Random Update (Warning: Post Contains No Sewing Progress!)

Hello, Internet Denizens!

Following my Scout triumph, I haven’t gone into my sewing area. No, really: the remnants of my ikat fabric are still exactly where I left them after cutting out the sleeves, there are pattern pieces everywhere, and my ironing board is still out. I’ve worn my new tee twice already–once for Day 1 of the hot air balloon event that my family hosts every year, and once for shits and giggles (as one does when one makes a shiny new item). I love it. LOVE IT.

I’m not sure what my next project will be. I have lots of ideas, and a handful of wardrobe needs, but we’re heading into the busy season at the store so free time will be even more limited until after Halloween. I have another length of ikat in a different colorway, which is destined to become Scout 2: Electric Ikat Boogaloo. (Don’t get too excited: it’s mostly gray, with some white and yellow for good measure. But neither should you be worried: it’s awesome.) I could whip that up in a week if I can dedicate an hour a night to the project, so I may start with that. Few things boost my sewing mojo like a quick and wearable project! 

Since I have no new sewing things to share, I thought I’d pillage my Instagram feed for some recent photos of what I’ve been up to. (My Instagram is wronghandmads, in case you’re interested!)

Hanging out with the pup at the in-laws' house

Hanging out with the pup at the in-laws’ house

Same room, different day. (No, my face isn't dirty; apparently my cheekbones are just, um, prominent.)

Same room, different day. (No, my face isn’t dirty; apparently my cheekbones are just, um, prominent.)

The fiercest pin that ever walked the Earth! Got it for $1.

The fiercest pin that ever walked the Earth! Got it for $1.

My 1950's hostess/lounging pajamas!

My 1950’s hostess/lounging pajamas!

Just so we’re clear, I know my dog is sickeningly adorable. He’s the best, and we love him. The T-Rex pin and evening pajamas were bought yesterday from the store. I wore the PJ set to work today and felt oddly subversive knowing that I was literally wearing my pajamas to my job. The pin will make its debut soon, for sure! 

I hope you all have a great start to your week(s). Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some sewing-related ramblings! =)


Scout Tee in Ikat

Good news, everyone: I’ve finally finished something new! Behold: the Scout Woven Tee in genuine ikat! Apologies for the poor quality of these photos–I finished the top around 10PM last night and wanted these done before I went to bed! Tom was a little tipsy after having some beers with his friends, which surely didn’t help matters, LOL! (And I HATE being photographed in skinny jeans, but this is definitely a “with jeans” top, so I’m grudgingly allowing for an exception.)

Front view

Front view

Awkward side pose

Awkward side pose

Rear view

Rear view

Scout innards

Scout innards

Obligatory 6AM selfie

Obligatory 6AM selfie

Maybe you can’t tell, but I LOVE this top!! I’m so proud of it, and proud that I was able to get it together so quickly. I made 2 mojo-smashing mistakes (inserted one sleeve inside-out, and got almost all the way around the hem attaching the bias binding only to notice that I was attaching it to the inside, not the outside) on two of my three work nights on the final version, but still got this top done in about 4-5 total hours of work time. For me, that’s basically the speed of light. =D

This top is really easy. Like, so easy I didn’t bother reading the instructions once I finished my muslin on Friday. As with my muslin, I cut a straight size 0. I did bias facings for all the hems and the neckline, and got to use a bright orange vintage binding from my stash for the task. The weave of this ikat is loose, so I did french seams everywhere but the armholes; I only skipped the armholes because the sleeve seam allowance on this pattern is a scant 1/4″. For the moment, those seams are raw-edged, but I think I will trim and bind them for security. This fabric frays horribly so I don’t want to take the chance of those areas falling apart with wear or washing. Apart from that, though, this Scout definitely has the prettiest innards out of all the things I’ve made; it helps that there is no “wrong” side with my fabric, of course!

As I mentioned in my last post, I had to add a lot of length to this top due to the nature of my midsection. The side photo above is deceptive, because I actually eliminated the high-low hem effect; I must have been arching my back or twisting awkwardly when that photo was taken. Fit-wise, I’m really happy with the final product, though I concede that it needed no “fitting.”

Because my fabric is somewhat irregular pattern-wise, I decided not to worry about pattern matching everywhere. I decided I wanted the vertical stripes to line up at the shoulders, and they do! I disobeyed a direct order and cut the sleeves on the cross grain, and I did that for two reasons: I wanted that vertical stripe to circle around the bottom of the sleeve (a smashing success, if I do say so myself) and I wanted to conserve fabric. I had foolishly hoped to be able to squeeze something else out of my 2 yards of 44″ wide ikat, but I don’t see how that’s an option now that this top is done–I’ve got very little usable material left over. Such a miracle was little more than the fever dream of a madwoman, I suppose…But at $17.50/yard, can you blame me for trying?!? Thank goodness I used thread and binding from my stash, because this was an expensive-ass tee!!

What’s the most expensive “basic” in your wardrobe? 

Next Up: The Scout Tee (aka The 50th Post at Life In A “Mads” House!)

Howdy! This is my 50th post on this blog, and I can hardly believe I’ve made it this far. Thanks to everyone who has read my nonsense over the past 1+ year: I hope you stick around for entry #100, too! (Shit, who am I kidding?? I hope I’m still around for #100! 🙂 )

I’ve been a busy little bee in my sewing room lately! I decided to scrap the linen version of vintage Simplicity 1281 that I had started. I would rather start over and do it right than try to salvage one that I very obviously did a sub-par job on. Next time, I will be sure to cut carefully and LABEL everything as I go!

My stretch denim and ikat fabrics arrived from Michael Levine last week, and I have already started working on one of the projects I had in mind: the Scout Woven Tee from Grainline Studios. My muslin is finished and looks the way I want–I’m so excited! I’ve got my ikat washed and ready to go, and will be cutting into it today. I really want this top to be done in time for our visit to our hometown this weekend, and I should be able to achieve that–this pattern goes together so fast!! Here’s how the muslin turned out:

Front view

Front view

Side; after seeing this photo, I slashed and added the needed length to the back piece.

Side; after seeing this photo, I slashed and added the needed length to the back piece.

Back view

Back view

You may not be able to tell from these photos (the cell phone variety, obviously), but one sleeve is better than the other. Truth be told, I am struggling to remember which it is using these photos, since I muslined this on Friday night. I’m pretttttttttttty sure it’s the one on my left. But up close, it’s obvious. The main difference is that I dropped one side seam by about 1/4″ for comfort after setting my first sleeve. I did not change the sleeve piece at all, and found it eased in just fine and looks exactly like the Scout on the Grainline shop page, whereas the first one I did wasn’t eased in very well and felt a little restrictive under my arm.

I have lengthened this top pretty considerably–about 2-3 inches at the front. I know that it has a slight high-low effect in its unadulterated form, which wouldn’t normally be an issue for me, but the front of this top was hitting me in an odd place. I have a longer-than-average torso, so I wasn’t surprised. I opted to just lengthen the back to match the front (which I did after seeing the second photo and checking the muslin while flat), since I’d rather have a flush hem than make the back long enough to register as a high-low (rather than an ID10T error); I had maybe 1″ to add there, so not much at all.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out the neck band on this damn shirt. You can sort of see it in the photos, flopping around and sticking up away from the shirt. The instructions and drawings aren’t really solving my problem either, so I’ve decided to do an invisible bias tape finish on the neckline (and sleeves!) instead. I’ve done that before and feel much more comfortable with that, especially since this fabric I’m using isn’t cheap and I’m not about to relegate it to UFO status because of a fucking neckband.

In other news, I stopped at Joann’s after work on Friday night to pick up some denim needles (SEW ALL THE JEANS!!!!!) and a set of Microtex needles. I noticed that their current big sale included muslin by the bolt–40% off!!! I thought about it, but decided I really shouldn’t spend the money right now–I just went on an epic spree when Fabric Mart had a sale on the entire regularly-priced section of their site–and went home with just my needles. I figured I had enough muslin to not need to worry about it. And then I started this top, and realized I had about one more Scout Tee worth of muslin on my current bolt, and that was it. *gulp* So I went back the next morning and got a 10 yard bolt of 60″ muslin for 40% off. I should be set for a while. I am now on a true fabric fast, because we have some things we need to have done at the house AND our county auditor has increased the value of the house by A LOT, and we’ll need to be able to pay a lump sum into our escrow account to cover it for the December tax distribution. So, you know, grown-up shit. But I got some great knits and silks in the Fabric Mart sale, so between that and the rest of my stash I’m ready to ride out this fast. =)

Do any of you have big plans for the end of summer (in the northern hemisphere, anyway)? August sure snuck up on me–time flies!


On Hubris and Sewing Miracles

Happy Friday!! I don’t know about the rest of you, but this week has felt interminably long and I am ready for it to be over!

Have you ever gotten cocky and, as a result of your hubris, not been as careful or attentive as you should have been? I’m living that right now. My current project is a repeat of one I’ve made before, and I sashayed into my work area like I’d been there, done that, and was gonna own this motherfucking skirt. I should have respected the skirt, y’all.

I’ve been working on my next version of vintage Simplicity 1281 on my evenings off (2 per week) and it was starting to look like a skirt. Well, kind of, anyway. For starters, my fabric–a stiff, ever-shredding suiting-weight glazed linen–has been impossible to keep ironed, though I’m trying. On my first workday, I made the mistake of cutting out my pieces and not labeling them immediately; when I returned to the project a few days later, I was beyond confused about which piece was what and struggled to mark them correctly. With this pattern, the front and back pieces are shaped almost exactly the same but not quite, and the right and wrong sides of my material are nearly identical. I don’t know if I messed up the marking or the cutting, but one thing is clear: I messed something up someplace. 😦

I swear I'm not making a cat blanket...

I swear I’m not making a cat blanket…

If you look closely, you might notice that one half (front, in this case, which is the layer that’s against my cutting mat in the photo) is WAY longer than the other. In addition to that, the lengths of the back panels (which are the top layer of the skirt in the photo) are not level–not even close. I have no idea if my cutting was that sloppy or if I made an error in pairing up the pieces before sewing them, but I’m going to have to figure out how to salvage this somehow. Or not, since I have enough yardage left to make another skirt. But, actually, I think I kind of hate this fabric. The finish is beautiful (not in this photo, sadly) and it’s a great weight for this skirt, but it’s impossible to deal with. It’s 100% linen and frays and shreds all over the place at the cut edges. On top of that, it isn’t particularly pleasant to touch. Good thing I bought 4 fucking yards! /sarcasm

Because of the fraying, I decided to do french seams on all of the skirt pieces. This is a hefty fabric, but I liked this idea better than using bias tape or lining the skirt (because I’m a fucking idiot). I’m happy with how those are turning out, so there’s one ray of sunshine. There’s also this:

This bobbin wasn't empty when I started!

This bobbin wasn’t empty when I started!

I’ll set the scene for you: I was nearing the end of a seam finish–the step that encloses the raw, trimmed edges of the first step of a french seam with right sides together–and could hear the telltale sounds of my machine running out of bobbin thread. (It makes a peculiar mechanical “chug” sound, okay? Trust me.) I’ve been using up the leftover polyester thread that I used for Tom’s cardigan back in December, and knew I didn’t have enough on the bobbin to do the entire skirt. I checked my little window and could see thread feeding through, so I kept going. Once I finished my backstitching at the end of the seam and cut the thread, I realized I’d only cut one thread. I sighed, thinking that this was just the kind of sewing day I was going to have: running out of thread during the most crucial part of this seam finish on top of the other mistakes/unpleasant realities I was dealing with already. But when I checked everything, I realized that I ran out of bobbin thread AS I MADE THE FINAL STITCH OFF THE EDGE AFTER BACKSTITCHING. That’s like a sewing unicorn!!! I was really excited, obviously. I stopped there for the night, thinking that this was a bit of goodwill from the universe re: this stupid skirt (and also because I didn’t feel like winding a new bobbin). I’m going to pick it up again tonight and see what I can do. I’ve got my zipper area interfaced already–seriously, the way this shit shreds, I needed to do that, despite the weight of the fabric–and need to sew the side seams to join front to back. Then it’s waistband time! (Assuming I don’t set this fucker on fire before I get to that step.)

I was very naughty yesterday (pay day, woo hoo!!) and ordered some fabric: 2 stretch denims and 2 woven ikats. In my defense, I have patterns and outfits planned for everything already, and one denim goes with each ikat. I just got the Scout pattern from Grainline Studios and the Jamie jeans pattern from Named, so I’d like to jump into those things once the fabrics show up. It’s my first time ordering from Michael Levine, and I’m anxious to see how their material handles.

What’s your favorite fabric source? Are you planning to try any new-to-you pattern companies soon?