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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a dress! (And a Mulder…)

Gotta have a side view

Gotta have a side view

And the back

And the back

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

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

A dress and a tree

A dress and a tree

How I do

How I do “poise”

This is my poking stick

This is my poking stick

Stretch!!!

Stretch!!!

Model pose

Model pose

He is too cute not to share!

He is too cute not to share!

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

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

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

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

Our best cheesy grins, just for you!

Our best cheesy grins, just for you!

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

Trying to make

Trying to make “Arboreal Vogue” happen…

Tom made me laugh during a

Tom made me laugh during a “serious” pose.

Coming in for a

Coming in for a “graceful” landing

Gotta keep these chompers in check!

Gotta keep these chompers in check!

Periscope stick

Periscope stick

Vitruvian Mads, Round 2!

Vitruvian Mads, Round 2!

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

He *had* to go for the lipstick…

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

Inari 3 Supplies:

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

An Inari for Spring! (aka Is This B*tch Out of Ikat Yet?!?)

(The answer is yes, except for some rather small scraps, so breathe a sigh of relief!)

Happy Monday! Somehow, I managed to finish my Inari Tee Dress exactly when I expected to–crazy, right?!? I’m really excited for you all to see my shiny new dress, so let’s get to it:

Inari Tee Dress in ikat

Inari Tee Dress in ikat

Front view + Mulder

Front view + Mulder

Side view, because THAT SPLIT HEM, THO.

Side view, because THAT SPLIT HEM, THO.

*insert witty caption here*

*insert witty caption here*

WTF?

WTF?

If I can sits, it fits

If I can sits, it fits

Sorry about the weird drag happening in the back view photo–that’s what I get for¬†not standing straight in photos! For the record, I AM STOKED ON THIS DRESS. I love it. I adore the cocoon-ish shape and interesting hem detail, and my inner greaser wishes I smoked so I could cram a spare cigarette or three in those sleeve cuffs! I totally bit off part of the styling from the Named site for the dress’s debut outing (and subsequent photos)–I bought sheer knee-socks a few years ago when they came back in style, and loved the idea of them with this dress after seeing the styled photos of the Named sample. That being said, one thing I still cannot get behind is tights or hose or socks with open-toed shoes;¬†these booties were my first choice and I could not be happier with how the entire thing came together. My only regret is that I cannot get away with wearing it to the office like this (big split hem + knee socks + heels = scandal in a corporate environment), but that’s why I have an entire arsenal of cute, mod-ish flats, including a pair in the perfect shade of yellow! ūüėÄ

Hopefully these photos show exactly how many elements I had to deal with when thinking about how to lay and cut out my pieces–shit got weird reallllll quick.¬†See, apart from not being able to exactly center the pattern the way I wanted it (“arrows” pointing¬†up and down instead of side to side, both to maximize usage of all colors and design elements and¬†to elongate rather than widen my silhouette), I *also* needed to be cognizant of the potential for those diamond/arrow motifs sitting too low over my chest and giving the dress a very artistic “droopy, fried-egg-on-a-nail boobs” impression. (Go ahead: I dare you to un-see that now!) I managed to avoid that, thank goodness!! And my sleeves match each other pretty closely. I really wanted the black portion of the diamond motif to point downward rather than up, and to have my hem stop below the point–another “check” for my pattern placement list on this dress! (Can you see why I had so much trouble with the layout? I had a lot of arbitrary “musts” for how the pattern fell on the final garment, apparently!) On top of all of that, there were a few flaws in the weave of the material–they look like ladders in tights, but they aren’t tears or holes–which, although probably common in¬†ikat¬†(and therefore not truly considered a flaw), I did NOT want one of those front and center. So after working around all of that, I am very happy with the final dress!¬†Motif¬†placement struggles aside,¬†the¬†fabric and pattern combination really came together beautifully. This ikat is lighter than the other length I had, so it’s just drapey enough to feel nice while still having the body to hold the shape of the cocoon and angular splits on its own.

Construction-wise, this dress was pretty easy. Hooray!! I made zero fitting adjustments apart from copying the width of the shoulders from my Scout pattern to make sure I had enough room. (Concerning the length, Named drafts on a¬†base height of 5’8″; if my doctor is to be believed, I am about 1/2″ to 1″ taller than that, but my legs also aren’t super long. Hopefully that provides a bit of a reference for anyone considering making this.)¬†This was¬†my second time making a Named Clothing pattern, but this one was obviously more involved than my Shadi knit skirt. The trickiest part was successfully sewing the splits at the hem, simply because my fabric is not stretchy and the maneuvering required under the needle is difficult on¬†such a small hem circumference with no elasticity and those sharp corners. I also insisted on having my needle thread on the outside of the dress, which undoubtedly added to my difficulties (i.e., a whole lot of dress bunched up to the right of my needle). But I did it, and I think the splits and hem look really good: