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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Random Update (Warning: Post Contains No Sewing Progress!)

Hello, Internet Denizens!

Following my Scout triumph, I haven’t gone into my sewing area. No, really: the remnants of my ikat fabric are still exactly where I left them after cutting out the sleeves, there are pattern pieces everywhere, and my ironing board is still out. I’ve worn my new tee twice already–once for Day 1 of the hot air balloon event that my family hosts every year, and once for shits and giggles (as one does when one makes a shiny new item). I love it. LOVE IT.

I’m not sure what my next project will be. I have lots of ideas, and a handful of wardrobe needs, but we’re heading into the busy season at the store so free time will be even more limited until after Halloween. I have another length of ikat in a different colorway, which is destined to become Scout 2: Electric Ikat Boogaloo. (Don’t get too excited: it’s mostly gray, with some white and yellow for good measure. But neither should you be worried: it’s awesome.) I could whip that up in a week if I can dedicate an hour a night to the project, so I may start with that. Few things boost my sewing mojo like a quick and wearable project! 

Since I have no new sewing things to share, I thought I’d pillage my Instagram feed for some recent photos of what I’ve been up to. (My Instagram is wronghandmads, in case you’re interested!)

Hanging out with the pup at the in-laws' house

Hanging out with the pup at the in-laws’ house

Same room, different day. (No, my face isn't dirty; apparently my cheekbones are just, um, prominent.)

Same room, different day. (No, my face isn’t dirty; apparently my cheekbones are just, um, prominent.)

The fiercest pin that ever walked the Earth! Got it for $1.

The fiercest pin that ever walked the Earth! Got it for $1.

My 1950's hostess/lounging pajamas!

My 1950’s hostess/lounging pajamas!

Just so we’re clear, I know my dog is sickeningly adorable. He’s the best, and we love him. The T-Rex pin and evening pajamas were bought yesterday from the store. I wore the PJ set to work today and felt oddly subversive knowing that I was literally wearing my pajamas to my job. The pin will make its debut soon, for sure! 

I hope you all have a great start to your week(s). Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some sewing-related ramblings! =)

 

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Scout Tee in Ikat

Good news, everyone: I’ve finally finished something new! Behold: the Scout Woven Tee in genuine ikat! Apologies for the poor quality of these photos–I finished the top around 10PM last night and wanted these done before I went to bed! Tom was a little tipsy after having some beers with his friends, which surely didn’t help matters, LOL! (And I HATE being photographed in skinny jeans, but this is definitely a “with jeans” top, so I’m grudgingly allowing for an exception.)

Front view

Front view

Awkward side pose

Awkward side pose

Rear view

Rear view

Scout innards

Scout innards

Obligatory 6AM selfie

Obligatory 6AM selfie

Maybe you can’t tell, but I LOVE this top!! I’m so proud of it, and proud that I was able to get it together so quickly. I made 2 mojo-smashing mistakes (inserted one sleeve inside-out, and got almost all the way around the hem attaching the bias binding only to notice that I was attaching it to the inside, not the outside) on two of my three work nights on the final version, but still got this top done in about 4-5 total hours of work time. For me, that’s basically the speed of light. =D

This top is really easy. Like, so easy I didn’t bother reading the instructions once I finished my muslin on Friday. As with my muslin, I cut a straight size 0. I did bias facings for all the hems and the neckline, and got to use a bright orange vintage binding from my stash for the task. The weave of this ikat is loose, so I did french seams everywhere but the armholes; I only skipped the armholes because the sleeve seam allowance on this pattern is a scant 1/4″. For the moment, those seams are raw-edged, but I think I will trim and bind them for security. This fabric frays horribly so I don’t want to take the chance of those areas falling apart with wear or washing. Apart from that, though, this Scout definitely has the prettiest innards out of all the things I’ve made; it helps that there is no “wrong” side with my fabric, of course!

As I mentioned in my last post, I had to add a lot of length to this top due to the nature of my midsection. The side photo above is deceptive, because I actually eliminated the high-low hem effect; I must have been arching my back or twisting awkwardly when that photo was taken. Fit-wise, I’m really happy with the final product, though I concede that it needed no “fitting.”

Because my fabric is somewhat irregular pattern-wise, I decided not to worry about pattern matching everywhere. I decided I wanted the vertical stripes to line up at the shoulders, and they do! I disobeyed a direct order and cut the sleeves on the cross grain, and I did that for two reasons: I wanted that vertical stripe to circle around the bottom of the sleeve (a smashing success, if I do say so myself) and I wanted to conserve fabric. I had foolishly hoped to be able to squeeze something else out of my 2 yards of 44″ wide ikat, but I don’t see how that’s an option now that this top is done–I’ve got very little usable material left over. Such a miracle was little more than the fever dream of a madwoman, I suppose…But at $17.50/yard, can you blame me for trying?!? Thank goodness I used thread and binding from my stash, because this was an expensive-ass tee!!

What’s the most expensive “basic” in your wardrobe? 

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Next Up: The Scout Tee (aka The 50th Post at Life In A “Mads” House!)

Howdy! This is my 50th post on this blog, and I can hardly believe I’ve made it this far. Thanks to everyone who has read my nonsense over the past 1+ year: I hope you stick around for entry #100, too! (Shit, who am I kidding?? I hope I’m still around for #100! :-) )

I’ve been a busy little bee in my sewing room lately! I decided to scrap the linen version of vintage Simplicity 1281 that I had started. I would rather start over and do it right than try to salvage one that I very obviously did a sub-par job on. Next time, I will be sure to cut carefully and LABEL everything as I go!

My stretch denim and ikat fabrics arrived from Michael Levine last week, and I have already started working on one of the projects I had in mind: the Scout Woven Tee from Grainline Studios. My muslin is finished and looks the way I want–I’m so excited! I’ve got my ikat washed and ready to go, and will be cutting into it today. I really want this top to be done in time for our visit to our hometown this weekend, and I should be able to achieve that–this pattern goes together so fast!! Here’s how the muslin turned out:

Front view

Front view

Side; after seeing this photo, I slashed and added the needed length to the back piece.

Side; after seeing this photo, I slashed and added the needed length to the back piece.

Back view

Back view

You may not be able to tell from these photos (the cell phone variety, obviously), but one sleeve is better than the other. Truth be told, I am struggling to remember which it is using these photos, since I muslined this on Friday night. I’m pretttttttttttty sure it’s the one on my left. But up close, it’s obvious. The main difference is that I dropped one side seam by about 1/4″ for comfort after setting my first sleeve. I did not change the sleeve piece at all, and found it eased in just fine and looks exactly like the Scout on the Grainline shop page, whereas the first one I did wasn’t eased in very well and felt a little restrictive under my arm.

I have lengthened this top pretty considerably–about 2-3 inches at the front. I know that it has a slight high-low effect in its unadulterated form, which wouldn’t normally be an issue for me, but the front of this top was hitting me in an odd place. I have a longer-than-average torso, so I wasn’t surprised. I opted to just lengthen the back to match the front (which I did after seeing the second photo and checking the muslin while flat), since I’d rather have a flush hem than make the back long enough to register as a high-low (rather than an ID10T error); I had maybe 1″ to add there, so not much at all.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out the neck band on this damn shirt. You can sort of see it in the photos, flopping around and sticking up away from the shirt. The instructions and drawings aren’t really solving my problem either, so I’ve decided to do an invisible bias tape finish on the neckline (and sleeves!) instead. I’ve done that before and feel much more comfortable with that, especially since this fabric I’m using isn’t cheap and I’m not about to relegate it to UFO status because of a fucking neckband.

In other news, I stopped at Joann’s after work on Friday night to pick up some denim needles (SEW ALL THE JEANS!!!!!) and a set of Microtex needles. I noticed that their current big sale included muslin by the bolt–40% off!!! I thought about it, but decided I really shouldn’t spend the money right now–I just went on an epic spree when Fabric Mart had a sale on the entire regularly-priced section of their site–and went home with just my needles. I figured I had enough muslin to not need to worry about it. And then I started this top, and realized I had about one more Scout Tee worth of muslin on my current bolt, and that was it. *gulp* So I went back the next morning and got a 10 yard bolt of 60″ muslin for 40% off. I should be set for a while. I am now on a true fabric fast, because we have some things we need to have done at the house AND our county auditor has increased the value of the house by A LOT, and we’ll need to be able to pay a lump sum into our escrow account to cover it for the December tax distribution. So, you know, grown-up shit. But I got some great knits and silks in the Fabric Mart sale, so between that and the rest of my stash I’m ready to ride out this fast. =)

Do any of you have big plans for the end of summer (in the northern hemisphere, anyway)? August sure snuck up on me–time flies!

 

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