Ending A Rut by Breaking the Pattern

Hello, friends!

I’ve felt like I’ve done very little sewing so far in 2019, but counting my completed projects resulted in more FOs than I expected. All told I’ve made 8 things which, while more than I realized, is still pretty paltry given that we’re halfway through the year. But 3 of those projects were finished in the last few weeks, so my pace is finally picking up! I’m super happy with these recent garments, and those happy feelings have helped my blogging mojo tremendously! So what did I make? The Utu pinafore by Named, the Blair shirt from Style Arc, and a dress from McCall’s 6886. Seriously, they’re all total winners. To keep things from getting too long, this post will focus on my “Breaking The Pattern” projects and I’ll be coming at you with a joint post for the other 2 very shortly. 😀

The recently-finished Utu is actually my 3rd project from “Breaking the Pattern,” although it’s only my 2nd unique pattern from that book; the other 2 are both Ruska tops. I’m bummed that my Utu is now rather out of season, but it will get tons of wear come Fall/Winter. For the uninitiated, “Breaking the Pattern” is a book by Named Clothing (aka my ride-or-die fangurl sugar-stan pattern company) that came out last year in lieu of their usual twice-yearly collections. Naturally, the moment I saw they had a book coming out I pre-ordered it because ride-or-die fangurl sugar-stan. Almost everything in that book is something I want to make, even the ridiculous vented wide-leg elastic-waist pants–who am I?!?

But let’s go in order here, starting with my first project from the book: a Ruska knot tee!

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Knot tee, now with 100% more wrinkles! 

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I am not 100% happy with this top and it’s down to things I should have changed before I even started. Namely (lol) the neckline–it’s just awful for a t-shirt on me. If I had added sleeve roll-ups I could maybe get behind the quasi-James Dean, “Cry-Baby” drape gang vibe, but nah.

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The “Cry-Baby” drape gang is #squadgoals

The ties didn’t turn out great, but that’s because the design and instructions for them are fucking stupid and I didn’t read the latter until after I’d coverstitched the hems. (They have you do a double-turn hem around the tips of the ties, which then stupidly tapers to a single-roll somewhere along the way. Excuse me, but what?!?) The next time I make a knot version of this pattern, I will be cutting the tie ends down so they’re the right shape and seam allowance (for a single roll) all the way around!

I also had a problem with the stabilizer I used in the hems, which essentially removed the stretch from my fabric and coverstitching. (Apparently it washes out, but I wash my clothing very sparingly and haven’t washed this shirt yet.) Fortunately I hadn’t used it around the neckline, because I doubt I could get my globe-like head through the tiny head-hole if I had done that. O_o

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Single knot (I prefer 2…)

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No knot!

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No, I would never wear it like this. xD

I had high hopes for this top because of the fabric: a moire rayon/lycra jersey. But between pre-washing/drying basically eliminating the moire finish and the issues mentioned above, I didn’t quite get the “Wow!” I was hoping for. Ah well, at least my front seam looks fucking GORGEOUS.

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You’re welcome.

Next is yet another Ruska, this time with no knot and full sleeves. WARNING: The following is not appropriate for all ages!

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Behold!

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DO YOU SEE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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What I hope people will now think of when they stare at my t*ts…

Surprise tiger boobies!!!!!! Bet you weren’t expecting that, huh? 😉 Also, 1,000 bonus points to anyone who “got” the reference in the close-up caption. xD

My initial vision (god that sounds so pretentious…) was for a sheer navy turtleneck under my future Utu pinafore. I already had my suiting fabric and knew that was how I wanted to wear the jumper. It was hard finding a sheer navy stretch knit, though! Fabric Mart came through with some Halston fabric eventually, and for a good price. I bought too much, as is my usual M.O., and thank goodness: this is Mk II of this top.

I apparently over-stretched my neckband on my first version and I COULD NOT FIT MY HEAD THROUGH IT. Talk about embarrassing! I cut the band off and decided to widen the neck opening a bit, but had a little accident with my shears and yeah…the whole top had to be scrapped. 😦 Luckily I had enough fabric to recut the whole thing, and this time I took 1/4″ off each neckline seam and that was it. I didn’t use the shaped piece provided because I hate relying on neckband pattern pieces, but as a result my collar does flop and sit away from my neck a bit. (That’s also because it isn’t as tightly stretched as I normally do them, because of the first “oops”…) I could always take a dart out of the back of it I guess, but meh.

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Not even a handful…

While rather unimpressive on its own (let’s be real, even the t*ts are underwhelming ones! 😉 ), it really does make the outfit:

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Pensive office person

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I adore these shoes!

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Back view

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Don’t mind the mismatch at CF, I forgot to button my secret button for like, half the photos…

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Super stern business lady

I LOVE THIS DRESS SO MUCH!!!!!! The shell fabric is a stretch suiting from JOANN Fabrics, of all places. The plaid is just interesting enough without clashing with the double-breasted front or the snug fit. This Utu is one of my favorite sewing projects to-date, I think! (And that’s from someone who usually hates pinafores.) I might make another, maybe in a solid wool crepe! ❤

For only having 3 pieces (okay, 6 if you count the lining) this pinafore took me FOREVER. Literal months. I made a really stupid mistake on the pattern that further hindered my mojo. Like, colossally stupid. I held the front pattern piece up to myself and was pleasantly surprised not to need any bodice length. I always need bodice length, even on Named. Well, genius here didn’t think about the bust dart, which removed about 1″ of vertical length once sewn. So lo and behold I cut my lining (you know, to be clever and get my lining done first) and sewed the darts, held it back up and realized that the darts were too high and the waist was DEFINITELY too high. Ugh!!

At that point I didn’t want to recut the lining–I really wanted this color for some reason and didn’t have enough to recut–so I slashed the pieces and added strips. My first front got slashed above the bust only, which I quickly realized was not the best idea; the other front and the back were cut in 2 places, one above and one below the bust.

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Hacked up front lining.

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Back hack job

After fixing the lining, I changed my pattern pieces by adding 1/2″ above the bust dart and 1/2″ below it. Then I cut my shell fabric. At this point I made a cutting error on one front piece plaid matching-wise, and had stretched the other front out somehow along the neckline. (Seriously, any and all possible mistakes were made on this 3-piece project. O_o ) I did fine on the back piece, so I recut my fronts and then set the whole mess aside for like a month and pouted. (During that hiatus I finished my Wool & Honey!) I came back to it after a seriously excellent sewing afternoon with Betsy, which reinvigorated me in a major way. From there it was all downhill until I got to the buttons!

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Buffalo horn buttons FTW

I asked my husband and sewing friends (IRL and Instagram ones alike) to help me choose buttons. 😀 My initial vision (ooh la la…) had been for horn buttons to emphasize the suiting fabric angle, but then I found these navy enamel/silver-toned metal buttons and couldn’t decide. Most people voted for the buffalo horn buttons–the appeal of which was because they came in the right size but also because THEY’RE BUFFALO!!–and in the end, I went that way. No regrets, they’re perfect. I did keyhole buttonholes, a first. Again, I wanted the hit the #suitingvibes angle. A couple of the buttonholes mysteriously got fucky and don’t have nice round keyhole openings, but nobody will be able to see that.

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Buffalo horn button up close!

Shiny, runner-up buttons! (Image property of Bennos Buttons)

(For the record, I’m not affiliated with either supplier linked above–just a happy customer.)

In terms of fitting, I did make a few small adjustments besides adding my 1″ of length. I removed most of the shaping in the high hip, and pulled the bodice in from the underbust through the high hip. The waist isn’t zero ease but fits a lot closer than the original shape. I didn’t take in my lining anywhere–it isn’t a stretch fabric and I knew I’d want that extra ease for comfort. If I’m being picky, I do wish the dress was a bit shorter but I’ll be damned if I’m ripping out my hems. 😉

I’m pretty pleased with my pattern matching work on this: I was careful, especially when it came time for buttons and buttonholes. I did get a few buttons a bit further to the left than I needed to (I’m talking like, maybe 1/8″) but I can live with it. I did add that secret security button also, which took my plaid matching from “good” to “very good” by holding the CF line securely in position. I don’t know if I put it where it’s supposed to go, but I put it where I needed it and that’s good enough for me! I am very annoyed that I forgot to close it before we took a lot of the best photos of this pinafore, so you’ll have to take my word for it I guess! I decided early on not to worry much about keeping the plaid contiguous across the side seams; I focused on the CF and below-the-bust-dart horizontal plaid lines instead, which to me were infinitely more important. (And yet I got not 1 good photo of the side seams to show the horizontal matching! 😦 )

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Hiding. #nailedit

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Cheeky pose

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A thorn among roses. 😉

Once I finished this dress, I figured I wouldn’t be able to wear it until Fall. But then I remembered that I actually had an occasion coming up that was perfect: a mid-May wedding! And a wedding at which I was performing, no less. My former band reunited specifically to play during the couple’s reception; it was a magical evening, both for us getting to be together (we ROCKED) and for the happy couple, who were radiant. ❤ It was an honor to play for two lovely people and their family/friends on such a special day!

Unfortunately for me, the event space was over 80 degrees all night; it was then I learned that my turtleneck, despite being sheer and scandalous, DOES NOT BREATHE. It felt like a sexy wetsuit. I was so hot I had sweat dripping down the backs of my legs. These AA-cup bra-less boobies had instant boob sweat. That’s how you know it’s f*cking hot! 😉 So after its first outing, this entire outfit needed a thorough rinse and steam but at least I looked and felt good in it. 😀

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Pre-gig selfie!

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Photobombing the dancing wedding party, cuz I’m classy…

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Post-gig old elevator Polaroid!

There you have it: my first projects from “Breaking the Pattern!” They won’t be my last, that’s for sure. I’m already planning a very special Ruska dress, as well as multiple Saraste dresses and shirts!

The next time you hear from this ol’ blog, I’ll be sharing my other 2 recent projects: a Blair shirt and a McCall’s 6886 dress. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading! ❤

 

These Are Clothes

Shout-out to Project Runway Season 9 Michael Kors, who used, “This doesn’t look like fashion, it just looks like…clothes!” as an insult, which inspired this title. 😉

Because I have a few repeat-pattern things to share today, I figured it was easiest to just throw them all into one post. And I’m just in time for the Sewcialists “TNT Month” theme, yay!

Ready? Here we go:

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I felt like I should have been on a boat in this outfit!

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…is this how people sit on boats?

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Frontal region

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#derpface

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#nowwith100percentmorederp

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A basic bitch in basic black…

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Yep, it’s a t-shirt!

These are my newest t-shirts! I made them with the Lark pattern, which is definitely my TNT for t-shirts. I love all the options, though I tend to stick to just a few of them (v-necks aren’t my favorite, either to sew or wear). I also love that, for a Grainline pattern, it’s quite long–I don’t have to lengthen it! The two striped ones are the drafted length (with about 5/8″ taken for a hem, I think? I don’t even know the pattern’s hem allowance…), but the black one was shortened about 2″ to make it more summery. One of these days, I will try making a more fitted version; I still feel frumpy in this weird middle ground between fitted and oversized! O_o

The navy/white Lark is bamboo/lycra jersey (Telio!), and the obnoxious yellow/navy one is a rayon/lycra jersey. The basic black tee is a tencel t-shirt knit that I previously used for an Inari a few months ago. I have to say that I’m not so pleased with how this last material is wearing: it pills very early into its life cycle. (And that’s from someone who will absolutely wear non-underwear things more than once before washing them whenever possible. O_o ) But that said, having a plain black un-cropped tee in my wardrobe again has been a lifesaver! Now I just need to make more, in a hardier material!

Meanwhile, I am putting together a list of “cool” knit top and dress patterns, because I feel like I’m wasting my bamboo/lycra jersey if I only ever make basic t-shirts with it! It drapes and stretches wonderfully, so I’m hoping to take full advantage of that with some twists and stuff. Ditto for the stash of wool/lycra jerseys I’ve built up. Watch this space! In the meantime, do you have any “cool” jersey top or dress pattern recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them!

And speaking of knit tops, here are 2 more:

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Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

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Loud-ass outfit

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How I feel about my tummy showing most of the time…

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It’s cooooooooooold

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Sulky Mads

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Back view, with an “oops”

These are Lexi A-line tops by Named (of course). Both are made from scuba knits, which I LOVE for cold-weather garments. I am always cold, and this shit doesn’t breathe: it’s like wearing insulation! 😉 You may have seen the lapis blue one with my TPC6 trousers, which is usually how I wear it. Even with my 1″ of length added at the bust, it’s just not long enough to wear to work with pants or bottoms that don’t come up to my waist. That’s why I made the blush version, which is 2″ longer (3″ longer than the draft of the pattern, because of my 1″ adjustment). Which brings me to…

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I’ve shown all the good front views for the tops, so here are some of the back!

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Close-up of the pockets

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Hems!

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Walking away

…more jeans!

That’s right, I made the ugly-ass pants in some of these photos, LOL! I kinda shot myself in the foot with these: I don’t think I’ll wear them much until Spring. To me, they don’t read as winter-appropriate and they’re kind of thin, but S/S18 will see them worn alllllllllllll over the place. I used my TNT self-made pattern, though this time I made a few tweaks:

  1. Enlarged those front pocket openings! They are now closer to the CF and cut down deeper as well. Much more proportional with the rise of the pants now! I made this change to the pattern itself.
  2. Shrunk the width of most of the pattern pieces above the full hip. This denim is really stretchy, and I knew if my last pair were too baggy at the waist, these would be a disaster! I actually made these changes to my pattern pieces, since they were needed after I cut the last pair anyway. I will have to watch out with future pairs, since stretch % is different for every denim!
  3. Despite 2., I still had to go back and take an additional inch out of the waist before attaching the waistband. O_o And they’re still a little bigger than I’d like in a couple of areas. But better too big than too small, eh?
  4. Omitted rivets and down-the-side bartacks and topstitching. I may go back and add these later, but felt the jeans were busy and tight enough to not need the embellishment. 😉
  5. Stupidly put the belt loops all the way on before finishing the waistband and facing. What I should have done is put the waistband on, baste my belt loops to it at the facing seam, and THEN sew on the facing, followed by topstitching the waistband and then bartacking the bottom ends of the loops to the jeans. I’m not happy with how the bottom of the loops look now and may go back and unpick them. 😦

Believe it or not, I bought this denim from Joann! I KNOW. I hardly ever find things there that I feel like I can’t leave the store without, in terms of fabric. (I am a spoiled USian, and prefer to shop online because #choices.) But my friend had this material and brought it to a sewing night, and I had to have it. The jeans zipper came from Zipper Stop, which I had shortened to 4″ for a fee. ($1 per zip, not bad.) The button came from either TaylorTailor or Wawak…I can’t remember!

I got a big assist from my Instagram friends when it came to picking a topstitching color for these jeans. I couldn’t decide what color would work best, but you guys came through! 😀 It’s perfect!

That will do it for me today–that’s a lot of crap clothes crammed into one post! But now I am basically all caught up: the black Lark tee and the Lexi tops were all made back in August, but weren’t blogged until now, and the jeans are from September. And I have one dress I made this summer that I didn’t blog because I don’t really like it and couldn’t get excited about writing a post for it, haha! It’s not that I want to pretend I don’t have FAILs, it’s just that I genuinely am not excited to write about that dress. Maybe for Fail February it will come out to play. 😉

As is customary around here, I have some outtakes for you! (Warning: .gif ahead)

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Running for warmth!

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Not a terrible photo, for once!

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That’s more like it! 😉

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Punching myself in the face, or fixing my Very Important hair?

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When will I learn that jumping doesn’t suit me?!?!?

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Calling this one the “TNT Happy Dance”

I don’t know what I’ll be back to share next, folks; it’s Totally Unnecessary Holiday Outfit season, which means I will be working (what’s left of) my ass off on something ridiculous for a one-night event. *eyeroll* But depending on how that goes, hopefully I’ll be back again soon with something fun!

In Which The Blogger Wears Big Pants (Trend Patterns TPC6 Review)

Hey there!

Today I am sharing a rather large pair of pants with you all. 😉 The pattern is TPC6 by Trend Patterns, the Pleated Front Trouser. I went out on a bit of a limb here: these pants are quite unlike anything I’ve ever worn before, AND the pattern itself was pricey. I wasn’t sure I’d like these, but for some reason I really wanted to try them.

I searched the web and Instagram for other FO’s of this pattern, but came up empty. So while other folks have made different Trend Patterns designs and have reviewed them, I will be going a little more in-depth here since info on finished versions of this pattern was so hard for me to find.

Let’s start with some photos, shall we?

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Big pants!

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With pockets!

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Closer look at side pockets

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Jumping!

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Muggin’

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Pensive side view

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Back view

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Another side view!

I made these out of a dove gray cotton twill from Fabric Mart, plus some bemberg rayon for the pocket lining pieces. I don’t know exactly how many yards I used for these, but it was definitely less than the 2.3 meters listed on the pattern. I made the smallest size, the 6. Here’s my review! (This review is my opinion based on my experience, and I bought this pattern with my own money because I wanted to make it.)

Pattern Review – Trend Patterns TPC6

Overall, I am very pleased with the pattern itself and the packaging/presentation. This was a great sewing experience! The pants themselves are a big style risk for me, but I do like how they turned out; I am even happier with them now that I’ve seen how they look in photos.

Detailed Thoughts: Positives

  1. Pattern: More substantial than regular tissue, but still lighter than printer paper. I am very much a fan of this pattern paper–it’s my Goldilocks weight!
  2. Instructions: Presented in a nice, color-printed booklet. There are photos instead of illustrations, which I honestly don’t feel strongly about one way or another. The instructions are definitely geared toward a more experienced sewer, and there isn’t a lot of extra hand-holdy text and conversational gunk that I am lately finding more and more annoying! (Old age, perhaps? 😉 ) Never fear, they provide plenty of detail to get you through the project.
  3. Draft: This was my first Trend Patterns rodeo, but I was very impressed. Notches matched, lines and pieces were trued well and, despite my reservations about the shape of these trousers, I felt that the proportions were handled very astutely from a patternmaking perspective. I also felt that the darts for my size were appropriately placed and of a suitable length. Given what I know about the designer of Trend Patterns, this is the kind of result I was hoping for–she is a professional and it shows. (Obviously I am not an expert, but I think my understanding of patternmaking and drafting is good enough to state my opinion of the draft here.)
  4. Roomy Pockets: That’s right, the pocket bags on this pattern are actually generously sized! I always assume patterns for women’s interior pockets will be so small as to be utterly useless, but nah, Trend Patterns knows what’s up.
  5. Tall Length: 2 hem lengths are provided so that taller sewers can cut a longer pant from the start. While I am taller than average at 5’9″ish, my legs are not longer than average, so I went with the “regular” hem. (These are meant to be cropped.)
  6. Style: This is subjective, of course. But this pattern knows it’s a big pair of trousers, and it’s proud. I love that! Recommended fabrics are medium weight wovens with structure and crispness, and you are specifically instructed not to press those front pleats flat. Volume is the entire point! Culottes and wide-leg trousers have been trendy for a while, but I haven’t seen anyone put this particular spin on it yet. This applies to their entire line, pretty much–very fashion-forward and edgy, and not your basic wardrobe staples!

Detailed Thoughts: “Meh”

  1. The waistband shape: it’s just a rectangle. On the one hand, I get that: it’s in keeping with the boxy shape of the pants and allows for the band to be pressed in half instead of using a separate facing, which keeps things easier skill-wise. (The pattern is rated “Easy” by TP.) But a contoured waistband would absolutely fit me better–this one stands away from my waist a bit.
  2. The envelope: I wish the pattern envelope could be closed after opening–you have to cut or tear it open! And even if you tear it open, the adhesive pulls off a layer of the bubble wrap and doesn’t re-stick itself closed. 😦

Detailed Thoughts: Negatives

  1. Labels: I only have one actual negative thing to say about this pattern. The waistband piece is mislabeled. The CF–that’s Center Front–of the band needs to be in the center of the piece, but the center line is labelled “Center Back,” which is where the zip goes (and therefore the waistband needs to be open at that seam). Obviously a more experienced and/or confident sewer would notice that and be like, “WTF-ever, I know that’s a mis-print.” But that incorrect label could cause confusion or frustration for someone else, so I’m mentioning it. I’m not pointing this out to slag off the pattern company, just to provide a truthful account of my experience and what I thought. (I have emailed them to tell them about it: I’m not going to complain here while not bringing it to their attention, that’s shitty.)

UPDATE: I have heard back from Lucy, THE DESIGNER HERSELF! at Trend Patterns. She had not been aware of the labeling error previously, and has corrected the PDF version of the pattern (here). (And no, that’s not an affiliate link or anything.) The paper version will be a more complicated issue because they’re already printed, but she is working that out as well. I felt like a real jerk being the first one to point this out–the pattern is super-professional and this is comparatively such a small thing–but she was so gracious and lovely, and wasted no time working out how to handle this. Between my experience with her product and our interaction about this particular piece, I am solidly a #fangurl4life now. (Whether I am cool enough to wear all of her designs is…um…debatable, LOL.)

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Label “oops” but if that’s the worst thing I can say about this pattern, it’s pretty frickin’ sweet.

Construction Notes

You all know me: I usually go my own way, and I mostly did here. I did follow the pattern’s recommendation to serge my edges separately before sewing so that they could be pressed open; I figured that would be less bulky in this fabric anyway. (This also proved to be somewhat time-consuming.)

I didn’t have the right zip length on hand (9″) and neither did the JoAnn’s I visited (at least not in the color I needed), so I had to use a 7″. I definitely could have used the extra length: it’s a wiggly struggle getting into these! 😦 Not a fault of the pattern, that’s just what I had. I was too impatient to order one, LOL.

Finally, I opted to blind hem my trousers by hand for a less casual look. I never regret that choice, even if I’m not a huge fan of hand sewing. 🙂

Fitting Notes

Obviously, my biggest concern with these pants was…well…how BIG they are. They’re a lot of pants, and my priority was making sure the cropped hem hit me at a flattering length. Whether a flattering-in-practice length even exists for these trousers is a matter of opinion, I suppose. 😉 I tried the original length, but wasn’t sold:

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I ended up taking a 3.5″ hem in the end, which is about 1.5″ more than the original allowance.

Apart from changing the hem length, the only other change I had to make was to the waist. My waist is smaller than the allowed-for measurement in the pattern, and I felt that the waist needed to be as close to my actual measurement as I could get (for non-stretch pants, anyway) in order for them to look even remotely flattering.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Removed roughly 1/4″ from the CF seam on each front leg piece.
  2. Removed roughly 3/8″ from the CB seam of each back leg piece, starting at the waist and tapering to nothing at the zipper stop notch.
  3. Removed roughly 1/4″ from the side seam of each back leg piece, starting at the waist and tapering to nothing at the top pocket opening notch.
  4. Sewed the unaltered waistband onto my pants, matching CF notches and letting the excess overflow at the CB; I trimmed that excess off prior to installing the zipper.

My back waist is narrower than my front, which is why I made most of my changes to the back pieces. (Another benefit of taking a patternmaking class and drafting your own moulage: you learn that stuff about your body!) I ended up with a waistband about 2″ bigger than my actual measurement, which is a little bigger than I wanted but I was afraid to go too far the other way!

Final Thoughts

Honestly, until I saw photos, I wasn’t sure, but now I am sold! I like the gamine/menswear-ish vibe, especially with brogues. I do feel kinda cool in them, I have to say. 😀 Tom thinks they look good but also laughs at the size of them, which I guess makes them Man Repellers as well–fine by me! 😉

Proportions are key with these trousers: my tops need to either be cropped or snug and tucked in for these to work for me. Good thing bodysuits were on my shortlist for Fall/Winter, huh? Before I go, here are some more outtakes and silly things:

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Bemberg rayon, yay!

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Puppy crossing!

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Flail jump!

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Sun’s out, t*ts out?

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Getting ready to jump

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60’s sitcom jump?

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Clown pants.

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Ministry of Silly Walks

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Puffy pants + dog!

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Gahhhhhh so handsome!

So that’s my big (LOLOLOL) reveal and review for today! I am really looking forward to trying the Utility Trouser pattern soon, as well as seeing what TP releases next. In the meantime though, I need to get cracking on some tops and jeans. See you soon!

What do you all think of these trousers?? Do I look ridiculous? (You can say it, it’s cool.) What is the most out-of-your-comfort-zone garment you’ve ever made or worn? Did it make you reconsider your personal style? Have any of you sewn a Trend Patterns design before? What did you think?  

Showtime = Sew Time!

Hello again!

I promised/warned you I’d be right back! Our band recently had another show; I was not planning on having enough time to make a new outfit (or even a single garment), but I was able to put something together after all. One piece is a pattern I’ve made before, and the other is just simple.

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Trying to look cool

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Failing

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Mopey side view

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The boring back

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Hip tie action!

Skirt Notes

The skirt is the Moss Mini by Grainline, sewn in the same black stretch denim as my jeans. Once again, I used leftover shirting from my Blair for the pocket bags, so those are a fun (if secret!) addition to an otherwise basic skirt. The only thing I had to buy for this project was the zipper, and that’s just because I didn’t want to waste a jeans zipper on a skirt.

Despite having stated that I would make changes to the pattern after my first rendition, I definitely didn’t do that! O_o I ended up remembering after I had the skirt put together except for the waistband–d’oh! I had to remove 1-2″ from the center back and another 1/2″ at each side seam to get the fit I wanted. I really ought to get the pattern back out and make those permanent! The one thing I did manage to remember from the first Moss was how much I regretted not using a jeans button, so I used one here.

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Slash pocket, with basically-invisible topstitching

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Jeans button FTW!

To keep it simple and highly mixable, I used black topstitching throughout. There isn’t really any topstitching in the instructions, which makes sense with Grainline’s minimalist aesthetic, but I prefer this type of skirt with a little extra “oomph.” My choice of black thread, however, reduces the “oomph” factor significantly! 😉

Top Notes

The top is the Selja Knot Tee from Named. I made it in an ITY knit I bought from Fabric Mart ages ago–it’s a good type of fabric for this top, if you’re wondering! It was a devil to hem though, LOL. I used my twin needle for all the hems, since they need to stretch. The hem flares a little when the top is untied, but that’s not how I’ll wear it so #no1curr.

I have to be honest, I am disappointed with this top. For one thing, I didn’t do a good job matching my stripes on the front seam. I was thisclose to turning that piece and putting it on a different grainline for visual effect with the stripes, but was worried about distortion and weird pulling so I didn’t. I really should have!! I will probably go back and sew the seam closed another 1/8″ to match the stripe a little better. I also don’t love that I chose a fabric with an obvious wrong side–those ties have to be carefully choreographed to hide it!

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Untied…not such a great look on me. (And UGHHHHH that pathetic stripe-matching. O_o)

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Flappy flaps

The real issue though is the fit–it’s certainly not very good. I am pretty sure I didn’t add my 1″ at the bust (I traced this one well over a year ago!!), which may have helped somewhat had I done it, but the area that really bothers me is the shoulder and armscye area. To my eye, it looks like I need more width for my lats and shoulders. There is a good deal of pulling there, and it’s not the most comfortable tee where mobility is concerned. I know I am pushing the limits of Named’s EUR32 size in my shoulders/lats but I’ve not had this kind of glaring issue on other tops or bodices previously. It’s also quite baggy from the armpits on down, which makes the whole top look particularly ill-fitting. I wonder if it’s because it’s one of the earlier patterns and they’ve improved or changed things since then, or if I’m just a dolt? I can’t say for sure, but I really do wish this fit better. 😦

The neckband is also not my best in terms of how it sits. I mistakenly cut it out going the wrong way against the greatest direction of stretch! So while I did stretch it to fit the neckline, it really should have been cut with the stripes going the other direction to help it stretch and flatten out. Additionally, I’m not sure how much of the issue(s) with how it sits would be helped if the fit was better in the shoulders and armscyes–I think it would make a difference. Oh well!

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Neckband derps

Conclusions

So there you go, one rock ‘n roll outfit on short notice! Definitely not as exciting as my electric skirt, but I really love being able to come up with something in time for a show. It’s a big confidence booster for me when I get up onstage! Sorry that I don’t have any action shots for you this time around: Tom’s band was on the bill with us that night, so he didn’t bring his camera.

In case you wondered, I do wear my show outfits in real life too, not just for shows. The skirt has been worn TONS since I finished it, but I’ve only worn the top one other time. That’s more to do with the weather (which is now chilly, boo) and my hatred of that front stripe snafu than anything–once I fix that stripe, it will get more wear.

That’s all for me right now, but I have a couple of projects planned that I will–hopefully!–be back to share soon. It’s definitely feeling like Fall here in Ohio, which is influencing my sewing plans big time.

Do you wear your “meh” sewing projects, or do you banish them from your sight immediately? What project(s) are you working on right now? 

 

 

 

 

Summer Tops and Miscellany! (But Mostly A Blair Shirt)

Hello, friends!

First off, I know I kept saying I was going to do a planning post for summer sewing. Clearly I haven’t had the time for that, LOL! So while that may not materialize, I have been sewing a bit. I made a Named Minttu top but haven’t bothered to have Tom photograph it until now. Apart from being annoyed as hell about the length of the facing (it cuts off right at mid-boob, where the top is still quite fitted: WTF?!?!? Not cool.), I think it’s really cute!

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Derp Face

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Side (Can you see the facing stopping suddenly? >=[ )

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Back

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Trying to put some “swing” in my swing top…

I added my usual 1″ of length at the bust, but otherwise there are no changes to this pattern as you see it. (And yes, I added the same 1″ to the facings. #bitter) It’s snug through the shoulders and upper back, but the stretch in my fabric makes up for that.

The fabric I used is a ponte knit, as recommended by the pattern. This particular fabric almost got destashed (it is decidedly NOT my best color/look, but then neither are white skinny jeans), but I actually really like it as a top. Which is good, because I have enough fabric left for another top! 😉 I’m planning on a Named Lexi or Sointu but haven’t decided for sure yet–feel free to weigh in with a comment!

And now for the star of this post: the Blair shirt by Style Arc!

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Blair!

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Side-ish

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Flaps!

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Back view (incl. VPL, ugh)

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One more front shot for good measure

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Shirt in the sunshine

Obviously I really love this shirt, hence the barrage of photos. 😉

I bought this very nice cotton shirting at Fabric Mart (my fabric shopping frenemy) and knew I would make a shirt with it eventually. I know…I’m a fucking visionary.

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Cotton Shirting? For a shirt? Groundbreaking.

After seeing so many inspiring versions of the Blair shirt and dress, I realized this fabric was perfect for it and finally made my pattern choice. 😀 I really couldn’t be much happier with it–it turned out so much like I had hoped!

Construction Notes

This is only my second Style Arc rodeo, but I know enough to read their instructions, chuckle, and figure it out for myself. 😉 I did things my way pretty much from start to finish. Here’s a brief summary:

  1. I assembled the bottom half of the shirt and the underlayer at the side seams before hemming them separately up to a few inches before the center front (to make attaching the button bands easier). That curved hem was a tedious operation, so I wanted it out of the way! Then I basted those pieces together.
  2. Next came the shoulders and upper half side seams, followed by attaching the bottom layers to the top.
  3. I did the button bands and remainder of the hem next, then the collar assembly and buttonholes.
  4. The sleeve cuffs were the last machine step, then I sewed on my buttons. Ta da!!!

I spent a lot of time prepping the stripes so that everything mostly matched. The shoulders don’t line up exactly, but I was more concerned about the fronts so was willing to compromise there.

pink shirt-striped shirt (15 of 17)

I think we can all agree that was time well spent…

Pattern Adjustments

I took a big chance here and didn’t change any proportions on my Blair. O_O I know. But it’s a cropped shirt, and the length looked like it would be fine with high rise jeans so I just went for it. I only made one–ONE–change to the pattern itself, and that was the undercollar.

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Undercollar awesomeness

Surprisingly, Style Arc has you use the same pattern piece for both the upper and under, but I wanted a bias undercollar. #shirtmakingcred That’s it, though. Everything else is exactly per the Size 4 original pattern, even button placement.

Apart from some sewing, here’s what else I’ve been up to lately:

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Readers, meet Nessie! She’s a Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple. ^___^

We planted a new tree out back! We lost our large Norway Maple (it was necessary, trust me–I don’t cut down trees lightly) and replaced it with a stronger, non-invasive species. Bonus: someday, Nessie will provide maple sap for syrup!

Sox

SOCKSSSSS!!!!!!

And I’ve been knitting socks like a fiend! I have 2 more pairs on my needles as I type this. 😉

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And some hot air ballooning for good measure. Here at the “Mads” house, it’s not really summer if we haven’t played with some hot air balloons. 😀

How is your summer (or winter for my Southern Hemisphere friends!) going? Have you gone on any adventures (in the air, on the ground, under the sea)? Are you starting to think about sewing for the next season yet?

Double Good Plan Success!

By which I mean, I finished multiple items that were ALL in my planning post!

I know, right? I can hardly believe that either. But it’s true: I have made 3 garments from my encyclopedic planning post. And even though 2 of the pieces are the same pattern made in the same fabric but in different colors, I think that’s worth celebrating!

And now Named has gone and smashed up my planned queue with their Fall collection–I literally only left 1 pattern unpurchased! O_o They get me when it comes to Fall stuff, apparently…Anyway! Back to business.

Penny Raglan x 2

First, let’s talk about the least-exciting of the two patterns: the Penny Raglan. Thrilling she is not, but function is her jam and I can appreciate that. I think a shirt like this can be very wearable with mini skirts, slim trousers, and skinny or boyfriend jeans. Bonus points if you throw in a slouchy boyfriend-style blazer! The trick to this pattern–apart from deciding that an aggressively over-sized raglan t-shirt is the garment for you and rocking the shit out of it–is in the fabric you choose. The pattern hilariously calls for fabrics with at least 20% stretch (maybe I’m being a bitch, but 18″ of positive ease doesn’t strike me as a situation where I need anything even remotely approaching 20% stretch; YMMV), but the most important factors here are drape and weight. If you want to make this pattern, I advise making it up in the lightest knit fabric you can manage. My I-wish-it-had-been-wearable sample was made in a cotton blend jersey–something close to a nice interlock weight, I would say–and I looked like I was wearing a brick of fabric. An unflattering red/navy striped brick of fabric, to be exact. 😦 If I’m dealing with bricks, they’d better be made of cheese or I’m not happy.

Anyway.

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Big ole shirt

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Sheer, too.

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Goofing off

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Back neckband, V.2

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Best Penny!

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Dress form side view

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Innards!

 

Cool, right? At least I feel cool in them. 😉 Both tops are made from silk/modal blend jerseys that I bought at Fabric Mart a couple years ago. This stuff is amaaaaaaazing to wear, just FYI. It’s also the perfect weight for a top this shape. The first three pics are of the pink version, and the rest are the rose gold (aka THE BEST) version.

The rose gold Penny is my favorite not just because of the color (which matches a pair of shoes I have–swoon!), but because I did the best job on it. The pink one had been a highly-wearable trial, and while I wear it proudly, there are some things I could have done better: for one, there is a small tuck at the back of the neckline because I didn’t smooth things out enough when attaching the band. I also set the differential too high on my serger and the side seams look slightly ruched as a result–oops. My final crime is that I did very narrow hems for the sleeves and hemline; they’re fine and un-puckered, but they don’t look as “nice” as a deeper hem would have. I remedied all of these things on the rose gold Penny. For hems, I didn’t whip out my stretch twin needle, even though I have one. Here is what I did instead:

  1. Added extra hem allowance–1″ for everything.
  2. Marked 1/2″ up from the raw edge, then turned that under the final 1/2″ and pinned in place, stretching slightly as I pinned.
  3. Basted the hem in place near the top of the fold, stretching slightly as I went along and removing pins as I moved.
  4. Gave that sucker a good press from the wrong side.
  5. Sewed the hem from the right side at approx. 3/8″ to ensure I caught the top fold, stretching slightly as I went along.
  6. Pressed again.

Since none of my hems need to stretch, that method worked for me. If these were fitted knit tops, I would have tried the twin needle. Failing that, zig-zag or lightning stitch.

Pattern Alterations

As with the last time I made a Grainline pattern, I needed to add some length. 2″ was added at the lengthen/shorten line, plus I cut the pattern pieces at the hemline of the largest size, PLUS I added the 1″ hem allowance to preserve all that extra length. My height is concentrated in my torso, and Grainline tops just hit me at an awkward spot without alterations.

I also brought the neckline up significantly after the “striped brick” trial version. I felt that the original neckline was too droopy on me to be flattering. I added 1″ all the way around and am much happier with the look now. So hooray for 2 whole wearable shirts!! This pattern is super easy to sew up, especially if you and your serger are on speaking terms. (My Juki and I are still in the honeymoon phase…) I got 2 done in rapid succession and have a 3rd in-progress!

Moss Mini Skirt

And now for the exciting piece: a Moss mini skirt!

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Moss mini!! And legs!!!!

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Fly front

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Back view, complete with bunchy, tucked-in tank top

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Sorry for the pose–I was itchy

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Beautiful serged innards!

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Full (fly) frontal

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Back insides; didn’t realize JR was so bodacious from the back!!

I am really thrilled with this one with ONE exception: I wish I had used a jeans button instead of a hook and bar. Without a button it almost reads “Tennis Skirt” and no. Just no. But I can live with it. (Read: I hand-sewed that fucker on and I’m not uninstalling it.) This fabric is a stretch cotton-blend twill from Fashion Fabrics Club/Denver Fabrics. I’ve had good luck shopping with them for the most part–just BELIEVE their descriptions regarding weight. And swatch if you can if color matching is of great importance to your project. Learned that one the hard way once! You can get some great stuff there though, for sure. The quality of this material is incredible, and I paid $3/yard per my records. Boom.

I would like to take this opportunity to bitch about the zipper situation on this pattern. The instructions tell you to buy a 6″ zipper. My opinion? Buy a 4″ or 5″ and save yourself the waste of having to cut off the top of the 6″ zip they tell you to buy. I cannot for the life of me understand this whole “buy it too long and cut it off” philosophy. We are capable of installing the correct length of zipper to begin with, you guys. We totally are. For the record, I used a 4″ zipper for my skirt. My fly functions correctly. A 5″ is probably okay too in terms of not having extra zipper to cut off, but I will be sticking with 4″.

The pockets, however, are shout-out worthy. They attach in a way that keeps them in place all the time, and it’s awesome.

Pattern Alterations

Once again, length was added. My legs are short for my height IMO, but I wanted to make sure this mini was going to be appropriate to wear at the office. 2″ were added at the lengthen/shorten line. After trying it on unhemmed, I decided to take a 1″ hem (two folds at 1/2″ each) and I’m happy with the length; the pattern has you take two 3/8″ folds for the hem. I will try it at the original length though, just for fun. 😀

I also ended up taking the waist area in about 1″ before installing the waistband. I could use another 1″ removed I think, so I will make those changes before Moss 2.0 is cut out. The pattern sits below the natural waist, and while I thought I might need to make this type of adjustment, I didn’t want to do that before trying things on! Better safe than sorry, right?

I also did some gratuitous topstitching on the skirt (not in the instructions) and I like it. Definitely keeps it from looking like a tennis skirt. 😉

So there you have it! I got some of my planned garments done before Named went and got me all in a tizzy about their Fall line. I’ll still try to stick to the original spirit of the plan, but we may have some last-minute substitutions over here. 😀

Before I go, here’s a gratuitous Mulder pic:

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“Hi, Rhonda!!!” =)

Thanks for reading! ❤

How is your sewing going this month? Do you have one favorite pattern company that just seems to “get” you and your style? 

Let’s Go To The (Blog) Hop (Plus Fabric Photos!)

(Is that awful song stuck in your head now? Good.)

Today at the Mads House, we’re serving a blog hop entree with a side of juicy fabric photos for dessert–how’s that sound?

If you read many sewing blogs, you’ve probably seen the blog hop going around right now–it’s focused on why we bloggers write. I was nominated by the enchanting Rosie at sparkleneedles, whose entry will almost certainly be funnier than mine. To see more about why/how I write (and for fabric photos after), read on! (Otherwise, go look at cute cat videos or something…)

Why do I write?

Well, my degree is in History, so writing things was basically my job for 4 years; I enjoy writing (luckily) and it comes easily for me (more luckily). I started this blog to chronicle my progress as a maker of clothing. I’ve blogged before, but it was always more of a general journal exercise. My goal for this blog was to write about sewing, what I learn (if anything), and to be a part of a larger community of people who are also passionate about sewing and related things; I may include non-sewing stuff occasionally (like vintage posts, or maybe life-ish stuff) but mostly, this is a sewing blog. I don’t really have any IRL sewing friends (though one or two pals are getting into it–yay!), so it’s nice to be among others who will get excited about fabric, techniques, etc., and who will understand the kind of effort that goes into making something 3-D from a 2-D piece of fabric. I suppose I could have just started an Instagram with no blog behind it, but I enjoy reading about other people’s makes and wanted to have something similar for myself; I don’t assume that anyone would enjoy reading about my creative travails, but I wanted a more detailed and involved chronicle for myself than just a bunch of pictures with hashtags.

How do I write?

I don’t have much of a process, actually. (Actually, that’s probably really obvious if you’ve ever read my blog…) Most frequently, my posts are triggered by me working on or finishing something. Sometimes I post about fabric I got, or inspiration and plans for future projects. I try to include details about projects, since I personally do not care for “I made a thing, here are photos of it, the end” posts as a reader; and since this blog is supposed to be a way for me to chronicle my adventures as I learn and progress, not including details or challenges would kind of be a waste of my time. I try to include photos most of the time–even if it’s not an FO or in-progress post–but sometimes don’t, which is something I’d like to be more conscious of in the future.

I do most of my blogging from the office (sorry not sorry) so I tend to put a post together very quickly. I don’t draft–never cared for it–and am able to just sit down, write a thing, and post the thing. I’m a grammar enthusiast, so I usually end up having to do edits after I hit “publish” in order to correct a silly error that I missed on my first few read-throughs, but what I post is essentially exactly what I sat down and spat out into the post editor tool in WordPress. Usually my heater is running at my feet and there’s a bottle of Coke and some type of sweet nearby for good measure, but those things are not required for me to write. 🙂

How does this blog differ from others of its genre?

Honestly, I don’t think it really does: I’m yet another young, slim, white, cis-gendered, coupled, hetero, middle class woman in the sewing blogosphere. That’s about as typical as it gets in the online sewing community, isn’t it? I suppose that, if I had to pick something that’s a little different about my blog, it’s that I’m not afraid to talk about mistakes I’ve made or projects that I struggle with; I know that’s not something everyone does. But even that is such a small thing! I like that there are so many people blogging about their sewing, though–that was one thing that encouraged me when I first started. This isn’t a dying art: people are out there making things and talking about them and sharing with the world! So while I am pretty willing to admit that I have little or nothing new or novel to offer the sewing world, I am enthusiastic about the craft and want to contribute to the chorus of voices.

What am I working on?

Currently, I have one project cut out, and it’s for Tom: McCall’s 6613, view C. I have big plans for myself as well, but nothing is started yet. I’d like to make another vintage Simplicity 1281 and some shirts, at least! Most likely, my next project will be a pair of pants. I’ve been dying to crack open a particular vintage pattern since I got it, and due to an unfortunate turn of events, I’m a bit short on casual pants–this is my moment, right?!?

I honestly have no idea who to nominate next, so I’m taking a rain-check on that. My blog, my rules. xD

So if you’ve made it this far, here’s a treat: my box from Fabric Mart arrived today, and I’m a happy camper!

Neutral ponte knit; no plans yet really, but we'll get there!

Neutral ponte knit; no plans yet really, but we’ll get there!

The coveted cheetah print silk twill! *swoon*

The coveted cheetah print silk twill! *swoon*

Then there's this crazy shit...

Then there’s this crazy shit…

Marc Jacobs, biotch!

Marc Jacobs, y’all!

"Mads" goes mod...

“Mads” goes mod…

Plaid brushed knit

Plaid brushed knit

Modal/silk jersey in two colors

Modal/silk jersey in two colors

I love/hate you, Fabric Mart

I love/hate you, Fabric Mart

Pretty sweet, right? Can we talk about that silk twill for a second, though?? Because holy hell, it is even silkier, dreamier, and sexier than I imagined. It’s also not opaque, but I’ve got that covered: I got some china silk from Dharma Trading to line it. I’m having a total “Wayne’s World” moment–I am not worthy of this luscious material!!

The crazy-ass blue/zebra combo is sufficiently insane in person, but it is LIGHT. I’ve never messed with an ITY knit before, so maybe it’s my inexperience talking, but I did not imagine this material to be semi-sheer and virtually weightless. Guess I’ll be wearing a slip under whatever that becomes, eh?

The Marc Jacobs bottomweight cotton is destined for my ass…as a pair of pants. =) It’s hard to photograph color-wise, but it’s a weird mix between gray and taupe.

The mod checkerboard knit, purple plaid knit, and almond-y ponte are things I liked a lot and figured I’d use at some point. I have no plans for any of them just yet, though. The modal/silk jerseys are perhaps the most heavenly knits I’ve ever put my grubby mitts on; my t*ts are gonna love them.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully I’ll be back in a few days with something new under construction!

Fabric Stashing With Mads

Hello again!

Predictably, I have not started any new projects since finishing the ultimate cat lady outfit. I haven’t made any progress on the one thing I’ve got cut out, either! Again, totally typical of me. The outlook for productivity in my sewing room is bleak for the next week or so: my in-laws (who I actually really do adore–they’re wonderful) are visiting us this weekend, so I am in CLEAN ALL THE THINGS mode…

Like a fuckin' adult

Like a fuckin’ adult

This means that my sewing area will likely be reverting back to its original dining room-like configuration in the event that we cook (LOL) or get pizza one night (probably). Think of it like those rooms in movies/tv shows where a wall spins to reveal something totally awesome, like a mid-century bar, and then spins back into Middle Class Wall mode again as needed. Except, you know, without the automated capabilities and with much more swearing and sadness…

Per my title today, I was very bad. Very, very bad. But I can explain: it’s all Fabric Mart’s fault!!!! They had a 40% off sale for Halloween, and I went a little nuts. I bought 19 yards of fabric. 😦 One of them is an AMAZING silk twill with motherfucking cheetahs on it. Seriously: where was that stuff when I was doing it up Cat Lady style? Oh well, better late than never. Hello, future feline dress!

I also got some modal/silk jersey so that I can use it to line eventual bra cups. My boobs and I are very excited about that prospect, in the event that I ever get around to sewing anything ever again. I also ordered some Marc Jacobs bottom weight cotton for a pair of late 50’s/early 60’s high-waisted skinny pants (duh), and a lot of knits, which is weird for me. Weirder still, most of the knits I got are bold. Like, REALLY bold. I have ideas for all of them, otherwise I would never have pulled the trigger on something like a zebra print knit with bright-ass blue floral border action. (Hey Fabric Mart: let me know if you ever have a job opening for naming fabrics on the website, k? 😉 ) Nothing for Tom (or Gretchen Weiners), but so it goes. I’m sure I’ll post photos instead of links once these beauties arrive at my house, so check back in several days if you’re into that sort of thing!

I re-organized my fabric stash about a month or two ago. I had been very proud that my entire fabric stash fit into one big Rubbermaid bin, and it definitely did…until I took everything out of there and tried to put it all back in again. So now I have two bins where things are folded relatively nicely, and both are pretty full. I may have to start looking for someplace else for this new shipment to hang out, because I doubt those bins have any room! On the one hand, I feel guilty and bad for stashing–it sits there and sits there, and it takes me FOREVER to sew anything. Plus, fabric isn’t free, and it’s not like I have an unlimited budget. And let’s be real: my tastes are kind of expensive, and I can be a total fabric snob; it’s not like I’m stocking up on $2/yard polyester (not that there’s anything wrong with that). On the other hand, I will get around to everything eventually, and almost never buy fabric without an idea of what to do with it, and only buy it at full-price if desperate. I also very rarely shop for new RTW clothes, a recent (unblogged) denim fiasco aside. I buy underpants and some vintage clothing, but not often. I definitely want to curb my stashing, since I have a few years worth of material and limited storage space and sew slower than the speed of smell…

Do any of you stash? Do you ever feel bad about it? If you have any fabric organization tips, feel free to share them!