Ending A Rut by Breaking the Pattern

Hello, friends!

I’ve felt like I’ve done very little sewing so far in 2019, but counting my completed projects resulted in more FOs than I expected. All told I’ve made 8 things which, while more than I realized, is still pretty paltry given that we’re halfway through the year. But 3 of those projects were finished in the last few weeks, so my pace is finally picking up! I’m super happy with these recent garments, and those happy feelings have helped my blogging mojo tremendously! So what did I make? The Utu pinafore by Named, the Blair shirt from Style Arc, and a dress from McCall’s 6886. Seriously, they’re all total winners. To keep things from getting too long, this post will focus on my “Breaking The Pattern” projects and I’ll be coming at you with a joint post for the other 2 very shortly. 😀

The recently-finished Utu is actually my 3rd project from “Breaking the Pattern,” although it’s only my 2nd unique pattern from that book; the other 2 are both Ruska tops. I’m bummed that my Utu is now rather out of season, but it will get tons of wear come Fall/Winter. For the uninitiated, “Breaking the Pattern” is a book by Named Clothing (aka my ride-or-die fangurl sugar-stan pattern company) that came out last year in lieu of their usual twice-yearly collections. Naturally, the moment I saw they had a book coming out I pre-ordered it because ride-or-die fangurl sugar-stan. Almost everything in that book is something I want to make, even the ridiculous vented wide-leg elastic-waist pants–who am I?!?

But let’s go in order here, starting with my first project from the book: a Ruska knot tee!

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Knot tee, now with 100% more wrinkles! 

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I am not 100% happy with this top and it’s down to things I should have changed before I even started. Namely (lol) the neckline–it’s just awful for a t-shirt on me. If I had added sleeve roll-ups I could maybe get behind the quasi-James Dean, “Cry-Baby” drape gang vibe, but nah.

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The “Cry-Baby” drape gang is #squadgoals

The ties didn’t turn out great, but that’s because the design and instructions for them are fucking stupid and I didn’t read the latter until after I’d coverstitched the hems. (They have you do a double-turn hem around the tips of the ties, which then stupidly tapers to a single-roll somewhere along the way. Excuse me, but what?!?) The next time I make a knot version of this pattern, I will be cutting the tie ends down so they’re the right shape and seam allowance (for a single roll) all the way around!

I also had a problem with the stabilizer I used in the hems, which essentially removed the stretch from my fabric and coverstitching. (Apparently it washes out, but I wash my clothing very sparingly and haven’t washed this shirt yet.) Fortunately I hadn’t used it around the neckline, because I doubt I could get my globe-like head through the tiny head-hole if I had done that. O_o

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Single knot (I prefer 2…)

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No knot!

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No, I would never wear it like this. xD

I had high hopes for this top because of the fabric: a moire rayon/lycra jersey. But between pre-washing/drying basically eliminating the moire finish and the issues mentioned above, I didn’t quite get the “Wow!” I was hoping for. Ah well, at least my front seam looks fucking GORGEOUS.

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You’re welcome.

Next is yet another Ruska, this time with no knot and full sleeves. WARNING: The following is not appropriate for all ages!

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Behold!

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DO YOU SEE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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What I hope people will now think of when they stare at my t*ts…

Surprise tiger boobies!!!!!! Bet you weren’t expecting that, huh? 😉 Also, 1,000 bonus points to anyone who “got” the reference in the close-up caption. xD

My initial vision (god that sounds so pretentious…) was for a sheer navy turtleneck under my future Utu pinafore. I already had my suiting fabric and knew that was how I wanted to wear the jumper. It was hard finding a sheer navy stretch knit, though! Fabric Mart came through with some Halston fabric eventually, and for a good price. I bought too much, as is my usual M.O., and thank goodness: this is Mk II of this top.

I apparently over-stretched my neckband on my first version and I COULD NOT FIT MY HEAD THROUGH IT. Talk about embarrassing! I cut the band off and decided to widen the neck opening a bit, but had a little accident with my shears and yeah…the whole top had to be scrapped. 😦 Luckily I had enough fabric to recut the whole thing, and this time I took 1/4″ off each neckline seam and that was it. I didn’t use the shaped piece provided because I hate relying on neckband pattern pieces, but as a result my collar does flop and sit away from my neck a bit. (That’s also because it isn’t as tightly stretched as I normally do them, because of the first “oops”…) I could always take a dart out of the back of it I guess, but meh.

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Not even a handful…

While rather unimpressive on its own (let’s be real, even the t*ts are underwhelming ones! 😉 ), it really does make the outfit:

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Pensive office person

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I adore these shoes!

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Back view

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Don’t mind the mismatch at CF, I forgot to button my secret button for like, half the photos…

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Super stern business lady

I LOVE THIS DRESS SO MUCH!!!!!! The shell fabric is a stretch suiting from JOANN Fabrics, of all places. The plaid is just interesting enough without clashing with the double-breasted front or the snug fit. This Utu is one of my favorite sewing projects to-date, I think! (And that’s from someone who usually hates pinafores.) I might make another, maybe in a solid wool crepe! ❤

For only having 3 pieces (okay, 6 if you count the lining) this pinafore took me FOREVER. Literal months. I made a really stupid mistake on the pattern that further hindered my mojo. Like, colossally stupid. I held the front pattern piece up to myself and was pleasantly surprised not to need any bodice length. I always need bodice length, even on Named. Well, genius here didn’t think about the bust dart, which removed about 1″ of vertical length once sewn. So lo and behold I cut my lining (you know, to be clever and get my lining done first) and sewed the darts, held it back up and realized that the darts were too high and the waist was DEFINITELY too high. Ugh!!

At that point I didn’t want to recut the lining–I really wanted this color for some reason and didn’t have enough to recut–so I slashed the pieces and added strips. My first front got slashed above the bust only, which I quickly realized was not the best idea; the other front and the back were cut in 2 places, one above and one below the bust.

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Hacked up front lining.

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Back hack job

After fixing the lining, I changed my pattern pieces by adding 1/2″ above the bust dart and 1/2″ below it. Then I cut my shell fabric. At this point I made a cutting error on one front piece plaid matching-wise, and had stretched the other front out somehow along the neckline. (Seriously, any and all possible mistakes were made on this 3-piece project. O_o ) I did fine on the back piece, so I recut my fronts and then set the whole mess aside for like a month and pouted. (During that hiatus I finished my Wool & Honey!) I came back to it after a seriously excellent sewing afternoon with Betsy, which reinvigorated me in a major way. From there it was all downhill until I got to the buttons!

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Buffalo horn buttons FTW

I asked my husband and sewing friends (IRL and Instagram ones alike) to help me choose buttons. 😀 My initial vision (ooh la la…) had been for horn buttons to emphasize the suiting fabric angle, but then I found these navy enamel/silver-toned metal buttons and couldn’t decide. Most people voted for the buffalo horn buttons–the appeal of which was because they came in the right size but also because THEY’RE BUFFALO!!–and in the end, I went that way. No regrets, they’re perfect. I did keyhole buttonholes, a first. Again, I wanted the hit the #suitingvibes angle. A couple of the buttonholes mysteriously got fucky and don’t have nice round keyhole openings, but nobody will be able to see that.

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Buffalo horn button up close!

Shiny, runner-up buttons! (Image property of Bennos Buttons)

(For the record, I’m not affiliated with either supplier linked above–just a happy customer.)

In terms of fitting, I did make a few small adjustments besides adding my 1″ of length. I removed most of the shaping in the high hip, and pulled the bodice in from the underbust through the high hip. The waist isn’t zero ease but fits a lot closer than the original shape. I didn’t take in my lining anywhere–it isn’t a stretch fabric and I knew I’d want that extra ease for comfort. If I’m being picky, I do wish the dress was a bit shorter but I’ll be damned if I’m ripping out my hems. 😉

I’m pretty pleased with my pattern matching work on this: I was careful, especially when it came time for buttons and buttonholes. I did get a few buttons a bit further to the left than I needed to (I’m talking like, maybe 1/8″) but I can live with it. I did add that secret security button also, which took my plaid matching from “good” to “very good” by holding the CF line securely in position. I don’t know if I put it where it’s supposed to go, but I put it where I needed it and that’s good enough for me! I am very annoyed that I forgot to close it before we took a lot of the best photos of this pinafore, so you’ll have to take my word for it I guess! I decided early on not to worry much about keeping the plaid contiguous across the side seams; I focused on the CF and below-the-bust-dart horizontal plaid lines instead, which to me were infinitely more important. (And yet I got not 1 good photo of the side seams to show the horizontal matching! 😦 )

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Hiding. #nailedit

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Cheeky pose

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A thorn among roses. 😉

Once I finished this dress, I figured I wouldn’t be able to wear it until Fall. But then I remembered that I actually had an occasion coming up that was perfect: a mid-May wedding! And a wedding at which I was performing, no less. My former band reunited specifically to play during the couple’s reception; it was a magical evening, both for us getting to be together (we ROCKED) and for the happy couple, who were radiant. ❤ It was an honor to play for two lovely people and their family/friends on such a special day!

Unfortunately for me, the event space was over 80 degrees all night; it was then I learned that my turtleneck, despite being sheer and scandalous, DOES NOT BREATHE. It felt like a sexy wetsuit. I was so hot I had sweat dripping down the backs of my legs. These AA-cup bra-less boobies had instant boob sweat. That’s how you know it’s f*cking hot! 😉 So after its first outing, this entire outfit needed a thorough rinse and steam but at least I looked and felt good in it. 😀

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Pre-gig selfie!

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Photobombing the dancing wedding party, cuz I’m classy…

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Post-gig old elevator Polaroid!

There you have it: my first projects from “Breaking the Pattern!” They won’t be my last, that’s for sure. I’m already planning a very special Ruska dress, as well as multiple Saraste dresses and shirts!

The next time you hear from this ol’ blog, I’ll be sharing my other 2 recent projects: a Blair shirt and a McCall’s 6886 dress. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading! ❤

 

A Triumphant(ish) Return!

Hellooooooooooo! Is anyone still out there? 🙂

After a serious lack of sewing mojo (and opportunity), I finally started sewing for Fall/Winter in November. O_o I also managed to sneak in a very minor costume project back in October, which I will also show you today.

I have missed blogging so much! (And sewing, for that matter.) This was a weird year: in February we found out that Tom would be without a job come November, which was highly stressful to say the least. (This was not helped by the extra-long timeline and a severance worth waiting for at the end of it.) Seriously folks, my hair started thinning and graying during that time because of how stressed out I was about it. I didn’t mention it here because I had no way of knowing how it would work out, and it didn’t seem appropriate to air it and have it hanging over not just my IRL life, but my blog and sewing life as well.

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Bonus cat-in-an-inappropriate-place photo

Happily, I can report that Tom not only found a better job before his end date, but that he still managed to get his severance out of the old place. Yay!!!! But between that whole thing and undertaking several remodeling projects in the Fall–smoke ’em if you got ’em, amirite?–I spent most of the year stressed out, fluttering between self-distracting productivity and creative paralysis (the kind with TONS of ideas but not the will to execute them). 😦 The real death blow for my sewing came in July/August when we had an appraisal done on the house and I had to tear down my sewing space. This was immediately followed by having our upstairs floors refinished, so all my sewing stuff in the attic got buried by a floor’s worth of furniture and clutter that we still haven’t fully put back to rights. And at that point, Tom did not have the new job lined up yet. Say it with me: UGHHHHHH. (Double UGHHHHHH for clinical depression and anxiety on top of all of this, which made everything that much worse.) I still haven’t got my supplies sorted out, but I’ve been able to sew a few things and am slowly relaxing and getting inspired again after being totally wound up for months on end.

So that’s been my last few months. But now we can get back to THE SEWING!!!

First up: a Talvikki sweater!

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Oof, that face! O_o

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The important view of this pattern

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Artsy photo

This was a much-needed “win” project after months of limited sewing time and scarce inspiration. I love the fabric/pattern combo, and think it will be great dressed up or down through Winter!

The fabric is a scuba from Marcy Tilton, and I love it. I hardly ever shop there (it’s an issue of the selection not being totally up my alley and the prices, both for fabric AND shipping) but I’m glad I treated myself to this piece. Initially I thought I’d make a skirt but I have to acknowledge that knit skirts just aren’t my jam. I had *just* enough yardage to get this top cut out–and I mean just. It was worth the tetris.

And now for something unlike anything I usually trouble you with around here: a costume piece!

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Yes, I took outdoor photos of this thing *in December* for you all. You’re welcome.

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The back is the best bit, of course.

This is underwear. 1920s-30s underwear, to be exact. (And yes, those are vintage shoes ca. 1930s also–I love them.) The pattern is Depew Patterns #2029 and I very highly recommend it. I didn’t really follow the directions for sewing it but everything went together beautifully. Really, it’s a relatively easy project if you fancy some old-fashioned (and complicated-in-the-bathroom, since it doesn’t have a snap crotch) undergarments!

You might be wondering why I’d go to the trouble of making costume underwear, especially since I own extant undergarments from this exact time period (that DO have snap crotches). Well…I had an event!

I mentioned it in my Top 5 post for last year, but this event is called “Tales from the Crypt.” It’s held at Green Lawn Abbey and this year, I was honored to be asked to help with the event as an actor once again. (And not as an understudy, yay!) Since the researcher who did most of the work on my “character” and I had more time to talk about a staging setup, we had quite a developed idea going into the event. (Which was definitely mostly his idea!) He was going for a boudoir-like setting: a vanity table, mirror and brush set, and me in a dressing gown surrounded by playbills. (My “character” was a Ziegfeld Follies girl!) I was game, but didn’t want to wear my extant undergarments because they’re ivory and slightly sheer. My skin is also ivory and slightly sheer–not a good mix. 😉 And while awe-inspiring, the setting–a mausoleum ca. 1927 whose interior is white marble, at night, lit mainly by candlelight and gas lamps–didn’t really lend itself to my pasty skin in pasty lingerie standing out against the white background. So I decided to make something!

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Green Lawn Abbey; photo is property of Green Lawn Abbey Preservation Association

The teddy fabric is polyester charmeuse but the color is good for the era, and making it myself allowed me to line the entire bodice for added opacity. (No bra was going to work with that back!) I was also planning to make a kimono-inspired robe from Depew Patterns #3039 (also from 1927–how freaky is that?!?) but I picked a brocade that ended up being way too heavy for the shape of the design. I got it most of the way made and tried it on, and thought it looked like an appropriative wizard’s robe. (The fabric had a general Asian motif, since that was very popular in the 1910s and 1920s.) O_o So I scrapped that and decided I would wear my own extant vintage robe, which is a striking lapis blue color dating to the 1940s. The style is very much kimono-inspired, and could pass for something earlier.

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As close the The Charleston as I’m going to get…

And then on the day, the weather was COLD. Like, mid-40s and raining. And this building isn’t heated. The event lasts for multiple hours, and consists of 4 separate monologues for each actor on opening night. So in an effort to protect my health* I opted for a true vintage dress in the end. But I did wear my teddy underneath it! I was very nervous, and wearing something I made always makes me feel more confident in any situation. 😀

*Yeah yeah, I know that the temperature doesn’t make people sick. However, exposure can lower your body’s ability to fend off invading pathogens; since my lungs are vulnerable to infections already, this was not a risk I was willing to take.

Here are some photos from the event, courtesy of my resident paparazzi husband Tom, who was “voluntold” to take photos of the 2nd show that weekend. 😉

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Fancy lady

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You can see Sylvia, my “character,” in the background photo

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Artful makeup application

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Playbills for actual productions Sylvia was in!

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Our intrepid cast this year!

So that’s a lot of words about non-sewing stuff, far fewer about a cool sweater, and probably too many about a silly costume piece made out of polyester. 😉 I’m looking forward to sharing my (likely) final project for 2018 shortly, as well as doing my Top 5 posts for this year. I’ve been pretty absent from this blog lately, and I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my friends, both in real-life and online. Here’s hoping 2019 is a more active year in all those respects!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again soon!

 

These Are Clothes

Shout-out to Project Runway Season 9 Michael Kors, who used, “This doesn’t look like fashion, it just looks like…clothes!” as an insult, which inspired this title. 😉

Because I have a few repeat-pattern things to share today, I figured it was easiest to just throw them all into one post. And I’m just in time for the Sewcialists “TNT Month” theme, yay!

Ready? Here we go:

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I felt like I should have been on a boat in this outfit!

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…is this how people sit on boats?

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Frontal region

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#derpface

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#nowwith100percentmorederp

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A basic bitch in basic black…

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Yep, it’s a t-shirt!

These are my newest t-shirts! I made them with the Lark pattern, which is definitely my TNT for t-shirts. I love all the options, though I tend to stick to just a few of them (v-necks aren’t my favorite, either to sew or wear). I also love that, for a Grainline pattern, it’s quite long–I don’t have to lengthen it! The two striped ones are the drafted length (with about 5/8″ taken for a hem, I think? I don’t even know the pattern’s hem allowance…), but the black one was shortened about 2″ to make it more summery. One of these days, I will try making a more fitted version; I still feel frumpy in this weird middle ground between fitted and oversized! O_o

The navy/white Lark is bamboo/lycra jersey (Telio!), and the obnoxious yellow/navy one is a rayon/lycra jersey. The basic black tee is a tencel t-shirt knit that I previously used for an Inari a few months ago. I have to say that I’m not so pleased with how this last material is wearing: it pills very early into its life cycle. (And that’s from someone who will absolutely wear non-underwear things more than once before washing them whenever possible. O_o ) But that said, having a plain black un-cropped tee in my wardrobe again has been a lifesaver! Now I just need to make more, in a hardier material!

Meanwhile, I am putting together a list of “cool” knit top and dress patterns, because I feel like I’m wasting my bamboo/lycra jersey if I only ever make basic t-shirts with it! It drapes and stretches wonderfully, so I’m hoping to take full advantage of that with some twists and stuff. Ditto for the stash of wool/lycra jerseys I’ve built up. Watch this space! In the meantime, do you have any “cool” jersey top or dress pattern recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them!

And speaking of knit tops, here are 2 more:

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Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

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Loud-ass outfit

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How I feel about my tummy showing most of the time…

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It’s cooooooooooold

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Sulky Mads

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Back view, with an “oops”

These are Lexi A-line tops by Named (of course). Both are made from scuba knits, which I LOVE for cold-weather garments. I am always cold, and this shit doesn’t breathe: it’s like wearing insulation! 😉 You may have seen the lapis blue one with my TPC6 trousers, which is usually how I wear it. Even with my 1″ of length added at the bust, it’s just not long enough to wear to work with pants or bottoms that don’t come up to my waist. That’s why I made the blush version, which is 2″ longer (3″ longer than the draft of the pattern, because of my 1″ adjustment). Which brings me to…

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I’ve shown all the good front views for the tops, so here are some of the back!

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Close-up of the pockets

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Hems!

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Walking away

…more jeans!

That’s right, I made the ugly-ass pants in some of these photos, LOL! I kinda shot myself in the foot with these: I don’t think I’ll wear them much until Spring. To me, they don’t read as winter-appropriate and they’re kind of thin, but S/S18 will see them worn alllllllllllll over the place. I used my TNT self-made pattern, though this time I made a few tweaks:

  1. Enlarged those front pocket openings! They are now closer to the CF and cut down deeper as well. Much more proportional with the rise of the pants now! I made this change to the pattern itself.
  2. Shrunk the width of most of the pattern pieces above the full hip. This denim is really stretchy, and I knew if my last pair were too baggy at the waist, these would be a disaster! I actually made these changes to my pattern pieces, since they were needed after I cut the last pair anyway. I will have to watch out with future pairs, since stretch % is different for every denim!
  3. Despite 2., I still had to go back and take an additional inch out of the waist before attaching the waistband. O_o And they’re still a little bigger than I’d like in a couple of areas. But better too big than too small, eh?
  4. Omitted rivets and down-the-side bartacks and topstitching. I may go back and add these later, but felt the jeans were busy and tight enough to not need the embellishment. 😉
  5. Stupidly put the belt loops all the way on before finishing the waistband and facing. What I should have done is put the waistband on, baste my belt loops to it at the facing seam, and THEN sew on the facing, followed by topstitching the waistband and then bartacking the bottom ends of the loops to the jeans. I’m not happy with how the bottom of the loops look now and may go back and unpick them. 😦

Believe it or not, I bought this denim from Joann! I KNOW. I hardly ever find things there that I feel like I can’t leave the store without, in terms of fabric. (I am a spoiled USian, and prefer to shop online because #choices.) But my friend had this material and brought it to a sewing night, and I had to have it. The jeans zipper came from Zipper Stop, which I had shortened to 4″ for a fee. ($1 per zip, not bad.) The button came from either TaylorTailor or Wawak…I can’t remember!

I got a big assist from my Instagram friends when it came to picking a topstitching color for these jeans. I couldn’t decide what color would work best, but you guys came through! 😀 It’s perfect!

That will do it for me today–that’s a lot of crap clothes crammed into one post! But now I am basically all caught up: the black Lark tee and the Lexi tops were all made back in August, but weren’t blogged until now, and the jeans are from September. And I have one dress I made this summer that I didn’t blog because I don’t really like it and couldn’t get excited about writing a post for it, haha! It’s not that I want to pretend I don’t have FAILs, it’s just that I genuinely am not excited to write about that dress. Maybe for Fail February it will come out to play. 😉

As is customary around here, I have some outtakes for you! (Warning: .gif ahead)

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Running for warmth!

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Not a terrible photo, for once!

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That’s more like it! 😉

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Punching myself in the face, or fixing my Very Important hair?

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When will I learn that jumping doesn’t suit me?!?!?

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Calling this one the “TNT Happy Dance”

I don’t know what I’ll be back to share next, folks; it’s Totally Unnecessary Holiday Outfit season, which means I will be working (what’s left of) my ass off on something ridiculous for a one-night event. *eyeroll* But depending on how that goes, hopefully I’ll be back again soon with something fun!

Summer Tops and Miscellany! (But Mostly A Blair Shirt)

Hello, friends!

First off, I know I kept saying I was going to do a planning post for summer sewing. Clearly I haven’t had the time for that, LOL! So while that may not materialize, I have been sewing a bit. I made a Named Minttu top but haven’t bothered to have Tom photograph it until now. Apart from being annoyed as hell about the length of the facing (it cuts off right at mid-boob, where the top is still quite fitted: WTF?!?!? Not cool.), I think it’s really cute!

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Derp Face

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Side (Can you see the facing stopping suddenly? >=[ )

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Back

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Trying to put some “swing” in my swing top…

I added my usual 1″ of length at the bust, but otherwise there are no changes to this pattern as you see it. (And yes, I added the same 1″ to the facings. #bitter) It’s snug through the shoulders and upper back, but the stretch in my fabric makes up for that.

The fabric I used is a ponte knit, as recommended by the pattern. This particular fabric almost got destashed (it is decidedly NOT my best color/look, but then neither are white skinny jeans), but I actually really like it as a top. Which is good, because I have enough fabric left for another top! 😉 I’m planning on a Named Lexi or Sointu but haven’t decided for sure yet–feel free to weigh in with a comment!

And now for the star of this post: the Blair shirt by Style Arc!

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Blair!

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Side-ish

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Flaps!

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Back view (incl. VPL, ugh)

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One more front shot for good measure

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Shirt in the sunshine

Obviously I really love this shirt, hence the barrage of photos. 😉

I bought this very nice cotton shirting at Fabric Mart (my fabric shopping frenemy) and knew I would make a shirt with it eventually. I know…I’m a fucking visionary.

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Cotton Shirting? For a shirt? Groundbreaking.

After seeing so many inspiring versions of the Blair shirt and dress, I realized this fabric was perfect for it and finally made my pattern choice. 😀 I really couldn’t be much happier with it–it turned out so much like I had hoped!

Construction Notes

This is only my second Style Arc rodeo, but I know enough to read their instructions, chuckle, and figure it out for myself. 😉 I did things my way pretty much from start to finish. Here’s a brief summary:

  1. I assembled the bottom half of the shirt and the underlayer at the side seams before hemming them separately up to a few inches before the center front (to make attaching the button bands easier). That curved hem was a tedious operation, so I wanted it out of the way! Then I basted those pieces together.
  2. Next came the shoulders and upper half side seams, followed by attaching the bottom layers to the top.
  3. I did the button bands and remainder of the hem next, then the collar assembly and buttonholes.
  4. The sleeve cuffs were the last machine step, then I sewed on my buttons. Ta da!!!

I spent a lot of time prepping the stripes so that everything mostly matched. The shoulders don’t line up exactly, but I was more concerned about the fronts so was willing to compromise there.

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I think we can all agree that was time well spent…

Pattern Adjustments

I took a big chance here and didn’t change any proportions on my Blair. O_O I know. But it’s a cropped shirt, and the length looked like it would be fine with high rise jeans so I just went for it. I only made one–ONE–change to the pattern itself, and that was the undercollar.

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Undercollar awesomeness

Surprisingly, Style Arc has you use the same pattern piece for both the upper and under, but I wanted a bias undercollar. #shirtmakingcred That’s it, though. Everything else is exactly per the Size 4 original pattern, even button placement.

Apart from some sewing, here’s what else I’ve been up to lately:

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Readers, meet Nessie! She’s a Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple. ^___^

We planted a new tree out back! We lost our large Norway Maple (it was necessary, trust me–I don’t cut down trees lightly) and replaced it with a stronger, non-invasive species. Bonus: someday, Nessie will provide maple sap for syrup!

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SOCKSSSSS!!!!!!

And I’ve been knitting socks like a fiend! I have 2 more pairs on my needles as I type this. 😉

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And some hot air ballooning for good measure. Here at the “Mads” house, it’s not really summer if we haven’t played with some hot air balloons. 😀

How is your summer (or winter for my Southern Hemisphere friends!) going? Have you gone on any adventures (in the air, on the ground, under the sea)? Are you starting to think about sewing for the next season yet?

Reeta II: Copycat Boogaloo

Friends, I have made another Reeta midi shirtdress, and it may look a liiiiiiiittle familiar:

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Suspiciously similar!

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Hem split action!

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Bodice

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That’s right: I practically #singlewhitefemaled Named’s sample dress. O_o I actually did search–in vain–for THE floral rayon they used for the sample. I needed a Reeta in that poppy red color! ❤ ❤ ❤ Sometime after concluding that fruitless search, I ended up on Harts Fabric’s website, which I had never patronized before, and they had just gotten this beautiful rayon satin in stock. Yay! Not only is it the most perfect shade of poppy red (which they describe as “tomato”), the flowers themselves are pretty colors, too. I paid more per-yard for this rayon than I ever have for that fiber–$12.99–but I think it was worth it.

I bought 3 yards exactly. I knew that would be cutting it close, but I didn’t hand over that kind of money lightly–paying for an extra 1/2 yard was too rich for my blood. Plus, I had gotten my last Reeta (complete with self fabric drawstring) out of 3 yards of rayon that was the same width as this stuff, so I figured it would be fine. Unlike my last Reeta, I used self fabric for my yoke facing because I found working with such a difference in drape in the yoke/sleeve/collar area (cotton muslin vs. rayon challis) to be annoying last time. I also opted to interface the turn backs of the front facings and the upper collar this time, using plain old cotton muslin which I hand-basted in place.

Randomly, during our “photoshoot,” I noticed there was a hole in this dress–WTF?!?!? I have no idea what caused it (it wasn’t shears or the serger, based on where it is) but it definitely needed to be patched before it frayed further. It was about the diameter of a Q-tip and just appeared out of nowhere. I can’t tell if it was a flaw in the yardage that I missed, or if some catastrophe befell the dress while I wasn’t around. I was very cranky about it, let me tell you; I am really careful with my self-made stuff, during AND after construction, and was gutted to see that my brand new, worn-once dress was already damaged. But I did get it fixed:

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Before and After; thanks to the Fray Check being wet, you can just make out the entire patch on the right. Not too shabby, eh?

So I guess the moral of this story is threefold: 1.) Be extra careful with things, lest you puncture them somehow, 2.) Check your yardage extensively BEFORE you cut stuff out, just in case there is a flaw, and 3.) Keep your fabric scraps until you are 1,000,000% sure the project is done and dusted. (Obviously this fix is brought to you by #3–thank goodness I am a lazy tidier!)

Pattern Notes

Since I made this pattern successfully once before, I really didn’t need to change much this time around. Once again, I shortened the dress by about 2-3″. I did not, however, alter the length of the splits because I forgot. 😦

Having learned from my first Reeta, I did remember to move the pockets up on this one! They are now 3/4″ higher and look much better. (They are really droopy though, moreso than on the last version. Hmmm…maybe it’s the fabric?) Other than that, I just did everything the same way as before–that’s what makes repeats so awesome!

Here are a few more photos of our setting: the Scioto Mile! It’s a really pretty mostly-green space in downtown Columbus, along the river. There are pedestrian sections on the two bridges over the river, walking/biking paths, and even some fountains for playing in, all in view of the city’s skyline! And also a deer sculpture, because why not?

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Skyline

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The Deer

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Someone was on the other side of the sculpture, so we didn’t get more shots with the deer. =(

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Not flattering (aka Thank Goodness For Drawstrings)

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The best I could do–there were many more attempts at looking “pretty” but they weren’t very successful. #notamodel

Anyway, that’s it for me today! I am still planning on doing a planning post (HAH!) for my summer wardrobe, so hopefully I will be back soon to share that with you. Thanks for reading!

What are you sewing right now? Have you ever had to repair a garment due to an accident or other mishap? Have you ever balked at the price of a not-necessarily-luxury fabric? (And be honest: did you buy it anyway? 😉)

PS: I have updated my “About” page in the aftermath of something that happened a couple of weeks ago. I know reblogging is allowed on WordPress (and that you literally can’t do anything about it, except hide that button or make your blog totally private, should the reblog-er refuse to take your post down), but I am not comfortable with anyone using my blog posts and photos that way. That goes double if someone holds views that I find morally objectionable–I don’t want my work associated with such beliefs. So if you want to reblog a post from here, please do me the courtesy of asking first, so that I can tell you “No” to your face. And never, ever use images from this site that are my property: you don’t want to find out how serious I am about enforcing THAT guideline. Again, if you wish to use a photo and properly attribute it to me, ask first. 

I’m not averse to being social with my sewing hobby–that’s why I have a blog. But I do expect that people will be respectful of my boundaries and the effort I put into blogging and the effort that Tom puts into my photos. If you really want to show your readers what a hack I am, or what the World’s Best Dog looks like, just link to a post–I’m FINE with that. I’ve made some amazing connections because of blogging–this notice isn’t because of anyone I am Internet Friends with–and I have no plans to make my space private. So please, any-and-everyone, respect these boundaries.

Finally, A Seasonally-Appropriate Thing!

Look at me, back here already! 😉 Thanks to a recent flash of inspiration (don’t you love those?!?), I have something new to share with you all! What inspired me? FABRIC! (Duh.)

There have been so many incredible tropical prints coming out for the new Spring/Summer season (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), and many of my favorites were on rayon. I decided that a tropical print rayon had to be my next project! After trawling through multiple fabric sites and not 100% connecting with any designs for me (or balking at the price points of the ones I did like), it occurred to me that I had something perfect in my stash already: a palm leaf-print plum and aqua rayon challis I bought on Fabric.com (NAYY) about a year ago.

When I was re-organizing my stash and found this stuff again, I had planned on making pajamas out of it, but where’s the fun in that?!? The colors are good on me, and in the aftermath of this latest inspiration explosion, I decided I didn’t want to “waste” the print on pajamas. Having decided that I NEEDED to sew this fabric right now, I had to figure out what to make. A dress was the obvious choice, since I had 3 yards of fabric. But which dress?!? While searching one fabric site for “rayon,” some sewing patterns came back (since they listed “rayon” as a recommended fabric) and the Reeta Midi Shirtdress from Named was one of them. (I hadn’t bought any patterns from their Spring/Summer 2017 release and only even liked three of them–that’s normal for me and Named, as their S/S stuff doesn’t jump out at me right away like their F/W stuff does. My love is a peculiar love.) I was struck by the beautiful fabric of the Reeta sample, which is viscose/rayon. I was sold! I bought and printed the pattern 2 Fridays ago and had it put together and the fabric cut later that very night! O_O For me, that’s some high-octane action.

Anyway, here are photos! 😉

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Graceful-ish

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Who’s that happy weirdo?

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That’s more like it!

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Earth Day love!

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My feelings about there being no hammock in the hammock stand.

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Strike a pose

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…maybe not *that* pose. O_o

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Poison ivy in the foreground, nice.

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Showing off the collar and neckline!

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Gotta get the pup in there!

Pretty cool, huh? I love it!! I will probably wear this once a week all summer, LOL! I am especially proud of my pleated breast pockets, which I had never made before this; doing them in rayon challis was “fun” but they really turned out great! Well, except for the fact that the loud-ass fabric renders them nearly invisible despite no attempt by me to pattern-match them…

(Also, what is it with me and making Named dress patterns in ridiculous fabrics??)

I used a contrasting dark teal thread for my buttonholes–livin’ dangerously! I asked my Instagram friends if I should go with matching plum or the contrast, and they (you) voted overwhelmingly for matching thread.

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Testing buttonholes and thread colors!

But I can’t explain it, I just felt like the dress needed this pop of darker blue/green against all the purple. So I disobeyed my pals–sorry, guys!!! I do value your opinions (or I wouldn’t ask!) but sometimes, the heart just wants what it wants! After doing a partial test buttonhole, I realized I needed some stabilizer under the fabric or the results would be a hot mess. (You can see that partial buttonhole in the photo above–yikes!) That meant I finally got a chance to use my Tear Away stabilizer that I bought forever ago. It worked wonders and my buttonholes look pretty fabulous, if I may be so bold. 😉 (Especially considering that they’re on rayon challis!) I used buttons that I got from Wawak last year (thank you, Past Me, for judiciously buying multiple dozens of buttons in a few neutral colors). I settled on white in the end, because this dress needed something clean and understated about it.

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Buttons and buttonholes in action!

And now for a “Do as I say, not as I do” moment: I didn’t use any interfacing on this dress. *ducks for cover* I brought down my cotton muslin with all the best intentions of using it, but in the end I decided to see how I liked the drapier quality of the challis on its own, especially on the shirtdress features. The collar was my biggest concern, and I had enough scrap fabric left to recut it if necessary, but I decided I liked it without any firming up. I pressed it carefully, as always, and I think the dress looks well-made and very nice as-is. The collar is very light and flimsy, but so is the rest of the dress. I don’t regret my decision, but I will say that I usually NEVER forgo interfacing, and neither should you. 😉 I just liked the idea of a totally breezy midi dress this time around! Actually, while challis is a perfectly acceptable fabric for this pattern, a rayon poplin would have been my IDEAL material. Maybe I’ll get my hands on some eventually!

Pattern Alterations

As per usual, I couldn’t get away without making some fitting adjustments. I added my usual-with-Named 1″ at the bust line front and back and adjusted the shoulder slope of the front piece (adding 1″ to the outer edge at the armhole and tapering into about 1/4″ at the neck opening). I got away without needing to move the bust dart, which is always nice! I was not so fortunate when it came to the armholes though, having fucked with the shoulder slope at that edge to the tune of 1″, and therefore adding length to the armholes. Since this is a sleeved garment, that extra length needed to be added to the sleeve cap as well. This tutorial does a good job of showing how to add length to a sleeve cap without also enlarging the bicep of the sleeve. That’s the method I used, and I walked/measured the pieces afterwards to confirm that they would be compatible.

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All the altered pattern pieces!

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Sleeve piece after cap height was added

Finally, I took a bit of length off the hem, because 1.) Named already drafts for a height of 5’8″, and I am at most 1″ taller than that, 2.) I added 1″ at the bust and another 1″ at the outer shoulder (which does add length to the dress overall), and 3.) my legs are short for my height, proportionally. This should be a midi dress, and it was hitting me well below that point. All told, I took about 2-3″ off the original hem length; I also opened the side splits a bit so they were close to the original length, since they had been affected by my hem shortening extravaganza. I trust Named’s proportions on design, and wanted to make sure I didn’t lose that effect; based on the modeled photos on their site, mine are damn close.

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Side splits, doin’ their thing.

All that said, I should have checked the pocket placement after doing so much lengthening: they’re a bit low, but I think only by about 1/2″. And if I’m being picky, the dart point could stand to extend about 1/2″ closer to the apex. But all things considered, I think the dress fits very well.

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My beautiful pockets! Just a touch too low, but NBD.

Construction Notes

The Reeta dress was fairly simple to assemble–if you’ve made a shirtdress before (or a shirt!), you can do this. However, things got a little more complex thanks to the convertible collar with facings (as opposed to a stand + collar + button band combo) and the use of a yoke facing. You can’t just do the burrito yoke method and get a perfectly clean finish everywhere, so don’t get cocky like I did: I sewed my burrito and came back to the directions to find that I should have done it their way. I unpicked back to the part where both the yoke and yoke facing are sewn to the dress back and started again from there. It was complicated at the end, simply because the instructions are fairly short, and the illustrations weren’t clicking for me right away. Just go slow, make sure your mind is fresh, and keep checking your assembly against their instructions. The resulting finish is impeccably clean and fully enclosed, and you won’t regret taking the extra time! (I did manage to sew my collar on upside-down the second time without realizing until after I was done with the whole shebang, so all my careful rolling of the seam was wasted. GRRRRRRRRR.)

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Finished yoke/facing/collar/dress thing–whew!

The instructions would have you use purchased drawstring cord for the waist, but I am of the opinion that this tends to look cheap. #sorrynotsorry I made my own 1/4″ drawstring out of my fabric by cutting a 1″-wide strip, turning the short ends in by 1/2″, pressing the whole strip in half length-wise, opening it back up and pressing both raw edges to the center crease length-wise, and then pressing THAT mess in half length-wise along the center line and sewing down the open edges. Still with me??? O_o I didn’t bother with a bias strip either, just a straight grain one–not only is that unnecessary for this application, I didn’t have the yardage anyway!! I used some rayon seam binding for the casing–it’s only 1/2″ wide but if you sew it right at the edges, it’s no problem to fit a 1/4″ tie through it.

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Waist tie casing, made from Hug Snug seam binding.

OH! And despite that drawstring waist, there is NO waist seam on this dress. So your front and back pieces (and front facings) are LOOOOOOONG. As such, I can’t recommend playing Pattern Tetris with anything but your sleeves, collar, back yoke, and pockets on this one–trust the fabric requirements, folks.

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All that’s left of 3 yards of fabric: daaaaaaaamn.

Conclusions

So there you have it: another wildly successful Named project! I am so glad to have one much-needed Summer/Spring dress added to my wardrobe, especially since I used fabric AND notions that I already had on hand. That’s right: the only thing I bought for this project was the pattern, which I would have eventually bought anyway. Sewing doesn’t get much better than that, does it? 😀 Well, Tom did find a way to make it slightly better, thanks to his epic Photoshop skills. This dress has now “theoretically” crossed time and space, making it The Greatest Ever:

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I dare you to beat THIS on #tbt

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DRESS…….IN…….SPAAAAAAAAAAACE

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“Mads” the Mountaineer!

And speaking of kickass Summer dresses, I think I will do a planning post for a summer wardrobe next. I desperately need more options for that season, and it is coming on fast! My goal will be to use only stashed fabric, and to focus on those patterns I already own.

In closing (FINALLY), I will leave you with one final me-made-related thing! We did band photos a few weeks ago (UGH the week before my hair got touched up–that figures), and I decided to wear one of my Inari dresses for the shoot! I am so pleased that I got to wear something that I like and feels like “me,” that I think looks “cool,” and that I MADE for band photos. SEWING ROCKS!!!

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Sitting in my car with 6 weeks of roots, waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. 😉

See you all soon!

What have you been sewing lately? Do you ever curse yourself for choosing a tricky fabric for garments that require precision? How do you feel about the midi trend: LOVE or HATE? 

 

A Tale of Two Tops

Hi! Wherever in the world you are, I hope your weather has at least been consistent: ours has been somewhat confused about what season it is! One week it was in the teens (F) and then suddenly we had a few days of 40-50 with rain. One day, it was 60F!! And now it’s back to 40s and 50s forecast for this week. Come on, Ohio, pick a lane!!

So here I am, with not one but 2 new tops to share! One was called out in the planning post a while ago, and the other got an honorable mention by way of me whining about Named’s Fall line and how I wanted to sew ALL OF IT* right now. On these grounds, I am calling this a technical victory on both garments as far as sticking to my plan goes. 😉

*Except for literally only one pattern from that collection, which was the only one I did not buy. Yikes.

We did our photos indoors this time, in our attic studio. Which is orange. (2 shades of orange, to be precise.) So we had to hang up a blanket to make it work for these tops! I had the first top on during our test photos so that’s mostly what we got–not as many detail shots on that one. But it’s definitely the less interesting of the two, so…

First up, a Lark tee! I opted for the 3/4 sleeves with the boatneck for this first one.

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Purple-iscious Lark tee!

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My face when we’re testing the lights

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Supposed to show the flawless twin needle hem–oh well.

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Testing lights again…

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Literally the only shot we got of the back of this top, and I’m pretending to twerk in it. Awesome. O_O

I am so sorry about that last pic, you guys–my ass has this super power where it can make itself look bodacious on camera sometimes, much to my constant consternation. Okay, I guess I’m not that sorry because I still posted it, and it is pretty funny. I promise you that Le Azz is rather underwhelming IRL and is about what you’d expect from someone who wears size 00 jeans (i.e., sad). 😦 ANYWAY…

My Lark tee is a riff on the whole “luxurious basics” thing: simple garment, swish fabric. That fabric is a gorgeous Telio bamboo/lycra jersey from Fabric.com. (YES, they have Telio fabrics now you guys.) This particular fabric is great: soft to the touch, plenty stretchy, but with a nice weight. I love the color, too. This fabric shrank like the devil in the washer/dryer cycle; not a shock, since bamboo is a cellulose fiber and that’s a risk you take, but I still managed to be surprised when I went to lay the fabric out to cut! 😉

Unlike every other time I’ve made a Grainline pattern, I did not add any length to Lark. None. It’s clearly drafted to be longer, and I like that about it. There are plenty of neckline and sleeve options on Lark, which is nice. That being said, it’s definitely not a fitted top: this is a size 0 (my usual Grainline size) with a little bit extra removed from the waistline. I like a good relaxed-fit tee now and then, and I know that Grainline’s aesthetic doesn’t really jive with “body-con” anything, but I think I will bring future Larks in a bit more all over to give me some definition. I would feel frumpy in tops that were this loose all the time, if I’m honest. I think it’s something about the fitted sleeves in combination with the loose-but-not-oversized body…I just can’t deal!

With respect to this top specifically, I now remember why I don’t wear boatnecks: bra straps. O_O

Sewing-wise, this was dead simple. I serged everything but the hems and sewed my hems with….DRUM ROLL…a stretch twin needle! Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!  I opted for the narrower one of the two that I have because it matched my RTW tees. I tested it on a scrap first and, apart from making sure to use knit interfacing for all my hems (including the neckline), I just went for it. I am pleased to report that the interfacing prevented the dreaded tunneling effect (which was present on my un-interfaced test scrap)!

So that’s this Lark tee. There will be more, that’s for sure!

And now for the star of this post, the Named Talvikki Sweater!!!!!!

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Big orange sweater

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This face reflects how I feel about this top

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Infinity Arms!!!!!!! It’s amazing what a funny photo angle can do…

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Neckline. It does stand up by itself, I just didn’t adjust it before we started taking pics. =(

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Wiggling.

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My flaps are fly as fuck.

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“Ughhh I can’t with this bitch…”

Re: that last photo, I HAD TO. HAD TO. I got the idea immediately when I decided I was going to post these tops together. I died laughing when Tom got the Photoshopping done. HILARIOUS. (And free of twerking…)

So anyway, Talvikki! AKA, the Big Orange Sweater. I fucking love this thing. The collar! The darts! The hem! The fabric! Gahhhhhhh. I apologize for the odd-looking dents and stuff around the front shoulder/neck area; it’s because my collarbones and shoulders are very prominent (read: boney as fuck) and the fabric is kind of catching and pooling on them weirdly.

Speaking of fabric, this is a scuba/neoprene knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. I bought it a while ago but immediately thought of it again when this pattern was released–it seemed like the perfect match, and I think that instinct was right on! It’s hefty enough to support the collar (I opted not to interface my neck facing but YMMV), and has just enough stretch to satisfy the pattern’s very specific requirements (30% minimum). And since I bought 3 yards, I still have enough left to make a skirt! #winning  😀 And can I just say that my favorite thing about scuba is the way it totally dissolves when you pull on tiny pieces of it?!? I find it bubble wrap-levels of mesmerizing:

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Seriously, how the f*ck does it do that?!?!?

Construction-wise, there wasn’t much to this top once I got past those neck darts. Those were by far the fiddliest part! I did most of the remaining work at my serger, but used my machine to attach the neck facing. Since none of the hems have to stretch, I just single-needled them. I will note, for the record, that I used a stretch needle in a size 90/14 and had no issues whatsoever. When in doubt, always test on a scrap first!!

I did add 1″ of length to this top, which is now a standard adjustment for me on any Named tops and bodices; I added it at the bust line. Normally I would change the shoulder slope on a Named top as well, but this one has a dropped shoulder and funnel neck so I opted just to leave them be. I’ve seen other folks debating whether they want to slim the sleeves down, which I totally understand. As for me, I agree that they’re a lot of sleeve, but I don’t mind them as-is.

So there you have it: two new tops! They’re certainly very different from each other, but I am glad to have both of them added to my wardrobe.

That’ll do it for me today–thanks for checking in! I’ll be back before too long, because I just organized my fabric stash this weekend and can’t wait to show you guys!!

Have you sewed anything new recently? Do you find it easy to pair fabrics with patterns? Do you ever look at a potential blog photo and wonder “How did that happen?!?” or, “OMG do I really look like that?!?” 😀

(PS: Let me know what you think of the new theme on the site! I didn’t like how narrow my old one made all the text so I decided to tweak it. If you find the site hard to read or navigate, please let me know!)

Kielodoscope Dress (aka The Dress That Taste Forgot)

Hello there!

Somehow, I have made YET ANOTHER Penny raglan:

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Striped Penny, after a full day of wear

I wear that one a lot, too, in case you were wondering.

More miraculously, I have managed to sew a third consecutive pattern from my mega planning post. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!? To be fair, had I not started on this dress before our bathroom remodel swung into high gear, it wouldn’t be finished yet–it’s been hectic around here!

One word of warning: this dress is not classic, understated, or tasteful. At all. But I love it!

Behold, the pun-tastic Kielo Wrap Dress which I have dubbed “Kielodoscope”:

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Ta-Dah!!!!

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Wrapping it up!

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Skirt flaps for daysssss

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Wing-a-lings

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Back view of the wing-a-lings

Where do I even start with this one?? I had mentioned in the planning post that I wasn’t really sure if I had a suitable fabric for this pattern: it needs about 2 yards of a light and drapey fabric with at least 20% stretch, and most things I could think of only had about 2 of those qualities. A review of my stash spreadsheet reminded me that I owned this Nicole Miller fabric, and my inner mad scientist began to plot. (Fun Fact: I also totally bought the bright stretch twill version of this fabric, because of course I did. #ALLthepixelatedfabrics) The fabric is described as a chiffon, but it’s not as sheer as I expect a chiffon to be, polyester or not. This polyester/spandex blend has a very “springy” quality to it and the weave is tight, but the fabric drapes pretty well. It IS a woven, and barely has adequate stretch for the pattern’s guidelines. FWIW, I sewed the dress with both my serger and sewing machine. Sewing machine work was done with a straight stitch and a 70/10 Microtex needle.

This project was very much a whim. I got the idea, dug out the fabric and put the PDF together over Labor Day weekend (in between trips to our soon-to-be-remodeled bathroom to work on paint stripping: FML), and cut out the fabric on Labor Day. I worked on it in spurts after that point, but since it’s a pretty quick sew, it came together in no time–I finished it in about 10 days, which for me is pretty quick for a full dress in a woven! All that was left was to make time for pictures, which we did this past Friday!

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Goofing off

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Candid

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Back split

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Portrait pose

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Eeeeew nature!!!

Pattern Alterations

After I got the pattern taped together and cut out, I held the pieces up to my body (which is super scientific, I know) to see how things were looking. It was obvious that the bust point and waist were too high for me (front AND back), so I went ahead and added the necessary 1″ at the bust line on the pattern pieces. This put the bust and waist in the right spots but I needed to re-draw the dart point and legs AND true up the new side seams. Easy enough, but important to consider!

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Revised pattern pieces

However, since Named drafts for a height of 5’8″ and I am at most 1″ taller than that, this added torso length makes the dress almost too long for me. After wearing it for these pictures (in flats), I am happy with the length but definitely wouldn’t want it any longer.

I also changed the slope of the shoulders. Named patterns tend to angle too steeply upward at the inner shoulder/neck for my body, which I notice in my Inaris. (In other words, my shoulders are less sloped than what they are drafting for.) So I made this change to compensate for that quirk.

Finally, I lengthened the tie pieces at the start. They just looked really short to me, even after taking into account that they are cut on the fold. I wrap them around me from the front, around the back, and then tie them once they come back around to the front. As drafted, they measure roughly 33 3/4 inches (not including seam allowances). The final length of my ties is a whopping 49 inches and I love them. 🙂 I actually had to go back and measure those, since I just cut them out on the fly, LOL.

Additional Project Notes

I didn’t really bother with pattern matching with this fabric; I only had the bare minimum 2 yards (Named calls for 2 yards at 60″ wide, and I had 2 yards at 58″ wide) and at first, I was worried I wouldn’t have enough. I did have enough, but only just enough. Plus the cutting person at Joann’s didn’t even out the already-cut end of the yardage before measuring, so one end was less usable for a “cut on the fold” application because of the inward angle on one layer’s raw edge. Needless to say, I laid the two main pieces out on the fabric together BEFORE cutting anything, LOL. That’s what happens when you buy fabric without a plan, folks! 😛 I considered myself lucky not to have to piece the ties together, especially after deciding to lengthen them!

The colors move on the diagonal–I cut this dress on-grain with the stretch–which made it that much more of a challenge to line up the bands of color. Combined with the lack of extra yardage, that meant taking a more relaxed approach to “stripe” matching. So I did! This is most evident at CB, where the diagonal color bands are offset by a few inches. :-/

Finally, I increased the height of the back split: I couldn’t walk in it as it was drafted!! (Well, I could walk, but only Geisha-style.) The original split measures 15 3/4 inches, and mine now measures 18 1/2 inches (both measured from the hem once sewn). I also made my own bias out of leftover fabric, and used that to finish the armholes and neckline. To cut down on bulk and because of concerns about pressing a sharp crease in poly/lycra binding strips, I serged one side of the bias binding before attaching it, and then topstitched from the outside to finish off those areas. Not super classy–what about this dress is?!?!?–but effective nonetheless. 🙂

For the record, all my pattern measurements are taken from the EUR32 size–they may be different on another size.

If I make this again, I want to re-angle the darts toward the side seams about 1/2″ at the apex (the root is in a good spot). Without getting too gorey here, I will say that the apex as-is is over the edge of the “bullseye” rather than the center of it. 😉 I also have issues with all my bras and this dress!! I have one bra that fits my breasts well (I call it my “Honest Bra” because there is no padding, LOLOL) but it makes me look droopy and sad in this dress. My other bras really don’t fit–they’re too big and the cups buckle due to lack of, er, “filling”–and in this dress, you can really tell unless I tighten the straps up really tight, as we did for these photos. (Yes, “we”: I needed a bit of help with that!) So that’s a bummer, and I may need to give myself a little more ease (width-wise) from shoulder to bust point in any future versions to skim over that problematic area.

Gripes

I think that, as sewers, many of us find comfort in the presence of directions: they help us get from point A to point B as the designer envisioned. But often, it is best to trust your experience (assuming you have it) and think critically about what the directions are telling you to do before you do it. Case in point: the Kielo instructions tell you to finish the raw edges of the side seams, hem, shoulder, and center back seam allowances before you do any sewing on those seams. And, instead of doing what I would normally do–think about it, and decide whether or not I agreed–I did as I was told. This was a waste of time and serger thread and electricity, y’all. I should have just sewn the side and center back seams on my serger to start with, although I did use my sewing machine for the shoulders after serging the allowances separately so they would lay as flat as possible. Luckily, I realized the wastefulness of those instructions before I got to the hem; I turned that raw edge under 1/4″, and then turned up the remaining 1/2″ and pressed again. Much better!

I also should have been more critical of the order of events, but ultimately found those aspects of the instructions much less annoying than the finishing BS noted above!

For all my complaining there, I am a proper Named fangirl–I love their work, their design and drafting sensibility, and pretty much everything about them (especially now that their PDFs come layered). So if the worst thing I can say about their patterns is that I don’t like some of the instructions, I’m still a very happy bear! ❤

And now, for some outtakes!

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Artful (Read: Blurry) backside

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What Tom gets when he says, “Say Cheese!!!”

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Table acrobatics?

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Tangled.

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My favorite pic, tbh…

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The colors!!!!!

So that’s my Kielodoscope dress! Eye-searing, yes, but I like it. And it’s done just in time for cooler weather that isn’t sleeveless-dress friendly, LOL.

What have you been sewing? Do you ever buy fabric without a plan? 

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

Anyway.

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Big ole shirt

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Sheer, too.

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Goofing off

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Back neckband, V.2

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Best Penny!

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Dress form side view

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Innards!

 

Cool, right? At least I feel cool in them. 😉 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 tops 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!

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Moss mini!! And legs!!!!

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Fly front

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

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Sorry for the pose–I was itchy

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Beautiful serged innards!

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Full (fly) frontal

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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. 😀

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. 😉

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. 😀

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

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“Hi, Rhonda!!!” =)

Thanks for reading! ❤

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

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. 🙂

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! 😉 (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! 😉

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