Mending Mads

Greetings, Internetland!

As you may have guessed, I have not done much sewing since I finished the playsuit. I am sad to say that I’ve only gotten to wear it once due to the wicked constraints of my office dresscode and the not-hot-enough weather in Ohio up until this past week.

2 weekends ago, our band played at the wedding of two of our friends, and it was great! Except for the utter lack of cell phone reception and the stupid cold/windy/wet weather, anyway. We were gone for 2 full days, so no sewing was accomplished, obviously. And we’ve been working hard on another EP and prepping for our last show ever this weekend, which eats into my free time as well. I will dearly miss this project, but I am looking forward to fewer demands on my leisure time!

I did a little sewing between last week and today, but not on anything me-made: I am trying to do much-needed repairs on some of my vintage! I just got a black silk 1910’s dress that is nearly in perfect condition, apart from a tear at the hem…oh, and the fact that somebody cut off all 20 or so of its buttons! They’re decorative, at least, so the dress is technically wearable without them, but I wanted to restore it to some semblance of its former glory. I found a perfect lot of 20 matching Victorian-era faceted glass buttons on Etsy for a very reasonable price and started attaching them late last week. They are a pain in the ass!!!! They’re shank buttons, but not like you’d think: they’re self-shanked, so each pass of the needle has to go through the hole in the button and back out again, which takes some getting used to. As you can see in the photos below, I marked out button placement with chalk and am working my way up from the bottom. It’s frustrating but worthwhile work, and as of yesterday evening I’m 6 buttons from being finished. Yay!

This photo doesn't do her justice, I promise! You can see my chalk marks for button placement on the placket.

This photo doesn’t do her justice, I promise! You can see my chalk marks for button placement on the placket.

This is what the buttons look like--I think they're perfect!

This is what the buttons look like–I think they’re perfect!

I also have some new (to me) chemises and a house jacket from the 1930’s, and one of the chemises desperately needed repairs. The side seam on one side of the skirt was basically a slit, and the skirt has a big pink stain on the front. Did I mention that I am hoping to wear this in a 1920’s and 1930’s style show for the vintage store on June 1?!?!? I think this particular chemise is rayon silk or something like that, so I used my rayon thread without a hint of guilt. After I got the mending done, I soaked the chemise in Soak Wash, but the stubborn pink stain would not be defeated. Since it’s so old (and I’m hoping to publicly show it off later this week), I am scared to soak it in anything stronger. I will pack the other ivory-colored chemise in my drawer on the day and see what we decide to go with at show time. But you can see why I love this one so much, right??

She's so beautiful! (This is with NO filter, btw.)

She’s so beautiful! (This is with NO filter, btw.)

A close-up of the front of the bodice

A close-up of the front of the bodice

And the back!

And the back!

In Naughty Mads news, I bought several remnant fabric pieces last week, totaling over 12 yards. Some pieces are for t-shirts for Tom, and the rest is for me. 🙂 I got some suiting that I plan to use to make a coat, along with a piece of silk crepe to use for the lining. I also got some stretch black denim (because I am apparently living in the 1990’s) and some double-faced twill that I’m really excited about. I’ll be sure to take photos once it all arrives (if it ever does–it’s been a week and I haven’t gotten my “it shipped!” email)!

What are all of you up to? I hope you are refreshed after the weekend (a long one for most of us here in the States!) and ready to tackle another week!

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Pattern Review 2014 Vintage Contest – I’m Entering! (For Real This Time.)

No, for really real.

Vintage Contest 2014

Exciting news, everyone: I have officially entered my vintage Simplicity 1173 playsuit in The Vintage Contest at Pattern Review! Never have I been more relieved not to have started a project when I meant to: for this contest, fashion fabric work (tracing, cutting, sewing, etc.) can only be done from May 1 to May 31, and except for my muslin, this was an all-May project. Whew!!

I did not even know that this contest was coming up. I posted a review of the pattern on PR because I try to do that whenever I finish something, and a commenter said that she hoped I was entering it in the contest. I went straight to the contest section of the site and read the rules, and realized it was eligible! I was so excited to be able to enter and actually have a finished item this time, since my fitted blouse never made it out of the muslin stages. I’ve gotten so many kind comments on PR since posting and entering my review, which has been so uplifting. I love my playsuit, but I can’t believe so many strangers stopped to comment and say such nice things about it!

If you’re on PR and are eligible to vote in contests, you should definitely consider voting for me. I expect lots more awesome entries though, so be sure to check out what other folks have made!

Photos of Vintage Simplicity 1173

I finished hemming my new grownup onesie yesterday while watching “The IT Crowd” before heading to work. Yay! I was determined to wear it, despite the fact that it was 62 degrees (which, if you’re me, is too cold for such a small amount of clothing). As promised, here are some better photos of my playsuit:

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Front view, now with 100% more dog!

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A better view of the back; also, dog.

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This is about as “cheesecake” as I get….

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This outfit was meant for lazing around, right? You can see the pile of sweaters I had been wearing but had to remove for the photos–classy.

I feel compelled to note that no, I totally didn’t need those sunglasses–it was overcast as hell yesterday by the time we got around to taking photos! But I don’t like doing “final” outfit photos without makeup, and since I was wearing something that’s super appropriate for summer lounging, I opted to use my sunglasses to cover up my lack of cosmetics. I did throw on some lipstick for all y’all though, because it seemed necessary.

I really enjoyed wearing this outfit all day, with one exception: I cannot close the hook and eye by myself!! I can undo it just fine (which is great, because if I have to pee, I’m not about to wait around until someone shows up to unhook me) but have not yet been able to close it afterwards. Other than that, it’s a joy to wear!

I haven’t decided what my next project is, though I would love to whip up some shorts using the pattern from this playsuit–I’ve got leftovers from my gray skirt, along with a cut of vintage fabric that HAS to be made into shorts. I’ve also got a summer halter dress (1930s) and a crop top and skirt set (1950s) that I’d love to start on as well. Looks like I’ve got some decisions to make! 🙂

Thanks for reading–while wearing what I make is a thrill, it’s so much better knowing that I can share with all of you. ❤

Vintage Simplicity 1173 – The Playsuit Has (Basically) Landed!

You guys.

You guys!

YOU GUYS!!!

My playsuit from vintage Simplicity 1173 is basically finished. I need to hem the leg holes, but that’s it! Also, one of my buttons got sewn on off-kilter, so I also need to fix that, but that’s so easy to do that it barely counts. I got a few photos of the playsuit last night, but the pulling on the right side of the bodice due to the button issue is really obvious (and it was like 9 at night and the lighting was awful), so I won’t post many pictures yet. But here is a preview:

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Side view! Note the stripe matching FAIL.

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Back view. That’s the one place I managed to match my bodice stripes…

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Close-up of the strap attachment at the back; do you like my chalk? =)

This pattern is really easy to put together (which I think I mentioned before), which was nice. Unfortunately for me, I hit a lot more snags with the real version than I had with the muslin. For instance:

  • Underlining made everything more difficult; in retrospect, I wish that Past Mads had instead invested in additional pairs of skin-colored underpants and not bothered. Past Mads is an asshole.
  • Stripe matching was attempted, but apparently not successful. The shorts portion isn’t even close, especially in the crotch region, and the bodice only matches up at the back. I didn’t even manage to get the straps to have identical striping patterns. WTF, Mads?!?
  • The shorts and bodice were even further away from fitting together on this version than on the muslin, which made no sense to me. I ended up letting the bodice side seams out about 1/4″ out of desperation, which did help a bit.
  • Bodice fitting was a real bastard this time around. I adjusted to add some width at the very top, and ended up with too much room. So between that and the bodice vs shorts size differential stupidity mentioned previously, I ended up with more room in the bodice than I wanted; I think it fits well, but I wish the fit at the waist was more akin to the muslin version. In addition, I’m beginning to think that cutting two bodice fronts and putting them together–as opposed to the single continuous piece you’re supposed to cut–may be given me a bit of shaping on the muslin that I lost when I did it the right way. Maybe on my next (non-striped, for sure) version I can try that!

I wish I had taken a photo of the fabric I have left after finishing this. I miscut the front bodice (cut two separate pieces, AGAIN) and one of the back bodice pieces, which wasted fabric, but even without those mistakes, I’d still have basically nothing usable left over! I may be able to squeeze out a bra top–and that’s a BIG maybe.

Real talk: for all of the complaining I just did, I LOVE this playsuit. I love that it looks like the picture on the envelope, I love that it seems like something I would wear or buy, I love the comfort, and I love how I feel in it. I need to press the short seams and zipper (and still need to trim back the short seams) to help them lay better, too. Re: the straps, I decided to attach them that way at the back on a whim. My hand sewing is awful, and I just didn’t want to trust the integrity of these straps to that technique. I opted to sew around the bottom of the straps–from the outside–to securely attach them at the base. I went as high as the top of the bodice and as low as about 1/4″ from the bottom of the strap, and I went around the squares twice to make things extra-secure. For machine stitching, I think I did a really good job of keeping my lines straight and getting the second line of stitching right on top of the first; the squares aren’t perfectly centered, but I’m still really happy with how they turned out. And let me tell you, those straps? They aren’t going anywhere.

I’m hoping to be back after the weekend with more photos for you guys, but with better lighting and a finished-for-real playsuit. Is anyone else getting a jump on summery sewing projects?