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Big bad bully Selfish Seamstress is back at it again, ruthlessly ripping off innocent, defenseless fashion giants like Kate Spade New York! This time, Selfish set her sights on the Victoria Faux Fur Pullover, which I believe was part of the line in late 2011 or early 2012, originally retailed for $845, and long since sold out. I only discovered it a couple of weeks ago though, and was immediately obsessed with this weird, weird garment. Seriously. A shirt made out of fur. And somehow that seemed like a can’t-live-without-it garment. Go figure.
Here are the front and back views of the original. Dan just saw this photo on my screen and asked, “Is that you??” No. Really not.
It was one of those projects that made me want to drop everything and sew. I was terrified of the thought that the weather might warm up before I could finish it. Within minutes of seeing it, I was trolling the web for the right faux fur. I found it on eBay and then waited weeks for it to slowly make its way to me via shady underground channels and very generous, helpful people because the seller wouldn’t ship here. In the meantime I drafted a pattern for it based very, very loosely (almost not at all) on the Burda 9-2007-105 jacket:
The other thing I did while waiting for the fur to arrive was worry whether the fur would be right. I was pretty sure that the pile would be soft and dense and silky, as high-quality faux fur usually is these days. But I wasn’t sure whether the woven backing would be stiff or drapey, and I really wanted something drapey to avoid this sort of effect:
When the fur finally arrived, I found myself (as usual) in the thick of a busy period at work. But rabid to make this bizarre garment, I squeezed in three nights of 10PM-1AM sewing, and it was mine…. ALL MINE. And most likely the weirdest, most unnecessary thing I have ever sewn for myself.
The fur, as it turned out, was as delightfully drapey as a beach blanket, and sooooooo soft and silky and pettable- the best faux fur I’ve ever laid my fingers on. It was so nice that I started having second thoughts about using it to make a potentially unflattering wadder, and started considering using it for a safer bet like a proper jacket. But I decided to press on with the weird fur shirt. As you can see above, I’m wearing it with my DIY long combo gloves, which I also made while I was impatiently waiting for the fur to arrive. And yes, I did make them in anticipation of wearing them with the fur shirt!
I decided not to go with the same type of faux fur used in the original- the KS version has very defined channels, which I thought might create the illusion of more bulk than necessary (think Michelin man). The fur I used has some gentle, irregular striation, but it’s much more subtle. You can see well here:
This garment is neither practical nor slimming. It’s not the easiest thing to get out of, it leaves my neck cold and doesn’t look good with scarf, and the 3/4 sleeves are just ridiculous for winter. I mean, an open-necked, half-sleeved shirt made of faux fur is possibly the most pointless winter outerwear ever. Really, as stupid as open-toed boots, which naturally, I have as well. Together they make for a stupid yet badass ensemble:
All in all, this was a really easy project because the pattern draft was right on the first try (because really, this garment does not require a very precise fit) and there was just so little to it. I used standard techniques for sewing faux fur, and it all came together easily. I did have a cold while sewing it, and all the loose fluff would send me into some bad coughing fits even though I was using the hand vac every 30 seconds.
I lined the garment with some impulse-buy Milly silk twill that I had picked up at Metro over the holidays while shopping with my cousin Evelyn. (Side note about Selfish’s cousin Evelyn: She is a bona fide fashion designer with a bona fide fashion degree, unlike Selfish, who is a charlatan who uses her intermediate sewing skills to do one-off knockoffs of upscale mass market fashion. Selfish will text her to say, “I’m going fabric shopping in 15 minutes” and Evelyn will show up without fail. She knows exactly where to go for whatever random thing Selfish wants, and supports Selfish’s every greedy fabric whim with patience and good cheer. And the craziest thing? Selfish has never seen Evelyn buy ANYTHING except a quarter of a yard of tan velcro. Clearly related by marriage.)
The silk is cream and chocolate brown in a sort of geometric zebra-ish stripe and I like the idea of one fake animal lined in another fake animal. It’s like a sartorial turducken. By the way, I didn’t buy the silk to use as lining, but I realized recently that I have a huge, huge backlog of silk charmeuse and silk twill (mostly Milly) that I’m never going to work through unless I stop being so sparing with them. So Selfish is now lining garments with designer silk that will never be seen. Talk about hashtag-first-world-sewing-problems, right?
I should note that the KS original was lined with acetate. Acetate?? For that kind of money?? Seriously, couldn’t they just charge $20 more and line it with silk? No one who would be willing to buy this thing at $845 is going to be like, “Nope, $865 is where I draw the line.” Anyway. *Mine* is lined with silk, ha ha. (In case you’re interested, I used less than 1.5 meters of faux fur, which was about $70, and just over a yard of silk, which was probably about $12. So not the cheapest project ever, but still a bargain at 1/10th the price of the original.)
I made a couple of changes from the original- first I left off the front kangaroo pocket. A pocket would be nice, but I really didn’t want any more bulk over the tummy. This garment already makes for a pretty roly-poly silhouette. Here it is without the belt:
Also I left off the twee little bow in the back underneath the collar. I don’t mind the bow so much, but it seemed very much like a Kate Spade signature. Adding it seemed like it would be just short of sewing a Kate Spade tag inside. I also think that the original might flare a bit to the hem, whereas mine is a straight silhouette all the way down. And my neckline might be a bit more open.
Honestly, I don’t know if people think “WTF??” when they see me walking down the street in this, but I love it in all of its weird, furry glory. Dan was initially skeptical when I showed him my plans but was won over by the final product, perhaps because he likes to hug me when I am wearing it. It’s really the only good thing about hugging Selfish since she DOES NOT hug back.
That’s pretty much it for the Selfish Seamstress Kate Spade Victoria Faux Fur Pullover Knockoff. Oh, except for one thing. If there are any XS ladies in the audience who are jonesing for their own KS fur pullover knockoffs, I would suggest keeping an eye on my blog in the coming days, particularly the downloads page. I may just have a little something for which you should prepare to express tremendous amounts of gratitude and worship. Start shopping for your fur now!
P.S. I got a bunch of comments on my last post about the nail polish I was wearing – it’s OPI “Germanicure” and it’s one of my favorites. Highly recommended.