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I know I don’t usually post big lists of links on my blog, but there have been a lot of nifty sewing-related things popping up lately that I thought might interest you. Because, you know, I assume if it’s interesting to me, it must be interesting to everybody. Or at least it should be.

First up:

Nancy found the Burda archives!  Not the paltry ones on the German site that don’t go back nearly far enough or link to enough images, but the ones from the English language site dating back to 2006. I know lots of Burda fans (me included) were disappointed with all the great stuff about the magazine that disappeared along with the English language site when they redirected it to BurdaStyle (also a great site, but not the same content!), and in particular the super valuable archives. Great sleuthing, Nancy! To be honest, I think these will get blown away eventually once they’re done transitioning everything and we’ll lose access to them, but hooray for now!

Inkstain, Denise, and CarmencitaB (thanks, guys!) pointed out that my original dress pattern, the Coffee Date Dress (shown above are two versions I made for my friends Lindsey and Teresa in exchange for their modeling services) was mentioned in the Guardian’s online article “How to Make the Perfect Dress.” How flattering- you know how your Selfish Seamstress adores a good ego-boosting shout-out and a little international press. I actually love the Guardian’s DIY article series and even once managed to snag a free copy of an Alice Temperley pattern from them. (I haven’t made it yet- the pattern is kind of… inscrutable.)

Photo by Andrea Mohin/NY Times

As a huge fan of the New York City Ballet and its legendary costume designer, the late Barbara Karinska (I immediately recognized that tutu as her design for Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, that’s how much I adore her costumes), I found this New York Times article about refurbishing the company’s ballet costumes to be both fascinating and sad. As hobby sewers, the NYC Garment District is practically an infinite buffet of goodies for our sewing addictions, but sources and resources are disappearing irretrievably for the costumers, which means they’re losing their ability to reconstruct the costumes exactly as the original designers intended.

I know that everyone and their mom has been blogging about Jessie Steele aprons since they were featured in the new Sex and the City movie (no, I haven’t seen it, and no, I don’t plan to.) But they’re so delightful and dainty and whimsical I just had to show them to you in case you missed them. I’ve never owned an apron, and haven’t made one since the age of 6 (Would you believe I made it as a present for my sister? My Selfish skills were so poorly developed back then!) because there are always so many other real clothes that I want to sew more. But don’t they just make you want one? If you like that polka dot one, you’re in luck because Butterick 4945 includes a variation that’s almost identical.

And finally…

Yay! Arielle is back to blogging! She’s lived through a nightmare but now she’s received all of your generous sewing goodies, thanks to the wonderful Cidell and her beloved Nigel. Now it’s time to help Arielle get her sewing mojo back- pop on over to Fashion Maté and welcome her back with a hug!

Ok, my travel is coming to an end with a wedding in Evanston (coincidentally the same Chicago suburb where the Vogue flagship store is located. Hmmmmm. Is there anything wrong with going to a fabric store dressed in wedding guest attire?) And as of tomorrow I should be reunited with my sweetheart at home whom I have missed terribly after a weeklong separation. Oh, I hope my darling Husqvarna has been true while I’ve been away!

First up, a quick update on Arielle: the wonderful Cidell of Miss Celie’s Pants has volunteered to collect and consolidate all packages for Arielle.  She will send them to Arielle’s courier service so that Arielle doesn’t have to pay to receive dozens of individual packages. Thank you, Cidell! (I apologize for not offering to take care of this myself- for those of you who have not already figured it out, the Selfish Seamstress does not live in the US, so it would be expensive for most of you to ship to her, and expensive for her to ship out!) Also, if you haven’t already, do stop by Cidell’s blog and wish her a happy birthday.

At this point, I believe that everything on Arielle’s wishlist has been promised. If there is anything additional you would like to offer, you can email her at lakaribane[at]gmail[dot]com to ask what she needs. I believe she has near-daily access to email at this point.

And now, for those of you who have been worried that your selfish needs have been ignored by my blog for the past few days, don’t you worry. I found something that you might want. As you know, I’ve been on a little bit of a print kick lately, and I was scoping out some Alexander Henry lately when I stumbled upon this fabric called “Perfect Pattern“, the ultimate fabric for the sewing-obsessed:

Oooh, see?  It’s fabric printed with pattern pieces! Is that not the sewingest fabric ever!  And it’s somehow much cuter and edgier than fabric printed with, say, buttons or spools of thread. I can’t see wearing this fabric (perhaps some of you could swing it as a novelty skirt though) but if I had a sewing room, I’d be snatching up  yards of it (the third one is my favorite) for curtains, seat cushions, and other decor details. Adorable!

Hi everyone:

Thank you again for all of your generous offers to send sewing gifts to Arielle! I’m sorry, but I’m on a business trip so I have not had an opportunity to respond to you all, but will do so soon.  I received an email from Arielle yesterday and she is very, very moved by the outpouring of generosity.  She was thinking, however, that it might be best if all of the items could be consolidated into a single package and sent at once, since she has to pay for all of the packages to get to her from her US courier address. At this time I am waiting to hear back from her about whether there is someone in the US who could handle collecting and consolidating all of the items.  If so, I will email everyone who has promised things and let them know of the updated address. So if you have something for her and haven’t yet sent it, could you please hold off on doing so until I hear back from Arielle?  Thanks so much!


Oh my goodness, your emails are pouring in so quickly that I can barely keep up – (not to mention that I’m trying to pay attention at a work conference!)  Thank you so much for your incredible generosity- I’m sure Arielle will be back up and sewing in no time thanks to your kindness!

I’m trying to compile a list of all of the promised items, and so far, here is what has been offered in the emails I have received so far (if you received a response email from me, then I’m counting the items you offered in this list):

  • Buttons
  • Zippers (regular and invisible)
  • Dress pins 
  • Thread (all requested colors)
  • Hooks & eyes
  • Snap fasteners
  • Steam-a-seam
  • Chalk, marking pens
  • Tracing paper, tracing wheel
  • Hand sewing needles
  • 3m tape
  • Seam rippers
  • Bobbins
  • Glad Press ‘n’ Seal
  • Ironing board cover
  • Rotary blades (both sizes)
  • Miscellaneous patterns and fabric

To help you out, this means that the only things left on her wishlist that are not yet covered are:

  • Ballpoint pins
  • 1/2″ shoulder pads

For those of you who would still like to send her things and not yet emailed me, it would probably be best to send the sort of things that “one can never have too much of”, e.g. pins, tape, zippers, tracing paper, snaps, rather than the things that one doesn’t need many of which have already been promised (ironing board covers, tracing wheels).  Email me at selfishseamstress[at]gmail[dot]com for her US courier address.

To answer some of your questions, I’m not sure at this point what other items may be helpful to her- she does have sporadic email access so you can try to contact her directly to ask (lakaribane[at]gmail[dot]com).  And I’m not sure if things need to be packaged in any special way as she did not specify, other than to say that you should not send any liquids of any kind.

To those of you who have kindly offered to send money to me to purchase items for her, I apologize, but I’m not too comfortable sending or receiving money. I do appreciate the generosity of your offer- perhaps Arielle would appreciate a warm email from you instead; I’m sure she certainly understands that it is more expensive than it is worth for non-US residents to send a box of pins to a US address and would just appreciate that you are thinking of her. Again, I am very sorry that I can’t be more helpful on that front, but I’m nervous about handling or sending other people’s money.

I haven’t received a pattern wishlist from Arielle, so I’m not sure what kind of patterns she is looking for.  If I receive a list from her, I’ll be sure to post it here.

Thank you all again for your kindness and generosity- it’s truly heartwarming to see this community take care of one of its own.

Dear Readers:

Have you ever had one of those terrible days when it seemed like everything that could go wrong was going wrong, and everything that could possibly frustrate you, irritate you, exhaust you, or stress you out was happening at once, and at the end of it all, all you wanted was have a few moments of sewing and serenity to yourself? If so, this may help you to understand a tiny bit of what fellow sewing blogger and Haiti resident Arielle (Lakaribane on Pattern Review) is going through right now.

Arielle is a warm and lovely member of the online sewing community whom you may recognize from her enthusiastic and positive comments on other blogs, in addition to her own beautiful work. I and many others were ecstatic to hear that Arielle survived the massive Haiti earthquake, but she is now struggling with the aftermath of the destruction and has some harrowing stories of what she has lived through and is still experiencing every day. In my comparatively pampered state, I can’t even begin to imagine the horrors, fear, and loss that she has survived. But one thing I can identify with is when she tells me all she wants to do is sit down and sew.

Arielle’s home was destroyed and she has had to move. This is what became of her former sewing space:

Needless to say she lost a lot of stuff, including sewing stuff. Fortunately her sewing machines are still intact, but she lost patterns, tools, notions and some of her stash as well (it sounds like she had some heartbreaking Emma One Sock losses!) Unfortunately the current state of things in Haiti means that not only is money incredibly tight, but also that one can’t just walk into a shop and buy new pins- it’s not business as usual and goods are scarce.

Arielle still has limited internet access at the moment, but I asked her to take stock of what she has and send a list of things that she needs to replace. Now that I’ve received her wishlist, I’m hoping that perhaps some of you would like to send some of her wished-for items to her. To receive postal mail, she is currently using a courier service in the US which means you would send items to a US address and they will subsequently get forwarded to her by a private shipping service. This means that things won’t disappear in the Haitian mail (apparently a huge problem) and also that you’d only have to pay postage to ship to a US address.

Arielle has broken her wishlist down into “necessities,” “luxuries,” and “oddities.” If you would like to send her something, please send me an email at selfishseamstress[at]gmail[dot]com and let me know which item(s) and how many (if applicable) you would like to send. I will update this list to reflect purchases and email you back with Arielle’s courier address so you can ship the items to her. Here is her list:


  • Tailor’s chalk or other marking tool
  • Polyester sewing machine thread : black, white, navy, gray, brown
  • Tracing paper
  • Dressmakers’ pins, LOTS
  • Ballpoint pins for knits
  • Seam ripper (is this a sign?)
  • Class 15 bobbins
  • Rotary cutter blades: 60mm, 45mm
  • Buttons
  • Hand-sewing needles
  • Zippers, skirt and dress length, regular or invisible
  • 1/2″ shoulder pads
  • Hooks and eyes, skirts and pants sizes
  • Snaps, various diameters
  • Ironing board cover (I had one of those ruled ones but it is caput! Now, any will do)
  • Steam-a-seam, regular or lite (it’s addictive!)
  • Patterns (list to be forwarded soon, needs updating)
Oddities :
  • 3M Magic Tape
  • Glad Press n’Seal


Arielle has lost a lot more than sewing notions in this terrible tragedy and as much as we might wish we could, we can’t undo what has happened. But we can help to brighten Arielle’s day and get her back to the joys of sewing- please consider sending her a little treat!

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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