Mads vs. Glazed Linen, Round 2

Good Morning!

Thanks to a planned cut-back in my hours at my second job and a well-timed wife-less outing on the part of my spouse, I was able to venture into my sewing area last night. (Well, let me amend that: I was able to venture into my sewing area to WORK rather than just add new patterns or fabric or someone else’s circa-1950s UFOs to my sewing area and then back away slowly…)

My original plan was to start a muslin of my much-beloved vintage pants pattern, which I have never gotten around to messing with since it came to me many months ago. But then it occurred to me that I had never gone back to the black glazed linen version of vintage Simplicity 1281 that I’d tried to make a while ago, and I felt guilty and blah blah blah. So after about 5 minutes of frantic digging and hunting, I found the rest of the linen and started ironing. (I. FUCKING. HATE. IRONING.)

I was really careful when cutting this time–didn’t want any stupid mistakes like the last time I attempted this project, or the time before that…

After cutting 4 measly pieces of fabric, it is clear to me that I 1) need to lift more weights or 2) need a new blade for my rotary cutter, because I had to basically retrace my cuts for the whole first piece and then make sure I pressed really hard for the last 3. I mean, this linen is beefy, but this seemed unnecessary.

I sometimes (okay, often) wonder what the fuck I was thinking when I made past decisions. I think I ordered 4 yards of this linen, which is about 60″ wide. My original plans for it were a sheath dress (thank hell I decided against that…) or a pencil skirt and jacket, neither of which would have required nearly that much yardage (thanks, acquired sewing knowledge!). So not only have I now cut 2 skirts out of this stuff, here is what is STILL LEFT OVER:

One actual fuck-ton of linen, coming right up...

One actual fuck-ton of linen, coming right up…

Plenty for a jacket, so I guess that part of my original n00b plan will come to fruition. And once that is done, I am probably setting the remaining bits of this fabric on fire because I am just over it and its abundance and its linen-y-ness. OVER. IT.

In interesting (well, to *me*, anyway) sewing developments, that joke above about other people’s vintage UFOs wasn’t a joke at all. A lady brought lots of her mother’s hand-made vintage clothes to the shop a couple weeks ago, and her mother was very excited to learn that we all sew; her daughter returned with piles of sewing patterns and several unfinished projects in tow. Most of the patterns were circa-1970s but I did take a few home. The UFOs were all from the 50’s, and were wool. Very finely made, even in their incomplete states. I was given custody of the UFOs, and they’re hanging out until I feel brave/stupid/worthy enough to attempt to finish them. Apparently my house is now the Mads Home for Wayward Sewing Bits and Bobs…

Anyway, this skirt will be the first item of winter sewing for me this season–have any of you (in the Northern Hemisphere) started winter projects? Or are you just cuddling your winter-weight fabrics for warmth?

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Let’s Go To The (Blog) Hop (Plus Fabric Photos!)

(Is that awful song stuck in your head now? Good.)

Today at the Mads House, we’re serving a blog hop entree with a side of juicy fabric photos for dessert–how’s that sound?

If you read many sewing blogs, you’ve probably seen the blog hop going around right now–it’s focused on why we bloggers write. I was nominated by the enchanting Rosie at sparkleneedles, whose entry will almost certainly be funnier than mine. To see more about why/how I write (and for fabric photos after), read on! (Otherwise, go look at cute cat videos or something…)

Why do I write?

Well, my degree is in History, so writing things was basically my job for 4 years; I enjoy writing (luckily) and it comes easily for me (more luckily). I started this blog to chronicle my progress as a maker of clothing. I’ve blogged before, but it was always more of a general journal exercise. My goal for this blog was to write about sewing, what I learn (if anything), and to be a part of a larger community of people who are also passionate about sewing and related things; I may include non-sewing stuff occasionally (like vintage posts, or maybe life-ish stuff) but mostly, this is a sewing blog. I don’t really have any IRL sewing friends (though one or two pals are getting into it–yay!), so it’s nice to be among others who will get excited about fabric, techniques, etc., and who will understand the kind of effort that goes into making something 3-D from a 2-D piece of fabric. I suppose I could have just started an Instagram with no blog behind it, but I enjoy reading about other people’s makes and wanted to have something similar for myself; I don’t assume that anyone would enjoy reading about my creative travails, but I wanted a more detailed and involved chronicle for myself than just a bunch of pictures with hashtags.

How do I write?

I don’t have much of a process, actually. (Actually, that’s probably really obvious if you’ve ever read my blog…) Most frequently, my posts are triggered by me working on or finishing something. Sometimes I post about fabric I got, or inspiration and plans for future projects. I try to include details about projects, since I personally do not care for “I made a thing, here are photos of it, the end” posts as a reader; and since this blog is supposed to be a way for me to chronicle my adventures as I learn and progress, not including details or challenges would kind of be a waste of my time. I try to include photos most of the time–even if it’s not an FO or in-progress post–but sometimes don’t, which is something I’d like to be more conscious of in the future.

I do most of my blogging from the office (sorry not sorry) so I tend to put a post together very quickly. I don’t draft–never cared for it–and am able to just sit down, write a thing, and post the thing. I’m a grammar enthusiast, so I usually end up having to do edits after I hit “publish” in order to correct a silly error that I missed on my first few read-throughs, but what I post is essentially exactly what I sat down and spat out into the post editor tool in WordPress. Usually my heater is running at my feet and there’s a bottle of Coke and some type of sweet nearby for good measure, but those things are not required for me to write. :-)

How does this blog differ from others of its genre?

Honestly, I don’t think it really does: I’m yet another young, slim, white, cis-gendered, coupled, hetero, middle class woman in the sewing blogosphere. That’s about as typical as it gets in the online sewing community, isn’t it? I suppose that, if I had to pick something that’s a little different about my blog, it’s that I’m not afraid to talk about mistakes I’ve made or projects that I struggle with; I know that’s not something everyone does. But even that is such a small thing! I like that there are so many people blogging about their sewing, though–that was one thing that encouraged me when I first started. This isn’t a dying art: people are out there making things and talking about them and sharing with the world! So while I am pretty willing to admit that I have little or nothing new or novel to offer the sewing world, I am enthusiastic about the craft and want to contribute to the chorus of voices.

What am I working on?

Currently, I have one project cut out, and it’s for Tom: McCall’s 6613, view C. I have big plans for myself as well, but nothing is started yet. I’d like to make another vintage Simplicity 1281 and some shirts, at least! Most likely, my next project will be a pair of pants. I’ve been dying to crack open a particular vintage pattern since I got it, and due to an unfortunate turn of events, I’m a bit short on casual pants–this is my moment, right?!?

I honestly have no idea who to nominate next, so I’m taking a rain-check on that. My blog, my rules. xD

So if you’ve made it this far, here’s a treat: my box from Fabric Mart arrived today, and I’m a happy camper!

Neutral ponte knit; no plans yet really, but we'll get there!

Neutral ponte knit; no plans yet really, but we’ll get there!

The coveted cheetah print silk twill! *swoon*

The coveted cheetah print silk twill! *swoon*

Then there's this crazy shit...

Then there’s this crazy shit…

Marc Jacobs, biotch!

Marc Jacobs, y’all!

"Mads" goes mod...

“Mads” goes mod…

Plaid brushed knit

Plaid brushed knit

Modal/silk jersey in two colors

Modal/silk jersey in two colors

I love/hate you, Fabric Mart

I love/hate you, Fabric Mart

Pretty sweet, right? Can we talk about that silk twill for a second, though?? Because holy hell, it is even silkier, dreamier, and sexier than I imagined. It’s also not opaque, but I’ve got that covered: I got some china silk from Dharma Trading to line it. I’m having a total “Wayne’s World” moment–I am not worthy of this luscious material!!

The crazy-ass blue/zebra combo is sufficiently insane in person, but it is LIGHT. I’ve never messed with an ITY knit before, so maybe it’s my inexperience talking, but I did not imagine this material to be semi-sheer and virtually weightless. Guess I’ll be wearing a slip under whatever that becomes, eh?

The Marc Jacobs bottomweight cotton is destined for my ass…as a pair of pants. =) It’s hard to photograph color-wise, but it’s a weird mix between gray and taupe.

The mod checkerboard knit, purple plaid knit, and almond-y ponte are things I liked a lot and figured I’d use at some point. I have no plans for any of them just yet, though. The modal/silk jerseys are perhaps the most heavenly knits I’ve ever put my grubby mitts on; my t*ts are gonna love them.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully I’ll be back in a few days with something new under construction!

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Fabric Stashing With Mads

Hello again!

Predictably, I have not started any new projects since finishing the ultimate cat lady outfit. I haven’t made any progress on the one thing I’ve got cut out, either! Again, totally typical of me. The outlook for productivity in my sewing room is bleak for the next week or so: my in-laws (who I actually really do adore–they’re wonderful) are visiting us this weekend, so I am in CLEAN ALL THE THINGS mode…

Like a fuckin' adult

Like a fuckin’ adult

This means that my sewing area will likely be reverting back to its original dining room-like configuration in the event that we cook (LOL) or get pizza one night (probably). Think of it like those rooms in movies/tv shows where a wall spins to reveal something totally awesome, like a mid-century bar, and then spins back into Middle Class Wall mode again as needed. Except, you know, without the automated capabilities and with much more swearing and sadness…

Per my title today, I was very bad. Very, very bad. But I can explain: it’s all Fabric Mart’s fault!!!! They had a 40% off sale for Halloween, and I went a little nuts. I bought 19 yards of fabric. :-( One of them is an AMAZING silk twill with motherfucking cheetahs on it. Seriously: where was that stuff when I was doing it up Cat Lady style? Oh well, better late than never. Hello, future feline dress!

I also got some modal/silk jersey so that I can use it to line eventual bra cups. My boobs and I are very excited about that prospect, in the event that I ever get around to sewing anything ever again. I also ordered some Marc Jacobs bottom weight cotton for a pair of late 50’s/early 60’s high-waisted skinny pants (duh), and a lot of knits, which is weird for me. Weirder still, most of the knits I got are bold. Like, REALLY bold. I have ideas for all of them, otherwise I would never have pulled the trigger on something like a zebra print knit with bright-ass blue floral border action. (Hey Fabric Mart: let me know if you ever have a job opening for naming fabrics on the website, k? ;-) ) Nothing for Tom (or Gretchen Weiners), but so it goes. I’m sure I’ll post photos instead of links once these beauties arrive at my house, so check back in several days if you’re into that sort of thing!

I re-organized my fabric stash about a month or two ago. I had been very proud that my entire fabric stash fit into one big Rubbermaid bin, and it definitely did…until I took everything out of there and tried to put it all back in again. So now I have two bins where things are folded relatively nicely, and both are pretty full. I may have to start looking for someplace else for this new shipment to hang out, because I doubt those bins have any room! On the one hand, I feel guilty and bad for stashing–it sits there and sits there, and it takes me FOREVER to sew anything. Plus, fabric isn’t free, and it’s not like I have an unlimited budget. And let’s be real: my tastes are kind of expensive, and I can be a total fabric snob; it’s not like I’m stocking up on $2/yard polyester (not that there’s anything wrong with that). On the other hand, I will get around to everything eventually, and almost never buy fabric without an idea of what to do with it, and only buy it at full-price if desperate. I also very rarely shop for new RTW clothes, a recent (unblogged) denim fiasco aside. I buy underpants and some vintage clothing, but not often. I definitely want to curb my stashing, since I have a few years worth of material and limited storage space and sew slower than the speed of smell…

Do any of you stash? Do you ever feel bad about it? If you have any fabric organization tips, feel free to share them!

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Completed – Cat Lady Sewing Challenge 2-Piece Set-acular Extravaganza!

(Okay, okay: the title may have oversold this FO post, but whatever.)

After many weeks of occasional work, I have completed my Cat Lady Sewing Challenge outfit!

Early on, I decided to go a little…crazy. I wanted something kind of outrageous, but still wearable. I’m just weird enough that I could envision myself successfully wearing something covered in cats, so when I found this fabric I knew it had to be mine. I was also completely enthralled with and inspired by the 2-Piece Set-Acular over at Ada Spragg a couple of months ago, so when I had a snafu with my first attempt at the skirt I planned to make, I decided to salvage the material and make a crop top. Here is where things ended up:

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

cat lady 2

Crazy Cat Lady 2-Piece

cat lady 3

Mysterious…or insane?

cat lady 4

Skirt in focus

Mads, the cheeky bastard

Mads, the cheeky bastard

I can honestly say that I’m really, really proud of this outfit, despite how unhinged it sort of is. The skirt has already been worn IRL several times since I finished it, and apart from being amusing is actually really wearable. The horsehair braid hem gives the quilting cotton a bit more body and structure, which ended up being perfect. The length is a total accident: I was going for mid-thigh, but wayyyyy underestimated how much I needed to remove. By the time I noticed, the braid was attached and I was all, “Meh…” about having to undo that. But it works, I think, especially if I style it the way I have here with my boots and tights. And let’s not forget about THE BUTTON:

I mean, COME ON.

I mean, COME ON.

The crop top was created by chopping my Scout tee pattern off at the “Lengthen/Shorten” line. This SOB has seams EVERYWHERE because I cannibalized the fucked-up skirt to make it and had to get creative. So I have a center front seam, a center back seam, side seams, and a hem band. (That last bit was added to give me that extra 1/2″ of additional length, which I am glad to have; the proportion looks just how I had envisioned.) The 2nd photo above shows the Scout silhouette of the top–it’s very loose below the bust, but I love it!

I finished these things about 2 weeks ago, but just got around to taking photos today! I took advantage of the fact that this is probably one of the last days this year that I’ll be able to get away with the whole, “Do outdoor photos and wear sunglasses and lipstick so nobody can see you aren’t wearing any makeup” trick, so Tom and I went out to the back yard and did some photos. Honestly, he gets these really good shots of me, and I have no idea how he does it. None. But I’ll take it. (And no, I won’t share him. Sorry. =P)

Now, I wore these two pieces together just for this post–I will likely NEVER do that IRL unless it’s ironic. But I do actually like both pieces, so here is how I thought I might style the top. Warning: this series of photos is basically me doing a cat-itude impression…

Sup.

Sup.

Not nearly cool enough to be standing like this...

Not nearly cool enough to be standing like this…

Too cool (or bored) to care that I'm in a photo

Too cool (or bored) to care that I’m in a photo

Tom called this one, "Floating Jesus Cat Lady." We both agreed it was genius.

Tom called this one, “Floating Jesus Cat Lady.” We both agreed it was genius.

Oh, are you still here?

Oh, are you still here?

High waisted pants + crop top = LOVE. I just wish this was something I could wear to work, because I adore it. But I’ll settle for wearing it in the wilds of Columbus instead.

So I had a really great time with this challenge. Thank you to Erin for coming up with such a cool and relaxed idea! All of the other makes I’ve seen for the challenge have been amazing–check out the Flickr group for more!

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Crazy Cat Lady Sewing Challenge – So Close, And Yet So Far

Hola!

Since my last post, I got to thinking about the state of my original cat lady skirt and decided that I just couldn’t see myself wearing it and being happy with how it turned out. So I bit the bullet and ordered more fabric and redid the damn thing. This time, I followed the cutting layout for napped fabrics provided with the pattern, and I’m pleased to say that things are coming along swimmingly:

Got the official seal of approval...

Got the official seal of approval…

Hand-picked lapped zipper!!!

Hand-picked lapped zipper!!!

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

I’m really excited about this now that it’s fixed. (I know, I know–should have followed the cutting layout from the beginning!!) I managed to salvage the first skirt and make a crop top using my Scout pattern, too! How these will look together on my body is anyone’s guess, but I can always take in the side seams on the top if I’m not crazy about the volume paired with the skirt.

You may have noticed that I used the phrase “lapped zipper” in the zipper photo caption. These have previously confounded me and I have avoided trying them in earnest, but somehow everything clicked last night. I didn’t want to mess with my machine, so I opted to handpick the entire zipper application. (Bonus: hand sewing means I can sit in the living room with my family, which I like.) It turned out GREAT, if I do say so myself. =) It got fiddly with pins and lining stuff up so that I only picked through all layers at the bottom of the zipper, and I kept pinning the overlap to the already-attached side of the zipper for the first 15 minutes (UGH), AND I stabbed myself with pins about 145,923,760 times, but I got it! The waist looks like it will fit (I put it on and zipped it up), so I’m going to try attaching my waistband this week and see what happens. I’ve also decided to up the ante and add horsehair braid to the hem of the skirt. Since my fabric is pretty light vs. what is recommended for this skirt, I want to give it a little more body and shape. I think I’ll go with 1/2″ braid since I don’t want anything too crazy, but I’m hoping it will look awesome. So yeah, I am jazzed about this project now that everything is coming up Millhouse…

With respect to the title of this post, I’ve accomplished a lot but still have some things to wrap up: hem the shirt sleeves, bind the neckline, attach the waistband to the skirt, add the buttonhole and button, add the horsehair braid, and sew the hem. I’ll have to machine sew the hem this time with the braid, but given that this is a damn circle skirt, I’m totally okay with NOT having to do this one by hand!

I haven’t done anything else with my practice version of Tom’s overshirt, but hopefully once I finish this project (and its ~9 feet of hem…FML) I can get back to it. What is everyone up to out there??? Been busy with Fall projects??

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Crazy Cat Lady Sew-Along – IT’S ALIVE!!!!!!!

Hello, friends/enemies/casual WordPress skimmers!

I’ve been busy as an understaffed hive of bees lately, with two sewing projects cut and in-progress, Halloween season kicking into gear at the store (which means I work every. single. day. that the store is open), and regular work from 7-4 every weekday. I also found the time to turn 29 yesterday! I’m torn between not being bothered (after all, I look the same and feel the same) and panicking about it being my last 20-something birthday. I spent a good chunk of the day running errands and arguing with the county auditor’s office, but everything got done that needed doing and I got my nap in the afternoon and my steak dinner (albeit at 3PM, like an 80-year-old).

I’ve been working on my Crazy Cat Lady outfit, and it’s coming along! I haven’t started the top yet, but I’ve decided to scrap my original plans for a formal blouse and go with a crop top instead. I’ll likely modify my Scout pattern to accomplish this, but I haven’t really put much thought into that piece yet. The skirt was by far more exciting for me, because the fabric is AMAZING:

Sebastian Ghastly skirt

Sebastian Ghastly skirt

Now, I waited about 2 weeks for this material to arrive. I was beyond excited about it, and loved it in-person. And then I miscut half the skirt. Can you see it?? The left half of the skirt above has the kitties upside-down, and the right half has them upright; the back half is the same way. I do not have enough fabric to recut half of the skirt, and I’m beyond bummed out. My only options are 1) to order about 1 1/2-2 more yards (at 45″ wide, I need a lot of material for this type of skirt–I’ve eaten up most of the 3 yards I ordered initially) or 2) to live with it as-is and try not to GAF. This stuff isn’t cheap, so option #2 is probably more likely, but I just don’t know if I can live with it. The worst part is that I thought I was being careful when I cut it out. It never occurred to me that half of it would end up upside-down. =( Any suggestions or opinions??

I have struggled a bit with the other project on my table as well: McCall’s 6613, a Palmer/Pletsch pattern for unisex button-up shirts. Fortunately, I seem to have done a pretty good job with plaid-matching on that project (maybe my brain can’t handle two print projects at once…), but I had lots of issues with interfacing. I had barely any of my 2-sided fusible web left, but figured I could make it work by piecing it together. Nope. NOPE. Every time I tried to iron a piece like that, stuff shifted and wrinkled all over the place. (To use this interfacing, I have to place the interfacing between the back side of my fabric and a corresponding pattern piece cut from muslin. Shifting should be avoided in such cases.) And of course, the pieces I am referring to are the fucking plackets. Which are cut on the bias. Which makes them the fabric-eatingest small pieces of all time. I had to recut one of them TWICE. So three total plackets to get ONE proper placket. By the time I finally got the interfacing finished, my iron had lots of melted interfacing/glue all over it and stunk and I was ready to throw stuff at other stuff. So now I need to clean it up before I can press or interface anything else. The good news is that, on that project, I am finished with the interfacing stage and can start sewing shit together. I hope it turns out okay, since it’s for Tom and it’s a surprise…

Speaking of Tom, he was a dear and took me to Joann’s before dinner yesterday so I could buy more interfacing. I got more of the fusible web stuff, since I am used to that technique and like the amount of stiffness it can give to collars, waistbands, etc. I know there is “better” stuff out there, but I’m a creature of habit and have liked the results of this particular method, so w/e. I got an entire 20 yard bolt for 50% off–yay!! Good thing, too, since my kitty waistband will definitely need this treatment.

What are you folks up to lately??

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Crazy Cat Lady Sew-Along!

Yes, you read that correctly: there is a cat-themed sew-along happening on the sewing blogosphere! The delightful Miss Crayola Creepy had a stroke of genius and is hosting this shindig over at her blog (which you should absolutely be reading) and is keepin’ it casual. Entrants have until the end of October to complete their cat themed garment(s), and there is a Flickr group that you can join to see what kind of feline-infused insanity everyone comes up with during the sew-along and for sharing your own creation(s). I’ve got my blog button around here somewhere and am ready to rock this shit.

I’m afraid that I’ve already gone a little nuts over this challenge (offerings to my cats and the building of an altar around my Crazy Cat Lady action figure notwithstanding) and ordered not one, but TWO different fabrics. I also got 2 buttons because I couldn’t make up my mind. And yes, all four of these items are cat-themed and scream, “This woman has an unhealthy obsession with cats and probably makes yarn out of their shedded fur and should be removed from polite society.” (Spoiler alert: at least two of those things are true.) Having said that, I consider the fabrics I ordered to be very wearable. They’re quilting cottons, but given what I have planned, I think they’ll be well-suited to my purposes. I can’t decide whether to reveal them now or wait until I’ve started working…Eh, fuck it: here they are!

"Sebastian Ghastly"; photo courtesy of www.felinedrive.com

“Sebastian Ghastly”; photo courtesy of http://www.felinedrive.com

"Geo Cats"; photo courtesy of www.felinedrive.com

“Geo Cats”; photo courtesy of http://www.felinedrive.com

For the sew-along, I’m being very ambitious and planning 2 garments. I’m using two patterns I have made before: vintage Simplicity 1281 and vintage Simplicity 1089, both of which I have blogged and consider to be successful sews. I think the skirt pattern is perfect for a quilting weight cotton because it will require that little bit of body, and will be easy to work into my normal, not-covered-in-cats wardrobe. The top will be wearable as well, though I suppose I’m just naturally more excited about the skirt because that fabric (“Sebastian Ghastly”) is much more, um, audacious and unnerving than the one I picked for the blouse. Mr. Ghastly really appeals to my inner Jhonen Vasquez, which I love. The skirt and top probably won’t be worn together after we do the Ultimate Blog Post Final Outfit Photoshoot, but whatevs. I’m saving the button reveal for the end, though–gotta keep y’all comin’ back! =)

So in honor of this amazingly exciting and quirky sew-along, I leave you with this:

A literal "Crazy Cat Lady" action figure, given to my by the hubs

A literal “Crazy Cat Lady” action figure, given to my by the hubs

Join us, won’t you? >=D

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