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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Pattern Review 2014 Vintage Contest – I’m Entering! (For Real This Time.)

No, for really real.

Vintage Contest 2014

Exciting news, everyone: I have officially entered my vintage Simplicity 1173 playsuit in The Vintage Contest at Pattern Review! Never have I been more relieved not to have started a project when I meant to: for this contest, fashion fabric work (tracing, cutting, sewing, etc.) can only be done from May 1 to May 31, and except for my muslin, this was an all-May project. Whew!!

I did not even know that this contest was coming up. I posted a review of the pattern on PR because I try to do that whenever I finish something, and a commenter said that she hoped I was entering it in the contest. I went straight to the contest section of the site and read the rules, and realized it was eligible! I was so excited to be able to enter and actually have a finished item this time, since my fitted blouse never made it out of the muslin stages. I’ve gotten so many kind comments on PR since posting and entering my review, which has been so uplifting. I love my playsuit, but I can’t believe so many strangers stopped to comment and say such nice things about it!

If you’re on PR and are eligible to vote in contests, you should definitely consider voting for me. I expect lots more awesome entries though, so be sure to check out what other folks have made!

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Photos of Vintage Simplicity 1173

I finished hemming my new grownup onesie yesterday while watching “The IT Crowd” before heading to work. Yay! I was determined to wear it, despite the fact that it was 62 degrees (which, if you’re me, is too cold for such a small amount of clothing). As promised, here are some better photos of my playsuit:

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Front view, now with 100% more dog!

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A better view of the back; also, dog.

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This is about as “cheesecake” as I get….

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This outfit was meant for lazing around, right? You can see the pile of sweaters I had been wearing but had to remove for the photos–classy.

I feel compelled to note that no, I totally didn’t need those sunglasses–it was overcast as hell yesterday by the time we got around to taking photos! But I don’t like doing “final” outfit photos without makeup, and since I was wearing something that’s super appropriate for summer lounging, I opted to use my sunglasses to cover up my lack of cosmetics. I did throw on some lipstick for all y’all though, because it seemed necessary.

I really enjoyed wearing this outfit all day, with one exception: I cannot close the hook and eye by myself!! I can undo it just fine (which is great, because if I have to pee, I’m not about to wait around until someone shows up to unhook me) but have not yet been able to close it afterwards. Other than that, it’s a joy to wear!

I haven’t decided what my next project is, though I would love to whip up some shorts using the pattern from this playsuit–I’ve got leftovers from my gray skirt, along with a cut of vintage fabric that HAS to be made into shorts. I’ve also got a summer halter dress (1930s) and a crop top and skirt set (1950s) that I’d love to start on as well. Looks like I’ve got some decisions to make! :-)

Thanks for reading–while wearing what I make is a thrill, it’s so much better knowing that I can share with all of you. <3

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May 5, 2014 · 11:18 AM

Vintage Simplicity 1173 – The Playsuit Has (Basically) Landed!

You guys.

You guys!

YOU GUYS!!!

My playsuit from vintage Simplicity 1173 is basically finished. I need to hem the leg holes, but that’s it! Also, one of my buttons got sewn on off-kilter, so I also need to fix that, but that’s so easy to do that it barely counts. I got a few photos of the playsuit last night, but the pulling on the right side of the bodice due to the button issue is really obvious (and it was like 9 at night and the lighting was awful), so I won’t post many pictures yet. But here is a preview:

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Side view! Note the stripe matching FAIL.

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Back view. That’s the one place I managed to match my bodice stripes…

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Close-up of the strap attachment at the back; do you like my chalk? =)

This pattern is really easy to put together (which I think I mentioned before), which was nice. Unfortunately for me, I hit a lot more snags with the real version than I had with the muslin. For instance:

  • Underlining made everything more difficult; in retrospect, I wish that Past Mads had instead invested in additional pairs of skin-colored underpants and not bothered. Past Mads is an asshole.
  • Stripe matching was attempted, but apparently not successful. The shorts portion isn’t even close, especially in the crotch region, and the bodice only matches up at the back. I didn’t even manage to get the straps to have identical striping patterns. WTF, Mads?!?
  • The shorts and bodice were even further away from fitting together on this version than on the muslin, which made no sense to me. I ended up letting the bodice side seams out about 1/4″ out of desperation, which did help a bit.
  • Bodice fitting was a real bastard this time around. I adjusted to add some width at the very top, and ended up with too much room. So between that and the bodice vs shorts size differential stupidity mentioned previously, I ended up with more room in the bodice than I wanted; I think it fits well, but I wish the fit at the waist was more akin to the muslin version. In addition, I’m beginning to think that cutting two bodice fronts and putting them together–as opposed to the single continuous piece you’re supposed to cut–may be given me a bit of shaping on the muslin that I lost when I did it the right way. Maybe on my next (non-striped, for sure) version I can try that!

I wish I had taken a photo of the fabric I have left after finishing this. I miscut the front bodice (cut two separate pieces, AGAIN) and one of the back bodice pieces, which wasted fabric, but even without those mistakes, I’d still have basically nothing usable left over! I may be able to squeeze out a bra top–and that’s a BIG maybe.

Real talk: for all of the complaining I just did, I LOVE this playsuit. I love that it looks like the picture on the envelope, I love that it seems like something I would wear or buy, I love the comfort, and I love how I feel in it. I need to press the short seams and zipper (and still need to trim back the short seams) to help them lay better, too. Re: the straps, I decided to attach them that way at the back on a whim. My hand sewing is awful, and I just didn’t want to trust the integrity of these straps to that technique. I opted to sew around the bottom of the straps–from the outside–to securely attach them at the base. I went as high as the top of the bodice and as low as about 1/4″ from the bottom of the strap, and I went around the squares twice to make things extra-secure. For machine stitching, I think I did a really good job of keeping my lines straight and getting the second line of stitching right on top of the first; the squares aren’t perfectly centered, but I’m still really happy with how they turned out. And let me tell you, those straps? They aren’t going anywhere.

I’m hoping to be back after the weekend with more photos for you guys, but with better lighting and a finished-for-real playsuit. Is anyone else getting a jump on summery sewing projects?

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