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It’s OVER!!! I sent in the BurdaStyle book coat yesterday after too many late nights of tearful sewing, too many fun outings missed on account of grudging, miserable sewing, too many other things I could have been making and didn’t, and far, FAR too much whining about it all! Haha, you think I’m done whining? I’m not.

In the end I would have to say that the coat is neither beautiful nor well made. It is passable. But as the deadline grew tight, the quality of the workmanship on this decidedly work-intensive project became increasingly more “brute force” and with rapidly diminishing finesse. My general high-and-mighty philosophy of, “If you’re not going to sew it well, don’t bother sewing it at all” disintegrated quickly under the weight of a deadline and the drudgery of a project I did not enjoy. There are known puckers. There are corners cut. And after spending waaaaay too much time on this coat in the last two weeks and dropping quite a bit of my own money and digging into my personal stash for materials, I have taught myself my own lesson about S.W.A.G. sewing once again. BurdaStyle unfortunately did not cover the cost of linings, trims, and notions, which I imagine wasn’t much of a big deal except for the people working on the coat project, but it did end up being a little more than I wanted to put into it. Plus due to the necessity of a last-minute redesign because of a supplies miscommunication, I made an executive decision to ditch the fashion fabric that BurdaStyle picked out (sorry, BS! Thanks for sending it though! You can have it back if you want!) and sent to me because it wasn’t going to work and ended up using my own fabric instead. So suffice it to say, by the end I couldn’t bring myself to invest any more time or resources in dainty details or hand finishing. It’s okay though.  Not gorgeous, but hellz, it’s still a handmade freakin’ coat.

I can’t show you pictures of the final product, but I’ll show you something I bought from the thrift shop so I could cut it up to make part of the coat:

It’s a big ol’ fake fur coat!  And the best part of it (because the fur itself feels kind of heinous in the way that fake fur does after it’s been around the block a couple of times) is the label!

Oh yes this is a genuine Tissavel from France.  Originally purchased at Sears, which some of you may know better as “The Fashion Place” or “Place de la Mode.” I think from now on I’m going to refer to Sears as Place de la Mode (with my best French accent, bien sûr!) as in, “Darling, I think this weekend we’ll need to make a little jaunt over to Place de la Mode. I am just aching for some snow tires and a new Tissavel.”

Back on subject- I’m sort of excited for the book to come out, but if I never see the coat again, so much the better! It’s not my style anyway so I probably won’t wear it even if it does get sent back to me eventually. But I’m hoping that the good folks at BurdaStyle pull out all of their art and styling big guns for the photoshoot. They do have fantastic stylists. Under the right conditions and on the appropriately gamine-like model, I think the coat could be made to look chic. Those conditions, however are not “on the Selfish Seamstress, walking around on the street.” But whatever, done! Done, done, done! Out of sight, out of mind, which means I can stop sewing it and stop whining about it, and finally get back to sewing other things and whining about other things!

Permit me to get started right now with me me me me ME ME ME me me me ME! Me me me leopard pencil skirt me me ME TWEED SKIRT SUIT me me ME ME me me new sleeves on blouses me ME me ME me ME flowy pants me me me me me me me me me me black wool trench coat me me ME ME me finish leopard jacket me ME me ME me ME me ME me ME tux dress in plum and gray me me ME me me ME plaid wool jacket me me ME ME ME me me me ME ME ME me me me mod stewardess dress ME me ME ME me me me me me me me me houndstooth sheath dress me ME ME me clown costume just kidding ME ME me me ME me ME me ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME

A Coffee Date Dress by Tina!

Well, everyone, after much struggling with WordPress, I have put the Selfish Reader Gallery online!  Thanks to everyone who has submitted a photo so far of their Selfish Seamstress pattern creations, and please keep them coming. I can’t believe how pretty and creative they all are- great work Selfish Readers! I had some technical struggles and unfortunately was not able to link to people’s blogs in the photo captions. Right now the gallery photo links to people’s blog URLs if they sent me one, and to the full-sized photo if they did not. This is really not ideal, but I’ve spent about an hour and a half trying different solutions and will have to put off my investigations for another day. Because…

… after a week’s worth of procrastination, I *really* have to get back to sewing the BurdaStyle book coat!  It MUST get done this weekend, which means another self-imposed sweatshop for me. Dan’s gone off on a grueling hike, the kitchen is stocked with fruit and cookies, and I’ve got my good buddies Biggie, L.L., Missy, Big Boi, Revened Run and DMC queued up on the playlist to help out. And I’m going to need all the help I can get.

My brain was feeling completely numb from working on the BurdaStyle Book coat. And I haven’t even touched the fabric yet.  After spending a decent chunk of time taping the pattern pages together, I realized I would have to add in seam allowances. Now, having just taped together 48 sheets of paper, I wasn’t about to then trace them onto new paper and add seam allowances, so I decided I would just draw them right onto the printout. But unfortunately there wasn’t enough margin around many of the pattern pieces to just draw the seam allowances right on so I began a patchwork process of taping little snippets of paper around the pieces so that I could draw complete seam allowances. (If you’re tempted to tell me that seam allowances on patterns are the work of the devil and it’s soooo much more accurate to do without them and shame on me for succumbing to this lazy American innovation, this is the part where I tell you that I don’t enjoy drawing them directly onto fabric for a fajillion little coat pieces and not everyone wants to sew the way you do. Golly, I am irritable after this day of non-sewing sewing.)

So, even though I’m not usually one for quickie projects, I needed a break. A sewing break. A sewing break from non-sewing sewing. Ta-da, the 15-minute sewing break skirt. Oops, I blinked:

(Shown with my Minimalist Cowl top, the pattern for which you can download for free.) This skirt was more of a craft project than a constructed garment. Pretty much just a tube with a little bit of shaping at the hip and waist. I don’t have a serger so I just sewed the seams with the stretch stitch on my machine and a teflon foot, and finished the raw edges with a cover stitch. The waist edge is just folded over and stitched with a stretch stitch, but I may do a more professional waist treatment in the future.

The fabric is a black and white houndstooth sweater knit that looks like wool but feels like acrylic, which is just fine with me:

And although it is not tight, it does do that clingy thing under the toosh that knits are wont to do, which is perhaps making it slightly more booty-defining than I was expecting, but not so bad that I can’t wear it to work (I think.):

Okay, that’s enough- stop looking at my butt, pervs. Close up of the front, in all of its basic, undetailed, even-an-idiot-could-sew-it glory:

You might be wondering about the black trim on the fabric. It’s actually a ribbed border that came “for free” with the fabric, because…

… this was no ordinary fabric!

There is the magnificent “Before” shot of the skirt- a beyond hideous Cosbyesque boxy sweater, with a delightful contrast mock turtleneck and black ribbed trim. Yum! This voluminous vintage lovely came home with me from the thrift store, where I was shopping for something I could appropriate for my BurdaStyle book coat. I was sort of successful in that endeavor, I think. We’ll see after I finish drawing the freakin’ seam allowances and actually get started on sewing.

Ok, break over, back to coat!

I think technically I’m barred from showing you any pictures of the BurdaStyle Book coat along the way until BurdaStyle gives me the okay to do so (which may not be until after the book is published- I don’t really know).  But I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give you a teeeeny tiny taste of where I’m at with it right now to whet your appetite:

Yup. I’ve managed to cut the margins off all 48 sheets of paper. Pretty groovy, huh? *Pats self on back for tenth time today*

This coat needs to be done in about ten days, so I guess I know what I’m doing this weekend. But before you accuse your Selfish Seamstress of being a total slacker, I should note that this current delay is not 100% procrastination on my part, even though I haven’t had much sewing time lately. First there was a mix-up about which materials BurdaStyle were going to provide and which ones I would need to buy for myself, which left me waiting for a package from them that was never going to come.  When we managed to figure this out, they ran around trying to find some of the fabric I would need but weren’t able to find it. So I checked out my sad little local fabric store and of course came away empty-handed as well, problematic since my design kind of depended on this fabric. This mess wasn’t anyone’s fault, just a simple miscommunication, but it has delayed the whole process quite a bit and unfortunately the BurdaStyle folks are on a tight production schedule, so so am I.

Finally it was determined that I should just ditch my original submitted design and redesign the coat using materials I have access to for expediency. So I’ve been redesigning it in my head. I’m going to go try to find alternate materials today and I hope it works out, otherwise I’m back to square one.

I suppose I could have taped the pieces together in the meantime, but why half-ass your procrastination when you can go all out with it? Anyway, wish me luck- I’m going to be a one-woman sweatshop this weekend!

By now it’s probably old news to many of you that BurdaStyle is coming out with a book that will feature some new BurdaStyle patterns and variations on them created by BurdaStyle members. I was invited to submit a top-secret design, so I sketched up a variation on the coat design they sent me, without entirely thinking through the consequences. And then the actually chose my design, which I was not expecting. At first I was like, “Sweet! My sewing is going to be in a book!” And then suddenly, I was like, “Oh crap, I have to sew a whole coat in a couple of weeks.”

I’m very proud to be a part of this great project and this is a very cool opportunity. But a piece of me is pretty apprehensive as well about being able to get this finished and having it turn out ok. I should have thought this through beforehand! I rarely ever sew on a deadline and I’ve got a busy month ahead of me. I haven’t got all the materials I need for the coat yet, and I’m not sure where to get them, and the fabric I received from BurdaStyle is not exactly what I was picturing for the design, though it is very pretty. It’s not entirely free labor- in addition to the glory, the designers also get the garments back to keep after the BurdaStyle folks shoot them on models for the book. But they said to expect about an 18-month turnaround time, which means it will be long enough before I get the coat back that for now it feels like I won’t be sewing it for myself, but for someone else. And you know how that usually goes for the Selfish Seamstress ;)

Wish me luck!

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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