Kielodoscope Dress (aka The Dress That Taste Forgot)

Hello there!

Somehow, I have made YET ANOTHER Penny raglan:


Striped Penny, after a full day of wear

I wear that one a lot, too, in case you were wondering.

More miraculously, I have managed to sew a third consecutive pattern from my mega planning post. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!? To be fair, had I not started on this dress before our bathroom remodel swung into high gear, it wouldn’t be finished yet–it’s been hectic around here!

One word of warning: this dress is not classic, understated, or tasteful. At all. But I love it!

Behold, the pun-tastic Kielo Wrap Dress which I have dubbed “Kielodoscope”:




Wrapping it up!


Skirt flaps for daysssss




Back view of the wing-a-lings

Where do I even start with this one?? I had mentioned in the planning post that I wasn’t really sure if I had a suitable fabric for this pattern: it needs about 2 yards of a light and drapey fabric with at least 20% stretch, and most things I could think of only had about 2 of those qualities. A review of my stash spreadsheet reminded me that I owned this Nicole Miller fabric, and my inner mad scientist began to plot. (Fun Fact: I also totally bought the bright stretch twill version of this fabric, because of course I did. #ALLthepixelatedfabrics) The fabric is described as a chiffon, but it’s not as sheer as I expect a chiffon to be, polyester or not. This polyester/spandex blend has a very “springy” quality to it and the weave is tight, but the fabric drapes pretty well. It IS a woven, and barely has adequate stretch for the pattern’s guidelines. FWIW, I sewed the dress with both my serger and sewing machine. Sewing machine work was done with a straight stitch and a 70/10 Microtex needle.

This project was very much a whim. I got the idea, dug out the fabric and put the PDF together over Labor Day weekend (in between trips to our soon-to-be-remodeled bathroom to work on paint stripping: FML), and cut out the fabric on Labor Day. I worked on it in spurts after that point, but since it’s a pretty quick sew, it came together in no time–I finished it in about 10 days, which for me is pretty quick for a full dress in a woven! All that was left was to make time for pictures, which we did this past Friday!


Goofing off




Back split


Portrait pose


Eeeeew nature!!!

Pattern Alterations

After I got the pattern taped together and cut out, I held the pieces up to my body (which is super scientific, I know) to see how things were looking. It was obvious that the bust point and waist were too high for me (front AND back), so I went ahead and added the necessary 1″ at the bust line on the pattern pieces. This put the bust and waist in the right spots but I needed to re-draw the dart point and legs AND true up the new side seams. Easy enough, but important to consider!


Revised pattern pieces

However, since Named drafts for a height of 5’8″ and I am at most 1″ taller than that, this added torso length makes the dress almost too long for me. After wearing it for these pictures (in flats), I am happy with the length but definitely wouldn’t want it any longer.

I also changed the slope of the shoulders. Named patterns tend to angle too steeply upward at the inner shoulder/neck for my body, which I notice in my Inaris. (In other words, my shoulders are less sloped than what they are drafting for.) So I made this change to compensate for that quirk.

Finally, I lengthened the tie pieces at the start. They just looked really short to me, even after taking into account that they are cut on the fold. I wrap them around me from the front, around the back, and then tie them once they come back around to the front. As drafted, they measure roughly 33 3/4 inches (not including seam allowances). The final length of my ties is a whopping 49 inches and I love them. :-) I actually had to go back and measure those, since I just cut them out on the fly, LOL.

Additional Project Notes

I didn’t really bother with pattern matching with this fabric; I only had the bare minimum 2 yards (Named calls for 2 yards at 60″ wide, and I had 2 yards at 58″ wide) and at first, I was worried I wouldn’t have enough. I did have enough, but only just enough. Plus the cutting person at Joann’s didn’t even out the already-cut end of the yardage before measuring, so one end was less usable for a “cut on the fold” application because of the inward angle on one layer’s raw edge. Needless to say, I laid the two main pieces out on the fabric together BEFORE cutting anything, LOL. That’s what happens when you buy fabric without a plan, folks!😛 I considered myself lucky not to have to piece the ties together, especially after deciding to lengthen them!

The colors move on the diagonal–I cut this dress on-grain with the stretch–which made it that much more of a challenge to line up the bands of color. Combined with the lack of extra yardage, that meant taking a more relaxed approach to “stripe” matching. So I did! This is most evident at CB, where the diagonal color bands are offset by a few inches.:-/

Finally, I increased the height of the back split: I couldn’t walk in it as it was drafted!! (Well, I could walk, but only Geisha-style.) The original split measures 15 3/4 inches, and mine now measures 18 1/2 inches (both measured from the hem once sewn). I also made my own bias out of leftover fabric, and used that to finish the armholes and neckline. To cut down on bulk and because of concerns about pressing a sharp crease in poly/lycra binding strips, I serged one side of the bias binding before attaching it, and then topstitched from the outside to finish off those areas. Not super classy–what about this dress is?!?!?–but effective nonetheless.🙂

For the record, all my pattern measurements are taken from the EUR32 size–they may be different on another size.

If I make this again, I want to re-angle the darts toward the side seams about 1/2″ at the apex (the root is in a good spot). Without getting too gorey here, I will say that the apex as-is is over the edge of the “bullseye” rather than the center of it.😉 I also have issues with all my bras and this dress!! I have one bra that fits my breasts well (I call it my “Honest Bra” because there is no padding, LOLOL) but it makes me look droopy and sad in this dress. My other bras really don’t fit–they’re too big and the cups buckle due to lack of, er, “filling”–and in this dress, you can really tell unless I tighten the straps up really tight, as we did for these photos. (Yes, “we”: I needed a bit of help with that!) So that’s a bummer, and I may need to give myself a little more ease (width-wise) from shoulder to bust point in any future versions to skim over that problematic area.


I think that, as sewers, many of us find comfort in the presence of directions: they help us get from point A to point B as the designer envisioned. But often, it is best to trust your experience (assuming you have it) and think critically about what the directions are telling you to do before you do it. Case in point: the Kielo instructions tell you to finish the raw edges of the side seams, hem, shoulder, and center back seam allowances before you do any sewing on those seams. And, instead of doing what I would normally do–think about it, and decide whether or not I agreed–I did as I was told. This was a waste of time and serger thread and electricity, y’all. I should have just sewn the side and center back seams on my serger to start with, although I did use my sewing machine for the shoulders after serging the allowances separately so they would lay as flat as possible. Luckily, I realized the wastefulness of those instructions before I got to the hem; I turned that raw edge under 1/4″, and then turned up the remaining 1/2″ and pressed again. Much better!

I also should have been more critical of the order of events, but ultimately found those aspects of the instructions much less annoying than the finishing BS noted above!

For all my complaining there, I am a proper Named fangirl–I love their work, their design and drafting sensibility, and pretty much everything about them (especially now that their PDFs come layered). So if the worst thing I can say about their patterns is that I don’t like some of the instructions, I’m still a very happy bear!❤

And now, for some outtakes!


Artful (Read: Blurry) backside


What Tom gets when he says, “Say Cheese!!!”


Table acrobatics?




My favorite pic, tbh…


The colors!!!!!

So that’s my Kielodoscope dress! Eye-searing, yes, but I like it. And it’s done just in time for cooler weather that isn’t sleeveless-dress friendly, LOL.

What have you been sewing? Do you ever buy fabric without a plan? 


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Double Good Plan Success!

By which I mean, I finished multiple items that were ALL in my planning post!

I know, right? I can hardly believe that either. But it’s true: I have made 3 garments from my encyclopedic planning post. And even though 2 of the pieces are the same pattern made in the same fabric but in different colors, I think that’s worth celebrating!

And now Named has gone and smashed up my planned queue with their Fall collection–I literally only left 1 pattern unpurchased!O_o They get me when it comes to Fall stuff, apparently…Anyway! Back to business.

Penny Raglan x 2

First, let’s talk about the least-exciting of the two patterns: the Penny Raglan. Thrilling she is not, but function is her jam and I can appreciate that. I think a shirt like this can be very wearable with mini skirts, slim trousers, and skinny or boyfriend jeans. Bonus points if you throw in a slouchy boyfriend-style blazer! The trick to this pattern–apart from deciding that an aggressively over-sized raglan t-shirt is the garment for you and rocking the shit out of it–is in the fabric you choose. The pattern hilariously calls for fabrics with at least 20% stretch (maybe I’m being a bitch, but 18″ of positive ease doesn’t strike me as a situation where I need anything even remotely approaching 20% stretch; YMMV), but the most important factors here are drape and weight. If you want to make this pattern, I advise making it up in the lightest knit fabric you can manage. My I-wish-it-had-been-wearable sample was made in a cotton blend jersey–something close to a nice interlock weight, I would say–and I looked like I was wearing a brick of fabric. An unflattering red/navy striped brick of fabric, to be exact.😦 If I’m dealing with bricks, they’d better be made of cheese or I’m not happy.


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Big ole shirt

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Sheer, too.

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Goofing off

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Back neckband, V.2

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Best Penny!


Dress form side view




Cool, right? At least I feel cool in them.😉 Both tops are made from silk/modal blend jerseys that I bought at Fabric Mart a couple years ago. This stuff is amaaaaaaazing to wear, just FYI. It’s also the perfect weight for a top this shape. The first three pics are of the pink version, and the rest are the rose gold (aka THE BEST) version.

The rose gold Penny is my favorite not just because of the color (which matches a pair of shoes I have–swoon!), but because I did the best job on it. The pink one had been a highly-wearable trial, and while I wear it proudly, there are some things I could have done better: for one, there is a small tuck at the back of the neckline because I didn’t smooth things out enough when attaching the band. I also set the differential too high on my serger and the side seams look slightly ruched as a result–oops. My final crime is that I did very narrow hems for the sleeves and hemline; they’re fine and un-puckered, but they don’t look as “nice” as a deeper hem would have. I remedied all of these things on the rose gold Penny. For hems, I didn’t whip out my stretch twin needle, even though I have one. Here is what I did instead:

  1. Added extra hem allowance–1″ for everything.
  2. Marked 1/2″ up from the raw edge, then turned that under the final 1/2″ and pinned in place, stretching slightly as I pinned.
  3. Basted the hem in place near the top of the fold, stretching slightly as I went along and removing pins as I moved.
  4. Gave that sucker a good press from the wrong side.
  5. Sewed the hem from the right side at approx. 3/8″ to ensure I caught the top fold, stretching slightly as I went along.
  6. Pressed again.

Since none of my hems need to stretch, that method worked for me. If these were fitted knit tops, I would have tried the twin needle. Failing that, zig-zag or lightning stitch.

Pattern Alterations

As with the last time I made a Grainline pattern, I needed to add some length. 2″ was added at the lengthen/shorten line, plus I cut the pattern pieces at the hemline of the largest size, PLUS I added the 1″ hem allowance to preserve all that extra length. My height is concentrated in my torso, and Grainline tops just hit me at an awkward spot without alterations.

I also brought the neckline up significantly after the “striped brick” trial version. I felt that the original neckline was too droopy on me to be flattering. I added 1″ all the way around and am much happier with the look now. So hooray for 2 whole wearable shirts!! This pattern is super easy to sew up, especially if you and your serger are on speaking terms. (My Juki and I are still in the honeymoon phase…) I got 2 done in rapid succession and have a 3rd in-progress!

Moss Mini Skirt

And now for the exciting piece: a Moss mini skirt!

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Moss mini!! And legs!!!!

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Fly front

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Back view, complete with bunchy, tucked-in tank top

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Sorry for the pose–I was itchy


Beautiful serged innards!


Full (fly) frontal


Back insides; didn’t realize JR was so bodacious from the back!!

I am really thrilled with this one with ONE exception: I wish I had used a jeans button instead of a hook and bar. Without a button it almost reads “Tennis Skirt” and no. Just no. But I can live with it. (Read: I hand-sewed that fucker on and I’m not uninstalling it.) This fabric is a stretch cotton-blend twill from Fashion Fabrics Club/Denver Fabrics. I’ve had good luck shopping with them for the most part–just BELIEVE their descriptions regarding weight. And swatch if you can if color matching is of great importance to your project. Learned that one the hard way once! You can get some great stuff there though, for sure. The quality of this material is incredible, and I paid $3/yard per my records. Boom.

I would like to take this opportunity to bitch about the zipper situation on this pattern. The instructions tell you to buy a 6″ zipper. My opinion? Buy a 4″ or 5″ and save yourself the waste of having to cut off the top of the 6″ zip they tell you to buy. I cannot for the life of me understand this whole “buy it too long and cut it off” philosophy. We are capable of installing the correct length of zipper to begin with, you guys. We totally are. For the record, I used a 4″ zipper for my skirt. My fly functions correctly. A 5″ is probably okay too in terms of not having extra zipper to cut off, but I will be sticking with 4″.

The pockets, however, are shout-out worthy. They attach in a way that keeps them in place all the time, and it’s awesome.

Pattern Alterations

Once again, length was added. My legs are short for my height IMO, but I wanted to make sure this mini was going to be appropriate to wear at the office. 2″ were added at the lengthen/shorten line. After trying it on unhemmed, I decided to take a 1″ hem (two folds at 1/2″ each) and I’m happy with the length; the pattern has you take two 3/8″ folds for the hem. I will try it at the original length though, just for fun.😀

I also ended up taking the waist area in about 1″ before installing the waistband. I could use another 1″ removed I think, so I will make those changes before Moss 2.0 is cut out. The pattern sits below the natural waist, and while I thought I might need to make this type of adjustment, I didn’t want to do that before trying things on! Better safe than sorry, right?

I also did some gratuitous topstitching on the skirt (not in the instructions) and I like it. Definitely keeps it from looking like a tennis skirt.😉

So there you have it! I got some of my planned garments done before Named went and got me all in a tizzy about their Fall line. I’ll still try to stick to the original spirit of the plan, but we may have some last-minute substitutions over here.😀

Before I go, here’s a gratuitous Mulder pic:

Shirts and Skurt-24

“Hi, Rhonda!!!” =)

Thanks for reading!❤

How is your sewing going this month? Do you have one favorite pattern company that just seems to “get” you and your style? 


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Q3 and Q4 Sewing (aka The Planning Post to End All Planning Posts)

Hiiiiiiii! Wanna guess what I’ve been up to since I last wrote?

Sherk 2-9


School Spirit Shark

Yep–sharks like whoa. The last one there is for my little sister, who started teaching at a new school this year. Their mascot? THE SHARKS. For real. So obviously I made her one in the school’s colors. I did as she asked and made this one a little smaller–it’s about 75% of the original size. It’s still over 4′ long though!


It’s August, which means that it’s time for many of us to begin thinking about our plans for the upcoming season(s). So with that in mind, I thought I’d do a planning post to share my ideal sewing focal points as we Ohioans prep for Fall (and football season, UGH) and Winter.

I always love reading other people’s planning posts, so I thought it would be fun to jump on the bandwagon. It’s also nice to have a concrete reminder of my intentions! My plans* are mostly based on wardrobe needs, but never fear: I have some ridiculous shit in there, too! And of course, I have listed wayyyyyy more patterns than I could possibly sew up before January, but I like to give myself plenty of options.🙂

*We at The ‘Mads’ House reserve the right to arbitrarily change these plans for any or no reason. We are fickle people.*


I need tops. Any tops. Knit tops, woven shirts, long-sleeved, short-sleeved, you name it. I have begun work on one already, so hopefully I will be sharing some results sooner rather than later! My pattern selections–below, in no particular order–for this section are quite numerous:



  1. Grainline Studio Penny Raglan – I know, I know…I rolled my eyes pretty hard at this pattern when it came out–I could nearly fit 2 of me in my size with all that ease and the design is really, really simple. But then I remembered I had some really drapey and lightweight knits that I haven’t used (and was going to try to sell, actually) and decided that, given my recent lust for mini skirts, something like this could be a great way to balance out a mini for the office. So I bought it. #sheep
  2. Grainline Studio Archer – Flannel shirts, here I come!!
  3. Vintage Advance 6426 – I have my heart set on some gamine button-up shirts with short sleeves, and this pattern seems like the perfect match!
  4. Waffle Patterns Vanilla Top – I have striped knits ready and waiting for this one.
  5. True Bias Sutton Blouse – Finally got this pattern during the recent release sale. I can’t wait to make it: it should be an easy and chic addition to my wardrobe.
  6. Grainline Studio Lark Tee – I own 4 plain t-shirts and they’re looking gnarly. It’s time!
  7. Itch-to-Stitch Mila Shirt – Definitely going to use a yellow and black plaid rayon-blend suiting for the first one.
  8. Style Arc Elsie Woven Overshirt – I have B&W striped silk twill waiting for this pattern.
  9. Vogue bonanza – Specifically, V1463 (View B), V1387 (View B), V1509, V1378, and V1389. I’ve got silk and lightweight shirting for the woven blouses, but I’m not sure what I will use for the last two, which are knit.


Namely, jeans. There is something demoralizing about one’s spouse having a pair of handmade jeans whilst you are left out, trust me. I have plenty of denim, from neon to black to indigo to non-stretch (for real–it’s everywhere) and just need to get started. Skinny jeans are my staple, but I’d like to take a crack at a pair of boyfriend jeans before the year is over. I also want to make a few pairs of pleated, cropped trousers like all the pairs Keira Knightley wears in “Begin Again.” Pattern selections:


  1. Self-drafted copy of Aeropostale skinny jeans – The pattern is ready for a wearable (I hope) mock-up, but the hold-up was zippers. The zipper I salvaged from the pair I tore to pieces copied measures roughly 2.5″ long, which is RIDICULOUS and proved impossible to find ready-made. But I like my skinnies to have a low rise (I know, that’s totally uncool now) so once I realized I didn’t have any suitable zippers in my stash, I found a supplier who would shorten them for a reasonable fee of $1 per zipper. I went with 2.5″ and they’re perfect! (Yes, I know I could have bought a 3″ and shortened it myself, but I don’t feel like it.) I plan to make an entire drawer full of these jeans!
  2. Named Jamie Jeans – Not a style I want too many pairs of, but I’d like to make them anyway! I’m thinking one pair in black, one in blue, and one in a pink or rust color.
  3. Named Wyome Boyfriend Jeans – I’ll sub out the button fly for a zipper and use larger back pockets, but otherwise the silhouette is very close to my ideal boyfriend jeans.
  4. Republique du Chiffon Gilbert Trousers (not pictured) – This pattern has me nervous–it’s hand-drawn in pink pen and there aren’t tons of finished versions of it online. There aren’t even line drawings available for it! But I am confident that I can figure it out, even if it takes a few iterations. When in doubt, I can always call Nina!


Specifically, mini-skirts. They’ll work in summer, obviously, but they are also great with tights and layers up top for Fall. I have twill, I have denim, I’m ready!! Patterns:


  1. Pauline Alice Rosari Skirt – My one beef with this one is all the buttons down the front, which isn’t usually something I like. (Plus it seems like a waste of jeans buttons or pearl snaps, TBH.) But it’s the perfect A-line mini! I’ll make it work.
  2. Grainline Studio Moss Skirt – I love all the jeans-inspired details (back yokes! fly front!) but will probably make mine out of anything other than indigo denim to avoid the full-on jeans skirt look. (I had an ill-fitting one in Junior High and would prefer not to sartorially revisit those dark, awkward days! O_o )
  3. Named Nascha Mini Skirt – I have an incredible tweed/boucle from Gorgeous Fabrics that I thought should be a jacket, but will probably become this skirt instead. Wish me luck!


After giving away almost all my summer dresses last year, I have been struggling to get dressed for work all season. I’d like to get a head start for next year, as well as give myself lots of options for Fall layering.


  1. Brunch In Paris Cowl Dress (not pictured) – Free random pattern from a sewing magazine. I have polka dot rayon fabric ready to go! (Which was also free–yay!)
  2. McCall 7351 – I haven’t decided which skirt to use first, but this one is definitely happening.
  3. Named Kielo Wrap Dress – Finally broke down and bought this pattern, too! I am not sure I have anything appropriate in stash, but it’s on my list if I do.
  4. McCall 7429 – Again, who knows if I have the right fabric for this one, but I wants it! I’d love to shorten it into a top as well.
  5. McCall 7430 – The perfect cool weather knit dress!
  6. McCall 7244 – I know I have plenty of fabrics for this pattern, and I can’t wait to make it!
  7. Vogue 1404 – This was a “love at first sight” pattern, and I’d love for this to be the year I finally make it!


These are all things I need, but that don’t fit neatly into one of the above categories!


  1. Grainline Studio Driftless Cardigan – I have precisely one long-sleeved open-front sweater, and it’s showing its age. I need something light for layering over short-sleeved dresses and tops, and this fits the bill! I have one length of fabric earmarked for this pattern, but hopefully I can find some more options in stash.
  2. Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas – I tend to sleep in sweatpants and sweatshirts in the winter, but I would love to have a set of flannel pajamas to wear instead!
  3. True Bias Hudson Pants – Did I mention that the sweats referenced above are 5 Ohio winters old? I need new ones!
  4. True Bias Ogden Cami – To wear under sheer and semi-sheer tops, of course!
  5. 1920’s Preteen Coat – Ah yes, the coat. Still haven’t tackled that one, but my winter coat is getting really ratty and the pattern is ready for an adult–maybe this is my year.


aka SHINY!!!!!!!! Stuff I don’t need to sew, but want to sew anyway.


  1. Vogue 9160, View B – This will be my project for this year’s company holiday party. It’s utterly frivolous, but it’s fun to challenge myself and have an excuse–no matter how tenuous–to sew a piece of formal wear. I have scalloped-edge corded lace and a matching wool/silk gabardine (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) in the most perfect eggplant purple for this one. Swoon!!❤ I plan to start fitting this one ASAP so that I have plenty of time to deal with the lace. I also plan to make the sleeves 3/4 length rather than full as pictured.
  2. Boyfriend Blazer – I’m putting this one under Frosting because I don’t *need* it. I have a RTW one already! But I want to copy that one using some amazing mascara black wool/nylon/lycra designer suiting I got from Fabric Mart recently. I’ve never made a jacket before, so that will be fun! I just need to figure out how to clone the jacket without destroying it, and what to use for lining; definitely thinking silk for lining, though! #becauseiamworthit
  3. Xmas Sewing – What will I make this year? No idea. But probably something for Tom (Xmas Sweatpants, Round 2, perhaps? Surprise Jeans?) and maybe another Stanley Tree for us to keep–those things are too cute!

So that’s my ridiculous list for Fall/Winter 2016! Hopefully I get at least one thing done from each category, LOL.


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In Which The Blogger Is Late To The Party

The Archer party, that is.😀

Hi, everyone! Before I get to the Archer part of the business today, I want to do a quick shout-out to Pattern Review and Creative Publishing International: I won a giveaway at PR!!!!!!! I am the lucky winner of a copy of The Shirtmaking Workbook by the aspirational AND inspirational David Page Coffin–can you hear me “SQUEEEEEEE”ing from here? My very cool and professional reply to PR’s email informing me that I had won began with a solid row of exclamation points. #nochill So thank you, PR and CPI, for offering this giveaway. I will try to do you proud with this resource by my side!


I’M A WINNER!!!!!!

And appropriately enough, the news of my random victory came during the final stages of finishing up my Archer shirt!

I know that almost everyone else with the internet and a sewing machine has made this pattern, but I’m just now getting to it. I mostly bought it for making flannel shirts for myself, but decided to take a crack at using it for at least one summer shirt when the vintage pattern I was working on proved to be too much of an annoyance. (Seriously, fuck those camp collar/ridiculous facing combos.) I recently bought several stripey fabrics at Mood (who clearly knew that a stripes sale on a Friday the 13th would bring your pal Mads out of the woodwork) and immediately knew which one I wanted to sew first: a denim blue/natural striped cotton voile, which can be found here (for right now anyway).

And now for the big reveal–my favorite part!

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Striped Shirt-38

Pocket + Buttons

Archer Collage 4

Side views

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Back view, plus nature

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A perfect shirt for Puppy Playtime, obviously!

Archer Collage 2


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Artful front view

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“Oh, funny seeing you here!”

What do you guys think? I’m really happy with it. It will definitely get a lot of wear this summer!

I took a lot of time to work on stripe matching for this shirt, but it’s fair to say that we had some do-overs before the end, LOL! I had a very specific idea in mind for laying out the stripes (of course) and everything more or less turned out just as I had hoped! The sewn-on right front placket was tough to keep lined up and while it’s certainly not perfect, it’s damn close. Apologies for the styling otherwise: it rained a tiny bit on Saturday night (we did pictures on Sunday) so I wore my big-ass boots for our photo “shoot” to ensure that I could get to any part of the park we wanted. Those boots may not be much to look at, but they are among my favorite things; I got them at the Eddie Bauer outlet like, 5 years ago. $25 for $150ish Le Chameau boots = #winning. And the shorts? I have no good excuses there…making better ones is on my sewing “short” list (HAHAHA GET IT?!?) for sure.😉


  1. I used muslin for my bindings (armholes and hem) and the yoke facing and inner collar stand; voile fabric is light and the show-through from the blue stripes is no joke. (Although shockingly, the shirt isn’t see-through on me; I am not wearing a cami under it in any of these!) I bit the bullet and made my own bias binding from muslin.
  2. This was my first time doing the “burrito method” for the yokes (haven’t dealt with a yoke and yoke facing before now) and it’s everything it’s cracked up to be!
  3. I also used the often-referenced construction order from four square walls for my collar and stand, and I’m never doing it any other way if I can help it–my stand and button bands are perfectly aligned!
  4. I put the pockets on the cross grain for maximum style points. The pockets are my 2nd favorite part of the shirt visually, topped only by my brag-worthy placement of the back pleat, which I can assure you was 100% intentional:
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Attempting to use both pockets at once. #nailedit

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Seriously. LOOK AT IT.

See that?!? Perfectly centered to feature a blue stripe IN THE CENTER of the pleat. BOOM! I’d like to thank my cutting mat, masking tape, clear grid ruler, and obsessive/compulsive tendencies for making this not-at-all-humble brag possible.😀

Finally, I topstitched the side seams, collar, hem, and armholes; I did edgestitching on the collar stand, shoulders, and back yoke seam. My undercollar is on the bias, which looks AMAZING, but I did not get a great picture of that for you. Seriously you guys, I feel like I could wear this shirt inside-out if it weren’t for the buttons. (Fabric with no “wrong side” makes cutting out and matching things a bitch, but boy does it make the insides look spectacular!)

You probably noticed how few buttons this shirt has (6) vs. the pattern’s recommendations (9). I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want my summer shirts to button all the way up to my larynx. Once I decided on which buttons to use, I opted to start from a decent-but-still-casual location at the pockets and space the buttonholes 2″ apart until I ran out of buttons or made it really close to the hem. The buttons I used are vintage; a friend gave them to me from her late MIL’s stash and I am so thrilled to have found the perfect use for them! I was thisclose to using Size 16 pearl snaps but felt they looked too puny against the 1/2″ stripes on an oversized shirt.


I followed Grainline’s own recommendations for sleeveless alterations, which worked perfectly. The only other alterations I made were:

  1. Added 1″ of length at the lengthen/shorten lines
  2. Took a slightly smaller hem than recommended (somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/2″)
  3. Increased my side seam uptake below the underarms.

With respect to that last part, I ended up with about 1″ seam allowances at the waist and 5/8″ at the hip. That’s why the stripes get a little different as you look down the sides. I could have taken more at the underarm as well, but didn’t want to make the shirt uncomfortably snug or create drag lines once the buttons were added later. I don’t think it made much difference though, so I either need to be more aggressive or just surrender to the “wearing a rectangle” thing entirely next time.

For next time (and there will be one), I will omit the cut-on button band on the left front and do it as a sew-on. In a perfect world, I would have had the button band stripes going the same way as the pockets; I just didn’t want the extra annoyance after dealing with the failed vintage pattern (2 muslins and still not right–ugh). I plan to make lots of plaid flannel versions of the Archer, and will definitely want bias button bands for those!🙂

That about wraps up the details on this one; it was a very simple project apart from the stripe matching! And now for outtakes!

Striped Shirt-12


Striped Shirt-15

Classic Mads. The camera isn’t tilted, btw: that’s the angle of the slope and tree!!

Striped Shirt-17 (1)


Striped Shirt-23

Having a Narcissus moment

Striped Shirt-29

Poppin’ the collar so you guys can see the bias effect…kinda.

Striped Shirt-34

Messing with the buttons

Striped Shirt-50

Mulder learned to levitate for this picture.

Striped Shirt-55

Puppy kisses!!!

What’s on your sewing table for the new season? Have you made an Archer? Would a sale on striped fabrics be enough to get you to hit “Add to Cart?” 


1.5 yards Cotton Voile, from Mood
~1/2 yard cotton muslin, from stash
6 x 5/8″vintage buttons, from a friend
80/12 Universal needle (should have gone down one size)


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In Which The Blogger Is A Magpie

Happy Thursday, friends!

Thank you to all those who have commented about Tom’s jeans! Being able to share things (successes and failures alike!) with such a great and varied community of people makes sewing that much more rewarding as a hobby: you guys rock!

Since my last post, I have finished and delivered the two L’il Sharks to their new home. All that’s left now is for their tiny humans to arrive, which should happen in the next several weeks. Yay! I forgot to take photographs of them (#sosorrysostupid) but I used the free pattern provided by Cation Designs here. It is SO CUTE and makes very adorable little hammerheads for the shark enthusiast or baby in your life. (Or your softie-loving dog, if you care to put this much effort into something they can trash in 10 seconds.) The little sharks were very easy to make, and the tutorial linked above is very helpful if you aren’t sure where to start putting everything together. I am certainly grateful to Cation Designs for making her pattern available to the rest of us, and promise to only use my shark-producing powers for good (i.e., I will never make them for profit, per her request). I ask that you please do the same, if you decide to try her pattern. (In other words: Don’t be an asshole.)

The giant shark (using M7103) for the same couple’s toddler is now finished; it will be a birthday gift for her. (Welcome to Toddlerhood: have a shark.) Isn’t it cute?!?!?


Sherk MkII (Mulder added for scale)


View from above


Squishy underbelly!



I can’t get over how amazing this pattern is–I love it so much! Someday, I shall have a Sherk of my very own.🙂 I had briefly considered using View B–the Hammerhead version–to coordinate with the baby sharks I made for the gift recipient’s future brothers, but ultimately opted to make the Great White again. (It is the biggest one, and therefore the best.) #noragrets

The plaid fleece I used for MkII (who I am affectionately referring to as sHERk) was a pain: unbalanced and not really on-grain (as far as fleece goes, that is). I realized these things AFTER painstakingly matching large intersections with pins, naturally. Since that part took 2 hours, I decided to just cut it out as-is and not worry about it. I decided to put the fins on the bias for effect, since I couldn’t really match them properly with the body. Had I bought double the recommended yardage, I could have matched everything. But this is a fleece object, and I don’t need extra fleece flopping around my house. I have plenty of scraps left from all this Sharking as it is! (And if I’m honest, this was part of my bias fin motive: do a wasteful layout to use up that fleece!!) And really, this is for a little kid to beat up on and drag around the house: it didn’t seem worth beating myself up over the plaid as long as she enjoys playing with it. I’ll save my sewing stress for clothes!🙂

So apart from Sharking and summer wardrobe planning/starting (hopefully I’ll be back soon to share some results!), there has been one other BIG, HUGE time-suck happening at the “Mads” House: knitting. Let me repeat that: KNITTING. That’s right folks, this dimwit has learned to knit!!! Aaaaaahhhhh!!!!

Although knitting prowess runs in the family (my grandmother–the same one who quilted proficiently–and my oldest sister were/are both very talented knitters), I never had the desire to learn until very recently. There are two reasons for my sudden interest: Sock People and fucking Brooklyn Tweed.

I follow tons of sewing folks online, and have noticed that many of them also knit; plenty of those who knit like to knit socks, and they waggle those beautiful, toasty tubes of wooly goodness in my face seemingly every day. And as someone who wears socks to bed and inside my boots in the Fall and Winter, I quickly began to covet the pretty socks that everyone was making. When Ginger Makes posted about her foray into sock knitting, I realized that the only way to resolve my bitter jealousy toward these Sock People would be to learn to knit them myself; I even made a declaration of intent in the comments on that post! But somehow, that still didn’t motivate me to start learning immediately. That took the release of Wool People 10, which set alight a dormant lust for big, almost-certainly-frumpy, intricately cabled sweaters that I could no longer suppress. I sent a text to my sewing friend (who is an accomplished knitter as well) stating my intention to learn, starting with socks, on circulars, two-at-a-time. (Hey, I learned to sew on vintage patterns: I would rather jump right in with knitting, too!) And because she is a saint, she volunteered to teach me.

That very weekend, we set out for our local yarn store and got me a set of circulars and 100g of sock yarn. Saint Friend kindly did the cast-on and toe increases for me (stating that it would be too frustrating for my first try) and set me up for two-at-a-time socks; she does them that way too, so it took her all of 5 minutes. Here are a few in-progress shots up to this point:


Week 1 (aka “Toe Warmer Stage”)

IMG_20160524_123700 (1)

Week 2


SO big!!


Happy feet + pet hair

Aren’t they too cute?!?!? UGH sock yarn is so awesome. I want ALL OF IT. Already, I have 4 pairs worth of sock yarn stashed in addition to the pair I’m working on now. This week, Saint Friend will be showing me how to do the heel turns; hopefully I remember the immortal words of RuPaul as I work! While my saintly friend worked on the cast-on and toe, she handed me some (already cast-on) thick yarn and straight needles and let me just knit back and forth to get the idea. Since, you know, I had literally NEVER KNIT A STITCH before then. O_O I still have that rig in my possession, and plan to use it to practice new stitch patterns…provided that I can tear myself away from my socks! (This first pair is all stockinette, but the self-striping and overall “new-ness” of the experience has been enough to keep me ALL CAPS EXCITED about them.)

Here are some things I have learned so far:

  1. I am a tight knitter. Very tight.
  2. Also, very slow with moderately clumsy mechanics.
  3. Righties teaching Lefties to knit gets complicated.
  4. I need to figure out tension for the first and last stitches in each row on socks, because they turned out loose as hell despite Thing #1.
  5. Knitting makes a great lunch hour activity.
  6. Always keep a crochet hook in the knitting bag in case of dropped stitches.
  7. Saoirse is as good at “helping” with knitting as she is with sewing.
  9. 2-at-a-time forever.
  10. Self-patterning yarn forever.

I am desperately excited about this new hobby of mine, you guys. I sleep in socks damn near every night of the year, and can’t wait to have a whole drawer full of adorable hand-made foot cozies to wear. And the craft itself is interesting and complex, which makes it more exciting. Having said that, I don’t know how much of my knitting I will share here apart from occasional pics of the finished things; it’s hard to stop what I’m doing and take a picture, you know? But I’m determined to make a go of knitting, so watch out, Sock People: I’m one of you now!😀

Do you knit? Any advice for a newbie? Have you ever picked up a whole new hobby because there was One Thing you really, really wanted to make? 




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In Which The Blogger Applies for Sainthood, Pt. 2 (aka A Man and His Jeans)

Okay folks: are you ready for the second portion of my most recent bout of Selfless Sewing? It’s a doozy!

WARNING: much text and many photos ahead.




Fancy side bits, up close


Obligatory Mulder Cameo


Jeans on parade!

What do you guys think?!? They were definitely a labor of love. ^_____^❤

I started these in February and just now finished them–it’s MAY, for crying out loud. *facepalm* (There’s something very demotivating for me about sewing an involved garment for someone else!) I talk a big game about making things for Tom (and hoard fabric for all my harebrained Dude Sewing ideas), and even though it can be hard to stay motivated, I really do enjoy it. Tom really appreciates the effort and care that I put into my handmade clothing, and we makers know that isn’t always the case! He also never asks me to use my valuable sewing time to make something for him, and lets me do as I will when it comes to buying ALL THE FABRIC investing in my hobby. (Let it be known that I would not tolerate anything less than that: he’s not the boss of me.) So anyway, I am quite proud of these jeans, not least of all because I learned a lot during their construction. Are they perfect? No–definitely not. But they look great and are better-made than most jeans at our price point, and Tom loves them and knows they are one-of-a-kind (for better or worse).

The red denim I used is Japanese and very high quality. The color did fade a bit in the wash because I punished it with 2 hot washes and 2 high heat dryer cycles–my attempt to avoid post-sewing shrinking. According to my records, this red Japanese denim (which is not selvedge, BTW) is 10.5oz, which is not all that heavy as far as non-stretch high-end denim goes. (I have 13.5oz yardage in my stash, and I am now dreading working with it after this project!!) I think this is a great weight for all-season menswear jeans: not so light that the fibers will wear out easily (is it me, or do guys just seem to kick the crap out of their jeans?), but not so heavy as to feel like you’re wearing cardboard pants in the warmer months.

I bought this denim from Pacific Blue Denims, who I honestly cannot fangurl for enough. They’re an amazing vendor with a mind-boggling selection and an incredible staff. (Not affiliated, just very satisfied.) They’re a wholesaler, but they will sell to individual folks as well. It’s a very different process to retail fabric shopping, but it’s so worth it!

As for the pocketing fabric, I bought that from Mood (it’s a cotton voile that’s labelled specifically as pocketing). It was easy to work with and earned rave reviews from Tom for hand-feel.🙂

Construction Notes and Blatherings

I used a very typical construction order for these jeans, as follows:

  1. Front pockets
  2. Fly
  3. Yokes
  4. Center back seam
  5. Back pockets
  6. Inseam
  7. Outseam
  8. Waistband, buttonhole, and belt carriers
  9. Hardware
  10. Hem

These bad boys got all the bells and whistles: rivets, contrast bar tacks, and plenty of flat-felled seams. There isn’t a single raw edge in sight in these jeans!😀

During construction, I made two significant errors, but luckily for me most people wouldn’t even notice. MY MISTAKES, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.

  1. When I added my seam allowances to the pattern, I used different allowances for different areas. All flat-felled seam areas got 3/4″ seam allowance, and anything else got 1/2″. Well, I added the 3/4″ seam allowance to the bottom edge of the yoke pieces, but only 1/2″ to the top of the back legs! So I had to wrap the felled seams down from the yoke toward the legs, which is backwards. (Go ahead, check your own RTW jeans…I’ll wait.) Again, I am sure no one will notice, but ugh.
  2. I totally spaced out and wrapped the felled center back seam the wrong way by accident. It should wrap left over right, but I went right over left. And of course, the nature of flat-felled seams is that you trim the hell out of one side, so there’s no going back and undoing anything. Grr.

But overall, I think the jeans look really good! The topstitching lines all come together at intersections, and my flat-felled seams are really strong and look great, especially considering it was my first time ever trying them.

Among my more minor beefs with my work are the bar tacks; my machine did not care for the combination of topstitching thread + dense zigzag stitching, so I had to use regular thread. As a result, they look a little puny to my eye. My belt loops are decent, but one of them got a little crooked while getting the bottom edge sewn down without me noticing. The bar tacks really show their slightness on the loops, IMO. In retrospect, I probably should have just topstitched them down with the thicker thread. I kept the topstitching tonal (these jeans are already RED, you know?) and used contrasting gray thread for the bar tacks throughout to coordinate with the nickel hardware that Tom wanted. Speaking of hardware, I had some trouble getting the rivets in perfectly straight. Here’s hoping they hold on for a few washes, at least!O_o

The Fly

The fly construction was the most puzzling aspect of this entire project because I’d never done one. Thanks to a patient sewing friend, I got it…in theory. But after crankily ripping out the fly front and topstitching and lower front crotch seam for a third-ish time, I put the jeans in the naughty corner for several weeks. (Hence the 2-month delay in this post–can’t post about jeans that aren’t done yet!) I don’t know if I’ve ever been explicit about this, but I am not allowed to have UFOs: if my current project isn’t finished yet, I DO NOT pass “GO,” DO NOT collect $200, and DO NOT get to start anything else. Either I pitch the project entirely (only if it’s really not working out), or I buckle down and finish it. It’s for the best, believe me! I knew I was going to have to pick these damn pants back up if I ever wanted to move on with my sewing life, and that meant sorting out the fly.

While I pouted, I studied fly construction on Tom’s existing RTW pairs of jeans without disassembling anything, trying to learn their secrets. What did I learn? (Well, besides the fact that staring at the crotch area of a man’s jeans for a few weeks will teach you anything at all?) That I was way over-complicating it. To explain my method would make this post utterly unreadable (moreso than it already is), so I won’t get into it here. I will hopefully share it in detail eventually, though. But I DID IT. Yay!

Luckily, the rest of the sewing was very straightforward apart from the bulky areas and self-created drama! If you are looking for construction help with jeans, I highly recommend a visit to Angela Kane’s website and Youtube channel. I will note that, although I don’t use her fly method, I wholeheartedly recommend hers if you’re looking for help. (I did use her buttonhole method though, and it’s AWESOME!)

Pattern Notes

No commercial pattern here: these jeans are a rub-off of Tom’s favorite, self-proclaimed Best Fitting Pair of RTW jeans. Said jeans met an untimely end when husband had a tiny incident on his motorcycle and tore one pants leg all to shit. (Don’t worry, he wasn’t hurt.) He saved the jeans to wear on weekends and for yard work, but since they fit well and were basically ruined, he surrendered them to the great cause of Patternmaking. All I needed to make the pattern was one good leg anyway, so it worked out for everyone. I disassembled the jeans and traced off the pieces, and there you have it: jeans! That fit! I did have to make a couple of very small adjustments to compensate for the stretching out of his well-worn originals in some areas, but those were very simple.


These jeans were a long time coming, but we got there in the end! I have plenty of denim earmarked for Dude Jeans, so this isn’t the last pair I’ll make for Tom. I am thinking of buying Angela Kane’s men’s jeans pattern, which is designed with selvedge denim in mind. I also patterned two other pairs of jeans belonging to someone else (long story), including one selvedge pair, so we have lots of style possibilities now! But Tom has been warned that after this red pair, my sweatshop* is going back to its regularly scheduled programming: All Me, All The Time. I do have some of this denim left, and have promised to see if a pair of shorts can be squeezed out of it…I am sure I will regret that!😉

Here are some more pics, just for fun.


Dat Ass








Fun with lighting in a tunnel


Possible photo of Bigfoot.

Thanks for tuning in for my (mis)adventures in Sewing For Other People!🙂 I have some sharks to make for some kids, so I’ll probably share those with you soon! And then I can get back to what’s important: clothes for MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

What’s the most complicated thing you’ve made for someone else? Have you ever made jeans? How long are your average “sewing time-outs” for items that are giving you trouble?

*Term used ironically/self-deprecatingly/for laffs, of course. We here at The “Mads” House do not condone the dehumanizing and exploitative practices of actual sweatshops, which is partly why we do not buy fast fashion RTW anymore. The Sweatshoppe at Fort Kickass (as it is affectionately known), under the careful management of a no-nonsense Feline Supervisor, allows its lone employee ample break time for soda and pizza consumption; video entertainment is also provided, along with many opportunities for feline/human snuggles and naps.



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In Which The Blogger Applies For Sainthood, Pt. 1 (aka Adventures in Quilting)


Admittedly, I haven’t been the most productive seamstress since I last wrote, but I have finally managed to finish some stuff that I can share with you. Yay!

Here’s what’s on the docket today:
Part 1. Gift Sewing – Wherein the blogger learns to quilt

And coming soon to a “Mads” House near you:
Part 2. Dude Sewing – Jeans edition
(I am working on these presently, so hopefully I’ll be back to share them soon!)

Phase 1 of my application for canonization features my first-ever quilting project: pot holders. These were made as birthday gifts for my dearest friend. I made it hard for myself, naturally. The front of each one is paper pieced (somewhat elaborately), both use their own palette of fabrics, and each one features a unique machine-appliqued word box using the font and memory capabilities on my 8200. (Spoiler alert: I taught my sewing machine to swear. #winning)

Background: my dearest friend and I love going to one quirky gift/craft store in town and looking at everything. The last time we were in there, she was looking intently at some pot holders but didn’t want to spend the money. She then said that I should make stuff like that and sell it in there (they do that), to which I said I would just make her some damn pot holders. And since her birthday was last month, it seemed like a great idea. (Doesn’t it always?) I should note that one of our favorite, must-scope things in this weird craft store is a series of magnets called “Mincing Mockingbird“; essentially, they are pretty pictures of birds with funny, rude, or sarcastic statements on them. Perfection in magnet form, really. So I decided to riff on that for her pot holders. I found a free, sufficiently-avian paper piecing pattern on Craftsy for the “face” of the pot holders/hot pads, picked fabrics I thought she’d like (basically, lots of blue), and got started. Here are the finished pot holders in all their snarky, avian glory:


Birdie #1, aka The Foul-Mouthed Fowl


Back of #1


Birdie #2, aka The Guzzling Gull


Back of #2


Close-up of the dirty bird


And a close-up of the drunk bird

They look pretty great, right? I had some difficulty with the binding and it’s a bit sloppy (if my grandmother–a keen quilter–were alive to see these, she’d slap my face on account of that binding before she even noticed the swear word on the first one, at which point she’d probably go in for Slap 2: Electric Boogaloo), I think due to the bulk of the pot holders. In retrospect, the binding should have been cut wider, but you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it! All things considered, I am really happy with these. And so is the recipient! But there was one insurmountable difficulty: chalk.

Once I had decided how I was going to quilt these damn things (I chose a very modern style, but it has the added benefit of covering the entire surface and adding durability, since they’re going to be heavy-use items), I needed to make sure all my shit was symmetrical and evenly spaced. Since certain chalk pens are heavily marketed to quilters (uh oh), I never hesitated to mark the 1/2″ quilting lines with my yellow chalk pen allllllllll across the surface of each pot holder. (I own blue and yellow, so I went for the higher contrast to ensure visibility while sewing.) And then I quilted. My machine powered through the 5 layers–backing, cotton batting, cotton batting again, Insulbrite, and top fabric–and they looked fucking beautiful. And I got to try out my walking foot for the first time: weeeeeeeeeeee! And then…the chalk wouldn’t come off. Let me repeat that: the chalk, that chalk so heavily marketed to quilters as a way to make their work easier, Would Not Come Off. So now my painstakingly-assembled pot holders had persistent ugly yellow lines and smears all over them. Desperate to remove the marks, I washed the pot holders. I put stain remover on them first, and then I washed them. (On gentle, mind you–I’m not a madwoman.) And you know what? THE DAMN CHALK STILL REMAINED. “Crushed” isn’t really a strong enough word to describe how I felt. All the hours! All the care! Ruined. And of course, two pieced seams on one of the pot holders came open as a result of being washed, and a visible repair was my only option to ensure durability. There was not enough time or fabric to remake them, either.😦

Had these been for my own personal use, I would have never bothered washing them. But these are gifts, and they are the first things I have ever made for my friend–EVER. I was angry enough to write a message to the company that makes these pens, and became even angrier when I got a reply from them condescending to me about how to wash my shit and taking ZERO responsibility for their product’s failure to absent itself from my finished projects (oh, AND from the clear part of my walking foot; now it looks like it lived with a smoker for 30 years). Grade-A Bullshit. So lesson learned: do not use Clover Chaco Liners on the visible portions of anything I give a fuck about, by which I mean ANYTHING I ever make again. UGH.

I explained myself to my friend (since paper piecing doesn’t GAF about grainlines, my painstakingly-squared pot holders were decidedly wibbly after being washed), who luckily understood. But jeeze, this is the first time I’ve ever made her anything, and because of someone else’s product not measuring up, I had to give the gift with an explanation.😦 The bright side is that not only did she ask if I would make some for her mother (minus the snark boxes), my sisters each asked for some of their own, too (with snark boxes)! So it looks like I’ll be returning to home dec crafting sooner rather than later.

Do you quilt? Would you ever use a pot holder/hot pad with a swear word on it? Do you think I should set my Chaco Liners on fire, take a picture, and send it to Clover? >:-)


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