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Good news for you, Selfish readers! On Saturday, soon after setting off on a lovely hike, I got stung twice on the butt by a wasp! Well, not exactly on the butt, but high enough on the back upper inner thigh that I was sitting on one cheek for the rest of the day while periodically squealing in pain. And yes, though it is my nature to antagonize all living things without provocation or justification, this time it wasn’t my fault. I actually was just walking along the trail, minding my own business when the wasp decided completely of its own accord that it was time for some target practice. And why is that good news?  Well, with every step sending shooting pain through me, I decided it was best to turn around while we were still close to the trailhead and head home for the quiet pleasures of an ice pack and my Husqvarna (which I bravely pedaled while sitting in an awkward, lopsided fashion.) And now you have some sewing to read about.

Here’s the result- a very loose interpretation of Burda 5-2008-125 (a.k.a. my favorite Burda dress), rendered in a black wool and silk blend flannel suiting with subtle white pinstripes, and off-white (though looks white in these pictures) silk and cotton voile:

I’m generally not a fan of wearing a sheath over a blouse or turtleneck.  I’ve seen other people work that look to good effect, but it never looks right or feels comfortable on me.  But when I saw L.A. designer Heidi Merrick‘s “Kate” dress (I believe from her Fall 2009 collection), I fell for the dress and for the nifty optical illusion yielded by the clever voile puffed sleeves and scarf attached directly to the sheath.

You’ll notice it’s not a completely faithful copy of the Heidi Merrick dress, but rather a Heidi Merrick-inspired dress. Among other differences, the original was done in solid black cotton piqué, has an exposed back zip and pockets, which I didn’t add to mine. I don’t have a shot of the back of mine, but it’s just a regular centered zip because that’s what I had in the house.

The pattern is my go-to for sheath dresses, actually the lining pattern of Burda 5-2008-125 with some edits to the neckline. This lining pattern also formed the basis of my Audrey dress and vintage-inspired blue roses sheath. I drafted the puffy sleeve and the scarf bow thing.

Because there’s so much scarf and the voile is quite soft, it’s a little difficult to get it to wrap nicely around the neck and keep a little body.  I can arrange it nicely while standing in front of the mirror, but it does kind of sag eventually. Maybe a little spray starch will help. Really, it’s a lot of bow.

By the way, thanks for all the lovely comments on my last post!  I tried to go through and high-five everyone back, but after a while I was starting to annoy even myself.  But suffice it to say, I have mentally high-fived all of you. And for those of you who are demanding to know where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing for the last couple of months, oh, you know how I love when people ask me to do stuff for them :) I’ll get around to posting details but it’ll probably be a boring and disappointing post.

Figure 1-1. Wasp posterior with stinger and venom. N.B. Wasps are a-holes.

In the meantime, thank the wasp who gave his life such that you might have something comparatively interesting to read about on this blog today. Personally, I hold a little bit of a grudge against that buzzy jerkwad on account of the fact that I was deprived of my hike and in an insane amount of pain for a good chunk of yesterday. But a new dress almost makes up for it.

Well everyone, it’s been a couple of months since I moved, and yet I’m still not back on top of my sewing or blogging. Jeez, I’m still not on top of my unpacking.  I will confess to having sewn up a cowl necked sweater from a back issue of Burda which I have yet to photograph mostly because it came out kind of bleh. And I’m starting work on something new and exciting, pictures to come.

As for Burda, they’re starting the year off promptly with their January 2011 early preview already online. Readers, one of my big sewing wishes for the coming year is some *great* Burdas.  I haven’t gone back to check, but I get the feeling I didn’t sew anything from a single 2010 issue. January issues have to be judged with a bit of a handicap because they usually have the cuddly but run of the mill stay-at-home-on-the-couch sweats collection (doubtless the only things that fit after too many holiday sweets), and the Fasching gear, which is often more craft than sewing.  Let’s get our chuckles out of the way now, shall we?

If anyone makes this and can send me a photograph of the finished costume (yes, puffy arms and all) on a man out in public, I will happily feature you on my blog as one of my great sewing heroes. Even the Selfish Seamstress is not enough of a beeyatch to subject Dan to this pasty-armed, spinat-laced delight.

So, the good news is that there’s some great styling in this issue and looks like it could have quite a bit of potential for the tall ladies. These clothes would eat me alive, but look cute on the models, such as the below-the-knee flared skirt:

And this 1930s-inspired, single-breasted belted coat, again hitting well below the knee:

And this looks pretty, even though I suspect that under the cinching obi style belt, it’s just another one of those really long shirts that Burda likes so much, possibly with a slanted placket. We’ll see soon!

Then there are some other garments that I think *could* look good on the right tall women, but would probably be Hefty bags on most mortals, and certainly on the pinky finger-sized Selfish Seamstress:

In case you’re wondering what such a dress looks like on an intellectual, here it is again, this time with books and glasses:

If she’s so smart, why’d she pick that dress?  Hahahaha. I love how funny I find myself to be!

Anyway, better a roomy dress than a roomy crotch:

Please someone explain to me why this trend is not dead yet. It’s not because Burda is a European magazine. I’m here in Europe, and people are not walking around with webbed thighs. It’s aspirational dressing I suppose, if what you aspire to be is a flying squirrel:

Maybe I’m just turned off by the fact that these pants are misguidedly tucked into above-the-knee boots with giant flappy cuffs. The correct accessories for these pants would be a “what are you looking at” stance and your best bitchface:

Perfect for kicking back with some DVDs on a winter afternoon.

By the way, there’s always someone who comes by and comments that they love the Hammer/harem pants, and that they’re soooo comfy and sexy. All I can say is that although I don’t agree with your opinion, I completely support your right to wear them, as well as my right to snicker cruelly once you are out of earshot.

And once again, the plus sizes garments are the winners. So classic, so wearable, so pretty, and so beautifully styled. My work wardrobe is definitely calling out for a scarlet tie blouse and camel pencil skirt:

Based on this limited preview, there’s nothing for me yet, but overall the issue isn’t looking bad, especially if you’re tall or plus. It gives me a little hope that there might be some goodies in it for me once the full preview is out. And with the holidays looming up ahead, I’m all about the goodies for ME.

The December issue of Burda isn’t usually my favorite because it usually contains a lot of evening dresses and cocktail attire that I don’t need for my everyday activities of grumbling, backstabbing, and cookie scarfing. As such, and based on the early partial preview, I didn’t have particularly high hopes when I clicked on the full preview for the 12.2010 issue which has now popped up on the German Burda site.

Umm, let’s just say that an overabundance of evening attire isn’t really a problem this time around. I’m a little more concerned about this:

On a related note, I take some issues with this:

And I’m really none-too-pleased about this:

I’m especially worried that perhaps white poly chiffon as daywear is making a comeback, because I’m pretty sure I gave that habit up after a bit of a chiffon bender at the Unique Boutique in 1993.

As for this cut, Blanche Devereaux, anyone?

Not so much?  How about some Dorothy Zbornak style?

There’s also this, which is kind of like an unsexy version of the Ann Taylor dress that I was considering knocking off for a while:

I’m tempted to make one of these hot little numbers for frisky nights at home. Seriously.  I think that would be hilarious.

Honestly, my favorite stuff from this issue is the knitted stuff. I don’t think I’ll buy the issue for the knitting patterns, but I think this is the best of December (minus the Scandinavian bands on the sleeves):

Other than that, I’m not feeling good about this issue.  And as much as I appreciate a good snark, I would gladly trade in snide Burda commentary for a great Burda issue for a month. I adore Burda- it got me sewing for real in the first place – but I haven’t loved an issue in a while (August 2009, perhaps?) It kind of breaks my heart. Here’s hoping for some great, great Burdas in 2011. And if that fails, I just ordered all the (fantastic!) 2006 issues from eBay.

I’ve started to accept the fact that the whole 80’s trend isn’t really a trend anymore, but a full-blown revival. I barely even notice anymore when girls walk by in leggings, pumps, and legwarmers. But I’m not about to jump on the bandwagon, even if Burda’s early preview for the December issue (thanks again, Burda Russia!) suggests that I might be keen on sewing up a pair of these:

Considering that these pants are spacious from the top all the way down to the oh-so-flatteringly tapered calf, I’m not sure what innovative feats of sewing and construction are keeping the band so appealingly positioned around the model’s lower ribcage. The only gripe I have about this garment is that they don’t have a picture of them paired with the coordinating cropped jacket:

Wasted opportunity, if you ask me.

The 80s weren’t all bad though, and as a 4th grader, I’m sure I would have dreamed about the day that I could have donned this for an awesome party at which Morten Harket, lead singer of A-ha, and I would have fallen in love and probably gotten engaged right there on the spot:

Wouldn’t we have made an adorable couple? I didn’t realize at the time that I wasn’t exactly going to develop into the type that could pull off that dress though, which I assume is probably the reason that Morten and I didn’t end up together after all.

I have to say, I don’t really get this look.  I’m not sure if that’s 80s-related, or just my general failure to comprehend what is going on here:

And the choice of satin pleated Dockers, purple armwarmers, and fur mushroom hat isn’t really helping me to make sense of it. I think she stole the hat from this sensitive lumberjack guy…

… and he is thinking wistfully of the fur hat he lost.

Also kooky? This. Is it Spandex?  Latex?  Hefty bag?

Based on the limited early preview, I’d have to say that this is not on my To-Buy list just yet. If you’re looking for a good plus dress for your fancy holiday parties (Selfish is never invited to parties on account of her tendencies to insult other guests’ outfits and shove more than her fair share of desserts into her purse before the others have had a chance to get to them), this issue does have a beautiful one.  At least I think it’s a plus gown- it’s always so hard to tell with the Burda models:

But far and away my favorite is this dress (though I think a better fit could have been achieved), on account of its resemblance to bad girl Caroline’s dress from the school dance in Sixteen Candles:

Sigh.  I miss the days when lavender ruched taffeta was the uniform of the naughty girls. She smoked, she drank, she was on the pill, she got her hair stuck in doors, she partied, and you know how you could tell?  By all the puffiness in her sleeves! Caroline got a bad rap though. She appreciated Jake for being rich, whereas Molly Ringwald just liked him because he was hot.

I’m pretty sure if I make that Burda dress from the 12.2010 issue, I’ll end up at a party at which Jake from Sixteen Candles falls in love with me.  And no, not the actor who played Jake who left Hollywood to become a carpenter, but JAKE RYAN FOR REAL.

Thank you, Russian Burda! A mere two weeks after the September BurdaMag preview showed up on the German Burda website, the October preview is already available on the Russian site. Extra bonus- the Russian site has even more photos from the upcoming Burda Easy Fashion, which I mentioned yesterday.

First up, 10.2010. For some reason, the photos from this issue strike me as even less decipherable than usual. I’m not sure if this is because the photos aren’t showing the garments off well, or if because this month’s garments are just tending towards the baggy side. Case in point:

I can’t tell you a thing about this coat other than that I think the fabric is pretty and I’m curious to see more.  Same goes for this jacket:

The shorts are also a pattern. I’m not a shorts-wearing person, but I am really liking the combination of fabric colors and textures that Burda is using here, so I might take some inspiration from that.

If people buy this issue, I think this dress is going to have a LOT to do with it:

From what I can make out, there’s a lot to love about this dress- the interesting neckline and bodice, the cap sleeves, and the skirt that seems to meet the waist flat at the front but pleated or gathered over the hips? Burda’s choice of delicious raspberry fabric combined with twirling just makes it that much more irresistible. Who doesn’t love a good twirling dress? I’ve been trying to refrain from making party clothes. I’ve got too many of them, they don’t get worn enough, and let’s face it, the Selfish Seamstress never gets invited to parties because she always picks fights with other guests and eats more than her fair share of cake. But I’m thinking that the bodice and sleeves of this dress combined with a pencil or slim tulip skirt in a soft menswear suiting might be great for work. Perhaps a dainty little contrasting pleated linen panel across the base of the neckline too. Tempting.

The issue is not without some weirdness. I love a good artistic raw edge, but I think some of the garments take this a bit too far to the point that they look … unfinished. For example this jacket reminds me of nothing so much as what my own jackets look like when I’m about 2/3 of the way through sewing them:

This is the point in jacket-making when I start to worry that maybe the pattern was not a good idea for me, maybe I’ve got the fit all wrong, and maybe it isn’t going to be as chic as I thought. And then I add the collar, try it on, pin it closed and realize that it’s going to be okay. I kind of want them to take that next step with this jacket.

Another piece of weirdness?

Hmmmm. I feel like this one should have red tabs on the bottom that you can pull down on and tubes on either side that you can blow into to inflate the vest in the unlikely event of a water landing. But a soft and cuddly one.

But the most exciting thing for me about the upcoming issue is… the return of designer patterns! For those of you who are newer to Burda, Burda used to offer patterns from high end designers. You could mail away a little coupon with some postage fees (if you lived in Germany), and they would send you the designer pattern in an envelope. Then for a while they switched to just including the pattern in the magazine along with all the other patterns and (my impression at least) going with lesser-known designers. Then they did away with the designer patterns altogether and switched to featuring a pattern inspired by celebrity outfits that you could download from the website for a fee (this was my least favorite.) I don’t know if they’re doing away with the celebrity download thing, but it certainly looks like the designer patterns are back, for this issue at least, with a jacket and skirt from Karl Lagerfeld!

Again, the photo isn’t showing me quite as much as I wish it would, but it looks very interesting so far, especially the soft yet architectural jacket. And the model and I have the same legs, so I assume the cuffed skirt should work out just fine :)

And, as I mentioned, there are also more pictures on the Russian site for the Easy Fashion preview. And how’s this for pretty?

Yay for super early previews! Let’s all give a Большое спасибо to Burda Russia!

Ok, and just like that, after yesterday’s appearance of the September early preview and my subsequent descent into crazitude, the full preview of BurdaMag for September is online. I don’t think I’ll ever really understand their schedule. I’m still not crazy about the folklore stuff, even now that I can see what the garments really look like. One or two are okay. But there seem to be some good patterns in the issue for chic classics.

This is my favorite- it’s simple, but the lines look good, and I have to admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for python print:

And there are the trenchcoats. Again, I’m waiting to see the technical drawing for this one to see if it’s actually got some shaping to it, but so far it appears to be the most sleek-and-simultaneously-classic trench that I’ve ever seen from Burda, even though they tend to put out trench patterns every few months. (Actually, the python print is probably a variant of the same pattern.)

Leather jacket, another garment that looks like it’s got good lines:

And the houndstooth coat is indeed cute, though I’d probably add a collar to it if I were to make it. As one who sews coats often, coats with this shape of neckline and no collar remind me of what my coats look like when I’m 3/4 done with them:

Cute basic skirt could be great for the office:

And cute not-so-basic skirt, also great for the office (I’d shorten it to knee length for my figure):

Also, cute plus size jacket- the skinny self fabric belt is such a nice touch:

Have a look for yourselves. As anticipated, the September issue does tread into crazy territory with some garments, but I think it could be a worthwhile one to have in the arsenal.

OMG BURDA SEPTEMBER EARLY PREVIEW OMG OMG OMG WHATTA??!!!

fzbhlkmcvlk!! dfg;jaoic.c. Crazy prints hippie skirt petticoat sloppy hat blanket??!! dfgkjnazerw dfoibhjrg:

kjnxzoisdr908t45 ;xclv monkey fur caveman vest bedsheet Hammer pants my eyes on fire WHATTA??! jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj:

dfiumxcds g9b Grammy’s blazer + lace cardigan love child scarf as skirt hiking socks and goats holy whatta flkjmzofpdi:

lfdkjgnoi Burda dfgjklnxcl every stash fabric from the 90s sdfkj kkkikikikkiiiik:

WHATTA?!!!!

Okay. I think I got that out of my system. “Folklore Furor” indeed. The folklore of stashbusting, obviously.

Ahhh. Classic trenches. I feel better now.

Nice :) I’ll want to see the technical drawings to see if this is fitted the way I like my trenches to be, but doesn’t that look great?

I think this has huge potential on account of the interesting and elegant seaming. I think it takes a certain kind of chic that I do not possess to pull off the proto-sleeve thingies, so I’d probably opt out of those.

I do not love these, but after the Folklore debacle, I will not get upset with you if you do:

Note that the skirt in the latter photo appears to be the bottom half of the funky sleeve dress. I do like the skirt. I am GREATLY DISPLEASED about the reemergence of the dreaded WHITE TIGHTS. Whatta.

This worries me:

Why?  Because of this:

That’s the dreaded ruffle overload blouse from a 1981 issue of Burda, and it looks like 2010 Burda is treading some dangerous waters again.

I am feeling pretty good about this cute coat, though I am a little wary because we’re only seeing the back of it for now:

I’m not sure what those metal discs are along the side seam.  Anyone have any ideas?

Plus size wearers, once again you’re off the hook. You get lovely wearable classics with pretty details again.

Love the gathered neckline on that one, and the interesting-without-being-crazy sleeves. (What’s that kind of sleeve called again?  It’s sort of like the opposite of a leg-of-mutton sleeve, but I forget the name.)

And you get a classic trench as well:

And for better or for worse, crafts are back in the preview! Including some cracked-out foraged wood scrap trophies. I know that button eyes are all quaint and old-fashioned, but they scare the bejeezus out of me:

And this little leather bow thing in case you actually need the instructions to make this:

Anyway, I apologize for my earlier bout of incoherence and insanity. Burda just throws me for a loop sometimes.  A seriously crazy loop. Fingers crossed for some really awesome technical drawings. I need to go rest my eyes now.

I’m feeling a little upset that the September BurdaMag preview has yet to show up on either the German or Russian Burda websites, so I’m handling this situation in typically diplomatic Selfish Seamstress style: by picking a fight.

Burda, here is your version of the 12-2006-108 tux dress:

And here is the Selfish Seamstress’s version. Don’t get me wrong, Burda. Obviously you are the geniuses behind this dress and I fully acknowledge that, but I think I WIN:

See how smug I look?

Look- even my back looks smug.

As usual, Burda provided a wonderfully drafted pattern. I graded it down to a 32 and the fit is just perfect without any alterations except for shortening at the hem and dropping the waistline about an inch. Oddly the bodice was really short before that, and that was without any petite alterations.

While I was making it, I was trying it on with my orange shoes just to check the length, and surprisingly, I really like the dress with these shoes. It’s extremely unintuitive to me, not because of the plum, but because of the gray. I never think of gray and orange working together. But Dan commented as well (without any prompting or query from me) that the dress and the shoes look unintuitively good together, so don’t try to tell me otherwise because I am not listening. I am a WINNER. Albeit a bowlegged one.

I think the photo of the skirt material I showed in the last post about this dress gave the false impression that I was using a rather coarse herringbone tweed. That’s not the case, though that would have been a great look. No, this dress was meant to use up remnants, and the skirt is actually a rather heavy rayon suiting with a very fine herringbone weave.

Here it is with no Selfish Seamstress inside:

As you can see, I made a few small cosmetic changes. I omitted the bow at the waist (though now that I think about it, I don’t think it would have looked so silly as I thought. But I do like wearing this with a skinny belt and the bow would prohibit that.)

I had meant to do the little skinny bow tie around the collar, but then I realized I’m never ever going to wear this with the collar closed all the way (makes it look very much as though my head is just balanced atop the collar), so I had to skip the neck bow because it would have just been two untied strings hanging off of either side of the collar. I also changed the placement of the buttons accordingly. Here’s a close-up of the collar:

I realized later that I actually installed the top collar ruffle wrong side out, which just means that the less neat edge is showing. The fabric itself is the same on both sides. Oh well.

And here’s a glimpse at the inside- I did French seams wherever possible and skipped the lining. Instead I used self bias strips as armhole facings. You can see that I hand tacked them at the shoulder seam to keep them from flipping outwards when I wear it:

Anyway, that’s about it. No hard feelings, okay Burda? You can’t win them all. Especially not with moiré.

After a day of hiking boots, fleece outerwear, fresh air, sunshine, socializing with other humans, and rigorous exercise, all counter to the Selfish Seamtress’s natural tendencies, there’s nothing she loves more than unwinding with painstaking precision sewing and a little alliteration. Hence the plum poplin and pintucks:

This is the beginnings of BurdaMag 12-2006-108, the tux dress pattern that I posted about earlier:

I’m planning on making several changes to this dress- making the collar band a little less tall, eliminating the waist bow, doing the whole bodice in one color rather than with a contrast bib, skipping out on the prescribed tulle petticoat (Petticoat with an A-line skirt?  Hrmmm.), and ditching the pockets. I’m not so keen on pockets right over my belly on a dress. I’m also finding that the bodice of this dress is super short even though I didn’t make any petite adjustments to it at all, so I’m going to drop the waistband a smidge. And I’m going to skip the bodice lining as well. It makes sense for BurdaMag’s original fabrics (moiré and taffeta!) but not so much for the lightweight poplin shirting I’m using (leftover from Dan’s Valentine shirt and the still-unfinished Camicia #9).

Here’s where I am so far:

I’m planning on doing the skirt in some dark gray herringbone rayon suiting that I purchased in Germany back in 2007 and have had in my stash forever (somehow or other 6 meters of it seemed like the right amount to purchase at the time):

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got going on now. What are you up to?

Okay, after this weekend’s green slippy fabric impulse buy, here’s something to show for it. Another incarnation of Burda 2-2008-119, the tie-neck sleeveless blouse:

Silky clothes aren’t really my thing, but I just love this color, so I think I’ll be getting some good wear out of this one. It’ll work well under a cardigan too. I like it with these sort of loose windowpane check pants, but I think it’ll also work well with lighter pants.

Here’s the side view. I think I’m channeling a candidate for class president in this photo. See?  I’m inspired!

Vote Selfish! Vote Selfish! Vote Selfish!

My first version of this blouse (and ever so slightly more detail about the construction) is here.

Okay. We’ve got friends visiting from out of town so we’re off to hike for a couple of days. Try to behave yourselves, okay? I don’t want to hear any stories when I get back.

I’m not the biggest or most extreme stasher, but if you’ve been following along, you know that I can hold my own in fabric and pattern acquisition. But despite having plenty of both around the house, I often find myself running up against a bottleneck because I’m low on something else. For example, I’m forever running out of lining and interfacing and I never seem to have the right type, length, and color of zipper in the house. Frustrating, and yet I find it hard to stock up on these things strategically.

So this past weekend, I made a little trip to my local fabric store to take advantage of the 50% off sale, and came back with some of my favorites:

Covered button sets in different sizes (I love these things! I already broke into one pack for the plaid pants hat), denim needles, hook and bar sets for pants, and just because I figured I would eventually need it (and learn to use it,) clear elastic. Interfacing, lining, and zippers were also 50% off, and I picked up a few yards of lightweight fusible interfacing, but once again I stood in front of the linings and zippers with no idea of what I’d have a need for down the line.  (Doesn’t help that the linings at my local store are pretty weak and that 50% off still leaves them at $8/yard.)

Oh, and teeny tiny confession- although it had been my plan not to purchase any more fabric, I was seduced.  By a charmeuse of all things, and you know I generally have no love for slippery, silky things, either for sewing or wearing:

But ohhh the color, somewhere hovering between grass green, moss green, and olive, with a muted, subtle shine. I was sucked in by it and by the quality of it. It feels and looks like silk, but I’m pretty sure it’s not given the general caliber of my fabric store, so perhaps it’s rayon?  It doesn’t look, feel, or move like polyester, but perhaps they’ve really improved the technology for making poly charmeuse. All I know is that I’m rediscovering how little I enjoy sewing with slippy fabrics, as I make up yet another Burda blouse 119 from the February 2008 issue (still in progress):

Fortunately it requires no lining or zippers! How about you?  What notions or materials do you find yourself unable to keep in stock? What strategies do you have for making sure you’ve got a healthy supply of basic sewing necessities without having piles of stuff you’re never going to get around to using?

Slow progress is being made on the BurdaStyle book coat– I managed to cut out all of the outer pieces yesterday and get started on assembling it. But as I mentioned previously, the fact that this feels like S.W.A.G. sewing rather than selfish sewing means I’m not particularly driven and am dragging my feet. (This, incidentally, is through no fault of the BurdaStyle folks who have been great, or the project, which is a fantastic opportunity. Rather it is the direct result of the Selfish Seamstress having a particular tendency towards whining and self pity, even when they are not appropriate to the situation.)

As is often the case when I get tied up in any sort of S.W.A.G.-ish sewing, I start fantasizing about all the stuff I would make were I not S.W.A.G.-bound. And this dress from Burda 12.2006 is my latest obsession:

I’m sure the first time I saw this dress, I had a serious WTF moment. It’s so over the top, it’s so tacky, it’s so ridiculous. Dare I say… ugly? Oh, the black moiré (when was the last time you saw someone wearing moiré in real life?? I’ll tell you the last time I saw that- it was on the gown of one of the parents in the party scene when I was in a production of the Nutcracker at the age of 10. I’m pretty sure I thought to myself, “Man, I can’t wait until I’m a grownup and can wear moiré too!”). Also, the iridescent purple bow, the high ruffled collar, contrast bib, and sleeveless bodice. All together, it’s the female equivalent of a Chippendale dancer costume, or perhaps the uniform of a cocktail waitress at a seedy casino in the 1980s. Who on earth would wear such a dress? Well, as it turns out, I am strongly suspecting that I would, which is why I went to some lengths recently to acquire the 12.2006 issue of Burda from German eBay. Just not quite like this.

I think tux styling is a bit like animal print, ruffles, or metallic leather. A hint of it can be elegant and ladylike. Push it a little further and it can be edgy and daring. But push it a little bit further over that very thin line and suddenly you’re splat in the middle of Tackyland, which is where I believe the moiré dress above resides. TOO TUX-Y. (Side note, wouldn’t Tackyland be the greatest amusement park ever?)

But look what you get when you strip down some of the bells and whistles and craziness, and stop trying to force it to be a lady tux, and instead just a pretty dress with some tux-inspired details:

Lots and lots of cute potential! Imagine it all in one color- maybe a lightweight brown sateen (sooo Zara) or a pale yellow lawn. Or navy with tiny white pin dots and white accents. Or the whole top in ecru with the waistband and skirt in black. Or plum batiste on top with businesslike gray wool for the skirt?

Myself, I’m thinking the whole dress in white poplin with the tie at the neck, buttons, and waistband in black, minus the bow at the waist. After all, I’m not a 10-year old in the Nutcracker anymore. Or a Chippendale dancer.

I’ve been stalking the German and Russian Burda websites for days in hopes of seeing the full preview for the August 2010 issue of BurdaMag, with no luck. Usually it’s up by the middle of the month, though sometimes not yet with the technical drawings. Finally, I decided to check with the experts on everything Burda, the forums at Hobbyschneiderin, the mega-geil online German sewing community. And wouldn’t you know it, one of the users unearthed the (sorta) full preview yesterday, though I have no idea how as it doesn’t appear to be linked off of the Burda pages anywhere that I can see. Clever and resourceful German seamstresses!

For now they don’t have the “fashion” photos up or the technical drawings, but the photos of the individual garments seem to be available for the whole issue. My verdict: lots of reasonable basics, especially compared to the July issue, and no real crazy, despite the titillating clown photos. On the whole, the general silhouette they seem to be pushing is somewhat boxier or baggier on top and skinny on the bottom, which is kind of the opposite of my general preferences. The issue has a lot of tapered pants and roomy tops, which is not a bad look, but not the best for my figure. Oddly enough though, the garment I’m most drawn to in this issue is this:

I know, right? Doesn’t seem like my kind of thing, right? I think the houndstooth wool is getting me though. You know how I love my menswear wool. I’m imagining this with a chunky teal or maroon knit scarf and matching slouchy hat, with skinny jeans and tall boots. And more interesting and detailed pockets. See, kind of cute when you think about it, no?

The other highlights are some elegant but practical coats that remind me of the sort that Tippi Hedren or Grace Kelly would have worn in a Hitchcock film. They’re less shaped than what I usually go for, but so pretty  and wearable I might have to consider them:

Ha. I just realized now that they’re the same pattern.  One is just fastened at the neck.

There are a couple of more fitted jackets in the issue, though they’re not my style exactly. I can see a lot of people getting excited over this one. But assuming that the hem hits at the hip, the sleeve length looks very “Go, go, Gadget Arms!” This is a fun optical illusion- the longer you look at this picture, the longer the sleeves seem to become. Try it!

Another item that I think people will get excited about is this camisole. I think it’s cute, but the fact that it looks like a frivolous summertime H&M purchase makes me less inclined to want to sew it:

Of course, there is the “Jackie O.” cocktail dress, which I know I will be tempted to make because I am a sucker for a back drape, but would probably see very little wear. If  I do this, I’ll probably opt out of the balloon skirt because it’s not the best look for short legs:

The draped dress that I adored from the early preview but which I suspected would not be included in the issue sadly is not included in the issue.  Boo hoo!

The tulip skirt has some interesting potential (it’s quite similar to others from previous Burda issues- I’d have to dig back to find what I’m thinking of) but I think the elastic waist detracts from the graceful elegance.  (Also, what are those things on the sides?  Tabs?) There’s a plus size skirt pattern with a standard waistband which is similar but so much more covetable. (Most of the plus size stuff is pretty slick, as usual.)

As I mentioned, much of the rest of the issue seems to be basics, such as plain skinny pants, long pencil skirts, and long sleeved t-shirts- not bad overall.  There are also a lot of peasant-y type shirts if you’re keen on that.

But then as I was flipping through the photos, I came upon some really cute stuff that I hadn’t notice doubles of in any of the previous features:

I know the band jacket fad might be a little bit played at this point, and that the skirt and top are themselves sort of simple and basic, but I really liked the clean but still feminine lines of these garments, and the sophisticated fabric choices. In fact, I thought these were so great that I was surprised I hadn’t seen other incarnations of them elsewhere in the issue. And then I noticed the caption. Yep, these are the kids’ clothes.

The size ranges for the patterns aren’t stated in the preview yet, but now I’m pretty curious. Juebejue and Kerry, are you wondering the same thing that I’m wondering?

Inspired by Amber and her fantastic fitness regimen (I’m Obsessed with Amber, by the way), I’ve started dancing about five times a week to tone up and get fit. I’m only going to be doing this for a month and then I’ll get back to my normal, sane dance class schedule. It feels fantastic so far but it is definitely eating into my evenings, and hence my sewing time (and oh dear, that BurdaStyle book coat still needs to get started!) Plus the hip hop classes are making me think really stupid things like, “Hey, I should sew some new sweatpants!” No, no, no, stupid.

I did manage finally finally to hem the 1950s-style sheath dress I started months ago and neglected to finish, even though it would only have take 20 minutes. The pattern is derived from my much-loved Burda 5-2008-125, which I’ve made up as designed, in Audrey fashion, and now as a simple scoop-back sheath, using a modified version of the lining pattern. Here are some early morning sleepyface photos:

As you can see, I cut the back a little too wide and a smidge too deep and it’s showing some bra strap action.  I’m going to need to some some clever little loops on the inside to keep everything hidden. Strapless undergarments and I only ever go out together very reluctantly.

The dress is made from a very vintage feeling stretch matte satin that mysteriously seems to have some cotton content to it, and it’s lined in Bemberg rayon. The zipper is handstitched as usual, and I gave another go at blindstitching the hem by machine. It’s still not blind enough compared to hand hemming in my opinion, but I guess this will come with practice.

I really need to dig through my piles and figure out what other perfectly serviceable unfinished garments are just waiting for a quick half hour of finishing. I suspect there are many. Maybe finishing them will distract me from thoughts of sweatpants…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, hooray for the Russian Burda site. Like clockwork, July starts and the August sneak peek is online! Большое спасибо, Burda!

This time, I have to start with the crazy first. Because it’s just too crazy to leave it to the end. To preface with a little buildup, I’ve been pointing out for a while some of the interesting man candy that the recent issues of Burda have been offering, like Shirtless Guy from the April issue:

And Steamy Guy from June:

Followed up by short, doofy, young Hot-for-Teacher Guys in the July issue, which I honestly thought was about as weird as it could get (sit tight, it turns out The Selfish Seamstress was mistaken and it does get weirder):

And now, my dear readers, Burda is pushing the the boundaries once again in August with… CLOWN LOVE:

[10 seconds of stunned silence]

I mean…

Um.

I am interpreting it correctly, that they are meant to be a couple, right?  She’s not just at a circus where there happens to be a clown, right? There is some snuggling, no? The clown looks so pensive… I… I…

I guess I like his pants?

Let’s just move on.

August is always one of my favorite issues- it’s the start of the August/September/October/November set of issues, which in my opinion is peak season for Burda. I love the fall clothes and the coats, the substantial sewing projects that you want to keep forever, in between the frivolous, fun summer issues and the evening-gown-heavy December (and sometimes November) issues. And there are some really nice classic jackets this time around:

As usual, the plus options are classic, versatile, elegant, and wearable:

But I’m really really excited about the Jackie O.- inspired feature:

Mmmmm… I love it. I’m such a sucker for back drapes. And this strikes me as more Audrey than Jackie.

I think this next dress has some serious chic potential. It could go either way. I’m not keen on the length and I’m curious to see the technical drawing when it comes out:

(Actually, I just reread the text for this picture and it says it’s a jacket with a matching knee-length dress with a ruffle.  Hmm, doesn’t look like it, but okay.)

And finally:

Okay, I’m guessing by the looks of this that the jacket is definitely one of the patterns, but oh oh oh oh oh I hope the dress is too! Look at that beautiful draping! It would be utterly cruel of Burda to show us that dress and not let us have it. Fingers crossed!

So, the August preview is looking good so far- none of the garments in the preview are really crazytown. But you know what?  When you give one of your models a clown boyfriend, you’ve more than fulfilled everyone’s crazytown needs. Thank you, Burda! And I cannot wait to see one of your September models holding hands with a guy in a radiation suit or snuggling up to Swamp Thing!

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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