2018 Top 5 – Hits, Misses, and Highlights

It is that magical time again: Top 5 season! I had hoped to have this post (and the next one) done before the end of the year, but you can see how well that worked out! #sorrynotsorry But better late than never!

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If you’ve been with me a while, you’ll know I look forward to this every year, as it’s a great opportunity to look back on my past year of sewing and see how my naive set-last-year goals materialized (or didn’t) and evaluate how valuable all my projects really were. And I love a good navel-gazing postmortem on my year, if I’m honest. ๐Ÿ˜‰ As per usual, I will do 2 posts instead of 5 for this, since I find they group together well this way. But first,ย SEWING STATS!

In 2017, I managed to sew a whopping (for me)ย 31 things. One of my goals for 2018 was to meet or surpass that; if I count every single garment I made, I did it! 2018’s grand total was 39–a 25% increase over last year. (It would be 40 if I counted my hand-knitted sweater, but I’m keeping this count sewing-only.)

2018 Sewing Projects

(Sorry the chart is tiny–it won’t get any bigger for some reason!)

Categories are:

Tops – Medium Blue (7)
Skirts – Orange (1)
Pants – Gray (6)
Dresses – Yellow (7)
Layers – Light Blue (5)
Costume – Green (2)
Friends & Family (F&F) – Dark Blue (11)

That’s a pretty good mix of things! Obviously the F&F category was by far my biggest single category last year, and I was a little surprised when I tallied that up. None of those 11 items have been blogged, though. 4 of those items were adaptive shirts for a friend I love as she dealt with treatment for and recovery from a serious illness, 1 was a Driftless cardigan for that same badass friend, and the other 6 are for my main squeeze-slash-personal paparazzi, Tom. His were all those baseball t-shirts that I’ve made him before–he knows what he likes! I don’t have photos of the specialized tops or gifted Driftless of course, so you’ll just have to take my word on those! Neither do I have photos of Tom’s finished t-shirts all together, but here are the photos I do have of them:

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#1 of 6, before thread trimming and a final pressing…

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These eventually became full-fledged t-shirts

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The very shitty but very helpful diagram I made to help me remember what pieces to cut from which colors…

I’m proud to report that, apart from periods of extreme temperatures, these t-shirts get worn all the time! (And are still complimented frequently by his friends and co-workers, which blows my mind.)

The category with the most growth over 2017 was Dresses, and Tops had the biggest decrease in count YOY. I did fail to blog a few tops, and one of those I still can’t show you because it was a pattern test and it is unreleased as of this writing. I CAN NOW POST THAT BLOG BECAUSE TODAY IS ACTUALLY RELEASE DAY!!! So look out for that!

You’ll note 2 more new categories for last year: Costume and Layers. Costume is exactly what it sounds like, and Layers are things like cardigans. You saw one costume piece in thisย recent post, and the other was something I made to sell so I have no photos of that one for you. Once again, I failed to blog 4 of my 5 Layers pieces, but here they are along with the aforementioned unblogged tops:

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4 Driftless Cardigans

Overall I was pleasantly surprised to see a mostly even distribution of my output in 2018 (sorry, skirts! I swear I love you). Now that we’ve done the stats, here are my Top 5 Hits:

Top 5 Hits

  1. Lander Pants
  2. Ariana Dresses
  3. Otari Hoodie
  4. Tamara Top
  5. Heather Dress

The Landers were far and away my biggest wardrobe Hit last year–I wore them so much!! I am planning a few more pairs for 2019 also. My Ariana dresses and Otari hoodie were straight-up staples also, and the Otari has the added bonus of being my first-ever pattern test. The Tamara is perfect for wearing with jeans on in-between days during Spring and Fall (and I feel very cute in it), and the Heather dress is perfect winter garb on days where I want toย look a little nicer but still be comfortable. I already made that pattern again (something about January makes me realize I need Heathers, apparently) and I’m probably not done with this pattern yet! โค

Now, unlike 2017, I don’t have any outright FAILS for last year–yay! But I will choose my least-successful projects and rank them, because why not?

Top 5 4 Misses

  1. Jailbird Hudson Pants (unblogged)
  2. Gray Driftless Cardigan (unblogged)
  3. Adaptive T-Shirt Mk. II (unblogged)
  4. Obnoxious Yellow & Navy Hemlock
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The aforementioned Hudson pants and Hemlock tee serving their purpose

First of all, let me just say that all of the above items were worn multiple times. The first two are failures of fabrication: the Hudson pants were made from a fabric with no vertical stretch, so they’re not the most comfortable things to wear; the gray fabric of the cardigan has NO recovery and I swear to The Almighty Bobs that it is not long for this world.

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OBEY THE BOBS!!!

As for the adaptive t-shirt, there was one version that just did NOT want to get snaps installed in it–literal holes were torn in this knit top in the struggle with the snaps, and even then there were still pokey edges in a few places. I felt like a very lousy friend handing that one over (“Hey, sorry about your health crisis but maybe stabbing yourself with snap prongs will help you forget about it, urwelcomekthanxbai!”), but having only made 4 total tops I figured it was better to hand it over than not. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Bless my friend, she wore it anyway and still speaks to me. #itsamiracle And the Hemlock, while perfectly wearable, is just not something I like wearing in public between the shape and the color; it has been demoted to sleepwear, which is a pretty good outcome actually.

With the business out of the way, let’s move on to Highlights!

Top 5 Highlights

  1. Personal Knitting Triumphs – In 2018, I tackled cables and made my first sweater! I also met my personal goal of completing at least 13 knitting projects last year, which is very exciting. I actually surpassed that goal also, getting to 15 finished projects. Spoiler: they were mostly socks. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  2. MOAR REMODELING!!!!! – This is barely less exciting for me than my knitting, people: we got so much work done! I am hoping to do a separate post to show you everything eventually but for now, here is a list of what we did: refinished the upstairs floors, replaced the front and rear entry doors, totally revamped the landscaping out front, replaced the porch roof, and replaced the kitchen ceiling. And as a small-but-mighty bonus, we also had our guest room painted (a mere 7 years after moving in…yikes). Whew! The floors are the most staggering achievement, simply because they offer the biggest transformation IMO. (The landscaping is a very close 2nd there.) Plus it’s a great feeling as a lover of old houses to be able to restore something to its former glory after decades of wear and abuse. I can’t wait to show you everything!!
  3. Abbey 1, Student Loans 0 – I PAID OFF MY STUDENT LOANS LAST YEARRRRRRR. For real, I don’t like parties but this made meย almost want to throw one. I was able to pay them off early (by like, 8 and 11 months respectively, but still) and it still feels weird not to have to pay them every month. Full disclosure: I was one of the lucky ones. I had very little student debt to begin with compared to my peers (being a nerd can literally pay), and was some-crazy-how able to land a good job right out of college at the start of The Great Recession and remain gainfully employed full-time in the years since. Having said that, I reserve the right to party my metaphorical n*ts off over this achievement!
  4. Tales From The Crypt Redux – I mentioned this in a previous post, but I was honored to take part in this event again, and not as an emergency understudy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This time, my “character” was a talented 23-year-oldย  young lady who took part in Ziegfeld productions on Broadway during the Roaring 20s. It was a privilege to tell our guests about her (albeit a hard thing to do, since this is a mausoleum). I hope I did her some justice, if not in looks (she won many beauty contests…this is not my reality LOL!) then in showing her bubbly personality and love of her work and life. Eerily, this young lady very nearly got cast as Ramon Novarro’s leading lady in a movie (she was too tall for him!), and our production was mere days before the 50th anniversary ofย his death. Spooky!
  5. Family – I know, I hit this one every year! But last year was a big one: Tom and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. โค We also still have all three fluffy kids, which with Tycho’s age and medical history is never a guarantee. (He’s crankier than ever ๐Ÿ˜‰ , and 2018 was also his 10th “Adoptiversary” and that was a wonderful milestone.) 2018 brought many challenges for us, from Tom’s job uncertainty to some private family issues that I won’t get into here; I’m glad that we’ve been there for each other and can laugh together, like andย love each other, play MarioKart, and talk shit about people who deserve it together! ๐Ÿ˜‰
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Big ugly sweater!!

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My first-ever cabled project on its very satisfied owner!

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That’s right: I made cowls for my sister’s bassets. I’mย that knitter, apparently.

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This isn’t even all the socks I knit last year–2 pairs aren’t photographed!! xD

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Remodeling sneaky-peek; this is definitely a “Before” photo!

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Fffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccckkkkkk YESSSSSSSSS

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Fancy lady

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Familyyyyyy

Well, that does it for my first Top 5 post for 2018! I’ll be back soon with my Reflections and Goals post, just as soon as I finish writing it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

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A Fancy-Schmancy Blue Velvet Dress

I’m back! Already! Miss me? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I love this time of year for “fancy dress season” reasons. As you may have guessed, I kept my tradition going and made yet another fancy thing for my office holiday party. Yay!

This year I went a somewhat stereotypical “holiday dress” route: velvet. Much like florals for spring, it’s hardly groundbreaking. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I also decided early on to jump into Linda’s Designin’ December challenge once again, as I found an amazing inspiration dress a few years ago and couldn’t get it out of my head.

Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

Image property of Linda @ Nice Dress! Thanks, I made it!!

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Here’s my inspiration dress, which was part of Elie Saab’s Fall 2014 RTW collection:

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Photo property of Vogue and/or their credited photographer(s)

Like I said, I first saw this a couple of years ago and it’s been in my head ever since! I knew I didn’t want to copy the exact style of the original dress, but 100% loved the draping, the color of the velvet, and the ombre effect. I found my dark teal poly/lycra stretch velvet at Fashion Fabrics Club and planned to dye the dress from the hem to the waist in a navy ombre; however, I couldn’t get the velvet to take the dye I bought (which was for synthetics). ๐Ÿ˜ฆ While I’m happy enough with the dress in one color, I definitely would have preferred it with the gradient effect that I envisioned!

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Full-length shot

The pattern I (mostly) used is Burda 05/2012 #133. (Julia Bobbinย also made this pattern and she looked fierce!) I did make some changes, as follows:

  1. Adjusted the neckline: The pattern photos on Burda’s site are somewhat deceptive, as my mock-up per the pattern didn’t drop the back neckline as low as theirs. Then again, I kept my material on the straight grain rather than bias for the stretch factor. Anyway, I was determined to drop the back much lower. But after reworking the back bodice and starting from scratch using my moulage, it just wasn’t coming out how I envisioned. (To get the effect I was after, I’d most likely need to drape the dress onto a form.) In a last-ditch effort to get something with a little more “oomph” than the original design, I added an additional cowl extension to the Burda bodice that originated at the outermost edge of the shoulder; this dropped the shoulders to the off-the-shoulder position you see in these photos as well as added some additional “swag” draping to the back.
  2. Redesigned the shape of the bodice: The pattern bodice has a blouson effect, but I wanted things to be snug. (Not least of all because it would help the bodice stay up without the shoulders for support.) In the end I still could have taken a bit more out, but I had re-sewn it a few times (and had unpicked the waist once–that was not happening again!) and decided it was good enough. Plus I still had to be able to get into it with no zipper!!
  3. Redesigned the skirt: tiny pleats, in velvet, over my stomach? No thank you! Instead, I used the skirt pieces but eliminated the pleats and darts, and simply took the waist in until it was tight enough. I also lengthened the skirt to a midi (it’s now 34″ long, I think?) and added high splits to the sides. Originally I wasn’t sure about that last part, but when the back wasn’t dropping as low as I wanted they became necessary for some sex appeal.
  4. Omitted the zipper: Apart from being unnecessary with the stretch velvet, I wasn’t about the wrangleย thatย sewing task on top of everything else! Just thinking about putting a zipper in this fabric gives me the willies…
  5. Omitted the ribbons: Even if I had kept the shoulders of the original design, I wasn’t about the have ribbons flapping around. Ick.
  6. Omitted the lining: Originally this was not my plan. But because I wanted the bodice tight and had zero-to-negative ease at the waist and no zipper, my lining fabric (silk jersey!!) wouldn’t have lent itself well to that choice. Self-lining was right out, because this fabric gets thick. So no lining.
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The best shot of the back I have–it wouldn’t cooperate so well on “official photo” day!

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The best available setting at the party…womp womp.

There’s clear elastic in the waist seam to help stabilize it. The bodice is still a bit long, due to the vertical stretch and weight/length of the skirt though. But doing that did help a lot! The hem and side splits are all hand-sewn, since visible stitching felt too casual for this dress.

The more eagle-eyed among you probably noticed an issue with the dress in the above full-length photos…I crushed the pile along the hem. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I used a towel under the fabric when pressing, but it didn’t prevent tell-tale iron-shaped spots allllllllll along the hem. (Interestingly, I don’t appear to have done any damage with my first pass, in which the iron was laid parallel to the hem rather than perpendicular.) I was gutted when I noticed this, as you might imagine. I tried every available trick to un-crush the pile but nothing helped (just as the internet warned). The only good thing about this disaster is that it’s on the very bottom of the dress, which I doubt anyone paid as much attention to as the top! #smallmiracles O_o

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So that’s 2018’s holiday dress sorted! It wasn’t quite what I imagined but that happens, doesn’t it? I haven’t even started plotting for next year’s dress–who knows what I’ll end up with!

This ended up being my last project of 2018, so my next post will be a Top 5 post (Hits, Misses, and Highlights). See you there!

Special thanks to Linda for coordinating and hosting Designin’ December once again–it’s a pleasure to share alongside so many creative and inspiring pieces in that sewalong. โค

A Triumphant(ish) Return!

Hellooooooooooo! Is anyone still out there? ๐Ÿ™‚

After a serious lack of sewing mojo (and opportunity), I finally started sewing for Fall/Winter in November. O_o I also managed to sneak in a very minor costume project back in October, which I will also show you today.

I have missed blogging so much! (And sewing, for that matter.) This was a weird year: in February we found out that Tom would be without a job come November, which was highly stressful to say the least. (This was not helped by the extra-long timeline and a severance worth waiting for at the end of it.) Seriously folks, my hair started thinning and graying during that time because of how stressed out I was about it. I didn’t mention it here because I had no way of knowing how it would work out, and it didn’t seem appropriate to air it and have it hanging over not just my IRL life, but my blog and sewing life as well.

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Bonus cat-in-an-inappropriate-place photo

Happily, I can report that Tom not only found a better jobย before his end date, but that he still managed to get his severance out of the old place. Yay!!!!ย But between that whole thing and undertaking several remodeling projects in the Fall–smoke ’em if you got ’em, amirite?–I spent most of the year stressed out, fluttering between self-distracting productivity and creative paralysis (the kind with TONS of ideas but not the will to execute them). ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The real death blow for my sewing came in July/August when we had an appraisal done on the house and I had to tear down my sewing space. This was immediately followed by having our upstairs floors refinished, so all my sewing stuff in the attic got buried by a floor’s worth of furniture and clutter that we still haven’t fully put back to rights. And at that point, Tom did not have the new job lined up yet. Say it with me: UGHHHHHH. (Double UGHHHHHH for clinical depression and anxiety on top of all of this, which made everything that much worse.) I still haven’t got my supplies sorted out, but I’ve been able to sew a few things and am slowly relaxing and getting inspired again after being totally wound up for months on end.

So that’s been my last few months. But now we can get back to THE SEWING!!!

First up: a Talvikki sweater!

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Oof, that face! O_o

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The important view of this pattern

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Artsy photo

This was a much-needed “win” project after months of limited sewing time and scarce inspiration. I love the fabric/pattern combo, and think it will be great dressed up or down through Winter!

The fabric is a scuba from Marcy Tilton, and I love it. I hardly ever shop there (it’s an issue of the selection not being totally up my alley and the prices, both for fabric AND shipping) but I’m glad I treated myself to this piece. Initially I thought I’d make a skirt but I have to acknowledge that knit skirts just aren’t my jam. I had *just* enough yardage to get this top cut out–and I meanย just. It was worth the tetris.

And now for something unlike anything I usually trouble you with around here: a costume piece!

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Yes, I took outdoor photos of this thing *in December* for you all. You’re welcome.

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The back is the best bit, of course.

This is underwear. 1920s-30s underwear, to be exact. (And yes, those are vintage shoes ca. 1930s also–I love them.) The pattern is Depew Patterns #2029 and I very highly recommend it. I didn’t really follow the directions for sewing it but everything went together beautifully. Really, it’s a relatively easy project if you fancy some old-fashioned (and complicated-in-the-bathroom, since it doesn’t have a snap crotch) undergarments!

You might be wondering why I’d go to the trouble of making costume underwear, especially since I own extant undergarments from this exact time period (that DO have snap crotches). Well…I had an event!

I mentioned it in my Top 5 post for last year, but this event is called “Tales from the Crypt.” It’s held at Green Lawn Abbey and this year, I was honored to be asked to help with the event as an actor once again. (And not as an understudy, yay!) Since the researcher who did most of the work on my “character” and I had more time to talk about a staging setup, we had quite a developed idea going into the event. (Which was definitely mostly his idea!) He was going for a boudoir-like setting: a vanity table, mirror and brush set, and me in a dressing gown surrounded by playbills. (My “character” was a Ziegfeld Follies girl!) I was game, but didn’t want to wear my extant undergarments because they’re ivory and slightly sheer. My skin is also ivory and slightly sheer–not a good mix. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And while awe-inspiring, the setting–a mausoleum ca. 1927 whose interior is white marble, at night, lit mainly by candlelight and gas lamps–didn’t really lend itself to my pasty skin in pasty lingerie standing out against the white background. So I decided to make something!

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Green Lawn Abbey; photo is property of Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association

The teddy fabric is polyester charmeuse but the color is good for the era, and making it myself allowed me to line the entire bodice for added opacity. (No bra was going to work with that back!) I was also planning to make a kimono-inspired robe from Depew Patterns #3039 (also from 1927–how freaky is that?!?) but I picked a brocade that ended up being way too heavy for the shape of the design. I got it most of the way made and tried it on, and thought it looked like an appropriative wizard’s robe. (The fabric had a general Asian motif, since that was very popular in the 1910s and 1920s.) O_o So I scrapped that and decided I would wear my own extant vintage robe, which is a striking lapis blue color dating to the 1940s. The style is very much kimono-inspired, and could pass for something earlier.

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As close the The Charleston as I’m going to get…

And then on the day, the weather was COLD. Like, mid-40s and raining. And this building isn’t heated. The event lasts for multiple hours, and consists of 4 separate monologues for each actor on opening night. So in an effort to protect my health* I opted for a true vintage dress in the end. But I did wear my teddy underneath it! I was very nervous, and wearing something I made always makes me feel more confident in any situation. ๐Ÿ˜€

*Yeah yeah, I know that the temperature doesn’t make people sick. However, exposure can lower your body’s ability to fend off invading pathogens; since my lungs are vulnerable to infections already, this was not a risk I was willing to take.

Here are some photos from the event, courtesy of my resident paparazzi husband Tom, who was “voluntold” to take photos of the 2nd show that weekend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Fancy lady

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You can see Sylvia, my “character,” in the background photo

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Artful makeup application

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Playbills for actual productions Sylvia was in!

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Our intrepid cast this year!

So that’s a lot of words about non-sewing stuff, far fewer about a cool sweater, and probably too many about a silly costume piece made out of polyester. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m looking forward to sharing my (likely) final project for 2018 shortly, as well as doing my Top 5 posts for this year. I’ve been pretty absent from this blog lately, and I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my friends, both in real-life and online. Here’s hoping 2019 is a more active year in all those respects!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again soon!

 

In Which The Blogger Gets Sweater Fever

Hello, friends!

Today I will be sharing a knitting project–my first sweater!–and no sewing, so feel free to skip this one if knitting isn’t your jam.

There are two reasons I decided to learn to knit: socks and sweaters. I have been rather obsessively crushing it in the sock department–in the 2 years since I learned to knit, I have made 20 pairs of socks! After just over a year of knitting, I decided I was ready to tackle sweaters. That was last October, and I started this project at that time. (PS: If any of you are on Ravelry, feel free to share your Rav name in the comments, or add me as a friend over there–I’d love more knitting buddies! My Rav name is wronghandmads because I am so creative.)

Fair warning, these photos were all taken before blocking the sweater. Doing that improved the shape of the hems quite a lot…

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Big ugly sweater!!

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Big sweater + baggy jeans = Frumptastic

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Close-up of the yarn. โค

Theoretically, I could have easily completed this sweater long before now; unfortunately, I messed up my sleeves (the first parts of the sweater I made) and had to unravel them back to the cuffs, which happened over our rather unpleasant Christmas last year. All of that stuff ended up souring me on the project for a while, and I consoled myself with more socks. #sockmonster But this summer I decided that Fall 2018 was going to see the debut of this sweater–I couldn’t stomach the possibility of a WIP passing an entire year without being finished–and buckled down to finish it. As luck would have it, I got it done days before needing to travel out of state and had it handy to keep warm on my flights!

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Well this is certainly a photo…

The pattern I chose is called Harlowe, by Melissa Wehrle. Technically it’s a pattern for Brooklyn Tweed, a company whose design collections initially made me want to knit sweaters but toward whom I now have less-pleasant feelings. Ultimately the other patterns from their collections that I like and want to make are by non-employees of the company, so I will probably make them anyway; buying their yarn, on the other hand, is firmly in the “never” category. (It doesn’t hurt that I’m basically a Madelinetosh fanatic at this point…send help and storage solutions, stat!!)

The pattern itself was just fine and I was able to knit it totally by myself apart from the initial tubular cast-on, which was done under the supervision of an experienced knitter. ๐Ÿ˜€ I liked the results of this cast-on so much that I have used it on every other project that requires a stretchy cast-on. It really isn’t much extra work for the results you get! Apart from my original PDF download not working fully (the last few pages were missing!) and misunderstanding the sleeve increases the first time, the only trouble I had was with my actual knitting mechanics.

Since my first-ever sock heel, I have known that something about my knitting isn’t quite “right.” Sure, my stitches form and hold together and look nice and whatever, but when working flat or doing short rows my stitches always end up twisted. I actually like the effect on my sock heels and since that’s all I had knit that involved working flat, I didn’t bother to un-learn what I was doing. Well, this sweater’s split hem requires working flat and I was hoping to avoid a large twisted section at the bottom! Unfortunately I wasn’t totally able to do this, simply because I was too stubborn to look up a solution. (I also had no idea where to start looking, as I’m still new and didn’t know what to call this quirk. “F*cky knitting” isn’t really in the knitting dictionary…)

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Rather f*cky hem.

I got it almost-kinda-sorta rightย on my own, but not completely: you can definitely see the line that denotes where I began working in the round versus flat. (That said, my hem sections areย less twisted than my usual flat efforts.) But thanks to Siobhan at Chronically Siobhan (a truly excellent knitter as well as sewer and all-around human being), I was able to successfully work out what to do to fix this. She helpfully suggested that I look up “combination knitting.” It turns out that all I needed to do to fix this issue was purl through the same stitch leg that I knit into (the back one, as it happens) and voila, beautiful flat knitting is now mine! I always assumed that the root cause of the twists was how I wrapped my working yarn around, but fussing with changing that still resulted in the f*cky twisty sections on the hems of this sweater. I couldn’t face ripping out all my work and starting over, but honestly I am just thrilled that my upper sweater doesn’t have the same line that my lower pieces have! So in truth, this sweater is brought to you by my friend Betsy, who taught me to knit and supervised my cast-on, and Siobhan, who knew exactly what to suggest that would help me un-twist my shit. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ladies, I am in your debt!!

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Blocking!

In a way, the drop shoulder and oversized style made it a great choice for a first-timer, as there was less to worry about in terms of fit. My stitch gauge was a bit off (on the side of more stitches than the pattern’s gauge specified), but my vertical gauge was dead-on; I made no changes to stitch counts or anything like that and am really happy with the size of the finished sweater. Well, except for the sleeves, which are ridiculously over-long as written. :-/

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I mean, come on.

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I don’t know what I was doing here, but it still makes more sense than the length of these sleeves…

All told, my first sweater was quite a success! I am now looking forward to knitting ALL THE SWEATERS.

And never fear, the sweater is Mulder-approved:

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Handsomeness personified…

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He’s eating lipstick in this one…

And you guys know I wouldn’t leave you .gif-less:

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Gotta have a .gif!

 

Thanks for sticking with me while I took a detour into knitting! I hope to return soon with sewing, as I have a costume-ish project in the works that I’d love to share once it’s done. โค

Last Gasp of Summer Sewing!

Hello again! I am back for Fall with…more Summer sewing action, lol. I haven’t even started Fall projects yet! (Soon, I hope!) To console you, I have 2 garments to share today. The first is by far the most satisfactory, so I’ll start there. **WARNING: Post contains awesome .gifs at the end!**

Presenting: a total copy-cat of something posted by Trend Patterns on Instagram!

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Pleats!

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Pockets!

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Bemberg rayon pockets, at that!

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Side view

Trend Patterns posted photos from their new Spring/Summer 2018 collection on its release, and of course I ate that shit up! One outfit featured what looked like a shorts hack of their TPC6 trouser pattern, which I made last year and love. Lucy, the designer, kindly gave me details about how the shorts were made: 40cm was removed from the length of the pants, and the shorts were rolled up to create the cuffs. I knew I needed a pair exactly like them!

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Original Inspiration! (Image is property of Trend Patterns and/or their credited photographer)

I bought some medium weight tencel denim from Cali Fabrics just for this project, and it was perfect. I wanted something that had some decent weight with a definite wrong side that would show on the cuffs, and this was IT! (Plus Cali has really great prices–they’re a new favorite place to shop for me.) I was a little worried it would be too soft and drapey for the pleats, but I think everything hangs nicely.

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Apart from shortening the legs by 40cm, I didn’t make any pattern changes. I did do a little extra work for the cuffs, mostly because I can’t abide adjusting my clothes whilst wearing them and prefer things to be secure. Just rolling the shorts legs up every time I wore them wasn’t going to cut it! First, I hemmed the shorts legs–turning the hem to the right side–at 1/2″, and then turned and pressed a 2″ fold going the same direction. I knew I wanted a double-turn cuff, so I did another 2″ turn before tacking the cuffs to the shorts legs at the side seams and inseams. I was a little bit worried this would make them too short, but they’re exactly what I wanted! (Thank goodness for my short legs, LOL.)

I wore these shorts every week between finishing them and the end of the hot temperatures here–between the fabric and the design, they are an awesome addition to my summer wardrobe! It was also pretty exciting to get more mileage out of my beloved TPC6 pattern and create a whole new look from the same great base. Special thanks to Lucy at TP for sharing the details with me, too–having the exact measurement was the key to my success! โค

Now for the less successful garment: the Jim dungaree skirt from Ready To Sew.ย Sorry in advance about how dark the skirt is photographing: I didn’t realize until I was adding them here! (Fair warning: these photos were all taken after the skirt had been worn for a gig but not laundered; it looks a little wrinkled and bagged out in some areas as a result!)

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Large Toddler Chic

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3 is plenty of buttons…

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Back view (now with 100% more flank on display)

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Attitude, or hiding a flaw? (Hint: it’s both.)

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Straps down = shit just got real! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Obligatory “surly guitarist” photo

I made this skirt for a gig we had back in July; we were playing at a fair, outdoors, and it was going to be HOT. I styled it just how I am wearing it here. (I didn’t make the crop top. Also, hooray for not having to wear a bra–my boobs and I felt very free and subversive. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

I am not 100% happy with this skirt…overalls…thing. That is partially my own fault (of which more later) but the pattern itself left me a bit annoyed in the actual process of making it. This was my first Ready To Sew pattern, too. :-/ That said, I was happy wearing it and felt like it was a great choice for a gig. And I have to say I’ve gotten many compliments on it, which always makes me feel better about the things I’m not happy with.

So, on to my mini review of the pattern.

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Jim by Ready to Sew (Image is property of Ready to Sew)

  1. First up: if you can, spring for a color print-out. The designer uses the same 2 line styles for all sizes, alternating them every other size. In B&W, the printout is a hot fucking mess. I had to open the copy shop file on my laptop to help me figure out which cutting lines were correct for hem lengths and a few other things. Super frustrating.
  2. Confusingly, there are multiple copies of the waistband and dungaree top pieces included. Some are for the skirt version, and some are for the trousers and shorts together. And no, there is no difference between any of them. O_o So if you want to print all the views in the copyshop format, you’ll get a bunch of unnecessary waistband bits. Sorry, I’m writing out of frustration, but shouldn’t there be a more efficient way to plan a copy shop file for printing?!? At least this is kind of avoided in the at-home file, which helpfully tells you which pages to print for each view. (If you just print the entire file without reading that info, you will get all the stupid extra waistband pieces though.) I was annoyed at wasting the paper for those pieces, and had a serious feeling of deja vu while sorting the pieces I needed for the skirt from the IDENTICAL pieces for the trousers and shorts views. The waistband and dungaree tops for the front do have separate right and left pieces, which is necessary, but there’s no need for the duplication across views when they all use the same exact pieces!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  3. This isn’t so much a fault as it is an “I hate this design element” thing: the D-rings. I was never going to have the ends of my straps flopping around and potentially needing to be re-secured. I opted to use a method like I used for my Cooper backpacks, and I bought slides instead of D-rings. No loose strap ends, no potential for strap malfunctions, and no half-ass looking straps. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  4. Similarly (as in, it’s not an error, but it’s not my taste), OMG all those effing buttons made my eyes go twitchy. I wasn’t ever going to do that. I chose instead to use a longer zipper (6″) and only put buttons on the dungaree top. I chose jeans buttons for those, both for looks and durability.
  5. Upon putting this thing on, I realized how high up the back pockets are (I used the pattern’s placement). They’re basically on my lower back/upper butt area rather than over the fullest part of my butt, which is where butt pockets belong. I doubt anyone notices this, but they definitely aren’t very functional way up there!
  6. Overall:ย I felt that the pattern itself came together well in terms of sewing. I didn’t have any drafting issues to complain about or anything like that. The instructions were fine, although admittedly I didn’t use most of them because I did things differently. (And at its core, this is a mini skirt–the sewing was mostly pretty straightforward.)
  7. One thing I thought was neat:ย Ready to Sew makes playlists for her patterns that are linked in the digital instruction files. I know not everyone will think that’s worth doing but hey, I like music; it also gives you an idea of the designer’s head space relating to the design you’re sewing, and personally I think that’s intriguing.
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See? Not at all cool.

So in terms of things that weren’t down to my own mistakes, that’s it. Shall we talk about my idiocy now? ๐Ÿ˜€

Exhibit A: I picked this fabric. O_o It was a beast to cut out and I decided that matching the plaids was 1.) not in my best interest sanity-wise and 2.) not the best use of the limited time I had between the gig and when I started sewing. Instead, I decided to match plaids on the skirt horizontally as much as I could, and then focus the dungaree, waistband, and strap pieces on specific colors in the plaid pattern, mirroring those things as much as possible.

Exhibit B: I am spoiled by my usual pattern sizing. I didn’t take into account any finished measurements apart from the waist before I cut this out. This was a huge mistake! The hips were so tight I could barely move, and this fabric has a small lycra content, LOL. (My ass is flat anyway, but it was compressed to EXTRA flat in the original skirt.) And of course, by that point the skirt was fully constructed except for the hem. I damn-near trashed this thing, but decided to press on because I knew it would be an amazing gig wardrobe addition. All I could do was add panels to the side seams, but the complication was that the waist pieces fit fine–I didn’t want to make those any bigger. In the end, the sewing of the side panels is far from my best work; there are some mini-pleats at the waist to ease them into position without expanding the waist itself. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ (And you guys will NEVER see the inside of this skirt–it’s an ugly mess around those panels.) I hope it isn’t noticeable to non-sewers, but I have a hard time not noticing them.

 


Exhibit C:
Because I took such offense at the numerous waistband and dungaree front pieces, I lent no brain power to why there were separate left and right pieces for them. To explain: On a proper fly front, you need the shield piece to go behind your zipper; this also creates extra width across the front of your pants or skirt that must be accounted for in the length of your waistband treatment. Since I was using a longer zipper, I remembered to cut a longer fly shield that would reach up to the top of the waistband; I did NOT remember to cut a wider right front piece for the dungaree, and instead cut 2 mirrored lefts. Instead of recutting it (I got the mirroring done pretty nicely), I cut myself an extension and sewed it to my right dungaree front. Luckily I hadn’t cut my linings yet, so I used the correct piece for the lining on that side. O_o But it was a close call!!

Exhibit D: The straps. These weren’t hard to sew or anything, but I did make more work for myself. First of all, I chose to do an adjustable slider strap; this necessitated the creation of a short strap piece that would attach to each dungaree front. Then I decided to lengthen the back strap pieces, just to make sure they were long enough to be adjustable and compatible with the sliders. (They are actually too long and I have to tighten them regularly, but at least I like how they look! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) Sewing them on proved to be slightly more complicated than the directions accounted for (which I don’t begrudge the pattern at all–this is on me!), so that was another headache to add. But overall I have no regrets about my choice of strap style: I think these look more professional, personally.

Exhibit E: The hem. I realized after cutting the skirt pieces out that it might be a bit brief, even for me! (I do a lot of bending and crouching during set-up and tear-down on stage, okay?) I assumed I would need a hem facing, and I did. I could only afford to sew it on at 1/8″ (which became more like 1/4″ after turn-of-cloth) and then decided to try machine blind-hemming this on a whim. LOLOLOLOL. It was bad. The feed of my machine distorted the facing against the skirt, so I had to rip and re-sew it by hand.

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Check out those sliders!

Another quick note about sewing things with this longer zipper: I sewed the front waistbands to the skirt fronts prior to doing the fly, since the fly was going to run through them also. The lining fabric for those was already basted in place inside the seam allowance, and functioned more like an underlining. The dungaree top and lining were then attached–along with the straps–kind of using the method from the instructions. The back waistband was sewn to the back dungaree top, then lining pieces and straps were sewn as per the instructions; that entire apparatus was then attached to the skirt backs as instructed. So really, it wasn’tย too different to the way the pattern says! Highly doable, if you’d like to make a similar alteration.

So that was an adventure, eh? ๐Ÿ˜€ Let’s all console ourselves with outtakes and .gifs!

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LOLOLOLOL

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Pirate pose

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Wonder Woman pose (now with dog)

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Okay, not the most flattering shorts for sitting down…

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Trying to hide my panties from the camera…

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Moody guitar shot

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Spin!

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I should do bachelor parties, amirite? xD

That’s all for me today, but hopefully I’ll be back soon with something to share!

Thanks for reading!! โค

 

90’s Nostalgia – Sundress Edition!

Well where the f*ck did July go?!?!? I really did plan on sharing some things with you all last month, but time kind of got away from me. And not for nothing, either: we have had a lot going on with the house, and I will definitely have some incredible “Before and After” photos to show you this Fall. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s been really exciting but stressful, as old house renovations tend to be!

I have 2 garments to share today, which have been sewn for MONTHS. I haven’t done much sewing lately because part of the house goings-on involved me tearing my sewing setup down to reveal our lovely dining room. It looked beautiful but was also depressing, if you know what I mean!

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Sure it’s a pretty dining room, but I want to sew!!!!

I’ve just started getting the sewing stuff back out but haven’t had time to make anything. Hopefully soon! (Like, once we stop using the dining table as a closet and sleeping in the living room…)

My summer sewing was pretty successful this year. (Yes, I am pronouncing it “past tense,” because I don’t see how I’ll squeeze any more summer things in!) The first dress I’m about to show you was started the same week as my Myosotis dress, but I set it aside temporarily to hurriedly make that pattern. But I got back to my “Pepto-Bismol” pink sundress as soon as I finished the Myosotis because I knew it wasย exactly what my summer wardrobe needed. Then I made a second one almost immediately, lol.

Presenting: my Style Arc Ariana dresses!

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Pink!

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Pink, now with 100% more attitude

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Showing off the neckline

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Full back

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Big-ass pockets

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Nonchalant

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Is there a sewing blogger in the US that *doesn’t* own this fabric yet?

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Swish

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Aren’t they just so perfectly 90’s and cute?!?

I bought the Ariana pattern from Style Arc as soon as it came out: the combination of the shirred back panel, spaghetti straps, and not-too-full skirt pulled me in immediately. (And yes, the 90’s vibe, because duh.) Apart from some small fit complaints, I LOVE THESE DRESSES. Seriously, I want an army of them for summer. (So…2 down, 48 to go? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) It’s chic, but not fussy. And while I must admit to not being totally sold on the large patch pockets at first, I am glad to have them. (They also help to break up the expanse of skirt nicely…)

I really wanted a pink one just like the cover art, so I made one. #sooriginal

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Kick!

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Blue Kick

For the second Ariana, I copied a bunch of other internet sewing people and went to JoAnn for this cotton/linen/rayon blend. I under-bought slightly, so the CF matching isn’t great; and while shortening the skirt was the plan, it would have been a necessity with the yardage I had anyway. Oh well, I’m happy enough with the dress so it’s all good!

Pattern Notes

Pattern-wise, I made 0–that’s ZERO–adjustments (unless you include using the extra length Style Arc put on the straps) to the pink dress. I have had great luck with tops from Style Arc fitting really well straight out of the packet. I was pleasantly surprised by the bust area however, as I am really small cup-wise (ahem…A) and the princess seams have just enough room for my braless boobies. (So be warned if you measure into a Style Arc 4 and have boobs bigger than mine!) If I really want to be a perfectionist (and you KNOW I do…), Iย could use a little extra length in the bodice rather than just using the maximum strap length to cheat it.

The waist is bigger than I’d like–in the size 4, it is over 1″ bigger than my largest occurring waist measurement (thank you, period) and 3.25″ bigger than my usual baseline waist measurement. However, I was paranoid about the dress not fitting–and I don’t know why, because they give the finished measurements!–so I didn’t remove any width. (I blame the shirring and not having done it before, resulting in paranoia about how much the CB panel would shrink up.) The views from the side and back are not very nice, but ultimately I know I’m not going to open the whole dress back up to take it in. (The bodice is fully lined in self fabric.)

Honestly, combined with my small bust and the very nice fit there, I was worried I looked dumpy in a baggy-waisted midi length sundress. Tom said he didn’t think it was dowdy or frumpy, so here’s hoping he’s not a lying jerk! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I should also note that because there is a hefty linen content in this fabric and I wore it multiple times before these photos were taken, the pink bodice has relaxed a bit versus the hot-off-the-machine fit.

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Partial back, wherein you can kinda-sorta see the poor fit at the waist and lower back.

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Ugh, such puff…

I made bodice adjustments before the blue one, I swear! I took off 1/4″ from each seamline on the side front, side back, and CB panels. And IT’S STILL REALLY BIG. O_o Again, I think I was overconfident about how small the shirred section would be in the end–it really doesn’t shrink up as much as you might expect, even after a steam. Before I make any more Arianas (and I will make more), I will spend more time fine-tuning the back waist area. I’ll probably remove excess from the skirt as well: I don’t think all that bunched up fabric (shirring + gathers) is flattering on me in that area. I’m thinking I’d like a version with no gathers at all, so that will probably be my next plan of attack.

Construction Notes

Mie at Sewing Like Mad has an excellent post about how she made her Ariana dresses, and I found it tremendously helpful. As in, I wouldn’t have been so successful without her thorough notes. (Plus her dresses are totally gorgeous!) If you are planning to sew this pattern, READ HER BLOG POST. Seriously, it will save you a lot of trouble. Her tip for attaching the shirred panel to the bodice is particularly genius!! I would probably not have thought of that on my own, let’s be real.

She also notes that, on clothing with no proper placket, buttonholes are supposed to be horizontal–I did not know that! Style Arc’s line art bears this out, but I wouldn’t have even thought about it had Mie not mentioned it. (See both of my Reeta dresses for evidence of me not thinking about such things–I put the buttonholes on those dresses going vertically.) So here is a huge “Thank you!!!” to Mie for taking the time to share her process, which awesomely includes the “why” AND the “how.”

My first shirred panel isn’t the greatest; the lines aren’t 100% evenly-spaced, and despite beingย sure I was never going to fit all 29 lines of shirring on that panel, I managed to sew 31 of them because I wasn’t counting and didn’t trace the lines!! O_o #sostupid The last few were the worst and curve up pretty obviously; those were helpfully put on the inside of the bodice so nobody has to see them but me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The second one was marked and sewn very neatly!

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Flexing, thanks to that shirring!

As for the straps, I went off-piste with those on purpose. The length of the straps–INCLUDING the extra Style Arc tacks on one end–was pretty close to perfect for me, so I went with it. I made the straps the same way I made my Reeta drawstrings, so they’re nice and heavy (because layers) but still thin and feminine. I did use Style Arc’s pattern piece for cutting them out, I just didn’t sew them as directed if that makes sense! I used the directions from the Ogden cami pattern to attach the straps: they are easy to follow and the result is clean and tidy.

I used smaller buttons than SA specified–I didn’t have anything suitable in a 5/8″ button but had plenty of white 1/2″ buttons (thank you, Past Mads, for buying one gross–144!–of those buttons…) that I liked just fine. Honestly, something about the scale of the buttons Style Arc suggests just didn’t feel right to me; 5/8″ seems too large for the sweetheart neck and delicate little straps and relatively close nature of CF to the edges (3/8″). Maybe that’s just me though?

Also, BEHOLD MY BEAUTIFUL HEM CORNERS:

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Sharp hem corners

(The blue ones are equally beautiful, but I didn’t get a close-up of them…)

Conclusions

I am 100% making more Ariana dresses! I already have tentative plans for at least 2 more beyond the ones in this post. I don’t often buy Style Arc patterns just because their designs don’t always “click” for me and my style, but I do know that I can rely on them for a consistent draft quality and fit. (That doesn’t mean I expect their stuff to fit me perfectly right out of the gate, but that I can reasonably expect the same general fit across their patterns against my own body because they are consistent.) If you want a summer sundress that’s so 90s it hurts, this is it!

And you guys didn’t think I’d leave you without any outtakes or .gifs, did you??? >=D

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Accidental strip-tease

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Puppy snugs!

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God I look like such a mom…

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Chomp chomp!

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You guys are the wind beneath my…skirt. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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No dog noggins were actually smooshed in the making of this .gif

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A “Mads” in her natural state of being

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Don’t judge: that bench was wobbly and those shoes are tall!

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Attitude in motion

I have a few more summer items to share, which I will hopefully have posts for shortly. (And one of them will introduce you to the newest member of the “Mads” House blog team. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) After those are live I will be mostly caught up, yay! I still have 4 Driftless cardigans that haven’t been photographed, plus 6 t-shirts for Tom that I made back in…March? O_o

I have NO IDEA what I will sew next (it’s hard to plan these things when you can’t use your sewing space) so perhaps a brainstorm/planning post is in order…

What’s on your sewing table right now? Are you prepping for the next season or still stubbornly sewing for this one? Are you into the 90’s fashion revival?

 

 

Pants on Parade (aka Lander Bandwagon Goals)

Hello again, friends! This post has been in Draft mode since February!!!! First it was because I was working my way through ALL THE LANDERS, and then they got pushed aside for other projects; then there were photos to get (not so easy in the winter when your heart is set on outdoor pictures!), and then the post grew to over 2500 words because I am a technical maniac and I kept trying to edit it down and failing. O_o I try to give you details when I make adjustments or run into something that I think is noteworthy, but I also know that most people don’t like reading that many words in a blog post. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So bear with me, this is a long post despite my best efforts!

As I said, today I’m sharing some pants–the US English version, not the UK English version, so you’re welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I started this post during construction of the first pair, and finally have photos of all 4 pairs–the final pair of shorts took me ages to get photos of! No idea why, but I lacked motivation.

So without further ado, here I am, jumping on the Lander bandwagon in rather spectacular fashion:

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Resting Bitch Face (Feel free to white-balance your monitors on my bangs and/or skin, LOL!)

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Crotch

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Back view

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Side

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Trying to look casual

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Surly

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Rear view, complete with slight wedgie…

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Checking my wrinkled self out…

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Moody

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Shorts!

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Tight shorts…

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Cuffs!

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Back view, minus the vacuum-sealed look… O_o

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Hooray for #sewingleftovers

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Jump!

Okay, so 2 pairs are shorts. But…

LANDER PANTS!!!ย You guys, I love them. I am mentally planning more pairs already!

As someone who plans to wear skinny jeans forever despite their “no longer cool” status and a general skepticism of OPPPs (Other People’s Pants Patterns),ย I admit that I was instantly all about the design of the Lander pattern. It struck me as a good balance between a 70’s style and modern trends. The shape of the legs isn’t too wide, either–I cannot handle WIDE pants. Obviously I made and wear my TPC6 trousers, but those have a very unique style and shape; they were definitely an exception to my rule(s)!

I cheated a bit with these Landers: I made them all out of stretch twill. Originally, the plan was to make View B of the Lander pattern in the wine color–it’s not my go-to shade of red or purple, but I thought it would make nice trousers. I only ended up with this many Landers because I thought it was a good idea to test the crotch adjustments I made by making a pair of shorts out of the colorway I liked the least–the tan. And then it kind of snowballed into, “Hmm, that went well, and tan trousers would be pretty wearable…” and “While I’m here, I might as well make the wine pair too, since that was the entire point…” and finally “Fuck it, I have so much extra fabric left that I kinda haveย to make wine shorts too…” shit-show of sewing the same thing 4 times in a row. O_o But at least I made use of my leftovers, eh?

Fitting Notes

As I mentioned, fit adjustments were most definitely made. Pants can be daunting to fit, partly because it’s labor-intensive to work out how your crotch is shaped in 2 dimensions. Luckily for me, I have a pants block made from my RTW skinny jeans (I am very, very lucky that many RTW jeans are capable of fitting my body well) that I can use for a comparison against any fitted crotchal region. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I didn’t do that against my TPC6 trousers because the crotch is not fitted against my body.)

Here is your periodic reminder that I am not a drafting expert by any stretch; I use my block because it is easier than fussing with someone else’s draft, and typically I am content to just work from that block without getting too analytical about a given crotch draft unless something is really, really appalling and obvious. Perhaps someone out there will feel that I am doing a disservice by just getting on with things that way, but at the end of the day I am only an expert on my own body and how I like clothes to fit it. I won’t waste my time analyzing something that I’m not even really using, if that makes sense. YMMV, of course.

ANYWAYYYYYY…

Most of my changes were made to the back pieces, which I expected. I started from a size 0 because it was the closest to my measurements. I forgot to get a photo of the back leg piece before I cut it up to match my block, but suffice it to say that there was a serious difference in shape!

The tan shorts were my guinea pigs; I took a big ol’ wedge out of the center back, and shaved a little bit off the front crotch as well. They fit GREAT until I had to wash them the first time (long story; the short version is they got dirty when I put the buttons in) and are now really snug. They also shrank vertically, so I spend a lot of time pulling them out of my labial region. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The upside? I put the other 2 colorways of this fabric through a second wash and dry cycle before cutting things out!

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See? Tight. They’ve since relaxed a bit more and are fit for polite society…

I made a few adjustments to the first pair of pants versus these shorts, mainly for insurance purposes. The tan pants are looser in the waist and hips than I was originally aiming for (what can I say? I like stuff tight…), but I thought they looked pretty good–if slightly frumpy–so I left them alone. The wine pants are…tight. I definitely over-corrected after being slightly disappointed with the tan pair, LOL. Having very different waist and hip measurements makes pants a challenge when you like stuff tight and hate belts. There is a lot of wiggling required to pull up that wine pair of pants but I make it work!! O_o

A note on the rise and length: I am about 5′ 8.5″ and the Landers–and all True Bias patterns–are drafted for a height of 5’5″. Height and proportions are not the same thing, and I know that my extra height is mostly concentrated in my torso (and my giraffe neck). When I used to buy clothing, I never needed “Long” sized pants–just the “Regular” length. With all that in mind, I didn’t make any changes for length to the rise or crotch depth of the Landers (again, THANK YOU, PANTS BLOCK!), though I did take a smaller hem than indicated based on my personal length preference. Knowing how your body’s vertical proportions are distributed is vitally important in getting a good fit, and you can’t assume a pattern is proportioned like you are just because the draft height matches your own. (Case in point: Iย always need to lengthen bodices/tops, even on Named patterns, whose base height is nearly identical to my own.)

Finally, I want to reiterate what’s up with the wrinkles along the front crotch/pelvic area, particularly on the wine pants. My front thighs (and, to a lesser extent, hip bones) stick out further than my lower abdomen and pubic bone, which results in an excess of fabric over the center of my pubic/uterine region that manifests itself in these lines. This is a typical thing for me with snug-fitting pants, as you can see in the difference between the two pairs of pants in this post. (It’s also way worse-looking in photos than in real life, since most photos capture all kinds of shadows because I’m just standing there.) I have the same lines on RTW and self-made skinny jeans too–it’s not exclusive to the Landers.

The side-view photos show my thighs projecting forward.

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Wrinkles

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They do not look this bad IRL, I promise!

 

There are adjustments you can make to address this, if you are so inclined; personally, I find this not to be worth my time so long as the crotch fit is comfortable and the pants are wearable. I’m pointing it out (again) because I don’t want anyone to think I don’t know they’re there!

Other Adjustments

Aside from the fit, I did make some other changes to my Landers. I added 1.5″ to the hem of the shorts legs; I also drafted* cuffs for the shorts. The cuffs were sewn on 1/2″ above the raw edges of the shorts legs to get the length I wanted. (So that’s a net gain of 1″ in length, plus whatever the original hem allowance for the shorts was.)

*Seriously, it hardly qualifies as drafting: it’s a damn rectangle.ย 

This isn’t necessarily a fit adjustment either, but let’s talk about the back pockets for a minute. Unusually, the back pockets are graded in groups–there are 3 sizes you can cut. I cut the pocket commensurate with my pattern size, and I knew going in that they were designed to be oversized as a styling element. What I didn’t know was how the pocket size would work with the size of my ass…by which I mean it didn’t. At all. Behold:

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Pocket: 1, Butt: 0 (Also: note how nice these shorts were before I accidentally shrank them!)

My entire ass cheek is obscured by the pocket!! (And yes, that’s with the seam allowances folded back.) Not a good look, IMO. Using lightweight cardboard, I made a template for a new size. I took about 1″ off the height and width of the pockets; they’re still slightly taller than they are wide, just like the originals, but now they don’t cover up my whole butt. (Just most of it. Sad, “butt” true. ๐Ÿ˜‰ #buttpuns) Placement was tricky, as the pattern marking for the top inner corner got removed from the back shorts leg piece by my crotch curve adjustment! I got my back trouser leg pieces out and measured the original distances from the center seam (since I hadn’t cut the changes into the paper yet). Then I checked a pair of my homebrew jeans and decided that the Lander placement was close enough to work, so I slapped them on there and sewed them down. I think the size is good, but wish I’d moved them in about 3/8″ more on the pants.

Construction Notes

I didn’t really follow the directions when making these. (What a shock!) I didn’t line the front pockets–it just felt unnecessary, especially for a pair of casual pants. I made bias strips out of my twill and used them to bind the top pocket edges, topstitching from the outside to seal the binding.

The front fly is left until nearly the end of the construction order in the directions; I opted to do mine how I do my jeans, which is in the earlier phases of construction. I used my own method combined with the one from the directions.

I did try a new waistband construction method for all these Landers, courtesy of Amber @soisewedthis. Basically, you sew the facing side down first, and then when you topstitch from the right side there’s no worry about sealing the inside. IT IS AWESOME. Thank you Amber!! (I am still working on the front lower corners though–they don’t turn out so great for me.)

True Bias includes a pattern piece for making all the belt carriers, but I just made my own like I would for jeans. (I like a finished width of about 3/8″, personally.) My topstitching thread is Gutermann Mara 30, which is the same as the stupid tiny spools you can buy at Jo-Ann but which comes in much bigger spools (and in more colors) for less money on Wawak. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (NAYY)

The pants are both View B, the cropped version. (Full length wide-leg pants are right out for me.) As previously noted, I did not make any height or rise adjustments to this pattern (again, my block is my savior), and I took a 2″ hem instead of a 3″ as instructed. I simply picked a length I was happy with, as cropped trousers are something I find to be tricky when it comes to finding the most flattering* hem length. But looking at the product photos from True Bias, I think mine are basically the same as the sample for View B.

*As I perceive it on my own body–YMMV

I used jeans buttons for the 3 button fly pairs because I like the look, and don’t own any other buttons that I’d want up the front of my pants. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Shout-out to all my Instagram friends who helped me pick which color to use for the wine pants: you guys are the best! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Copper won, but gold wasn’t far behind!

Conclusion

Making these shorts and pants was a little bit of an adventure, but it was worth it! I love them all. It’s fun having a new shape in my pants wardrobe. I’d love a denim blue pair as well! As for the shorts, it’s great to have nice-looking pairs that double as office-appropriate on Fridays. ๐Ÿ˜€

And now, in the great “Mads” House tradition, here are outtakes and .gifs!

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Testing a new photography toy

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Coquette

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Leap!

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Had a little bonfire going, too!

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Literally the closest I can get to climbing a tree…

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Gotcha!!

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Roughhousing

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Doggo!

dancey

Had to do a #landerpantsdance for you

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Jumping, now in .gif!

Seriously, I aim to be the queen of .gifs in the sewing blogging world. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now that I’m caught up with long-finished stuff, I will be sharing proper summer sewing next!

In Which The Blogger Wears A Cupcake Wrapper

Hello out there! You guys, I have had a couple of posts in Draft mode for months but haven’t been motivated to finish them or get photos in a timely manner–lazy blogger alert! ๐Ÿ˜‰

What have I been up to? Apart from the usual life stuff, I have actually been sewing quite a bit! I’ve made 19–NINETEEN!!!!!–things since I last wrote, with 2 more in progress. 11 of the 19 weren’t even for me: Tom got 6 new baseball tees (aka Easy Palate Cleansers), and someone I love got 4 adaptive tops ahead of a moved-up medical procedure, followed by a Driftless cardigan to celebrate her ongoing recovery. I have photos of 0 of those things, LOL. I may share Tom’s t-shirts eventually, depending on whether 1.) They are all clean at the same time for photos (highly unlikely) and 2.) We feel like it. I do kinda have my heart set on a .gif of him where he stands still and his t-shirt changes though!

As for me, I have 3 pairs of Lander pants/shorts to show you (photos are done, post is mostly done but I keep re-writing it because it was over 2500 words and UGH), plus 4 Driftless cardigans, plus this thing today. There is one thing I made that I’m not going to write a standalone post for, because it is far from my best work sewing-wise:

That’s a ponte dress made from M6886 and modified to have a split hem and elbow-length sleeves. I made every possible mistake on that project, which was a last-minute thing because I had a gig and was panicking about what to wear. O_o (For instance: I confused the CB seam I added for a side seam and sewed it up accordingly, on the serger to boot. FUUUUUUUUUUUUU.)

But anyway, on to my most recent project! This thing proved to be a queue-jumper, both sewing-wise and blogging-wise: I bought and printed the pattern last Friday, and finished the dress this Saturday. ๐Ÿ˜€

Presenting the Myosotis dress, View A, from Deer & Doe!

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So fashun

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A Twirl in 4 parts…1

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…2

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…3

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…4

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Back view, now with creepy grabby claw hands

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Cupcake Wrapper

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Obligatory “Thanks, it has pockets” photo

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Yep, I can still see my feet…

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Slightly evil?

Surely I’m not the only one who gets these weird, immediate urges to sew something specific RIGHT NOW, am I? That’s exactly what happened with this project; I totally overlooked the pattern on its (very recent) release day, but then got sucked in so completely that I shamelessly copied the sample. I was so desperate to make this thing that I even put the PDF together myself instead of waiting for a copy shop or print version. Yep, that’s right: I couldn’t wait to make a big white ruffled muumuu. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I wasn’t kidding when I said I copied their sample: they linked the fabric they used (a white-on-white seersucker from Fabric.com, of all places) and I bought it. Normally I really dislike seersucker–I don’t want my clothes to look like they’ve been slept in and re-worn sans ironing–but I thought the added texture would help this dress feel more interesting.ย And honestly, I still dislike seersucker, or at least this one: this shit feels like thick paper towels. O_o But I think the texture works with the design and don’t regret the choice; I have about 1 or 1.5 yards left over though (D&D calls for 3.25 yards and I bought 4 because I was reading the 45″ width requirements, derp) and I really, really don’t know what to do with it. UGH.

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My fave photo of the dress “floofed” out!

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Swish swish

Pattern Notes

This was my first-ever Deer & Doe pattern. (I know, right?) On the whole, I’m really pleased with it! The PDF was fairly compact for a full dress–29 pages–and the pages lined up beautifully. All the pieces fit together pretty well (more on that later) and overall, I felt that the product was professional and well done.

I made a size 34. The only pattern adjustment I made was to add 1″ of length to the bodice; the darts were hitting me in the right place, so I opted to add it at the waist. Mostly I wanted insurance: this pattern has a raised waistline but I didn’t want to be in empire waist or pregnancy speculation territory! (Plus their brand ambassador is 5’8″ and she lengthens their bodices too, so I felt like this was the right call.) I snooped finished Myosotis dresses on Instagram and saw that some people were getting drag lines at the shoulder near the collar, so I made sure to check the shoulder slope and back measurements before beginning; I didn’t make any adjustments there. The dress is a little tough to get on and off, since the waist is closed and I have broad shoulders. (My waist might be smaller than the dress’s, but my shoulders definitely aren’t!) If I’m being really picky, I could use a hollow chest adjustment along the front opening: it sits away from my body a bit.

I kept the skirt short (i.e., unchanged from the pattern), mostly to keep it from feeling frumpy. Needless to say, I am SUPER GLAD I added that inch to the waist, because this thing is short! And the waistline is still quite above my natural waist–by about 2″. But the dress easily passes the “fingertip test,” so it’s office-appropriate in my opinion. (Having short limbs for your height DOES have some advantages!)

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Okay, “bump watch” scenario has not been totally avoided…

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Note to self: do not jump around in this thing at work.

Construction

Myosotis is a really simple project, particularly if you’ve made button-up shirts or shirtdresses before. I sewed the entire thing on Saturday, complete with multiple breaks. (I did cut it out on a different day though, which helped!) I did as much as I could with my serger; french seams would have been too bulky, and I wanted finished edges to prevent fraying. I did NO hand sewing for this project: the hems are topstitched, and even my buttons are sewn on by machine. (Seriously, I do not know why I waited so long to use the button foot that came with my machine–IT IS AMAZING.)

The directions were fine, though I pretty much just read through them once and then went about my business. I didn’t use their collar method, because the Four Square Walls method is still usable for a Mandarin collar and that’s my preferred way. (Having said that, the collar isn’t my best. Womp womp.) I think the open neckline is really pretty; it balances the volume of the rest of the dress and puts a bit more skin in the mix, which I like. My front bodices aren’t as sharply angled at the turn as the sample or line art, so I may not have clipped far enough into the seam; I blame the white-on-white-on-white situation going on, plus sewing at night with sub-optimal lighting–it was hard to tell the difference between thread and seersucker after a while! ๐Ÿ˜‰

My biggest disappointment, apart from inadvertently making a dress out of paper towels, is the gathering. I bought a gathering foot for my machine, but we will need to spend some quality time getting to know each other because we…weren’t instant friends. Plan B was to turn the needle tension up on my machine, which actually produced beautiful, even gathers. But when the time came to attach gathered stuff to non-gathered stuff, I was disappointed by how much I had to relax the gathering to get things to fit together. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I expected capital-G Gathering, you know? So they aren’t very evenly distributed because I had to keep letting them out between the side seams. I get it: the pieces need to be wide to achieve the shape of the dress. But UGH. The only pieces I’m really pleased with are the sleeves, which look nicely–and intentionally–gathered.

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Some gathers…sorta.

Conclusions

Aside from a few complaints about the fabric and the gathers, I really am pleased with this project. It’s fun and easy to wear, and I think I did a good job on the sewing (distribution of the gathers aside). Plus it’s like nothing else I own, so it has that extra “novelty” appeal. I am sad that I can’t wear it home for hair appointments though, LOLOL. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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“Meh, the shoes are okay I guess…”

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“Dude, you’re blocking my shoes.”

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“Come here, buddy!”

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Or don’t…

Honestly, I probably won’t make View B because it’s too plain for me–if I’m going oversized, it needs to have something going on–but might try View A again at some point. (In a flannel for Fall? Or a sleeveless version?) Maybe. Or maybe I’ll just make peace with paying $13 for a pattern I used one time and move on with my life!

And can I just say that I have never been happier NOT to be a vlogger? Because I cannot for the life of me figure out how the fuck to pronounce this pattern’s name. My-OS-otis? Me-OS-otis? Myo-SOTIS? Mitosis? Milo-and-Otis??? ๐Ÿ˜‰

And now it’s time for OUTTAKES!!!!! And also a .gif, which may actually be the best one yet.

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Another blog, another jump FAIL

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Come on, lady! How hard is it to jump gracefully?!?

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UGH, Seriously?!?

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There ya go!!

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“I’m A Little Cupcake,” which is my version of “I’m A Little Teapot” meets Riverdance I guess…

Well folks, that’s it for me today! I should be back really soon with my Landers, which have been patiently waiting since FEBRUARY to get blogged. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

Adventures in Pattern Testing (Feat. Scroop Patterns Otari Hoodie)

Hi, friends!

I have something wayyyy different today: for the first time ever, I tested a pattern for a designer!

I’ve applied twice before for other pattern companies but always had a laid-back approach–I wouldn’t be bothered if I wasn’t picked. It just seemed like a fun thing to try, especially for someone who is a bit opinionated and owns loads of fabric. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So when Leimomi of The Dreamstress and Scroop Patterns put out a call for testers for her newest pattern, the Otari Hoodie, I decided I would like to apply. Somehow, she picked me! And because she took a leap of faith on an unknown blogger and I respect her as a designer, blogger, and Knower of Many Things, I will hold up my end and state, for the record, that:

  1. What follows is theย tester version of the pattern–not the final copy with any changes made after tester feedback was processed. I was not obligated to share this test hoodie with you all–I just really love it and wanted to show it off!–but by deciding to do so, I must make this very clear.
  2. I received the test version as well as the final pattern for free. I paid no money to Scroop Patterns for the pattern, but neither was I compensated in any other way for my testing assistance. All necessary materials were supplied by me.
  3. The opinions that follow are entirely my own. Leimomi made it clear from the beginning that she wasn’t looking for marketers–she wanted testers.

(I would also like to clarify that any links in this post are NOT affiliate links. Those programs are fine and all, but I don’t have them and want to make that clear.)ย 

So now that the disclosures are out of the way, let’s talk about the Otari Hoodie, shall we? ๐Ÿ˜€

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The Otari Hoodie! (Photo property of Scroop Patterns)

“The Otari Hoodie is a classic front-zipped hoodie with a relaxed but feminine fit and polished finishing details. View A features a three-panel curved hood and classic banded pockets. View B features a pointed pixie hood and Art Deco inspired cloud pockets. Both views end at mid hip and have shoulder seams that sit just off the shoulders, cuff and hem bands, covered front zip and hood joins, and fully-finished and lined hoods and pockets. Mix and match the pocket and hood options, and use contrasting fabrics for linings and bands to create a wide array of looks.”

I made View A, in a size 32. I could theoretically have gotten by with a size 30 based on Bust, Waist, and Hip measurements, but wanted a little extra shoulder insurance and sized up for that reason.

*Warning: Post includes a .gif and tons of words*

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Hoodie!

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A decent view of the binding

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Trying to look mysterious in my hood…

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Drawstring!

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Back, now with 100% more VPL =/

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Back, now with 100% less hair

Honestly, one big reason I was interested in testing this pattern is because I could use a new hoodie. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had never considered making something like this before: we all have our “can’t be bothered” items that we opt not to sew, right? But honestly, after making the test pattern, I would like to make more!! The finishing and customization potential are so superior to what I could find in a store, AND the pockets can hold my phone, my hands, and the handful of tissues I bring on every walk because #allergies. In fact, I’m already dreaming up my next Otari(s) with fabrics from my stash!

Fabric & Supplies

For my test version, I used fabrics that met or exceeded the pattern’s recommendations for stretch: 20-35% for the main fabric, 30-40% for the bands, and 20-35% for the lining. I wanted to use stash fabric for this because I knew I had something that would work. I picked a poly/lycra blend ponte knit for the whole hoodie, and a rayon/lycra jersey for the hood and pocket linings, as well as for the pocket bands. (You may recognize the latter fabric from the envelope of M7538, which was a fun coincidence!) I used about 1 5/8 yards of the ponte and not even half a yard of the rayon jersey. I’m loving the wacky stripes inside the hood and on the pocket bands! #beetlejuicegoals

Sourcing my supplies was the hardest part of this entire project, so I’m going to share where I bought stuff. Please note that I am a moron who can’t read, and I bought the WRONG SIZE grommets. I bought #2, and should have bought #00. O_o

Grommets:ย BiasBespoke
Zipper: Wawak
Twill Tape (Zipper Facing):ย Pacific Trimming
Twill Tape (Drawstring):ย RockBabyScissors

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Official studio shot of the back (complete with rumpled hood! =/ )

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And another

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AND ANOTHER OMG (but check out the #beetlejuicegoals on that hood lining…)

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Pocketses

Construction Notes

Honestly, the trickiest part of this pattern was the grommets! I had never installed them before and therefore did not have any tools. Luckily for me, some dear IRL friends sew; one has a press and let me use it, and the other let me use some knit fabric she had around for testing, as well as for padding the grommet sites.ย My friends are the best!ย โค

After the grommets, everything else was very straightforward. I was excited to sew my first separating zipper, because being able to take it apart completely and sew each side was a luxury compared to fly and dress zips!

I did have a few issues, but they were entirely of my own making. I had to fudge the zipper (more on that below), and I had to tweak the width of my channel and neck binding because of my grommet sizing error. But my Otari is still 100% functional, so no biggie.

See? Casual and cool.

And how about that hood, tho?!?!? So cool!! And it’s plenty big enough for my globe-like head…

Fitting Adjustments and Thoughts

Scroop Patterns are drafted for a base height of 5′ 7″; I am about 5′ 8″, and pretty much have to lengthen every bodice ever because that’s where my height is concentrated. Knowing that the Otari is meant to stop at mid-hip, I held the front piece up to myself and decided that I was going to need that extra inch. I added it at the lengthen/shorten line on the front and back bodice pieces.

The only problem with this adjustment was that I had ordered the zipper length specified in the pattern instructions. O_o I didn’t really think about it until it arrived and I laid it out on the front! By then, I didn’t have enough time to order a custom-length one so I had to just roll with it. I figured it was better to line the zipper up from the bottom, so that’s what I did. I doubt I will uninstall this one and replace it–it’s a lot of work and the hoodie is perfectly functional as-is. The twill tape facing allowed me to finish the extra raw edge, and once you bind the hood seam, everything looks really professional.

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Side view!

You’re probably looking at my hoodie in the above photo and thinking it’s weird how it tilts up at the front. And yes, it does that, and no, it shouldn’t. It turns out that I need a forward shoulder adjustment on this pattern; since the shoulder of this hoodie is dropped slightly and I had already gone up a size from my measurements (I made a 32 instead of a 30) for extra ease, I opted not to mess with the shoulders for fit. And without a muslin, it’s less intuitive to work out whether that adjustment is necessary. For next time I will certainly make that change, but it doesn’t make this version unwearable by any stretch.

Also of note is the slight pulling in the shoulders when the hoodie is zipped up (it’s visible in some of my photos if you look closely); I suspect that my shoulders and upper back are more “athletic” than the base draft for Scroop Patterns, and that I ought to make an adjustment there to remove the drag lines. Again, not a terribly surprising thing for me, but also not something I wanted to mess with due to the design (dropped shoulders) and sizing up.

The overall fit of the Otari is meant to be more tailored, and I think it looks really nice; hoodies can look sloppy so easily, IMO, but this one doesn’t. The sleeves are slim-fitting and, coupled with the weight of my material, this is a hoodie I will reserve for spring and summer wear. I wore it once with a big sweater on, and the arms were SNUG! But for dog walks on a cool summer evening, or dawn treks at one of our local metroparks once the weather warms up? This hoodie is perfect.

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Doggo cameo; the Otari is 100% compatible with dogs and nature!

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It is also compatible with felines in a controlled studio environment, though Tycho does not appear to agree. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Overall Thoughts

I have a lot of thoughts on this pattern, all of which I shared with Leimomi during testing; if she is reading this, she won’t be surprised by any of what I’m about to write! ๐Ÿ™‚

Pros

  1. Pattern Assembly – While there is a Copy Shop version, I used the Print-at-Home version of the Otari to avoid pushing the deadline. It was 40 pages, but it was quite easy to assemble. The pattern pieces are thoughtfully arranged in a way that allowed me to assemble many of them separately in sections. And of all the PDF patterns I have taped together, this one was delightful in terms of everything lining up exactly as it should with no fudging required. (I love Named patterns, but always have that issue with their non-Copy Shop PDFs. :-/ ) Leimomi also includes markings on the edges you will need to trim–if you don’t see the marking, you don’t need to trim! As someone who always puzzles this out as I go (work smarter, not harder!), it was nice to go on autopilot for that part. ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. Construction Methods – The construction methods Leimomi suggests result in a very professional-looking hoodie, down to the notions she recommends. Twill tape is very much a RTW way to finish the zipper and the hood, as are the grommets. I want my garments to look professional (and expensive), and I feel that this hoodie does–inside and out. The instructions are great–I read them through before starting, and felt 100% capable of making a hoodie by the end!
  3. Drafting – All my notches matched, and the overall fit is true to the pattern’s description (excluding any personal fit issues). The grading is even, meaning the finished garment measurements have the same amount of ease versus the Scroop size chart across all sizes.
  4. Pockets – I love the pockets on the Otari! They’re a great size (seriously, LOOK AT THEM. So roomy!!), are fully lined by design, AND they don’t sag or droop when not in use.
  5. Qualityย Finishes – I received the line art and pattern description before the pattern files, and had some time to think about what I wanted my Otari to look like before I could start sewing. Reading that the hood and pockets were lined made me check my existing RTW hoodies, and guess what? NONE OF THEM HAD LININGS. Not for the hood, not for the pockets. I cannot go back to that nonsense now, you guys. The hood of my Otari has a luxurious weight to it thanks to the lining, and I can confirm that the pockets and hood block out wind better than my other hoodies because of the lining layer. The finishing on the Otari is fully in #treatyoself territory.
  6. Creative Potential – Can you guys believe I nearly put a white cotton jersey lining in the hood?!? I am so glad I took the last line of the description to heart and dug deeper into my stash for something more fun. I may have made the more basic view of this pattern, but the quality features gave me an additional opportunity to be creative and make my hoodie unique.

“Mehs”

  1. Ease – This isn’t really a negative so much as a Thing Of Note, but the slimmer fit of the Otari means that I would have to modify it to get a bulky sweater under the sleeves comfortably, or to use non-stretch fabric. But the description is very clear on this point, so I am neither disappointed nor surprised by how my hoodie fits.

Really, that’s my entire list of non-Pro things. Virtually every part of this project was straightforward and enjoyable (excluding any mistakes I made), and I love my hoodie. Is this a SERGE ALL THE THINGS!!!!!! project? No. And normally on knits, if I can’t serge most of it I’m already annoyed, but on this project it’s understandable and totally worth it.

Would you guys like some outtakes and a .gif?

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Fugu fish impression

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Flashing with clothes on!

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Inside Out!

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And again…

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This is actually pretty cool…

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Trippy…

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Bazooka Joe mode?

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Work that zipper, Mads!!!

Final Notes

As I mentioned before, Leimomi did make some changes to the Otari pattern based on tester feedback. The hood shape for View A was refined slightly, and the hem band was made slightly shorter, and the sizes were split into 3 groupings for ease of use, along with a handful of other subtle changes; if you like my Otari, you will find the final version to be very, very close to it. You can buy your copy here! ๐Ÿ˜€ As I said earlier, I’m planning to make this pattern again–my RTW hoodies are about to be made redundant!

As for how my first-ever testing experience went, I could probably not have asked for a better one! Leimomi really cares about what her testers say, and about making patterns that are well-drafted, thoughtfully designed, and that will work on a large range of sizes equally well. I had never worked with a Scroop Patterns design before, but had pretty high expectations based on Leimomi’s background and skills; those expectations were met and surpassed!

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my first-ever testing experience: I sure enjoyed sharing it with you! Thanks again to Leimomi for trusting me with her newest “baby” and for designing such a nice pattern! โค

FAIL February! (Feat. M7591)

fail_february_2

Hey, everybody!

I have been working on the subject(s) of my next post for a couple of weeks now, but thought this might be a fun feature to hold you all over (LOLOL as if you’re eagerly waiting for the next post–I know better!) until I get that done. Behold: my just-in-time contribution to FAIL February 2018!

Dress (1 of 13)

It’s a dress! An ugly, ugly dress.

Dress (1 of 1)

From the back

Dress (2 of 13)

Too Cool to Care I’m Being Photographed: A Blogger’s Story

Dress (4 of 13)

My feels about how low-cut this thing is!

Dress (11 of 13)

Look Ma, no nip-slip!

I literally started writing a post about this dress almost A YEAR AGO. But I never really liked the dress once it was done, and lost any motivation to blog about it. Until Sew RED-y mentioned “Fail February” and a lightbulb went off, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰ For my purposes, this dress is an absolute FAIL.

The pattern is M7591. I initially planned to make View C, but decided to live dangerously (and bra-lessly) and go for the other bodice. It looks kinda like the envelope…if the envelope illustration was a lot sloppier, frumpier, and day-drunk-er. ๐Ÿ˜ฆย I usually have pretty good luck with McCall’s patterns, but this one is a lesson in not assuming “fitted” means “fitted on MY body.”

I’d seen other, more accomplished sewers make this pattern and look smokin’ hot in it, so I wasn’t worried about it. But between the ease, the extra length I added to the skirt, and the fabric, it is BAD. So bad. This pattern is not a number-sizes one, it’s one of the “XS, S, M, etc.” ones. I suspect the ease is a little bit fudgier to account for the limited number of sizes, but that’s just one idiot’s hunch. This could have been avoided, of course, by measuring the pieces to see how big the dress really was. Which I totally didn’t do, because how big could an XS really be? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Joke’s on me.

I added extra bodice length–2″, per my notes–which was definitely needed. I also gambled by adding 1″ to the skirt hem, and using that as my hem allowance. So the skirt is only longer by whatever the original hem allowance was, which escapes me. (I recycled this pattern–clearly it isn’t for me.) The finished length is AWFUL on me. It hits me at about the most awkward place possible on my legs, and the split in the skirt is not dramatic enough to counteract the dumpy illusion created by the hem length. Another mistake? I only cut the elastic to 2″ shorter than my waist measurement; I probably needed more negative ease there to help gather up the volume of the dress.

My original mistake, though, was picking this fabric. It’s a super cute splatter print on rayon challis, but the colors are just not good on me at all. (Kicking myself for not saving it for summer pajamas…) I really need high contrast prints and bold colors, and I have also realized that small-scale prints are not something I enjoy wearing in practice. (Gillian has written a really helpful post about analyzing your own print preferences and needs–definitely check it out! It will almost certainly make you think twice about a print you’ve bought!)ย The colors and print scale compound the dumpy and deeply unflattering effect of the shape of the dress. Double bonus FAIL points! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dress (2 of 3)

Literally the most flattering photo of this dress.

 

Dress (5 of 13)

Supa-low neckline

Socks and Dress 7.16.17 (14 of 14)

I mean, it’s practically a standing invitation to Look At My T*ts

 

Socks and Dress 7.16.17 (10 of 14)

The rare–and less dumpy–Side View

Socks and Dress 7.16.17 (11 of 14)

Wiggling

Conclusion

Believe it or not, I tried really hard to like this dress. I wore it to work one day (with a cardigan over it–I’m not a complete idiot) and out to a friend’s gig one night. I even made Tom take 2 sessions worth of photos of it, convinced that we just needed to find the right angle to make the dress look more flattering. But ultimately, I knew it wasn’t right for me and I have since recycled it. RIP, M7591.

While this wasn’t a fun post to write because sewing fails are bummers, it WAS a lot of fun to use it to participate in something tongue-in-cheek like Fail February. Thanks to Sew RED-y for making it a “Thing,” although hopefully I won’t be able to participate next year, LOL. ๐Ÿ˜€

As a palate cleanser, here’s a photo of World’s Best Dog for the road (because he is not a FAIL and is very good-looking, unlike this dress):

Dress (3 of 3)

He’s definitely sitting on my foot.

Do you share your “meh” sewing results on your blog or social media? Why or why not? What happens to your sewing disappointments: do you wear them anyway, or banish them from your sight immediately?