Proper Summer Sewing (aka Revenge of The Hammock)

Hi again!

As promised, I have two recent projects to share today: a Style Arc Blaire shirt and a dress made from McCall’s 6886! I’ve made both patterns before so there isn’t much new to say, but I’ll share them anyway. Plus we got some pretty ridiculous photos of the McCall’s dress, so stay tuned for those!

First up is my new Blaire:

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Yep, it’s a shirt

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Closer view of the front

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Side, with flaps!

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Back

I really must have a chat with my photographer about his favorite editing preset, as it does nothing for my scary-visible circulatory system! 😀 😀

As I said, there isn’t much new to say about this shirt that I didn’t say the first time around. I followed the same order of construction and everything! This fabric is cool though: it’s a cupro/linen/tencel blend from Blackbird. (I’d link directly to it, but her stock is always changing and I know eventually this will sell out forever and break my link! As of this post going live, she still has this fabric in multiple colors.) Originally I wanted a white Blaire but settled for ecru because there was no white, but this fabric seemed neat. It’s not really visible in photos, but the fabric has a sheen to one side; I used that one as my right side, because of course I did. 😉 It feels much heavier than I expected, but is still light and has a very fluid drape. No regrets whatsoever! This stuff feels great against the skin. I have just enough left over to use as a bodice lining for an upcoming dress, so yay! The buttons are shell ones from Wawak; it was tough choosing between the 2 different off-white shell buttons I have and my coconut ones. O_o (I’m only kind of kidding…I spent way too many minutes agonizing about it. #getalife)

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“Mom, this is boring. I’m bored.”

Couldn’t leave you all without a cutie cameo, could I? 😉

Now for something much cooler than a flappy off-white shirt: this dress!

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Stripes!

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Side slits!

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Tight fit!

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Ridiculous pose!

All those captions are basically “‘Mads’ Bingo!” aren’t they? 😉

This dress came to life because of the ponte knit fabric. Several months back, I was the lucky winner of an Instagram giveaway by Gorgeous Fabrics–I KNOW!!!!!!! I was very excited because the prize was 3 yards of an amazing bright red lace. However, I felt kind of guilty just taking free fabric, you know? Especially a nice fabric like double-scalloped lace! (And no, it wasn’t for a partnership or sponsored post–Ann was doing a few giveaways to clear stock and I happened to win one of them.) So I headed over to the site and poked around, as one does. >=D Ann has great taste and I’ve bought amazing things from her since I first learned to sew, so I knew I’d find something. My eye was immediately drawn to this fabric, as it’s the perfect stripe width AND bright shade of cobalt blue. I had to have it! (I also got an animal print ITY with a cool border fade effect. That will be fun to use!) Immediately I thought of a dress like this one: midi length, short sleeves, snug fit, side splits, worn with white sneakers. I couldn’t really be much happier with the result! (And I definitely bought these sneakers just because of this dress. And yes, they’re Sperrys–don’t @ me.)

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Pure class.

I’ve made M6886 a few other times, and it’s a great dress pattern. However, I learned early on that I really benefit from putting a CB seam in it: it’s a must to get the snug fit through the waist that I prefer. I didn’t 100% nail the stripe matching up the CB because I didn’t baste the seam first, but it’s sooo close. O_o I did baste the side seams and the actual neckband–I wanted the stripes to be perfect and that’s a tricky prospect on a neckband.

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Neckband action

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Sweet-ass side splits

I need to adjust the shoulder slope on this pattern–it’s really obvious to me now, lol.

This dress is also the first project that I’ve sewn on ALL THREE of my machines!!! (Oh yeah, by the way: I got a coverstitch last summer from a friend who had upgraded to a Babylock combo, and am now the proud owner of the legendary Janome Coverpro 1000CPX.) The CB seam was done on my sewing machine with a narrow zigzag, and the split openings were topstitched on it as well; I serged every other seam and the raw hem edges; finally, I sewed the bottom and sleeve hems and around the neckband with my coverstitch. Boom!!

Okay, with the technical stuff out of the way, I have some hilarious (to me, anyway…) photos of this dress for you. The day we took photos, Tom had used his hammock to lounge out in the yard. I thought it would be cute with the nautical look of my dress if I got some hammock shots, but it turns out I am rubbish at hammocks! See for yourself:

 

 

So far, so good, right? Nope. Behold the immediate aftermath of the above photos:

 

 

This thing kept spitting me out like I was a piece of gristle in a steak, y’all.

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For real, I look like I’m trying to elaborately hide behind the hammock.

Finally, after resorting to using my chin for leverage…

 

 

…I managed to stay on the hammock. Sort of. Less “lounging” than “clinging desperately and in a state of exhausted exasperation”…

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I mean, come on.

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A perfectly accurate face for my emotions.

In between Tom’s cackles at my ineptitude, he captured these photos (and more, if I’m being honest). You’re welcome.

Summer is what’s on my mind where sewing is concerned: I have plans for at least one sundress, and maybe some linen pants. (I know, soooo original…) I also need to replace one of my Reeta dresses 😦 😦 so that’s on the agenda also. What are you sewing now?

 

 

Operation Lady Tux, Part 1: Big Reveal and Inspiration

Helloooooooooooo!

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Here I am, having made yet another stupid formal thing for a not-nearly-that-formal work party. 😉 As per usual, it was quite a journey from starting the project to the night of my party, but overall I’m pretty pleased with how it came together. I’ve got a lot to say about this project, not just because things got a little fuck-y, but because IT’S THREE SEPARATE PIECES. So I’ve decided to do a 3-part series: the first installment will cover the big debut of my Lady Tux and my inspiration; Part 2 will cover the jacket; Part 3 will cover the camisole and trousers.

I am also tossing this thing into the ring for Designin’ December, after not playing along last year but finding very definite designer inspo for my 2017 look(s). 😀

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Inspiration

So how did I end up with a Lady Tux? Honestly, it took me some time to figure that out. My biggest issue this year was what type of “Thing” to make. After last year, where I had a very firm idea of what I wanted that was carried over from the prior year, 2017’s outfit was a bit of a second-guess fest. I waffled about what to make starting immediately after last year’s event! Aside from the tuxedo look, I also considered these ideas:

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Vogue 9253; image is property of BMV Patterns

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“The Dress” from Atonement in all its glory! (Image not mine.)

I had fabrics suitable for both looks, but ultimately decided against them. (I was afraid the Vogue pattern would look too much like a robe or caftan in my black and ivory shibori-dyed crepe-back satin fabric, and couldn’t decide how best to approach the Atonement dress from a pattern starting point.) I had the tux fabrics as well–bought with that intention in mind–and decided I might as well make that for my party! All I had to do was decide on what I wanted it to look like and how to style it–you know, little stuff. 😉 My main inspirations were these two outfits:

That is Evan Rachel Wood in Altuzarra at the 2017 Golden Globes, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Balmain at the 2008 UK premiere of Iron Man. (Honorable mention: Octavia Spencer at the 2017 Golden Globes–her navy tux was fabulous as well!) ERW wore tons of tuxedos for events recently, and I was very inspired by just about all of them. And Gwyneth’s 2008 Iron Man premiere outfit is still one of her best-ever looks, IMO–I remember seeing coverage of that outfit at the time and haven’t forgotten it. (Or those fabulous square-toed satin McQueen pumps, because goddamn.) I made this Pinterest board so you all can see more of the looks I was inspired by while I was planning out this thing!

Lady Tux: The Big Reveal

So okay, I wanted a tux. But what would it look like? That was the hard part. In the end, I decided on slim-but-straight trousers with front slash pockets and “racing stripes,” a jacket with a peaked lapel that was single-breasted with one button and which would fall below my high hip, and a lace camisole for underneath (my nod to the Paltrow outfit, basically). I’ll have more detail on all of these things in the next posts!

I used 3 patterns for this outfit: 1 for each piece. O_o The jacket is a Burda pattern that was originally in a magazine but is now available for download: #127B 11/2012. Originally I was hoping for something less shaped and slightly more “boyfriend” in the cut, but there doesn’t appear to be a pattern in existence that fulfills my wants! 😉 This was close enough, especially since it came with jetted pockets and a peaked lapel AND was longer, which I really wanted; I was willing to endure a more feminine cut for those things. The trousers are the pants portion of V9160, aka The Jumpsuit of My Dreams That Wasn’t. Here is where I made a mistake, but more on that later. The camisole is the much-loved Ogden Cami by True Bias.

 

And as you saw in my teaser photo above, those three pieces came together to make THIS ridiculousness:

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I won’t go into construction details of each piece here–that’s what Parts 2 and 3 are for–but I’ll share my general impressions with you now.

You can see the Altuzarra inspo in the lapels, which are peaked and done in a contrasting satin-finish fabric, and in the pockets, jacket length, and single-button configuration; my trousers also have the trademark “tuxedo stripe” down the side seams. I didn’t make my trousers wide or flared though, and obviously the styling is a bit different. The Paltrow outfit inspiration is less direct than how I interpreted the tux, since it’s a dress! But I think it looks like I was inspired by that dress, even if I didn’t make the same kind of outfit.

Overall, I’m basically happy with this outfit. I wouldn’t want another sewer to look too closely at any piece of it though–it’s definitely not my best work. I do think I achieved the “look” I was going for: it’s feminine-ish, but very much has that masculine edge because it’s a tux. One of my co-workers commented thusly: “Girl, you are cold-blooded. For real!!” That made me feel like a fucking badass, you guys! (Especially since that co-worker was wearing a totally amazing sequined dress and is enviably tall and gorgeous.) I will say this: I’m not 100% happy with this outfit as a representation of my work, but it does show well. 😉

Here are some shots from the party:

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Xmas Tux!

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Date night!

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Front view, minus the jacket

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Literally the only time I took my jacket off at the event…

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Unbuttoned!

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The button had just broken before we took these. >=(

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One of us had been drinking (sadly, it wasn’t me)…

So now that you’ve seen the whole shebang here, Parts 2 and 3 will cover the “making of” details for each piece.

Thanks for reading! ❤

 

 

 

OMG, Finally! (Jeans!!!!!!!!!)

Hey everyone!

I meant to share another post entirely, but we took photos for everything at the same time and I am so excited about this project that it jumped the blog queue. (The other post is coming soon, promise!)

What’s got me so damn excited? JEANSSSSSS!!!!

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JEANSSSSSSSSSSS

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Side view: no twisting!

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Admiring myself

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Showing off the crotch?

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Overexposed to try to show the black fly topstitching…not super successful!

Closer Seam

Close-up of the flat-felling on the inseam

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Closer look at the side; sorry for the awkward hand intrusion!

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Exciting pocket/butt shot, sorry y’all. O_o 

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Trying to hike them up!

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Matching shirt + pockets!

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Hem

I have been planning this project for AGES now, but could somehow never make jeans for myself a priority item. My first sincere attempt was undone by fabric that was too stretchy (which is apparently a thing? Who knew! 😉 ) but I came back to these in August, determined to make them happen. Apart from a few little things, I am THRILLED with these!

I wanted to keep them versatile, so I stuck with black topstitching and gray bartacks and nickel hardware. I got stuck with a tacky bright gold zipper though, LOL! Unfortunately, the topstitching gets lost in the denim, but that’s okay. And my back pockets look more like cousins than twins (I don’t know where I first read that phrase, but it perfectly sums up my experience with sewing exterior pockets). The denim I used is from Fashion Fabrics Club, and I’m pretty sure I got it for like $4 a yard. It is stretchy but firm and substantial, and really perfect for skinny jeans. Plus the “smoke black” color is so 90’s!

Pattern Notes

The pattern I used is the one I cloned from an old pair of Aeropostale jeans. While the original cloned pattern was very low-rise–requiring a 2.5″ zipper!–I altered it to be high-rise. I have come around to that look and feel in jeans…mostly because I am super into cropped tops right now! 😉 I was naughty and went to Madewell and J. Crew last year to try on–but not buy–their jeans, since I was curious about the higher rise by then. I took some measurements from a few pairs of 9″ skinnies, which I liked best, for science. I compared those measurements to my original pattern, and made my alterations from there.

I know I could have just started with a high-rise pattern, like View B of the Ginger Jeans pattern, which I bought right when it was released. But in my opinion, the proportions of that particular pattern are “off”: they’re just too tall overall IMO, plus the zipper is weirdly long and the yoke always looks too tall. (And that’s to say nothing of some other bug-bears I have with that pattern draft-wise, but this isn’t the time or place to get into that!) In order to get the proportions right, you have to distribute any extra rise height correctly in the front AND back. What I learned from the RTW jeans was how best to do that and achieve the look I was after. I think my pair look proportional with my body; they don’t look “high-rise,” they just look like jeans.

I mean, look at them:

That’s a Madewell pair of 9″ rise skinnies on the left (original photo is property of Madewell). The proportions are pleasing to the eye and not exaggerated in height (i.e., no mile-long zipper). Success!

Now as I said, I would change a few things about these jeans. For instance:

  1. The waist is too big, despite my taking out almost 3″ already. This included unpicking the top of my flat-felled back crotch seam to take a big-ass wedge out there, plus another 1/2″ at each side seam. Boo.
  2. The front pocket openings need to be larger/deeper, both for visual and practical purposes.
  3. I could stand to take about 1/4″ off the length of the front crotch. I am not terribly worried about the lines you can see above–those are caused by my stomach-slash-pubis area being too flat versus my pointy comparatively prominent hip bones and front thighs. I might fix it, but I might not. Whatever.
  4. Maybe narrow the lower legs a bit for a closer fit, a la J. Crew’s “toothpick” cut.

Construction Notes

Putting these together was pretty straightforward, since I’ve made jeans before. I followed my own notes on the fly front, and flat-felled the inseam, back crotch, and yoke seams. I forgot to put my belt loops on before sewing the waistband to the jeans and its facing, so those could be cleaner next time. Once again, I used Angela Kane’s buttonhole method; seriously, I don’t think I’d ever do that any other way on jeans! I did all my sewing with a 90/14 Jeans needle; over any big bumps, I folded up some scraps of denim and put them under the back of my presser foot and that was a big help. Finally, I used true Topstitching thread for all of the topstitching EXCEPT for the gray stuff. My machine will work with that heavy-ass thread, provided I tweak my settings properly and don’t try any bartacks!

Conclusions

So here we are, one pair of self-made jeans down with many more to go! 😉 I am so excited that these turned out to be wearable, and am feeling good about making lots more pairs. Goodness knows I’ve got the denim to do that, LOL. Before I go, here is a hilarious .gif Tom made of the two shots we got of me trying to hike these pants back up where they belong:

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Maximum Effort

You’re welcome. 😀

I will be back VERY shortly with another post featuring the outfit I made to wear to our most recent band gig. (Spoiler alert: one of the pieces was in some of these photos!) See you soon!

Talk to me: would you ever bother making jeans? What’s one thing you’ve always meant to sew for yourself but can’t seem to prioritize?

 

Random Update (Warning: Post Contains No Sewing Progress!)

Hello, Internet Denizens!

Following my Scout triumph, I haven’t gone into my sewing area. No, really: the remnants of my ikat fabric are still exactly where I left them after cutting out the sleeves, there are pattern pieces everywhere, and my ironing board is still out. I’ve worn my new tee twice already–once for Day 1 of the hot air balloon event that my family hosts every year, and once for shits and giggles (as one does when one makes a shiny new item). I love it. LOVE IT.

I’m not sure what my next project will be. I have lots of ideas, and a handful of wardrobe needs, but we’re heading into the busy season at the store so free time will be even more limited until after Halloween. I have another length of ikat in a different colorway, which is destined to become Scout 2: Electric Ikat Boogaloo. (Don’t get too excited: it’s mostly gray, with some white and yellow for good measure. But neither should you be worried: it’s awesome.) I could whip that up in a week if I can dedicate an hour a night to the project, so I may start with that. Few things boost my sewing mojo like a quick and wearable project! 

Since I have no new sewing things to share, I thought I’d pillage my Instagram feed for some recent photos of what I’ve been up to. (My Instagram is wronghandmads, in case you’re interested!)

Hanging out with the pup at the in-laws' house

Hanging out with the pup at the in-laws’ house

Same room, different day. (No, my face isn't dirty; apparently my cheekbones are just, um, prominent.)

Same room, different day. (No, my face isn’t dirty; apparently my cheekbones are just, um, prominent.)

The fiercest pin that ever walked the Earth! Got it for $1.

The fiercest pin that ever walked the Earth! Got it for $1.

My 1950's hostess/lounging pajamas!

My 1950’s hostess/lounging pajamas!

Just so we’re clear, I know my dog is sickeningly adorable. He’s the best, and we love him. The T-Rex pin and evening pajamas were bought yesterday from the store. I wore the PJ set to work today and felt oddly subversive knowing that I was literally wearing my pajamas to my job. The pin will make its debut soon, for sure! 

I hope you all have a great start to your week(s). Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some sewing-related ramblings! =)

 

Gone for A Month, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Whoa, guys–I did NOT mean to be away from my sweet little blog for this long!

As you may have guessed by the title, I haven’t been terribly productive since my last entry. I bought more fabric (because of course I did), and even solidified a few ideas for my next project(s), but that’s about it. However, as alluded to in the title, I did end up with a t-shirt; yes, it was indeed very lousy:

Technically wearable, but that's about it!

Technically wearable, but that’s about it!

 

Yikes...

Yikes…

I made this as a wearable muslin for Tom. For the most part, it looks like a t-shirt, which is a good start. The fabric is a PITA and stretched and distorted like a motherfucker, though. I used the Thread Theory Strathcona pattern, which I like a lot and will use for ALL THE SHIRTS. But between those wavy hems (sleeves AND body), jacked-up neckline (guess who cut the binding much too short, apparently?), and a few fitting adjustments that I couldn’t have foreseen (like the short sleeves being elbow-length), I still have a lot of work to do before I end up with something Tom would wear out of the house. Perhaps Step 1 should be spraying the ever-loving shit out of this fabric with spray starch…

Per usual, I have a ton of ideas for my selfish sewing. What I lack is motivation and spare time! But I’ve been trying to do better at buying fabric with a purpose in mind (and I am currently PROHIBITED from buying more fabric per a self-imposed directive), and I have a handful of things queued up in my brain-pan: some shorts using the pattern from my playsuit and at least 3 or 4 fabrics from the stash, a skirt using some awesome J. Crew fabric I bought with a vintage pencil skirt pattern in mind, and at least 2 more iterations of vintage Simplicity 1281 in good neutral colors for easy coordination.

I also need to start planning more blouses and tops, because I really lack those in my wardrobe. At this point, I recycle the same 4 (!!!!!) knit tops whenever I want to wear separates; I’m asking way too much of Forever 21 and H&M’s craftsmanship, and I know it’s only a matter of time before I wear them out. With that in mind, below is what I am really inspired to make RIGHT AWAY, at least as soon as I figure out what the fuck to underline it with (because this shit is see-through and why wear a tank top when your shirt is made of 55% silk?!?):

Silk/cotton voile (J. Crew) from Fabric Mart; "Lumberjack Chic," am I right??

Silk/cotton voile (J. Crew) from Fabric Mart; “Lumberjack Chic,” am I right??

Two potential "matches" from the pattern stash. Startlingly, I have enough yardage to make the onesie version of the Vogue pattern!

Two potential “matches” from the pattern stash. Startlingly, I have enough yardage to make the onesie version of the Vogue pattern!

I feel compelled to note that this stuff GLOWS, even after pre-washing–I’m really excited about it! I am also really conflicted about what pattern to use for this amazing fabric. I didn’t even check my other pattern filing box for options, so I’m sure I’ll find additional contenders in there. And this isn’t the only silk/cotton voile I bought, either: I’ve got a handful of other colors, and I bought enough of some of them to make shirts. (The rest are for sleeveless tops or bras, hopefully, which will be a whole new adventure…) Now I just need to sit down and DO STUFF. I promise not to be absent for a month, though! =)

What have you guys been up to lately?!? Bought any amazing yardage or tried a new skill? 

Quick Update (aka This Is What Happens When Someone Gives The Gift Of Cash)

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

After a very busy and emotional weekend, I am exhausted! Saturday was action-packed, and the band played our last show EVER. I cried on stage, sang and talked myself hoarse, and stayed out until 1:45AM socializing and eating pizza. Totally worth it. After getting up at 5:45AM and having no nap, Sunday was spent strutting around a Golden Age mansion in 1920’s underwear (and some actual clothes sometimes) and then wandering around said mansion trying to figure out how many hours it would take the owners of the house to find me if I just picked a bedroom and crashed for a while.

Saturday was so busy that I didn’t have a chance to unpack or photograph my latest fabric delivery until now. I got some great stuff!! A very sweet friend gave me a generous cash gift (like, so generous that I felt terrible accepting it, but did anyway because we’re both stubborn and what kind of asshole turns down a gift from a woman at her wedding?) and I decided to spend it on more fabric. Because duh. I placed my first-ever order with Fashion Fabrics Club about 2 weeks ago, and apart from the speed (or lack thereof) with which they ship orders (seriously: order entered and confirmed on May 20, order received on May 31–Missouri to Ohio, mind you, not international) I’m really satisfied. The fabrics are as-described, but I haven’t checked yardage or grain on anything yet. Almost everything I ordered was a remnant piece, and the prices were really good, in my opinion. I even got some things for Tom!

Black stretch denim! The color isn't easy to photograph, but it does have a slight brown undertone.

Black stretch denim! The color isn’t easy to photograph, but it does have a slight brown undertone.

Rayon/poly blend--6 yards of it!

Rayon/poly blend–6 yards of it!

Really soft and slinky knit in a loud color

Really soft and slinky knit in a loud color

More t-shirt knit!

More t-shirt knit!

Another knit; this one didn't photograph well, but is lighter and brighter than it looks here.

Another knit; this one didn’t photograph well, but is lighter and brighter than it looks here.

Wrong side (I think) of the double-faced twill

Wrong side (I think) of the double-faced twill

This side looks so cool!! It's very close to the color of my Hawthorn dress.

This side looks so cool!! It’s very close to the color of my Hawthorn dress.

Future coat! The coating is a blend, and the lining is a poly charmeuse.

Future coat! The coating is a blend in dark green and white, and the lining is a minty poly charmeuse.

I’m really excited about all of these pieces. I got three different knits for t-shirts for Tom; he likes all of them very much, but I am not looking forward to working with the bright orange rayon jersey! It’s curled up along the cut edges already, so I know it will be a bear when I get down to sewing it. Time to get busy researching how in the hell to stabilize such an ornery fabric! O_o

The denim will likely become skinny pants and/or shorts for me, and if I have anything left, maybe shorts for Tom. (See?? I am VERY considerate. 🙂 ) All these cuts are WIDE, so it’s not out of the question.

The yellow and black rayon/poly blend will become a Robson trench coat, and I’m nearly ready to pull the trigger on some beautiful 1940’s yellow plastic buttons for it. I need to buy underlining for that project yet, and I’m thinking I’ll probably use black cotton broadcloth or something like that; since the plaid is so loud, I don’t want a lot of weirdness on the inside!

The double-faced twill is really cool and lighter than I expected. My original plan for that stuff was at least one more skirt from Simplicity 1281 and possibly a pair of shorts, so we’ll see how I do!

The coating and lining fabrics in the last photo are especially exciting for me. I bought a pattern on Etsy (which is basically like my heaven at this point) for $6–it’s a coat pattern from the 1920’s for a girl (probably about 13 or so), and I bought it because 1) it’s awesome and 2) the bust measurement matches mine. I’m expecting to have to grade it a little bit, and probably lengthen the arms and widen the shoulders, but I’m really amped about it. This coating fabric seemed like the perfect material for such a classic coat, and the lining is close enough in color to look classy while still being a little surprising, which I love. I’m looking forward to trying some legit tailoring techniques on that project (OMG hair canvas and pad stitching and roll lines)!

In other news, my sewing space has never been as put away as it is right now: we had the band over for a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity last night, and I had to clear off the table so we could eat and play. I even made cheese dip–with REAL cheese–from scratch! It was a lot of fun, but I’m looking forward to getting all my gear back out and hacking into some of this stuff soon. But what will I make first?!?!?!? I have too many ideas, but I’ve got to start whittling away at my stash, which is so tremendous that my bin lid doesn’t so much close as levitate on top of the pile within!

PS: Voting for the Pattern Review Vintage Contest 2014 starts TODAY! Go here to see all the lovely garments people have made over the last month, and if you’re eligible, vote for your favorites! There’s an awful lot of talent in that gallery, which is wonderful!