Selfish Sewing Week Fall 2014, and more about the Zsálya pattern

After all the very businesslike (and sparse) posts on this here blog, we’re back to sewing, and folklore!

The Zsálya is one of the patterns featured during Selfish Sewing Week (and isn’t it high time we all all took a deep breath and made something that pleases just ourselves?). So let me tell you a little bit more about this pattern!

I really love to learn about folklore from different places. There’s something so meaningful in the way folkwear remains connected to the past, even while each generation changes the way it’s interpreted – using the materials of their own time, and subtly referring to the fashions of their own generation.

One silhouette I admire is Korean traditional wear or Hanbok, as worn by women:


Hanboks at the Metmuseum


(All from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute – from left to right: ensemble from 1975, wedding ensemble from between 1875-1938, ensemble from 1912.)

I love the clean lines, and the way the Hanbok provides a very defined canvas to play with colors, patterns, and textures. The curved-bottom jacket with the crossover V neckline and the straight gathers of the skirt create a sweet, flattering silhouette.  Something about crossover V necklines draws attention to faces, and fullness that descends from it would probably hide a night of gluttony really well.

The skirt of the Hanbok is tied around the breasts, which I rather suspect that, given the particulars of my anatomy in the chest region, I would not find very comfortable in real life. But you can’t have everything. So instead of the traditional two-piece outfit, in the Zsálya I joined the jacket to the skirt to create a single garment.


And here’s the blouse:



The sleeve detail on the dress (or – short version of the sleeve) has a small V that mirrors the neckline:


Yes, I wear this dress. It’s made of silk satin (which I got in Truemart Fabrics), and I sewed with the satiny side on the inside, which feels soooo soft when I put it on:




(This photo tells you a few other things too: I often only get to photographing anything when light conditions are not ideal, I’ve cut off most of my hair, and I need glasses because it’s starting to be a problem that I can’t see when a photo is not sharp.)

Something I really like about the neckline is the way it opens up when you put on or take off the Zsálya:




I’m not sure how to show that to you in a less awkward way.

The V of the neckline is also repeated in the long sleeve’s cuff detail:




(I do like to make Zsályas in Liberty of London Tana Lawn. I have more than a few. It’s a slightly expensive habit.)

(By the way, the front and back yokes are GREAT canvases for embellishment. Like embroidery! And what’s more, if you find it tiresome to make the back of your embroidery look almost as nice as the front, this pattern’s got you covered: the yoke has a full yoke facing that will completely protect the back of your embroidery from possibly snagging on anything. More on that later as well – i.e. why anyone would care what the back of their embroidery looks like, in a slightly OCD manner, kind of like I do.)

And finally, what do you think of the Zsálya as a high-low hemline tunic?




I’ve got a tutorial coming your way on how to alter the pattern pieces to make it. I made it in a silk crepe-de-chine I bought in Mood a while ago, and it’s soft and a bit swingy in the back:





You could make it even swingier, if you like. I’m contemplating it.

Here’s the neckline opened up again:




See you soon!

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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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