Spankin’ New Springtime Set (aka Jumping On The Scuba Bandwagon)

Hello, one and all!

I am pleased to inform the general internet population that I, Mads, have completed my first-ever item(s) in a scuba/neoprene knit! That alone probably makes this my trendiest sewing project ever. Shall we?

2-piece scuba set!

2-piece scuba set! Part Inari Crop Tee, part Shadi Knit Skirt

Bam, skin-tight skirt!

Bam, skin-tight skirt!

A shockingly good photo

A shockingly good photo

Peekaboo!!

Peekaboo!!

Isn’t it pretty????? This 2-piece set is brought to you by the Inari Crop Tee and Shadi Knit Skirt, both by Named Clothing. Apart from the same shoulder adjustment I made for my Inari dress, I also lengthened this top to account for my long torso. Well, actually, I cheated by using the pattern nesting to my advantage: the shoulders of the larger size (you get 2 sizes per PDF file with Named; I used the US 0/2 pair) are nested up higher, which means that the line for the hem of the smaller size ends up being lower on the page than that of the larger size. I just started at the top of the shoulders for the size 2 and followed the size 0 lines the rest of the way down. Doing that gave me just enough extra length to cover my midriff, provided I wear a bottom piece that comes up to my natural waist. Huzzah for work-appropriate crop tops!! One caveat: I did not take the 2″ hem allowance the pattern calls for–I did 1″ instead. I also cheated by abandoning the band finish recommended for necklines in stretchy fabrics and just turned and stitched it. (Incidentally, this is why my neckline looks a LOT different than the white knit sample on the Named site.)

Can we talk about the fabric for a minute? It’s SOOOOOOO beautiful. I really don’t think the photos can do it justice. If I could wallpaper a room in my house with this print, I would do it! And to me, the color palette is as quintessentially “SPRING” as it gets: bright magenta pink, deep mint green, a splash of cobalt blue, some white, and plenty of gray. And I was thrilled to realize that I had the perfect shade of obnoxious magenta lipstick to wear for my photos, as one does. 🙂

As mentioned previously, this was my first-ever attempt at using a scuba/neoprene knit. This stuff seems to be everywhere right now–RTW, runway, and the sewing world at-large–and I’ve been wanting to try it. Now that I’ve been there, done that, I can say that I understand the appeal. This length of beautiousness is probably on the lighter side of the scuba spectrum, but it’s definitely still heftier than any jersey I’ve ever met. I had tried to mentally prepare myself for the, er, “unique” tactile experience that I’d read reports of online, but I was still surprised by the feel of this material. It almost feels…melty? Sticky? Gooey? Like, if fabric could simultaneously feel like fabric with top-notes of melted taffy, it would be this stuff. Even Tom was mesmerized by its strange properties, and I had to cut off a small scrap to give to him so that he would stop fondling and petting the pieces I needed to work with for my outfit, lest he create a pull or snag on one of the important bits! (Thanks to the lovely Ms. Red at Sew RED-y, I knew snagging was a risk with this material–thanks, girl!) The fabric was SO easy to cut and sew (even without a serger), but pressing was dodgy due to the synthetic nature of the material; I turned my iron to the “Barely On” temperature setting and gave seams a quick press that way, but mostly I stuck to using the iron unplugged for applying pressure only. I need to do the armhole seams with a little warmth though–they’re still not laying quite right! And despite the strange hand-feel of the fabric, it was not unpleasant to wear (though I reserve the right to alter that opinion if I wear any of this outfit in truly hot weather). Even Mulder likes this fabric:

My face says,

My face says, “I love you, but don’t you dare snag my new outfit!”

Truth time: I don’t totally love this outfit, and I have not worn it yet apart from these photos. BUT, I suppose I do know what bothers me about it: I just am not 100% confident in it because of how body-con the skirt is. 😦 And I think the root of that disappointment lies in my previous experience with the Shadi–yes, I’ve made the pattern before and understand the shape of it, but since I badly mis-cut that first iteration, I assumed (LOL) that a correctly-cut version would not be as revealing or blush-inducing. I was clearly wrong. So now I have this skirt that I love in theory (THAT PRINT THO) but not so much in practice. I knew I was in trouble when I got the waistband done, tried it on, and then never hemmed it. In “The ‘Mads’ House,” that’s a bad sign. Maybe I will feel better once I finish it, or find a magical undergarment of some sort. And, you know, figure out how in the hell to wear the skirt so that I don’t look and feel like I’m a big Mads sausage crammed into a very pretty casing. :-/ Tom tried to make me feel better by pointing out that my skinny jeans actually reveal more, uh, “details” about my lower half than this skirt does, but for some reason I feel so weird and vulgar in the skirt. (Not that tight clothes are inherently vulgar–I absolutely do not think that is true. I just *personally* struggle to feel comfortable in something this tight, for some reason.) Do any of you have suggestions or words of wisdom??

So what’s the word out there: have any of you sewn with a scuba/neoprene knit before? On a related note, I have some of this fabric left–what should I make with it?? It’s probably enough for a top or a skirt, but I can’t decide!

I will leave you now with two “action shots” of my new outfit, plus my supply list at the bottom. Thanks for tuning in!

Oh, you know, just jumping off of stuff, NBD...

Oh, you know, just jumping off of stuff, NBD…

Spinning in circles

Spinning in circles

Scuba 2-Piece supplies:

  • 2 yards of scuba knit from Gorgeous Fabrics
  • Inari Tee Dress and Shadi Knit Skirt patterns from Named Clothing
  • Guttermann all-purpose polyester thread in grey
  • 80/12 jersey needle
  • 1″ elastic for skirt waist
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An Inari for Spring! (aka Is This B*tch Out of Ikat Yet?!?)

(The answer is yes, except for some rather small scraps, so breathe a sigh of relief!)

Happy Monday! Somehow, I managed to finish my Inari Tee Dress exactly when I expected to–crazy, right?!? I’m really excited for you all to see my shiny new dress, so let’s get to it:

Inari Tee Dress in ikat

Inari Tee Dress in ikat

Front view + Mulder

Front view + Mulder

Side view, because THAT SPLIT HEM, THO.

Side view, because THAT SPLIT HEM, THO.

*insert witty caption here*

*insert witty caption here*

WTF?

WTF?

If I can sits, it fits

If I can sits, it fits

Sorry about the weird drag happening in the back view photo–that’s what I get for not standing straight in photos! For the record, I AM STOKED ON THIS DRESS. I love it. I adore the cocoon-ish shape and interesting hem detail, and my inner greaser wishes I smoked so I could cram a spare cigarette or three in those sleeve cuffs! I totally bit off part of the styling from the Named site for the dress’s debut outing (and subsequent photos)–I bought sheer knee-socks a few years ago when they came back in style, and loved the idea of them with this dress after seeing the styled photos of the Named sample. That being said, one thing I still cannot get behind is tights or hose or socks with open-toed shoes; these booties were my first choice and I could not be happier with how the entire thing came together. My only regret is that I cannot get away with wearing it to the office like this (big split hem + knee socks + heels = scandal in a corporate environment), but that’s why I have an entire arsenal of cute, mod-ish flats, including a pair in the perfect shade of yellow! 😀

Hopefully these photos show exactly how many elements I had to deal with when thinking about how to lay and cut out my pieces–shit got weird reallllll quick. See, apart from not being able to exactly center the pattern the way I wanted it (“arrows” pointing up and down instead of side to side, both to maximize usage of all colors and design elements and to elongate rather than widen my silhouette), I *also* needed to be cognizant of the potential for those diamond/arrow motifs sitting too low over my chest and giving the dress a very artistic “droopy, fried-egg-on-a-nail boobs” impression. (Go ahead: I dare you to un-see that now!) I managed to avoid that, thank goodness!! And my sleeves match each other pretty closely. I really wanted the black portion of the diamond motif to point downward rather than up, and to have my hem stop below the point–another “check” for my pattern placement list on this dress! (Can you see why I had so much trouble with the layout? I had a lot of arbitrary “musts” for how the pattern fell on the final garment, apparently!) On top of all of that, there were a few flaws in the weave of the material–they look like ladders in tights, but they aren’t tears or holes–which, although probably common in ikat (and therefore not truly considered a flaw), I did NOT want one of those front and center. So after working around all of that, I am very happy with the final dress! Motif placement struggles aside, the fabric and pattern combination really came together beautifully. This ikat is lighter than the other length I had, so it’s just drapey enough to feel nice while still having the body to hold the shape of the cocoon and angular splits on its own.

Construction-wise, this dress was pretty easy. Hooray!! I made zero fitting adjustments apart from copying the width of the shoulders from my Scout pattern to make sure I had enough room. (Concerning the length, Named drafts on a base height of 5’8″; if my doctor is to be believed, I am about 1/2″ to 1″ taller than that, but my legs also aren’t super long. Hopefully that provides a bit of a reference for anyone considering making this.) This was my second time making a Named Clothing pattern, but this one was obviously more involved than my Shadi knit skirt. The trickiest part was successfully sewing the splits at the hem, simply because my fabric is not stretchy and the maneuvering required under the needle is difficult on such a small hem circumference with no elasticity and those sharp corners. I also insisted on having my needle thread on the outside of the dress, which undoubtedly added to my difficulties (i.e., a whole lot of dress bunched up to the right of my needle). But I did it, and I think the splits and hem look really good: