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! ūüėÄ ūüėÄ

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. ūüėČ 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? ūüėČ

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? ūüėČ

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 ūüė¶ ūüė¶ so that’s on the agenda also. What are you sewing now?

 

 

It’s A Jungle (January) Out There

There once was a girl who lived in the city
Who¬†thought that nature and the “great” outdoors were icky

But though a nature master she was not,
she could not resist joining in Jungle January with you lot.

Try as she may and try as she might
She could not shake the feeling that something was not quite right

“Is this wild zebra print really ‘me’?”¬†
No turning back now: the cutting and sewing had begun in earnest glee.

She pinned, she sweated, she pondered, and she fretted
If this dress turned out, to the gods she would be indebted!

And at last, the moment of truth had come
Scarcely any yardage remained–nary a crumb!

She bravely donned her togs, fit to be worn,
And her inner Jungle Vixen thus was born!

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Some super-effective jungle camouflage.

I hope you people enjoyed that, because a poet I am not! ūüôā I didn’t think I’d be able to come up with anything nearly as clever as what Anne normally writes (and which I am convinced is how she talks and tells stories all the time, in real life, because she’s just that awesome) so I settled for a silly poem instead. (And brace yourselves for a whole set of fashion-bloggeresque “Inappropriate Sunglasses at Sunset” photos, because I could not be bothered with a full face of slap.)

So as you have figured out by now, I am participating in Jungle January this year–my first EVER! I had not really planned on that but for some reason my inspiration whacked me over the head like a Shakespeare anthology one Friday night, and here we are.¬†Anne Jungle January Goddess, get your fainting couch ready, because I must now admit that my stash contains a paltry 2 animal print fabrics. Clearly, I am a #junglenovice. Teach me your ways!!!!!!!

I bought this crazy-ass fabric over a year ago when Fabric Mart the-fabric-retailer-that-shall-not-be-named¬†had one of their many sales.¬†I even described it using the same foul language back then. I had no immediate plans for it, but figured it was one of those random things I’d regret NOT owning if I didn’t buy a bit of it. Let the record show that RETINA-SEARING ELECTRIC BLUE and motherfucking¬†ZEBRA are, even on an individual basis, not really my usual taste; together, they create what is without a doubt the biggest taste anomaly in my fabric stash, all wrapped up into 3 clingy yards of “What the fuck am I going to do with that?” and shoved into an unmarked box until that particular riddle solves itself. 14 months of “seasoning” later, ¬†the riddle finally got off its ass and presented me with the answer: McCall 6886, aka the ubiquitous knit sheath that everybody has already made and seems to love.

I had figured on doing a fitted sheath-type dress in this material when it arrived those many moons ago. My initial idea, I thought, was Brilliant (yes, *with* that capital “B”): focus the blue bits around the waist of the dress, and let the top and bottom sections fade gracefully into zebradom (or at least as gracefully as is possible with an animal print mash-up). Well, Present Mads had to make a¬†slight revision to Past Mads’ plan. Turns out the greatest % of stretch in this ITY jersey runs perpendicular to the blue border, not parallel to it. And if there was one additional Taste Violation that this dress did not need, it was the “Painted-On Sausage Casing” effect.

In order to save the “Illusion Dress” idea, I cut the front and back pieces as pairs rather than on the fold as directed. That allowed me to get the side seam parts on the blue (an endeavor which met with more success on the back pieces than the front), which I felt would create the illusion of a narrower silhouette. (Yeah yeah, I know that’s a damn stupid thing to see someone like me write, but let’s face it:¬†nobody wants to look wider than they are, not even me.)¬†The hardest part of this project was the cutting out! I must have shifted the pieces around a dozen times, but I am happy with how the pattern got distributed in the end. In other words, we came out of this with ZERO unfortunate boob or genital¬†flowers. SUCCESS.

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Front view

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Side

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Back; I can see that a swayback adjustment would be of use next time.

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“Mom, what the f*** are you wearing?!?”

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Just standing among some wood scraps, as one does

Fitting Adjustments and Pattern Changes

I made¬†View C, with the scoop neck and one of the many assorted lengths provided. After consulting the back of the pattern envelope, I made the decision to grade the hips to 2 sizes above my size, and stick with the smallest size everywhere else. I also used a 3/8″ seam allowance from the hem through the hips. In addition to that, I gave myself a seam allowance of¬†1/2″ at the center front and back seams, but sewed those up at 3/8″ just in case. (Reminder: this pattern is supposed to have front and back pieces cut on the fold–I changed that to accommodate my pattern placement.) My fabric is not the intended weight for this pattern (it says “medium weight knits” and this is a very light ITY jersey) so I wanted some insurance to literally cover my ass. This turned out to be a mistake. I removed what I had added after the fact, and then removed a little more. All removal was done from the side seams; everything I needed to remove was from the underbust¬†through the hips.

At first, I had lengthened the pattern pieces by 2.5″ at the bodice lengthen/shorten line but hadn’t changed the actual waist circumference:¬†I wanted to make sure everything else fit first. (I did a quick tissue fitting before adding that length; the bodice was definitely too short for me as drafted.) I must have removed 2″ from each side seam at my waist by the time I was satisfied (after trying the dress back on 3 or 4 times, each time being SURE that this was going to be the last, because how much more fabric could I possibly need to remove?!?) and, while it isn’t super-fitted at the waist, it shows off my one-and-only curve and remains office appropriate. Um, as office appropriate as this bananas dress can be, that is.

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Office styling for Crazy-Ass Zebra Flower dress (snotty sunglasses optional)

This was a SUPER SIMPLE dress. Very awesome. My only major gripe, and I should have expected this, is about the sleeve cap ease. This is a fitted knit¬†dress. The sleeves do NOT need much cap ease, if any, vs. the armhole. I had decided from the beginning to install the sleeves flat (not what the instructions said to do, but whatevs, this Disobeyer of Instructions cares not), and was not a happy bear when I realized how big the caps were vs. the armhole. In the end, since I had no fabric left (that poem was TRUTH y’all) to recut new sleeves, I did what Andrea at¬†Sew to Fit recommends and just let the extra cap ease get taken up as seam allowance. (That knowledge-bomb is in her verbal explanation at the beginning of the linked video, before the sewing starts. Her video explains it beautifully, by the way, if you ever run into this after you’ve cut and feel stuck.) So the end result was 2 pucker-free sleeves and a mollified Mads. DOUBLE GOOD SUCCESS.

Sorry for these photos, by the way. It was dinner time on a Sunday and quite cold, so going anywhere that was more than 100 feet from my wood burning stove was out of the question. So yard photos were the order of the day, and I only managed 5 minutes of shooting time!

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Zebracicle.

Wrap It Up Already!

So there you have it, people of the internet: my first foray into the jungle! It was a lot of fun, and hopefully I’ll be brave enough to play along next year as well.

But WAIT! There’s More:

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Bam! Future bra.

Coming soon* to a “Mads” House near you: The Ze-Bra! Get it?!? (But seriously–The Ze-Bra is¬†happening. This will be a beta test of the Watson pattern, which I am hoping will become my TNT bra. Exciting!!)

*”Mads” speak for approx. 3 forevers from now

I hope you’ll go check out Pretty Grievances for all the jungle action–people always have so much fun with Jungle January!