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Last night was my final dance class for the month.  If you recall, inspired by Amber and her insane fitness workout, I did a one-month self-imposed boot camp of five day per week dancing (four classes per week and then usually one additional dance thing somewhere).  Now that I count it all up, it amounted to about 7-8 hours of dancing per week which in retrospect really isn’t all that much exercise :) Kind of a paltry “boot camp.”

I’m not so good at tracking things, so my final progress report is pretty weak.  I don’t own a scale so I have no idea if I’ve slimmed down. And I haven’t been taking any measurements so no known change there. No noticeable change in overall fitness, shape, strength, or muscle tone either. Aren’t you glad I’m updating you on my progress?  Super satisfying for you! But ooh, I had so much fun. I’m signed up for more classes for August, but not as many because there aren’t many classes offered in August. Here comes a segue into sewing.

There is, however, notable progress on my long-coveted leopard print pencil skirt:

As you can see, the outer is mostly assembled. The only thing I changed from my muslin was to drop the front center waist about a half inch. I tried it on and it’s so comfortable and it fits so nicely that I really don’t want to line it, even though I had planned to in the first place. As I’ve mentioned, lately I’ve been finding skirt linings so annoying when I’m wearing them. My plan now is to do a facing on the waistband (already mostly done) and a Hong Kong-type finish on the seams. Dan asked this morning if I wanted to go to the fabric store this evening (because he’s getting a haircut and it’s right near his haircutting place) so it sounds like a good opportunity to tag along and grab some bias binding. It’s like he can read my evil mind.

The fabric is a dull stretch satin (or possibly a shiny sateen?), left over from the Drama Queen Jacket, which I ultimately did not love:

Update on that not-quite-right garment, however- I mailed it to my mother, along with the Swallowtail Shawl, and she called me up to say she loved it, which is high praise from my mother who is too stylish to wear something simply because her daughter made it. Even crazier, she said my dad loves it. I have never known my father to voice an opinion on any piece of clothing ever. I guess a little leopard print just does something to a person. I’m certainly smitten with it.

The Selfish Seamstress has decided to take the moral high road and forgive Dan after yesterday’s unfortunate Burda incident. As a gesture of goodwill, I graciously permitted him to take photographs of my newly finished Drama Queen Jacket, McCall 5478 (now out of print) rendered in silvery leopard print duchesse satin.

The lining is some silvery teal slightly iridescent rayon that I discovered in my stash. I think I purchased it in Germany back in 2007 and didn’t even realize I still had some. Awesome. Lining fabrics are one of those things that always seem to be lacking in my stash.

I really loved making up this pattern.  The draft is great and the fit was perfect (it’s one of those patterns that have difference pieces for A/B, C, and D cups).  All I did was grade it down to a size 4 and do a petite alteration as marked on the pattern, and it was spot on. I omitted the pocket flaps and added two inches to the length, and I also skipped the back tab thingy because I wanted to be able to wear this with a belt.

The back has a pleated vent with an underlay and it makes for a very flattering peplum shape- not too exaggerated as to be silly, but just a little bit of flare:

Oops- I see a loose thread that I need to clip there. The prescribed method of attaching the lining at the hem doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because you’re supposed to stitch it over the pleat underlay, which would essentially render the back vent non-functional. Instead I did an invisible hem on the lining and let it hang free, which I sometimes like to do with my jacket linings anyway.

I did two self fabric covered buttons for closure. I could have done a third one, but given that I wanted to belt it, I decided against it. 

I’ve seen a few people style this jacket with a turtleneck, and the envelope itself has the model wearing a turtleneck under this, but I don’t think I could work that look. With this dramatic open portrait collar, a big swath of fabric underneath wouldn’t work on me. Plus, I like putting my clavicle on display.

Oh, I got bitten by a mosquito while we were outside. Yes I know I’m not supposed to scratch it, thanks mom.

Final verdict on this one? Nuh-uh. Elizabeth recently wrote a very thoughtful and interest post about “wadders” and learning from sewing mistakes. And it got me thinking about the various ways in which a project might not work out. This is one of them. From an engineering standpoint, this jacket is a success. It came together well, and it fits great. But cute as I think it is, it’s just wrong for me. As soon as I put it on for Dan to see, he made a face and said, “It’s a little, um… mature for you.  It looks like something your mom would wear.” Ordinarily I would have responded to this by ignoring him for days, and opening my mouth only to say, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you,” in response to his queries about why I was upset. But the truth is that Dan said exactly the same things that I was thinking when I was making it and trying it on in the process. It’s just not right on me.

Ultimately, this jacket feels costumey when I wear it, like a poodle skirt or leisure suit. I can’t see myself wearing it- certainly not to work or out to dinner or to a wedding. Women in their 30s don’t wear dressy suits to weddings, they wear dresses. I also tried it with skinny jeans and tall, high-heeled cordovan boots, and it doesn’t dress down enough either because it’s satin. I could rock this at some sort of vintage-themed cocktail party, but how often does that happen? For any actual real-life events it’s just a bit too wealthy Park Avenue dowager. Maybe in 10 years, we’ll see.

But Dan (and I) are right about one thing- it would look terrific on my mom. She could wear it over a black sheath to a wedding and be a knockout. So I guess she’ll be getting another something in the mail along with her Swallowtail Shawl!

Don’t worry though – I plan to make this great jacket pattern up in a more sedate fabric so that I can wear it to work, and I’ve got plenty more of the leopard fabric earmarked for a hot pencil skirt that I will keep.

As I mentioned previously, I sent Dan off to Frankfurt to pick up a copy of the July 2010 Burda for me. And as I alluded to in yesterday’s poetry, this leaves your Selfish Seamstress in the position of being at home with no one to cook supper for her. Hrrmph. That Dan can be so inconsiderate sometimes. What about me? WHERE’S MY DINNER?

The silver lining in all of this negligence and inconvenience is that it’s left me a little more time to sew in the evening. Since I’m not wasting time sitting down to dinner and using precious seconds grunting one-word replies to his pleasant conversation, I’m making good progress on my leopard jacket. No, not that leopard jacket which is still hanging unfinished. Instead I wanted to do some absolutely mindless sewing. (Not that the first leopard jacket is terribly complicated, but I don’t feel like doing the fiddly work of transferring my fit alterations back onto the pattern so I can cut an identical underlining. Whew, my attention is wandering just typing about it.)

So here’s a sneak peek at my latest low-effort, high-drama project. It’s not finished yet, but it’s assembled enough to bear a strong resemblance to what it will look like when it’s finished.

With Dan out of town (again, what about *my* needs?), and Sasa giving her usual “But I have paws and also I’m sleeping” excuse, I’m back to taking slightly fuzzy photos of myself in the bathroom mirror.

The jacket is made of my silvery leopard print duchesse satin impulse buy from which I wanted to make something va-va-voom-y. I’m not sure if you can tell from this angle, but it does have a little smidge of va-va-voom to it. I think I like it so far- the cut is fantastic and the fit is spot on right out of the envelope (after I graded down a size). My only concern is that it’s a wee bit on the cougar-y side. Not cougar print, but cougar lady. I’m not sure if the garment reads more “vintage-shop-funky-chic” or more “maybe-my-nephew-has-some-cute-friends-at-college.” I don’t mean to say that I think I look like a cougar in it, but perhaps like I filched something out of a cougar’s closet :) Anyway, it just needs some finishing at this point, after which I’ll show it to you in detail (once Dan is back to do my photo-taking bidding), and you can tell me thumbs up or thumbs down on the final product.

Oh, and I actually *did* cook myself a proper supper last night. As for washing the dishes used to make and consume said supper, surely that can wait until Dan gets back. He’ll need something to occupy his time when the jetlag keeps him up. See how I’m always thinking of him?

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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