Smells Like Teen Spirit, Looks Like 1994

Hi! This will be a fairly quick post, since it’s a pattern repeat. I meant to have an entire outfit to share, but my trial jeans didn’t work out. (The fabric was the culprit: it was too damn stretchy!)

So that leaves us with this shirt! And thanks to my fabrication, it’s straight out of the High Grunge period of the early 1990s. It’s a Grainline Archer, this time with sleeves. If you’re keeping score, here’s another one for my Fall plans that I can check off! (Fair warning: my hair looks bleh because I had it dyed that morning and hadn’t re-washed it. But the color looks great, at least! šŸ˜€ Also, I have had that metal comb headband since, I don’t know, junior high maybe? It is still ridiculously useful if utterly uncool.) Behold:

rememberremember-14-of-20

Gahhhhhh he is so cute.

rememberremember-9-of-20

The front; looks like I missed a few threads at the collar stand!

rememberremember-6-of-20

Full front view, with dog

rememberremember-2-of-20

Making a stupid face

rememberremember-8-of-20

Back view–check out that pleat!

rememberremember-4-of-20

Dicking around

rememberremember-5-of-20

Clearly I have been watching “Kung Fu Panda” wayyyyy too much.

rememberremember-10-of-20

Snaps!!

I put the yoke, button band, pockets, and cuffs on the bias to break up the checks and get out of pattern matching. >=D The scale of the checks–3″ by 3″–proved to be really annoying for the duration of this project, but especiallyĀ when it came to the collar, because no matter which grain or placement I chose I would be getting nothing but partial checks. In the end, I put that on the straight grain and just picked a color distribution that I liked. Like my striped version, I opted for an obsessively-choreographed placement of the center back pleat at the expense of matching one or both of the side seams. I french seamed everything I could, including the sleeve/armhole seams. I wanted to flat-fell but forgot to add more seam allowance before I cut. Derp.

I’d never done a continuous bound placket before, but got them done successfully on the first attempt; the instructions and sewalong post at Grainline were really clear.

Apart from my usual addition of 1″ of length, I didn’t make any fitting changes to this version of Archer. But once again, I used fewer buttons than the pattern calls for: there are 6 front buttons and 2 cuff buttons on mine, but the pattern calls for 8 front buttons. I just don’t like buttoning shirts up all the way OR wasting buttons. And instead of buttons, I used snaps for the first time!

The lovely Heather has made many beautiful shirts that feature snaps from Snap SourceĀ (NAYY); she also raved about their quality and ease of application, so obviously I had to check them out. šŸ˜€ I am pleased to report that my experience with these snaps very closely mirrors her own: I found the snaps to be of high quality, and after reading the instructions a couple of times, easy to use successfully. I really didn’t have high hopes for that last part, so imagine my surprise when my practice snap (Snap Source includes sample snaps with your tool because they’re awesome) went in perfectly on the first attempt! I went with pearl snaps for this shirt, which requires a separate base that is designed not to damage the pearl domes as you hammer away. Even so, I did end up with one scuffed snap (the top one, OF COURSE) but the installations were all successful. I will warn you though, that this process should not be done while your co-occupants are sleeping: it is LOUD. I did mine at 10PM (I was on a total high afterĀ getting home from a “Fit and Sip” event at a sewing store down the street) while Tom was awake, but I felt obligated to keep apologizing for the noise! O_o

I got this fabric at Zinck’s in Berlin, OH. Don’t let the named-after-a-huge-European-city name fool you: this place is in the middle of BFE Amish Country, Ohio, and was a definite pain in the ass to get to from Columbus. (I am a freeway driver: give me high speed limits and at least 3 lanes–so I can get around all y’all–and I’m happy.) Their prices are pretty good anyway, but we timed our visit to coincide with their 37th Anniversary sale; as you can imagine, I made some serious scores. (Like an entire 20 yard bolt of water resistant nylon in The Most Perfect Olive Green for $0.37/yard. 37 CENTS. PER YARD. Seriously.) This buffalo check cotton (which also came in blue/black, which I also bought…) came pre-cut into approximately 3 yard bundles and was $0.75/yard. It’s probably not meant for shirts but the hand and weight are suitable for that application. The buffalo checks, I think, make it seem heftier than just shirting-weight cotton, but it’s actually pretty nice to have a light fall-appropriate shirt hanging around.

I made this shirt back in September, but don’t be fooled: I’ve been somewhat productive since then! I made most of a pair of jeans for myself–I was all the way at the waistband stage–before realizing the project just wasn’t going to work out (the aforementioned too-stretchy-fabric pair), sewed up some more poet shirts for the store where I used to work part-time, and made Tom 2 new pairs of Hudson pants! Here is one pair in, um, “action”:

rememberremember-17-of-20

A pair of butts.

rememberremember-20-of-20

This dog tho.

On top of all of THAT, I have been busy dealing with our bathroom remodel. It’s been a slog, but we’re finally getting to the point where there are things I need to do to keep the job moving. It’s been kind of nice to not have to work on it for a short while, since we did all our own demolition to save money. (Note to self [and any other interested/curious parties]: next time, just pay up and let someone else do everything. Seriously.) Now we’re getting to the priming and painting stage (again, we’re doing this ourselves to save money) so I’m being pulled back into the fray! I fully intend to share more about the remodel here when it’s finished: we have been taking plenty of pictures and it’s going to be an amazing transformation, but boy is it ugly in that in-between phase!! We’ve also had our fair share of Old House Problems that don’t make for very enjoyable in-progress reading material! =’D

So that’s my update today! I have a HUGE sewing project in the works (it’s a personal thing as per usual, not a testing/promotional thing, FYI) that I will hopefully finish by my deadline and be able to proudly share with you next month, so look out for that! (And if you’re feeling generous, send good vibes/cross your fingers/make a ritual sacrifice for me–I need all the solidarity I can get, LOL.)

 

 

 

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. šŸ˜¦ If I’m dealing with bricks, they’d better be made of cheese or I’m not happy.

Anyway.

Shirts and Skurt-2

Big ole shirt

Shirts and Skurt-3

Sheer, too.

Shirts and Skurt-5

Goofing off

Shirts and Skurt-10

Back neckband, V.2

Shirts and Skurt-11

Best Penny!

IMG_20160829_191420

Dress form side view

IMG_20160829_191451

Innards!

 

Cool, right? At least I feel cool in them. šŸ˜‰ 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 topsĀ 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!

Shirts and Skurt-20

Moss mini!! And legs!!!!

Shirts and Skurt-14

Fly front

Shirts and Skurt-22

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

Shirts and Skurt-25

Sorry for the pose–I was itchy

IMG_20160829_191747

Beautiful serged innards!

IMG_20160829_191759

Full (fly) frontal

IMG_20160829_191824

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. šŸ˜€

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. šŸ˜‰

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. šŸ˜€

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

Shirts and Skurt-24

“Hi, Rhonda!!!” =)

Thanks for reading! ā¤

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

In Which The Blogger Is Late To The Party

The Archer party, that is. šŸ˜€

Hi, everyone! Before I get to the Archer part of the business today, I want to do a quick shout-out to Pattern Review and Creative Publishing International: I won a giveaway at PR!!!!!!! I am the lucky winner of a copy ofĀ The Shirtmaking Workbook by the aspirational AND inspirational David Page Coffin–can you hear me “SQUEEEEEEE”ing from here? My very cool and professional reply to PR’s email informing me that I had won began with a solid row of exclamation points. #nochill So thank you, PR and CPI, for offering this giveaway. I will try to do you proud with this resource by my side!

0612161322

I’M A WINNER!!!!!!

And appropriately enough, the news of my random victory came during the final stages of finishing up my Archer shirt!

I know that almost everyone else with the internet and a sewing machine has made this pattern, but I’m just now getting to it. I mostly bought it for making flannel shirts for myself, but decided to take a crack at using it for at least one summer shirt when the vintage pattern I was working on proved to be too much of an annoyance. (Seriously, fuck those camp collar/ridiculous facing combos.) I recently bought several stripey fabrics at Mood (who clearly knew that a stripes sale on a Friday the 13th would bring your pal Mads out of the woodwork) and immediately knew which one I wanted toĀ sew first: a denim blue/natural striped cotton voile, which can be foundĀ here (for right now anyway).

And now for the big reveal–my favorite part!

Striped Shirt-36

“ALL THE STRIPES” Archer

Striped Shirt-38

Pocket + Buttons

Archer Collage 4

Side views

Striped Shirt-26

Back view, plus nature

Striped Shirt-49

A perfect shirt for Puppy Playtime, obviously!

Archer Collage 2

Insides!

Striped Shirt-10

Artful front view

Striped Shirt-8

“Oh, funny seeing you here!”

What do you guys think? I’m really happy with it. It will definitely get a lot of wear this summer!

I took a lot of time to work on stripe matching for this shirt, but it’s fair to say that we had some do-overs before the end, LOL! I had a very specific idea in mind for laying out the stripes (of course) and everything more or less turned out just as I had hoped! The sewn-on right front placket was tough to keep lined up and while it’s certainly not perfect, it’s damn close. Apologies for the styling otherwise: it rained a tiny bitĀ on Saturday night (we did pictures on Sunday) so I wore my big-ass boots for our photo “shoot” to ensure that I could get to any part of the park we wanted. Those boots may not be much to look at, but they are among my favorite things; I got them at the Eddie Bauer outlet like, 5 years ago. $25 for $150ish Le Chameau boots = #winning. And the shorts? I have no good excuses there…making better ones is on my sewing “short” list (HAHAHA GET IT?!?) for sure. šŸ˜‰

CONSTRUCTION NOTES

  1. I used muslin for my bindings (armholes and hem) and the yoke facing and inner collar stand;Ā voileĀ fabric is light and the show-through from the blue stripes is no joke. (Although shockingly, the shirt isn’t see-through on me; I am not wearing a cami under it in any of these!) I bit the bullet and made my own bias binding from muslin.
  2. This was my first time doing the “burrito method” for the yokes (haven’t dealt with a yoke and yoke facing before now) and it’s everything it’s cracked up to be!
  3. I also used the often-referenced construction order from four square walls for my collar and stand, and I’m never doing it any other way if I can help it–my stand and button bands are perfectly aligned!
  4. I put the pockets on the cross grain for maximum style points. The pockets are my 2nd favorite part of the shirt visually, topped only by my brag-worthy placement of the back pleat, which I can assure you was 100% intentional:
Striped Shirt-27

Attempting to use both pockets at once. #nailedit

Striped Shirt-41

Seriously. LOOK AT IT.

See that?!? Perfectly centered to feature a blue stripe IN THE CENTER of the pleat. BOOM! I’d like to thank my cutting mat, masking tape, clear grid ruler, and obsessive/compulsive tendencies for making this not-at-all-humble brag possible. šŸ˜€

Finally, I topstitched the side seams, collar, hem, and armholes; I did edgestitching on the collar stand, shoulders, and back yoke seam. My undercollar is on the bias, which looks AMAZING, but I did not get a great picture of that for you. Seriously you guys, I feel like I could wear this shirt inside-out if it weren’t for the buttons. (Fabric with no “wrong side” makes cutting out and matching things a bitch, but boy does it make the insides look spectacular!)

You probably noticed how few buttons this shirt has (6) vs. the pattern’s recommendations (9). I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want my summer shirts to button all the way up to my larynx. Once I decided on which buttons to use, I opted to startĀ from a decent-but-still-casual location at the pockets and space the buttonholes 2″ apart until I ran out of buttons or made it really close to the hem. The buttons I used are vintage; a friend gave them to me from her late MIL’s stash and I am so thrilled to have found the perfect use for them! I was thisclose to using Size 16 pearl snaps but felt they looked too puny against the 1/2″ stripes on an oversized shirt.

PATTERN NOTES

I followed Grainline’s own recommendationsĀ for sleeveless alterations, which worked perfectly. The only other alterations I made were:

  1. Added 1″ of length at the lengthen/shorten lines
  2. Took a slightly smaller hem than recommended (somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/2″)
  3. Increased my side seam uptake below the underarms.

With respect to that last part, I ended up with about 1″ seam allowances at the waist and 5/8″ at the hip. That’s why the stripes get a little different as you look down the sides. I could have taken more at the underarm as well, but didn’t want to make the shirt uncomfortably snug or create drag lines once the buttons were added later.Ā I don’t think it made much difference though, so I either need to be more aggressive or just surrender to the “wearing a rectangle” thing entirely next time.

For next time (and there will be one), I will omit the cut-on button band on the left front and do it as a sew-on. In a perfect world, I would haveĀ had the button band stripes going the same way as the pockets; I just didn’t want the extra annoyance after dealing with the failed vintage pattern (2 muslins and still not right–ugh). I plan to make lots of plaid flannel versions of the Archer, and will definitely want bias button bands for those! šŸ™‚

That about wraps up the details on this one; it was a very simple project apart from the stripe matching! And now for outtakes!

Striped Shirt-12

“YOU’RE A MONKEY, DEREK!!!!!”

Striped Shirt-15

Classic Mads. The camera isn’t tilted, btw: that’s the angle of the slope and tree!!

Striped Shirt-17 (1)

Flailing

Striped Shirt-23

Having a Narcissus moment

Striped Shirt-29

Poppin’ the collar so you guys can see the bias effect…kinda.

Striped Shirt-34

Messing with the buttons

Striped Shirt-50

Mulder learned to levitate for this picture.

Striped Shirt-55

Puppy kisses!!!

What’s on your sewing table for the new season? Have you made an Archer? Would a sale on striped fabrics be enough to get you to hit “Add to Cart?”Ā 

SUPPLIES

1.5 yards Cotton Voile, from Mood
~1/2 yard cotton muslin, from stash
6 x 5/8″vintage buttons, from a friend
80/12 Universal needle (should have gone down one size)
Thread

Scout Tee in Ikat

Good news, everyone: I’ve finally finished something new! Behold: the Scout Woven TeeĀ in genuine ikat! Apologies for the poor quality of these photos–I finished the top around 10PM last night and wanted these done before I went to bed! Tom was a little tipsy after having some beers with his friends, which surely didn’t help matters, LOL! (And I HATE being photographed in skinny jeans, but this is definitely a “with jeans” top, so I’m grudgingly allowing for an exception.)

Front view

Front view

Awkward side pose

Awkward side pose

Rear view

Rear view

Scout innards

Scout innards

Obligatory 6AM selfie

Obligatory 6AM selfie

Maybe you can’t tell, but I LOVE this top!! I’m so proud of it, and proud that I was able to get it together so quickly. I made 2 mojo-smashing mistakes (inserted one sleeve inside-out, and got almost all the way around the hem attaching the bias binding only to notice that I was attaching it to the inside, not the outside) on two of my three work nights on the final version, but still got this top done in about 4-5 total hours of work time. For me, that’s basically the speed of light.Ā =D

This top is really easy. Like, so easy I didn’t bother reading the instructions once I finished my muslin on Friday. As with my muslin, I cut a straight size 0. I did bias facings for all the hems and the neckline, and got to use a bright orange vintage binding from my stash for the task. The weave of this ikat is loose, so I did french seams everywhere but the armholes; I only skipped the armholes because the sleeve seam allowance on this pattern is a scant 1/4″. For the moment, those seams are raw-edged, but I think I will trim and bind them for security. This fabric fraysĀ horriblyĀ so IĀ don’t want to take the chance of those areas falling apart with wear or washing. Apart from that, though, this Scout definitely has the prettiest innardsĀ out of all the thingsĀ I’ve made; it helps that there is no “wrong” side with my fabric, of course!

As I mentioned in my last post, I had to add a lot of length to this top due to the natureĀ of my midsection. The side photo above is deceptive, because I actually eliminated the high-low hem effect; I must have been arching my back or twisting awkwardly when that photo was taken. Fit-wise, I’m really happy with the final product, though I concede that it needed no “fitting.”

Because my fabric is somewhat irregular pattern-wise, I decided not to worry about pattern matching everywhere. I decided I wanted the vertical stripes to line up at the shoulders, and they do! I disobeyed a direct order and cut the sleeves on the cross grain, and I did that for two reasons: I wanted that vertical stripe to circle aroundĀ the bottom of the sleeve (a smashing success, if I do say so myself) and I wanted to conserve fabric. I had foolishly hoped to be able to squeeze something else out of my 2 yards of 44″ wide ikat, but I don’t see how that’s an option now that this top is done–I’ve got very little usable material left over. Such a miracle was little more than the fever dream of a madwoman, I suppose…But at $17.50/yard, can you blame me for trying?!? Thank goodness I used thread and binding from my stash, because this was an expensive-ass tee!!

What’s the most expensive “basic” in your wardrobe?Ā 

Next Up: The Scout Tee (aka The 50th Post at Life In A “Mads” House!)

Howdy! This is my 50th post on this blog, and I can hardly believe I’ve made it this far. Thanks to everyone who has read my nonsense over the past 1+ year: I hope you stick around for entry #100, too! (Shit, who am I kidding?? I hopeĀ I’m still around for #100! šŸ™‚ )

I’ve been a busy little bee in my sewing room lately! I decided to scrap the linen version of vintage Simplicity 1281 that I had started. I would rather start over and do it right than try to salvage one that I very obviously did a sub-par job on. Next time, I will be sure to cut carefully and LABEL everything as I go!

My stretch denim and ikat fabrics arrived from Michael Levine lastĀ week, and I have already started working on one of the projects I had in mind: the Scout Woven Tee from Grainline Studios. My muslin is finished and looks the way I want–I’m so excited! I’ve got my ikat washed and ready to go, and will be cutting into it today. I really want this top to be done in time for our visit to our hometown this weekend, and I should be able to achieve that–this pattern goes together so fast!! Here’s how the muslin turned out:

Front view

Front view

Side; after seeing this photo, I slashed and added the needed length to the back piece.

Side; after seeing this photo, I slashed and added the needed length to the back piece.

Back view

Back view

You may not be able to tell from these photos (the cell phone variety, obviously), but one sleeve is better than the other. Truth be told, I am struggling to remember which it is using these photos, since I muslined this on Friday night. I’m pretttttttttttty sure it’s the one on my left. But up close, it’s obvious. The main difference is that I dropped one side seam by about 1/4″ for comfort after setting my first sleeve. I did not change the sleeve piece at all, and found it eased in just fine and looks exactly like the Scout on the Grainline shop page, whereas the first one I did wasn’t eased in very well and felt a little restrictive under my arm.

I have lengthened this top pretty considerably–about 2-3 inches at the front. I know that it has a slight high-low effect in its unadulterated form, which wouldn’t normally be an issue for me, but the front of this top was hitting me in an odd place. I have a longer-than-average torso, so I wasn’t surprised. I opted to just lengthen the back to match the front (which I did after seeing the second photo and checking the muslin while flat), since I’d rather have a flush hem than make the back long enough to register as a high-low (rather than an ID10T error); I had maybe 1″ to add there, so not much at all.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out the neck band on this damn shirt. You can sort of see it in the photos, flopping around and sticking up away from the shirt. The instructions and drawings aren’t really solving my problem either, so I’ve decided to do an invisible bias tapeĀ finishĀ on the neckline (and sleeves!) instead. I’ve done that before and feel much more comfortable with that, especially since this fabric I’m using isn’t cheap and I’m not about to relegate it to UFO status because of a fucking neckband.

In other news, I stopped at Joann’s after work on Friday night to pick up some denim needles (SEW ALL THE JEANS!!!!!) and a set of Microtex needles. I noticed that their current big sale included muslin by the bolt–40% off!!! I thought about it, but decided I really shouldn’t spend the money right now–I just went on an epic spree when Fabric Mart had a sale on the entire regularly-priced section of their site–and went home with just my needles. I figured I had enough muslin to not need to worry about it. And then I started this top, and realized I had about one more Scout Tee worth of muslin on my current bolt, and that was it. *gulp* So I went back the next morning and got a 10 yard bolt of 60″ muslin for 40% off. I should be set for a while. I am now on a true fabric fast, because we have some things we need to have done at the house AND our county auditor has increased the value of the house by A LOT, and we’ll need to be able to pay a lump sum into our escrow account to cover it for the December tax distribution. So, you know, grown-up shit. But I got some great knits and silks in the Fabric Mart sale, so between that and the rest of my stash I’m ready to ride out this fast. =)

Do any of you have big plans for the end of summer (in the northern hemisphere, anyway)? August sure snuck up on me–time flies!

 

On Hubris and Sewing Miracles

Happy Friday!! I don’t know about the rest of you, but this week has felt interminably long and I am ready for it to be over!

Have you ever gotten cocky and, as a result of your hubris, not been as careful or attentive as you should have been? I’m living that right now. My current project is a repeat of one I’ve made before, and I sashayed into my work area like I’d been there, done that, and was gonna own this motherfucking skirt. I should have respected the skirt, y’all.

I’ve been working on my next version of vintage Simplicity 1281 on my evenings off (2 per week) and it was starting to look like a skirt. Well, kind of, anyway. For starters, my fabric–a stiff, ever-shredding suiting-weight glazed linen–has been impossibleĀ to keep ironed, thoughĀ I’m trying. On my first workday, I made the mistake of cutting out my pieces and not labeling them immediately; when I returned to the project a few days later, I was beyond confused about which piece was what and struggled to mark them correctly. With this pattern, theĀ front and back pieces are shaped almost exactly the same but not quite, and theĀ right and wrong sides of my material are nearly identical. I don’t know if I messed up the marking or the cutting, but one thing is clear: I messed something up someplace. šŸ˜¦

I swear I'm not making a cat blanket...

I swear I’m not making a cat blanket…

If you look closely, you might notice that one halfĀ (front, in this case, which is the layer that’s against my cutting mat in the photo) is WAY longer than the other. In addition to that, the lengthsĀ of the back panels (which are the top layer of the skirt in the photo) are not level–not even close. I have no idea if my cutting was that sloppyĀ or if I made an error in pairing up the pieces before sewing them, but I’m going to have to figure out how to salvage this somehow. Or not, since I have enough yardage left to make another skirt. But, actually,Ā I think I kind of hate this fabric. The finish is beautiful (not in this photo, sadly) and it’s a great weight for this skirt, but it’s impossible to deal with. It’s 100% linen and frays and shreds all over the place at the cut edges. On top of that, it isn’t particularly pleasant to touch. Good thing I bought 4 fucking yards! /sarcasm

Because of the fraying, I decided to do french seams onĀ all of the skirt pieces. This is a hefty fabric, but I liked this idea better than using bias tape or lining the skirt (because I’m a fucking idiot). I’m happy with how those are turning out, so there’s one ray of sunshine. There’s also this:

This bobbin wasn't empty when I started!

This bobbin wasn’t empty when I started!

I’ll set the scene for you: I was nearing the end of a seam finish–the stepĀ that encloses the raw, trimmed edges of the first step of a french seam with right sides together–and could hear the telltale sounds of my machine running out of bobbin thread. (It makes a peculiar mechanical “chug” sound, okay? Trust me.) I’ve been using up the leftover polyester thread that I used forĀ Tom’s cardigan back in December, and knew I didn’t have enough on the bobbin to do the entire skirt. I checked my little window and could see thread feeding through, so I kept going. Once I finished my backstitching at the end of the seam and cut the thread, I realized I’d only cut one thread. I sighed, thinking that this was just the kind of sewing day I was going to have: running out of thread during the most crucial part of this seam finish on top of the other mistakes/unpleasant realities I was dealing with already. But when I checked everything, I realized that I ran out of bobbin thread AS I MADE THE FINAL STITCH OFF THE EDGE AFTER BACKSTITCHING. That’s like a sewing unicorn!!! I was really excited, obviously. I stopped there for the night, thinking that this was a bit of goodwill from the universe re: this stupid skirt (and also because I didn’t feel like winding a new bobbin). I’m going to pick it up again tonight and see what I can do. I’ve got my zipper area interfaced already–seriously, the way this shit shreds, I needed to do that, despite the weight of the fabric–and need to sew the side seams to join front to back. Then it’s waistband time! (Assuming I don’t set this fucker on fire before I get to that step.)

I was very naughty yesterday (pay day, woo hoo!!) and ordered some fabric: 2 stretch denims and 2 woven ikats. In my defense, I have patterns and outfits planned for everything already, and one denim goes with each ikat. I just got the ScoutĀ pattern from Grainline Studios and the JamieĀ jeansĀ pattern from Named, so I’d like to jump into those things once the fabrics show up. It’s my first time ordering from Michael Levine, and I’m anxious to see how their material handles.

What’s your favorite fabric source? Are you planning to try any new-to-you pattern companies soon?