Inari The Third (aka The Quilted Gothic Cocoon of Doom)

Do not be fooled by my secondary title: there was nothing scary or disastrous about this project! I just thought it was funny. 🙂

A little background is in order regarding how this dress came to be, because this dress was never something I had in mind until a minute ago. (Okay, “a minute ago” is totally relative…in actual passage of time terms, it’s more like 2 days.)

I am one of those sewing people who has more fabric than I need. Lots more. Lots, lots more. In fact, I could probably run quite an Etsy sale to get rid of things if I wanted to–my fabric stash takes up 2 Rubbermaid bins, part of a cedar chest, and 2 small cardboard boxes, and has now spilled over onto the top of the guest dresser in a massive pile. Truthfully, I feel a mix of comfort and anxiety because of my stash: comfort, because I know that whatever I could conceivably want to make, I probably have fabric for it; anxiety, because I have so much that it has now become difficult to store/hide/bury in my admittedly large-for-two-people house. Combine that last part with my very slow pace when it comes to making/finishing things and my occasional continuing purchases of yet MORE fabric, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Things sort of came to a head for me this past weekend, when I drove up to a suburb to check out a Craigslist seller’s personal fabric stash from her days as a custom designer. I only bought about 6 yards of fabric, but when I got home I just felt impotent as to where to put it until I got around to making the things I had in mind for it (which all require muslins).

I sat down and started making a spreadsheet of things I wanted to make. (I included tabs for my fabric and pattern stash as well, but those will be much more difficult to fill out and therefore haven’t been started yet.) Luckily, I was positively brimming with ideas at that moment, and I have a great list started for Fall/Winter 2015 projects. Suddenly, I got an idea for a length of fabric I had bought with a particular pattern in mind and I just had to make it happen NOW. The fabric is a black quilted knit from Michael Levine, and I had bought it intending to make a Mai Zipped Jacket out of it. I even ordered ambiance lining and wide elastic for the bottom and the three required zippers; I just never got motivated to tackle the pattern. But as I sat working on my immediate sewing plans, I remembered that fabric, and it screamed “INARI DRESS!!!!!!!” to me instead. And here in “The ‘Mads’ House,” we listen when inanimate objects tell us to do things. >=D

Picture-heavy area approaching: CAUTION!!! (Seriously, this has to be the picture-heaviest post EVER on this blog.)

It's a dress! (And a Mulder...)

It’s a dress! (And a Mulder…)

Gotta have a side view

Gotta have a side view

And the back

And the back

A close-up of the texture of the fabric--neat, huh?? =)

A close-up of the texture of the fabric–neat, huh?? =)

A dress and a tree

A dress and a tree

How I do

How I do “poise”

This is my poking stick

This is my poking stick

Stretch!!!

Stretch!!!

Model pose

Model pose

He is too cute not to share!

He is too cute not to share!

I’m pretty thrilled with this dress, especially considering that it technically shouldn’t exist! 😉 (And yes, my makeup is definitely a tribute to the “Gothic” title that I definitely thought up before I even had the pictures taken…) And we got so many good photos that I had to share most of them. Sorry not sorry.

While the hand of the fabric feels relatively standard for a double knit, those quilted puffs are no joke–trying to start a seam on top of one was tough! I may have done well to use a standard universal needle rather than the jersey/ballpoint variety I always use for knits, but I got there in the end. Since I am still serger-less, I did all my construction with a lightning bolt stitch, including the hems. The neckline is just turned under (at the 3/8″ seam line provided) and stitched down; I had thought about making a binding out of self-fabric but the thickness wouldn’t have resulted in a very nice finish, IMO. In addition, I did not use clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams, which is what the instructions say to do if using a stretch fabric–I opted for a length of the selvedge of my material instead. It works as intended, but this was obviously a decision I made before realizing the full extent of the puffiness of those quilted bubbles. But I *did* stabilize those seams, just so we’re clear! My only actual complaint about this dress is that this fabric is a magnet for fuzzies and pet hair and everything else on Earth that could be unpleasant against black clothing. Oh well, sacrifices must be made for fashion!

Due to the heft of this fabric, it will make a great transitional piece between seasons (which we definitely get here in OH). I’m already planning to wear it with boots and knee socks or tights on cool Fall days and with cute flats when it finally drops below 80 and stays there. (Yeah, sorry–the heels look great with the dress, but I stick to flats most of the time.) Have you gotten a jump on your sewing projects for next season?

Here come some outtakes, per usual. But before we get to that, here is me with my “Unsung Sewing Blog Hero,” my dear husband and photographer, Tom! He actually really enjoys taking my photos for me so it’s not like he makes a sacrifice of his time unwillingly, but I do appreciate that he does this for me. And let’s be real: he makes me look wayyyyy better than I would without his help! 😉

Our best cheesy grins, just for you!

Our best cheesy grins, just for you!

And now, on to the funnier shit (and supplies!):

Trying to make

Trying to make “Arboreal Vogue” happen…

Tom made me laugh during a

Tom made me laugh during a “serious” pose.

Coming in for a

Coming in for a “graceful” landing

Gotta keep these chompers in check!

Gotta keep these chompers in check!

Periscope stick

Periscope stick

Vitruvian Mads, Round 2!

Vitruvian Mads, Round 2!

He *had* to go for the lipstick...

He *had* to go for the lipstick…

If you’re still with me after all that, thanks for reading!!

Inari 3 Supplies:

Inari Tee Dress pattern from Named Clothing
2 yards quilted doubleknit fabric, Michael Levine (used about 1.5 yds)
Black all-purpose polyester thread
80/12 Jersey needle
Handsewing needle

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A Wild-and-Crazy Maxi Skirt (aka Look Who Finally Finished Something!)

Don’t sound the “Stranger Danger” alarms, folks: it’s just me, back after an unintended blogging hiatus! Hiiiiiiiii!!! 😀

I haven’t even got a good excuse for my extended absence–life just got in the way of blogging, I guess. Well, that, and I haven’t gotten much sewing done lately. I definitely didn’t finish my Anna dress in time for the big Instagram party–in fact, I haven’t even finalized the muslin stuff yet–but I enjoyed seeing what everyone else came up with. I am thisclose to having the bodice fit the way I want, and it’s very exciting! I even got a zipper in my muslin, and it’s looking goooooooood. Here’s what I have left to do: move the pleats so that they match up with the edges of the CF skirt panel, sew the pleats about an additional 1/2″ toward the apex, take in the waist a bit, and take about 1/4″ out of the back neckline on each side to fix a slight gaping issue. I have adjusted the skirt pattern pieces so that the side seam is relocated appropriately, and apart from losing about 4-5″ of length and making the same waist adjustment that I will make to the bodice, that’s all I need to fix there. Yay!

Once I completed my most recent muslin, I decided I wanted to make a maxi skirt using the Anna pattern and some rayon challis I bought earlier in the year. Since this is supposed to be a casual garment/wearable muslin, I just marked 4 inches up from the bottom of the pattern pieces and stopped my skirt there. I lost what amounts to a couple of inches of sweep that way, but whatevs. (And seriously, WTF is up with the gargantuan length on these skirt pieces?? Gah.) I also added a waistband, because I really prefer those to waist facings. For the waistband, I just cut a rectangle (I fussy-cut it so that I could have my favorite part of the skirt’s repeat on the outside) that was 1″ longer than my waist PLUS 5/8″ on each end for the seam allowance. I also interfaced it, since this is rayon challis we’re talking about here. (Speaking of waistbands, one of these days I will try to show you guys how I sew waistbands onto skirts, because it’s super clean.) So without further ado, here is my Anna skirt:

Anna-liscious!

Anna-liscious!

Side view, BAM!

Side view, BAM! (And a blur of dog.)

Mulder and I both showed our backsides for this one...

Mulder and I both showed our backsides for this one…

Anna in motion

Anna in motion

Gotta have a twirl photo...

Gotta have a twirl photo…

Pretty neat, huh? It’s super comfy and swishy. This fabric is a lot louder than most of what I regularly wear, and that effect is magnified by the fact that it’s a maxi skirt, but I’m digging it. Now comes the downside: this skirt is not my best work. The pattern matching (or lack thereof) is really bad, and I didn’t manage to think about aligning the black pyramid motif on the waistband with the center of the skirt front. 😦 Construction-wise, I did a really good job though. French seams throughout, except for the front seam where the split goes and the back seam where the zipper goes. And the waistband was attached in my usual fashion, which encloses all the raw edges. The above pics were all taken before I added the hook and eye at the top of the waistband, so if you see that gap there, that’s why; it’s done now, though! I actually ought to add a second hook and eye between the first one and the top of the zipper: I had a handful of 7″ invisible zippers on hand and was therefore determined to use one, but I could really have used a 9″ to make my life easier! Oh well.

Can you spot the French seam?

Can you spot the French seam?

Zipper; that's Hug Snug to finish off the raw edges there.

Zipper; that’s Hug Snug to finish off the raw edges there.

I used white thread for everything, and am really proud of how invisible the final stitching on the waistband ended up being thanks to my fussy-cutting:

Camouflaged white stitching to secure the waistband!

Camouflaged white stitching to secure the waistband!

And of course, it wouldn’t be an Anna without some sex appeal:

Dat split tho.

Dat split tho.

Since this is a casual skirt, I just topstitched the split opening (a la my Inari dress splits) and the hem. Speaking of that hem, measuring it was made SO FUCKING EASY thanks to my newest friend inanimate object:

My very own (VINTAGE!!!!) adjustable dress form--that fits me!

My very own (VINTAGE!!!!) adjustable dress form–that fits me!

“Size JR.” Damnit.

What her insides look like...

What her insides look like…

That’s right, I got a dress form!!! I put the skirt on her and was able to measure my hem out from the waistband without a problem AND without a live assistant. Hooray!

I cannot adequately express my excitement at finding this form. Finding one that would fit my stupid measurements had proved impossible since I started sewing seriously, and I had resigned myself to either buying a Uniquely You form (which isn’t a bad form, just a lot of work) or making a plaster cast (a task with which Tom should NOT be trusted, frankly), or just never having one. And then a Festivus-worthy miracle happened: while we were in our hometown a few weeks ago, we stopped at the antique shop owned by a cousin of my in-laws, and I saw this form from across the room. The price was way lower than any new form would have been, and that was before my “family discount” was applied. 😀 Plus, she is vintage, and you guys know how much I love my vintage! (Speaking of which, you know I didn’t get out of there with just the form, right? Not possible. xD) All she needs now is an adjustment or three and a name! Name suggestions for the dress form are welcome and encouraged! **Disclaimer: we here at “The ‘Mads’ House” reserve the right to ignore not use any suggestions we don’t like, or which have been previously reserved by us for future Fur Children/sewing machines/etc., etc.** 🙂

So there you have it: a new skirt, a new dress form, and a nearly-ready pattern to make a properly-fitted Anna dress! I will leave you now with some outtakes and the supply list. Thanks for reading–I’ve missed you all!

“There is no Mulder, only Demon Ginger Dog.”

Attack of The 50-Foot Wife!!

Attack of The 50-Foot Wife!!

Anna Skirt Supplies:

Anna dress pattern from By Hand London (skirt pieces only)
4 yards rayon challis from Fabric.com; I used about 3-3.5 yards, probably
1 x 7″ invisible zipper (9″ would have been better)
2 x hook and eye closures
Several feet of Hug Snug seam binding
Interfacing for waistband (roughly 3.5″ x 24″)
White thread