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!)

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? 

Q3 and Q4 Sewing (aka The Planning Post to End All Planning Posts)

Hiiiiiiii! Wanna guess what I’ve been up to since I last wrote?

Sherk 2-9

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School Spirit Shark

Yep–sharks like whoa. The last one there is for my little sister, who started teaching at a new school this year. Their mascot? THE SHARKS. For real. So obviously I made her one in the school’s colors. I did as she asked and made this one a little smaller–it’s about 75% of the original size. It’s still over 4′ long though!

Anyway…

It’s August, which means that it’s time for many of us to begin thinking about our plans for the upcoming season(s). So with that in mind, I thought I’d do a planning post to share my ideal sewing focal points as we Ohioans prep for Fall (and football season, UGH) and Winter.

I always love reading other people’s planning posts, so I thought it would be fun to jump on the bandwagon. It’s also nice to have a concrete reminder of my intentions! My plans* are mostly based on wardrobe needs, but never fear: I have some ridiculous shit in there, too! And of course, I have listed wayyyyyy more patterns than I could possibly sew up before January, but I like to give myself plenty of options. 🙂

*We at The ‘Mads’ House reserve the right to arbitrarily change these plans for any or no reason. We are fickle people.*

Tops

I need tops. Any tops. Knit tops, woven shirts, long-sleeved, short-sleeved, you name it. I have begun work on one already, so hopefully I will be sharing some results sooner rather than later! My pattern selections–below, in no particular order–for this section are quite numerous:

Tops

 

  1. Grainline Studio Penny Raglan – I know, I know…I rolled my eyes pretty hard at this pattern when it came out–I could nearly fit 2 of me in my size with all that ease and the design is really, really simple. But then I remembered I had some really drapey and lightweight knits that I haven’t used (and was going to try to sell, actually) and decided that, given my recent lust for mini skirts, something like this could be a great way to balance out a mini for the office. So I bought it. #sheep
  2. Grainline Studio Archer – Flannel shirts, here I come!!
  3. Vintage Advance 6426 – I have my heart set on some gamine button-up shirts with short sleeves, and this pattern seems like the perfect match!
  4. Waffle Patterns Vanilla Top – I have striped knits ready and waiting for this one.
  5. True Bias Sutton Blouse – Finally got this pattern during the recent release sale. I can’t wait to make it: it should be an easy and chic addition to my wardrobe.
  6. Grainline Studio Lark Tee – I own 4 plain t-shirts and they’re looking gnarly. It’s time!
  7. Itch-to-Stitch Mila Shirt – Definitely going to use a yellow and black plaid rayon-blend suiting for the first one.
  8. Style Arc Elsie Woven Overshirt – I have B&W striped silk twill waiting for this pattern.
  9. Vogue bonanza – Specifically, V1463 (View B), V1387 (View B), V1509, V1378, and V1389. I’ve got silk and lightweight shirting for the woven blouses, but I’m not sure what I will use for the last two, which are knit.

Pants

Namely, jeans. There is something demoralizing about one’s spouse having a pair of handmade jeans whilst you are left out, trust me. I have plenty of denim, from neon to black to indigo to non-stretch (for real–it’s everywhere) and just need to get started. Skinny jeans are my staple, but I’d like to take a crack at a pair of boyfriend jeans before the year is over. I also want to make a few pairs of pleated, cropped trousers like all the pairs Keira Knightley wears in “Begin Again.” Pattern selections:

Pants

  1. Self-drafted copy of Aeropostale skinny jeans – The pattern is ready for a wearable (I hope) mock-up, but the hold-up was zippers. The zipper I salvaged from the pair I tore to pieces copied measures roughly 2.5″ long, which is RIDICULOUS and proved impossible to find ready-made. But I like my skinnies to have a low rise (I know, that’s totally uncool now) so once I realized I didn’t have any suitable zippers in my stash, I found a supplier who would shorten them for a reasonable fee of $1 per zipper. I went with 2.5″ and they’re perfect! (Yes, I know I could have bought a 3″ and shortened it myself, but I don’t feel like it.) I plan to make an entire drawer full of these jeans!
  2. Named Jamie Jeans – Not a style I want too many pairs of, but I’d like to make them anyway! I’m thinking one pair in black, one in blue, and one in a pink or rust color.
  3. Named Wyome Boyfriend Jeans – I’ll sub out the button fly for a zipper and use larger back pockets, but otherwise the silhouette is very close to my ideal boyfriend jeans.
  4. Republique du Chiffon Gilbert Trousers (not pictured) – This pattern has me nervous–it’s hand-drawn in pink pen and there aren’t tons of finished versions of it online. There aren’t even line drawings available for it! But I am confident that I can figure it out, even if it takes a few iterations. When in doubt, I can always call Nina!

Skirts

Specifically, mini-skirts. They’ll work in summer, obviously, but they are also great with tights and layers up top for Fall. I have twill, I have denim, I’m ready!! Patterns:

Skirts

  1. Pauline Alice Rosari Skirt – My one beef with this one is all the buttons down the front, which isn’t usually something I like. (Plus it seems like a waste of jeans buttons or pearl snaps, TBH.) But it’s the perfect A-line mini! I’ll make it work.
  2. Grainline Studio Moss Skirt – I love all the jeans-inspired details (back yokes! fly front!) but will probably make mine out of anything other than indigo denim to avoid the full-on jeans skirt look. (I had an ill-fitting one in Junior High and would prefer not to sartorially revisit those dark, awkward days! O_o )
  3. Named Nascha Mini Skirt – I have an incredible tweed/boucle from Gorgeous Fabrics that I thought should be a jacket, but will probably become this skirt instead. Wish me luck!

Dresses

After giving away almost all my summer dresses last year, I have been struggling to get dressed for work all season. I’d like to get a head start for next year, as well as give myself lots of options for Fall layering.

Dresses

  1. Brunch In Paris Cowl Dress (not pictured) – Free random pattern from a sewing magazine. I have polka dot rayon fabric ready to go! (Which was also free–yay!)
  2. McCall 7351 – I haven’t decided which skirt to use first, but this one is definitely happening.
  3. Named Kielo Wrap Dress – Finally broke down and bought this pattern, too! I am not sure I have anything appropriate in stash, but it’s on my list if I do.
  4. McCall 7429 – Again, who knows if I have the right fabric for this one, but I wants it! I’d love to shorten it into a top as well.
  5. McCall 7430 – The perfect cool weather knit dress!
  6. McCall 7244 – I know I have plenty of fabrics for this pattern, and I can’t wait to make it!
  7. Vogue 1404 – This was a “love at first sight” pattern, and I’d love for this to be the year I finally make it!

Miscellaneous

These are all things I need, but that don’t fit neatly into one of the above categories!

Misc

  1. Grainline Studio Driftless Cardigan – I have precisely one long-sleeved open-front sweater, and it’s showing its age. I need something light for layering over short-sleeved dresses and tops, and this fits the bill! I have one length of fabric earmarked for this pattern, but hopefully I can find some more options in stash.
  2. Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas – I tend to sleep in sweatpants and sweatshirts in the winter, but I would love to have a set of flannel pajamas to wear instead!
  3. True Bias Hudson Pants – Did I mention that the sweats referenced above are 5 Ohio winters old? I need new ones!
  4. True Bias Ogden Cami – To wear under sheer and semi-sheer tops, of course!
  5. 1920’s Preteen Coat – Ah yes, the coat. Still haven’t tackled that one, but my winter coat is getting really ratty and the pattern is ready for an adult–maybe this is my year.

Frosting

aka SHINY!!!!!!!! Stuff I don’t need to sew, but want to sew anyway.

Frosting

  1. Vogue 9160, View B – This will be my project for this year’s company holiday party. It’s utterly frivolous, but it’s fun to challenge myself and have an excuse–no matter how tenuous–to sew a piece of formal wear. I have scalloped-edge corded lace and a matching wool/silk gabardine (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) in the most perfect eggplant purple for this one. Swoon!! ❤ I plan to start fitting this one ASAP so that I have plenty of time to deal with the lace. I also plan to make the sleeves 3/4 length rather than full as pictured.
  2. Boyfriend Blazer – I’m putting this one under Frosting because I don’t *need* it. I have a RTW one already! But I want to copy that one using some amazing mascara black wool/nylon/lycra designer suiting I got from Fabric Mart recently. I’ve never made a jacket before, so that will be fun! I just need to figure out how to clone the jacket without destroying it, and what to use for lining; definitely thinking silk for lining, though! #becauseiamworthit
  3. Xmas Sewing – What will I make this year? No idea. But probably something for Tom (Xmas Sweatpants, Round 2, perhaps? Surprise Jeans?) and maybe another Stanley Tree for us to keep–those things are too cute!

So that’s my ridiculous list for Fall/Winter 2016! Hopefully I get at least one thing done from each category, LOL.