Inari The Third (aka The Quilted Gothic Cocoon of Doom)

Do not be fooled by my secondary title: there was nothing scary or disastrous about this project! I just thought it was funny. :-)

A little background is in order regarding how this dress came to be, because this dress was never something I had in mind until a minute ago. (Okay, “a minute ago” is totally relative…in actual passage of time terms, it’s more like 2 days.)

I am one of those sewing people who has more fabric than I need. Lots more. Lots, lots more. In fact, I could probably run quite an Etsy sale to get rid of things if I wanted to–my fabric stash takes up 2 Rubbermaid bins, part of a cedar chest, and 2 small cardboard boxes, and has now spilled over onto the top of the guest dresser in a massive pile. Truthfully, I feel a mix of comfort and anxiety because of my stash: comfort, because I know that whatever I could conceivably want to make, I probably have fabric for it; anxiety, because I have so much that it has now become difficult to store/hide/bury in my admittedly large-for-two-people house. Combine that last part with my very slow pace when it comes to making/finishing things and my occasional continuing purchases of yet MORE fabric, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Things sort of came to a head for me this past weekend, when I drove up to a suburb to check out a Craigslist seller’s personal fabric stash from her days as a custom designer. I only bought about 6 yards of fabric, but when I got home I just felt impotent as to where to put it until I got around to making the things I had in mind for it (which all require muslins).

I sat down and started making a spreadsheet of things I wanted to make. (I included tabs for my fabric and pattern stash as well, but those will be much more difficult to fill out and therefore haven’t been started yet.) Luckily, I was positively brimming with ideas at that moment, and I have a great list started for Fall/Winter 2015 projects. Suddenly, I got an idea for a length of fabric I had bought with a particular pattern in mind and I just had to make it happen NOW. The fabric is a black quilted knit from Michael Levine, and I had bought it intending to make a Mai Zipped Jacket out of it. I even ordered ambiance lining and wide elastic for the bottom and the three required zippers; I just never got motivated to tackle the pattern. But as I sat working on my immediate sewing plans, I remembered that fabric, and it screamed “INARI DRESS!!!!!!!” to me instead. And here in “The ‘Mads’ House,” we listen when inanimate objects tell us to do things. >=D

Picture-heavy area approaching: CAUTION!!! (Seriously, this has to be the picture-heaviest post EVER on this blog.)

It's a dress! (And a Mulder...)

It’s a dress! (And a Mulder…)

Gotta have a side view

Gotta have a side view

And the back

And the back

A close-up of the texture of the fabric--neat, huh?? =)

A close-up of the texture of the fabric–neat, huh?? =)

A dress and a tree

A dress and a tree

How I do

How I do “poise”

This is my poking stick

This is my poking stick

Stretch!!!

Stretch!!!

Model pose

Model pose

He is too cute not to share!

He is too cute not to share!

I’m pretty thrilled with this dress, especially considering that it technically shouldn’t exist! ;-) (And yes, my makeup is definitely a tribute to the “Gothic” title that I definitely thought up before I even had the pictures taken…) And we got so many good photos that I had to share most of them. Sorry not sorry.

While the hand of the fabric feels relatively standard for a double knit, those quilted puffs are no joke–trying to start a seam on top of one was tough! I may have done well to use a standard universal needle rather than the jersey/ballpoint variety I always use for knits, but I got there in the end. Since I am still serger-less, I did all my construction with a lightning bolt stitch, including the hems. The neckline is just turned under (at the 3/8″ seam line provided) and stitched down; I had thought about making a binding out of self-fabric but the thickness wouldn’t have resulted in a very nice finish, IMO. In addition, I did not use clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams, which is what the instructions say to do if using a stretch fabric–I opted for a length of the selvedge of my material instead. It works as intended, but this was obviously a decision I made before realizing the full extent of the puffiness of those quilted bubbles. But I *did* stabilize those seams, just so we’re clear! My only actual complaint about this dress is that this fabric is a magnet for fuzzies and pet hair and everything else on Earth that could be unpleasant against black clothing. Oh well, sacrifices must be made for fashion!

Due to the heft of this fabric, it will make a great transitional piece between seasons (which we definitely get here in OH). I’m already planning to wear it with boots and knee socks or tights on cool Fall days and with cute flats when it finally drops below 80 and stays there. (Yeah, sorry–the heels look great with the dress, but I stick to flats most of the time.) Have you gotten a jump on your sewing projects for next season?

Here come some outtakes, per usual. But before we get to that, here is me with my “Unsung Sewing Blog Hero,” my dear husband and photographer, Tom! He actually really enjoys taking my photos for me so it’s not like he makes a sacrifice of his time unwillingly, but I do appreciate that he does this for me. And let’s be real: he makes me look wayyyyy better than I would without his help! ;-)

Our best cheesy grins, just for you!

Our best cheesy grins, just for you!

And now, on to the funnier shit (and supplies!):

Trying to make

Trying to make “Arboreal Vogue” happen…

Tom made me laugh during a

Tom made me laugh during a “serious” pose.

Coming in for a

Coming in for a “graceful” landing

Gotta keep these chompers in check!

Gotta keep these chompers in check!

Periscope stick

Periscope stick

Vitruvian Mads, Round 2!

Vitruvian Mads, Round 2!

He *had* to go for the lipstick...

He *had* to go for the lipstick…

If you’re still with me after all that, thanks for reading!!

Inari 3 Supplies:

Inari Tee Dress pattern from Named Clothing
2 yards quilted doubleknit fabric, Michael Levine (used about 1.5 yds)
Black all-purpose polyester thread
80/12 Jersey needle
Handsewing needle

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

A Wild-and-Crazy Maxi Skirt (aka Look Who Finally Finished Something!)

Don’t sound the “Stranger Danger” alarms, folks: it’s just me, back after an unintended blogging hiatus! Hiiiiiiiii!!! :-D

I haven’t even got a good excuse for my extended absence–life just got in the way of blogging, I guess. Well, that, and I haven’t gotten much sewing done lately. I definitely didn’t finish my Anna dress in time for the big Instagram party–in fact, I haven’t even finalized the muslin stuff yet–but I enjoyed seeing what everyone else came up with. I am thisclose to having the bodice fit the way I want, and it’s very exciting! I even got a zipper in my muslin, and it’s looking goooooooood. Here’s what I have left to do: move the pleats so that they match up with the edges of the CF skirt panel, sew the pleats about an additional 1/2″ toward the apex, take in the waist a bit, and take about 1/4″ out of the back neckline on each side to fix a slight gaping issue. I have adjusted the skirt pattern pieces so that the side seam is relocated appropriately, and apart from losing about 4-5″ of length and making the same waist adjustment that I will make to the bodice, that’s all I need to fix there. Yay!

Once I completed my most recent muslin, I decided I wanted to make a maxi skirt using the Anna pattern and some rayon challis I bought earlier in the year. Since this is supposed to be a casual garment/wearable muslin, I just marked 4 inches up from the bottom of the pattern pieces and stopped my skirt there. I lost what amounts to a couple of inches of sweep that way, but whatevs. (And seriously, WTF is up with the gargantuan length on these skirt pieces?? Gah.) I also added a waistband, because I really prefer those to waist facings. For the waistband, I just cut a rectangle (I fussy-cut it so that I could have my favorite part of the skirt’s repeat on the outside) that was 1″ longer than my waist PLUS 5/8″ on each end for the seam allowance. I also interfaced it, since this is rayon challis we’re talking about here. (Speaking of waistbands, one of these days I will try to show you guys how I sew waistbands onto skirts, because it’s super clean.) So without further ado, here is my Anna skirt:

Anna-liscious!

Anna-liscious!

Side view, BAM!

Side view, BAM! (And a blur of dog.)

Mulder and I both showed our backsides for this one...

Mulder and I both showed our backsides for this one…

Anna in motion

Anna in motion

Gotta have a twirl photo...

Gotta have a twirl photo…

Pretty neat, huh? It’s super comfy and swishy. This fabric is a lot louder than most of what I regularly wear, and that effect is magnified by the fact that it’s a maxi skirt, but I’m digging it. Now comes the downside: this skirt is not my best work. The pattern matching (or lack thereof) is really bad, and I didn’t manage to think about aligning the black pyramid motif on the waistband with the center of the skirt front. :-( Construction-wise, I did a really good job though. French seams throughout, except for the front seam where the split goes and the back seam where the zipper goes. And the waistband was attached in my usual fashion, which encloses all the raw edges. The above pics were all taken before I added the hook and eye at the top of the waistband, so if you see that gap there, that’s why; it’s done now, though! I actually ought to add a second hook and eye between the first one and the top of the zipper: I had a handful of 7″ invisible zippers on hand and was therefore determined to use one, but I could really have used a 9″ to make my life easier! Oh well.

Can you spot the French seam?

Can you spot the French seam?

Zipper; that's Hug Snug to finish off the raw edges there.

Zipper; that’s Hug Snug to finish off the raw edges there.

I used white thread for everything, and am really proud of how invisible the final stitching on the waistband ended up being thanks to my fussy-cutting:

Camouflaged white stitching to secure the waistband!

Camouflaged white stitching to secure the waistband!

And of course, it wouldn’t be an Anna without some sex appeal:

Dat split tho.

Dat split tho.

Since this is a casual skirt, I just topstitched the split opening (a la my Inari dress splits) and the hem. Speaking of that hem, measuring it was made SO FUCKING EASY thanks to my newest friend inanimate object:

My very own (VINTAGE!!!!) adjustable dress form--that fits me!

My very own (VINTAGE!!!!) adjustable dress form–that fits me!

“Size JR.” Damnit.

What her insides look like...

What her insides look like…

That’s right, I got a dress form!!! I put the skirt on her and was able to measure my hem out from the waistband without a problem AND without a live assistant. Hooray!

I cannot adequately express my excitement at finding this form. Finding one that would fit my stupid measurements had proved impossible since I started sewing seriously, and I had resigned myself to either buying a Uniquely You form (which isn’t a bad form, just a lot of work) or making a plaster cast (a task with which Tom should NOT be trusted, frankly), or just never having one. And then a Festivus-worthy miracle happened: while we were in our hometown a few weeks ago, we stopped at the antique shop owned by a cousin of my in-laws, and I saw this form from across the room. The price was way lower than any new form would have been, and that was before my “family discount” was applied. :-D Plus, she is vintage, and you guys know how much I love my vintage! (Speaking of which, you know I didn’t get out of there with just the form, right? Not possible. xD) All she needs now is an adjustment or three and a name! Name suggestions for the dress form are welcome and encouraged! **Disclaimer: we here at “The ‘Mads’ House” reserve the right to ignore not use any suggestions we don’t like, or which have been previously reserved by us for future Fur Children/sewing machines/etc., etc.** :-)

So there you have it: a new skirt, a new dress form, and a nearly-ready pattern to make a properly-fitted Anna dress! I will leave you now with some outtakes and the supply list. Thanks for reading–I’ve missed you all!

“There is no Mulder, only Demon Ginger Dog.”

Attack of The 50-Foot Wife!!

Attack of The 50-Foot Wife!!

Anna Skirt Supplies:

Anna dress pattern from By Hand London (skirt pieces only)
4 yards rayon challis from Fabric.com; I used about 3-3.5 yards, probably
1 x 7″ invisible zipper (9″ would have been better)
2 x hook and eye closures
Several feet of Hug Snug seam binding
Interfacing for waistband (roughly 3.5″ x 24″)
White thread

25 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Fit (Anna) Now, (Anna) Party Later

Mic check…is this thing on? :-)

I seem to have temporarily neglected my own corner of the internet–oops! I have been BUSY. I have been cleaning the house, spending time with my family and friends, helping my husband fine-tune our homemade Neapolitan-style pizza-making skills (SUCCESS!!!!), and taking another pattern class. On top of all of that, I GOT PROMOTED!!! I am now the Market Research Analyst at the company where I have worked for over 5 years, and I am beyond excited. So with all of this stuff going on, my sewing mojo has been well and truly zapped into oblivion…until now.

(WARNING: lots of words ahead!)

I am mildly ashamed to admit that, apart from the sewing I needed to do for class, I have done hardly anything in my sewing room since I last posted. I did make one thing for myself from a pattern Nina mocked up–it’s a nice, slouchy kimono-sleeved knit top–but I haven’t decided if it’s worth blogging. (I love the top, of course, but it’s not the most exciting thing in the world, particularly for people who are not me!) But recently, something prompted me to get off my ass (couch) and get back on my ass (sewing chair) to tackle a project that has been in my head for a couple of months: a silk maxi dress!

You may be having a total WTF moment right now, and I get it. Of all the things to work on, why a terribly impractical silk maxi dress? If you’ve read here for long, your WTF may be further magnified by your knowledge of the fact that I have never before worked with silk. (Unless purchasing it counts as “working with” it, in which case, I am a boss.) My only explanation is: International Anna Party.

Well, let’s back up: it all started on Instagram. The lovely Ms. Rosie tagged me in a comment on a photo, which turned out to be an “invitation” (this sew-along is open to anyone, so no invite needed; still, I wouldn’t have seen it if not for Rosie!) to participate in the International Anna Party, which is basically a sew-along/post-along celebrating the Anna dress pattern by By Hand London. I actually own every BHL pattern in paper form (thanks to backing their Kickstarter campaign) but have never made one of them; no reason for that, really, apart from being more drawn to other projects. I am aware of there being some debate in the online sewing community as to the quality of independent sewing patterns and the technical expertise of many designers, but I suppose that in the end, I don’t really care too much one way or another. I spend my money how I like, and will deal with whatever fitting issues arise if/when I get around to a particular pattern–that goes for vintage, Big 4, indie, etc.

ANYWAY ( :-) ), a couple of months ago I treated myself to an order from Gorgeous Fabrics (aka one of the most dangerous websites on the entire internet if you like amazing fabric) and included some ombre silk crepe that I’d been coveting for a while. I bought 4 yards (at 57″ wide, that was overkill, probably) because I knew what I wanted to do with it: a full-length dress that fully utilized the amazing coloration of the fabric, preferably with a nice, sexy split in the skirt. The Anna pattern was the only one I had in mind, honestly–it seems to look good on everyone who makes it and is very simple, allowing the fabric to really be the star (well, the fabric and whichever leg I choose to reveal). My long-term goal was to have this mythical dress done in time for my company’s holiday party in December–see? Super manageable!–but this Anna Party business gave me an extra push to get started. Just imagine it:

A perfect pairing, if I do say so myself...

A perfect pairing, if I do say so myself…

THAT SILK CREPE, THO. Red to coral to orange and back again, starring Bilbo Baggins...

THAT SILK CREPE, THO. Red to coral to orange and back again, starring Bilbo Baggins and maybe a dragon…

(So far, I am thinking of having the red focused at my waist, fading from orange/coral at my shoulders and then back out again past the waist. Thoughts??)

Obviously, I am aiming to have this dress finished before July 17, so that I can post photos to my Instagram feed (hopefully the entire blog entry will be ready in time, too) during the allowable time frame of the Anna Party. I don’t care about winning any of the prizes; I tend to join sew-alongs (or IG-alongs, apparently!) just for the motivation to finish something. To facilitate this, I have started with my fittings already:

Anna bodice 1.0, back view

Anna bodice 1.0, back view

Anna bodice 1.0, front; note the cringe.

Anna bodice 1.0, front; note the cringe.

The first muslin is straight from the pattern. Thanks to Nina’s teachings, I am learning to see probable fitting issues in a pattern before I do anything with it, but I wanted to see the fit out of the envelope on Anna, since I’ve never made a BHL pattern. It turns out that I need a LOT of fitting adjustments! The most necessary thing was to add length to the bodice, because it came up wayyyyyyy too short for me, as expected. The difficulty is that I needed all that length between my shoulders and bust, as opposed to needing it between my bust and my waist. Do not be deceived by the above photos: I held that bodice down while Tom pinned it to me–it rides wayyyy up. I added 2″ of length and shifted the shoulder seam so that I had more length at the back than the front, and got this:

Anna bodice 2.0, back view; definite improvement, I think

Anna bodice 2.0, back view; definite improvement, I think, apart from Tom’s questionable pinning! ;-)

Anna bodice 2.0, front. Still cringing, but a little less. =)

Anna bodice 2.0, front. Still cringing, but a little less. =)

My second muslin confirmed that I need to: stop sewing the pleats about 2″ before where I stopped them on Muslin 2.0 (they were lengthened after v. 1.0), scoop out the front neckline a little, and shift the side seams toward the back by about 1.5″ (tapering to nothing at the armhole). What do you think? Am I on the right track here? I can definitely see an improvement from 1.0 to 2.0, but I worry that I’m suffering from confirmation bias!

Once I get the bodice where I want it, I will be making any complementary changes to the skirt side seams and CF panel seams (if needed), and lopping some inches off of the skirt length. From my waist to the floor, I need about 42″, whereas this skirt is about 46″ as drafted. And bear in mind that, at 5′ 8.5″ tall, I am taller than the average bear lady. I suspect that the extra length is due to Anna’s designers opting to factor in very high heels (rather than drafting for exceptionally tall people), but I am not intending to wear mine with more than a 2.5″ heel. I’ll do the math after all this other jazz gets worked out though–priorities, people!!

Speaking of jazz, I will leave you with a shot of me in all my vintage glory, 1920’s style! As many of you know, vintage is what got me into sewing in the first place, and I still adore it (despite my foray into more modern sewing projects of late). I was fortunate to be asked to assist with an event at a local historic mausoleum, which involved me talking to people and looking nice and era-appropriate. Easy as pie! :-) I had not gotten to wear “Princess Peach” (yes, I named both of my 1920’s evening gowns) yet, so she was the obvious choice for the evening. She looks pretty good for ~90 years old, huh?

20's silk gown, early 1900's ivory pendant, and 1920's (or earlier) metal mesh handbag!

20’s silk gown, early 1900’s ivory pendant, and 1920’s (or earlier) metal mesh handbag!

16 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

In Which The Blockhead Makes A Block (aka Pattern Learnings for Smart-Making)

I’m baaaaaaack! I still haven’t taken my super scuba outfit on a test drive, but I plan to very soon. (It’s been “lapping flames of Hellfire” hot here lately, and if there’s one thing your intrepid blogger hates more than being cold, it’s being hot; bonus hate-points are awarded for being hot in head-to-toe polyester.) Thanks to everyone who left encouraging comments (aka told me I did NOT look like a total trollop in the skirt): your kind words have emboldened me to eventually leave the house looking super scuba fabulous! And now for something completely different…

I alluded to this briefly a couple of times, but I enrolled myself in another patternmaking class with Nina! Our last class was this week, and I’m excited to have a skirt and a bodice block to work from going forward. We started with the bodice in the first session, and oooooh boy…I STRUGGLED that first class.

Problem 1: It was excessively hot in the building. Having been told to wear something tight to class to ensure accurate measurements, I was clad in the eye-wateringly tight skirt of doom (yeah, that’s right: I actually wore that out of the house; to be fair to me, it was for science!!), a spaghetti strap tank top, a pair of tights, and a light sweater. This was too much body-con polyester and too many layers for the temperature of the building, and I removed the sweater–my one removable layer–immediately. As a result, I spent the rest of the evening feeling pretty self-conscious about how little I was wearing, and how tight ALL OF IT was. Problem 2: I did not have a partner for class. A couple of my fellow students signed up for class in conjunction with a sibling (awwww!) in order to be able to sew for that sibling and get a good fit. There ought to have been an odd number of us, and I was supposed to be paired up with someone who ended up not showing up. Nina had paired herself up with the other un-paired student prior to it becoming clear that the mystery student was not coming, which meant I spent a lot of time awkwardly waiting for her to come around to help me while simultaneously double-checking everyone else’s measurements. Problem 3: I am still a n00b at pattern drafting. The basic concepts took some time to sink in, and since drawing them out on the paper is a total DIY job and I’ve never done it before, I struggled and felt very UNconfident about what I was doing.

By the time we finished with the front bodice piece, the heat and math and drawing and confusion had gotten the better of all of us, and the back was a massive struggle. Due to the combination of Problems 1-3, mine was half-assed like you wouldn’t believe (well, if you’ve read here for a while, you might very well believe it!) and I didn’t feel great about how the muslin of it would sew up. The measurements seemed garbled and I had no idea how close it would be to my actual body. I knew the armhole would be FUBAR, as did Nina, but we were all totally over it by the time 9:30 came around so I just took home the pieces I had and went with it. Some crazy how, I have ended up with an excellent-fitting bodice! Some crazier how, the first iteration actually wasn’t very far off; most subsequent passes at the bodice have been little tweaks here and there as opposed to major overhauls.

Bodice block, version 1.0

Bodice block, version 1.0

Bodice block, final

Bodice block, final; note the decreased size of the front waist dart and the better armhole

I did learn something funny/sad about my bust at class: my bust apex is actually closer to my waist than to my shoulders. :-( I have no tits!!!! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE??!?!?!?* Grr. (*For the record, I know it’s totally possible to have a low bust point and be small-chested. I’m just bitter!) Fortunately, the skirt was so much easier than the bodice when it came to from-scratch drafting! And, you know, no morale-crushing surprises were revealed re: my proportions in that area, so you know, maybe that colored my opinion…

First attempt at the skirt block (aka a rectangle)

First attempt at the skirt block (aka a rectangle)

Final skirt pattern--much better!

Final skirt pattern–much better!

Despite the relative ease vs the bodice draft, the skirt waist was way off when I sewed up my first muslin. The biggest issue was that the center darts on the skirt weren’t lining up with the waist darts on the bodice piece. After tweaking the dart positions, I made a second version; that would have been great, except that I forgot to think about the waist measurement issue beforehand. I decided to see how close the two pieces were to fitting together and realized there was NO WAY they’d fit. To get the bodice and skirt sewn together, I just took in the needed extra width at the skirt side seams and marked up the muslin so I would know what to adjust on the flat. Here is the whole shebang together:

Fitting shell front view

Fitting shell front view

And from the side

And from the side

And the back

And the back, complete with sloppy-ass zipper insertion

The shell has seam allowance on each armhole, but not at the neck or hem. I need to take a wedge out of the CF neck and adjust the position of the side seams between my bust and hip (and transfer these adjustments to my flat pattern pieces), but apart from that it’s basically done! My zipper insertion is pretty grotesque–I just really wanted to see how everything fit–and is causing some of those ripples at the back. I used a 22″ invisible zipper ca. 1971 because it was the closest thing I had to being long enough. With respect to the fit, I wanted as little ease in the bodice as I could get away with–I wanted that part to reflect my actual body, in part so that I could use stretch knits or wovens without having to worry about excess ease or bagginess. I’d rather add ease than subtract it, basically. :-) And to be frank, my figure is pretty uneventful in terms of curves–my waist is really the only thing I’ve got going for me there, so if I make something fitted, I want to make sure it gets showcased to maximum effect. Although Tom did capture a really hilarious and awesome photo of me on our way out to take these photos, and it sure provides a nice optical illusion:

This is a lie. A nice, curvy lie....

This is a lie. A nice, curvy lie….

(Seriously, isn’t that amazing and disturbing?? I promise my ass is not nearly that impressive in real life, and I have no idea how Tom managed to capture that illusion on camera…)

I really want the core concepts of block drafting to sink in, because it will help me sew better not just for myself, but for anyone else I choose to sew for in the future. I kept the worksheets in case I ever need to draw stuff out again, but hopefully I can work from my block for any womenswear tasks. Nina gave all of us sheets of oaktag so that we can transfer our patterns, and once I make the adjustments needed to my flat paper pieces, that is what I will do.

Do any of you have blocks that you rely on for fitting or designing? Have you ever self-drafted?

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Spankin’ New Springtime Set (aka Jumping On The Scuba Bandwagon)

Hello, one and all!

I am pleased to inform the general internet population that I, Mads, have completed my first-ever item(s) in a scuba/neoprene knit! That alone probably makes this my trendiest sewing project ever. Shall we?

2-piece scuba set!

2-piece scuba set! Part Inari Crop Tee, part Shadi Knit Skirt

Bam, skin-tight skirt!

Bam, skin-tight skirt!

A shockingly good photo

A shockingly good photo

Peekaboo!!

Peekaboo!!

Isn’t it pretty????? This 2-piece set is brought to you by the Inari Crop Tee and Shadi Knit Skirt, both by Named Clothing. Apart from the same shoulder adjustment I made for my Inari dress, I also lengthened this top to account for my long torso. Well, actually, I cheated by using the pattern nesting to my advantage: the shoulders of the larger size (you get 2 sizes per PDF file with Named; I used the US 0/2 pair) are nested up higher, which means that the line for the hem of the smaller size ends up being lower on the page than that of the larger size. I just started at the top of the shoulders for the size 2 and followed the size 0 lines the rest of the way down. Doing that gave me just enough extra length to cover my midriff, provided I wear a bottom piece that comes up to my natural waist. Huzzah for work-appropriate crop tops!! One caveat: I did not take the 2″ hem allowance the pattern calls for–I did 1″ instead. I also cheated by abandoning the band finish recommended for necklines in stretchy fabrics and just turned and stitched it. (Incidentally, this is why my neckline looks a LOT different than the white knit sample on the Named site.)

Can we talk about the fabric for a minute? It’s SOOOOOOO beautiful. I really don’t think the photos can do it justice. If I could wallpaper a room in my house with this print, I would do it! And to me, the color palette is as quintessentially “SPRING” as it gets: bright magenta pink, deep mint green, a splash of cobalt blue, some white, and plenty of gray. And I was thrilled to realize that I had the perfect shade of obnoxious magenta lipstick to wear for my photos, as one does. :-)

As mentioned previously, this was my first-ever attempt at using a scuba/neoprene knit. This stuff seems to be everywhere right now–RTW, runway, and the sewing world at-large–and I’ve been wanting to try it. Now that I’ve been there, done that, I can say that I understand the appeal. This length of beautiousness is probably on the lighter side of the scuba spectrum, but it’s definitely still heftier than any jersey I’ve ever met. I had tried to mentally prepare myself for the, er, “unique” tactile experience that I’d read reports of online, but I was still surprised by the feel of this material. It almost feels…melty? Sticky? Gooey? Like, if fabric could simultaneously feel like fabric with top-notes of melted taffy, it would be this stuff. Even Tom was mesmerized by its strange properties, and I had to cut off a small scrap to give to him so that he would stop fondling and petting the pieces I needed to work with for my outfit, lest he create a pull or snag on one of the important bits! (Thanks to the lovely Ms. Red at Sew RED-y, I knew snagging was a risk with this material–thanks, girl!) The fabric was SO easy to cut and sew (even without a serger), but pressing was dodgy due to the synthetic nature of the material; I turned my iron to the “Barely On” temperature setting and gave seams a quick press that way, but mostly I stuck to using the iron unplugged for applying pressure only. I need to do the armhole seams with a little warmth though–they’re still not laying quite right! And despite the strange hand-feel of the fabric, it was not unpleasant to wear (though I reserve the right to alter that opinion if I wear any of this outfit in truly hot weather). Even Mulder likes this fabric:

My face says,

My face says, “I love you, but don’t you dare snag my new outfit!”

Truth time: I don’t totally love this outfit, and I have not worn it yet apart from these photos. BUT, I suppose I do know what bothers me about it: I just am not 100% confident in it because of how body-con the skirt is. :-( And I think the root of that disappointment lies in my previous experience with the Shadi–yes, I’ve made the pattern before and understand the shape of it, but since I badly mis-cut that first iteration, I assumed (LOL) that a correctly-cut version would not be as revealing or blush-inducing. I was clearly wrong. So now I have this skirt that I love in theory (THAT PRINT THO) but not so much in practice. I knew I was in trouble when I got the waistband done, tried it on, and then never hemmed it. In “The ‘Mads’ House,” that’s a bad sign. Maybe I will feel better once I finish it, or find a magical undergarment of some sort. And, you know, figure out how in the hell to wear the skirt so that I don’t look and feel like I’m a big Mads sausage crammed into a very pretty casing. :-/ Tom tried to make me feel better by pointing out that my skinny jeans actually reveal more, uh, “details” about my lower half than this skirt does, but for some reason I feel so weird and vulgar in the skirt. (Not that tight clothes are inherently vulgar–I absolutely do not think that is true. I just *personally* struggle to feel comfortable in something this tight, for some reason.) Do any of you have suggestions or words of wisdom??

So what’s the word out there: have any of you sewn with a scuba/neoprene knit before? On a related note, I have some of this fabric left–what should I make with it?? It’s probably enough for a top or a skirt, but I can’t decide!

I will leave you now with two “action shots” of my new outfit, plus my supply list at the bottom. Thanks for tuning in!

Oh, you know, just jumping off of stuff, NBD...

Oh, you know, just jumping off of stuff, NBD…

Spinning in circles

Spinning in circles

Scuba 2-Piece supplies:

  • 2 yards of scuba knit from Gorgeous Fabrics
  • Inari Tee Dress and Shadi Knit Skirt patterns from Named Clothing
  • Guttermann all-purpose polyester thread in grey
  • 80/12 jersey needle
  • 1″ elastic for skirt waist

18 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

An Inari for Spring! (aka Is This B*tch Out of Ikat Yet?!?)

(The answer is yes, except for some rather small scraps, so breathe a sigh of relief!)

Happy Monday! Somehow, I managed to finish my Inari Tee Dress exactly when I expected to–crazy, right?!? I’m really excited for you all to see my shiny new dress, so let’s get to it:

Inari Tee Dress in ikat

Inari Tee Dress in ikat

Front view + Mulder

Front view + Mulder

Side view, because THAT SPLIT HEM, THO.

Side view, because THAT SPLIT HEM, THO.

*insert witty caption here*

*insert witty caption here*

WTF?

WTF?

If I can sits, it fits

If I can sits, it fits

Sorry about the weird drag happening in the back view photo–that’s what I get for not standing straight in photos! For the record, I AM STOKED ON THIS DRESS. I love it. I adore the cocoon-ish shape and interesting hem detail, and my inner greaser wishes I smoked so I could cram a spare cigarette or three in those sleeve cuffs! I totally bit off part of the styling from the Named site for the dress’s debut outing (and subsequent photos)–I bought sheer knee-socks a few years ago when they came back in style, and loved the idea of them with this dress after seeing the styled photos of the Named sample. That being said, one thing I still cannot get behind is tights or hose or socks with open-toed shoes; these booties were my first choice and I could not be happier with how the entire thing came together. My only regret is that I cannot get away with wearing it to the office like this (big split hem + knee socks + heels = scandal in a corporate environment), but that’s why I have an entire arsenal of cute, mod-ish flats, including a pair in the perfect shade of yellow! :-D

Hopefully these photos show exactly how many elements I had to deal with when thinking about how to lay and cut out my pieces–shit got weird reallllll quick. See, apart from not being able to exactly center the pattern the way I wanted it (“arrows” pointing up and down instead of side to side, both to maximize usage of all colors and design elements and to elongate rather than widen my silhouette), I *also* needed to be cognizant of the potential for those diamond/arrow motifs sitting too low over my chest and giving the dress a very artistic “droopy, fried-egg-on-a-nail boobs” impression. (Go ahead: I dare you to un-see that now!) I managed to avoid that, thank goodness!! And my sleeves match each other pretty closely. I really wanted the black portion of the diamond motif to point downward rather than up, and to have my hem stop below the point–another “check” for my pattern placement list on this dress! (Can you see why I had so much trouble with the layout? I had a lot of arbitrary “musts” for how the pattern fell on the final garment, apparently!) On top of all of that, there were a few flaws in the weave of the material–they look like ladders in tights, but they aren’t tears or holes–which, although probably common in ikat (and therefore not truly considered a flaw), I did NOT want one of those front and center. So after working around all of that, I am very happy with the final dress! Motif placement struggles aside, the fabric and pattern combination really came together beautifully. This ikat is lighter than the other length I had, so it’s just drapey enough to feel nice while still having the body to hold the shape of the cocoon and angular splits on its own.

Construction-wise, this dress was pretty easy. Hooray!! I made zero fitting adjustments apart from copying the width of the shoulders from my Scout pattern to make sure I had enough room. (Concerning the length, Named drafts on a base height of 5’8″; if my doctor is to be believed, I am about 1/2″ to 1″ taller than that, but my legs also aren’t super long. Hopefully that provides a bit of a reference for anyone considering making this.) This was my second time making a Named Clothing pattern, but this one was obviously more involved than my Shadi knit skirt. The trickiest part was successfully sewing the splits at the hem, simply because my fabric is not stretchy and the maneuvering required under the needle is difficult on such a small hem circumference with no elasticity and those sharp corners. I also insisted on having my needle thread on the outside of the dress, which undoubtedly added to my difficulties (i.e., a whole lot of dress bunched up to the right of my needle). But I did it, and I think the splits and hem look really good:

Split hem: Outside

Split hem: Outside

Split hem: Inside

Split hem: Inside

The line drawing is very accurate as well, both in terms of the silhouette and the wrapping of the side seams to the front of the dress toward the hemline. The instructions were adequate and sensible, although I was confused by the technique used to begin sewing the splits. After sewing the side seams from the underarm up to the start of the split, the directions have you turn the hem allowance to the right side and sew the edge (at the splits) for the width of the hem allowance. (So if we imagine the side seam running all the way to the bottom raw edge of the dress, you’re basically sewing the hem’s width of that side seam and then stopping.) Then you turn that sewn corner (mine look SPECTACULAR thanks to my bone folder, FYI–get one if you can/want!) back to the inside, press well along the hem AND the open parts of the side seams that will create the splits (so basically, press those unsewn seam allowances under), and then in one swoop, sew the hem and splits, catching those pressed SA’s along the splits and hem. Turning the hem to the front and sewing any part of it made me side-eye this whole thing at first, but after practicing on a scrap, it all made sense. That technique also results in a nice clean finish on those corners, which could get sloppy and bulky really easily otherwise!

I have now worn this dress two days in a row, which probably sounds gross, but the first day was only for 4 hours so whatever. :-) It’s really comfortable, but obviously does not lend itself to extreme acrobatics or curling up in a fetal position to take a nap in the front seat of your car. Proportionally speaking, I think my hips are a little wider than Named’s base draft for my size, but not so much that I need an adjustment there with this pattern. I have already formulated a devilish plan to make the crop top variation to wear with version 2.0 of the Shadi skirt pattern, so I’ll be starting on that this week.

That about does it for me and this dress, but how about some Mads & Mulder outtakes??

"Do I have pizza stuck in my teeth?"

“Do I have pizza stuck in my teeth?”

Headpats for puppy!

Headpats for puppy!

SURPRISE FACE KISSES!!!

SURPRISE FACE KISSES!!!

Face of ferocity

Beast mode: Activated

Happy and tired and perfect

Happy and tired and perfect

If you’re still with me, thank you for visiting and checking out this post! Hopefully I’ll be back soon to share progress from my basic block pattern class–our second class is tomorrow and I still need to do my homework from last week! O_o

(Oh, and below is my supply list for the Inari dress.)
  • 2 yards genuine ikat from Michael Levine
  • Several yards of Hug Snug seam binding (100yd roll from Fabric.com)
  • Bone folder for turning points (I got mine on Amazon)
  • Gray Gutterman all-purpose polyester thread
  • 80/12 Universal needle
  • Small handsewing needle (for securing cuffs and tacking facing at shoulder seams)
  • Inari Tee Dress pattern from Named Clothing

 

**Disclaimer: I feel like this is really obvious, but I want to be clear that I am not affiliated with or compensated by any site that I link to for tools, fabric, or patterns, etc. I’m just sharing what I used and liked because I appreciate it when other people share that kind of information just because they had a good experience and want to give others a good resource. It also helps me if, in the future, I forget where I got “that thing that time,” which is sadly likely. =) **

24 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized