Last Gasp of Summer Sewing!

Hello again! I am back for Fall with…more Summer sewing action, lol. I haven’t even started Fall projects yet! (Soon, I hope!) To console you, I have 2 garments to share today. The first is by far the most satisfactory, so I’ll start there. **WARNING: Post contains awesome .gifs at the end!**

Presenting: a total copy-cat of something posted by Trend Patterns on Instagram!

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Pleats!

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Pockets!

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Bemberg rayon pockets, at that!

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Side view

Trend Patterns posted photos from their new Spring/Summer 2018 collection on its release, and of course I ate that shit up! One outfit featured what looked like a shorts hack of their TPC6 trouser pattern, which I made last year and love. Lucy, the designer, kindly gave me details about how the shorts were made: 40cm was removed from the length of the pants, and the shorts were rolled up to create the cuffs. I knew I needed a pair exactly like them!

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Original Inspiration! (Image is property of Trend Patterns and/or their credited photographer)

I bought some medium weight tencel denim from Cali Fabrics just for this project, and it was perfect. I wanted something that had some decent weight with a definite wrong side that would show on the cuffs, and this was IT! (Plus Cali has really great prices–they’re a new favorite place to shop for me.) I was a little worried it would be too soft and drapey for the pleats, but I think everything hangs nicely.

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Apart from shortening the legs by 40cm, I didn’t make any pattern changes. I did do a little extra work for the cuffs, mostly because I can’t abide adjusting my clothes whilst wearing them and prefer things to be secure. Just rolling the shorts legs up every time I wore them wasn’t going to cut it! First, I hemmed the shorts legs–turning the hem to the right side–at 1/2″, and then turned and pressed a 2″ fold going the same direction. I knew I wanted a double-turn cuff, so I did another 2″ turn before tacking the cuffs to the shorts legs at the side seams and inseams. I was a little bit worried this would make them too short, but they’re exactly what I wanted! (Thank goodness for my short legs, LOL.)

I wore these shorts every week between finishing them and the end of the hot temperatures here–between the fabric and the design, they are an awesome addition to my summer wardrobe! It was also pretty exciting to get more mileage out of my beloved TPC6 pattern and create a whole new look from the same great base. Special thanks to Lucy at TP for sharing the details with me, too–having the exact measurement was the key to my success! โค

Now for the less successful garment: the Jim dungaree skirt from Ready To Sew.ย Sorry in advance about how dark the skirt is photographing: I didn’t realize until I was adding them here! (Fair warning: these photos were all taken after the skirt had been worn for a gig but not laundered; it looks a little wrinkled and bagged out in some areas as a result!)

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Large Toddler Chic

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3 is plenty of buttons…

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Back view (now with 100% more flank on display)

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Attitude, or hiding a flaw? (Hint: it’s both.)

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Straps down = shit just got real! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Obligatory “surly guitarist” photo

I made this skirt for a gig we had back in July; we were playing at a fair, outdoors, and it was going to be HOT. I styled it just how I am wearing it here. (I didn’t make the crop top. Also, hooray for not having to wear a bra–my boobs and I felt very free and subversive. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

I am not 100% happy with this skirt…overalls…thing. That is partially my own fault (of which more later) but the pattern itself left me a bit annoyed in the actual process of making it. This was my first Ready To Sew pattern, too. :-/ That said, I was happy wearing it and felt like it was a great choice for a gig. And I have to say I’ve gotten many compliments on it, which always makes me feel better about the things I’m not happy with.

So, on to my mini review of the pattern.

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Jim by Ready to Sew (Image is property of Ready to Sew)

  1. First up: if you can, spring for a color print-out. The designer uses the same 2 line styles for all sizes, alternating them every other size. In B&W, the printout is a hot fucking mess. I had to open the copy shop file on my laptop to help me figure out which cutting lines were correct for hem lengths and a few other things. Super frustrating.
  2. Confusingly, there are multiple copies of the waistband and dungaree top pieces included. Some are for the skirt version, and some are for the trousers and shorts together. And no, there is no difference between any of them. O_o So if you want to print all the views in the copyshop format, you’ll get a bunch of unnecessary waistband bits. Sorry, I’m writing out of frustration, but shouldn’t there be a more efficient way to plan a copy shop file for printing?!? At least this is kind of avoided in the at-home file, which helpfully tells you which pages to print for each view. (If you just print the entire file without reading that info, you will get all the stupid extra waistband pieces though.) I was annoyed at wasting the paper for those pieces, and had a serious feeling of deja vu while sorting the pieces I needed for the skirt from the IDENTICAL pieces for the trousers and shorts views. The waistband and dungaree tops for the front do have separate right and left pieces, which is necessary, but there’s no need for the duplication across views when they all use the same exact pieces!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  3. This isn’t so much a fault as it is an “I hate this design element” thing: the D-rings. I was never going to have the ends of my straps flopping around and potentially needing to be re-secured. I opted to use a method like I used for my Cooper backpacks, and I bought slides instead of D-rings. No loose strap ends, no potential for strap malfunctions, and no half-ass looking straps. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  4. Similarly (as in, it’s not an error, but it’s not my taste), OMG all those effing buttons made my eyes go twitchy. I wasn’t ever going to do that. I chose instead to use a longer zipper (6″) and only put buttons on the dungaree top. I chose jeans buttons for those, both for looks and durability.
  5. Upon putting this thing on, I realized how high up the back pockets are (I used the pattern’s placement). They’re basically on my lower back/upper butt area rather than over the fullest part of my butt, which is where butt pockets belong. I doubt anyone notices this, but they definitely aren’t very functional way up there!
  6. Overall:ย I felt that the pattern itself came together well in terms of sewing. I didn’t have any drafting issues to complain about or anything like that. The instructions were fine, although admittedly I didn’t use most of them because I did things differently. (And at its core, this is a mini skirt–the sewing was mostly pretty straightforward.)
  7. One thing I thought was neat:ย Ready to Sew makes playlists for her patterns that are linked in the digital instruction files. I know not everyone will think that’s worth doing but hey, I like music; it also gives you an idea of the designer’s head space relating to the design you’re sewing, and personally I think that’s intriguing.
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See? Not at all cool.

So in terms of things that weren’t down to my own mistakes, that’s it. Shall we talk about my idiocy now? ๐Ÿ˜€

Exhibit A: I picked this fabric. O_o It was a beast to cut out and I decided that matching the plaids was 1.) not in my best interest sanity-wise and 2.) not the best use of the limited time I had between the gig and when I started sewing. Instead, I decided to match plaids on the skirt horizontally as much as I could, and then focus the dungaree, waistband, and strap pieces on specific colors in the plaid pattern, mirroring those things as much as possible.

Exhibit B: I am spoiled by my usual pattern sizing. I didn’t take into account any finished measurements apart from the waist before I cut this out. This was a huge mistake! The hips were so tight I could barely move, and this fabric has a small lycra content, LOL. (My ass is flat anyway, but it was compressed to EXTRA flat in the original skirt.) And of course, by that point the skirt was fully constructed except for the hem. I damn-near trashed this thing, but decided to press on because I knew it would be an amazing gig wardrobe addition. All I could do was add panels to the side seams, but the complication was that the waist pieces fit fine–I didn’t want to make those any bigger. In the end, the sewing of the side panels is far from my best work; there are some mini-pleats at the waist to ease them into position without expanding the waist itself. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ (And you guys will NEVER see the inside of this skirt–it’s an ugly mess around those panels.) I hope it isn’t noticeable to non-sewers, but I have a hard time not noticing them.

 


Exhibit C:
Because I took such offense at the numerous waistband and dungaree front pieces, I lent no brain power to why there were separate left and right pieces for them. To explain: On a proper fly front, you need the shield piece to go behind your zipper; this also creates extra width across the front of your pants or skirt that must be accounted for in the length of your waistband treatment. Since I was using a longer zipper, I remembered to cut a longer fly shield that would reach up to the top of the waistband; I did NOT remember to cut a wider right front piece for the dungaree, and instead cut 2 mirrored lefts. Instead of recutting it (I got the mirroring done pretty nicely), I cut myself an extension and sewed it to my right dungaree front. Luckily I hadn’t cut my linings yet, so I used the correct piece for the lining on that side. O_o But it was a close call!!

Exhibit D: The straps. These weren’t hard to sew or anything, but I did make more work for myself. First of all, I chose to do an adjustable slider strap; this necessitated the creation of a short strap piece that would attach to each dungaree front. Then I decided to lengthen the back strap pieces, just to make sure they were long enough to be adjustable and compatible with the sliders. (They are actually too long and I have to tighten them regularly, but at least I like how they look! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) Sewing them on proved to be slightly more complicated than the directions accounted for (which I don’t begrudge the pattern at all–this is on me!), so that was another headache to add. But overall I have no regrets about my choice of strap style: I think these look more professional, personally.

Exhibit E: The hem. I realized after cutting the skirt pieces out that it might be a bit brief, even for me! (I do a lot of bending and crouching during set-up and tear-down on stage, okay?) I assumed I would need a hem facing, and I did. I could only afford to sew it on at 1/8″ (which became more like 1/4″ after turn-of-cloth) and then decided to try machine blind-hemming this on a whim. LOLOLOLOL. It was bad. The feed of my machine distorted the facing against the skirt, so I had to rip and re-sew it by hand.

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Check out those sliders!

Another quick note about sewing things with this longer zipper: I sewed the front waistbands to the skirt fronts prior to doing the fly, since the fly was going to run through them also. The lining fabric for those was already basted in place inside the seam allowance, and functioned more like an underlining. The dungaree top and lining were then attached–along with the straps–kind of using the method from the instructions. The back waistband was sewn to the back dungaree top, then lining pieces and straps were sewn as per the instructions; that entire apparatus was then attached to the skirt backs as instructed. So really, it wasn’tย too different to the way the pattern says! Highly doable, if you’d like to make a similar alteration.

So that was an adventure, eh? ๐Ÿ˜€ Let’s all console ourselves with outtakes and .gifs!

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LOLOLOLOL

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Pirate pose

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Wonder Woman pose (now with dog)

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Okay, not the most flattering shorts for sitting down…

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Trying to hide my panties from the camera…

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Moody guitar shot

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Spin!

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I should do bachelor parties, amirite? xD

That’s all for me today, but hopefully I’ll be back soon with something to share!

Thanks for reading!! โค

 

90’s Nostalgia – Sundress Edition!

Well where the f*ck did July go?!?!? I really did plan on sharing some things with you all last month, but time kind of got away from me. And not for nothing, either: we have had a lot going on with the house, and I will definitely have some incredible “Before and After” photos to show you this Fall. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s been really exciting but stressful, as old house renovations tend to be!

I have 2 garments to share today, which have been sewn for MONTHS. I haven’t done much sewing lately because part of the house goings-on involved me tearing my sewing setup down to reveal our lovely dining room. It looked beautiful but was also depressing, if you know what I mean!

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Sure it’s a pretty dining room, but I want to sew!!!!

I’ve just started getting the sewing stuff back out but haven’t had time to make anything. Hopefully soon! (Like, once we stop using the dining table as a closet and sleeping in the living room…)

My summer sewing was pretty successful this year. (Yes, I am pronouncing it “past tense,” because I don’t see how I’ll squeeze any more summer things in!) The first dress I’m about to show you was started the same week as my Myosotis dress, but I set it aside temporarily to hurriedly make that pattern. But I got back to my “Pepto-Bismol” pink sundress as soon as I finished the Myosotis because I knew it wasย exactly what my summer wardrobe needed. Then I made a second one almost immediately, lol.

Presenting: my Style Arc Ariana dresses!

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Pink!

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Pink, now with 100% more attitude

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Showing off the neckline

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Full back

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Big-ass pockets

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Nonchalant

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Is there a sewing blogger in the US that *doesn’t* own this fabric yet?

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Swish

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Aren’t they just so perfectly 90’s and cute?!?

I bought the Ariana pattern from Style Arc as soon as it came out: the combination of the shirred back panel, spaghetti straps, and not-too-full skirt pulled me in immediately. (And yes, the 90’s vibe, because duh.) Apart from some small fit complaints, I LOVE THESE DRESSES. Seriously, I want an army of them for summer. (So…2 down, 48 to go? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) It’s chic, but not fussy. And while I must admit to not being totally sold on the large patch pockets at first, I am glad to have them. (They also help to break up the expanse of skirt nicely…)

I really wanted a pink one just like the cover art, so I made one. #sooriginal

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Kick!

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Blue Kick

For the second Ariana, I copied a bunch of other internet sewing people and went to JoAnn for this cotton/linen/rayon blend. I under-bought slightly, so the CF matching isn’t great; and while shortening the skirt was the plan, it would have been a necessity with the yardage I had anyway. Oh well, I’m happy enough with the dress so it’s all good!

Pattern Notes

Pattern-wise, I made 0–that’s ZERO–adjustments (unless you include using the extra length Style Arc put on the straps) to the pink dress. I have had great luck with tops from Style Arc fitting really well straight out of the packet. I was pleasantly surprised by the bust area however, as I am really small cup-wise (ahem…A) and the princess seams have just enough room for my braless boobies. (So be warned if you measure into a Style Arc 4 and have boobs bigger than mine!) If I really want to be a perfectionist (and you KNOW I do…), Iย could use a little extra length in the bodice rather than just using the maximum strap length to cheat it.

The waist is bigger than I’d like–in the size 4, it is over 1″ bigger than my largest occurring waist measurement (thank you, period) and 3.25″ bigger than my usual baseline waist measurement. However, I was paranoid about the dress not fitting–and I don’t know why, because they give the finished measurements!–so I didn’t remove any width. (I blame the shirring and not having done it before, resulting in paranoia about how much the CB panel would shrink up.) The views from the side and back are not very nice, but ultimately I know I’m not going to open the whole dress back up to take it in. (The bodice is fully lined in self fabric.)

Honestly, combined with my small bust and the very nice fit there, I was worried I looked dumpy in a baggy-waisted midi length sundress. Tom said he didn’t think it was dowdy or frumpy, so here’s hoping he’s not a lying jerk! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I should also note that because there is a hefty linen content in this fabric and I wore it multiple times before these photos were taken, the pink bodice has relaxed a bit versus the hot-off-the-machine fit.

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Partial back, wherein you can kinda-sorta see the poor fit at the waist and lower back.

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Ugh, such puff…

I made bodice adjustments before the blue one, I swear! I took off 1/4″ from each seamline on the side front, side back, and CB panels. And IT’S STILL REALLY BIG. O_o Again, I think I was overconfident about how small the shirred section would be in the end–it really doesn’t shrink up as much as you might expect, even after a steam. Before I make any more Arianas (and I will make more), I will spend more time fine-tuning the back waist area. I’ll probably remove excess from the skirt as well: I don’t think all that bunched up fabric (shirring + gathers) is flattering on me in that area. I’m thinking I’d like a version with no gathers at all, so that will probably be my next plan of attack.

Construction Notes

Mie at Sewing Like Mad has an excellent post about how she made her Ariana dresses, and I found it tremendously helpful. As in, I wouldn’t have been so successful without her thorough notes. (Plus her dresses are totally gorgeous!) If you are planning to sew this pattern, READ HER BLOG POST. Seriously, it will save you a lot of trouble. Her tip for attaching the shirred panel to the bodice is particularly genius!! I would probably not have thought of that on my own, let’s be real.

She also notes that, on clothing with no proper placket, buttonholes are supposed to be horizontal–I did not know that! Style Arc’s line art bears this out, but I wouldn’t have even thought about it had Mie not mentioned it. (See both of my Reeta dresses for evidence of me not thinking about such things–I put the buttonholes on those dresses going vertically.) So here is a huge “Thank you!!!” to Mie for taking the time to share her process, which awesomely includes the “why” AND the “how.”

My first shirred panel isn’t the greatest; the lines aren’t 100% evenly-spaced, and despite beingย sure I was never going to fit all 29 lines of shirring on that panel, I managed to sew 31 of them because I wasn’t counting and didn’t trace the lines!! O_o #sostupid The last few were the worst and curve up pretty obviously; those were helpfully put on the inside of the bodice so nobody has to see them but me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The second one was marked and sewn very neatly!

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Flexing, thanks to that shirring!

As for the straps, I went off-piste with those on purpose. The length of the straps–INCLUDING the extra Style Arc tacks on one end–was pretty close to perfect for me, so I went with it. I made the straps the same way I made my Reeta drawstrings, so they’re nice and heavy (because layers) but still thin and feminine. I did use Style Arc’s pattern piece for cutting them out, I just didn’t sew them as directed if that makes sense! I used the directions from the Ogden cami pattern to attach the straps: they are easy to follow and the result is clean and tidy.

I used smaller buttons than SA specified–I didn’t have anything suitable in a 5/8″ button but had plenty of white 1/2″ buttons (thank you, Past Mads, for buying one gross–144!–of those buttons…) that I liked just fine. Honestly, something about the scale of the buttons Style Arc suggests just didn’t feel right to me; 5/8″ seems too large for the sweetheart neck and delicate little straps and relatively close nature of CF to the edges (3/8″). Maybe that’s just me though?

Also, BEHOLD MY BEAUTIFUL HEM CORNERS:

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Sharp hem corners

(The blue ones are equally beautiful, but I didn’t get a close-up of them…)

Conclusions

I am 100% making more Ariana dresses! I already have tentative plans for at least 2 more beyond the ones in this post. I don’t often buy Style Arc patterns just because their designs don’t always “click” for me and my style, but I do know that I can rely on them for a consistent draft quality and fit. (That doesn’t mean I expect their stuff to fit me perfectly right out of the gate, but that I can reasonably expect the same general fit across their patterns against my own body because they are consistent.) If you want a summer sundress that’s so 90s it hurts, this is it!

And you guys didn’t think I’d leave you without any outtakes or .gifs, did you??? >=D

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Accidental strip-tease

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Puppy snugs!

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God I look like such a mom…

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Chomp chomp!

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You guys are the wind beneath my…skirt. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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No dog noggins were actually smooshed in the making of this .gif

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A “Mads” in her natural state of being

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Don’t judge: that bench was wobbly and those shoes are tall!

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Attitude in motion

I have a few more summer items to share, which I will hopefully have posts for shortly. (And one of them will introduce you to the newest member of the “Mads” House blog team. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) After those are live I will be mostly caught up, yay! I still have 4 Driftless cardigans that haven’t been photographed, plus 6 t-shirts for Tom that I made back in…March? O_o

I have NO IDEA what I will sew next (it’s hard to plan these things when you can’t use your sewing space) so perhaps a brainstorm/planning post is in order…

What’s on your sewing table right now? Are you prepping for the next season or still stubbornly sewing for this one? Are you into the 90’s fashion revival?