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Update on the idiot issue: eagle-eyed reader Tassadit pointed out that the idiot who’s trying to sell my sewing patterns on eBay, lorriange, actually has a website where she sells patterns- lots and lots of patterns!  That’s right, she’s actually trying to sell the Coffee Date Dress pattern, as well as my Breakfast at Tiffany’s-inspired pattern for £10! Yep- wander on over to her online store so you can buy what everyone else gets for free! I see she’s removed the images of me (perhaps after getting my nasty message) but not the patterns.

But even more fun, I’ve been browsing around her project pages, and this idiot, who has the ballz to call herself a “designer” (all she’s designed are some dumb polls in the sidebar of her very 2003-looking website), has stolen a bunch of other patterns from other people and put them up on her website for sale!

Made by Rae's Itty Bitty Baby Dress pattern - stolen!!

The only one I identified upon sight is the adorable Itty Bitty Baby Dress from Made by Rae (get the original FREE and properly credited here), but I know I’ve seen a bunch of the other designs on BurdaStyle and other places. The inconsistent and sometimes low-quality photos (as though one only had access to a thumbnail-sized photo and tried to blow it up) suggest to me that these images and patterns have been scavenged from a number of sources. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the ones with the consistent color illustrations are just from some pattern company CD.

Anyway, let’s play a game!  Poke around the website and tell us if you recognize any of the patterns! What other stolen goodies are on there, credited as one of her “custom designs”? Maybe you’ll even see one of your own!

I’ve given her a piece of my mind (no idle threats considering how many lawyer friends I have), but if she’s also selling something of yours (or you just think she’s an idiot who ought to be ashamed of herself and want to let her know), here’s her info (all publicly available on the website- I haven’t done any stalking or posting any private data):

Lorrie Holtom, “Designer” (I added those quotes in myself)
Tel: +44 (0) 1179396913, Mobile: +44 (0) 7765182366

Okay, so back to that game, so far we know that the Coffee Date Dress, the Audrey Hepburn dress, and the Itty Bitty Baby Dress are being sold on the site– anyone recognize any other pilfered work?

UPDATE: Yay!  My patterns have been removed, as have two of the patterns, and quite a few of the kids’ patterns. Great sleuthing, everyone.  And if your patterns have  been filched, make a stink- it seems to be working!! Thanks, everyone!

UPDATE #2: And as of 7:32PM EDT it appears the site is offline. Hoping it stays that way, thus restoring a tiny bit of confidence to those of us who wanted to share our patterns with the online sewing world for free without being exploited or profited off of. Thanks, everyone, for looking out for me and for each other.

After a couple of rather annoying discoveries, the Selfish Seamstress has come to a rather rash conclusion.  There are two kinds of people on the internet: 1) my dear, wonderful readers and 2) idiots.

Okay, I realize that my logic here is flawed and that there are probably a couple of non-idiot internet users besides you guys, but DAMN if there aren’t some serious idiots out there.

For example, dear reader Polly (NOT an idiot, instead rather awesome) alerted me to this:

That’s right- someone’s trying to sell my pattern for the Coffee Date Dress on eBay! For £7.50! Good job, eBay user lorriange, with your two negative feedbacks as a seller in the past 6 months, way to do your own work. I bet you tried to cheat off of other kids’ math tests when you were little because it was easier than learning how to add and subtract for yourself. Sorry to see that no one bid on your pathetic little auction. You know why?  Because people who sew know that it’s available for FREE ON THE INTERNET. If an idiot like you could find it, so can anyone else, duh. (Also, possibly because the pattern is not all that interesting.)

Here’s the description the seller provides with the auction:


Ugh. first of all, it’s SIZE 32-42, not BUST 32-42. Also, it’s not a shift dress, it’s a fitted bodice with an A-line skirt. And as for printing it or saving it to CD, I’m going to guess that lazyass lorriange probably just sends you a link to where you can download it from me because she can’t be bothered.

Now one idiot on the internet could be an isolated incident, but two idiots is certainly indicative of an epidemic. Awesome reader Hussain pointed out that a photo of me in my bubble wrap tutu was used to illustrate a Wikihow article on how to make a bubble wrap tutu!

For serious?  I mean, it’s a Wikihow article, for jeeb’s sake. Why would you even bother to put together a tutorial on doing something if you’re not actually going to do it and use your own photographs of it?? This is like inventing a cookie recipe, posting it on the web, and then showing a photo of a package of Chips Ahoy! next to it. IDIOTS.

Also, seriously, if you want to make a decent bubble wrap tutu, don’t use the Wikihow article. They actually tell you to use glue on the bubble wrap. Glue! I mean, use the tutorial if you want your tutu to fall apart within minutes. Or if you want it to look like this (the finished project they show at the end of the step-by-step instructions- look, it’s exactly like mine! No wonder they used my picture as the title image!):

Oh, and if you want, you can also make an accompanying “wand”:

Niiiiiiice. It’s sheer crafting genius, like those intricately painted Ukrainian Easter eggs, or rose point lacemaking. Nice to see a modern revival of the lost art of “putting a wad of garbage on top of a stick.”

In all seriousness though, sigh. Sometimes it makes me want to stop putting my stuff out there, knowing that other people who can’t be bothered to do their own work are just going to claim my creative efforts as their own ideas, their own property, their own stuff to sell, their own stuff to show off. I’m not talking about laws and legality and intellectual property – for those of you who have your mouse pointer poised on the “Leave a Comment” link, ready to point out that no laws have been broken- I know. And yes, I am fully aware of what one opens oneself up to by putting things on the internet.  It doesn’t make it less annoying to discover yourself front and center on some random eBay auction and see your precious hard work appropriated, diluted, and misrepresented.

So there you have it- proof that my readers (thank you, Polly and Hussain!) are smart and wonderful, and that everyone else on the internet is an idiot. Though I suppose if they’re downloading my patterns to sell and copying my pictures to illustrate their own sad little tutorials, they’d have to have been visiting my blog also… hrmmm. I’m going to need to come up with a new theory to explain this then. Until then, how about you?  Any uncreative asshats exploited your creativity lately?  Do tell!

You guys, I think it’s going to be a good day. I’m wearing my stare-at-me-you-SOOO-wish-you-could-pull-these-off boots:

And even better, Community is finally back on the air. It’s definitely going to be a “six seasons and a movie” kind of day. [IMPORTANT: I have not watched last night’s episode yet. Do NOT tell me what happens! You spoil my Community and I will SPOIL YOUR FACE.]

So Selfish is feelin’ fine today. Not cheerful or sweet or generous, of course, but ever so slightly less vindictive than usual. One might even say that I am feeling fair. So I’ll make you a deal. You help me out, and I will divulge valuable information that I have thus far been keeping to myself out of pure selfishness. K?

K. You help me first, obviously. There’s an odd little boutique right near our apartment that seems to be open only by appointment (i.e. it’s NEVER open), and always has the most magnificent Issa silk jersey dresses displayed in the window. They recently switched the featured dress to an absolutely drool-worthy candy striped confection with a cowl neckline. I snapped a pic last night with my phone, which doesn’t do it justice:

As you may know, Selfish is fairly new to sewing drapey (i.e. non doubleknit) knits. But she wants her own version of this dress rather desperately. The stripes are throwing me though, as it’s not obvious to me whether the stripe print runs vertically on the jersey, or diagonally, and what’s cut on the bias versus the straight grain. If this were a woven, I feel fairly sure that the bodice front would have to be cut on the bias in order to achieve that drapey waterfall neckline. And yet as I poke around the internets, it seems like it is possible to achieve that neckline drape with a knit fabric cut on the straight grain. Yes? No?

If the stripe print is vertical, that means that the skirt is cut on the bias and everything else is cut on the grain. Wouldn’t this make the skirt rather prone to growing in length over time?

If the stripe print is diagonal, then the bodice, sleeves, and waist wrappy things are cut on the bias, and the skirt is cut on the straight grain. Are bias cut sleeves even a thing with drapey knits? Has anyone done that?

Okay, collective human sewing brain- what gives with this?  What’s going on here? And even more importantly, where could I find a fabulous diagonal or vertically striped knit fabric? Silk jersey would be great, but I’d settle for ITY knit. NOW ANSWER ME.

Well, that’s about it for today. Catch you later. Oh wait, what are you saying?  I promised you some important secret sewing info?  Sigh, fine. I’ll hold up my end of the bargain. But only because I have that episode of Community to look forward to later and it’s keeping me “amiable.”

Remember the insane South Park silk chiffon I told you about the other day? Well, the only reason I even noticed that bizarro fabric is because it was in the same eBay store as another extremely covetable fabric of which I purchased 3 yards. That’s right- I knew that the eBay store had a ridiculous fabric as well as one that you’d probably really really want if you knew about it, so naturally I told you only about the former and kept the latter a secret. Even though I knew there was plenty of it left for you. It’s all part of my plan to keep myself gorgeously garbed while the rest of you traipse around wrapped in South Park and jealousy. Serious bitch move, and one that I’m proud of. But, since you’re helping me out with the striped jersey issue, here you go:

Yep, it’s Marc Jacobs silk crepe de chine, 45″/114 cm wide, in oh-so-trendy bird print, going for a pretty reasonable $14.99/yard. And I love that little teal blue bird with the purple cap. He’s definitely my favorite. Here’s what Mr. Jacobs did with the fabric:

This print made appearances in the Marc Jacobs 2010 resort collection. I haven’t received my fabric yet so I can’t say anything about it regarding quality, but I have high hopes and big plans.

So there you go. Feel free to express your undying gratitude below.

[UPDATE: Wow, you guys bought that up that Marc Jacobs fabric fast.  Here’s the link to a new listing for more of it.]

[UPDATE #2: Well, my greedy little monsters, looks like you have bought it all up and there’s no more left! Good job!]

[UPDATE #3: And it’s back! Get it while you can!]

No doubt we’ve seen some pretty weird fabric out there. And if you spend most of your waking hours trolling the internet for fabric, as the Selfish Seamstress does, pretty much no fabric subject matter surprises you anymore. If something exists, it’s been printed on fabric.

But yesterday I discovered what I believe is the weirdest fabric I’ve seen on the internet, not because of the print, goofy but not completely out there, but because of particular combination of print, fiber, and weave.  Are you ready for it?


Oh yeah. It’s 100% filmy, diaphanous silk chiffon, so it’s perfect for a lovely frock for a garden party, wedding, or a trip to the Oscars, but it’s also got a whimsical all-over South Park print, which makes it just right for a 14-year old boy in the year 1998. Let’s take a closer look, ok?

Awesome.  You can get it here, btw. How about you?  Seen any other super wacky fabrics or incongruous print/fabric combos lately?  Anyone keen on making a filmy little South Park number now?

About two weeks ago, Dan and I found ourselves with some vacation days to use and nowhere to go. After a quick consultation with our trusty advisor “The Internet” we had bargain flights and posh hotels booked and took off to Rome the following day. (Now, before you open your mouths to complain that Selfish doesn’t deserve the charmed life she leads, I should mention that this was no dream vacation. We were called back home after 3 days due to an emergency followed by a tragic and heartbreaking loss that I can’t even bear to talk about here, and that I wouldn’t wish upon any of my dear readers!)

Rome, as you may know, is home to something really big. Something amazing, huge, epic, and legendary that you can’t see anywhere else in the world. It’s so enormous, it’s monumental. One might even say it is … COLOSSAL.

That’s right, I’m talking about Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti.

Bassetti Tessuti (try saying it five times fast) claims to house upwards of 200,000 bolts of fabric. Selfish, as it turns out, is not good at visualizing large numbers of things. She know that she is 100 times awesomer than anyone she knows, and 1,000 times meaner. But what does 200,000 bolts of fabric mean?  How many bolts are displayed in your average Jo-Ann?  2000?  10,000? What about the big Vogue fabrics flagship store in Evanston, IL?  20,000?  50,000?  What about Mood in NYC? 100,000?  500,000? Seriously, I had no idea.

Well, after visiting Fratelli Basseti Tessuti (NY Times article here), I feel fairly sure that I had never before seen 200,000 bolts of fabric in one place. The place is an endless maze of rooms packed from floor to (very high) ceiling with bolts and bolts of Italian milled fabric. Room after room after room. Need some sweater knit?  Here’s just one of multiple walls of the stuff:

Or perhaps you need some wool suiting?  There’s a whole room’s worth:

And one for cotton shirting:

Just shirting here in this room, by the way.  All the prints and other assorted cottons have their own rooms. And if you need something really posh?

Let’s take a closer look at this, shall we?

Versace, Gianfranco Ferre, Armani, Valentino, and other names I’d probably recognize if I were fancy enough to shop that room of the store.

This should have been heaven for Selfish, but as wonderful as the store is, I found it quite overwhelming. (Though lately I find even Mood and New York Elegant fabrics overwhelming, which is why I seem to spend most of my NY time at the more manageable Metro and Paron.) There’s no junk to be had at Bassetti- this stuff is high quality, and it looked like most (if not all) of the fabrics were Italian. I certainly didn’t find bargains either (though to be fair I only took a close look at about .0001% of what they had.) Wool coating and suiting looked to be upwards of 100 Euros per meter, and I didn’t even go near the silks or cashmeres. Selfish, who usually leaves no bolt unturned, was so intimidated by the sheer number of rooms and volume of fabrics, that she resorted to shopping by gut. If it didn’t catch my eye immediately on the wall, I moved on.

So what did I get? Surely even an overwhelmed and intimidated Selfish doesn’t leave a fabric monument empty handed. I ended up splurging on two pieces of beautiful stretch cotton sateen. Cotton sateen may not sound like a splurge fabric, but Bassuti prices put it somewhere upwards of Liberty fabric, albeit lower than Marimekko yardage. So we’re talking some posh cotton for a vacation splurge. And even though 200,000 bolts were vying for my attention, I did something that I never do- I bought the same fabric in two colorways – fuchsia and aqua. I just couldn’t decide which was more stunning and would make you more envious.

Although cheerful florals are rare in my stash, I have noticed that I have a particular weakness for florals without greenery. I find them somehow modern and edgy in a way that cuts the usual sweetness of floral prints. I just noticed that most of the floral prints in my stash are leaf-free.

The service here is very nice, with plenty of staff around who will gladly scurry up ladders to pull down the bolt all the way up top that you think could be pretty. And they don’t hold a grudge if it turns out that you’re not that into it. Interestingly, you pay for your purchases at this old school bank teller-esque window while a guy at another table holds your fabric hostage:

A mere two blocks from Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti, I also discovered the charming Fatucci Tessuti (try saying THAT five times fast), a much smaller store at Via dei Falegnami 63. It appears they have yet to invest in a sign.

The store is smaller, but it still boasts a lovely selection of high quality Italian fabrics. And the prices are much more splurgeable, as you can see:

Boiled wool coating at 18 Euros per meter, silks for 13 Euros per meter, etc. I love how they have it written up like a café menu. The proprietor was very helpful and I found this fabric shopping experience to be much more comfortable. Here are some of their silks and other offerings:

So what did I come out with?  Surprise, it’s another greenery-free floral cotton!

This cotton is so smooth and silky and crisp it feels like a light taffeta. Using my broken Italian (which is actually better suited to fabric shopping than any other kind of shopping in Italy due to having read quite a number of La Mia Boutique issues) I first asked whether it was rayon because it was so smooth and sheen-y. Nope, 100% Italian cotton. I was drawn to it because these “tribal” prints are so popular and modern-looking right now.  Though I don’t like referring to them as “tribal” because maybe actual tribespeople who read my blog are like, “Pfft. That’s not tribal.  That’s fake tribal.” Hello, tribal readership- thanks for visiting The Selfish Seamstress!

After returning home, I discovered as I often do that the newest fabric in the stash is the most exciting. Out came one of the sateens and Simplicity 2473 (previously made up as the English Tutor Dress). Apologies- they’re not the best photos and the skirt is a little wrinkled from wearing, which I didn’t notice until after taking the pictures:

I wanted the midriff in a black contrast fabric. I found some black suiting remnants in my stash that I think are a poly or perhaps poly rayon blend.  This seemed like a good idea because it had a little bit of a smooth sheen to it that I thought would go better with the sateen than a black wool flannel or other matte suiting.  I’m not sure about it now though because it’s also got a little bit more drape than I was expecting, which causes the midriff to sag a little bit, making it look sort of like a cummerbund.

The slim skirt variation is shaped more like a straight skirt than a pencil skirt- it doesn’t taper to the knees. So I ended up skipping the back vent as there is plenty of walking ease (plus the stretch in the fabric). I also skipped the neck and arm facings and instead went for a full lining in ivory rayon (again, wrinkled from wear- sorry):

Here’s the back view- I used an invisible zipper:

And finally, here’s this shot that I took of myself sitting – I thought it would look all elegant and dreamy, but what it really does is make my *size 5* feet look huge!

I’ve got ideas for the “tribal” print though it may be a while until I get around to it. I’m not sure what I want to do with the aqua version of the floral sateen though, as I want it to be substantially different from the fuchsia version. Maybe something full-skirted and sundressy- something to wear on my next Italian vacation.

It’s been a really long time since anything in BurdaMag has gotten me rabidly tearing the patterns out of the magazine within a day of getting it, until now. I’d been anticipating the March 2012 issue since the first preview went online with this pretty twist-front dress:

This dress is pretty much the same idea as the twist front dress that I had long coveted from Pattern Magic, but had never gotten around to drafting:

And once again, my selfish sloth seemed to be on the verge of paying off- wait around long enough and someone will eventually do the hard part for me. Or so I thought. I was dismayed to discover that Burda 3-2012-108 is the one pattern in the issue drafted for tall women. Argh, tall women! Not only are they able to take full advantage of the top shelf of the kitchen cabinets, but they also get the twist dress pattern that I’ve been lazily waiting for someone to draft for *me*? I punch you in the knees, tall women- in the KNEES!

Determined not to be defeated by Burda’s 72-88 sizing, I graded it down two sizes to what I suppose could be called a size 68 and traced it out. I figured that if I made up the pattern as drafted for tall women, this would potentially result in 1) a lower waist seam than intended, 2) lower armsyces than intended, and 3) lots and lots of extra length. The first issue seemed desirable given my desire to avoid an empire waist (contrary to popular belief, empire waists do not flatter every figure, and Selfish is stubby proof of that), and the second and third issues seemed easily fixable. As you’ll recall, the Selfish Seamstress is almost as short as she is mean, but has a fairly average torso length, so it would really be more like editing a tall torso pattern for a regular torso and not for a petite one. As it turned out, the bodice as drafted hit just slightly above my natural waistline (not too empire-y), and the armscyes were fine as is- no edits necessary! I simply redrafted the hem to an even 25″ from the waist seam (before hemming), and I was off! (Super bonus- if you make it this short, you don’t need to trace out the additional skirt piece that you’re supposed to tape to the bottom of the main front piece to get the full length- you can just skip it entirely. Only four pattern pieces to trace- yay!)

I used a beautiful navy and white zigzag print cotton voile that I got from Metro over the holidays for a $6/yard steal. I fell for it at first sight, and then discovered only afterwards that it is, of course, Milly fabric. This stuff is like a magnet for me- I buy it when I don’t even intend to; I’m inexplicably drawn to it. I must have a Milly-dar. It turns out that this print has shown up in different fabrics, at different scales, and in different colors throughout the Milly line:

And now it’s a favorite in the Selfish line as well. When I saw the Burda 3-2012-108 dress and the way the stripes play around the twist front, I just knew I had to pull out my precious Milly zigzag voile.

I used some cotton silk voile to line the bodice, leftover from my Heidi Merrick-inspired dress. I’ve decided, by the way, that cotton and silk voile is the perfect lightweight lining. It is absolutely weightless and adds no stiffness at all and barely any body, being even softer and floatier than Bemberg rayon. The cotton content makes it relatively easy to handle, but the silk makes it smooth so it doesn’t cling to the outer fabric the way cotton batiste might. I didn’t have enough to do the skirt lining (which in this pattern is made separately from the rest of the dress and then attached at the end) so I need to get more to finish it. In the meantime, please stop trying to peek at my underwear through the zigzag fabric, ok?  Seriously, stop. That’s just weird.

This pattern is fantastic- beautifully drafted and simple. I see myself with a couple more of these for summer. The skirt has just the right amount of flare:

And the best feature of the construction is that the bust of the finished dress is completely adjustable- no futzing with the pattern to get the bust to fit! Because of the way the twist is done, once you put it on, you can just sort of adjust the bodice fit by tugging a little at the looped-through front part of the skirt to get the bodice to lie taut against your torso. (Of course, you do have to make sure that you hem to skirt to an even length all around for *your* body. The more you’ve got up top, the less length you’ll have at the front of the skirt.)

The pattern is rated as a “challenging” 3 out of 4 dots, but I think this is only because the twist construction is unconventional. There’s actually nothing technically difficult about this pattern and an advanced beginner or intermediate sewer could easily put this dress together in a day or two. And this is the one pattern in the issue that has detailed, illustrated instructions (in the German edition at least), so deciphering the usually-cryptic BurdaSpeak isn’t so much of a problem.

So that’s it- short woman makes the Burda tall dress in unintentionally Milly fabric! I get the feeling that this is the dress I’ll be in all summer long. Get on it, petite (and average-height) online sewing world!

Of course, none of this changes the fact that I’m still short.  Well, except for 5″ heels.

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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