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The Selfish Seamstress is on tour again, spreading the word of selfishness throughout the land!  Or perhaps just traveling for work and a wedding. I’ll be away from my sewing machine for the next week, trekking down to Atlanta and then swinging through Chicago. There won’t be any sewing happening on my end, so there won’t be a whole lot of sewing blogging going on either. But wherever I am, and whatever I’m doing, you can bet I’ll be thinking of you. And how best to take advantage of your weaknesses and exploit your strengths to my benefit.

*taps fingertips together in sinister fashion*

Well, gosh, you guys are all so helpful with your sleeve board/seam roll advice! Thanks! (BTW, thank you as well for your concern, and I realize I may have misled you into thinking that I’m relying on rusty stumps. I do have decent pins too, it’s just that they’re not all new and shiny and sharp, and I keep them all mixed up together. And I don’t toss them until they’re really blunt or bent beyond usefulness. In fact, I did just open a new box this weekend- not the fancy flower head kind (my favorite), but perfectly serviceable. So no pins for me on today’s shopping trip!) Since I have your ear, I’m going to bug you for more advice. Because if I’m going to take advantage of you, I’m going to do it to the fullest extent possible. Here we go.

What buttons for this, do you think?

It’s the McCall 5525 jacket, now partially lined, partially topstitched, yet to be hemmed, and probably you’re sick of seeing it by now. The blush pink lining is more transparent than I would like (you can see the polka dots in the seam allowances running down the middle) but I’m not sorry that I worked on it yesterday rather than waiting to buy more opaque lining. Sometimes when you feel like sewing and find the scraps of time in which to do it, you’ve just got to give in to it, transparent lining and all.

I’m still considering button bands and carriers for the sleeves too. And once I get some yet-to-be-purchased pressing apparatus, I’ll fix up those unpressed sleeve seams right away.

But more urgent for the time being is the issue of buttons. I’m no button connoisseur; I don’t get excited about fancy buttons or vintage buttons or button stores. A vast selection fills with me terror rather than joy. If I haven’t purchased them in advance, I usually just take the garment with me to the store and hold up various buttons against the garment until I find something that doesn’t clash or draw too much attention to itself. And I love doing matching fabric covered buttons because then I really don’t have to bother with any button-related design decisions. But fabric covered isn’t going to be an option for this polka dot monster. So what do you say?  Coordinating cream color to match the background? Something wood-toned? Leather? Try to find something to match the green?

Please weigh in, dear readers, before I go to the store tonight!

(Wow, given that I’m asking you to make all of my sewing decisions for me, I may as well just ask you to do all of my sewing for me too. I hope you all know the right response to that request by now though.)

The Selfish Seamstress was shuffling through some of her vintage sewing books last night and stumbled upon a nice old issue of “Vogue Sewing Book” from 1958, a great year for clothes.  It’s not the great big reference book (I have that one too though), but a slim paperback volume that has some neat tricks and tips, a fabric glossary, and some other handy articles.  Perhaps it is the predecessor to Vogue Patterns magazine? It does feature a lot of Vogue patterns. I’m not quite sure:

As I was flipping through it, I stumbled upon a photo story of a lovely young lady who spends a peaceful and serene weekend sewing a pretty dress for herself. Of course, everything goes off without a hitch for Mrs. Vogue, much like when the Selfish Seamstress sews. Or not! 

So finish up your juice and cookies and pull up your play mats, kiddies, because it’s story time! (Which I hope is not a violation of copyright.)  Naturally, I will insert my own occasionally snide commentary, namely in regards to how Mrs. Vogue and Ms. Selfish are so very truly not the same at all.

Once upon a time…

Note to self: “being completely feminine” = “no sense of restraint.” Got it.

This is ever so slightly different from modern practices of stalking patterns on the Vogue website, noting the numbers of the dozen patterns with which you are obsessed, making note of the $2.99 sale days at Jo-ann, showing up early on the first day of the sale and then ravaging the pattern drawers like a rabid dog. But similar right?

She decided to buy “it.” As in one pattern.  She went to the store to buy one pattern and she bought one pattern. In contrast, Ms. Selfish, being “completely feminine,” can always find room in her shopping bag for one more pretty pattern. And perhaps another after that.

Okay, another way in which Mrs. Vogue and Ms. Selfish differ?  When Ms. Selfish wants to shop for a versatile fabric that she can wear year round, the first words that come to mind are not “lightweight silk brocade”!

Another difference?  Ms. Selfish does not often leave the fabric store with a tiny little bag like that under her arm. I have a hard time imaging Mrs. Vogue lumbering out of Mood with two enormous shopping bags dragging along the ground, trying to wrestle herself and her packages through the subway turnstile.

 Nope.  Ms. Selfish does not change into business casual to sew. Usually I start off in sweats which can be easily tugged off if I need to try on my masterpiece in progress, and eventually this just turns into me sewing in my underwear.

Hey cool!  Ms. Selfish also uses her dining room table for sewing! Of course, Ms. Selfish does NOT use her dining room table for dining.  It’s always too covered with sewing crap, duh.

Oh my goodness!  I’m sure this is a best practice, but I have to say, I don’t know if I’ve ever done this.  Once or twice at most maybe. I have perhaps torn a straight edge in the past, but this seems like a step for a real stickler. Does anyone else still do this regularly? If so, my hat is off to you.

Of course it was perfect. I’m pretty sure Mrs. Vogue does not ever encounter imperfection in any aspect of her sewing. Not to ruin the suspense but guess whether her dress is going to fit on the first try or not. Guess.

Egad!  I just skipped a whole bunch of boring stuff about her pressing tissue paper and laying out the pattern pieces EXACTLY the way that pattern tells her to (she’s pretty much a slave to whatever the pattern says.) But look at Mrs. Vogue going right for her fashion fabric! For all of her thread pulling, edge straightening compulsiveness, Mrs. Vogue is one daredevil of a hobby seamstress! Brand new pattern, but no muslin, no tissue fitting, no measuring… yikes! Woman, that is SILK FRIGGIN’ BROCADE you’re about to cut into! Are you crazy?  What if it doesn’t fit?? I guess they don’t feature you in the Vogue Sewing Book if you aren’t a perfect Vogue size. Also, nothing ever goes wrong in Mrs. Vogue’s sewing world so I guess she can hack recklessly into pricey fabric like it’s newsprint!

Phew.  At least she’s got a little bit of sense here. Some nice safe basting.  Good choice. Of course, as it turns out…

… yep, she could have gotten by without the basting because (I’m sure you’ve all been on the edges of your seats in suspense), the dress fit perfectly on the first try!  Wow, Mrs. Vogue loves the word “perfect.”  She sure does use it a lot. Lucky lucky Mrs. Vogue and her industry standard figure.  [Or perhaps the takeaway message here is that Vogue patterns give you a great fit on the first try?  Why alter when you can buy a Vogue?]

Yes, Mrs. Vogue, I have to agree with you on that one.

Ah, what a gracious world, and what a luxury to have your helpful sister come and mark your hem while you stand straight and still.  No, the closest Ms. Selfish comes is standing in front of the bathroom mirror while barking instructions to Dan to pin various bits of half-finished garment together around her body or to her bra straps because she can’t reach her back without sticking her own fingers with pins.

Oh, no no no. Ms. Selfish does not put her pretty dress in a pretty basket and take her pretty dog to sit under a pretty tree full of cherry blossoms to finish her hems. First of all, by this point in the sewing process, her hair is crazy and unfit for the public to see. Moreover she’s probably still in her underwear, and it’s like 2:30AM or something.

Ms. Selfish does this too. It is often met with responses such as, “Haven’t I already seen that one?” and “Didn’t you make one just like that already?”

In the end, hubby is so pleased with the dress that he buys her some pearls and takes her dancing. Fair enough, Mrs. Vogue.  It all worked out for you in the end…. this time.

The end!

How about you? Do you sew like Mrs. Vogue?  Does anyone sew like Mrs. Vogue?

I’m going to Washington D.C.  for part of next week on confidential non-sewing-related government business. For those of you who automatically assume that anything that comes out of the Selfish Seamstress’s mouth is a lie, you’re usually correct, but this time I’m sort of telling the truth. In fact, my secret work for the government is part of why I haven’t gotten much sewing done in the last several days and don’t expect to for at least the next week or so. (If you were wondering, the DC visit is unrelated to recent alien abduction events. Also, I’m not involved in a lawsuit- they haven’t caught up to me yet.)

Once again, I don’t expect to have too much time spare time for shopping, but one never knows. (Does anything involving the federal government ever take less time than expected??) So, those of you in the know, where should I be doing my fabric shopping if schedules should permit? Where do the hip D.C. sewers (particularly those who are getting around via public transit) spend their time and money? 

Whoo-hoo!  The new issue of Burda Easy Fashion is coming out on March 24th and the preview is up! For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of making BEF’s acquaintance, it’s a real treat. Published only twice a year, BEF usually contains 6-8 patterns geared at a younger audience than the typical BurdaMag.  The patterns themselves are called “Fertigschnitte,”  (translation: “ready patterns” or “finished patterns”) meaning that the pieces are printed on tissue and don’t overlap, so all you have to do is cut them out, just like a regular envelope pattern.  No tracing off of pattern sheets. (It should be noted that Burda Easy Fashion, unlike Burda envelope patterns and North American envelope patterns, don’t come with seam allowances.) At about 5 Euros per issue, this makes BEF quite the bargain.

I’ve never seen BEF for sale in bookstores and newsstands outside of Europe, but Americans can subscribe to it at At only 2 issues per year, it’s not a huge investment.

The patterns themselves are, as I mentioned, rather youthful and the issues can be hit or miss.  Some issues have cute jackets and skirts and coats, others are wacky fake fur vests and hippie dresses. They often have the same aesthetic as the “trendier” offerings from BurdaMag, which can be good or bad. But with only about seven patterns per magazine, even if there’s only one garment I’m interested in, it feels like a pretty good hit rate. For the forthcoming Spring/Summer 2010 issue, I’m liking this one, maybe in midnight blue with a pair of silver high heeled strappy sandals:

I should also mention that I haven’t noticed that the patterns themselves are necessarily any easier than BurdaMag patterns, despite the title.  The very complicated four dot BurdaMag patterns for coats with tons of details aren’t there, but in general, the average difficulty of the BEF patterns is about on par with what you’d find in BurdaMag. I think the “easy” part is the fact that you can just cut and go. And joy of joys, all the BEF patterns start in size 34, which means an easy grade down to 32 for me.

Here’s a couple more. Probably not anything high on my list, but maybe there’s something in here for you:

Oh, and one more thing.  Unlike BurdaMag, BEF has illustrated step-by-step instructions, much like an envelope pattern, so while the patterns themselves are not necessarily for beginners, the instructions assume a lot less sewing knowledge and experience than those in BurdaMag. Of course, they’re still in German, which could be a bit of a hurdle for some!

Yesterday, I alluded to a possible weekend sewing failure about which I need to come clean. Fortunately after writing a vituperative post about new nemesis Yoshimi, I’m feeling a a little better.

A few weeks ago, I decided I’d make Dan a “no reason” present. The “no reason” present is the nicest kind- no obligation, no occasion, no expectation, just a present for “no reason.” I bought the Jason vest pattern from BurdaStyle (there weren’t any projects made from it posted at the time so I was just going off of BurdaStyle’s picture) and started working on it in secret. First I’d whip it out whenever Dan went off on one of his crazy triathlon workouts, get a little bit done here, sew a seam there. Given my general lack of enthusiasm for sewing for non-me people, it was pretty slow going. Eventually I realized that Dan’s awareness of what I’m currently sewing is pretty low so I even started working on it in front of him. He had no idea. When I finally presented it to him on Saturday evening, he said, “A vest?  It looks nice.  Try it on.” Then his eyes sort of lit up as he realized it was for him.

Now before I show you the monstrosity that I created, let me explain what I was going for. I was aiming for the sleek menswear vest that I often see in the windows of Express Men, sleek and slim and done up in a rather dressy suiting with welt pockets, worn over a slim white shirt with dark washed jeans. Dan and I have admired such a vest many times and thought it’d be a great addition to his wardrobe.

Dan is a pretty stylish guy- I never have to convince him that the slimmer cut is better than the baggy one, or that pink isn’t just for girls. He’s pretty adventurous and he’ll also happily wear almost anything that I recommend and makes daring choices for himself too. Beyond that, he has the exact 5’11” tapered athletic physique that manufacturers design for. If he were made of plastic and lacked sentience, nipples, and a head, he would be a Banana Republic mannequin. In short, pretty much anything looks good on him.  Except for the “no reason” present:

Arggh. I should have known better than to make this without fitting it on him first.  But I wanted it to be a “no reason” SURPRISE. So now it’s a surprise, but a really crappy one. It’s not chic and edgy and sophisticated. At best it’s Ferris Bueller, and at worst it’s Ben from Growing Pains in the later years of the show when they all thought everyone should wear a vest or blazer all the time. It’s not sleek, it’s not fitted, it definitely can’t be worn over a dress shirt. It’s way too short (the back is REALLY short). I made this in his normal Burda size according to his measurements (which always fits him perfectly because everything always fits his mannequin body perfectly with the exception of needing an extra inch of length on sleeves) but I should have realized that BurdaStyle patterns are not the same as Burda patterns. They’re drafted and produced by an entirely different team. And the Jason vest was apparently drafted to fit a barrel, a fact which becomes even more obvious when the vest is pinned closed (didn’t put buttons on it yet.) He could smuggle cats in all the extra room inside this vest.

Dan is so happy about the “no reason” present that he is adamant he can make it work, but I can’t let him out of the house looking like this. First lesson: better to make unsurprising present that involves a muslin than make crappy present that is a surprise. Second lesson: I don’t sew for non-me people.  Why did I decide to make a present for Dan when I could have been sewing for myself?  “No reason.”

Now what?


[Psst. Don’t forget to check out my recent post on Selfish Seamstress stuff to support relief efforts in Haiti.  Thanks!]

Ah, to live a Burda life.  Recently I’ve been amusing myself by thinking how funny it would be to live one’s life according to BurdaMag.  You’d go on safari sometime around March with all of your khaki dresses (the new Sarfari Look!),  put on your dirndl and head over to Tirol in September (Folklore!). Sometime soon after the holidays you’d go on some sort of sailing vacation with your navy, white, and red wardrobe (the trendy Marine Style!), in October you’d rediscover your inner hippie and break out all the paisley chiffon, corduroy pants, and faux suede vests (Boho Luxe!), sometime during the summer you’d go on a kick of wearing nothing but black with white (a Classic Combination newly interpreted!), and of course you’d get married every April.

Burda’s 2.2010 full preview is available online as of yesterday, and this month Burda ladies will be going sailing (surprise, surprise), going country Western, rediscovering the rockin’ 50s, and, um, going to work wearing yellow. Those of you who have been following along know that I’ve been taking a hiatus from new issues since my subscription ran out in October, waiting for something I really want to make before I renew.  I’m waffling on this issue and considering resubscribing. The lovely low-backed sheath dress in the photo above (you know it’s 1950s style because the model is interacting with a jukebox.  Which appears to be in a Macy’s. What?) is the only thing that I’m actually excited about. 

That being said, the issue is chock full of basics that look well cut and, while perhaps not tremendously new or innovative, would be good for making wardrobe staples or for using as blocks.

A sleek pant with a slight boot cut and smooth waistband and flat front- a nice relief for people like me who don’t look good in the pleated, tapered pants or super skinny pants that Burda has been featuring heavily in recent months:

A not so basic raglan with the deep, wide V-neck that I love to wear:

A simple skirt that begs to be done up in brown cotton stretch sateen with a fun contrast topstitching (spring green?  turquoise? yellow?):

A classic jean jacket:

A raglan T that I might not sew as is (then again, I own two rather expensive Sisley tops in ribbed rayon-cotton blend with this exact cut that I wear a whole lot so maybe!), but would be a a good block to have in one’s arsenal alongside the traditional sloper bodice:

Also, I like the shaping of this jacket with the dart and princess seam combo. The lapels might need to be toned down some:

Anyway, I don’t love the clothes in the issue, but the technical drawings are making me think that this issue wouldn’t be a bad investment.  Time to resubscribe maybe?

I’ve now skipped out on three consecutive issues of Burda, and am really hoping that they put out a pattern soon that I just can’t wait to have. The February sneak peek went up on their website today, and once again, there aren’t any I-must-have-it garments, but some are not bad. First up, a Chanel style jacket:

I often think about making such a jacket, especially after seeing some of the beautiful ones that others have sewn, but I’m not sure how it would look on me or if I’d feel comfortable wearing it.  Somehow I get the feeling I’d look like a little kid wearing grown-up clothes, rather than a lady in her proper habiliments. I guess you need the right attitude to pull it off.  Next up, a very washed out photo:

I’m not sure if this is for the jacket or the dress (skirt?) but both look pretty cute. As almost always, the most classy and wearable clothes in the issue are the plus sizes:

Given that there are a lot fewer plus patterns than Misses’ patterns in Burda, I can understand why they save their risk-taking for the Misses’ patterns and stick to classy and pretty for the plus patterns. But I’d really love if Burda would take this tack with a few more of the Misses’ patterns too! And since I mentioned it, here are your Misses’ size garments in various flavors of crazy:

I have to give Burda props for going all out with the accessorizing on this one. Not just an oversized fringed vest, but an oversized fringed vest with a piece of rope for a scarf, and some strappy leather armwarmers (oh gosh, yet another set of words ending in “armwarmers” that I never thought I’d string together!)

Actually I’m not sure if this is crazy or if it just reminds me of Rei Kawakubo’s groundbreaking Comme des Garçons shirtdress from 1992, which *is* kind of crazy, albeit ingenious. In truth, Burda’s version is a pretty innocuous nightshirt, which might even be a perfectly fine dress if belted. Also, I think the plaid might be throwing me off. I don’t know.  It’s not crazy.  But she looks like she’s dressed a little frumpy for holding hands with her boyfriend Mr. Chiselyjaw McHotterson-hyphen-Helllllloooo. Go put on your nice Chanel-style jacket, sweetie.

And finally…… crafts!

Hmmmm.  This is actually kind of disappointing… is it just me or are these crafts somehow less mockworthy than those of previous issues? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t particularly like these projects. I would not make either of these things or want them in my house (especially stick with featherballs leaning against couch.) But it seems like Burda is getting closer to the mark in that these are actually bona fide craft projects- not my taste, but still somehow more legitimate than weirdo stick bundles and frankenpurse. Like you might actually learn some techniques that come in handy from making featherballs or newspaper roll mirrors that you could apply towards something really cool. 

I need to think about this for a while. My world is feeling a little upside down now. If I can’t entertain you by mocking Burda crafts, then what do I have left to bring to the table?? Anyway, fingers crossed for the full February preview which should be online soon- I miss my Burda!

Little Black Dress Large


Sweet!  My LBD won first place on Pattern Review’s LBD contest! I’m so excited – I never thought I’d win a sewing contest.  There were lots of great entries, so it’s quite an honor to have my dress recognized. If you voted for my dress, thanks!

The pattern (in size 32) is available for download here.

The complete preview for the first issue of Burda of the new decade is now online!  I have to say, it’s better than I was expecting, given the rather inauspicious sneak preview that they posted a couple of weeks ago. There’s still nothing in it that is making me feel like I *have* to have this issue, but there are a couple of items with potential.  I’ve categorized them into these categories: 1) Yes, That Looks Good, 2) Probably, But in a Different Fabric, 3) Cute, But I Can Get it at Old Navy so do I Want to Sew it?, and 4) I Think This has Potential, But Something Needs to Change.

First up, Yes, That Looks Good:

000001819552There’s another version of this in the magazine in a sort of pink satiny fabric which is not good. But in a menswear fabric with that single, elegant, diagonal pleat- that’s just right.

Next up, Probably, But in a Different Fabric:

000001822011Yikes.  I feel like I’m in a science filmstrip about molecules or bacteria or something. This must be what it’s like to be inside a DNA double helix looking out.  It’s taking all of my seamstress visionary capabilities (which aren’t much in the first place) to picture this in navy blue  with a pair of chunky, 1940s-inspired tan heels. Ah, that’s better.

Cute, But I Can Get it at Old Navy so do I Want to Sew it?

000001821918000001821953I’m having trouble figuring out why I would expend the effort to make these things when I could be sewing other stuff, but they are pretty cute nonetheless.

And lastly, I Think This has Potential, But Something Needs to Change:

000001819568000001821925000001822064The turquoise coat has a nice vintage feel to it, but obviously I would require less muppet skin trim and less bedazzlement. The short jacket- I don’t know.  Something about the shape appeals to me, but something about it is off.  Might be the fabric choices, but I don’t know what would be better.  Grey plaid wool maybe?  And the last coat is nice but boring except for the topstitching.  It’d be a good to use as a block.  Some extra detailing and some more interesting fabric, and it’d be a winner.

All in all, nothing I’m dying to make but on the whole not bad.  May have to renew that subscription now.

Despite the constant rain, I managed to trudge out to a very design-y part of Zurich, where I had read about Fabric Frontline. It was a bit difficult to find, as it was tucked in a courtyard beyond a walled garden and a tunnel guarded by many larger-than-life garden gnomes (as pictured here with Dan):


Once inside we found the most neat and spotless fabric store I’ve ever seen, with every roll carefully tied at both ends with silk ribbon and not a single bolt stacked or leaning even slightly off of perfectly vertical.  I didn’t know beforehand but the store stocks pretty much just silk, in four large rooms.  Every color you can imagine, in beautiful prints, patterns and solids.  They have several textures and weaves including taffetas, brocades, georgette, and dupionis, but the majority of their stock looked to be charmeuse in some magnificent prints.




The store was so quiet and still, I was practically on tiptoes. Everything was so neatly arranged and luxurious looking that I was afraid to touch the fabric. The woman working in the store seemed less than excited at our presence. We got a chilly reprimand when we began to explore a corner that was apparently the “collection fabrics,” which apparently customers are not supposed to handle (we didn’t know!) Perhaps I had the look of a person who was going to waste her time by browsing rather than buying anything. But really, when has the Selfish Seamstress ever entered a nice fabric store and come away empty handed?  

The answer is: Today. That’s right, thousands of rolls of exquisite silk before me and I bought nothing.  I guess I’m not really that much of a silk person, with the exception of my Delancey Dress.  I’m much more of a wool girl. Silky slippery stuff in particular is something that doesn’t show up much in my sewing or wardrobe.  I wouldn’t even know what to make with anything there.  I did find a wonderful print of  dandelion seeds scattered over a beautiful charmeuse (no photo- I’m sure I’d have been kicked out of the store if I had tried.) And I toyed for a while with the idea of just purchasing a meter or so in case I might one day think of something to make with it.  But I just couldn’t imagine wearing it, and at $142 a meter (the price of many of the fabrics- remnants were marked down to the bargain basement $100), it seemed a bit too decadent for something that might sit endlessly in my stash. It’s hard to be that selfish a seamstress on a normal seamstress budget.

You may recall that the last thing I did before closing my laptop prior to takeoff as I set off on my trip to Switzerland was to post a question about where to go to find good sewing stuff here. As it turns out, I managed to make a new acquisition before even landing at my destination.  This, my dear readers, is surely a trait of a very skilled Selfish Seamstress- the ability to sniff out the slightest opportunity to add to her stash.  How does one do this?  Simple.  The answer is “stopover in Frankfurt.” Oh yes, I had just a slim 55 minutes in which to go through a ridiculously congested excuse for a line at passport control, navigate miles and miles of airport corridor made ten times more convoluted because of construction, and go through security yet again with both body scanning and bag searching despite the fact that I didn’t have a crochet hook this time.  Even so, I managed to snag the November issue of La Mia Boutique:


 LMB is a bit of a dangerous magazine for me because it’s a hard one to find, and often I mistake the joy of discovering it with enthusiasm for the actual content. In actually I’ve only ever made or wanted to make one garment from LMB. But when I’m in Europe where one can actually find sewing magazines if one knows where and when to look, I tend to get a little bit crazy and buy them without considering whether I’d really make anything from them, simply because when I stumble upon an issue, it feels like such a rare treat. Ugh.  (Last time I was here, I even bought an issue of Ottobre. Why?? I know I never want to make anything from Ottobre.)

I did succumb to LMB (but to give some much-craved credit to my self control, I held back on Rebecca, Verena, Diana, and Burda), and there are one or two nice basics I think I might like to make:


Sorry for the bad pictures.  The first garment is the fitted white shirt with big French cuffs (not the trouser/wrestling singlet combo), and the second is a cute coat with big pockets and topstitching.  Here are the technical drawings so you can see better:    








Nothing super interesting, but I’ve been wanting a fitted basic shirt pattern, and I think coat would look cute in cream cashmere with a belt. And that’s probably it for me and this issue.  But I do have one question about the magazine.  Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to do the model’s hair and lipstick like this???



I’m sitting on the plane waiting until they make me shut down my computer.  Off to Switzerland for a few days, where I won’t be doing any sewing.  But don’t worry, I’ll write a nice post for you while I’m in the air so you can see what I worked on last night. 

In the meantime, anyone have any recommendations for good fabric shops in Zurich or Basel?  The Selfish Seamstress’s addictions need to be fed while she’s away from home :)

My Burda Modemagazin subscription (I still can’t quite bring myself to call it Burda Style- too confusing) has run out. This wasn’t a breakup, like the one I recently had from Patrones (and am starting to regret after seeing some recent photos.)  The October Burda issue was the last one I received. I was going to renew, and then I looked at the stuff in the November issue, and decided there wasn’t anything in it that I wanted so sew, so I figured best to put it off another month.  Now the December preview is out (on the German website at least) and I have to say…. hrrm.

There are 13 photos in all, of which one is kids’ clothing, two are plus sizes, one is men’s clothing, and two are, errr… let’s just call it holiday craft. So really only 7 items in the preview that could possibly apply to me, the only person who matters in my sewing world.  So, let’s have a look.

Let’s see.  We’ve got this, which I assume is about the dress, which I can’t parse from this photo:


The caption says “Christmas is standing right in front of the door.  December Preview.”

Then there’s a skirt which looks to be a basic cut done in a spectacular fabric.  Not bad, but not the sort of pattern I’d get excited to sew:


A collection of stuff made out of fleece that you can probably get for cheaper at Old Navy (there’s nothing wrong with these garments, but just not stuff I want to make during the few precious hours I find for sewing):


More super skinny pants for runway models with runway model legs:


And then some utter craziness:


Lastly a dress that I believe would be termed a “scroll-down fug” by the ladies at Go Fug Yourself.  The drapey top is not bad (though I am getting tired of the one-shoulder thing), but didn’t we see the last of that janky Forever 21 style diagonal hem back in 1999?  


So, in short, going by this preview, I guess I might be waiting another month to renew my subscription.  I’ll decide for sure when the full preview comes out in a couple of weeks.

And oh yeah, by the way, does anyone else think that Burda World of Style Moden needs to pull out of the crafting arena?  Honestly, what would Martha say if she saw these??


What are these?  Holiday tags for your family’s brown bag lunches?  Ritualistic stick and candle arrangements for your very own Homestyle Amateur Wiccan Christmas? One gets the feeling that these ideas came to fruition about 15 minutes before the scheduled photo shoot and the intern had forgotten to re-stock the craft supply closet :)

prlogo1It’s no secret that I have a vintage pattern addiction. While I have only been sewing properly (meaning real clothing and at least attempting to use correct technique as opposed to little crafty projects) since 2007, I’ve been collecting vintage patterns, mostly 1950s formalwear, for much longer. (In her younger days, the Selfish Seamstress always assumed that when she grew up, she would become Grace Kelly. Surprisingly it didn’t happen, but she seems to have amassed quite a stack of patterns for Grace’s wardrobe under that mistaken assumption.)

Yesterday I happened upon this rather fascinating website called Pattern Rescue, which seeks to preserve and restore vintage patterns. And better still, they want to help you get access to the patterns you want, all for free. (I think this is what is referred to as ‘altruism,’ a concept I can’t quite get my head around.)

Among the free services provided by Pattern Rescue are:

Really, what a great idea is that? I haven’t used any of their services so I can’t vouch for how well it all works, but it’s quite a wonderful concept.

Fortunately all of the patterns in the Selfish Seamstress’s collection are complete, but she might dig through her big box of vintage treasures to see if there are any she doesn’t need anymore and send them over. But obviously just to free up space for more patterns that I want. All selfish, all the time!

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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