Wherein The Blogger Attempts* Pants

*Disclosure: it is still to be determined whether or not any pants will actually be completed, since the ‘Mads’ house motto seems to be, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That.”

Another weekend draws to a close. They are simply too short, and I must find out where complaints about that may be registered. 🙂

I have been trying to get back into sewing for the new year, and I’m pleased to say that a few things are in the works. I did manage to finish one project, but it isn’t very exciting: I re-covered my ironing board!

New cover, featuring my new sleeve board!

New cover, featuring my new sleeve board!

This undertaking was, I’m afraid, quite necessary: my old cover was GROSS and I could feel the metal diamond grid of the board itself through the thin padding, so I decided to do a little extra padding while I was at it. I need to pull the cover a little tighter, but apart from that it’s working very nicely. Threading the string through the casing was the worst part of the entire operation and took far too long! I took the opportunity to use the overlock stitch on my machine to finish the raw edge before I hemmed the cover to create the casing, and it worked very nicely. (I cleared out 2 partial bobbins with random colors of thread on them, too, which is awesome.) I also added a sleeve board to my pressing arsenal! I’m excited about that, because I know I need one to help me elevate my finished garments to a new level of quality and crispness. It’s also timely, since the next project in my queue is underway…

It's THE pants!

It’s THE pants! (This is the part where cherubs sing and play trumpets and there’s a laser light show of some sort, etc.)

Ironed pattern pieces and fashion fabric

Ironed pattern pieces and fashion fabric

I’ve been excited about this pattern ever since it fell into my lap a year ago, and I can’t wait to put it together! My butt and these pants need each other like peanut butter needs jelly. (Wait…I’m deathly allergic to peanut butter. This may be a bad omen for the project!) I’ve earmarked my Marc Jacobs (hey, I bought it, I’m going to name-drop it) bottomweight cotton for this pattern, despite the fact that the envelope says the pattern isn’t suitable for plaids. The scale is so small that matching isn’t of the utmost importance anyway, not to mention that I’m not about to take orders from a 50-year-old piece of paper!

I’ve marked on the envelope (!!!!!) to note my measurements vs those of the pattern in certain places. I’ll trace it off before making any alterations; I’m happy to cut out uncut vintage patterns (excepting my mint-in-envelope 1920’s McCall patterns) but hacking into the pieces to make alterations that may have to be re-done countless times isn’t something I’m willing to do!

As if this weren’t exciting enough, I’ve got these two things in mind as well:

Baby's first Style Arc pattern!

Baby’s first Style Arc pattern!

And a Marfy! *insert dramatic "dun-dun-dun" music here*

And a Marfy! *insert dramatic “dun-dun-dun” music here*

I’m hoping that once I complete* the skinny pants, I’ll be confident enough in no-fly pants construction techniques to tackle the Style Arc “Antoinette” pants. Something about this pattern just grabbed me and I had to have it! I plan to make them out of wool crepe–which I’ve bought in 3 colors because go hard or go home, right?–and will be attempting to add a lining to them as a result. My desire for the Marfy was triggered by seeing Poppykettle’s recent version of this blouse pattern, which is/was divine. It’s practically my perfect blouse–sleeves designed to be rolled up, attractive collar, feminine details, and suitable for a sheer or luxurious fabric. Yeah yeah, I know: no instructions or seam/hem allowances. But I’m excited and think I can probably figure it out in the muslin stages. Hooray for adventure!

Hopefully I’ll have pants progress to share soon. I haven’t cut into my muslin or traced off the pattern yet, and Saoirse has ensured that all the ironing and laying out I did yesterday are sufficiently thwarted–she’s sitting on the pieces as I type this, wrinkling and furring them all up. Life with cats, right?

What are you working on, if you sew? Trying any new or particularly adventurous projects to kick-start your new year? Do tell!

*No guarantees, people–it’s me we’re talking about here! Seeing as how this is the dreamboat pants pattern of my dreams, I’m sure it will be completed at some point. Let’s just hope this project doesn’t end up being a carried-over UFO into 2016. 😉

Advertisements

New Year, New (Vague) Goals, and New Toys (aka A Massive Pile of Word-Vomit)

WARNING: What follows here is a very wordy post with a few pictures.

Hello, and Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful (and safe!) New Year’s–2014 feels like it sort of flew by, doesn’t it?!? I’m very glad that the big holiday season is over and am looking forward to getting back to my normal routine starting tomorrow. These last two weeks have been draining, despite the short respite from work; I figured I’d feel well-rested after a little time off, but I just feel exhausted! Too much socializing, probably–your pal Mads is not a social creature.

I thought about doing a year-end round up (albeit a late one) but realized that I think I only completed 6 FO’s in 2014 and that’s not really great fodder for a recap list, is it? (All but one of my FO’s for 2014 are blogged somewhere around here…hopefully an official FO post for the last one is upcoming.) I do have some general goals for the new year ahead though, so I thought I might as well log those for posterity and my more masochistic internet acquaintances. 😉

*ahem* GOALS AND SHIT, by Mads:

In 2015, I’d like to spend more time in my sewing space. Sewing or not, I just need to be in there working at my hobby in any way that makes a difference! I would also like to do a better job of sewing things that I need; I made things I really like in 2014, but I made none of the things I could really use. Blouses and tops are #1 on the “need” list. Pants are probably #2. Skirts are okay too, since my wardrobe is generally lacking in the separates department. In 2015, I would like to do a (much, much!!!) better job of restraining my shopping for fabric and, to a lesser extent, patterns. I have way more material than I could sew up in a year, and I need to just knock it off. I’m going to work especially hard on this particular goal; if it’s the only one I really achieve, I’ll be very happy! My final goal for 2015 is to invest in a dress form. I’m not holding out much hope for this one, but it sure would be nice!!

*end GOALS AND SHIT*

I do not remember what my goals for myself were for last year, apart from one: sew one garment per month. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

LOLOL

That didn’t even come close to happening, and I’m okay with that. I work 7 days per week and am kind of being ground into dust by my punishing schedule (which will ease up in May, when I take an indefinite leave of absence from my vintage job in order to rest and spend more time with my family and enjoy my hobbies) so I’m not going to be hard on myself about meeting an arbitrary goal that I set in advance. I’m not really interested in setting a goal of “make X number of things in X amount of time” for 2015; I just want to spend time in my sewing area, even if all I accomplish is cleaning or organizing. Speaking of my sewing area, it’s about to get interesting in there because…

New (to me) sewing cabinet!

New (to me) sewing cabinet! Also, a Tycho.

…I got a new toy! The original machine from this cabinet–a Bernina Record 830–is not present, but that’s okay. I only wanted this piece for the storage and workspace options. The dimensions of the opening should allow me to use it with my machine without an issue. Here’s what she can do:

77" of horizontal workspace!

77″ of horizontal workspace!

Storage for feet AND thread

Storage for feet AND thread (please excuse the cat hair…)

I’m hoping that this cabinet will allow me to move permanently from the dining table in terms of my machine setup. I plan to continue working out of our dining room and to keep my cutting station on the big table, but this will free up at least 2 seats worth of space there so that we can sit down and eat if we want. (This came up during the holidays, when I had to clear off two places at the table so we could sit down and eat our fucking roast turkey breast that I spent every 15 minutes for approx. 4 hours basting!) But until I can move things around all over the house (wish I was kidding about that…), this sewing cabinet is hanging out in our living room and won’t be used just yet. The cabinet dates to about the 1980s. It’s not the greatest thing in the world or the most state-of-the-art (the machine lift is the kind that tips over as opposed to an electric straight up and down lift) but for $40, it is a great piece of starter sewing furniture.

I have other exciting sewing news, too: I just put a down-payment on a brand new machine!!!!!!! (This made me very excited and also very nauseous.)

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8200QC (image courtesy of Janome)

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8200QC (image courtesy of Janome)

After what happened with Tom’s Cooper backpack and my Magnolia, I decided it was time to start thinking about a machine upgrade. I want to be able to sew jeans, coats, more bags, and whatever the fuck else I decide I want to make and not have to worry about whether or not my machine can handle it. I initially thought I’d end up with a Pfaff (the Ambition 1.0) but decided that I wanted to give the quilt shop who donated my Magnolia as the grand prize in that raffle over a year ago a chance to get my business as a paying customer. I was absolutely awed by the Horizon Memory Craft 8200. Awed. The presser foot lifts up extra-high, the motor is much stronger than my machine’s, the harp is much bigger, and it comes equipped with many more features than I am used to having. It also has the AccuFeed system, which is the entire reason I even demo’d a Pfaff. I had planned to test the Janome 6600, but it lacks the free-arm capability that I have come to rely upon for sleeves and necklines and other such tasks, so I didn’t even sit down at that one. I vastly preferred the 8200 to the Pfaff I tried out; the price point is higher, of course, but I’m getting enough additional functionality over my current machine AND the Pfaff I considered that I know I won’t outgrow this one for a very, very long time. I also don’t have the learning curve with the 8200 that I would have had with the Pfaff, since I am used to Janome’s layout and all that jazz. After considering all those things, I cast my vote (i.e., dollars) in favor of the 8200.

I was able to get the 8200 for only 57% of MSRP, but that was still WAYYYYYYYY more than I had anticipated spending. Which is why it’s on layaway. 😀 The quilt shop offers no-cost, take-as-long-as-you-fucking-want layaway, so it was a no-brainer to do it that way. I’m beyond anxious to bring that machine home (as I’m sure many of you understand) but I also need to be a good adult, so I’m doing what I can, when I can on that. And yes, I made sure the dimensions of the cabinet will accommodate the new machine! *insert happy dance here*

Next up in the “New Shit at The ‘Mads’ House” department, there’s this:

New skirt--vintage Simplicity 1281 strikes again!

New skirt–vintage Simplicity 1281 strikes again!

Handpicked lapped zip

Handpicked lapped zip + linen close-up

Apologies for the wrinkles–this linen is some of the worst fabric I’ve ever worked with but this skirt has already been worn 4 times since I finished it on xmas eve, and I haven’t pressed it after its most recent jaunt. This is the aforementioned unblogged FO from 2014, and it is most definitely worthy of its own nice-looking post, complete with unwrinkled photos. This is my third version of vintage Simplicity 1281; I took this one to mid-thigh and left off the suspenders. The material is a great weight for this pattern, but apart from probably making a Cooper bag for myself, I will not be using it for anything else regardless of how much extra yardage I have left over. It has been that much of a pain in my ass.

So there you have it: my very vague goals for 2015, and an update on what the actual fuck has been going on in these parts since my last post. I’m excited to share another year of occasional successes, shockingly frequent mishaps, and somewhat regularly scheduled programming (aka unintelligible ramblings) with all of you–thanks so much for reading this junk! ❤