Selfish Sewing for Fall 2014

Are you ready to pamper yourself a bit? Do some sewing just for you? In short, are you ready for Selfish Sewing Week?

Imagine Gnats and Kollabora are back with another week of self-indulgent garment-making just for you! It’s two weeks away:




Imagine Gnats has a handy free printable planner all ready for you to download, counting down to SSW from today. Last May Selfish Sewing Week featured the Róza pattern – I loved Milkybeer Handmade’s version, didn’t you?

This Fall’s SSW will have a little something to do with the Zsálya pattern. Have you seen this beautiful summery Zsálya that Stephanie made?

zsalya top by stephanie

During Selfish Sewing Week you’ll have a chance to win a copy of the Zsálya pattern but I’m throwing in something else in case you can’t wait – or don’t win: grab the Zsálya on Etsy for 20% off through the end of September. Oh, and why don’t you go heart Selfish Sewing Week on Kollabora too!

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Get ready for Frocktober!

We’re back, after a whole summer away. It’s been a long summer, with good things and bad things, and I’m happy to report that so far, my nephew Aron is responding very well to treatment. The girls spent lots of time with him and their other cousins, swam in Balaton, went for long walks in the woods north of Balaton and the Buda hills, improved their Hungarian, and learned to misbehave in all sorts of new ways. I found it frustrating how little I could do to actually help my sister. Trying and failing at what I hoped would be a helpful idea many times.

But there were fun things for me too: Andy and I got a bit of time along to go to Berlin, where I’ve been wanting to visit for years. I loved Berlin. I also met Constance (owner of Santa Lucia Patterns), who took me fabric-shopping at the Turkish market. I had also hoped to but did not succeed at meeting Linda, who runs the little shop Volksfaden. We were also taken around town by friends, spent time contemplating at the Berlin wall’s remains, which still shakes me up.

Now, it’s time to get ready for school, work, fall and winter.




I’m so pleased the Giselle dress pattern is part of the Frocktober challenge run by The Monthly Stitch, along with the Lonsdale dress by Sewaholic, the Dakota dress by Named Patterns, and the Reglisse dress by Deer and Doe! Participate by sewing up your own version of one (or all four) dresses, and enter to win free patterns!

Read all about prizes and rules of participation in the Frocktober challenge announcement. To help you get ready, the Giselle dress pattern is on sale for 20% off from today through September 30, both the paper version and the pdf download.


Gisellel overall


I look forward to seeing what you make!



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New Stockist: Santa Lucia Patterns

If you live in Europe and would like to buy a Kate & Rose paper pattern, I’ve got great news: Santa Lucia Patterns in Berlin has got them in stock!

Kate & Rose sewing patterns

I learned from Constance, the owner of this lovely pattern web shop, that Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy) was the patron saint of tailors and seamstresses (Constance has a degree in medieval history: the women who run sewing businesses are just fascinating).

Santa Lucia Patterns has a large and excellent selection of indie sewing pattern designers. And now they’ve got the Róza, Giselle, Zsálya, and Mariska patterns in stock as well!

Oh! And they’re a source for Kate & Rose paper patterns until I’m fully back online in September.

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Leading up to the 4th of July: a sale!


sale - 20% off


Because life must go on and the 4th of July is almost here: everything in my shop is on sale, now through Wednesday, July 2nd! (I know, I know: July 2nd and July 4th are not the same, but I’ll be leaving on July 5th and won’t be back until the very end of August so July 3rd is the last day I’ll be able to ship anything to you.) And the 4th of July is a happy day so: use coupon code CELEBRATE at checkout to claim your 20% discount.

After July 3rd only PDF patterns (for both sewing and embroidery) will remain online in my shop, everything else (and new things too!) will be back in September. So, you’ll still be able to buy PDF sewing and embroidery patterns, but from July 3 through late August (or, well let’s be honest, probably the first week of September), all paper patterns, hot iron transfers, fabric, and ribbons will be unavailable. Until next time!

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Something personal: the Firefighter Street Children’s Clinic

Last night we were watching an episode of Veep and childhood cancer was mentioned as one of the few evils of the universe that can’t be explained, at all.

Sometimes the little details of very silly things like a television show strike far too close to home.

We’ve had a hard few weeks. Something’s happened in my larger family, something’s been happening, something that I find very difficult to grasp, and to not think about constantly, and to not let it eat up everything I touch with the sheer unfairness of it all. And I’m not the person most directly affected. Not at all. Not even a little bit, strictly speaking: besides being plaintive and complaining, this is not about my pain.

And still I have trouble focusing on anything I need to do. I have trouble sleeping, I get nightmares that make me lie awake and spin out scenarios of the Worst Possible Outcome, not just for the situation at hand but for things that have never happened but if they did, they would affect everyone I love in horrible ways.

(That’s the true curse of being Hungarian, more so than the badly shod, beer-bellied, racist and embarrassing machismo that masquerades as politics and policymaking in Hungary these days: that you can think of the worst-case scenario in any situation much faster and in far more elaborate detail than anyone else.)

I wish it was just a nightmare. But this thing is real. It’s chilling, and scary, and outside the natural order of things. It makes you stop in your tracks and gasp for breath, forces you to see that there are limits to what we human beings can do to save each other, it makes you grind your teeth in a blind rage, helpless. It’s personal. And then you stand there, unable to move, unable to do anything to or for anyone at all.

It’s no one’s fault, there is no one to direct our rage at. But that’s how we are, we humans: it’d be reassuring to assign blame. It’s hard to accept that there is no one to blame.

My sister’s ten-year-old son, who had a bout of leukemia four years ago, has relapsed a few weeks ago.

We do not know what his prognosis is. It could be anything, after a relapse. I’m not sure it’s worth knowing what the prognosis is for anyone besides his doctors. Because your individual story is your individual story, and statistics are made up of many, many individual stories, all of which play out differently. That’s the tiny, shiny spot where hope resides.

Childhood leukemia is a terrible disease, but it’s one of the first cancers for which people have come up with what is close to a cure. It’s a harrowing cure, to be sure, but the disease is far worse. Childhood leukemia is painful, swift, and awful. My late father-in-law’s brother died of it at age three, within a month. But that was a long time ago (in the early 1930s), and since then, people have figured out a treatment protocol that works, most of the time.

But not always.

If I owe you an email, I apologize. It will be written, I promise. If I should have finished something and sent it to you but haven’t yet, please know it’s coming and I’m sorry it’s coming later than it should.

Someday, most of my family will get over this and be fine.

But not all of us.

So there is one thing I need to ask you. If there is a children’s hospital you care about, and you can afford donating to them, please do. Worldwide, treatment protocols for childhood cancers are mostly the same. The difference is in the resources each hospital has, the resourses needed so that sick children can have, besides chemotherapy, things like clean sheets, nutritious food, physical therapists, clean bathrooms, enough nurses, toys, psychoterapists – or translators and social workers to help their parents. Yes, really. Many hospitals could use your help: in most parts of the world there aren’t enough funds for the things that those of us with solid health insurance, here in the U.S., take for granted.

Áron, my nephew, is currently treated at Tűzoltó Utcai Gyermekklinika – which means Firefighter Street Children’s Clinic – in Budapest. (How appropriately named: Firefighter Street Children’s Clinic.) This is their foundation’s donation site. Four years ago he was treated at the Heim Pál Gyermekkórház – Madarász Utcai Részleg (Paul Heim Children’s Hospital, Birdcatcher Street Division). Their foundation’s web sites are here and here. Please consider helping them, or any other children’s hospital in the world that could use a boost.

You could also just give blood. Childhood leukemia patients need a blood transfusion as often as every 8 days during one phase of treatment. If you’re like me and feel faint at the sight of a needle (ironic, being as how I embroider so much, isn’t it?), tell them to give you some beer! It keeps your blood pressure a bit more even, and helps you NOT pass out while giving blood.

(I’m trying to infuse levity into the situation. Trying. Because laughter should be healing. The reality is that I don’t know how to laugh much at all, these days.)

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