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Blouse 114 from the 4.2007 issue is coming along very slowly on account of the WORST instructions ever. But I’ve managed to make it over the major hurdles, and am now at the point where I can see what the final product is going to look like.  And it is crazy. After I basted on the first ruffle, I tried it on and looked in the mirror and said thought, “WHAT!” I went out into the living room where Dan was having a Skype call with his parents and he burst into laughter. Then I basted on the remaining ruffles and it’s still crazy, but maybe (?) getting better? I have to admit, although it’s remaining consistently ridiculous, it’s starting to grow on me.  Dan’s comment: “Well, something is growing on you.” And indeed, this blouse makes me feel like one of these:

Anyway, I got the ruffles stitched on and basted one sleeve in place.  Now I’m starting to think that if this blouse is worth finishing at all, it might look better sleeveless. So I basted the seam allowance on one side inwards to see what that might look like. Here’s where we are currently:

So.  Unquestionably crazy, right?  That leaves me with two questions for you:  

1.  Good crazy or bad crazy?

2. If good crazy, better with sleeves or without?

I can’t help but notice that since I got back from my little abduction incident weird and inexplicable things have been happening. You know, suddenly all of my left shoes are too big, the cat has been winking at me, sometimes the anchor on the evening news finishes a story with, “Did you catch all of that, Elaine?” Nothing too nerve wracking.  Until last night, that is. I was working on the Burda ruffle blouse from the 4.2007 issue, had finished a muslin and was starting to cut out of my brown striped poplin:

I used my usual trick for doing symmetrical plaid matching. But this time, it didn’t work!  I couldn’t get the stripes to match.  What! Here’s what I mean.  I cut out one sleeve from a single layer of fabric. I then flipped the sleeve piece I had cut out onto the fabric with the intention of matching up the stripes and cutting the second sleeve. But this happened:

Do you see what’s going on here?  Look at the top of the photo.  See how the stripes on the sleeve piece match up so perfectly with the underlying piece of fabric that you can barely distinguish it?  And then as you progress down the photo, the stripes get more and more unaligned? I KNOW. 

I tried moving the sleeve all over the fabric, aligning it with different stripes, including the exact same stripes from which I had cut the first sleeve (i.e. placing it right below where I had cut the first sleeve along the length of the fabric) and I could not get the stripes to match up!  Here’s a close up:

And it wasn’t just the sleeves.  I couldn’t get the bodice fronts to match, and I couldn’t get the back to be symmetrical on both sides either!  You might be thinking that there’s something about the fabric that is causing it stretch along the cut edges, but this is not the case.  After cutting, the fabric pieces are still exactly the same size as the paper pattern pieces. WTF?

Eventually I decided to give up on trying to make the blouse perfectly symmetrical. I decided better to have the stripes not match perfectly than try to ease  and force things to match and end up with one side of the blouse actually being physically larger than the other. Because the shoulder seams are fairly short, I was able to force the stripes on the bodice front shoulder to match the stripes on the back shoulder, which is where I think mismatched stripes look the worst. Otherwise I figure it won’t be too bad.  It’s a fine stripe and the stripe at least looks regular, so if there happen to be one or two more stripes on one side than the other, or the stripes are aligned exactly the same on one sleeve as the other, it’d take a lot to notice.

But seriously, how weird is that? Has this happened to anyone else? Life is becoming very odd indeed.

Well, hello! It seems some of you have been wondering where I have been, why I haven’t been updating my blog, haven’t been reading and commenting on yours, haven’t been spreading the word on selfishness and seamstressing, and generally spreading my usual good vibes throughout the interweb. Thank you all for your concerned comments and reproachful nags (as you can imagine, I have a soft spot for comments that are both belligerent and flattering). Was I badly injured in a freak snowshoeing accident?  Was I eaten by bears?  Did I (gasp!) decide to abandon you all for good??  Fear not, treasured readers, I am well and there is a very simple explanation for my absence:

Alien abduction.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy. All I can really say is that they come in peace. To divulge any information beyond that would be risky and imprudent. So don’t ask. But suffice it to say that despite all that extraterrestrial ray-gun-and-flying-saucer dramarama and a surprisingly not-boring lot of Winter Olympics coverage, I did manage to finish the Valentine shirt for Dan, Burda 133 from the 10.2005 issue. Here it is on Dan, as he channels is inner model, with Slurpee and mobile phone as key props:

He’s been wearing it to work in hopes that someone will compliment him on it so that he can brag that I made it for him. So far no bites. I have decided this says more about his co-workers than it does about the shirt. Style-oblivious troglodytes!

I’ve made this shirt for Dan before (obviously during some other period of unselfish idiocy) with the only fitting problem being that the sleeves were a little too short. This time I lengthened them by an inch and a half and now they are mysteriously too wide.  The shirt fits well through the chest but could stand to be a bit slimmer at the waist. I could take it in a smidge, but stocking the house with cookies and pie sounds like the easier and more fun solution. After all, why edit your sewing when you can edit your partner?

It’s Valentine’s Day, and here’s the current state of men’s shirt 133 from the 10.2005 issue of BurdaMag for Dan. It’s a deep, rich shade of violet, which the photo is not indicating:

What the photo does indicate, however, is that it is so very not finished. And that I started it yesterday. Happy Valentine’s Day, in typical Selfish Seamstress fashion. I’m going on a little snowshoeing trip now. See you when I get back!

Wowee zowee, I discovered the motherlode of stretch denim, and boy is it going to come in handy now that I’ve fallen hard for the Jalie 2908 jeans pattern, a.k.a. the Holy Fecking Shet Jeans. A lot of folks have asked where I got my stretch denim for them, and it was just a lucky buy at After I finished them, I immediately went back to and was disappointed to find only one stretch denim remaining in a decidedly “mom jeans” shade of medium blue. Denver Fabrics had no stretch denim at all in their inventory, and the higher end places don’t tend to stock it regularly as far as I can tell. After a little more digging, I hit upon Lura’s Fabric Shop, which seems to be a small family run business with an amazing selection of denim.

I promptly sent away for a bunch of swatches of dark wash stretch denim, received a friendly email within 24 hours, and an envelope full of drool-worthy denim swatches within a couple of days. Check these out:

From the upper left going clockwise, these are article numbers LDEN095, LDEN096, LDEN13, LDEN09R and LDEN12 respectively, representing a range of weights and washes, but all dark, modern, great quality, moderately stretchy and perfect for more pairs of Holy Fecking Shet jeans. The photos on Lura’s website are a little different and make the denim look lighter than it is, probably to show detail. I think my photo is represents the color more accurately, but order your own and see for yourselves. Unlike a lot of the other online fabric shops, it looks like denim and stretch denim are part of Lura’s bread and butter, so there’s no crossing your fingers and hoping that they’ll get some in. Plus how nice is it to get a handwritten note from the owner with your samples? Talk about service. Love it!  

They have lighter washes too, but my preference for handmade jeans is to go dark because I think the lighter blues bear a bit of the “homemade” stamp unless you can get the ripply fading and wear effects at the seams and hems that RTW jeans get through various treatments. (I tried sandpaper and it just made the denim fuzzy.) But if you like your medium and light blue denims, Lurah’s has that too.

Anyway, I wanted to share that in case any of you have been trolling the fabric sites in hopes of a decent denim popping up, and in case any of you have been hesitating on making up your Jalie 2908s. What are you waiting for?  I’m putting it on a platter and serving it up to you!


Ladies, color me impressed. You really stepped up to the challenge in the name of free vintage patterns, and you do me proud. Your essays had it all- mean-spirited backbiting, gross exaggerations of the truth, elite-level ass-kissing, tearjerking sob stories, and all other manner of emotional manipulativeness. Truly, you are all very selfish seamstresses and you are ALL winners. Well, except that that’s not really how a contest works. The Selfish Seamstress isn’t running a kindergarten here, people.

Let me start with a few honorable mentions, essays that were just too good to go without credit (honored essayists should feel free to drop me an email at selfishseamstress[at]gmail[dot]com and maybe I can find another goody in my collection for you).  

Honorable Mention for Brute Force
This one goes to Mimi, who offered this remarkably concise entry and made me realize how lovely it would be to have a henchman (henchwoman?) or two on my side:

“if you give to me I’ll kick your nemisis’s asses!”

Brilliant!  So much emotion in so few words!  I imagine Mimi wordlessly snapping the needles off of the machines of my nemeses and it’s very very good. There’s really not enough violence in hobby sewing, if you ask me.

Honorable Mention for Pure Selfishness
Many contestants cited their own selfishness as the reason why they deserve the pattern, pledging that they would sew them for themselves and no one else and believe me, I appreciate this sentiment. But Liz really took this approach above and beyond, demanding the patterns just so you can’t have them. That is truly a rare and admirable brand of spiteful selfishness and I have to offer up my respect:

Elaine, I must have one of these patterns, simply because there are others who want them, too. I want to be the victor, rather than the poor schmuck watching her ‘automatic bid’ smashed to oblivion with 2 seconds left in the auction. Plus, the dress reminds me of the cute plaid one that your mom wore, =] and the top is just plain adorable.

The Selfish Seamstress

Pitied ME so give up, gals,

I am the winner!”

This essay has it all- vindictive spirit and the desire to have something just so others don’t have it, a delightful haiku geared towards crushing the spirit of the competition, and a nice pat on the back for the Selfish Seamstress’s mommy. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for a girl who isn’t just out to win, but is also out to make sure everyone else loses! (Incidentally, I wouldn’t be surprised if I am the person smashing Liz’s bids in the last 2 seconds, so thank you for being that poor schmuck, Liz, such that I can get what I want.)

Honorable Mention for Sticking it to Nosy Wedding Guests
Empathy is beyond the emotional capacities of the Selfish Seamstress. But let’s just say that if I *could* empathize, I would empathize with fellow alliterative blogger The Slapdash Sewist for this bit of so-true-it-hurts:

“Having a 31.5 inch bust (I round to 32, but I’m not really 32) is an asset only when it comes to selfishly hoarding vintage patterns. I have many vintage patterns, but not that particular wrap dress and therefore I need it. It will keep my other vintage patterns company.

I have a wedding to go to soon. I’m 35 and have been to an endlessness of other people’s weddings. Always the guest, never the bride. I deserve to look as fabulous and unspinsterly as possible and having that pattern will help. Even if I don’t sew it.”

Ahh, but when are YOOUUUUUU getting married?  Hmmm?  HMMM? Seriously, what part of the brain is removed at the time a marriage license is issued that makes some married people forget that this question sucks? Obviously the best remedy is looking hot in a hot dress. And cake. Ahhh, Ms. Slapdash, I trust that you will make me proud by being an absolute firecracker at the wedding and taking more than your fair share of the cake. [Handy Selfish Seamstress wedding survival tip: If the question comes from your boyfriend’s friends or family and you really want to mix things up a bit, try out this response: “Oh, I don’t know. I guess when the right one comes along, I’ll know.” Ha!  Who feels awkward now?? Hmmm?]

Honorable Mention for Unbridled Megalomania
If I didn’t already say it, you guys are just amazing at sucking up. The sheer volume of hyperbole and disingenuous platitudes about the Selfish Seamstress’s talent had her cackling with glee for hours on end and hulk-smashing all of her stuffed animals because she felt like a giant. But surely no one was more delusional about the omnipotence of the Selfish Seamstress than Len, who offered up this bit of totally awesome:

“I need those patterns because I hope that in receiving something from the mighty selfish seamstress that somehow a fraction of your impeccable taste, humour and mad sewing skillz will inexplicably transfer to me via osmosis. Hopefully then I’ll be able to sew auf Deutsch without a problem! I think either one of those patterns would look KICK ASS on me, so much so that I shall reduce the citizens of Dortmund to DUST with my newly-gained Selfish Seamstress powers.”

Not only is my taste “impeccable” (thank you very much!), but simply receiving a pattern in the mail from me will enable the recipient to pick up a foreign language and DECIMATE THE POPULATION OF A MID-SIZE CITY IN CENTRAL EUROPE. That, my dear Len, is freakin’ awesome. But in all fairness, if I were really that powerful, don’t you think I’d have already taken out a few cities? As it stands, even on a really good day I can only do minor structural damage to small suburbs with my sewing skills. But I’m glad you’re thinking big.

Okay.  And now….

Second Place for High Maintenance Anatomy
This goes to the amazing Sue for her simple plea: 

“I will keep this short, sweet and to the point. I want it because you found it first. The girls (all 33 inches of them) want it because they are all about making themselves look better. The fact that you claim this pattern is “way too big for you” is a little tough on my ego…I am usually the one making that claim…but the girls and I will find a way to cope with your cast-off. Did I mention my birthday is coming and I would totally rock that dress?”

Why do I adore this reasoning?  It’s simple- she wants to win the pattern so she can give it to her breasts. That is brilliant. BRILLIANT. Her “girls” want the pattern, so she wants to give it to them.  And the “girls” are all about making themselves look better. Honestly, I can’t question the genius of anthropomorphizing one’s rack and subsequently making demands on their behalf. The only question, Sue, is will they be satisfied with a pattern for a sailor top? If not, I’ll see what other goodies I’ve got under the bed for your 33″ ladies because…

First Place for Holy Crap That’s Funny
… goes to Dei! Granted Dei didn’t follow conventional essay format, but instead went for theater. And this has to be one of the greatest plays I have ever read:

“Why should I give it to you?” she asked.

“Because I want it.” I replied.

“What will you do with it should I part with it?” she sniffed.

“Cherish it for the magnificent vintage find that it is. Craft a glorious garment in its honor. And laud the giver for her gracious ways and immense talent.” I sang.

“Ah. Well said.” she smiled.

“Your Highness.” I bowed.

Admittedly, I think the Selfish Seamstress character is portrayed as being somewhat more benevolent than in real life (What’s up with the smiling? And why am I not using foul language?) but I understand that Dei took some liberties in the name of art. And I think I almost peed my pants when I read that last line. Masterful. Oh, how I love the theater!

Winners please drop me an email at selfishseamstress[at]gmail[dot]com with mailing addresses.  And everyone, thank you for indulging me in my puppetmaster fantasies. I’m going to go find more things to hulk-smash now.

Yawwwwn.  Well, the title just about says it all.  I really haven’t felt like sewing at all this week.  I’ve sort of started making a muslin of the Burda ruffle blouse, if you count cutting out the back and front pieces, and pinning the darts in one of them as muslining. I’ve listlessly pawed through my back issues of Burda and Patrones, and kept an eye on and Fabric Mart to see if anything interesting has come in, but lack of nice fabric isn’t what’s stopping me from sewing. So pretty much yawn. Unexcited about sewing. I’m not sure if I’m just burned out, or perhaps these recent non-successes have dampened my enthusiasm for the sport:

Or maybe it’s because I don’t have a project right now that I’m really really excited about, and I’m just trying to sew for the sake of sewing?  Or trying to sew just so I’ll have something interesting to share with you? After all, if I’m not sewing, I can’t complain loudly about sewing on my blog.  Oh wait.  I’m doing that now, so I guess I can. At least I never get bored of complaining!


Dan suggests I go for an “easy win,” something that will go off quickly and without a hitch and that I’ll love. Or maybe I need something challenging and complicated that will feel like a huge sewing accomplishment rather than a way to pass the time? Or perhaps I need to indulge in new patterns or fabrics that will get me excited to pick up the scissors? Or maybe I should do a big cleanup and reorganization of my sewing box to renew my enthusiasm? Maybe I could go so far as to plan an occasion for which I would need a perfect outfit and make that? Ho-hum.

I do have some S.W.A.G. sewing that I need to do, but I haven’t had time to go get fabric for it, so I can’t even sew out of obligation at the moment. (Yeah, I know, but it’s for my sister and I like her and it’s one of the important birthdays. Don’t give me the stinkeye. I have no patience for your stinkeye and I will stinkeye right back at you.)

What do you think, dear readers? Is there anything you think I should take on? Or should I go for a little sewing hiatus? Take a little time to focus on my poetry for now, perhaps?

Simplicity 7715 has got to be the cutest pattern that I own.  Look at that ruffle version in pink- isn’t that the greatest Carol Brady dress ever?  I bought this pattern thinking that I would make it up in a brown menswear fabric for work to wear with a great pair of slingbacks.  Sophisticated! It would be a great spring dress in bright yellow doubleknit. Or wedding guest ready in emerald or turquoise dupioni. Or a go-anywhere-and-look-great dress in black wool crepe. How many of these have I made? None.  The pattern is just way too big for me (hello, 29″ bust in the house!) and I’ve decided it would be easier for me to draft this in my size from scratch than try to grade down that crossover top. So I want to give this to you.

The Selfish Seamstress, however, is not one of those gentle souls who will request that you leave a comment such that she can pick one lucky person at random. Nor is she interested in banal popularity metrics like getting you to become her Facebook friend or follower. No. She wants to incite cutthroat competition and dirty infighting in which she will be the sole judge  using unfair and inconsistent criteria. 

So if you want this adorable dress pattern (vintage size 10, bust 32.5, partially cut, complete, envelope in unfortunate condition, instructions intact), I want to see an essay of no more than 100 words.  Tell me why I should give it to you.  Dirty tactics such as sucking up, snarking, backstabbing, brainwashing, flattery, and lying are strongly encouraged. I’ll give you until Thursday at 11:59PM Pacific time. Make sure you include you indicate how I can contact you for your mailing address if I pick your essay.  

And oh yeah, here’s the super cute second prize:

Ok….. GO!

I’ve been waffling on what to work on next, tracing out the odd pattern and then deciding I don’t really want to work on it right now. Last night, I think I finally settled on something, the Burda 114 blouse from 4/2007, the second issue of Burda I ever bought. The photo from the magazine is kind of bad in a 1995 way:

But I think the line drawing is great- it would be a nice fun blouse for under a cardigan or jacket for work:

And I’ve got some dark brown stretch poplin with white woven pinstripes and a nice sheen in my stash that would be great for it:

This is no mere blouse, however.  This is a blouse that defeated me the first time I tried to make it.  It was one of the first real sewing projects I ever attempted, perhaps a month or two into my garment sewing hobby and I ended up abandoning it pretty quickly. At the time, the concept of a muslin was foreign to me, and after grading it down to a size 32 and cutting it out of white shirting, it became clear that the blouse was going to be a bra-displaying failure. A whole lot of things seemed like they were going to go wrong with this blouse.  And judging from Cidell’s experience, it seems like they would have gone wrong had I proceeded. (Cidell, as far as I can tell, you are the only other person in the world who has ever attempted this blouse!)

Last night I looked over it again and tried to figure out what I would need to change so that the neckline wasn’t hanging halfway down my torso.  Petite adjustment above the bustline? SBA? And then it occurred to me, DUH, MAKE THE NECKLINE HIGHER. It’s funny- I’m so used to cutting chunks and slicing slivers OUT of patterns to make them fit, it never occurs to me to actually add more paper to them. I plan on making a couple more adjustments as well based on Cidell’s experience and what I can remember from my first attempt of almost 3 years ago. 

This is going to be a first for me – actually revisiting a pattern that failed badly enough that I didn’t finish it, didn’t fiddle with it and make hacks until it was wearable. Usually if something looks like it’s going to flop completely, I decide that the pattern just isn’t for me. But I think I might be able to make this one work this time. Maybe.

How about you?  Have you ever revisited a failure pattern to make it work?  What did you do differently and how did it go?

If it’s Monday, or any other day of the week, that must mean that the Selfish Seamstress is not good at making friends. It’s therefore time for her to unveil her latest foe: Lauriana, a.k.a. “Mad Skills Nemesis,” a.k.a. “Innovative Nemesis.”

The Selfish Seamstress has to admit, she is terrified of this latest nemesis. Unlike nemesis Yoshimi, Lauriana has not hurled insults at the Selfish Seamstress from every angle. Unlike nemesis Peter, Lauriana has not started a blog solely intended to destroy the Selfish Seamstress. However, the Selfish Seamstress feels the need to warn her readers of the very dangerous and wicked Lauriana, as she strongly suspects that Lauriana is possessed by evil demons, as only the occult could explain her supernatural genius and fear-inducing talent. Now, I know what you’re thinking: the Selfish Seamstress has gone too far, accusing another home seamstress of being the tool of evil spirits. But I think you will understand the need to elevate Lauriana to Selfish Seamstress Nemesis status once you see the evidence of the kind of talent and brilliance that could only result from some serious soul selling:

1) Lauriana can draft like nobody’s business. In fact, as far as I can tell, Lauriana has barely touched a pattern not of her own hand in years.  Oh sure, the Selfish Seamstress has been known, with copious amounts of time, effort, and scrap fabric, to draft up a very simple dress or skirt. But Lauriana drafts like a fiend – a clear indication that very black magic is involved. Why bother with commercial patterns when you can conjure up everything better yourself?  White flowy blouse? Sure, why not?

Jeans that are beyond chic? Whatever.

Jacket that would make Jackie O. jealous? Child’s play for Lauriana and her mystical powers.

2) Lauriana is so innovative, only the supernatural can account for it.  Her ideas are brilliant in a way that can only be explained by madness, and she realizes them flawlessly. When I think about what the inside of Lauriana’s head must look like, I imagine there’s a big cabinet in there and it’s sort of like the Vogue pattern drawers with some Patrones stuffed in there too, with all of the boring and ugly stuff taken out and a little witchcraft thrown in. Seriously. You give her a big old leather jacket, and she cuts it up into bits to make a sleek new one:

The girl acquires a serger, and immediately starts breaking all of the rules to gorgeous, suspicion-inducing results like this (surely if one were not possessed by evil, creativity-breeding spirits, one would start with a simple t-shirt, no?): 

And only  a mad, devil-possessed genius could come up with this wonderful skirt detail, right??

3) The most incontrovertible evidence that Lauriana is extremely dangerous and powerful: she has mastered the print in the most maddening and enemy-making way imaginable.  While the Selfish Seamstress bites her nails at the sight of a print, wondering whether it will make her look frumpy or cutesy or crazy or quilty or homemade, Lauriana stares it down and beats it into submission. Even the biggest, boldest prints become serious, elegant fashion under her needle:

4) Finally, as if she hadn’t already bewitched us all with her abilities and aesthetics, I find myself completely consumed by envy because the work of this frighteningly talented home sewer is clearly runway ready. Surely any of these garments is worthy of showing at New York’s Fashion week, and any woman in her right mind would happily sell her OWN soul to have these hanging in her closet:

[Note to my newest nemesis: I will maybe possibly perhaps consider switching to the dark side in exchange for the pattern for that grey dress!]

There you have it.  The evidence of demon-induced genius is undeniable. There is no telling how much Lauriana is capable of, and she is a most powerful force in the sewing blogosphere. For further evidence of her powers of the occult, visit her blog, Petit Main Sauvage.  But tread very very carefully because you are likely to fall under her spell.

Well, skirt 112 from Burda 1.2009 is done.  I took it apart a number of times to do some tweaks and did a full lining on it.  I also made a matching belt with a little bow in front that I can use until I get a proper brown belt to match. The strange thing is that when I look in the mirror, I think this skirt is very cute and flattering.  In the photos, however, it’s just not working.  I’m not sure what to believe.

It does go awfully well with the Sweet Pota-toe shoes though :)

Thanks to Melissa for letting me know that the Russian Burda site has the entire March preview available for viewing. (I can’t wrap my head around how the various language sites have such varied content. What exactly are the good folks at Burda Russia doing that they can get everything out there so promptly?  Wouldn’t you think the Germans would have all the content first?  Anyway, go Russia- keep it up!)

So, if you were disappointed by yesterday’s limited sneak preview, the good news is that there are some nice options in March. This wrap shirt looks chic and practical:

(Fortunately the Selfish Seamstress knows a little Russian and is able to read the image titles, so she knows for sure that the garment featured is the shirt and not the spandex pants! Boo for spandex pants!)

This pencil skirt is cute and it shows up in a few variations, but the pockets on this one look particularly promising:

But most of all, I am coveting this adorable strapless sundress.  It looks like a simple enough dress, and I think it’s really that cute pink floral print that’s getting me. I don’t generally think of myself as a pink floral type, but this is just too adorable, and the lines of the dress keep it sophisticated rather than frou-frou-tutu. (Amber, are you there? And if so, are you drooling over this dress? I thought you might be.) 

As for the Plusmode dress and coat combo that I was giddy about from yesterday’s preview, it turns out that the dress is indeed beautiful.  I do wish, however, that they hadn’t put the model in such unflattering shapewear. She’s gorgeous with a gorgeous figure and I fully understand the benefits of shapewear under formal dresses, but whatever contraption she’s got under the dress is not doing good things.

The same dress in a longer version either with a different undergarment or else photographed in such a way that the undergarment is not doing horrible binding things to the model is just stunning (and the dude’s pants fit this time):

And finally, since you were wondering, the shrest makes not one but TWO appearances in the March issue.  They loved it so much that they made it in two variations.  Because apparently some people want to wear it with a wedding gown.  

This throws a bit of a stick into the Selfish Seamstress’s wedding guest plans.  So many people have invited her to their weddings under the condition that she wear a shrest. But should she wear a shrest if the bride herself might be wearing one?  Seems a bit gauche.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the shrest is NOT the single most ridiculous thing in the March issue.  This is:

And yes, I will wear this WITH the navy leopard print shrest to your wedding IF you let me have two slices of cake AND make me maid of honor AND let me pick my favorite of all of your wedding presents to keep for myself.  And that includes the checks, for those of you with wealthy aunts and uncles. Cheetah print harem pant jumpsuits don’t come for free, you know. Neither does the Selfish Seamstress’s dignity.

Well, I have to say, yesterday was a pretty good day.  Not only did I get invited to about a half dozen weddings on the condition that I wear some ridiculous combination of Burda 3.2010 garments, but I also got started on the stupid easy high waisted skirt from Burda 1.2009, model 112, using some of the sweet potato plaid Banana Republic wool I picked up at Paron for a song during my holiday fabric binge. (Please parse that last bit as “holiday-pause-fabric binge” rather than “holiday fabric-pause-binge.”  The Selfish Seamstress does not do holiday fabric, thank you very much.) It doesn’t look like much now, but the test fittings are promising.  And yes, I think I’m probably the only person who is still stuck on autumn clothes while everyone else plans their new spring dresses. I need to remove a pinch at the bottom of the corset-y midriff bit because it’s creating some extra folds of fabric over the belly.

Here’s the technical drawing:

More exciting than the skirt itself, however, is the fact that the tan, dark brown, and orange skirt seems to go with almost every pair of shoes I own. How neat is that?

Goody. I hate when I make something and then find I never wear it because I don’t have the shoes to go with it. Since people will undoubtedly ask, the shoes, clockwise from the left are:

1) Espresso brown Prada T-straps with huge chunky heels (picked up for $35 at a DSW sale!)

2) Nine West brown heeled platform oxfords

3) Michael by Michael Kors tan suede Mary Janes with huge triangular heels (another $35 bargain at Nordstrom Rack, mecca for size 4.5 and 5!)

4) Sweet Pota-toe loafers from ModCloth, with huge not-quite wedge heels (anyone starting to see the trend here?)

5) Antiqued brown Max Studio Mary Janes with the same not-quite-wedge heels (another steal at Loehmann’s)

How about you? What’s your favorite handmade garment and accessory combo?

If it’s March, that must mean it’s time for Burda girls to start making their wedding dresses! That’s right, ladies, if you haven’t got a wedding planned for June, you’d better go out and find yourself a fiance now because the bridal patterns are on their way, as shown in the new Burda March 2010 preview! Just don’t do anything that seems okay in concept but in real life looks like you decided to embellish your dress with the party favors:

For the sake of full disclosure, despite being a die hard Burda girl (well, except for these last few months in which I have allowed my subscription to lapse) I don’t have a wedding coming up in June. Which means that I am approaching their March wedding feature with with an eye for what can be rendered in other colors and shorter lengths to make for pretty stuff I can use.  The organza craziness above is not fitting that criteria, but how about this pretty one?

I like the lace sleeves on that one and I’m imagining it in midnight blue. Now I just have to get *invited* to some weddings so I’ll have somewhere to wear it.  Who’s getting married?  Who wants the Selfish Seamstress at her wedding?  [I have to warn you, I heckle. AND I need two slices of cake. Unless the cake is bad in which case I’ll heckle more. And when people say, “The greatest gift you can give us is your presence at our wedding,” I take that statement very seriously. I definitely wouldn’t want to disappoint you by giving you something inferior off of your Williams-Sonoma registry when you could have my presence.]

As for the regular clothes, again, nothing jumping at out at me in this issue, but it’s still the limited preview for now. I’m sort of keen on seeing this light coat, and wish the photo showed off its form better:


It has a charming, sunny Doris Day appeal to it, not unlike the Selfish Seamstress herself. Other than that, there are some not-so-interesting garments that I’m not picturing here, so that I can dedicate more space to a couple of  WTF garments:

Ohhhh I hope the pattern is for the basic and practical straight skirt because I don’t understand what’s going on on top there and I suspect I would not like it better were it not completely obscured by the rose bouquet. Because I don’t want to think about what’s happening if Burda is venturing into the “shoulderless cape” territory.  If they do it once, they will do it several times in the months to come. Actually, if you invite me to your wedding, I will come wearing this exact outfit. Come on, isn’t that worth an invite??? Plus I’m a crazy lady on the dance floor. 

However, no amount of cake and wheedling could get me into this:

Sweet jeebus WHAT IS THAT? Is it a shrug?  Is it a vest? For convenience’s sake, we will call it a “shrest.”  That stand collar is taking it over the edge.  Or maybe the navy leopard print is taking it over the edge. Or the double pleat chinos she’s wearing with it. The edge is now so far behind it, it’s impossible to say what exactly pushed it.

I actually don’t hate this outfit.  I just hate this photo because I get the feeling that the model has dirty socks and empty cracker boxes all over the room and I would really like her to tell her that SHOES DO NOT BELONG ON THE BED. And mostly this photo upsets me because when I look at it I become my mom and that scares me a little.

As is often the case, the best outfit in Burda is one of the Plusmode numbers. Granted, I’m not so much into sewing formalwear, but isn’t this ensemble lovely:

Look at the portrait collar on that coat!  The 3/4 bell sleeves! I’m imagining what the draping on the bodice looks like and in my head, it’s very very good. Doesn’t hurt that it’s paired with the bag and the shoes, a cart full of Louis Vuitton suitcases and that guy. I may have to try drafting this in my size.

Now I know you’re all waiting with baited breath for me to start ripping on the crafts, but….

They’re pretty unobjectionable.  I mean, I guess the idea of putting a lone Easter egg in a bell jar is a little wacky, but other than that…. sunny painted eggs and bunny cutouts aren’t much for me to work with here. I’m starting to wonder if maybe they sacked the previous crafts editor?

Oh no wait, sorry, I found her. She just switched departments and is now doing the oh-so-superfluous feature on clothing embellishment:

Egad. This crafty clothing section is rapidly becoming my least favorite feature in Burda, the part where they hot glue random bits of lace and feathers and chiffon on unsuspecting, otherwise innocuous pieces of clothing. The first one is an exercise in couching which I guess is intended to cash in on the current marching band jacket trend in a very low rent way? And the second one is um. There are no words.

And that’s this month’s Burda forecast. I’ll be waiting eagerly by my mailbox for your wedding invite, hand hemming my shoulderless cape!

[Note: The Selfish Seamstress is overflowing with joy and expletives at this latest sewing coup. At the same time, she realizes that much of her readership consists of gentlewomen of refined breeding whose delicate sensibilities may be offended by profanity. She is therefore censoring the naughty words in this post by replacing all of the vowels in them with “e.”]

Holy fecking shet, betches, the Selfish Seamstress made her some jeans and they are the fecking bomb! Check these badess feckers out:

Oh yes, these are my new jeans made from the famous Jalie 2908 pattern, low rise version. I realize that I am totally the last betch on the Jalie 2908 bandwagon, but I don’t give a shet. I am as proud of these jeans as if I had drafted the fecking pattern myself. They weren’t even meant to be production level, they were meant to be a muslin. But I am totally wearing this betch. I want to wear them every fecking day. This may be the greatest sewing coup of my entire sewing career, because I have *never* had jeans that fit the way I want them to. You see, in addition to being very short, I am also long waisted, which means my inseam is *extremely* short.  It’s pretty much impossible for me to find jeans that aren’t huge through the thigh and knee, and when I can find ones that fit in those areas, they’re literally 6-8″ too long. And hemming isn’t a great option because the knee is still in the wrong place.  When I can find a jean that fits, it’s usually pretty shapeless and nondescript. And in case you were thinking it, kids jeans don’t work either.  While they’re the right fit in the thigh and inseam, kids jeans are cut for kids with flat kiddie butts and the Selfish Seamstress, despite having a kiddie inseam, has a grown up butt. Fecked up, right?

I picked the smallest adult size for the Jalie jeans (size R).  The measurements looked a little bit big, but I didn’t want to go down to one of the kid sizes because I think the proportions for the kids version are different.  As many have noted, this pattern has a tendency to gape in the back, so I ended up compensating for that by taking some off of the back yoke piece at the side seams. Other than that, I shortened through the thigh by one inch.  I figured that would put the knee in the right place and then any additional shortening could happen at the hem. But I don’t know what kind of weird-ess traveling pants shet that pattern has going on, but mysteriously the length turned out perfect for me- I didn’t have to take any off the hem. How is that even possible?  Feck that, I’m not going to look that gift horse in the mouth. The only really significant edit I had to make was to take the legs in at both the inseam and outseam to make them slimmer as they were baggy through the leg.  I started taking in gradually from the hip and ended up removing about 1″ from the circumference at the knee, and then tapered back down to the leg opening. Oh yeah, and I added a coin pocket and rivets. And now they are just right- the jeans I have always wished I could find in a store! 

I cut the waistband on the crossgrain for a couple of reasons.  First I had read that cutting it on the bias (as the pattern recommends) results in too much stretching.  Second, I thought that the fabric I ordered was 60″, but it must have actually been 45″ or 50″ because it turned out that I was only able to fit all the pattern pieces in though a very economic layout, which left only enough fabric for me to cut the waistband on the cross grain.  It’s therefore a little more stretchy and less stable than I’d like. But next time I’m going to make sure I have enough fabric to cut it lengthwise, and you can bet your fecking ess that I’m going to be making these betches again and again. Feck yeah.

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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