had one. Please consider making a purchase and in doing so, a donation to this wonderful and urgent cause.

The Selfish Seamstress was shuffling through some of her vintage sewing books last night and stumbled upon a nice old issue of “Vogue Sewing Book” from 1958, a great year for clothes.  It’s not the great big reference book (I have that one too though), but a slim paperback volume that has some neat tricks and tips, a fabric glossary, and some other handy articles.  Perhaps it is the predecessor to Vogue Patterns magazine? It does feature a lot of Vogue patterns. I’m not quite sure:

As I was flipping through it, I stumbled upon a photo story of a lovely young lady who spends a peaceful and serene weekend sewing a pretty dress for herself. Of course, everything goes off without a hitch for Mrs. Vogue, much like when the Selfish Seamstress sews. Or not! 

So finish up your juice and cookies and pull up your play mats, kiddies, because it’s story time! (Which I hope is not a violation of copyright.)  Naturally, I will insert my own occasionally snide commentary, namely in regards to how Mrs. Vogue and Ms. Selfish are so very truly not the same at all.

Once upon a time…

Note to self: “being completely feminine” = “no sense of restraint.” Got it.

This is ever so slightly different from modern practices of stalking patterns on the Vogue website, noting the numbers of the dozen patterns with which you are obsessed, making note of the $2.99 sale days at Jo-ann, showing up early on the first day of the sale and then ravaging the pattern drawers like a rabid dog. But similar right?

She decided to buy “it.” As in one pattern.  She went to the store to buy one pattern and she bought one pattern. In contrast, Ms. Selfish, being “completely feminine,” can always find room in her shopping bag for one more pretty pattern. And perhaps another after that.

Okay, another way in which Mrs. Vogue and Ms. Selfish differ?  When Ms. Selfish wants to shop for a versatile fabric that she can wear year round, the first words that come to mind are not “lightweight silk brocade”!

Another difference?  Ms. Selfish does not often leave the fabric store with a tiny little bag like that under her arm. I have a hard time imaging Mrs. Vogue lumbering out of Mood with two enormous shopping bags dragging along the ground, trying to wrestle herself and her packages through the subway turnstile.

 Nope.  Ms. Selfish does not change into business casual to sew. Usually I start off in sweats which can be easily tugged off if I need to try on my masterpiece in progress, and eventually this just turns into me sewing in my underwear.

Hey cool!  Ms. Selfish also uses her dining room table for sewing! Of course, Ms. Selfish does NOT use her dining room table for dining.  It’s always too covered with sewing crap, duh.

Oh my goodness!  I’m sure this is a best practice, but I have to say, I don’t know if I’ve ever done this.  Once or twice at most maybe. I have perhaps torn a straight edge in the past, but this seems like a step for a real stickler. Does anyone else still do this regularly? If so, my hat is off to you.

Of course it was perfect. I’m pretty sure Mrs. Vogue does not ever encounter imperfection in any aspect of her sewing. Not to ruin the suspense but guess whether her dress is going to fit on the first try or not. Guess.

Egad!  I just skipped a whole bunch of boring stuff about her pressing tissue paper and laying out the pattern pieces EXACTLY the way that pattern tells her to (she’s pretty much a slave to whatever the pattern says.) But look at Mrs. Vogue going right for her fashion fabric! For all of her thread pulling, edge straightening compulsiveness, Mrs. Vogue is one daredevil of a hobby seamstress! Brand new pattern, but no muslin, no tissue fitting, no measuring… yikes! Woman, that is SILK FRIGGIN’ BROCADE you’re about to cut into! Are you crazy?  What if it doesn’t fit?? I guess they don’t feature you in the Vogue Sewing Book if you aren’t a perfect Vogue size. Also, nothing ever goes wrong in Mrs. Vogue’s sewing world so I guess she can hack recklessly into pricey fabric like it’s newsprint!

Phew.  At least she’s got a little bit of sense here. Some nice safe basting.  Good choice. Of course, as it turns out…

… yep, she could have gotten by without the basting because (I’m sure you’ve all been on the edges of your seats in suspense), the dress fit perfectly on the first try!  Wow, Mrs. Vogue loves the word “perfect.”  She sure does use it a lot. Lucky lucky Mrs. Vogue and her industry standard figure.  [Or perhaps the takeaway message here is that Vogue patterns give you a great fit on the first try?  Why alter when you can buy a Vogue?]

Yes, Mrs. Vogue, I have to agree with you on that one.

Ah, what a gracious world, and what a luxury to have your helpful sister come and mark your hem while you stand straight and still.  No, the closest Ms. Selfish comes is standing in front of the bathroom mirror while barking instructions to Dan to pin various bits of half-finished garment together around her body or to her bra straps because she can’t reach her back without sticking her own fingers with pins.

Oh, no no no. Ms. Selfish does not put her pretty dress in a pretty basket and take her pretty dog to sit under a pretty tree full of cherry blossoms to finish her hems. First of all, by this point in the sewing process, her hair is crazy and unfit for the public to see. Moreover she’s probably still in her underwear, and it’s like 2:30AM or something.

Ms. Selfish does this too. It is often met with responses such as, “Haven’t I already seen that one?” and “Didn’t you make one just like that already?”

In the end, hubby is so pleased with the dress that he buys her some pearls and takes her dancing. Fair enough, Mrs. Vogue.  It all worked out for you in the end…. this time.

The end!

How about you? Do you sew like Mrs. Vogue?  Does anyone sew like Mrs. Vogue?

Just a quickie report on my Burda 8.2009.128 dress, the one I am sewing dangerously. I didn’t make too much progress yesterday, but managed to do the pleats and assemble the shell of the dress minus the sleeves. I was too tired to put it on to show to you, but here it is lying on the floor, looking none too perky:

I managed to beat the darts into submission. And here’s a close up of the pleats, which are looking pretty good so far, and based on an initial test fit seem to be working out and not doing any unflattering belly emphasizing:

There is about a quarter of an inch gap between those two central pleats, and I suppose it was probably intended that they meet perfectly to form an upside-down V, but the little gap isn’t really bothering me, and I actually rather like it that way.

As for the fit, so far so good without alteration (though surely at some point this belief of mine that I no longer have to muslin Burda dresses is going to come back to bite me in the butt, no?).  Obviously it will need to be shortened at the hem, but that’s standard for me. It appears to be slightly roomier across the upper back than some of my other Burda sheath dresses, but I’m assuming that this is because I’ll need that ease once the sleeves are set in.

That’s it for now, but keep your eyes peeled because I’m going to have a fun sewing story for you sometime later today (time permitting)!  Who wants storytime?

Pounding fists on floor
Complaining, whining, pouting
I want a serger!!

You can almost guarantee that when Burda puts out a fitted work-appropriate sheath dress, I’m going to make it. I always figure that if I’m going to put time and effort into making something, it should be something that I’m going to wear for years to come, and I can get my trendy, floofy stuff at the mall. (Though now that I think about it, I can’t remember the last time I went shopping for clothes. Hmm.) Although I’ve been going through a bit of a Burda dry spell, I’ve been just mad about dress 128 from the 8.2009 issue since the moment I saw it:

I’m also not the most imaginative of seamstresses. It’s often difficult for me to imagine the myriad possibilities for a pattern, so I tend to be especially drawn to making something when Burda hits it right on the head, as I feel they have with this dress in terms of fabric choice and styling. So what did I do?  I went out and bought fabric that looks just like the stuff that they used:

Unfortunately this was labeled with the ambiguous title “wool blend” with no further detail.  Grumble. It’s not the worst stuff in the world to work with, but I’m guessing that the wool in this fabric is taking a backseat to the synthetic, as it’s being pretty resistant to pressing. Sigh- puffy darts. Well, at least it will be wrinkle resistant!

So what’s so dangerous about this?  Well, I made an executive decision that may or may not prove to be a mistake. I didn’t muslin the bodice (or any of it for that matter, but muslining a not-very-fitted skirt sometimes seems like overkill). The pattern starts in size 36 and I graded down to my usual 32. I do this often with Burda sheath dresses and they have always ended up a great fit with no alterations.  So I figured this should fit similarly, right? Right? Right? Famous last words perhaps?

I guess we’ll see.  So far I’ve just stitched the darts (tracing the pattern out is tedious. Grading two sizes and tracing the pattern and adding seam allowances sometimes feels like as much work as actually sewing the freakin’ thing up!) and it looks ok thus far (photo makes the fabric look lighter than it actually is):

Yep, that’s black grosgrain ribbon next to the bodice front, just like in the picture because the Selfish Seamstress is not creative enough to think for herself!

Okay, go ahead and berate me for not making a muslin, and wag your fingers at the follies of laziness and the likelihood that I will have just wasted two yards of relatively nice fabric to make an ill-fitting dress that I will never wear. Tell me that I’ll be sorry later and I’ll learn my lesson the hard way. It’s nothing I don’t already know :D

It’s an accepted and sometimes unfortunate truth that if you put yourself out on the internet in any way, you open yourself up to the possibility of harsh criticism and public flaming. Surely any of you who have your own blog have run into this at some point or other. In general I’m able to let the occasional instances of public Selfish Seamstress bashing roll off my back, have a good chuckle and let it go. But lately some of the things that have been said about your beloved Selfish Seamstress have been so inflammatory and outright defamatory that I feel compelled to address them here head on.

In particular, Cidell of Miss Celie’s Pants has made some outrageously untrue allegations, with a pretty clear intent to tarnish the Selfish Seamstress’s hard earned reputation. She recently posted an entry suggesting that she, The Slapdash Sewist and I met up for a fun and amiable supper, and went so far as to insinuate that the Selfish Seamstress is “not actually selfish”! Obviously that claim is utterly ridiculous.  Were it true, the name of this blog would simply be “The Seamstress,” which it clearly is not, and which, by the way, would be a very uninteresting blog title. Selfishness is right there in the name; it’s obviously a core value.

So allow me to defend myself by explaining the evening’s events from my point of view. It is indeed true that I was in Washington, D.C. And it is indeed true that I had supper with Cidell and the Slapdash Sewist, if sitting at the same table against your will while consuming comestibles during the evening hours constitutes “having supper with.” What happened was this: I was walking by myself in the city on Friday evening when I was suddenly accosted by two gorgeous women clothed in lovely and flattering hand-sewn garments. They grabbed me by each arm and growled, “We’re going for pizza whether you like it or not. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll come quietly.” Of course you know that the Selfish Seamstress is both scrappy and belligerent, but her weapons of choice are verbal barbs, insults, and sarcasm, which are of little use when being physically manhandled by two freakishly strong fellow seamstresses. Cidell is particularly formidable- although she claims to be a modest and average 5’5” on her blog, in real life she is probably closer to 6’3” (as should be clear in the photos below), and possibly 6’4” if you count her awesome hair. (Both she and the strawberry-tressed Slapdash Sewist have jealousy-inducing hair, though I would never say so to their faces.) Suffice it to say, the Selfish Seamstress’s hand-to-hand combat skills are sadly deficient for dealing with such a situation. So, finding myself in a strange city being attacked by a pair of incredibly chic sewing thugs, I had little choice but submit to their demands.

After thusly “escorting” me to a great pizza place, they immediately dove for my handbag. They grabbed it, tore it open like a pair of super cute, well-dressed vultures, yanked out all of my fabric (as a sewing enthusiast, I make sure to have spare fabric on me at all times in case of emergency. Don’t you?) and gleefully cackled, “We’ll just hang on to these for you.  Thanks for the ‘presents,’ sucker!” (This remark was especially stinging as the Selfish Seamstress does not believe in presents unless she is on the receiving end.) Again, what choice did I have?  I’m pretty sure they had pinking shears hidden in their coats.

As for the rest of the night, I spent the first half of the evening glaring at them as they issued threats, as you can see here:

I believe that picture was taken shortly after the Slapdash Sewist said something that sounded like, “Despite my vegetariansim, I have every intention of eviscerating your cat and eating her raw gizzard as a mid-afternoon snack.”* I spent the second half of the evening trying futilely to escape from their menacing and evil clenches (shown here with yogurt):

Finally, with little warning, they released me back out onto the street.  Angry and confused, bruised and battered, fabric-less, and with a belly full of wild mushroom and goat cheese pizza and frozen yogurt with pineapple, I made my way back to my hotel. I breathed a sigh of relief upon reaching it, thinking that the nightmare ordeal was over and I could put this all behind me.

Little did I realize that the worst was yet to come in the form of subsequent vicious and slanderous blog posts intended to shatter the Selfish Seamstress’s reputation as a prickly and self-absorbed loner. Fortunately that is the kind of attack against which I can and will defend myself. So for the record I would like to make it very clear: No giggling or secret sharing occurred during that encounter, no mutual admiring of each other’s dresses or blogs was done, no interesting and engaging conversation was shared, no discovery of lots of non-sewing stuff we had in common was made, no warm hugs were exchanged, and most of all NO FUN WAS HAD.

That is all.

*It is possible that I misheard the Slapdash Sewist’s statement at that moment and what she actually said was something more like, “Does anyone want to try a slice of my vegetable pizza?” but I can’t be sure. We were seated near the bar so it was a little hard to hear at times. 

Nope, no time to sew. Haven’t sewn a stitch in many many days. Heading off to Washington D.C. this afternoon for top secret government shenanigans. The closest I’ve even gotten to sewing in the last week is taking an occasional break to hunt for patterns on Ebay which I will not buy because I have more patterns than I could possibly ever sew up in my lifetime. That and most of them would be too bustacular for me. But you should seriously consider this for a perfect summer dress (B34):

Or this insanely elegant ensemble (B31) for your next evening out or stint as a wedding guest.  Sigh.  I love that tulip-y lapped skirt. So much so that I seriously considered not telling you about this one so I could snag it myself.

Or how about this confection of lace and pleats and drapes (B34)?  (Obviously there was some sort of misprint since this should have been done up in midnight blue rather than lipstick red.  Don’t get me wrong, I like lipstick red, but not so much for lace):

And finally, the covet of all covets, this gorgeous evening gown with overskirt (B34). Oh, how I adore an evening gown done up in an elegant print:

They’re all going for about $5-$7 (though I think that last one may have gotten some bids which pushed it higher) and ending within the next 5 days or so, so go forth and stalk them. You know you want to.

Come on, you didn’t think I was going to leave without giving you a another reason to resent me, did you? It’ll probably be quiet here for the next few days, so take advantage of that time to write scathing and hateful comments for me. They will only make me grow more powerful.

The Selfish Seamstress thought she’d be taking a little hiatus from hatred. She thought all major foes had been brought to your attention and she’d have a little breather before a new enemy appeared on the horizon. (Well, except that she did shatter several dishes last week when she discovered that Nemesis JuebeJue had started her own sickeningly adorable and helpful sewing blog.) Suffice it to say, she didn’t account for another possibility- the  re-emergence of an old nemesis!

Selfish Seamstress Nemesis Myk, a.k.a. “Inspirational Nemesis,” has been on the Selfish Seamstress’s radar for years now, but had been relatively quiet in recent months before exploding back on the BurdaStyle scene a couple of days ago, reawakening new fears in the Selfish Seamstress. Despite the fact that Myk sews under several aliases, the Selfish Seamstress managed to keep an eye on her and her increasingly threatening sewing and design skills. Why is Myk such a dangerous enemy? I’ll explain.

1) When I first became aware of Myk, she seemed like your all-around skillful hobby seamstress, with a good eye for fabrics and an ability to take your average BurdaStyle pattern and turn it into a pretty garment, like this Tara top:

 

Pretty, right? At the time, I admired the top but felt no fear. I thought to myself, “That’s a cute top.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to sew well with silky fabrics like that.” She made me trust her, she made me like her. And once I did, she brought out the terrifyingly brilliant design skills:

Argh!  Look at that brilliant detailing, the way the fabric is molded so beautifully over the model’s figure. Clearly she set me up to think she was just your average talented home seamstress, when she was actually a powerful sewing and design force in the making.

2) If you are snorting with envy at that innovative bodice, you’re not going to like what comes next. Myk is a fabric artist. She thinks of things that haven’t been done before and incorporates them into gorgeous clothing. Who needs to copy the runway when you can come up with new ways of manipulating fabric like these?

 

 

Seriously, has anyone ever made anything so artistic and sexy that incorporated a flamingo before?

3) If you have any pinch of selfish seamstress to your character, you are writhing in jealousy right now. How could anyone be so clever?  How could anyone find so many new and nifty things to do with fabric and incorporate them into clothing that looks incredibly chic rather than like an arts and crafts project? I hate to kick you when you’re down, but I have to tell you, it gets worse. Much worse. Myk’s work is not only beautiful on the outside, it’s beautiful on the inside as well. The only thing is, there’s no telling which is the inside and the outside WHEN YOU CAN MAKE THINGS F$@#*ing REVERSIBLE. And I’m not talking about a simple cape or wrap skirt either. We’re talking about some serious, planet-threatening design and engineering skill:

Yep, that’s ONE coat. Modeled twice by the gorgeous Myk herself. Oh, and in case you thought it might be a fluke, here’s another:

I know, right? Who knew that the woman behind that cute little Tara top could be capable of this kind of sewing warfare?

4) Finally, Myk has wound up majorly on the Selfish Seamstress’s bad side (though it’s questionable whether the Selfish Seamstress has a good side, or even a less-bad side) on account of the fact the Selfish Seamstress can’t help but want to emulate Myk and her brilliant designs. Remember the Selfish Seamstress’s old Hepburn-inspired sheath dress? Did she get the idea from watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s?  NO.  She got the idea from Myk, and her adorable babydoll styled version.  Sigh.

Myk is a threat to all of our sewing security. Anyone else feeling pretty insecure right now? And I’m pretty sure she’s on the offensive.  In addition to posting her works of sartorial genius on her blog, she’s also opened an Etsy shop so she further expose the world to her dangerous sewing and design skills! Arm yourself with knowledge, readers. Go visit those sites to make sure you know what we’re up against. And maybe pick up one of her gorgeous custom-made creations for yourself while you’re at it. 

I’m going to Washington D.C.  for part of next week on confidential non-sewing-related government business. For those of you who automatically assume that anything that comes out of the Selfish Seamstress’s mouth is a lie, you’re usually correct, but this time I’m sort of telling the truth. In fact, my secret work for the government is part of why I haven’t gotten much sewing done in the last several days and don’t expect to for at least the next week or so. (If you were wondering, the DC visit is unrelated to recent alien abduction events. Also, I’m not involved in a lawsuit- they haven’t caught up to me yet.)

Once again, I don’t expect to have too much time spare time for shopping, but one never knows. (Does anything involving the federal government ever take less time than expected??) So, those of you in the know, where should I be doing my fabric shopping if schedules should permit? Where do the hip D.C. sewers (particularly those who are getting around via public transit) spend their time and money? 

Sew something for you?
It’s not that I don’t have time,
I just don’t want to.

The April issue of Burda is due out on March 17, but they haven’t put the full preview online yet.  Interestingly, there’s a new preview up now that is different from the one last week- some of the same stuff, some new stuff, and some stuff gone.  (Remember the mysterious shirtless guy?  He’s gone from the preview now!) No technical drawings yet, but some of the new stuff in the preview is cute!

[UPDATE: Thanks to Tenshi, who unearthed the full preview by digging in the issues archive! Brilliant! Shirtless guy doesn't make an appearance though, so I guess we'll have to wait until we see the issue to understand what his deal was?]

Cute skirt!

Reminds me a little of Simplicity’s Cynthia Rowley skirt pattern:

I don’t think this style would work for short-legged, boxy-figured me, but I bet it could be pretty cute on you.

I’m also really liking this dress- love the graceful neckline which is off-the-shoulder without being evocative of bad 80’s looks that I don’t care to revisit, and I like their color choice of willow green, so nice for spring.  I wish it fit the model better though, as she’s swimming in it through the waist and hips:

I’m intrigued by this next dress as well- from what I can see of it, it hangs very gracefully and seems to have a lovely minimal aesthetic. I would be miffed that the entire front is blocked from view, but that would require me to be miffed at an adorable silvery kitten, and even the Selfish Seamstress isn’t cold enough to hold a grudge against a kitten:

And for those of you who indulge in a little schadenfreude, crafts previews are back. And this time, they’re accessories! (Read: Intended to be worn.  Out of the house.  Really!)

First up to whet your appetite, we have some NO:

Then as a palate cleanser I offer you a bit of NO:

For those of you who are still hungry, you might try some NO:

And finally, to finish it off, a dainty morsel of NO:

BTW, I feel fairly certain that they didn’t even make a real version of this cuff (that’s what it is, right? Hard to tell out of context)- is it just me or do those colored shapes look Photoshopped on? Scroll back up to the first belt- also looks like Photoshop! Mmmm… trivial sewing-related conspiracy theory….

Well, whatever BurdaMag is doing, they’ve certainly gotten me curious to see the whole preview. Inexplicably shirtless guys? Potential prettiness hidden behind kittens? Bracelets that may or may not exist in real life? Oh, BurdaMag, you tease.

About this blog

The Selfish Seamstress loves to design and sew garments, but only if she gets to keep them. I'm Elaine, known in the online sewing world as elainemay, and welcome to my selfish sewing blog.

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