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If I didn’t scare you sufficiently with my last post, allow me to repeat myself:
I PLAN TO MAKE CURTAINS.
As there was some ambiguity, I should state that I do not plan to crochet curtains (my wrist would not stand for that), but rather to sew them. Some of you have suggested that I’ve fallen off the edge of Boringville and into the depths of Lake Snoozington with this latest planned endeavor, but believe me, the cunning Selfish Seamstress is too sharp to let that happen. You know how I feel about home dec sewing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use still it to incite envy among the sewing masses, and I plan to. With fifteen yards of blue and ivory striped silk dupioni that I hope will arrive at my door any day now.
Here are my inspiration photos:
Okay, that last one isn’t blue and white, but I like the pooling at the bottom. Suddenly curtains don’t look so boring, right?
Dan and I, after having bounced from cookie cutter shoebox to cookie cutter shoebox all over the globe for years, have finally signed a lease on a grown-up apartment- a whole floor of a rather lovely 1894 villa, complete with original parquet floors, Art Nouveau moldings on the ceilings, wainscoting for miles, our own garden with an apricot tree, climbing roses, and grapevines (prepare for yawn-inducing posts about gardening, readers), and giant windows and glass French doors to the garden, all of which will need CURTAINS. (An apartment that didn’t come with ugly Venetian blinds already installed in each window? Who knew??)
The fifteen yards of silk should be good for at least two windows (4 panels of 50″ x 108″ plus extra for hems, tiebacks, and matching cushions if necessary), and if all goes well, I’ll do the rest of the windows in other colors of silk or perhaps in cotton velvet. I plan on lining the silk with cream cotton muslin to prevent sun rot, doing a simple pole pocket top (not the biggest fan of pinched pleats at the moment) and using drapery rings to hang them from the curtain rods (not the biggest fan of pole pockets used as pole pockets at the moment.) And I’ll likely eschew the frou-frou tassel tiebacks that I see with most silk drapes in favor of a more tailored-looking self fabric sash.
And one more great thing about the grown-up apartment… finally– my own sewing room! Well, okay, it will double as a guest room, but given the unpopularity and extraordinary unlikeable-ness of the Selfish Seamstress, you can imagine how infrequently she has visitors. If you do insist on visiting, you’ll have to content yourself with unrolling a sleeping bag under my sewing table. Voilà! Welcome to the guest room. Don’t touch my foot pedal.
By now you know that I’ve stooped to exciting new lows, such as knitting a Missoni knockoff scarf with sock yarn. Here, I wear the fruits of my carpelly tunnelly labors at the market:
(For those who have asked about the Miele knockoff sweater, it’s on a bit of a hiatus because I decided after finishing it that I want to rip out the collar and make it a little narrower, but haven’t gotten around to it. All in all, it kind of looks like you’d expect it to. If you thought you were going to like it, you’d probably like it. If you thought you were going to hate it, you’d probably hate it.)
With that out of the way, I made the rash decision to go back to my roots – crocheting. Crocheting is definitely my “first language” of crafts, having been at it for about 27 or 28 years now. But I’ve never been much for crocheting clothing because in my opinion, most patterns for crocheted (non-accessory) garments look boxy, crafty, or Contempo Casuals circa 1997, none of which are my favorite aesthetic. But then I found this pattern from the Let’s Knit series…
… and thought it could perhaps look edgy over a long-sleeved fitted T, some skinny jeans, a wool cap, and my new knee-high slightly slouchy grey suede boots of which you’d be jealous if I had a picture to show you.
I thought about going with a color, but then decided to opt for my usual standby of charcoal grey to cut the sweetness and frilliness of the pattern. It’s a charted pattern and easy enough, but I can’t read the Japanese instructions so I think my gauge may be off. My version will undoubtedly be slimmer fitting than the one in the picture. Here’s where I am so far after a day or two:
Basically, you crochet two “bib” pieces – one for the front and one for the back, then join them at the sides, and then crochet the border and the sleeves. I’ve made a couple of changes to the design so far, but nothing major.
At this point you may be thinking, “Crocheted sweaters? Is nothing sacred anymore? Is there no low to which the Selfish Seamstress won’t sink while NOT sewing garments?”
Nope. In fact, my next project…
… is curtains.
buh buh BUHHHHHH!
During my recent multi-week blogging hiatus, several non-trivial, sewing-related things happened in Selfishland that I have not yet mentioned. So let me try to catch you up a bit. First, my cousin Evelyn, who is as sweet, warm, and fun as Selfish is solitary and curmudgeonly, introduced me to the wonder that is N.Y. Elegant Fabrics in the NYC garment district. Thus was born a new obsession. I also got to meet up with wonderful Lindsay T., that beautiful and knowledgeable celebrity of the online sewing world in an envy-inducing jacket à la Chanel. And various comments from readers seem to imply that I met up with Peter for supper, but I have to admit that I have no recollection of the encounter. Given that the Selfish Seamstress abstains from the use of any mind- or mood-altering substances that might otherwise explain such a gap in memory, I guess that either the meeting made no impression on me whatsoever, or else so much that I blocked it out entirely. Either way, I’m not too worried. And upon arriving in my new home, I discovered that I am a mere two blocks from a store devoted to vintage sewing machines. And I can’t say I haven’t flirted a bit with a tiny, adorable Elna portable that winks at me every time I walk past the window.
Oh, and I became a columnist for Vogue Patterns Magazine, with my first column appearing in the current issue.
Hello, Mother Ship! I’ve been a VPM fan ever since I read Gertie’s post about it and treated myself to a couple of issues. (Seriously, lots of useful articles and tips, and I love the way they style the garments so much more than the styling in most other American sewing mags.) And now that I contribute to it, it’s kind of like being a big fan of MYSELF. Which is one of my favorite things to do.
Now, you know the Selfish Seamstress doesn’t generally play well with others in unless she is the boss. But seriously, the chance to contribute to BMV?! They probably could have asked me to go around their headquarters sweeping up thread bits and I would have said yes if it would win me the right to say that I work for BMV. (Okay, technically I don’t “work for” them, I’m freelance. But I see no reason to be honest and accurate when lies are so much more impressive.) Sighhh, I feel like Cinderella. Even though I’ve always identified more with the wicked stepsister.
Okay, I’m going to answer some questions that will probably arise.
Q: Are you selling out?
A: Pffft, whatever. Selling out requires that you have some semblance of a sense of integrity or values to compromise in the first place. As the Selfish Seamstress has never had either, it’s impossible for her to compromise them.
Q: What’s your column about?
A: It’s called Sewing Therapy, and if I had to sum it up in a phrase, it addresses social and psychological sewing issues. But really it’s just me making fun of stuff. Doesn’t that sound deep?
Q: Is this a one-time thing or are we going to have to sit through your crap in every issue?
A: I plan to contribute as often as they’ll let me! There are six issues a year, and until they tell me to stop wasting their time with my drivel, I hope to be there.
Q: Does VPM edit your writing?
A: Of course. The Selfish Seamstress in raw form is much too negative and profane for print media so they’ve got to clean her up at least a little bit. You know how often she feels compelled to use the word “beeyatch,” and VPM is a classy publication. But don’t worry, her nasty spirit and evil genius can withstand a little necessary copy editing to shine through. And you can still get your dose of pure, uncensored Selfish Seamstress here, beeyatch.
Q: Do they pay you? What are you going to do with your newfound riches?
A: Yes. For the time being, my plan is to use $20 to get a VPM subscription for my mom (who loves to see my name in print, but is not so keen reading my scholarly articles in scientific journals) and donate the remainder to charitable causes (currently St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.)
Q: Isn’t accepting payment for regular assignments akin to making a job from your hobby, which contradicts your earlier post in which you said you had no interest in that? Does that just make you a fraud and a hypocrite.
A: Sure, whatever. I’m really too busy and important for this argument. I write for Vogue Patterns Magazine, you know.
Q: Does this mean your blog is going to become one big ad for BMV and Vogue Patterns Magazine?
A: What? Of course not. I am free to continue posting and whatever topics I want, and state my cranky opinions as I always have. So stay tuned and keep reading. And GO BUY VOGUE PATTERNS MAGAZINE RIGHT NOW. BUY IT. ON NEWSSTANDS NOW. BUUUUUUUUYYYYY IT.
The Envy Scarf is now complete and wrapped deliciously around my Selfish neck twice, but you’re going to have to wait for pictures. In the meantime, apparently the idea of knitting an entire scarf in fingering weight yarn appeals to some of you (clearly bored loners, much like the Selfish Seamstress herself). So to relieve you of your scarf envy over the Envy Scarf, or perhaps to inflict upon you the same mind-numbing boredom that I have just endured in making it (oh sorry, knitters, I meant “relaxing” and “therapeutic” means of “unwinding,” geez.), here is the very classic feather and fan pattern:
Cast on 78 stitches:
Row 1: K
Row 2: P
Row 3: K3, * (K2tog) 3 times, (YO, K1) 6 times, (K2tog) 3 times. Repeat from * until 3 stitches remain. K3.
Row 4: K
Repeat all rows until desired length is reached. Bind off loosely.
For my scarf, I used a 4.5 mm circular needle and about 1 and 2/3 skeins of Lang Jawoll Magic in shade 99 (Greens), but you can use whatever you want, not only because gauge isn’t important, but also because… well, did you honestly think I would care?
Readers, please. You have to understand that the Selfish Seamstress is an extremely important and busy woman. And now that she has landed in Europe, she finds herself absolutely swamped with new responsibilities. Think about it. It’s been a long time since Europe has had to contend with the Selfish Seamstress for more than a few days at a time. She’s got a lot of ground to cover- new colleagues from whom to alienate herself, new students to frighten, new friends to avoid making, and countless waitstaff and service industry people to annoy. Gifted as Selfish may be at rubbing people the wrong way, it’s still quite a lot of work.
Now, you in comparison, dear readers, are easy. All it takes for me to frustrate and anger you is to simply stop blogging and ignore you for a few weeks. And judging from your recent comments, I can’t help but pat myself on the back and think, “Job freakin’ well done, Elaine. Go treat yourself to another croissant.” Oh, this continent is utterly teeming with croissants.
But as you know, the Selfish Seamstress has never been one to rest on her laurels (hence her need to find new parts of the world to abuse), and she therefore thinks that there may be more effective ways to get under your skin than simply ignoring you. So allow me to introduce you to my new friend Envy.
Yep, I’m still without my beloved sewing machine as it slowly makes its way across the oceans, but knitting continues in its usual plodding and mind-numbing fashion. A couple of chilly mornings sent me in a panic to a nearby department store for two skeins of Lang Jawoll Magic sock yarn with which to make my own knockoff Missoni scarf. (I’ve been rather fixated on Missoni knits lately. More on that later though.) The traditional fan and feather pattern is easy enough, though a scarf made from fingering weight yarn isn’t exactly an overnight project.
And while I’m bragging (which is pretty much always), allow me to point out that a similar-in-flavor actual Missoni scarf retails for about $270. (My yarn cost: approximately $22. Haha! Take that, Italy.)
Green with Envy yet? If not, perhaps you haven’t looked closely enough. Here’s the Missoni-licious money shot:
Mwahahaha, miss me much?