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May 19, 2010

Something Smells (Sel)Fishy or "The Elaine Dress"


Friends, have you ever experienced a state of such moral confusion that you found yourself reaching for the bible and you're an atheist?  Have you ever felt like you'd gone to bed and woken up in Bizarro World?

How else can I describe my disorientation when, nearly two weeks ago, I received an email from a certain Elaine May -- yes, the Selfish Seamstress herself -- offering to purchase a dress pattern for my cousin Cathy and send it to me as a gift?

Like most of you, loyal readers, I visit Elaine's blog once every couple of months (if I remember) to see what she's up to; usually not much.   I've noticed to my dismay however -- and please, let's keep this just between us -- that Elaine has been undergoing a troubling personality shift that threatens to undo all the bad she represents.  It started last March, when Elaine began sewing with vibrant print fabrics instead of her usual funereal grays and black.  It continued into April, when she organized a boatlift of sewing supplies to a survivor of the Haitian earthquake and, soon thereafter, was captured smiling in photos.  Our own little Wednesday Adams had turned into Friday's Child!

This sad transformation has culminated, of course, in the recent announcement of Elaine's engagement to the man I'd thought was already her husband as well as the source of her all-around bad attitude, the ever-affable-on-the-surface-which-is-good-enough-for-me Dan.


So you can understand how alarmed I was to receive the aforementioned email.  Wrote Elaine, apropos of Cathy, "I was thinking she'd look great in Simplicity 6672."  (!)



WELL!  How would you have reacted?  Readers, I was brought up always to accept a gift whether I wanted it or not with the understanding that it obviously meant a great deal to the giver.  So I said, Sure, send it.

Please don't tell Elaine this, but Simplicity 6672 is not quite the kind of dress I'd have chosen for Cathy for two small, nearly non-existent reasons -- reasons with nipples, need I be more explicit?  Look at it.  Regardless, I secretly hoped Elaine had just had too much to drink that night, or more thrillingly, perhaps Dan was using her email to send me coded romantic messages via pattern purchases, e.g., 6672 -- I love you.

But I was wrong!   I opened my mailbox this last Monday and there it was.  It may even have been the reason I tripped on my Monday run and skinned half my body, that's how unsettled I was!

Let's cut to the chase.  In a quandary over a rapidly unraveling polyester brocade that seemed to have come with a curse, I decided to switch gears entirely and tackle what henceforth shall be called "The Elaine Dress."  Yesterday  I purchased a pistachio polyester crepe that is perfect for this 1974 "Designer Fashion."  In fact, it may actually be from 1974 given how deep it was buried in the $2-per-yard-last-exit-before-dumpster pile.



Parenthetically, friends, what's the point of calling something "designer fashion" if you're not going to name the designer?  I mean, everything was designed by somebody.   If you're not going to name names, let's face it, that somebody must be a real nobody.

But back to the dress.  I spent a few hours yesterday -- on my own dear mother's eightieth birthday no less -- working on The Elaine Dress.   Here's how things stood before I could renege on my family obligations no longer and had to head up to the Bronx, Michael and two chihuahuas in tow:



Loyal followers of Male Pattern Boldness and occasional skimmers of that other blog, what do you think of my decision? Am I doing the right thing?

On the one hand, I don't want to be complicit in what I consider the undeniable softening of our beloved, brittle, little Miss Selfish, but I don't want to be rude either.  If only I hadn't had that brocade fiasco, this never would have happened; I'd have sent the package back, "Return to Sender, Address Unknown."  I would too have.

The worst part of it is, Cathy is going to love this outfit, just wait and see.  And who do you think is going to get all the credit?  Elaine!

Drat, that girl!

P.S. -- Do you think I owe her a pattern now and does it have to be in her size?

38 comments:

  1. You owe her a pattern now and it has to be in her size. Surely you can't try to be competitive on selfishness?!?

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  2. I have that pattern too! Now you've inspired me to make it, but I suspect it will look better on a person of Cathy's height and grace than on my 5'2" (although I won't have the same problem re things with nipples). And you know what? I don't think that you owe her a pattern - rather, maybe you could pass on the sentiment and send a pattern to someone else whose blog you admire and admonish them to make it.

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  3. I agree with thornberry. You owe her or somebody else a pattern. And I have a pattern I'd like to give you, too. It doesn't fit anybody here, I got it for free, and coincidentally, it's in your size. Email me with an address, Peter, and I'll send it along when I mail the quilts. It's a 40s pajama pattern to go with your 40s undies.

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  4. OMG, what a gorgeous pattern! As for reciprocating, sheesh, Elaine is so tiny . . . I think you'd need to send her something like an American Girl doll pattern in order for it to fit her!

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  5. I think that engagement has gone to her head. Poor girl, her next stop will be some asylum. Great progress on the dress though.

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  6. Hey Peter,
    LOVE the pattern!! I now must search for it so it can be worn to my cousin's upcoming July wedding! I recently picked up a vintage Vogue strapless, pattern V2961, for the occasion and am now rethinking my entire ensemble due to the modest plunging neck line on this beauty. It may be better suited for this evening gala event!

    Anyway, I have an award for you. Please stop by my OneGreenTomato blog to pick it up! Hope all is well!!
    Danielle

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  7. I just cut the fabric for that pattern last week. I got sidetracked with a dress for my daughter but it is hanging ready to be sewn. Maybe Cathy could do her photo shoot in Brooklyn and we could be twins for the day ;-)

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  8. I think you could do a double Whammy back on Elaine. Send her a pattern back that is for DAN! Then she is obliged to make something for him and you are off the hook! Plus then we all get more pics of Dan which makes us all happy

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  9. Beware Cathy! I've too have noticed this change in Miss Selfish. SHE IS SETTING YOU UP FOR SOMETHING! I saw her post on using people! You don't think Cathy is about to be called on to be a...bridesmaid...do you? It gives me shivers to think what that devious seamstress might be up to.

    On the other hand, I love that pattern, and I usually hate 1970's clothes.

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  10. EFF YOU PETER YOU EFFING A-HOLE. YOUR STUPID EFFING BLOG IS FULL OF LIES AND DUMBNESS AND YOU WILL NEVER EVER GET DAN BECAUSE DAN DOESN'T GO FOR SLIMEBAGS OR THEIR SLIMY COUSINS. AND DUH DON'T YOU KNOW THAT A PLUNGING NECKLINE ALWAYS LOOKS MORE ELEGANT ON A FLAT CHEST. SEW IT UP ALREADY SO I CAN SEE IT.

    Idiot.

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  11. Oh, I fear we've struck a nerve.

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  12. I think that she's using you. She wants a pattern for herself. I think that In The Heyday is a genius and you should spite the "Selfish" Steamstress by mailing her a pattern for Dan.

    Sophie
    filasewphie.blogspot.com

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  13. Send her a pattern that would be perfect for someone she knows! It would violate her ethical code. Perfect.

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  14. I just found your blog through the Selfish Seamstress, and I am cracking up! Thanks for such a hilarious post. :)

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  15. I hear Elaine is going to Finland. Hurry up and sew that dress so Cathy and Dan can have their own photo shoot (wink, wink) without that Selfish B.

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  16. Cage match! Cage match!

    I'm with Sophie. Send her a pattern for Dan. We need to see more of that adorable boy.

    Although, if simply making the jammie pants got her engaged… yikes. This could really start something.

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  17. Oh, I can't wait to see how this one turns out - both the dress and how you return the favour!

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  18. She wants Cathy to be her bridesmaid...I am sure of it. Actually I want Cathy to be MY bridesmaid - if only I weren't married already! Darn!

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  19. A gift is only a gift if nothing is expected in return. You don't have to give anything back, but it could be the start of a beautiful friendship if you did.

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  20. Peter you fool! "Gifts" from the Queen of Snarkness? As a member of her nemesis list, you should know that she only contemplates your complete and total destruction. Be afraid, be very afraid!

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  21. You don't owe The Selfish Seamstress a pattern. That was probably her evil plan, give a pattern, get one (or 2 or 3) in return! That would be my plan I if was as selfish as she is. I think you should pay if forward. You know, give a pattern to someone else. Someone like me!

    I guess I am as selfish as she is. :-P

    Oh and could you let your faithful readers know of some good places you have found vintage men's patterns. I want to make my boyfriend a shirt/tunic. Not out of the goodness of my heart or anything, I want to enter the PR contest (and win). Don't worry, he's not your size.

    Thanks!!!!

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  22. holy moly, I just made this pattern (sleeveless version) out of a gauzy embroidered cotton!

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  23. Selfish is right about this looking best on a flat chest. This dress on me is slightly maternity looking.

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  24. You most certainly do owe her a pattern in her size, something 50s with a big full skirt. I'm guessing she likes those.

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  25. Your cousin will certainly like this dress. I think I'd like it, too, although I'd have to consider what Vespabelle said about the dress being maternity looking on a non flat chest. And offer Elaine a pattern, or just surprise her and send one you think she should have, or "pay it forward" and send one to someone else who you think needs one you don't intend to use.

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  26. I have no advice, but I love to read your blog (and I already gave you a pattern).

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  27. Knowing the selfish B who knows what she's up

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  28. I have that pattern, too, it must have been pretty popular. Have you ever noticed how the brunette model looks like Catherine Zeta-Jones?

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  29. I love this dress! Cathy will look marvelous - Miss Selfish will be SO JEALOUS! Yes! Send something for Dan and make sure HE knows you sent it so she has to make it for him! The perfect revenge

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  30. Oh dear. I say beware of SS bearing gifts - there's bound to be a catch. Gandalf said it best: "Fly you fools!" Now might be a good time to whip up a little protection charm for yourself. Do it quick before she can recover from jet lag; her powers will be at their weakest and you might yet escape whatever evil plans she has for you.

    And you should probably give up on Dan. The SS has bound him to her by the cunning use of the famous monkey pants hex. That's big juju, my friend, big juju indeed.

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  31. Both you and the SS are so darn funny. Send her the pull-off caftan and pants from your post 'Patterns Best Forgotten'. For Dan of course. Moohooohaahaa

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  32. Peter,

    We can do a sew along together with that pattern! Yay! I am using an aubergine wool crepe. I made that pattern when it first came out...Sigh.... But, since I gave away my sewing room in the 80's, I had to buy it again.;-)

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  33. Stash, you'd better hurry: I'm nearly done. Aubergine wool crepe; I'm jealous!

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  34. She has already made you fall down and skin yourself. (Hope your booboos are healing well.) Do you really think it is safe to pursue this association? Pretend you think that sending the pattern is a kind favor and pay it forward. Much less risk that way! (Great cartoon!)

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  35. I think the finished dress and clever photo shoot are repayment enough, no reciprocal pattern required (although I LIKE the caftan idea). Her salty comment above has me a little ascared for you though - watch your back, my friend.
    She is tiny, but fierce.

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  36. Flashback to the 70's, I made that exact pattern for my senior prom.
    just like the photo on the pattern, in white, with the tab and buttons under the bust. Exactly ! And since I was a little sewing diva at age
    17, I made a matching floor length coat, same pattern, with long sleeves in strawberry pink. What was I thinking? but I felt very glam. I may have to dig up a photo as I recall doing the requisite photo op with all the parents.

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  37. I'm sure that by now you are beginning to get a picture of the Selfish Seamstress' evil genius in "gifting" you with this pattern. Look at how well this is all going for her!

    At the risk of lowering your spirits further, though, I should let you know that the rabbit hole extends even deeper. Here's what I see happening - she Selfish Seamstressed her friends by creating things for them and then snatching up goodies in return, but she didn't truly understand her power until she turned on poor Dan. Whipped up a pair of jammy pants and got a promise of eternal love in return. Clearly, she saw this and began to suspect that men have an entirely different susceptibility to her powers.

    You are obviously a test subject in her initial exploration of this matter. A gorgeous pattern for your cousin Cathy... sinister! What she gets in return will determine the fate of men everywhere - tread carefully.

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  38. So hilarious! Just found this post. I wonder where the Selfish Seamstress is now.

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