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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On Hubris and Sewing Miracles

Happy Friday!! I don’t know about the rest of you, but this week has felt interminably long and I am ready for it to be over!

Have you ever gotten cocky and, as a result of your hubris, not been as careful or attentive as you should have been? I’m living that right now. My current project is a repeat of one I’ve made before, and I sashayed into my work area like I’d been there, done that, and was gonna own this motherfucking skirt. I should have respected the skirt, y’all.

I’ve been working on my next version of vintage Simplicity 1281 on my evenings off (2 per week) and it was starting to look like a skirt. Well, kind of, anyway. For starters, my fabric–a stiff, ever-shredding suiting-weight glazed linen–has been impossible to keep ironed, though I’m trying. On my first workday, I made the mistake of cutting out my pieces and not labeling them immediately; when I returned to the project a few days later, I was beyond confused about which piece was what and struggled to mark them correctly. With this pattern, the front and back pieces are shaped almost exactly the same but not quite, and the right and wrong sides of my material are nearly identical. I don’t know if I messed up the marking or the cutting, but one thing is clear: I messed something up someplace. :-(

I swear I'm not making a cat blanket...

I swear I’m not making a cat blanket…

If you look closely, you might notice that one half (front, in this case, which is the layer that’s against my cutting mat in the photo) is WAY longer than the other. In addition to that, the lengths of the back panels (which are the top layer of the skirt in the photo) are not level–not even close. I have no idea if my cutting was that sloppy or if I made an error in pairing up the pieces before sewing them, but I’m going to have to figure out how to salvage this somehow. Or not, since I have enough yardage left to make another skirt. But, actually, I think I kind of hate this fabric. The finish is beautiful (not in this photo, sadly) and it’s a great weight for this skirt, but it’s impossible to deal with. It’s 100% linen and frays and shreds all over the place at the cut edges. On top of that, it isn’t particularly pleasant to touch. Good thing I bought 4 fucking yards! /sarcasm

Because of the fraying, I decided to do french seams on all of the skirt pieces. This is a hefty fabric, but I liked this idea better than using bias tape or lining the skirt (because I’m a fucking idiot). I’m happy with how those are turning out, so there’s one ray of sunshine. There’s also this:

This bobbin wasn't empty when I started!

This bobbin wasn’t empty when I started!

I’ll set the scene for you: I was nearing the end of a seam finish–the step that encloses the raw, trimmed edges of the first step of a french seam with right sides together–and could hear the telltale sounds of my machine running out of bobbin thread. (It makes a peculiar mechanical “chug” sound, okay? Trust me.) I’ve been using up the leftover polyester thread that I used for Tom’s cardigan back in December, and knew I didn’t have enough on the bobbin to do the entire skirt. I checked my little window and could see thread feeding through, so I kept going. Once I finished my backstitching at the end of the seam and cut the thread, I realized I’d only cut one thread. I sighed, thinking that this was just the kind of sewing day I was going to have: running out of thread during the most crucial part of this seam finish on top of the other mistakes/unpleasant realities I was dealing with already. But when I checked everything, I realized that I ran out of bobbin thread AS I MADE THE FINAL STITCH OFF THE EDGE AFTER BACKSTITCHING. That’s like a sewing unicorn!!! I was really excited, obviously. I stopped there for the night, thinking that this was a bit of goodwill from the universe re: this stupid skirt (and also because I didn’t feel like winding a new bobbin). I’m going to pick it up again tonight and see what I can do. I’ve got my zipper area interfaced already–seriously, the way this shit shreds, I needed to do that, despite the weight of the fabric–and need to sew the side seams to join front to back. Then it’s waistband time! (Assuming I don’t set this fucker on fire before I get to that step.)

I was very naughty yesterday (pay day, woo hoo!!) and ordered some fabric: 2 stretch denims and 2 woven ikats. In my defense, I have patterns and outfits planned for everything already, and one denim goes with each ikat. I just got the Scout pattern from Grainline Studios and the Jamie jeans pattern from Named, so I’d like to jump into those things once the fabrics show up. It’s my first time ordering from Michael Levine, and I’m anxious to see how their material handles.

What’s your favorite fabric source? Are you planning to try any new-to-you pattern companies soon?

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In Which A Plot Is Hatched

Happy Wednesday, people!

Not much to report over here: still busy as hell and completely unproductive, mostly. But I thought I’d share what I’m planning for my next selfish project…

An entire outfit, OMG!

An entire outfit, OMG!

That’s right: TWO ITEMS. AT ONCE. Whoa. If you’ve read my blathering before, you probably recognize Simplicity 1281. Between the ease of the project and the way it looks on me, this is probably going to be my first-ever TNT pattern. And this upcoming version will be even easier than my first, since I plan to do the strapless version. The only bad thing is that I will have to do some grading down at the waist since I won’t be able to rely on the suspenders to hold it up, but whatevs. I’ve got a gorgeous bottom-weight glazed black linen picked out for it, too. I had originally earmarked that material for a bolero or blazer-type jacket when I bought it from Gorgeous Fabrics last year, but I felt like this was a better use of it for now. (Plus I am sure I’ll have enough left over for that jacket–for some reason, I bought 4 yards. WTF, Past Mads?????)

Advance 6426 is one of the patterns that was gifted to me by our cousin Kathy, whose mother Mary bought it when it was new. I found this pattern in my second filing box (see?? That’s why you should always look through EVERYTHING.) and saw that cuffed short-sleeved version–in a plaid, no less–and knew it was the one I wanted to use with my orange and black silk/cotton voile. It’s pretty much exactly the shirt I envisioned for that material! I will have to muslin this one first, since the bust measurement for this pattern is too small; I’m tiny, but my ribs ain’t no 30″! Because of that, I’ll be doing the skirt portion of the outfit first. (Also, I’ve never sewn silk–or a silk blend–before, and I’m beyond nervous and haven’t bought any spray starch yet.) And because this wasn’t enough…

A surprise shirt for the hubs!

A surprise shirt for the hubs!

…I’m hoping to start on View C of this shirt for Tom at some point. I bought two fabrics–one that I’m okay with using as a potentially wearable muslin, and a nice lightweight flannel that I’m hoping will be the big surprise–so that I can make this for him in time for fall. Luckily, he owns a few shirts similar to this that I can measure beforehand and use for comparison. I’m planning on this one being a true surprise, unlike my not-so-secrety surprise Christmas gift. He doesn’t even know I have the fabrics. He isn’t the snooping type, so hopefully he doesn’t decide to go digging around in my sewing room!

I also reorganized my stash a little bit. I pulled EVERYTHING out of my one and only bin and refolded some pieces that were a hot mess. I also tried to arrange them in some kind of order when they went back in: stuff that isn’t pre-washed on the bottom, followed by stuff I have no plans for and am not likely to use right away, followed by stuff meant for bottoms, followed by stuff meant for dresses, followed by stuff meant for blouses, followed by vaguely queued projects (like my trench fabric). Somehow–I’m assuming the laws of physics are involved here–not everything that was in the bin would go back into it. That’s even after scrap fabric got moved into an empty box to save room. :-( I moved Tom-centric materials to my cedar chest upstairs (which will help with the super duper sewing surprise), and left all of my new silk/cotton voile (including the orange and black check) and nice J. Crew shit in the box it came in on the dining room table. My glazed linen is also on the table. Ugh ugh ugh. I guess that means I’d better get busy, huh?

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Gone for A Month, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Whoa, guys–I did NOT mean to be away from my sweet little blog for this long!

As you may have guessed by the title, I haven’t been terribly productive since my last entry. I bought more fabric (because of course I did), and even solidified a few ideas for my next project(s), but that’s about it. However, as alluded to in the title, I did end up with a t-shirt; yes, it was indeed very lousy:

Technically wearable, but that's about it!

Technically wearable, but that’s about it!

 

Yikes...

Yikes…

I made this as a wearable muslin for Tom. For the most part, it looks like a t-shirt, which is a good start. The fabric is a PITA and stretched and distorted like a motherfucker, though. I used the Thread Theory Strathcona pattern, which I like a lot and will use for ALL THE SHIRTS. But between those wavy hems (sleeves AND body), jacked-up neckline (guess who cut the binding much too short, apparently?), and a few fitting adjustments that I couldn’t have foreseen (like the short sleeves being elbow-length), I still have a lot of work to do before I end up with something Tom would wear out of the house. Perhaps Step 1 should be spraying the ever-loving shit out of this fabric with spray starch…

Per usual, I have a ton of ideas for my selfish sewing. What I lack is motivation and spare time! But I’ve been trying to do better at buying fabric with a purpose in mind (and I am currently PROHIBITED from buying more fabric per a self-imposed directive), and I have a handful of things queued up in my brain-pan: some shorts using the pattern from my playsuit and at least 3 or 4 fabrics from the stash, a skirt using some awesome J. Crew fabric I bought with a vintage pencil skirt pattern in mind, and at least 2 more iterations of vintage Simplicity 1281 in good neutral colors for easy coordination.

I also need to start planning more blouses and tops, because I really lack those in my wardrobe. At this point, I recycle the same 4 (!!!!!) knit tops whenever I want to wear separates; I’m asking way too much of Forever 21 and H&M’s craftsmanship, and I know it’s only a matter of time before I wear them out. With that in mind, below is what I am really inspired to make RIGHT AWAY, at least as soon as I figure out what the fuck to underline it with (because this shit is see-through and why wear a tank top when your shirt is made of 55% silk?!?):

Silk/cotton voile (J. Crew) from Fabric Mart; "Lumberjack Chic," am I right??

Silk/cotton voile (J. Crew) from Fabric Mart; “Lumberjack Chic,” am I right??

Two potential "matches" from the pattern stash. Startlingly, I have enough yardage to make the onesie version of the Vogue pattern!

Two potential “matches” from the pattern stash. Startlingly, I have enough yardage to make the onesie version of the Vogue pattern!

I feel compelled to note that this stuff GLOWS, even after pre-washing–I’m really excited about it! I am also really conflicted about what pattern to use for this amazing fabric. I didn’t even check my other pattern filing box for options, so I’m sure I’ll find additional contenders in there. And this isn’t the only silk/cotton voile I bought, either: I’ve got a handful of other colors, and I bought enough of some of them to make shirts. (The rest are for sleeveless tops or bras, hopefully, which will be a whole new adventure…) Now I just need to sit down and DO STUFF. I promise not to be absent for a month, though! =)

What have you guys been up to lately?!? Bought any amazing yardage or tried a new skill? 

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Quick Update (aka This Is What Happens When Someone Gives The Gift Of Cash)

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

After a very busy and emotional weekend, I am exhausted! Saturday was action-packed, and the band played our last show EVER. I cried on stage, sang and talked myself hoarse, and stayed out until 1:45AM socializing and eating pizza. Totally worth it. After getting up at 5:45AM and having no nap, Sunday was spent strutting around a Golden Age mansion in 1920’s underwear (and some actual clothes sometimes) and then wandering around said mansion trying to figure out how many hours it would take the owners of the house to find me if I just picked a bedroom and crashed for a while.

Saturday was so busy that I didn’t have a chance to unpack or photograph my latest fabric delivery until now. I got some great stuff!! A very sweet friend gave me a generous cash gift (like, so generous that I felt terrible accepting it, but did anyway because we’re both stubborn and what kind of asshole turns down a gift from a woman at her wedding?) and I decided to spend it on more fabric. Because duh. I placed my first-ever order with Fashion Fabrics Club about 2 weeks ago, and apart from the speed (or lack thereof) with which they ship orders (seriously: order entered and confirmed on May 20, order received on May 31–Missouri to Ohio, mind you, not international) I’m really satisfied. The fabrics are as-described, but I haven’t checked yardage or grain on anything yet. Almost everything I ordered was a remnant piece, and the prices were really good, in my opinion. I even got some things for Tom!

Black stretch denim! The color isn't easy to photograph, but it does have a slight brown undertone.

Black stretch denim! The color isn’t easy to photograph, but it does have a slight brown undertone.

Rayon/poly blend--6 yards of it!

Rayon/poly blend–6 yards of it!

Really soft and slinky knit in a loud color

Really soft and slinky knit in a loud color

More t-shirt knit!

More t-shirt knit!

Another knit; this one didn't photograph well, but is lighter and brighter than it looks here.

Another knit; this one didn’t photograph well, but is lighter and brighter than it looks here.

Wrong side (I think) of the double-faced twill

Wrong side (I think) of the double-faced twill

This side looks so cool!! It's very close to the color of my Hawthorn dress.

This side looks so cool!! It’s very close to the color of my Hawthorn dress.

Future coat! The coating is a blend, and the lining is a poly charmeuse.

Future coat! The coating is a blend in dark green and white, and the lining is a minty poly charmeuse.

I’m really excited about all of these pieces. I got three different knits for t-shirts for Tom; he likes all of them very much, but I am not looking forward to working with the bright orange rayon jersey! It’s curled up along the cut edges already, so I know it will be a bear when I get down to sewing it. Time to get busy researching how in the hell to stabilize such an ornery fabric! O_o

The denim will likely become skinny pants and/or shorts for me, and if I have anything left, maybe shorts for Tom. (See?? I am VERY considerate. :-) ) All these cuts are WIDE, so it’s not out of the question.

The yellow and black rayon/poly blend will become a Robson trench coat, and I’m nearly ready to pull the trigger on some beautiful 1940’s yellow plastic buttons for it. I need to buy underlining for that project yet, and I’m thinking I’ll probably use black cotton broadcloth or something like that; since the plaid is so loud, I don’t want a lot of weirdness on the inside!

The double-faced twill is really cool and lighter than I expected. My original plan for that stuff was at least one more skirt from Simplicity 1281 and possibly a pair of shorts, so we’ll see how I do!

The coating and lining fabrics in the last photo are especially exciting for me. I bought a pattern on Etsy (which is basically like my heaven at this point) for $6–it’s a coat pattern from the 1920’s for a girl (probably about 13 or so), and I bought it because 1) it’s awesome and 2) the bust measurement matches mine. I’m expecting to have to grade it a little bit, and probably lengthen the arms and widen the shoulders, but I’m really amped about it. This coating fabric seemed like the perfect material for such a classic coat, and the lining is close enough in color to look classy while still being a little surprising, which I love. I’m looking forward to trying some legit tailoring techniques on that project (OMG hair canvas and pad stitching and roll lines)!

In other news, my sewing space has never been as put away as it is right now: we had the band over for a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity last night, and I had to clear off the table so we could eat and play. I even made cheese dip–with REAL cheese–from scratch! It was a lot of fun, but I’m looking forward to getting all my gear back out and hacking into some of this stuff soon. But what will I make first?!?!?!? I have too many ideas, but I’ve got to start whittling away at my stash, which is so tremendous that my bin lid doesn’t so much close as levitate on top of the pile within!

PS: Voting for the Pattern Review Vintage Contest 2014 starts TODAY! Go here to see all the lovely garments people have made over the last month, and if you’re eligible, vote for your favorites! There’s an awful lot of talent in that gallery, which is wonderful!

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June 3, 2014 · 9:52 AM

Mending Mads

Greetings, Internetland!

As you may have guessed, I have not done much sewing since I finished the playsuit. I am sad to say that I’ve only gotten to wear it once due to the wicked constraints of my office dresscode and the not-hot-enough weather in Ohio up until this past week.

2 weekends ago, our band played at the wedding of two of our friends, and it was great! Except for the utter lack of cell phone reception and the stupid cold/windy/wet weather, anyway. We were gone for 2 full days, so no sewing was accomplished, obviously. And we’ve been working hard on another EP and prepping for our last show ever this weekend, which eats into my free time as well. I will dearly miss this project, but I am looking forward to fewer demands on my leisure time!

I did a little sewing between last week and today, but not on anything me-made: I am trying to do much-needed repairs on some of my vintage! I just got a black silk 1910’s dress that is nearly in perfect condition, apart from a tear at the hem…oh, and the fact that somebody cut off all 20 or so of its buttons! They’re decorative, at least, so the dress is technically wearable without them, but I wanted to restore it to some semblance of its former glory. I found a perfect lot of 20 matching Victorian-era faceted glass buttons on Etsy for a very reasonable price and started attaching them late last week. They are a pain in the ass!!!! They’re shank buttons, but not like you’d think: they’re self-shanked, so each pass of the needle has to go through the hole in the button and back out again, which takes some getting used to. As you can see in the photos below, I marked out button placement with chalk and am working my way up from the bottom. It’s frustrating but worthwhile work, and as of yesterday evening I’m 6 buttons from being finished. Yay!

This photo doesn't do her justice, I promise! You can see my chalk marks for button placement on the placket.

This photo doesn’t do her justice, I promise! You can see my chalk marks for button placement on the placket.

This is what the buttons look like--I think they're perfect!

This is what the buttons look like–I think they’re perfect!

I also have some new (to me) chemises and a house jacket from the 1930’s, and one of the chemises desperately needed repairs. The side seam on one side of the skirt was basically a slit, and the skirt has a big pink stain on the front. Did I mention that I am hoping to wear this in a 1920’s and 1930’s style show for the vintage store on June 1?!?!? I think this particular chemise is rayon silk or something like that, so I used my rayon thread without a hint of guilt. After I got the mending done, I soaked the chemise in Soak Wash, but the stubborn pink stain would not be defeated. Since it’s so old (and I’m hoping to publicly show it off later this week), I am scared to soak it in anything stronger. I will pack the other ivory-colored chemise in my drawer on the day and see what we decide to go with at show time. But you can see why I love this one so much, right??

She's so beautiful! (This is with NO filter, btw.)

She’s so beautiful! (This is with NO filter, btw.)

A close-up of the front of the bodice

A close-up of the front of the bodice

And the back!

And the back!

In Naughty Mads news, I bought several remnant fabric pieces last week, totaling over 12 yards. Some pieces are for t-shirts for Tom, and the rest is for me. :-) I got some suiting that I plan to use to make a coat, along with a piece of silk crepe to use for the lining. I also got some stretch black denim (because I am apparently living in the 1990’s) and some double-faced twill that I’m really excited about. I’ll be sure to take photos once it all arrives (if it ever does–it’s been a week and I haven’t gotten my “it shipped!” email)!

What are all of you up to? I hope you are refreshed after the weekend (a long one for most of us here in the States!) and ready to tackle another week!

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