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

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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!

Anyway…

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.ūüôā

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

Tops

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:

Tops

 

  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 РI 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 РI 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.

Pants

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:

Pants

  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!

Skirts

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:

Skirts

  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 РI 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 РI 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!

Dresses

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.

Dresses

  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!

Miscellaneous

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

Misc

  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.

Frosting

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

Frosting

  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.ūüėÄ

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!

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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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“ALL THE STRIPES” Archer

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Pocket + Buttons

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Side views

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Back view, plus nature

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A perfect shirt for Puppy Playtime, obviously!

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Insides!

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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.ūüėČ

CONSTRUCTION NOTES

  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.ūüėÄ

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.

PATTERN NOTES

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!ūüôā

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

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“YOU’RE A MONKEY, DEREK!!!!!”

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

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Flailing

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Having a Narcissus moment

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

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Messing with the buttons

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Mulder learned to levitate for this picture.

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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?”¬†

SUPPLIES

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)
Thread

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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?!?!?

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Sherk MkII (Mulder added for scale)

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View from above

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Squishy underbelly!

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‘Sup

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.ūüôā 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!ūüôā

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:

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Week 1 (aka “Toe Warmer Stage”)

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Week 2

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SO big!!

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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.
  8. RAVELRY, THO.
  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!ūüėÄ

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.

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JEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Fancy side bits, up close

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Obligatory Mulder Cameo

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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.ūüôā

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!ūüėÄ

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.

Conclusion

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!ūüėČ

Here are some more pics, just for fun.

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Dat Ass

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Birdies!

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Meandering

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Posing

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Fun with lighting in a tunnel

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Possible photo of Bigfoot.

Thanks for tuning in for my (mis)adventures in Sewing For Other¬†People!ūüôā 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)

Hi!ūüôā

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 РJeans 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:

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Birdie #1, aka The Foul-Mouthed Fowl

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Back of #1

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Birdie #2, aka The Guzzling Gull

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Back of #2

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Close-up of the dirty bird

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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.ūüė¶

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.ūüė¶ 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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It’s A Jungle (January) Out There

There once was a girl who lived in the city
Who¬†thought that nature and the “great” outdoors were icky

But though a nature master she was not,
she could not resist joining in Jungle January with you lot.

Try as she may and try as she might
She could not shake the feeling that something was not quite right

“Is this wild zebra print really ‘me’?”¬†
No turning back now: the cutting and sewing had begun in earnest glee.

She pinned, she sweated, she pondered, and she fretted
If this dress turned out, to the gods she would be indebted!

And at last, the moment of truth had come
Scarcely any yardage remained–nary a crumb!

She bravely donned her togs, fit to be worn,
And her inner Jungle Vixen thus was born!

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Some super-effective jungle camouflage.

I hope you people enjoyed that, because a poet I am not!ūüôā I didn’t think I’d be able to come up with anything nearly as clever as what Anne normally writes (and which I am convinced is how she talks and tells stories all the time, in real life, because she’s just that awesome) so I settled for a silly poem instead. (And brace yourselves for a whole set of fashion-bloggeresque “Inappropriate Sunglasses at Sunset” photos, because I could not be bothered with a full face of slap.)

So as you have figured out by now, I am participating in Jungle January this year–my first EVER! I had not really planned on that but for some reason my inspiration whacked me over the head like a Shakespeare anthology one Friday night, and here we are.¬†Anne Jungle January Goddess, get your fainting couch ready, because I must now admit that my stash contains a paltry 2 animal print fabrics. Clearly, I am a #junglenovice. Teach me your ways!!!!!!!

I bought this crazy-ass fabric over a year ago when Fabric Mart the-fabric-retailer-that-shall-not-be-named¬†had one of their many sales.¬†I even described it using the same foul language back then. I had no immediate plans for it, but figured it was one of those random things I’d regret NOT owning if I didn’t buy a bit of it. Let the record show that RETINA-SEARING ELECTRIC BLUE and motherfucking¬†ZEBRA are, even on an individual basis, not really my usual taste; together, they create what is without a doubt the biggest taste anomaly in my fabric stash, all wrapped up into 3 clingy yards of “What the fuck am I going to do with that?” and shoved into an unmarked box until that particular riddle solves itself. 14 months of “seasoning” later, ¬†the riddle finally got off its ass and presented me with the answer: McCall 6886, aka the ubiquitous knit sheath that everybody has already made and seems to love.

I had figured on doing a fitted sheath-type dress in this material when it arrived those many moons ago. My initial idea, I thought, was Brilliant (yes, *with* that capital “B”): focus the blue bits around the waist of the dress, and let the top and bottom sections fade gracefully into zebradom (or at least as gracefully as is possible with an animal print mash-up). Well, Present Mads had to make a¬†slight revision to Past Mads’ plan. Turns out the greatest % of stretch in this ITY jersey runs perpendicular to the blue border, not parallel to it. And if there was one additional Taste Violation that this dress did not need, it was the “Painted-On Sausage Casing” effect.

In order to save the “Illusion Dress” idea, I cut the front and back pieces as pairs rather than on the fold as directed. That allowed me to get the side seam parts on the blue (an endeavor which met with more success on the back pieces than the front), which I felt would create the illusion of a narrower silhouette. (Yeah yeah, I know that’s a damn stupid thing to see someone like me write, but let’s face it:¬†nobody wants to look wider than they are, not even me.)¬†The hardest part of this project was the cutting out! I must have shifted the pieces around a dozen times, but I am happy with how the pattern got distributed in the end. In other words, we came out of this with ZERO unfortunate boob or genital¬†flowers. SUCCESS.

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Front view

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Side

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Back; I can see that a swayback adjustment would be of use next time.

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“Mom, what the f*** are you wearing?!?”

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Just standing among some wood scraps, as one does

Fitting Adjustments and Pattern Changes

I made¬†View C, with the scoop neck and one of the many assorted lengths provided. After consulting the back of the pattern envelope, I made the decision to grade the hips to 2 sizes above my size, and stick with the smallest size everywhere else. I also used a 3/8″ seam allowance from the hem through the hips. In addition to that, I gave myself a seam allowance of¬†1/2″ at the center front and back seams, but sewed those up at 3/8″ just in case. (Reminder: this pattern is supposed to have front and back pieces cut on the fold–I changed that to accommodate my pattern placement.) My fabric is not the intended weight for this pattern (it says “medium weight knits” and this is a very light ITY jersey) so I wanted some insurance to literally cover my ass. This turned out to be a mistake. I removed what I had added after the fact, and then removed a little more. All removal was done from the side seams; everything I needed to remove was from the underbust¬†through the hips.

At first, I had lengthened the pattern pieces by 2.5″ at the bodice lengthen/shorten line but hadn’t changed the actual waist circumference:¬†I wanted to make sure everything else fit first. (I did a quick tissue fitting before adding that length; the bodice was definitely too short for me as drafted.) I must have removed 2″ from each side seam at my waist by the time I was satisfied (after trying the dress back on 3 or 4 times, each time being SURE that this was going to be the last, because how much more fabric could I possibly need to remove?!?) and, while it isn’t super-fitted at the waist, it shows off my one-and-only curve and remains office appropriate. Um, as office appropriate as this bananas dress can be, that is.

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Office styling for Crazy-Ass Zebra Flower dress (snotty sunglasses optional)

This was a SUPER SIMPLE dress. Very awesome. My only major gripe, and I should have expected this, is about the sleeve cap ease. This is a fitted knit¬†dress. The sleeves do NOT need much cap ease, if any, vs. the armhole. I had decided from the beginning to install the sleeves flat (not what the instructions said to do, but whatevs, this Disobeyer of Instructions cares not), and was not a happy bear when I realized how big the caps were vs. the armhole. In the end, since I had no fabric left (that poem was TRUTH y’all) to recut new sleeves, I did what Andrea at¬†Sew to Fit recommends and just let the extra cap ease get taken up as seam allowance. (That knowledge-bomb is in her verbal explanation at the beginning of the linked video, before the sewing starts. Her video explains it beautifully, by the way, if you ever run into this after you’ve cut and feel stuck.) So the end result was 2 pucker-free sleeves and a mollified Mads. DOUBLE GOOD SUCCESS.

Sorry for these photos, by the way. It was dinner time on a Sunday and quite cold, so going anywhere that was more than 100 feet from my wood burning stove was out of the question. So yard photos were the order of the day, and I only managed 5 minutes of shooting time!

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Zebracicle.

Wrap It Up Already!

So there you have it, people of the internet: my first foray into the jungle! It was a lot of fun, and hopefully I’ll be brave enough to play along next year as well.

But WAIT! There’s More:

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Bam! Future bra.

Coming soon* to a “Mads” House near you: The Ze-Bra! Get it?!? (But seriously–The Ze-Bra is¬†happening. This will be a beta test of the Watson pattern, which I am hoping will become my TNT bra. Exciting!!)

*”Mads” speak for approx. 3 forevers from now

I hope you’ll go check out Pretty Grievances for all the jungle action–people always have so much fun with Jungle January!

 

 

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2015 Reflections and 2016 Goals

Welcome! Consider this my version of a “Top 5” post, if you will. (And thanks to Gillian for masterminding this recap series–it’s been such fun to read everybody’s posts these last few weeks!)

Had I been more productive in 2015, I would have done the whole Top 5 shebang. **Actually, after looking it up, I finished 14 things in 2015–that’s 2.3333333 times¬†as many as I finished in 2014!!!!! I am awed.**

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So in light of this BRAND NEW INFORMATION, here are my Top 5 Sewn Projects of 2015:

  1. Marfy 3093, Version 1.0
  2. True Bias Men’s Hudson Pants
  3. Marfy 3093, Version 2.0
  4. BHL Anna Dress
  5. McCall 7103 (aka Sherk, aka Dunuh)
    Honorable Mention: Style Arc Tamara Top
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Marfy 3093

The first iteration of the Marfy pattern has been worn so many times that I have lost count–nearly once per week since being finished! I think it is my best work to date (sorry, Anna dress) and I am really proud of it. Isn’t it awesome to fill a hole in your wardrobe that you didn’t realize existed??

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Men’s Hudson Pants

I guess this is sort of cheating, since the pants weren’t for me, but seriously: Tom wears a pair of his Hudsons every. single. day. When both pairs went into the washer this past weekend, he ruefully put on a RTW pair of sweats and kept asking if laundry was done yet. He is eager for at least one more pair, so I know they’re a hit!

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Marfy 3093 #2

Marfy 2.0 is also wonderful, but I don’t reach for it quite as often simply because my work wasn’t as excellent as on 1.0. (And I also got pizza on it the last time I wore it–I KNOW–and have washed it, but still have to re-starch and iron the collar before I can wear it again. I am nothing if not lazy.) But it is much-loved and does get worn!

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Anna Dress

Ah, the Anna dress…I love that I got it done and that I was able to wear it. The flaws in it–and trust me, they are flaws–are unnoticeable to most people, and the fabric is BEYOND amazing, so I won’t be dissuaded from wearing it to future formal events.

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SHERK

SHERK! I love this thing more than a 30-year-old ought to love a giant stuffed animal, but I can’t help it. He will be the first of a handful of these, I’m sure; I’ve already agreed to make one for a co-worker’s granddaughter for her 2nd birthday. I am just glad that my friends and their son enjoy the shark so much–that’s such a great feeling!

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Tamara Top

The Tamara top gets a lot of wear when the weather is cool/cold (solid polyester + snug fit = cold seasons only). It was definitely a good addition to my wardrobe this year!

And now, my Top Fails or Misses:

  1. Named Shadi Skirt 1.0
  2. Named Inari/Shadi Scuba Set-acular
  3. BHL Anna Dress
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Shadi Knit Skirt

Obviously this Shadi skirt is my biggest fail of the year–it was literally unwearable in polite society. I did wear it to the first night of my sloper class (Nina said to wear something tight for measuring, and I knew EXACTLY what to put on!), but after that it was unceremoniously cut up, the elastic salvaged, and the scraps of skirt thrown away. Womp womp.

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Shadi Skirt + Inari Top

I dearly wanted to love this set. REALLY wanted to love it. But I never, ever wore it.ūüė¶ The crop top is fine on its own, but I don’t have enough slim-fitting, high-waist bottoms to pair with it for office-appropriate outfit building. “But Mads,” you’re probably thinking, “isn’t that why you made the matching skirt?” Why yes, dear reader, it is. But I just couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of wearing such a tight skirt in public. I’m no prude–I despise “modesty” doctrines, etc.–but I just felt very self-conscious in it. (That’s right: even scrawny people can have body confidence issues!) The skirt is STILL unhemmed. It’s such a shame, because that incredible fabric deserved better.ūüė¶ Maybe 2016 will be the year I get over it and wear at least one part of the set…

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Anna Dress, with accurate facial expression of my feelings

Come on, guys: Anna had to make this list. Even if I wear the dress, love the fabric, and got tons of compliments on it at the party I wore it to, I cannot pretend that the flaws aren’t there. I see them every time I look at the dress. It is what it is.

No Man’s Land

Neither of my 2 Inari Dresses made these lists because they fell into that weird middle ground of being worn sometimes but not constantly; they’re neither hits nor misses, I guess! Vintage Simplicity 1281 didn’t make the lists either, but it got worn pretty regularly. My only complaint about that one is the fabric, whose favorite thing to do is still wrinkle. My Anna skirt got a lot of wear in the summer months, but is definitely a seasonal item when you live in OH!

I¬†think that’s everything from 2015!

Goals:

Last year, I did something very similar to what I’m about to do: laid out vague goals–big picture items, if you will–to strive for in the coming year. I do have a project queue, but it gets edited all the time, fabrics get reassigned to other theoretical projects, and stuff definitely “cuts” the line regularly. I prefer to let my inspiration be my spirit guide on this peyote fabric-fueled journey through the creative realm rather than make prescriptions. That being said, here are a few general things I’d like to be able to say I did in 2016:

  1. LIMIT THE BUYING. I don’t mean RTW–I’ve been unofficially RTW fasting for almost 2 years. I mean fabric shopping. I have so much fabric that storing it has literally become a problem. A problem I cannot solve unless: A.) we win the lottery and buy an entire IKEA warehouse and/or a bigger house, or B.) I sew through some yardage. I know which of those is more realistic, so I’m going with that. I LOVE sewing, and now that I have more free time to devote to it, I am hoping to make some real headway here in 2016. This was among my goals for 2015, and I failed very badly.
  2. Fill wardrobe gaps. I still lack tops/blouses in a way that really limits me, and more pants wouldn’t hurt either.
  3. Make some activewear/outerwear things for myself. I need these things, but not in a “SEW THIS FIRST!!!!!!!” sort of way. But it would be fun and different for me, for sure.
  4. Dude sewing. Tom has a long list of things he needs and/or wants, and while he does not expect me to make him a wardrobe, it is something I want to do.
  5. Lingerie. I need bras that fit, and I am trying to go pad-free. (Which, in my approx.¬†30A size, is damn-near impossible to find in a store.) I have what I need to get started, and I’m hoping this is my year. Underpants would be nice too, but those I can just buy if it comes down to it.
  6. Keep up with the sewing spreadsheet I started late in 2015. I am recording fabric and patterns that I have, fabric I would like to buy for a specific project I have in mind (and where to find it), a project queue (this changes depending on my mood or inspiration, but it does help get my creative juices flowing), and a selfless sewing idea list. The fabric and queue are the most up-to-date tabs so far.

Reflections: 

Non-sewing stuff in 2015 was a definite mixed bag. We nearly lost Tycho, but his amazing vets saved his life. (Talk about emotional whiplash…) I got promoted. I had braces, but they came off in March. I got bad family news. I made new friends. I took a leave of absence from my vintage job. (That one counts as both a high AND a low–I cherish the store and the family I have there, but my body couldn’t cope with my schedule any longer.) Overall, things could have been so much worse, and I feel lucky to have made it through another year.

I did spend a lot more time in my sewing room in 2015 vs. 2014, not least of all because my work schedule is now strictly a 1-job situation. My output doubled (!!!!!!) from 2014 to 2015, but I did accomplish much more than the final tally for 2015 would suggest: my patternmaking classes resulted in an increase in knowledge and understanding of my craft, and I have lots of bits and pieces from those sessions hanging around. Those classes really changed my life, adding new skills and friends that I never knew I needed but now could never do without. I can only hope that 2016 is a continuation of these good things, and hope that this new year brings you all health, happiness, and peace in whatever form it may take.‚̧

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