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Many a hobby seamstress, me included, takes advantage of her skill to knock off something she covets but cannot afford. Currently this is not easy for me; it takes quite a lot of effort and trial and error, and the replica always ends up somewhat approximate, which is usually fine.  But it’s skill that I would like to become very good at because it’s something of a sewing superhero skill in my opinion, to be able to see something you want and then really just “make your own” like it’s no big deal. [Aside: Anyone who has just started to sew will find that when she tells her friends about her new hobby, they will immediately begin gathering up photos of designer clothes and asking if she can make this for them.  The answer should always be NO. Trust me on this one.  Unless you can make it look exactly like the Dior she wants, you’re setting yourself up for a situation in which you hand the garment to your friend and you see her face fall in disappointment for a second before she brightly says, “Thank you!”]

In an interesting turn of events, I happened upon a picture of this capelet/vest/jacket thing and now I think I’d like to make one. (I’ve cooled on the Burda cape idea, which I’m taking as an indication that I probably wouldn’t wear it much either if I were to make it.)

I don’t remember where I first saw the picture, but as it turns out, this rather sophisticated garment is from that beloved Jank Mecca for teenyboppers, Forever 21! Granted, F21 puts out some cute stuff (and why shouldn’t they considering that they themselves are knockoff experts?) but I don’t think of them as my go-to place for chic office separates. They’re out of my size online, but then again, I’m not sure if I’d buy it even if they did have my size- too hit or miss with the fabric and quality. And it looks like it could be an fun draft and good practice. So now I guess I’m into knocking off cheap stuff too? I’d like to say I’m taking a design I like and making a better quality version, but truth be told, I don’t think my workmanship is really any better than F21’s yet.  Those little kids are pretty handy with a sewing machine and I’m no couturier.

In keeping with the F21 theme, I’ve got a fabric which seems like the right color and drape but somehow looks cheaper than I want it to :)  This Vera Wang Lavender Label that I bought during one of the sales was described as a wool and nylon twill, which it is, but somehow I was thinking it would be of a pant or suit weight when I ordered it. In actuality it’s somewhat spongier and fluffier, better for a light jacket, weird for pants.  And somehow the 20% nylon component is very noticeable- a plasticky sparkle like that of carpet or acrylic yarn. Hard to tell from the photo they had on the website:

In any case, it’s the only thing in my stash that is really suitable, and I don’t expect this will be a garment I’ll wear every day, so it’s not really worth buying any more fabric for it.

So, it’s come to this. The Selfish Seamstress is making knockoffs of cheap mall store garments. Wish me luck!


I check the sales on from time to time but rarely get excited over them.  But today there’s a sale on Magaschoni (why oh why had I never heard of them before??) and it’s like a dream in which Audrey Hepburn takes your hand and says, “Would you like me to take you on a tour of my closet, delightfully updated with current colors and detailing?” I would happily wear almost anything from the sale, but here are the ones that are really getting me:







I think I can figure out how to draft most of those myself as the shapes are pretty straightforward.  And I’ll probably never even get around to most of them because my need for silky things and flouncy ruffles is not super urgent.  But what is urgent is this top which I *MUST* have and have no idea how to draft!

Brilliant readers, I implore you to help me!  How do I do this?  What does the draft of that center bib piece look like? How can I make something so impossibly gorgeous and graceful?  Your advice please- I must have this top, and my French blue bamboo knit is languishing in my stash.  It is an emergency because I will indeed perish if I don’t have this top. Please help.

[P.S. I think is now open to anyone to browse and shop, but if not and you need an account, just email me at selfishseamstress[at]gmail[dot]com, and I’ll send you an invite.]

Just when I resolved not to buy any more patterns, I discovered Vogue 2925 on Amanda’s blog and found the jacket of my dreams:

Very petite (read: tiny and shapeless) women know how hard it is to find a suit jacket that doesn’t make you look like you’re a kid trying on mommy’s clothes. I have decided that this is exactly the jacket I need. But, it’s out of print. So, I could buy the out of print copy from Vogue, or, I could use this as an opportunity to reduce my pattern stash, and maybe help you reduce yours if you happen to have this pattern lying around and know that you’re never going to get around to sewing it.

Here are some treats I pulled out of my overflowing Sterlite container. I will give you, oh, let’s say any 3 of these in exchange for Vogue 2925 in size A (6-8-10) (please not the other sizes because I already have to grade down to a 4.) Heck, even if you’ve already cut and used the skirt or the top and just have the jacket pattern intact, I’ll happily take that! All the following patterns are complete and uncut except for the one vintage one noted. There’s nothing wrong with them except that I know I won’t ever get around to making them.

First up, the current and very popular V1117 Michael Kors dress in size AAX (4-6-8-10.) This dress was part of his lovely Fall 2008 collection. Somehow I ended up with two copies of this pattern:

This lovely Maggy London knit dress with ruched waist and drapey neckline. This is Butterick 5078, now out of print. It comes in size BB (8-10-12-14):

If you’re ready for some summer sewing, this is New Look 6242 in size A (6-16!) which has patterns for halter dresses, a halter top, and an easy skirt, I believe also out of print:

From Simplicity’s Threads magazine collection, this is a versatile short jacket with lots of collar and sleeve variations. This is Simplicity 4256 in size H5 (6-8-10-12-14), now out of print:

Another versatile pattern, McCall’s 4930 size BB (8-10-12-14) from the Palmer/Pletsch Classic Fit collection. This includes patterns for a jacket, dress with cap sleeves and godets, and pants. I believe this is also out of print:

The very popular Vogue Easy Options 8280, which is a clone of the Roland Mouret Galaxy Dress. This is in size AX (4-6-8):

And now for some vintage treats. First, a reissued pattern from 1960, Butterick 6582, which includes patterns for a sheath and full-skirted variation with cute ruched shoulders. This pattern comes in sizes 6-8-10:

Then a bona fide vintage pattern- no date on this one, but judging by the artwork, I’d say it’s probably from the mid to late 50s. Simplicity 2438 is a pattern for some cute sailor blouses with various options for collars, sleeves, and waist details, vintage size 11, with a 31.5 inch bust. The envelope is torn along one side, and some of the pieces have been cut, but the pattern is complete:

And finally, a vintage dress pattern with various options for collars and skirts. Again, no date on this one, but it looks early 1960s. Simplicity 4232 in vintage size 11 with a 31.5″ bust. This pattern is complete and mostly uncut (I see a few pieces that have been cut, but most of the pattern is still in factory folds.)

So, fellow stashers and seamstresses, if you have a copy of Vogue 2925 in sizes 6-8-10 that you just know you’re never going to get around to sewing (or even just the uncut jacket pattern!), and you would like THREE of the patterns above, let me know by leaving a comment or mailing me at selfishseamstress[at]gmail[dot]com! You’ll be making a Selfish Seamstress very very happy.

I’ve been reading about everyone’s new favorite patterns from the spring collections of the Big 4 pattern companies, and have generally been doing a good job convincing myself that I DO NOT need any more new patterns, cute as they may be. But then I received an email from Schnittvision saying that all of their pattern collections are on sale for 25% off. And now my resolve is weakening quickly.

For those of you who are not yet familiar with Schnittvision, it’s custom pattern heaven on earth. Collections of wonderfully wearable patterns that are classic but still body conscious and chic. Each DVD is a complete wardrobe in itself with between a dozen and two dozen patterns, each with coats, jackets, skirts, dresses, blouses, pants, and tops.  You put in your body measurements, and out comes a custom-fitted pattern. Considering that a single custom pattern from Burda can cost 40 Euros, the Schnittvision DVDs are a bargain at about 15-30 Euros apiece, and now 25% off!

So now I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t need any of these lovelies from volume 5 “New Classics”, volume 6 “Casual Classics”, and volume 7 “Neo Chic”, all perfectly sized for my own peculiar measurements:


Seriously, you could be your own custom J.Crew with these DVDs. I already own the spectacular Volume 1 “New Basics”, and have sewn multiple garments from it, all of which have come out great in terms of sizing. I adapted the classic double breasted coat pattern to make my leopard trench and blue velvet coats back when I first started sewing, and I didn’t even make muslins because I didn’t even know what a muslin was at the time. And check out the fit, even on my strange munchkin figure!

So.  Beautiful modern classics, great custom fit, a whole wardrobe of patterns on a DVD for about 25 Euros, plus a 25% discount on top of that until January 16th.  What’s the catch? Well, they’re only in German. And not just the sewing instructions, but the instructions for how to use the software and do the printing and input your measurements and fit preferences too. So if you want a Schnittvision DVD (or seven), you’d better brush up on your Deutsch or have a proficient friend who’s willing to help you out. (No, the Selfish Seamstress is not volunteering to help. The Selfish Seamstress does not help. The very word disgusts her.)

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), the language doesn’t pose a problem for me. The bigger problem is that I DON’T NEED ANY MORE PATTERNS.  I just have to keep telling myself that. Covet.

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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