A New Bag and A Sack (Dress)

**Sorry guys and gals: I accidentally hit “publish” instead of “save draft” the other day, so you may have gotten an alert about a new post and then not been able to get to it. Apologies for the confusion or irritation–I’ll try to read my buttons for comprehension (as opposed to color-coding!) from now on, LOL!**

Hi again! It has been a damp few days here in Ohio, and your intrepid blogger has managed to forget her rain boots and then step headlong into many, many puddles wearing suede flats. There was much swearing and lamentation. But it’s also warm enough not to need a coat, so I’m trying to keep it all in perspective! 😀

Today I have actual THINGS to share–hooray! (Well, one finished thing and one started thing.) I’ve been busy sewing (and fabric and pattern shopping…oops) and have really been pushing myself to crank things out while I have the inspiration fresh in my mind. I have a few other ideas swimming around in my skull right now, and I’m hoping to get to them right away; it helps that I am officially done with weeknight shifts at the shop and have those few hours each evening to toil in my sewing room.

First up, the finished thing: a Cooper bag for MEEEEEE! Tom got one for xmas, and I’ve wanted one for myself ever since. I was able to construct the entire shell out of leftover fabric from other projects (those of you who have been reading my nonsense for a little while will likely recognize them) and only had to buy the nylon lining and hardware.

Cooper pieces

Cooper pieces, minus straps

Proudly holding up the bag

Proudly holding up the finished bag (and check out that toothy smile, yay!)

Ripstop lining!

Ripstop lining!


Front, with bonus cat hair and stray thread…



A terrible photo of the bag, but we need a Mulder cameo!

A terrible photo of the bag, but we need a Mulder cameo here!

Apart from working out how to cut the ikat accent pieces, this was a very straightforward project for me. Even the ripstop sewed up without a fuss! I had only purchased 2 yards of the ikat originally (at $17/yard, I felt bad even buying that much!), and since I cut out my Scout tee without thinking about leftovers, I had to pick my battles for these accents. The flap is my biggest disappointment in terms of print placement–I just did not have the right piece of fabric left over to center that motif on the pattern piece, but I am glad I was able to get all the colors in there and kind of echo the flap pattern on the bottom front pocket piece. I was lucky to be able to use the stripe on the flap and the bottom pieces for some design continuity as well, and I was also able to match the stripe going around the bottom of the bag from front to back. The black glazed linen (of vintage Simplicity 1281 fame) was used for the main body pieces, the faux straps, the bottom gusset, and the underside of the flap (not enough ikat for both flap pieces), and I used some leftover orange canvas from Tom’s Cooper for the strap tabs and front body pocket.

I omitted the rivets on my Cooper, just because I am a lazy-ass. The webbing on my bag is nylon–as opposed to the cotton I used on Tom’s version–and it was very easy to deal with, although I stuck to finger pressing the folds instead of ironing, just to be safe. If I were to make another version of this bag (and I very well might some day!), I will stick to the cotton webbing. I do not doubt the durability of my nylon webbing, but the cotton stuff I used for Tom’s bag was so much sturdier and heavier and less slippery to the touch, which I (apparently) prefer. That being said, the nylon webbing was much easier for my machine to handle than the cotton version, which was a welcome relief!

I decided that it might be a good idea (mostly for Future Mads, but maybe for a few of you, too) to do a quick list of supplies for each completed project I post going forward, so here is the Cooper list:

  • Cooper bag pattern from Colette
  • Just under 1 yard genuine ikat from Michael Levine (this colorway is sold out, but they carry lots of others)
  • Not quite 1 yard Italian bottomweight glazed linen from Gorgeous Fabrics (long gone, but GF always has great stuff!)
  • Scraps of orange canvas, originally from Fabric.com
  • Almost 3 yards 1 1/2″ nylon webbing from Strapworks
  • 4 x 1 1/2″ nickel sliders from HardwareElf (I used Item # R-005)
  • 2 x nickel magnetic snaps, size 18mm, from Fabric.com
  • Roughly 1-1.5 yards ripstop nylon from Joann Fabrics
  • 1 Microtex needle, size 70/10 (for ripstop)
  • 1 denim needle, size 100/16 (for everything else)
  • Black polyester all-purpose Guttermann thread
  • Orange polyester all-purpose Guttermann thread (for orange canvas pieces only)

As if the bag weren’t enough, I have also started work on a dress!

Coming soon: the Inari Tee Dress!

Coming soon: the Inari Tee Dress!



Inari pieces (taken before I finished my binding)

Inari pieces (taken before I finished my binding)

This post is all ikat, all the time, huh? 🙂 I bought both cuts together, and was originally planning a Scout tee with both versions. And then I decided that I really wanted a sack dress (seriously), and planned to turn my Scout pattern into that sack dress. And then I saw the Inari pattern and liked the vaguely-cocoon-shaped silhouette better than the kind-of-A-line lengthened Scout. I’ll be honest: when Named’s newest collection, Ticket, came out, I was kind of underwhelmed. Nothing really jumped out at me as I scrolled through the page, mostly due to the styling. But once I opened each pattern individually and looked at line drawings and extra photos, I had to have Inari. I instantly knew that I would use this ikat for it, and set out to start working on it straight away. I did encounter a little trouble with the PDF assembly, though:

Wait...something seems "off," doesn't it? =)

Wait…something seems “off,” doesn’t it? =)

Above is Saoirse’s idea of “helping.” Her definition is slightly different from mine! She stayed there until I gave up and walked away to brush my teeth for work, at which time she decided that if I wasn’t trying to work on it, she wasn’t interested in playing with it. Cats, amirite??

Once again, I am not completely thrilled with my fabric layout on this one. I had 2 yards to work with, but 2.5 would have been ideal to wastefully center the vertical motif on the pattern pieces. My layout ended up being rather wasteful anyway, but it was the closest I could get to centered while getting the main design on both front and back. The sleeves and folded hem bands were sort of haphazard, though I tried to make both sides identical. After tracing my pattern from the PDF tiles, I took out my Scout pieces and copied the shoulder width onto my Inari pieces. The Scout is a truly amazing fit in my shoulders right out of the envelope and I didn’t feel like muslining a sack, so this seemed like the best (read: easiest) course of action. After cutting out, my next step was to sew seam binding to every. single. raw. edge. I could have used the overlock on my machine, but this just seemed like a nicer, better-looking option. It was painfully slow work, but will be worth it when my dress seams DON’T fray down to the stitching and fall apart on me. 🙂 I am hoping to have this dress finished by next week so I can wear it–it’s officially Spring here now, and my legs would like to take a break from pants for a while! And of course I will share photos and junk here, so check back!

And remember that little sidebar about pattern and fabric shopping? >=D

Beautiful ombre silk crepe!

Beautiful ombre silk crepe!

Three loud jerseys and one ginger-y scuba knit

Three loud jerseys and one ginger-y scuba knit

3 new vintage top patterns!

3 new vintage top patterns!

It’s not my fault, guys. (Spoiler alert: it never is!) Gorgeous Fabrics had a sale and I succumbed to my fiber lust. Specifically regarding that ombre silk crepe: I’ve had my greedy little eyeballs on it for MONTHS and finally got up the nerve to buy some. It’s 60″ wide and runs from red at both selvedges into coral, and then to orange in the center. I feel like it NEEDS to become a long, split-to-there dress of some sort–what do you think?? I also got my first-ever cut of scuba knit (with another on the way!), along with some really bold-but-awesome jerseys for tops. The patterns came from the ebay shop Vintage4me2, which I highly recommend. Again, not my fault, there was a sale, yadda yadda yadda. The late 50’s V-neck top isn’t something I ever thought I’d gravitate toward, but it’s super wearable and could work with knits or wovens; it also gave me a vaguely 1920’s vibe, and you know I’m all about that!

I’ll stop here for today, but hopefully I’ll have a finished cocoon/sack/dress-like item to show you very soon. What are you all up to these days? Splashed about in any good puddles lately?

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!

Humble-Brag – Fabric Edition

Truth time: this post is basically an excuse to brag online about a super-sweet fabric deal that I got. I know my fellow sewists will understand that feeling! (My husband is kind of bored of hearing about it, which is no fun!)

Last week, I was cruising around Pattern Review, as I do most days. I ended up on the Fabric message board, and saw a thread about a 50% off sale at a website called Elliott Berman; that day happened to be the final day of the sale. I could have sworn I’d heard of the place before, and then it hit me: I’d seen their site linked on Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, a truly fabulous sewing blog that I love reading. (If you’re not reading Carolyn’s blog, you must start straight away! Her finishing is impeccable and I love her approach to sewing.) I then remembered that HOLY SHIT THAT’S THE WEBSITE WITH ALL THE DESIGNER FABRICS. I had bookmarked their Chanel page a few months ago but hadn’t been able to bring myself to place an order, since I have responsibilities, etc. ANYWAY. I immediately went to their site and, sure enough, the home page was covered with an announcement for the 50% off sale; I noted that it did not list any exceptions, so I went straight to the Chanel section. I figured they had to have sold out of the two wools I liked, because how could they not? Oh, dear readers, I was in for a shock.

Not only were my favorite wools not sold out, they were plentiful enough for me to order what I needed and I most definitely got every fucking yard at half price. I think my mouth hung open for 10 minutes after I completed my purchase, because this is just not a thing that happens. I’m dying. I died. I’m dead.

Oh. I’m sorry, did you want to see some fabulous Chanel wool that will someday become jackets and capes? Very well:


Boucle! Look at those colors!!!


Same boucle, minus the flash on my camera. Yep, still gorgeous.


Black metallic wool chenille brocade!!

I wasn’t able to get a super-good photo of the black brocade, but it IS metallic and completely fabulous. (The floral bit is the bow that tied my packing slip to the fabric.) I shouldn’t play favorites, but I do. Oh, I sure do. I love them both, truly, but the black wool was the one I decided I would order SOMEDAY when I could justify spending that kind of money on one cut of fabric. It’s just…splendid. And more versatile than the technicolor couture candy in the first 2 photos. So even though I was able to get both fabrics, the black metallic stuff is a little more special to me.

I haven’t chosen patterns for these fabrics yet, but I know they’ll be vintage. I’m naively hoping to be able to get 2 items out of each piece, but we’ll see about that. If only one item per fabric is possible, the black chenille will be what gets turned into a cape. And then I’ll be swanning around resisting the urge to shout, “Oh, do you like my jacket/cape? IT’S CHANEL.”

(I seriously owe the person who posted that announcement on Pattern Review a high-five; like, the high-five to end all high-fives.)