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˜€

 

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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)

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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!

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It’s a dress! An ugly, ugly dress.

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From the back

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

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My feels about how low-cut this thing is!

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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˜‰

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Literally the most flattering photo of this dress.

 

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Supa-low neckline

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

 

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The rare–and less dumpy–Side View

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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):

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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?

 

“Dress”ing for Winter

Hello, everyone!

One of my wardrobe goals of late has been to add some suitable-for-cold-weather dresses to my rotation. I had a few old RTW ones, but they’ve either gotten worn out, stained, or are wayyyy too body-con for the office! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Without better options, I tend to revert to jeans; that’s fine of course, but sometimes you want to feel a bit more stylish to counteract the bleak weather. This month, I have managed to make 2 such dresses–hooray!!

This first garment has been a long time in the planning, but I only just got around to sewing it. Without further ado, here is my version of Butterick 6388 (Beware: yet ANOTHER striped garment ahead–my 4th this year!)

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My face does not reflect how I feel about this dress!

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Hand swish!

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“Oh, this old thing?” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Back view, very nearly perfectly matched. =/

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Collar close-up (again, so close to perfectly lined up!)

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Back yoke close-up

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Side view (now with 100% more derp)

We took these photos at the same time as those in my last post, so apologies again for the scenery (or lack thereof). And pay no mind to my hair looking layered or feathered–it’s a trick of the flash behind me, and my hair is the same as always. (That is, totally t*ts awesome.) But anyway, back to business!

I have to admit that I don’t usually connect with Butterick designs. However, I loved this pattern the minute it came out: the collar, the angled front pieces, the back yoke, and pockets all make it a cool take on the “athleisure” trend. (Hell, I like the entire wardrobe included in the envelope–who am I?!?!?!?) At first, I had my heart set on a white version–it wouldn’t get much more winter-y than that, eh?–but decided to use this striped french terry instead at the last minute. Why? Well, I do love me some stripes, and this pattern has plenty of opportunities to play with direction(s)! But I was also nervous about such a high, close-fitting collar in solid white fabric: my hair is not safe for white collars in the first week or so after coloring! But having made this pattern now, I think it might be okay–the collar doesn’t come up as close to my hairline as I expected, in part because my neck has #giraffegoals. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Giraffe Goals

Basically me. (You’re welcome.) #giraffegoals

giraffe in the wild

See? I fit right in. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Sorry-not-sorry, guys. I had to do it.)

I had some fun with my photos AND the stripes on this dress, for sure. My french terry only stretches in one direction, but I figured it was forgiving enough to use the vertical layout on the front triangle pieces and the back yoke, which it was. I did sew the side seams at a 3/8″ allowance below the waist just to be safe though; they are sewn at the given 5/8″ everywhere else. This pattern is pretty simple to make, with the trickiest parts being the back yoke and the pockets (of which more in a moment). The yoke is easy to install if you’ve ever put a knit sleeve in flat, though!

About the pockets: I don’t have them in this dress, which is a big disappointment. I put them in, thinking I wasย soooooo smart for using the aforementioned white knit for one half of each pocket to prevent stripe show-through. Unfortunately, I got the pieces flipped around, resulting in a big white section right at the pocket opening, grr! I tried unpicking them but between the loops of the terry and my matching thread, that wasn’t happening. (I had sewn them using my sewing machine and a narrow zig-zag.) I cut them out and reinserted them the other way around, then finished up the sleeves, collar, and side seams so I could try the dress on. Aaaaand the pockets were hideous!!! (Well, not aesthetically: I stripe-matched the shit out of them!) They were super gape-y and sloppy-looking. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So in the end, I cut them out AGAIN and sewed the openings shut. Perhaps they would sit better without all the extra ripping and trimming I had to do, but I don’t know. So at any rate, no pockets for Mads this time.

I honestly can’t remember if I lengthened this dress or not–whoops!! I blame the pocket fiasco and the fact that I made this dress a few weeks ago. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If I did, it wasn’t by much. (I am about 5’8″, but have short limbsย for my height–giraffe hopes dashed, LOL.) I took 5/8″ for the hem, and the same for the sleeves.

There was enough of this vaguely-prison-striped fabric left to cut out a pair of Hudson pants, which is exciting. I did have to piece the waistband (and take some liberties with stripe matching on the pockets), but that’s a small price to pay for a nice pair of sweatpants in my book. ๐Ÿ˜€

So that’s one very “jailbird chic” dress down, but I have one more for you: the Sew Over It Heather dress!

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Winter white Heather dress! (My legs are down there, I swear!!)

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Oooh, moody!

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Less moody, more bitchy. xD

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Pockets!!

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Back view (and yes, I will be steaming this after seeing these photos!)

I am wearing black tights in these photos but the black backdrop was necessary to show the dress, so you can’t see my legs!! Trust me: they’re there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I mentioned my interest in this pattern in my last post and didn’t wait long to buy it. (I wrote both of these posts together, starting them a couple of weeks ago.) I actually joined the SOI PDF Club; you get a free PDF pattern for joining (and if you join before Feb 9, you can pick ANY PDF pattern, not just a PDF-Only one), and the cost of joining was less than the cost of the Heather pattern, even after the discount they’ll give you for signing up initially. (And if you were wondering, I did use that code…to get a discount on the PDF Club membership, because SOI is awesome and allows that. ๐Ÿ˜€ ) I shopped smart, y’all. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have to say, I am really impressed with SOI thus far. I don’t know how many of the PDF Club designs will appeal to me, but I’ve been very happy with the two patterns I’ve made and with my shopping experience.

Anyway, you probably want to hear about my Heather dress now! This design is so perfect for F/W here in Ohio. For this version–there will be others!–I used the off-white french terry I had considered for B6388. It’s a little lighter weight than the stripes but still plenty thick for a dress. The construction was very straightforward, but of course the pockets are the trickiest part. I did those steps on my sewing machine just to be safe, and serged the seam allowances after. Apart from needing a good pressing/steaming and the dreaded white-on-white show-through, I think they turned out pretty well! Part of me wishes I had thought to topstitch the princess seams though–next time, maybe. The shoulders areย just a bit broad for me, but I expect it’s down to the size I made (and grading principles). It bears mentioning that I made the UK 8, the smallest size; in reality, I need a smaller size in most areas but wasn’t concerned about the fit being a little more relaxed. However, I am pleased to report that the sleeve caps did not have excessive ease in them, which influenced my gushing above.

As for alterations, I added 2″ of length to the pattern at the hemline but that was not necessary! I ended up taking it all back off following a try-on before I hemmed the dress, and then I took a 1″ hem. I should have just measured the dress itself but was influenced by the sample photo on Lisa, which is quite brief! I’m not sure if they altered the pattern to achieve that length or if she herself is just particularly tall. Oh well, no harm done–better too long than too short, right? I did lengthen the 3/4 length sleeves by about 1″, and took 5/8″ for the hem there. I also sewed the side seams from the pockets to the hem at 3/8″ instead of 5/8″ just to be safe, but needn’t have done that in the end. Next time, I will just use the 5/8″ all the way down; I will also probably shorten the next one and bring the shoulders in slightly.

Once again, I’ve got leftovers from this project. O_o It’s a lot of leftovers, too: my material is 1.75 yards wide, PLUS I bought 3 yards of it. I can’t decide what to make with it, but I’m really hoping I’ve got enough left for 2 tops! I know for sure that I want one with a collar; I’m thinking Talvikki or the top version of B6388.ย What do you think I should make??? Sound off in the comments!

And you people KNOW there are other non-giraffe outtakes, right? Right:

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Testing the stretch factor!

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Nifty blue post-filter

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Half-hearted “Vogue”ing

Jailbird photos for jailbird stripes! (Obviously the best one!!)

There you are: 2 winter-friendly dresses! I admit that neither of them are particularly figure-flattering (hellooooooooo, swayback + hip/waist ratio!) but they are warm and stylish and comfy. I think that keeping them shorter helps–it helps me *feel* less dumpy, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I haven’t worn my Heather dress yet apart from photos but I’ll wear it how I’ve styled it here, with tights and boots.

Hopefully I will be back here soon with more nifty things! I’ve got plans, though we’ll see what I end up showing you next time–it could be sweatpants or shirts or jeans, or just blatherings about other plans. Let’s hope for the former, shall we? Thanks for reading!

Do you have a “cold weather uniform”? Would you ever Photoshop yourself for the sake of a joke?ย ๐Ÿ˜‰ย How many yards of a fabric do you buy when you haven’t got immediate plans for it?ย 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Tops!

Hi there! I want to start by saying “Thanks!” to all of you who read and commented on my 2017 Top 5 posts: I enjoy sharing a year-end recap, but it’s so heartening that people read them and take the time to leave a comment. And while I’m at it, a massive “THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!” to anyone who read or commented on this blog over the course of the past year! My sewing friends–online, on social media, and in real life–add so much joy and inspiration to my life, and I hope I am able to do even a fraction of the same in return. โค

And now, on with the show!

It seems that, for the second year running, I will be starting a new year of project posts with multiple knit tops! But unlike last year, all three tops in today’s post have something in common: stripes!! First up: the Molly top by Sew Over It!

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“Are you taking the photo now?”

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Back!

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Side, with poor stripe matching on full display.

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Tilt

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Sass

Sorry about these relatively boring (but still very high-quality, IMO) photos, guys–I vastly prefer outdoor shots, but the weather was far too cold and snowy for me to risk it this time. Tom was also messing with his lighting and flash options, which resulted in some unusually crisp shadows. (We don’t Photoshop around here unless we’re doing something really obvious–this ain’t a magazine shoot.)

This top is actually my final garment for 2017–I cut it (and the other 2 below) out on 12/30, and somehow sewed it up completely before noon on 12/31!! Not at all what I planned or expected, but that’s what happens when you’re up at 5:30AM*, even on days off: you get shit done! ๐Ÿ˜‰

*And you also have a serger

As basic as it is, this pattern was one that I was excited about, for a few reasons. First, because I’d never used a SOI pattern before–I was eager to see what they were like, how they fit, and how I felt about the resulting garment. Second, because I bought this fabric and wanted a different pattern to showcase the stripes. (Is it just me, or are stripes of this scale oddly difficult to match to a pattern choice?) I love my Lark tees–and totally intend to make one with what’s left of this material–but I wanted something that looked a bit more unique in stripes. Finally, I figured if I liked the top version of Molly, I would be able to crack on with a dress version eventually!

So first impressions: the pattern printed a little oddly for me, but not in any way that negatively impacted the scaling or fit. I think it’s more to do with UK vs. US paper formats, because even scaled at 100%, I ended up with a weird section of overlap on the edges of each page. But it was simple enough to just cut that section off, once I realized that it wasn’tย supposed to be there! My other first impression was that the pieces looked really wide compared to the not-at-all-oversized finished versions I’d seen people make. But I quickly realized that I didn’t know what the seam allowance was, and sure enough, a trip to Google revealed that it’s 5/8″. Mystery solved!ย And while we’re discussing first impressions, I should note that I got this pattern for free; I can’t remember where I got it, but it was from a link multiple months ago that I saw online someplace–again, I can’t remember as it’s been a while! Rest assured that 1.) this is not an affiliation thing and 2.) I came by the freebie legitimately, as far as I know.ย 

I had a heck of a time with this material! (It’s a rayon/lycra jersey, which I’ve used before with not nearly this much fuss!) No matter what I did, the yardage was distorting each time I tried to place and weight my pattern pieces. On top of that, fusing interfacing to my hems was awful! I actually had to stand there, pressing my iron down firmly and holding it there for 20-30 seconds or the fusible would not melt into the fabric. I have used the same knit interfacing many times before (from the same cut) and have never had this happen; as such, I am prepared to blame my fabric for this difficulty rather than my interfacing.

Since I struggled to get the fabric to lay still and stay on-grain easily, I didn’t do a great job matching stripes in the end. My sleeves look pretty good though, and I LOVE how the neckband came out! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m not too bothered by the poor matching at the shoulders and side seams, though perhaps I’d have done better if I took a break from the project instead of forging ahead with the cutting. #YOLO

The only alteration I made to this pattern was to add a little bit of extra hem allowance. I think it’s meant to be longer, but I am glad I left it as-is: tunic-esque tops feel awkward on me. My only real complaint about the pattern itself, apart from those seam allowances (have you ever tried to serge rayon/lycra jersey with 5/8″ allowances?!?!?!? It’s soooo annoying!), is the length of the lower sleeves–they come up a bit short on me, and I’m not in possession of particularly long limbs. But going by the sample garment photos at SOI’s website, it actually looks like this is the length they intend for them to be, but having a free pattern-only (no instructions or line art) version, I can’t be sure. But that aside, I love my Molly top! I might make the dress version, although I’m not sure how much I’d love it in a solid fabric–it would be pretty plain. I would really like to buy the Heather dress pattern next, as I love the front panel with integrated pockets; I also think that pattern shines in solids, whereas Molly probably looks better in stripes since the dolman sleeves are the only real design lines. That’s my $0.02, anyway!

Next up is a pattern I have made once before, but not for a few years: the Tamara top from Style Arc!

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Always Be Primping

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Front view

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Back view

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Side!

This one is quite a bit more tasteful than my first version, LOL! I had enough of my striped bamboo jersey left to doย something with it, but not quite an entire garment. (THE WORST!!) Luckily I remembered this pattern! I have a few yards of a (slightly darker) plain navy bamboo jersey, so I decided to use that for the angled pieces. Speaking of which, the passage of time really made me forget how annoying those shoulder insets were to sew, haha! They definitely aren’t identical but I’m hoping non-sewers won’t even notice.

Style Arc assumes you’ll use the same material for the front bodice piece and the neckband, but I wanted plain navy for the neckband instead. (There were plenty of stripes already!) And I forgot about the sleeve construction, so my genius intentions to put the sleeves in flat didn’t work out–they had to go in round. Luckily SA understands that you don’t need 2″ of ease in a close-fitting knit sleeve cap–more like 0″–so they went in with no trouble at all, just like last time.

Finally, I made a Hemlock tee!

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Seems legit (Also, damn my bangs are getting long!!)

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So much fabric!

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Side (stripes match decently this time!!)

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Yikes.

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“Chop chop buddy, I don’t have all night!!”

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Always Be Primping, Round 2

This is a freebie pattern from Grainline; I’ve had it for a while but hadn’t made it yet! I used the same fabric for this tee that I used for a different Grainline pattern, the Lark, late last year. I added maybe 1/2″ of length to the body pieces here, but that’s it. The pattern has 1/4″ seam allowances, so it’s perfect for zipping through a serger. It’s a really comfortable and relaxed tee; I actually think it would make a nice pajama top. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Otherwise, there isn’t much to say!

Here are some outtakes for all y’all, as is customary:

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Angry stretchy shirt

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Abb’s Abs

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Dancing?

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Senior Portrait Pose

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Giggles

There you have it: 3 new tops, all in stripes! (Have I mentioned that I love stripes? Because I do.) I have 2 other projects to share with you also, and that post is coming very shortly. (And one of them is also striped…) I’ve been busy and have plenty of plans for more Winter sewing as well; I’m thinking of putting together a planning post to share my ideas with you all, but who knows if I will do that or not. (Perhaps my focus should be on just sewing stuff, rather than navel-gazing about sewing stuff. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Have you gotten off to a running start with your sewing projects in 2018? How do you feel about stripes? Do you find that sharing your ideas or plans helps you solidify them?ย 

 

2017 Top 5, Part 2: Reflections and Goals

Top 5

Welcome back! This is my final post of the year* ( ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ), and the thrilling conclusion to my Top 5 recap of my 2017 sewing!

*Sorry peeps, I meant to have this ready before the New Year began, buuuuut I didn’t make it! At least I started it before 2017 f*cked off, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let’s get into it with…

Top 5 Reflections

  1. I sewed a lot! – For me, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m really bowled over by how many things I finished this year, and the fact that most of them were successful additions to my wardrobe. It is a much different feeling than when I reflected on 2016, that’s for sure!
  2. I have a lot of clothes – I am not a “Capsule Wardrobe” person, nor am I a minimalist. I like clothes! But I have a lot of them, and there are many pieces that I don’t wear. This is partly due to my climate, which has highly variable seasons throughout the year; but part of it is down to just being the sort of person who struggles to get rid of stuff. :-/ My sewing still can’t provide everything I need (YET!!), but that doesn’t mean I need to keep things needlessly!
  3. I have a lot of fabric – Again, same as above–minimalism isn’t my jam. But I do know when I end up with too much, and I’m there! But I must say, my abundant stuff is very well cataloged. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  4. Inspiration Paralysis – This was more of a Q3 and Q4 problem this year, but I’ve felt kind of overwhelmed by all the things I want to make lately! I need more basics, but there are some things I have been desperate to make for months, too. The end result is that I don’t sew anything: my creative brain short-circuits and I just chill out on the couch instead! Or I may buy fabric for one of those must-make items but not start it! Not cool. I haven’t found a way to get around this that works for me–yet. (And no, the answer isn’t “start multiple projects at once.” That kind of chaos in my sewing room leads to a different kind of paralysis, and I’m not doing it!) But I think one key thing will be to make a note of those big, tempting, day-dream projects: I have a Fashionary, and I have an Excel sheet. Maybe if I put them down somewhere, I will feel like they’re getting some of my creative attention without distracting me from stuff I will be able to incorporate into my closet sooner (and with fabric I already have).
  5. Selfish Bitch – Obviously this is a bit tongue-in-cheek! But I really am disappointed in my sewing output for others this year. My bestie wants potholders for her mom, and possibly tea towels as well; my sisters should have Dirty Bird potholders of their own; Tom deserves more jeans and things!
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Fabric spreadsheet snapshot! Spoiler alert: there’s a TON of fabric on there. O_o

Beryl

A prime example of a thing I want to make and bought wild fabric for, but that isn’t terribly practical. (Photo property of Named Clothing.)

With these reflections in mind, I do have some (vague, as usual) goals for 2018! But first, let’s see how I did on 2017’s goals, shall we?

2017 Goals: Recap and Evaluation

  1. Cull the stash. Yes and no. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Iย did destash about 20 pieces on eBay starting this summer (and basically broke even between shipping and what I sold them for–it wasn’t really about making $!) AND donated some to a local craft store. But I also bought plenty more fabric than I sold OR sewed.
  2. Make my jeans. HELL TO THE YES!!!! Finally. 2018 will hopefully be the year I kick all the RTW skinnies out of my house in favor of self-made pairs!
  3. Make basics. YES!!!!! Lark tees, jeans, warm-but-interesting tops, a black denim skirt…I did it.
  4. Conscious, Handmade gifts. Meh. Tom got a birthday sweater thing, plus another sweater thing and fingerless mitts for Xmas, so that’s good. (He also received 3 pairs of knitted socks this year, but not really as “gifts.”) Bestie got 2 pairs of socks AND a cowl knitted for her birthday (she really loved them!!). But otherwise, that’s all I managed. My 5th reflection above sums up my disappointment here. I also still need to make a baby shark for Dunuh’s owner’s new baby sister! O_o
  5. Draw stuff in my Fashionary so I don’t forget my ideas. Mostly fail. I was wayyyy better at doing this earlier in the year, but fell off the wagon. But per Reflection 4, I should probably revisit this in 2018!

As far as I can tell, I’m about 3 out of 5 on those (I’m giving myself partial credit for numbers 1 and 4!); not bad, but not great. That brings us to my goals for 2018:

  1. Cull the stash some more! I have lots of pieces of fabric marked for destash, I just need to get them out and get them listed. Hopefully with a full 12 months of this, I will get rid of plenty of stuff!
  2. Make at least 1 basic item for every “shiny” item! I figure this will help me make peace between the side of my brain that knows we just need to get dressed and the other side, which wants to make more exciting, spur-of-the-moment-inspiration/”concept” pieces instead. Addendum to this goal: keep track of my ideas better!
  3. Make a new winter coat. This has been on my list before, I know! But I’m starting to feel scruffy in my years-old RTW coat and I’d like to make a good, everyday coat to replace it. I also want a bold color for this project, which means I need to find material. O_o If anyone sees a good deal on lemongrass-colored wool coating, let me know! ๐Ÿ˜‰
  4. Keep my sewing area(s) clean and tidy. This is always a problem for me–I hate tidying up and cleaning (I am my father’s daughter!), and always neglect my sewing areas at some point(s). In the new year, I want to keep my sewing room and the guest room–where my fabric lives–tidy enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if someone who doesn’t live with me saw them. I have to be honest: this will be as hard as keeping my stash under control, but I’m gonna try really hard. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  5. Match or exceed the number of garments sewn in 2017. As I’ve said, my goal is to replace all my RTW stuff with things I have made–I am serious about that. In order to help me get rid of RTW clothes AND fabric, I will need to keep sewing at 2017’s pace or better. This will be a fun challenge!
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Simplicity 8470 View D – Future Winter Coat! (Image property of Simplicity.)

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Color-coded highlighting denotes stuff I’m going to list for destash

Garment Type

My 2017 results–aiming to top this in 2018!

On the whole, I think my 2018 “Goals and Shit” are pretty boring, but hopefully they’ll help me grow and enjoy my hobby in the coming year. And you guys, I accidentally added a garment to my 2017 tally on 12/31/2017–I made an entire top from start to finish!! Ridiculous, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ So technically my 2017 count is now 31, so I have a slightly bigger challenge for myself in 2018! I am off to a running start though, because I MADE ANOTHER TOP TODAY. That’s right: I hit 31 things on 12/31, and on Day 1 of 2018, I made my first garment of that year. Who am I?!?!? (To be fair, I cut both projects out the other day, so that was one less thing to do!)

I hope your 2018 is off to a great start–I’ll see you all soon!

Do you set sewing goals for the year to come? Do you enjoy reflecting on the past year and seeing what you’ve accomplished and learned, etc.? (If you wrote a blog post about it, feel free to link to it in the comments so I can read it!) How do you balance sewing things you need with inspiration/impulse sewing?ย 

 

2017 Top 5, Part 1: Hits, Misses, and Highlights!

Top 5

Hey, everyone!

It’s that magical time again: Top 5 season! I look forward to doing this every year, so I hope you all don’t mind reading about it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Gillian’s link-up post is here, if you want to find even more Top 5 posts!

As usual, I won’t do a full battery of separate posts for each section (Hits, Misses, Highlights, Reflections, Goals) but will group them together in my usual fashion (Hits + Misses + Highlights, Reflections + Goals). Before we dive in though, here are some “Mads Stats” for my 2017 sewing!

Total Garments Made: 30!!!!! WUT. Seriously, this deserves confetti, guys! This is by far my highest output ever; in 2016 I only managed 12 garments (plus 1 set of potholders and 6 sharks…), and 2015 was only marginally better at 13 (plus 1 shark). FWIW, I have my “fail” garments in that tally, because they were completely finished before they were designated as “fails.” More on those in a bit!

I am somewhat shocked at my productivity this year, because I felt like I was really busy in 2017 (for me–we introverted homebodies have a decidedly skewed perspective on what constitutes a hectic schedule)! But maybe having more commitments helped me devote more of my downtime to my sewing, since I knew I didn’t have All The Time In The World. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Whatever happened, I am hoping to keep it going in 2018–my goal is to replace all my RTW stuff with self-made, after all!

So I made 30 things, but what 30 things did I make?? Below is a little chart that breaks that down:

Garment Type

As you can see, Tops were my “top” category this year! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Pants look pretty robust, but that includes the 2 pairs of Hudson pants I made for myself so it’s a little misleading. “Other” is where I put my lady tux jacket and the two Burda 6718 sweaters I made for Tom. (One was a surprise gift for Xmas, so you haven’t seen it yet!) I count those more as outerwear than tops worn by themselves. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And Skirts and Dresses were pretty neglected categories, but hopefully I can do something about that in 2018.

As to my Fails, I actually had 5 of them (according to my parameters–my sewing, my rules!); here is where they occurred:

Untitled

You guys know I tend to put things in both the Hits and Misses category sometimes, and that’s what’s happening with the Pants and Other “Fail” items in that chart: those are my tux trousers and jacket. One top Fail and the dress Fail are ones that you all haven’t seen: the top was a t-shirt for Tom (the one that shrank a whole bunch in the first wash), and the dress is one I made this summer that I ended up hating. :-/ But in all, I’d say that 5 fails out of 30 things sewn is pretty good! It’s also not a surprise that the most populous category had the highest number of Fails–that’s to be expected.

Since most of what I made this year was for me (yayyyy!), I won’t be counting Tom’s stuff toward my Hits and Misses this year (his stuff is all Hits though, hooray!). So without further ado:

Top 5 Hits

  1. Hudson Pants
  2. M7471 (same post as above)
  3. Black jeans
  4. Navy/white striped Lark tee
  5. Blair Shirt
    Honorable Mention: Both of my Reeta shirtdresses and my tux

Shirts and Sweats-31Shirts and Sweats-29

Shirts and Sweats-1SSJ (14 of 25)

11.24.17 clothes dump (24 of 42)

pink shirt-striped shirt (11 of 17)

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Before you wail on me for putting sweatpants at the number 1 spot, I want to point out that they are in that spot because I wore them more than any other thing I made this year–by far. As in, every single night that it was cold or chilly (or over-air conditioned), I wore my Hudson pants to bed. I am so glad I finally made that pattern! Now I just need MORE!! (Sorry guys, I am not a very sexy sleeper–function over form is my pajama jam!)

The rest of my Top 5 is mostly about the same concept: how important things were to me getting dressed once they were made. The Blair is kind of an exception to that, since it’s very seasonal in Ohio, but I am really proud of it–it’s just one of my favorite things I’ve made!

That brings us to my Top 5 Misses for the year. These are my Fails from the 2nd chart, although I don’t have a photo of Tom’s sad shrunken t-shirt for you.

Top 5 Misses:

  1. Tuxedo Jacket
  2. Tuxedo Trousers
  3. M7591 Dress
  4. Men’s Raglan T-Shirt, Mk I
  5. Selja Knot Tee

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abbeytux (6 of 16)Dress (1 of 13)

SSJ (9 of 25)

My tux had to be in the Misses category, too–I am just not super happy with how it turned out. I know I can do better. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ That M7591 dress, though I wore it out of the house twice, is just super unflattering IMO and I don’t think the colors are good on me either; I can pretty much guarantee that thing is being recycled. (Yes, that’s right: I went to all the trouble of taking blog photos of M7591 but never finished the post. That doesn’t bode well for a garment, does it?) And the Selja is just a poor-fitting top all around, and I hate my stripe-matching fuck up. I only wore it twice (3 times if you count blog photos). It’s probably getting recycled, too. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Now it’s time for my Top 5 Non-Sewing Highlights of 2017! I just made it to 5 of these, guys–some of them aren’t particularly earth-shattering, but they made my year better!

  1. Knitting – 2017 was my first full calendar year as a knitter, and I am still totally in love with this hobby. ๐Ÿ˜€ โค Not only did I branch out to cowls and fingerless mitts this year, I set a personal goal to knit 12 pairs of socks in 2017 AND I DID IT! (And incidentally, half of them were made for other people!) I also started my very first sweater, and although it isn’t even close to being done, that’s a big milestone. And my sister gifted me Bristol Ivy’s new book for Xmas, so I have plenty of inspiration for my 2018 knitting already!
  2. Band – I auditioned for a 90’s alt-rock cover band in January and somehow they took me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I maintain that it’s because I am a girl, and girls in rock bands–even if they’re hack musicians–is super 90’s…) It’s been challenging but also a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to us being more active in 2018! It’s also been a great excuse to sew crazy shit, like my glow-in-the-dark skirt. I’m hoping to make Gig Sewing a “thing” in 2018 as well!
  3. New Axe – Related to #2, I bought a new guitar this year! I haven’t bought a guitar in 7 years, so this is a big deal! Since the band typically plays hours-long sets, I need a backup for my JagStang. So what did I get? A Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus! It’s literally their own knock-off of the original Fender Telecaster Plus from the late 80’s/mid 90’s era. (Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead had one–need I say more?) The original Tele Plus is long discontinued, and while you can find them used, they’re ridiculously expensive. Lucky for me, Fender makes this version for a wayyyyyy better price. Which is good, because I have an art sticker that’s been burning a hole in my proverbial pocket, just waiting to be slapped onto a guitar–I wouldn’t do that to a pricey one! ๐Ÿ˜‰
  4. Family – Frankly, any year that we are still a family of 5 is a good one! Tycho has had more health concerns this year, and we are trying to enjoy whatever time together we have left. Tom and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary in 2017, which is ridiculous! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And my aunt is moving back to Ohio after many years in another state, which is exciting.
  5. Tales From The Crypt – This year, due to another performer getting sick, I was asked to help with a really cool event at a local historic mausoleum, Greenlawn Abbey. I got to dress in (authentic!) 1910’s garb and tell visitors about a particular person who is buried there. The setting is breathtaking, of course: the mausoleum dates to 1927 and is made of granite, with an interior of white marble. Not only that, but the preservation association working to restore and publicize the site has done incredible work and is all volunteers. (The Abbey fell into disrepair over the decades since its completion, and was truly in a sorry state when these folks stepped in.) I have attended this event as a guest, so it was really a privilege to be asked to participate–these are real stories we’re telling, after all! I am considering joining the association officially next year, if I think I can commit the time. And if not, I still plan to help as much as I can!
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Literally every finished knitting project for 2017!

Band

Band in action!

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YASSSSSS

Family

D’awwwww

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Tales from the Crypt!

That’s it for the first part of my Top 5 for 2017! I’ll be back very shortly with my Top 5 Reflections and Goals. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for reading!!

 

Operation Lady Tux, Part 3: Camisole and Trousers

Welcome to the 3rd and final part of my Totally Unnecessary Holiday Outfit-slash-Designin’ December series! If you’ve made it this far, you’re in for some more stupid mistakes and vague successes. Buckle up! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here.)

Let’s start with the camisole!

Making of: Camisole

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I want you people to know that it was 38F and raining when we took these–that’s how much I love you.

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Seriously, I adore the back view of this cami! So hot!!

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OMG MY FACE THO! #dead xD

Having decided to make trousers and a jacket, my last consideration for this outfit concerned my tits and how I was going to cover them, LOL. Obviously I have to be careful here, because my event is a work party: I can’t be all Hollywood, showing up in a tux and 1. nothing or 2. a lace bralette, even if I wanted to–I have to look my fellow attendees in the eye the Monday after!* ๐Ÿ˜€ On the other hand, I didn’t want to be completely covered up; one of the many luxuries of being small-chested is being able to “get away” with wearing very low-cut tops and showing some cleavage ribs, and I wanted to counter the pants-and-jacket coverage of the rest of my outfit somehow.

Because of the strong impression left by the Gwyneth Paltrow inspo outfit, I decided that a lace camisole was a good middle ground. Having bought the Ogden patternย right when it came out, that was my go-to. I had my lace already–a beautiful black chantilly with double scallop borders and some metallic thread. I thought I may have to order lining, but NOPE! Stash to the rescue: I had this amazing peachy, almost-rose-gold colored J. Crew silk/cotton voile that was perfect under the black lace. Yay!

*Funny enough, the same colleague who made me feel like a million bucks in my outfit also suggested that I could have worn a lace bralette underneath the jacket. She kinda made me wish I’d done that, LOL!

Construction

This camisole was SO EFFING EASY to make! I want an army of them now. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The hardest part was cutting everything out and underlining the pieces. That took me a couple of hours one weekend afternoon, but sewing everything together into a wearable garment took about the same amount of time on a different day. It was so fast!!

I used my silk/cotton voile as an underlining for the lace shell, and used it again for the half-lining that’s part of the pattern. I also made the straps out of it, though I made them my own way (the same way I made my Reeta drawstrings) so they were a little heftier. I lengthened the straps as well (versus the pattern), AND added length to the hemline. I regret the latter, as I didn’t realize how long it would end up! And since I used the scallop edge for the hem, it wasn’t like I could go back and shorten it. Womp womp.

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Straps

This is a great little pattern for using small pieces of special fabric! I have leftovers from my 2016 dress that will definitely be made into an Ogden, and I can see myself making tons of them…maybe even a dress version, too!

So that’s the skinny on what I wore on my top half; next up, some kinda-busted trousers!

Making Of: Trousers

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Okay, the back view is pretty ace…

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Side, with fancy tux stripes!

I made my trousers from the exact same fabrics as my jacket: wool/nylon/lycra suiting with wool sateen accents, plus bemberg for the pocket linings. I think that suiting is definitely too bulky for these trousers, a fact which magnifiesย and is in turn magnifiedย by the flaws in the trousers that are of my own making. :-/

For the pants, I decided on straight legs (wide are NOT my jam usually, and skinny probably won’t “age” well) with the all-important “tuxedo stripe” on the outseam, angled front slash pockets (as opposed to inseam or no pockets), full-length (not cropped), and no back pockets or front crease. I also didn’t do a fly front, which in retrospect was probably a mistake but oh well. What I should have done is pick a proper trouser pattern, but I went back to V9160 because I had loved the shape of the pants last year.

Construction

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Sorry, it’s really dark!!

As I said, my mistake was probably trying to shoehorn V9160 into a tuxedo pant. :-/ At first, things were going okay: I got the front slash pockets how I wanted them, having drafted new pocket bags and all that. I also took the waist in a couple of inches (you’d think I’d measure that area carefully since I seem to do this every. single. time. I make bottoms…) which skewed my stripes to the back slightly at the waist, but it wasn’t super awful-looking. But I got cocky sloppy and free-handed the shape of the leg below the knee (I made my muslin about that length because #lazy and to use less muslin) instead of using my muslin for the ass/pockets and the pattern for the legs. Derp.

The resulting trousers–totally assembled except for the waistband and zipper–were too wide to be straight-leg, but too narrow to be wide-leg. THE WORST, amirite? At this point, Smart Abbey returned and got out the V9160 pieces and re-chalked the lines. But Lazy Abbey wasn’t through with me yet, and instead of unpicking my racing stripes (OMG THE TIME THAT WOULD TAKE) I adjusted the best I could using just the inseams. So you will notice the seams aren’t quite plumb from crotch to hem, if you catch my drift. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Lazy Abbey partly justified this by pointing out the risks of re-doing the stripes, which were installed with a pleasantly consistent 3/4″ width all the way down the leg the first time around.

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Pocketses

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Back view

I didn’t put any pockets in the back, which was sort of a last-minute decision; I like the idea of welts in the back to break up all that real estate, but really didn’t want any added bulk on my ass (I worked HARD to get the fit right back there, guys), so ended up leaving them off. I do sort of regret not doing a fly front, just because I think the combination of the thick, spongy fabric AND slash pockets AND no zipper AND a looser fit in my upper front thighs makes them/me look wider in the hips in an unflattering way.

I drafted a waistband and facing (remember, these pants are part of a jumpsuit–no waistband), and used an invisible zip that goes all the way to the top. That was kind of dumb, because the waistband/pants seam juncture is really thick and zipping over it takes effort. :-/ (Shout out to the lycra content though, without which I might never have gotten into these at all. โค ) I also hate how wide the waistband ended up: I really should have thought about that more carefully! It’s too close to yoga pants territory for me! Speaking of dumb, I somehow added WAY too much length to the pants when I cut them out–I literally had 5″ to remove before I could hem them, LOLOL! WTF?!? No idea what I was thinking there, but better that than too short!

Shenanigans aside, seeing photos of the trousers after the party really made me feel better about them–it was hard to evaluate the shape of them without a full-length mirror, and I was SURE they were frumpy.

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You guys, THAT IS IT for my Holiday Outfit for 2017! Thank you for sticking with me: I hope you had some laughs at my expense and will learn from my (copious) mistakes. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I will probably be back before New Year’s with Top 5 stuff, so I’ll see you soon. In the meantime, enjoy whatever holiday(s) you are celebrating this month! โค

 

 

 

Operation Lady Tux, Part 2: Jacket

Hello, and welcome to Part 2 of this year’s Holiday Outfit saga! This post will focus on the jacket, and Part 3 will cover the camisole and trousers. (Part 1 is here!)

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Gosh, if only this jacket had pockets for my #awkwardhands …oh wait.

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Back view! (Yes, my hem needs re-pressed and clapper’d)

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Kinda side view?

The Making Of: Jacket

I worked on this jacket–from cutting out to sewing on the button–for about 2-3 weeks. (By which I mean weeknights after work and weekends, in between engagements and stuff.) For the most part, it was a pleasant experience; the rough parts were pretty brutal, though!

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Basically-done jacket; the dressform is lopsided, so the jacket looks a little wonky.

My jacket is made mostly of a double weave wool/nylon/lycra suiting, but features wool sateen suiting accents (both originally for designer Maiyet, bought from Fabric Mart). The lycra content provides some pretty significant stretch, although it wasn’t really necessary for this jacket. The lining is a bemberg rayon. I had all of this fabric (and the hair canvas) already in stash, and didn’t have to buy a single thing except for the buttons (more of which later) and shoulder pads! In hindsight, the main fabric is a bit thick for this jacket, I think.

I didn’t do any tailoring on the jacket apart from making a back stay and using shoulder pads (1/4″, since my shoulders are square and support garments well on their own) and good quality interfacing (hair canvas and weft). I do wish I had made a sleeve head, though–that totally slipped my mind in the moment.

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Lapel in-progress

The pattern, Burda #127B 11/2012, is one I found about a month before the event. It wasn’t exactly what I originally wanted–I was picturing something between a boyfriend fit and this–but I’ve come to appreciate the shape of it. As to the draft, it’s Burda: they’re tough to beat for consistently well-drafted patterns. ๐Ÿ˜€ The jacket fits okay, but I didn’t change anything there–a mistake in hindsight, as I think it looks a bit like I made the wrong size. I made the smallest size, the 36. The only change I made was to eliminate the sleeve vents (there is no back vent); those aren’t something I would ever use, and I knew that finding that many buttons I was 100% happy with (and which matched whatever I used for the front button) in my time frame would be a huge pain in my ass for no purpose at all. But the patternย does include them, if you’re wanting that feature!

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Lapel dart

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My shitty attempt to show you how nicely a 2-piece sleeve hangs…

Construction

The jacket was not horrid to sew EXCEPT for the collar assembly. Chr*st on a Cracker, that was horrendous!!! I think part of my issue was that the stand isn’t integrated into the collar–it’s a separate piece. This created more bulk and attachment seams, and if I made this pattern again, I’d fuse those two pieces into one. It didn’t help that my wool/nylon/lycra suiting is quite thick and bouncy: it’s a double weave, and it requires very aggressive pressing/clapper application and tends to bounce back anyway. So all those layers of my material together in such a tight area was tough to cope with and shape effectively. I also foolishly didn’t remember to change the undercollar to 2 (slightly smaller) pieces. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Jacket, laid down flat (from back)

I honestly thought this jacket was doomed because of the collar area after I initially got it installed, but some encouragement from sewing peeps and a couple of days away from the project gave me the grit to Make It Work. In the end, I tacked/sewed some stuff down to get the collar to sit better. It’s not perfect–FAR from it–but it’s good enough for now. (This kills me, by the way–I am a perfectionist, for better or worse, and I cannot endure what I consider sub-par work on my own part. You know that adage, “Perfect is the enemy of good”? It is definitely NOT my motto…)

I ran into trouble with my lining, too. Somehow, it ended up being too small for the jacket–obviously I made an error someplace! I had enough lining left to cut a sizable strip and “patch” the lining between the back princess seams and the center back; this added more than enough ease for comfortable wearing. Luckily, my sleeve linings didn’t need any adjustments. But it turned out okay in the end: I bagged the entire lining, which I have only ever done on a skirt previously. It felt like sorcery!! The one thing that always confused me was how to sew the sleeves together; most photos I’ve seen create the illusion that you’re sewing them together flat, since it’s a really hard thing to photograph clearly. But I finally understood the mechanics and got the whole lining inserted successfully on the first try–sleeves and all! That was a happy moment. Grainline’s tutorial is probably the best one I’ve found online, by the way: definitely check it out if you’re looking for good, clear directions.

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Lining, before insertion (and emergency surgery!)

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Yeah, I picked a boring lining…

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Hard to see, but here’s my mega-huge ease pleat!

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Sleeve hem

For me, the biggest highlights of this jacket are the pockets. I’ve never made a welt pocket of any kind before, but the tutorial by Kennis at Itch to Stitch is SO FREAKING AMAZING. Seriously, it is superb. Her method made so much sense to me, and was so clear that I didn’t bother doing a practice pocket. She has me motivated to make ALL THE JETTED POCKETSES, people.

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Welt flap

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Flap lining

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Insides!

One final problem? Finding a button. I have a lovely little collection of vintage glass buttons, some of which are jacket-sized. Unfortunately, all the ones I had were too big in proportion to the jacket, so I needed another option.ย  I decided to cover a button in my wool sateen, but the shoddy kit I bought let me down DURING my party. It was a Dritz kit, and despite the package saying you can make the button by hand, I not only bent the first button withย my tiny, pathetic handsย (I should have taken that as a bad sign and quit right then), but Tom had to use a mallet to get the damn thing to lock in place in the end. My sateen isn’t very heavy, guys–it’s certainly lighter than some home dec fabrics, which this kit said it was good for. But hey, if it works it’s all worth it, right? Yeah, except that this buttonย didn’t work. It fell apart as I unbuttoned the jacket to take some of the outfit photos in Part 1. I had unbuttoned/buttoned it maybe 10 or 11 times, all told. I was totally gutted.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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What was left of my beautifully-covered button. >=( (Sorry about the cat hair–*somebody* knocked this down and was sitting on it, LOL.)

I fired off a very stern email to Dritz, demanding a refund and complaining about the poor quality of the kit. I actually heard back from them, too. They claim that I essentially bought the “wrong” version of this kit (the craft grade one) and that the “correct” version for my use is better (I’m soooooo sure it is…/sarcasm), but they’re refunding my money anyway. Gee, thanks. #not Seriously, how am I supposed to know thatย thisย version is total crap?? I certainly didn’t care that it said “craft” on the package, I just assumed I had the right thing. And don’t crafters deserve sturdy covered buttons just as much as garment sewers? I do love that Dritz basically admitted that one version of the kit is shit though…Fellow sewers, beware of Dritz button kits, unless you plan to frame that button and never use it!!

In the end, I ordered another vintage glass button in the right size (since I’ve made the buttonhole, there’s only 1 right size now!) that’s identical to the one I most wanted to use in the first place. It isn’t here yet, so you’re seeing this with no button–sorry!

So that’s the jacket–what a mess, huh? =/ But fortunately for me, most people won’t see the flaws, even though I certainly do. That said, I learned a lot and will approach my next jacket (or a coat) with a more confident attitude. And really, with a wearable (and not totally awful) jacket AND valuable lesson to show for it, this project was worthwhile.

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Much like the jacket, this photo didn’t turn out quite right! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stay tuned for the final installment, which covers the simpler two pieces: the camisole and the trousers!

Operation Lady Tux, Part 1: Big Reveal and Inspiration

Helloooooooooooo!

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Here I am, having made yet another stupid formal thing for a not-nearly-that-formal work party. ๐Ÿ˜‰ As per usual, it was quite a journey from starting the project to the night of my party, but overall I’m pretty pleased with how it came together. I’ve got a lot to say about this project, not just because things got a little fuck-y, but because IT’S THREE SEPARATE PIECES. So I’ve decided to do a 3-part series: the first installment will cover the big debut of my Lady Tux and my inspiration; Part 2 will cover the jacket; Part 3 will cover the camisole and trousers.

I am also tossing this thing into the ring for Designin’ December, after not playing along last year but finding very definite designer inspo for my 2017 look(s). ๐Ÿ˜€

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Inspiration

So how did I end up with a Lady Tux? Honestly, it took me some time to figure that out. My biggest issue this year was what type of “Thing” to make. After last year, where I had a very firm idea of what I wanted that was carried over from the prior year, 2017’s outfit was a bit of a second-guess fest. I waffled about what to make starting immediately after last year’s event! Aside from the tuxedo look, I also considered these ideas:

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Vogue 9253; image is property of BMV Patterns

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“The Dress” from Atonement in all its glory! (Image not mine.)

I had fabrics suitable for both looks, but ultimately decided against them. (I was afraid the Vogue pattern would look too much like a robe or caftan in my black and ivory shibori-dyed crepe-back satin fabric, and couldn’t decide how best to approach the Atonement dress from a pattern starting point.) I had the tux fabrics as well–bought with that intention in mind–and decided I might as well make that for my party! All I had to do was decide on what I wanted it to look like and how to style it–you know, little stuff. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My main inspirations were these two outfits:

That is Evan Rachel Wood in Altuzarra at the 2017 Golden Globes, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Balmain at the 2008 UK premiere of Iron Man. (Honorable mention: Octavia Spencer at the 2017 Golden Globes–her navy tux was fabulous as well!) ERW wore tons of tuxedos for events recently, and I was very inspired by just about all of them. And Gwyneth’s 2008 Iron Man premiere outfit isย still one of her best-ever looks, IMO–I remember seeing coverage of that outfit at the time and haven’t forgotten it. (Or those fabulous square-toed satin McQueen pumps, because goddamn.) I made this Pinterest board so you all can see more of the looks I was inspired by while I was planning out this thing!

Lady Tux: The Big Reveal

So okay, I wanted a tux. But what would it look like? That was the hard part. In the end, I decided on slim-but-straight trousers with front slash pockets and “racing stripes,” a jacket with a peaked lapel that was single-breasted with one button and which would fall below my high hip, and a lace camisole for underneath (my nod to the Paltrow outfit, basically). I’ll have more detail on all of these things in the next posts!

I used 3 patterns for this outfit: 1 for each piece. O_o The jacket is a Burda pattern that was originally in a magazine but is now available for download: #127B 11/2012. Originally I was hoping for something less shaped and slightly more “boyfriend” in the cut, but there doesn’t appear to be a pattern in existence that fulfills my wants! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This was close enough, especially since it came with jetted pockets and a peaked lapel AND was longer, which I really wanted; I was willing to endure a more feminine cut for those things. The trousers are the pants portion of V9160, aka The Jumpsuit of My Dreams That Wasn’t. Here is where I made a mistake, but more on that later. The camisole is the much-loved Ogden Cami by True Bias.

 

And as you saw in my teaser photo above, those three pieces came together to make THIS ridiculousness:

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I won’t go into construction details of each piece here–that’s what Parts 2 and 3 are for–but I’ll share my general impressions with you now.

You can see the Altuzarra inspo in the lapels, which are peaked and done in a contrasting satin-finish fabric, and in the pockets, jacket length, and single-button configuration; my trousers also have the trademark “tuxedo stripe” down the side seams. I didn’t make my trousers wide or flared though, and obviously the styling is a bit different. The Paltrow outfit inspiration is less direct than how I interpreted the tux, since it’s a dress! But I think it looks like I was inspired by that dress, even if I didn’t make the same kind of outfit.

Overall, I’m basically happy with this outfit. I wouldn’t want another sewer to look too closely at any piece of it though–it’s definitely not my best work. I do think I achieved the “look” I was going for: it’s feminine-ish, but very much has that masculine edge because it’s a tux. One of my co-workers commented thusly: “Girl, you areย cold-blooded. For real!!” That made me feel like a fucking badass, you guys! (Especially since that co-worker was wearing a totally amazing sequined dress and is enviably tall and gorgeous.)ย I will say this: I’m not 100% happy with this outfit as a representation of my work, but itย does show well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are some shots from the party:

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Xmas Tux!

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Date night!

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Front view, minus the jacket

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Literally the only time I took my jacket off at the event…

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Unbuttoned!

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The button had just broken before we took these. >=(

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One of us had been drinking (sadly, it wasn’t me)…

So now that you’ve seen the whole shebang here, Parts 2 and 3 will cover the “making of” details for each piece.

Thanks for reading! โค