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Grosgrain first came onto my radar after I read about it on Angela’s blog, but I wasn’t following it super closely until I rediscovered it when I stumbled upon a Frock by Friday sew-along using the Coffee Date Dress, and now I’m hooked. If you haven’t been following Grosgrain, you *should.*  It’s beyond fabulous. Part sewing and part design, it’s not your run-of-the-mill online sewing journal. Not “commercial” exactly, but professional and polished – like something put out by a hipper Martha Stewart :) Kathleen is a design genius, and her photos are gorgeous. So many fun ideas- clever DIY accessories like shoe refashioning, tons of giveaways both from her and her sponsors, but the dresses she makes… oh the dresses…

… could you not just cry over how beautiful these are? Dainty and modern yet vintage-y, with lovely details. Well, now Kathleen is hinting that she’s thinking about opening up an Etsy store to sell her patterns, and she wants to know which ones you’d want to buy. So definitely head over to Grosgrain and tell her you want that yellow one with the pintucks on top. Or the blue one on the bottom with the organza frill.  Or the blue one with the red bias binding.  I don’t know, I can’t decide.  Just go and make it happen!

Oh my goodness! Dear readers, thank you for your outpouring of warmth and congratulations over my recent engagement-inducing puppetmastery of Dan via sewing. Hopefully Dan will not realize how he has been manipulated into matrimonial subservience until it is much too late. And I am so very happy to receive all of your warm wishes and words, I can’t even express it. The Selfish Seamstress is at a loss for words. All I can say is, thank you, June, Cidell, Bernadette, Koritsimou, lunatepetal, Amber, Amanda S., Rachel, Daci, Hashi, sa, Auntie Allyn, Brooke, Jan, jen, Elizabeth, sandoz18, Karen, Rachelle, Karin, Kathleen, nettie, Colleen P., Sewing Sue, Tasia, Belly, a peppermint penguin, Christy, Rachel, Debi, Shelley, Leigh, Susan Davis, MakingTime, wendy, Claudine, CGCouture, HollyS, Nikole, Katie, Trisha, Meredith P,  NT, Dora, Peter, wan-nabe, Cindy, Angie, Megan, Lee, meli88a, Trena, LindaC, reilly, Beangirl, Susan, Margaret, bookishbella, Len, Angela, Tracy, Uta, Nancy K, Debbie Cook, earthanddust, Karin (the Mrs.), Alison, Stephanie, Crystal, CarmencitaB, girdtmom, Stef, JillyB, Jenny, D, Venus de Hilo, Isaspacey, Plummy, Kim, Lee-Ann Galway, Vicki, Samina, Eloise, Janice, Paula Lemos, BeckyMc, Sue Prichard, beth, Silvia, Sherry, Daisy, Sue, Karen, Stephanie, Jessica, becky, Elly, Remnant, yazmins, dana, yoshimi, Shirley, Joanna, Ann’s Fashion Studio, Vivienne, Jean S, AllisonC, AlewivesGirl, Amy, Nikki, Victoria Baylor, Noile, A Sewn Wardrobe, AmyG, Reethi, Karen, Andrea, Whitney, Jennifer Susannah (the other one), Lise, Vicky, Jane, Henriette, Shannon, jenny, seemane, Becky, Renee, Vicky@coffeeandmilkies, Laurie, Sara, Erin, Benny the Bunny, Melissa, Pattie, line3arossa, Sarah M., various Anonymous commenters, well-wishing lurkers, and anyone else I might have missed. I would hug you all personally if I could! And this coming from the Selfish Seamstress, who has NEVER hugged anyone in her entire life except her cat.

Just a thing or two about the ring since there were so many comments about how interesting and unusual it is. Don’t worry, I am not becoming one of those engaged people who blabs and blabs about her ring.  Just this once. Dan picked the ring out from a company called greenKarat, which sells ethically and environmentally conscious jewelry, relying on recycled materials and conflict-free stones. The ring itself is made from reclaimed platinum and set with a lab created emerald (i.e. not mined.) I adore it, not least of all because he put so much thought into finding a ring that I would love to wear and that works well with our values. I’ve never been much of a jewelry person and would probably not have minded if the ring had come from a cereal box, as long as it was from Dan, so the simplicity of it suits me well. Not that I’m against big fancy engagement rings in general- I’m always thrilled when friends of mine who really know how to appreciate a giant rock get the ring of their dreams. Such a gem would be wasted on me though. Had Dan presented The Selfish Seamstress with such a ring, her unappreciative and ungrateful response would most likely have been something like, “Seriously?  What were you thinking? We could have put all that money towards our retirement!”** Anyway, check out greenKarat if you’re on the market for some new (old) sparkly stuff.

As for the dress, I do plan to make my own, but before you get your hearts all a-flutter, I should burst your bubble by making the disclaimer that we intend to have a very simple, very casual wedding. (We’re hoping for a simple Jewish ceremony followed by a big backyard barbecue with Filipino food, but it’s all still barely in the planning stages and neither of us seems to have access to a big backyard.) I apologize to those of you who were hoping for a fairy tale wedding gown sewing blog saga, complete with tutorials on how to construct a cathedral train or hand bead Alençon lace with individual Swarovski crystals, but right now my dream dress comes down just past my knee and is made of plain white cotton voile.  The Selfish Seamstress intends to be a dull bride, indeed! Don’t worry though- there may be a fun tulle underskirt hidden somewhere. (Probably under the skirt.)

Of course, I’m looking to all the usual sources for inspiration, like Audrey in Funny Face:

And Grace.  No, not that Grace Kelly wedding dress, but this other one from High Society:

I’m not planning on copying either of these wholesale (definitely can’t pull off those balloon sleeves), but I do hope to capture something of their flavor. Not thinking too hard about it just yet though :)

As for the bridesmaids, my sisters have already been informed that they can wear whatever they want, new or from their closets, matching not required. (Do I even have to state that I will not be sewing dresses for them?) And my other attendant will probably be a guy, which means boring clothes. Leave it to the Selfish Seamstress to suck all the fun and pomp out of a wedding, right??

** “our retirement” is the phrase the Selfish Seamstress would have used in this situation, but in her head what she really would mean is “my Bernina 830.”

You all know by now that the #1 rule of Selfish Seamstressing is, “Don’t sew for others, only for yourself.” If you aspire to be a Selfish Seamstress and have managed to achieve this perfect equilibrium in which every item that passes under your presser foot goes straight into your closet, you should pat yourself on the back- you have reached an extremely high degree of proficiency in Selfish Seamstressing.

Of course, sewing only for oneself is often easier said than done. Perhaps you don’t want to make an enemy of the gossipy lady at work who really wants a pencil skirt “just like yours.” Maybe you don’t want to look like the b who can sew but is still too selfish too make something cute for her neighbor’s toddler, about whom you are SICK OF HEARING ALREADY. Or maybe you think your mom is the kind of person you don’t want to turn against you. For those of you who are still working on your Selfish Seamstressing skills, you might like to refer to my handy guide “Selfish Seamstressing for Beginners,” which I put together a few months ago, to help the novice avoid the most frustrating and hair-pulling-out experiences of sewing for others.

Today, however, for those of you with very high Selfish aspirations, or those who have mastered the art of sewing for oneself and are ready to move on, I offer up this guide to Selfish Seamstressing for Experts! What more is there when you’ve gotten to the point where everything you sew goes to you and you alone, and people know not to ask for fear of the eye daggers you will shoot them? It’s quite simple:

You can use sewing to exploit your friends to get stuff you want.

Oh yes.  Advanced Selfish Seamstressing moves beyond sewing things that you want to using sewing as a weapon to manipulate the people around you to do your bidding. Any hobby seamstress has been approached with a request like, “If you make me such-and-such, I will pay you back for the fabric,” or “If you sew some new pants for me, I’ll cook you dinner!” And any seamstress worth her salt knows that these are unfair trades through which she would undoubtedly get the shorter end of the stick unless the friend in question is Thomas Keller. And when faced with such a request, the natural response is annoyance. (Check out Carolyn’s brilliant and eloquent post on this topic!) But the truly truly selfish seamstress should regard this as an opportunity. After all, only the very feeble minded would assume that paying someone back for the fabric is somehow a square deal, right? And when you’re an expert Selfish Seamstress, the question should not be, “How do I get this person off of my back?” but rather, “How can I exploit this friend to my best advantage?

The secret is choosing the right friends. Like with fabric, patterns, tools, etc., if you can’t use them, lose them. Think of them as objects in your strategy to use sewing for world domination. Case in point:  my adorable friend Nienh:

Nienh is fantastic in her own right, no question. She’s smart and fun, always up for doing stuff, and has a brilliant sense of snark which puts the Selfish Seamstress to shame. She drinks tea with her dog, which is kind of awesome. But, more importantly, she serves as an excellent case study from which to draw lessons about picking your friends for selfish seamstressing purposes.

1) Choose friends who have excellent taste and really nice stuff. You’ll notice in the photo above that Nienh is wearing a Coffee Date Dress, sewn by yours truly. Now, before you gasp that the Selfish Seamstress actually sewed a whole dress for someone else, allow her to show you what Nienh gave her in return:

Oh yes. Nienh gave me those in return for a Coffee Date Dress, which at this point I can pretty much sew in my sleep. $10 worth of ivory stretch cotton sateen from Vogue and a couple of hours of easy sewing parlayed into a gorgeous pair of black patent Nine West wedges. Needless to say, Nienh has great taste. A win for the Selfish Seamstress!

2) Choose talented friends who can do awesome stuff for you. In exchange for the Coffee Date Dress, I got more than just shoes.  (Negotiation skills are crucial!  Who said trades have to be one-for-one? Always aim for at least two-for-one!) Nienh also painted me this cityscape of my favorite bridge in Chicago:

That’s right!  Shoes and a beautiful piece of original artwork, custom made for me! Are you starting to see the advantages of advanced selfish seamstressing? With a few more years of practice, I’m thinking I can easily parlay a half dozen basic sheath dresses into a chateau in the French countryside and a beach house in East Hampton.

3) Whenever possible, choose friends who are a convenient size. Sounds weird, right?  It’s not.  Advanced selfish seamstressing is all about minimizing your effort and maximizing your reward. Choose friends whose proportions don’t deviate from the back of the envelope or who are perfectly symmetrical or otherwise easy to fit. Case in point: Nienh is just about the same size as the Selfish Seamstress which means no tedious fitting! The Selfish Seamstress made up that Coffee Date Dress in her own size, handed it off to Nienh as is, and claimed her prizes. Easy! Another advantage of choosing friends who are exactly the same size as you?  If you make something for yourself and you don’t like it, you can pretend you made it for them and use that as yet another opportunity to wheedle shoes out of them.

See? It’s as simple as that. And with a little practice, you too can use your sewing skills to turn the tables and take advantage of the people around you.

As a final story to inspire you to reach ever higher in your Selfish Seamstressing aspirations, I’d like to share a tidbit from my recent surprise trip to Montreal in which I pulled off perhaps the greatest selfish seamstressing coup of my career. Dan arranged the surprise trip to celebrate four years together, Montreal being the city where he first told me he had a crush on me (aww!) back in 2006. In light of this anniversary, I had undertaken a simple S.W.A.G. project for Dan, using the secret fabric I alluded to buying at Whipstitch. Here is the fabric itself:

Sock monkeys and bananas! And here is the S.W.A.G. present, modeled by Dan himself, sporting a little bedhead on account of me dragging him out for a photo right after waking:

Super simple drawstring pajama pants! I sneaked a couple of early morning stitching sessions, and he was none the wiser.

And now you are probably nodding along in full understanding of these advanced concepts. After all, the Selfish Seamstress sewed up a quickie pair of jammy pants (which she has yet to hem), and in return was whisked off on a romantic surprise weekend trip to a beautiful city, put up in a beautiful hotel suite with a whirlpool tub, treated to dinner at a lovely French restaurant, and patiently accompanied to more than a few fabric stores in Montreal. Great deal, right?  She milked that boy for all he’s worth!

Except he had one more thing up his sleeve during that trip (remember what I told you about aiming for at least two-for-one?):

You know you’ve mastered Selfish Seamstressing when you manage to exchange a pair of sock monkey print pajama pants for a promise of lifetime commitment. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

Thanks so much for your many, many suggestions for rescuing my black and white graphic floral trench! I sewed in the sleeves and the lining, and I have to say, I’m feeling much better about it now. Of course, in typical Selfish Seamstress style, I ask your advice, and then stubbornly end up sticking to plan A. I don’t have any newer pictures of the coat in its current state, so I’ll just refresh your memory with the last photo:

I had actually tried some black topstitching along the back princess seams originally but already ripped it all out. There was something about the slightly broken topstitching lines running almost straight against the swirling, smooth black curves of the flowers that just wasn’t working.

Also, I had actually thought about black piping at the onset of the project, and thought about it again very seriously after so many of you suggested it. But for some reason it wasn’t jiving in my mind’s eye, and part of the reason for that was that I couldn’t get the image of the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum out of my head:

Something about those clean, minimalist edges was really taking over my brain when I thought about the various design elements of the coat. Or perhaps I had the mental vanity image of myself walking around in the Guggenheim in my coat and I wanted it to go well with the museum :) Even though my flowery fabric is far from the stark white walls of the Guggenheim, somehow I wanted my coat to look “Guggenheimy” – spare and minimalist and graceful. Black piping would certainly have made the coat cuter but I just couldn’t commit to cute. I also thought it might push the coat into Chico’s territory; nothing wrong with Chico’s- it’s just not my aesthetic. [Oddly enough, I just went to look at Chico’s website to make sure it was the store I was thinking of, and this was the coat that came up on their splash page:

… which is sort of reaffirming my decision not to go with piping. The model looks beyond thrilled though!]

But wait!  Before you all groan that I ask for your advice and them promptly ignore it and why should you waste your time on me at all, I did take your advice!  See?

That, my friends, is part of the lining of my coat before I installed it. I found half of a package of black bias tape (regular Wright’s single fold crap) in my sewing box.  I have no idea when I bought it, nor do I have any recollection of having used the first half of it.  But there it was, like a few yards of providence wrapped around a bit of cardboard. Ta-da! Nicely piped front facing and lining, thanks to your clever suggestion. I will appreciate having that snazzy extra detail tucked in on the inside.

And in keeping with my mental image of a Guggenheim Coat, I’m probably going to save my punches of color for scarves or shoes or little half gloves, and leave the coat pure and white.  I may even forego buttons and just opt for a sash, and perhaps a discreet snap or two. It’s getting close to done– more photos soon!

How about you?  What non-clothing aesthetics influence what you make? What inspires your design choices besides other garments?

For the last couple of issues, Burda has been doing their full preview a little differently, starting out by showing the garments in isolation, not on models. The new 6.2010 preview is up and it’s no different. I’m a little torn on this. On one hand, it makes a lot of sense- people always grumble that the “fashion” shots on the models obscure the garments and make it hard to see what’s going on. This comparatively neutral way of displaying them give you a much better idea of what’s going on. On the other hand, without the wacky shots of models in strange context doing weird poses (and no crafts!), there’s so much less for me to chuckle and snark at, and therefore that much less entertainment for me to pass along to you. (It’s okay though, we already know from the initial preview that there’s going to be spray-tanned shirtless guys.)

Also, I think there are some garments that sort of need to be seen on a model, as they’re a bit hard to parse in disembodied form.  For example, there are some dresses that appear to be built for the proportions of a Giacometti sculpture:

And some pants shaped for some Picasso legs:

And some other garments that are just crying out for a body to make them look sane without reminding me of the figures of any artists in particular:

But overall, the issue is looking promising. The stuff above might be good, but it’s hard for me to tell without models. There are also some garments that don’t need any people in them at all to be gorgeous. For example, yum:

And yum:

And as I mentioned in my post about the initial preview, the maternity wear is stunning, chic, and versatile:

I may even snag this issue and tuck it away. You know, in the event that I find an appropriately damp and swampy environment for spawning thousands of Tadpole Selfishes in the future.

I’ve been wanting a floral trench-style coat for a while, but I’m starting to wonder if perhaps this large graphic print was a poor choice. I thought it would be edgy and modern, but now I’m thinking it’s more “My grammy sewed it for me!” It’s always so hard to tell how a coat is going to look before the lapels are finished and the sleeves are set in (I pinned one in place just to try to get a feel for it.) I’m feeling pretty lukewarm on this overall, but am hoping that once it’s all assembled, I’ll get more excited about it.

What do you think?

“Hey, while you’re at it,
Can you sew for me too?”
Time to make new friends.

Check out the Selfish Seamstress Store for haiku goodies- proceeds will be donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Photo snatched from Grosgrain

I just randomly discovered that Grosgrain just completed a Coffee Date Dress sew-along, which ended with dozens and dozens of lovely versions of the dress! It’s quite a clever idea- they break the steps down over five days and everyone completes it in synch in a very manageable fashion. I’m a little bummed that they didn’t credit me for the design and drafting of the pattern (is that petty of me?), but oh well, I guess that’s just what happens when you put stuff out there for free on the interwebs.Maybe I’ll email them and ask nicely if they’d add a little credit. Basic as it is, I’m pretty proud of that pattern. [UPDATE: Just got email from Kathleen of Grosgrain and wow, is she nice! Getting credited :) Yay!  Oh, how the Selfish Seamstress loves a good ego pat.] You can download it and others for free off of my downloads page.

Lots of photos of beautiful finished pieces here and here, the original sew-along concept here, and if you go here, you can work backward through the five days to see the process broken down and illustrated step by step. Pretty cool. Now don’t you want to make your own in just five days?

If you’re a quilter, maybe you already know about this. In fact, I might be the last person in the entire sewing universe to have discovered this, but since it’s new to me, I figured I’d share it.  Hey everyone, did you know that there’s a not insignificant market for homoerotic beefcake quilting fabric? And oh, they are giggle-worthy indeed! I guess it’s not surprising, because you can get pretty much anything on quilting fabric. But I’d be curious to see a quilt actually made from these though.

All the usual hot ‘n’ heavy fantasy suspects are available for your sewing pleasure, including your chiseled, shirtless motorcycle cops: 

Your oiled-up construction workers/handymen types:

Buff and bronzed cowboys:

A couple of rugged lumberjacks:

The ever necessary ripply-bodied firemen (obviously the one on the left is doing the quick change into his gear on his way out to battle an inferno, not stripping for you. Get your mind out of the gutter!)

And lastly, the surprisingly tame and clothed package delivery guys for those of you who prefer a little mystery with your naughty quilts:

And no, I wasn’t prowling red light districts for R-rated quilting shops. These fabrics are surprisingly widely available on Etsy, eBay, and lots of online fabric stores like J&O, and Ladybutton Fabrics. I don’t expect I’ll be purchasing any of these anytime soon, but if you do and make yourself a really weird wrap dress or something, be sure to come back and show us, ok?

Between this and the weirdly steamy Burda 6.2010 preview, it sure gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “fabric pr0n,” doesn’t it?

Here’s the mystery project to which I alluded the other day, now finished! I’m calling it the Sugar Snow Dress. If I recall my Little House books correctly, a sugar snow is a snow storm late in the season which yields a surge of maple sap. As you can see from the picture, we’re just now getting a peek of sun after two days of snow, some of which drifted up onto my balcony.

The dress has a ruched upper bodice and a very full skirt which is actually just a dirndl, though I think it looks rounder. The dress is largely self-drafted, with a little help from the midriff piece of a vintage Advance pattern which was my inspiration. I think it’s significantly enough modified from the original though that I can post the pattern for download, which I will along with some more photos, maybe this weekend.

The dress is made of a lovely crispy, sheen-y cotton voile (my birthday present to me!), and the bodice is lined with cotton muslin. Just between you and me, the pattern is running vertically on the bodice, but horizontally on the skirt. I would have preferred to have it vertical on the whole dress, but that would have entailed putting a bunch more seams in the skirt, and I didn’t want that. The dress could stand to be a little more fitted through the bodice, as it is a tad roomy, but it’s not a bad as is. If I overeat at my next garden party, it won’t get tight. It was quite quick to sew up, with the exception of a bunch of hand finishing that I did simply because I enjoy hand sewing. I catch stitched the bodice lining by hand:

And blindstitched the entire endless hem by hand.  The hem is a delicious 5″ deep. I love a deep hem; it feels like such a luxury:

And I inserted the zipper by hand too, a brown vintage metal zipper that I had in my stash…

… and that I decided to use after this happened to my original stupid invisible zipper:

Grrrrr! Stupid invisible zipper takes so long to rip out of lightweight cotton voile!

Anyhow, keep your eyes peeled for more photos of the Sugar Snow Dress (who knows, I may even decide to twirl in it!) and a new free pattern, all coming soon!

Quick Update on the Sugar Snow Dress:

Sigh. It’s a good thing I put so much work into these things, huh? Hope all of mommy’s careful handstitching is giving you sweet dreams, Sasa.

Back in college when the Selfish Seamstress was a mere Selfish Regular Person, or perhaps more accurately an Avidly Unselfish Crocheter, she experienced a pair of rather traumatic back-to-back events. She was minding her own business at her academically rigorous liberal arts ivory tower in the Northeast when she received two extremely disturbing pieces of post in her campus mailbox: the J.Crew catalogue and the Victoria’s Secret catalogue. You see, younger readers, it was a simpler time when the interwebs was just a nascent technology, and online shopping was a rose just beginning to bud. We would receive these “catalogues” made of “paper” in the “mail” and then promptly run off to our dorm rooms to our Apple computers (think like an iPhone but with wires and much bigger and you couldn’t take it around with you) and order things on sale online before they ran out of our sizes. We thought we were pretty fancy, snapping things up before the old people who still relied on the paper order forms in the catalogues.

Wherein lay the trauma, you ask? Well, in this particular year, within the span of a few short months, J. Crew stopped selling size 5 shoes (the only place she could reliably find them at the time), and Victoria’s Secret discontinued the only bra she had ever found that actually fit, the racerback Second Skin Satin. Between daily dance classes, a teenage metabolism, and (gasp!) cheerleading practice, she had quite the pixie-ish figure at the time, so a fitting bra was no common occurrence. Needless to say, it was shaping up to be a tragedy, and the Avidly Unselfish Crocheter feared entering her senior year barefoot and unsupported. She managed to find the occasional size 5 at Nine West and padded her toes with tissues when necessary. She prudently bought up about a dozen of the treasured VS bras on clearance and rationed them out little by little over the next ten years or so.

Fast forward to now. The addition of pounds and years has done nothing to enhance her bustline, but the flourishing of interweb shopping has made the finding of tiny shoes much easier. As for bras, the 21st century has been accompanied by the ever increasing ubiquity of H&M, which, for all of its faults, recognizes the need for a true A-cup, and is even so understanding as to provide it in colors other than white and beige.

And still, much like the 20-year old who survived these traumas, the Selfish Seamstress has the attention span of a fly. Her obsession over shoemaking is simmering on the back burner while she fixates on the idea of making her own bras (by most accounts an achievable feat with some patience). And oh how the interwebs makes it easy for her to plunge right in, despite a bunch of other projects that are still waiting for hems and zippers!

I just clicked the “Submit Order” button on the Elan B540 bra pattern (pictured above) as well as a Sew Sassy kit (actually for a different bra, but it looks like it contains materials that could be used for the B540). Yes, the kit only comes in white, but I figured it would be a good idea to get a starter pack to try it out before investing in prettier choices that will likely have to be purchased in larger quantities. Like these:

And who knows?  If all goes well, I may have to indulge in some of these magnificent (and surprisingly reasonably priced) lingerie kits from Kantje Boord. Unless I get distracted by something else first, that is.

The weather up by the Selfish Seamstress’s igloo has taken a turn for the nasty, and here we are on the 4th of May suddenly facing bitter wind and lots and lots of swirling snow. Surely such a phenomenon can only occur when you bet on the sewing gods over the weather gods, and then the weather gods have to remind you that the sewing gods are very, very small peanuts indeed compared to something as powerful and global as weather.

I forgot about that delicate balance last night and decided to indulge in some warm weather sewing for the first time this year, even though the weather has yet to turn warm. Even though my Madwoman dress has barely progressed since you last saw it, I couldn’t resist the draw of that gorgeous birthday voile any longer. Having it in my stash was like knowing there is a full pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer- I couldn’t just pretend like I’d get around to it later. So I pulled it out, all crispy and shimmery, along with a vintage pattern that was unfortunately missing some pieces, some paper for drafting, and some muslin. A little drafting, some adapting and editing, and after a mere two hours I had this:

What’s that you say?  You can’t figure it out from the picture? Hahaha, that’s because it’s a secret. And it’s a secret because after it’s done, I’m going to upload the pattern so you can make your own. It’s been a while since I’ve put up a pattern for you, and I like to keep you guessing. It makes me feel powerful.

Suffice it to say, after that dizzying summer sewing frenzy last night, delicate cotton voile flying everywhere, pins scattered all over the floor, I woke up this morning to a blizzard. I guess I won’t be wearing this anytime soon. But maybe you will!

Oh, okay, fine. Here’s my inspiration pattern. Twist my arm a little, why don’t you.

Thanks to everyone for your wonderful birthday wishes! What a lucky lucky girl I am to have such great readers :)  And a happy birthday right back to Lisa and CGCouture, who also celebrated their birthdays yesterday! And as my present to you, I give you once again my extremely important thoughts on the new 6.2010 Burda preview. Hooray!

Starting off, I suspect that Burda is trying out some new tactics. After some playful shirtless guy spreads back in April, I think they’re going full out romance novel cover with June:

STEAMY GUY: Oh Roxanna, I don’t know if it’s this glorious sunset, this romantic all-inclusive dinner cruise, or the notched lapels on your short-sleeved fuchsia blazer, but I can’t seem to keep my hands off of you and my shirt buttoned.

ROXANNA:  It’s not the sunset, it’s not the buffet supper, Steamy Guy.  We both know what it is and it’s bigger than both of us… it’s BURDA 6.2010!

Oh, and it gets even hotter when Steamy Guy gets a load of Roxanna’s tunic swimsuit cover-up thing:

(Is it just me or do they appear to be photoshopped over some sort of first-person shooter video game environment?)

Actually there isn’t all that much there yet from the new issue, so it’s hard to make much of a pronouncement on the issue.  But one thing is for sure: If there’s one thing BurdaMag loves, it’s a shoulder. And just ONE of them:

You might be rolling your eyes at this point and thinking, “One shoulder again?  That is so played.” And you’re probably right, except Burda’s one step ahead of you and has found new and innovative ways to do the asymmetric thing. Their latest strategy is to take one half of one top and one half of a different top and perform some sort of top vivisection to yield new and unexpected one-shoulder hybrids.  Brand new shapes, same old crazy!

Does anyone else see themselves using that pattern to make a symmetrical version of the left half of that dress? Or the right half? High potential for cute!

And this time, even the plus size ladies are not immune.  Not one-shouldered exactly, but it captures the flavor of a one-shoulder top through more half-of-one-top, half-of-another-top vivisection:

So wait… if even the plus size section isn’t full of beautiful, stylish classics, who gets them this time? Oh, it’s the lucky, lucky pregnant ladies! Sigh… how much would I love a spread like this for my non-gestating figure.  Elegant wrap dress:

Slim blazer with lovely details:

Classic slim and sleek coat:

Bold of her to wear such a high heel with the strap-on pregnant belly too.

It remains to be see how this issue will shape up, but we definitely know a couple of things at this point:

1) If you’re pregnant, you’re in luck with this issue

2) If you have one pretty shoulder and one that you’d rather hide from the world, you’ve got lots of options here

3) Things are getting hot hot hot in Burdaland!

If it’s my birthday, that means I must be cooking up a massive Ethiopian dinner for twelve! Dan and I are in the thick of it, making five stews and cake on top of that. No sewing for me today, kids!

But don’t worry, I’m not one to live solely for others. In fact, I bought myself a couple of presents yesterday, including an impossibly crisp and lustrous cotton voile in watercolor shades of mauve and brown:

And finally, a pressing ham!

Look out, darts, I’m coming!

A more foolish woman than I might sigh and lament today that she is halfway to 68. But 68 sounds plenty young and vital to the Selfish Seamstress. (After all, her grandmother will turn 104 in a few months!) Therefore, she feels much more ecstatic to be a mere 1/4 of the way to 136. Just think how much sewing stuff I’ll have by then!!

Finally, I got around to doing some sewing last night!  I cut into my new satin with the vintage-style roses to make what I think will be a vaguely Mad Men-flavored sheath. It doesn’t look like much so far on the hanger, but it’s just nice to put something together:

I’m using the lining pattern from my beloved Burda 05-125-2008, which I’ve made up in its original form and used as the basis for my Audrey-inspired little black dress.  Isn’t it great to pull a pattern out of your collection, not have to do any tracing or grading or muslining or fitting, no need to even baste- just slap the pattern on your fabric and start cutting? Oh, how I love the fit of this pattern! Instant gratification.

This time I’ve cut the back in a deep squarish U-shape and I’m planning to make some Barbie-like options for dressing it up. Remember how you’d just tie an overskirt over Barbie’s bathing suit and suddenly it was evening wear?  Yeah, sort of like that. I’m thinking a cummerbund and back panels, like McCall’s 3466 (which I once tried to make back when I didn’t know how to fit things properly, and the vintage shaping was just so far off of my actual shape I gave up):

I’m also considering making another add-on option in the form of a bouffant drape to be worn at one hip if I have enough fabric left. Mmm.  A faithful and perfectly fitting pattern, a little Barbie-style fashion inspiration, a little vintage pattern inspiration, a little taste of Mad Men, and yards of luscious printed satin- is this going to be a great day or what?

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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