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Well, Selfish readers, you’re in for a treat today because Selfish has a prezzie for you! That’s right, it’s another freebie pattern to download, and all I ask in return is that you sign your soul over to me in the comments. Sweet deal, right? Today’s pattern is for a wacky outerwear garment inspired by the Kate Spade Victoria faux fur pullover. (You can read about my own version in my last post.)
The Selfish Seamstress pattern is size XS, but should be quite easy for someone with intermediate skills to modify it for larger sizes by adding the desired amount of additional width at the center of each piece (back, front, sleeve, and collar.) It has a straight, roomy silhouette, raglan 3/4 length sleeves (or actually maybe more like 2/3) with a dart at the top of the shoulder, and a wide funnel collar that can be folded over if desired. It is also fully lined. The Selfish version does not include the front kangaroo pocket of the original Kate Spade, but it should be easy to add if desired.
- I highly recommend that you read up on how to cut and sew faux fur if you have never done so before. There are many resources available online. I put together a tutorial on BurdaStyle a few years ago that may be of use.
- Note that the seam allowances are included in the pattern, and that they are 3/8″ (1 cm), NOT the standard 5/8″ on most Big 4 patterns.
- The construction on this garment is extremely easy (just 4 pattern pieces!) but I have NOT INCLUDED INSTRUCTIONS. I therefore recommend this for advanced beginners or intermediates.
- Pay attention to the direction of the pile on the fur. For my own version, I have the pile on the body and collar running sideways (necessary for the direction of the stripes) and on the sleeves the pile runs towards the back (i.e. if you had your arms folded across your chest the fur on the forearms would be running downwards.)
- MAKE A MUSLIN AND TRY IT ON FOR FIT. You will be sad if your expensive faux fur garment does not fit. And yes, it’s a roomy pattern, but most faux fur does not stretch and the garment needs to be big enough that you can pull it on and off over your head, unless you plan to add a closure of some sort. (I don’t recommend sewing a zipper to the fur as the pile is likely to catch in the teeth unless you have some sort of buffer between the zipper and the fur.)
For my version, I used:
- About 1.5 yards of faux fur, 60″ wide
- About 1.25 yards of silk twill for the lining, 45″ wide
You can find good quality faux fur on Etsy, including Tissavel, and this brown faux mink with channels that looks from the picture a lot like the original Kate Spade fur (note: I have never purchased this and cannot vouch for its quality or texture). Gorgeous Fabrics and Emma One Sock often have nice quality faux fur as well. I got mine on eBay but it’s now sold out. You could stick with basic brown to be true to the original, but I could also see this garment working in a bunch of colors and textures, like a shaggy gray or cream Mongolian lamb (fun!), a silky black mink (classic!), a dusky gray-blue (edgy!), or leopard (trendy!) I mean, it’s a fur shirt. Don’t take it too seriously :)
Ok, so, for those of you who are drooling over the notion of having your very own fluffy-chic Kate Spade Victoria-esque pullover, snag it now or head over to my Downloads page for this and other free patterns! It prints onto 18 sheets of US Letter or A4 paper that you’ll have to tape together. And again, I request payment in the form of souls, so please transfer ownership of them to me in the comments. Happy sewing and come back and show me what you make!
IMPORTANT: This work is my creation and my intellectual property, protected under a Creative Commons license. You may not use it for any commercial purposes, claim it as your own, or resell it (I’m looking at you, Geraldine/Lorriange.)
The Selfish Seamstress Kate Spade-Inspired Fur Pullover Sewing Pattern by The Selfish Seamstress is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Big bad bully Selfish Seamstress is back at it again, ruthlessly ripping off innocent, defenseless fashion giants like Kate Spade New York! This time, Selfish set her sights on the Victoria Faux Fur Pullover, which I believe was part of the line in late 2011 or early 2012, originally retailed for $845, and long since sold out. I only discovered it a couple of weeks ago though, and was immediately obsessed with this weird, weird garment. Seriously. A shirt made out of fur. And somehow that seemed like a can’t-live-without-it garment. Go figure.
Here are the front and back views of the original. Dan just saw this photo on my screen and asked, “Is that you??” No. Really not.
It was one of those projects that made me want to drop everything and sew. I was terrified of the thought that the weather might warm up before I could finish it. Within minutes of seeing it, I was trolling the web for the right faux fur. I found it on eBay and then waited weeks for it to slowly make its way to me via shady underground channels and very generous, helpful people because the seller wouldn’t ship here. In the meantime I drafted a pattern for it based very, very loosely (almost not at all) on the Burda 9-2007-105 jacket:
The other thing I did while waiting for the fur to arrive was worry whether the fur would be right. I was pretty sure that the pile would be soft and dense and silky, as high-quality faux fur usually is these days. But I wasn’t sure whether the woven backing would be stiff or drapey, and I really wanted something drapey to avoid this sort of effect:
When the fur finally arrived, I found myself (as usual) in the thick of a busy period at work. But rabid to make this bizarre garment, I squeezed in three nights of 10PM-1AM sewing, and it was mine…. ALL MINE. And most likely the weirdest, most unnecessary thing I have ever sewn for myself.
The fur, as it turned out, was as delightfully drapey as a beach blanket, and sooooooo soft and silky and pettable- the best faux fur I’ve ever laid my fingers on. It was so nice that I started having second thoughts about using it to make a potentially unflattering wadder, and started considering using it for a safer bet like a proper jacket. But I decided to press on with the weird fur shirt. As you can see above, I’m wearing it with my DIY long combo gloves, which I also made while I was impatiently waiting for the fur to arrive. And yes, I did make them in anticipation of wearing them with the fur shirt!
I decided not to go with the same type of faux fur used in the original- the KS version has very defined channels, which I thought might create the illusion of more bulk than necessary (think Michelin man). The fur I used has some gentle, irregular striation, but it’s much more subtle. You can see well here:
This garment is neither practical nor slimming. It’s not the easiest thing to get out of, it leaves my neck cold and doesn’t look good with scarf, and the 3/4 sleeves are just ridiculous for winter. I mean, an open-necked, half-sleeved shirt made of faux fur is possibly the most pointless winter outerwear ever. Really, as stupid as open-toed boots, which naturally, I have as well. Together they make for a stupid yet badass ensemble:
All in all, this was a really easy project because the pattern draft was right on the first try (because really, this garment does not require a very precise fit) and there was just so little to it. I used standard techniques for sewing faux fur, and it all came together easily. I did have a cold while sewing it, and all the loose fluff would send me into some bad coughing fits even though I was using the hand vac every 30 seconds.
I lined the garment with some impulse-buy Milly silk twill that I had picked up at Metro over the holidays while shopping with my cousin Evelyn. (Side note about Selfish’s cousin Evelyn: She is a bona fide fashion designer with a bona fide fashion degree, unlike Selfish, who is a charlatan who uses her intermediate sewing skills to do one-off knockoffs of upscale mass market fashion. Selfish will text her to say, “I’m going fabric shopping in 15 minutes” and Evelyn will show up without fail. She knows exactly where to go for whatever random thing Selfish wants, and supports Selfish’s every greedy fabric whim with patience and good cheer. And the craziest thing? Selfish has never seen Evelyn buy ANYTHING except a quarter of a yard of tan velcro. Clearly related by marriage.)
The silk is cream and chocolate brown in a sort of geometric zebra-ish stripe and I like the idea of one fake animal lined in another fake animal. It’s like a sartorial turducken. By the way, I didn’t buy the silk to use as lining, but I realized recently that I have a huge, huge backlog of silk charmeuse and silk twill (mostly Milly) that I’m never going to work through unless I stop being so sparing with them. So Selfish is now lining garments with designer silk that will never be seen. Talk about hashtag-first-world-sewing-problems, right?
I should note that the KS original was lined with acetate. Acetate?? For that kind of money?? Seriously, couldn’t they just charge $20 more and line it with silk? No one who would be willing to buy this thing at $845 is going to be like, “Nope, $865 is where I draw the line.” Anyway. *Mine* is lined with silk, ha ha. (In case you’re interested, I used less than 1.5 meters of faux fur, which was about $70, and just over a yard of silk, which was probably about $12. So not the cheapest project ever, but still a bargain at 1/10th the price of the original.)
I made a couple of changes from the original- first I left off the front kangaroo pocket. A pocket would be nice, but I really didn’t want any more bulk over the tummy. This garment already makes for a pretty roly-poly silhouette. Here it is without the belt:
Also I left off the twee little bow in the back underneath the collar. I don’t mind the bow so much, but it seemed very much like a Kate Spade signature. Adding it seemed like it would be just short of sewing a Kate Spade tag inside. I also think that the original might flare a bit to the hem, whereas mine is a straight silhouette all the way down. And my neckline might be a bit more open.
Honestly, I don’t know if people think “WTF??” when they see me walking down the street in this, but I love it in all of its weird, furry glory. Dan was initially skeptical when I showed him my plans but was won over by the final product, perhaps because he likes to hug me when I am wearing it. It’s really the only good thing about hugging Selfish since she DOES NOT hug back.
That’s pretty much it for the Selfish Seamstress Kate Spade Victoria Faux Fur Pullover Knockoff. Oh, except for one thing. If there are any XS ladies in the audience who are jonesing for their own KS fur pullover knockoffs, I would suggest keeping an eye on my blog in the coming days, particularly the downloads page. I may just have a little something for which you should prepare to express tremendous amounts of gratitude and worship. Start shopping for your fur now!
P.S. I got a bunch of comments on my last post about the nail polish I was wearing – it’s OPI “Germanicure” and it’s one of my favorites. Highly recommended.
Once again, work has gotten to be so hectic that time for everything else has just about dried up. I tried at first to buy some extra minutes by eliminating unnecessary words and phrases from utterance, such as “please,” “thank you,” “are you going to eat that?” and “you don’t mind if I cut ahead of you, right?” And although I found myself at the front of queues much sooner after implementing these changes, I still found myself short on time, which meant no sewing for weeks on end. I finally squeezed a few hours this weekend to finish up a stagnating project (most likely at the expense of lectures that needed prepping or students that needed help- suckas!) – a dress inspired by the Kate Spade “Jillian” polka dot dress. Here’s the original:
Sooooooo pretty, right?? This dress has been drooled over by many a seamstress, including Kerry, who took a much smarter and more efficient approach to satisfying her covet. Not so for the Selfish Seamstress, who had to do things the slow way. (Kerry, incidentally, is so similar to Selfish in proportions that Selfish occasionally dreams of annexing Kerry, installing her in the sewing room, and using her as some sort of feisty, live-action dress form. Oh, what fun we would have, and what a precise fit!)
I don’t know on what blog or website I first saw the dress, but I am sure that the picture above is the first one I saw, and the one I fell for. I don’t think I would have gotten quite so excited over it if I had only seen the modeled dress. Subsequent research on the dress revealed a slightly more sedate, less flared skirt than I had expected as well as a rather polka-dot-disruptive back seamed skirt that I wanted to avoid (as I had done before when knocking off other polka dot garments).
And so I set off to improve upon the original to make it more to my liking. Yes, you read that correctly- a crankpot nobody sewing blogger with average sewing skills, no fashion design training, and paltry creative vision of her own actually claimed she was going to improve upon KATE SPADE. Improve. Kate Spade. Hubrisalicious!
Planned improvement #1: more flare in the skirt. Planned improvement #2: side zip instead of back zip to ditch the back seam. Planned improvement #3: COTTON. Online retailers described the original polka dot Jillian dress as being done in “heavy silk organza.” Really? Looks like taffeta to me. Whatever weave it is, it’s strictly a party dress in sheeny, stiff silk. And Selfish never gets invited to parties on account of her tendency to ruin everyone else’s evening, so she was aiming for a little more versatility- something she could wear to ruin general everyday events for people.
Improvement #3 turned out to be a rather tall order, as it was hard to find the right navy and white polka dot cotton fabric. I didn’t want to wuss out with some rinky-dink mid-scale 1/2″ polka dot. I wanted a proper, robust, intentionally large, unashamed dot. Plus I wanted a regular dot pattern, like Kate’s, and not an irregular, scattered dot. See this? Unacceptable:
After much scouring of the internet, I found this perfectly patterned navy and and white cotton on Denver Fabrics, with just the right size dot (slightly less dense than the original, but not a problem) and a smooth, sateen-like weave, for the just-right price of $5.50 . (Of course, I was so desperate to have the dress that I paid the $40 international shipping to procure 2.5 yards of it. Oh, Selfish, there you go again.) The dots are perfectly circular in real life- they just look a little eccentric in the picture.
The fabric arrived and although it’s not lightweight, it’s softer and drapier than I was expecting- it feels like the high thread count cotton Royal Sateen bedsheets that my mom loves, after they’ve been through the wash a couple of times. So, rather limp and prone to wrinkling- better suited to a softer, looser style of dress than the crisp fit and flare silhouette that I had envisioned. But I was determined and certainly wasn’t going to find a better print so I pressed on.
I was going to draft the dress from scratch, and then I remembered that I had a custom-drafted pattern with just the right bodice for it that I could use as a block- my good old Coffee Date Dress (download the pattern and instructions for free here!). I slashed-and-spread the skirt in several places to give it a little more flare for good measure (the original Coffee Date Dress draft has a rather modest flare) and added a 4″ inverted box pleat in the center front à la Kate. I omitted the Coffee Date Dress’s back zip in favor of a side invisible zip to avoid the dreaded polka dot disruption:
The side seam polka-dot disruption is much less jarring since the side seam of the skirt is on the bias and no strong vertical elements to get interrupted:
And of course, I drafted the fun midriff drape and the bow (the tails of my bow are a little longer than in the original. Somehow I thought the little bow looked rather twee, but with this style of dress that’s kind of like further splitting hairs that have already been split.) The bow droops a bit due to the softness of the fabric so I may open it up again and line or interface it.
Because the fabric was so soft, I opted to do a full lining instead of facings to give it a little more body. I used a champagne taffeta lining from my stash- probably an acetate and rayon blend, but possibly full acetate. It has a bit more stiffness than Bemberg (a good thing for the soft fashion fabric) and the champagne color softens the sparkling whiteness of the polka dot fabric a little (also a good thing, in my opinion.)
I don’t regret adding in the extra flare to the skirt – this dress looks pretty much like what I imagined in my head. But the volume of the skirt does cause the front box pleat to get a little bit lost in the shuffle. And I always forget how short I drafted the original Coffee Date Dress- I’ve got about a 3/4″ hem only because I didn’t want to go any shorter with this style.
There you have it- inspired by the Kate Spade polka dot Jillian dress, knocked off and “improved” by the Selfish Seamstress on the cheap, ready to wear to any number of places and activities where you can fully expect that I will ruin your day and that of everyone around you. Oh, by the way, are you going to eat that? Thanks.