90’s Nostalgia – Sundress Edition!

Well where the f*ck did July go?!?!? I really did plan on sharing some things with you all last month, but time kind of got away from me. And not for nothing, either: we have had a lot going on with the house, and I will definitely have some incredible “Before and After” photos to show you this Fall. πŸ˜€ It’s been really exciting but stressful, as old house renovations tend to be!

I have 2 garments to share today, which have been sewn for MONTHS. I haven’t done much sewing lately because part of the house goings-on involved me tearing my sewing setup down to reveal our lovely dining room. It looked beautiful but was also depressing, if you know what I mean!

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Sure it’s a pretty dining room, but I want to sew!!!!

I’ve just started getting the sewing stuff back out but haven’t had time to make anything. Hopefully soon! (Like, once we stop using the dining table as a closet and sleeping in the living room…)

My summer sewing was pretty successful this year. (Yes, I am pronouncing it “past tense,” because I don’t see how I’ll squeeze any more summer things in!) The first dress I’m about to show you was started the same week as my Myosotis dress, but I set it aside temporarily to hurriedly make that pattern. But I got back to my “Pepto-Bismol” pink sundress as soon as I finished the Myosotis because I knew it wasΒ exactly what my summer wardrobe needed. Then I made a second one almost immediately, lol.

Presenting: my Style Arc Ariana dresses!

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Pink!

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Pink, now with 100% more attitude

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Showing off the neckline

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Full back

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Big-ass pockets

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Nonchalant

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Is there a sewing blogger in the US that *doesn’t* own this fabric yet?

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Swish

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Aren’t they just so perfectly 90’s and cute?!?

I bought the Ariana pattern from Style Arc as soon as it came out: the combination of the shirred back panel, spaghetti straps, and not-too-full skirt pulled me in immediately. (And yes, the 90’s vibe, because duh.) Apart from some small fit complaints, I LOVE THESE DRESSES. Seriously, I want an army of them for summer. (So…2 down, 48 to go? πŸ˜‰ ) It’s chic, but not fussy. And while I must admit to not being totally sold on the large patch pockets at first, I am glad to have them. (They also help to break up the expanse of skirt nicely…)

I really wanted a pink one just like the cover art, so I made one. #sooriginal

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Kick!

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Blue Kick

For the second Ariana, I copied a bunch of other internet sewing people and went to JoAnn for this cotton/linen/rayon blend. I under-bought slightly, so the CF matching isn’t great; and while shortening the skirt was the plan, it would have been a necessity with the yardage I had anyway. Oh well, I’m happy enough with the dress so it’s all good!

Pattern Notes

Pattern-wise, I made 0–that’s ZERO–adjustments (unless you include using the extra length Style Arc put on the straps) to the pink dress. I have had great luck with tops from Style Arc fitting really well straight out of the packet. I was pleasantly surprised by the bust area however, as I am really small cup-wise (ahem…A) and the princess seams have just enough room for my braless boobies. (So be warned if you measure into a Style Arc 4 and have boobs bigger than mine!) If I really want to be a perfectionist (and you KNOW I do…), IΒ could use a little extra length in the bodice rather than just using the maximum strap length to cheat it.

The waist is bigger than I’d like–in the size 4, it is over 1″ bigger than my largest occurring waist measurement (thank you, period) and 3.25″ bigger than my usual baseline waist measurement. However, I was paranoid about the dress not fitting–and I don’t know why, because they give the finished measurements!–so I didn’t remove any width. (I blame the shirring and not having done it before, resulting in paranoia about how much the CB panel would shrink up.) The views from the side and back are not very nice, but ultimately I know I’m not going to open the whole dress back up to take it in. (The bodice is fully lined in self fabric.)

Honestly, combined with my small bust and the very nice fit there, I was worried I looked dumpy in a baggy-waisted midi length sundress. Tom said he didn’t think it was dowdy or frumpy, so here’s hoping he’s not a lying jerk! πŸ˜‰ I should also note that because there is a hefty linen content in this fabric and I wore it multiple times before these photos were taken, the pink bodice has relaxed a bit versus the hot-off-the-machine fit.

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Partial back, wherein you can kinda-sorta see the poor fit at the waist and lower back.

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Ugh, such puff…

I made bodice adjustments before the blue one, I swear! I took off 1/4″ from each seamline on the side front, side back, and CB panels. And IT’S STILL REALLY BIG. O_o Again, I think I was overconfident about how small the shirred section would be in the end–it really doesn’t shrink up as much as you might expect, even after a steam. Before I make any more Arianas (and I will make more), I will spend more time fine-tuning the back waist area. I’ll probably remove excess from the skirt as well: I don’t think all that bunched up fabric (shirring + gathers) is flattering on me in that area. I’m thinking I’d like a version with no gathers at all, so that will probably be my next plan of attack.

Construction Notes

Mie at Sewing Like Mad has an excellent post about how she made her Ariana dresses, and I found it tremendously helpful. As in, I wouldn’t have been so successful without her thorough notes. (Plus her dresses are totally gorgeous!) If you are planning to sew this pattern, READ HER BLOG POST. Seriously, it will save you a lot of trouble. Her tip for attaching the shirred panel to the bodice is particularly genius!! I would probably not have thought of that on my own, let’s be real.

She also notes that, on clothing with no proper placket, buttonholes are supposed to be horizontal–I did not know that! Style Arc’s line art bears this out, but I wouldn’t have even thought about it had Mie not mentioned it. (See both of my Reeta dresses for evidence of me not thinking about such things–I put the buttonholes on those dresses going vertically.) So here is a huge “Thank you!!!” to Mie for taking the time to share her process, which awesomely includes the “why” AND the “how.”

My first shirred panel isn’t the greatest; the lines aren’t 100% evenly-spaced, and despite beingΒ sure I was never going to fit all 29 lines of shirring on that panel, I managed to sew 31 of them because I wasn’t counting and didn’t trace the lines!! O_o #sostupid The last few were the worst and curve up pretty obviously; those were helpfully put on the inside of the bodice so nobody has to see them but me. πŸ˜‰ The second one was marked and sewn very neatly!

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Flexing, thanks to that shirring!

As for the straps, I went off-piste with those on purpose. The length of the straps–INCLUDING the extra Style Arc tacks on one end–was pretty close to perfect for me, so I went with it. I made the straps the same way I made my Reeta drawstrings, so they’re nice and heavy (because layers) but still thin and feminine. I did use Style Arc’s pattern piece for cutting them out, I just didn’t sew them as directed if that makes sense! I used the directions from the Ogden cami pattern to attach the straps: they are easy to follow and the result is clean and tidy.

I used smaller buttons than SA specified–I didn’t have anything suitable in a 5/8″ button but had plenty of white 1/2″ buttons (thank you, Past Mads, for buying one gross–144!–of those buttons…) that I liked just fine. Honestly, something about the scale of the buttons Style Arc suggests just didn’t feel right to me; 5/8″ seems too large for the sweetheart neck and delicate little straps and relatively close nature of CF to the edges (3/8″). Maybe that’s just me though?

Also, BEHOLD MY BEAUTIFUL HEM CORNERS:

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Sharp hem corners

(The blue ones are equally beautiful, but I didn’t get a close-up of them…)

Conclusions

I am 100% making more Ariana dresses! I already have tentative plans for at least 2 more beyond the ones in this post. I don’t often buy Style Arc patterns just because their designs don’t always “click” for me and my style, but I do know that I can rely on them for a consistent draft quality and fit. (That doesn’t mean I expect their stuff to fit me perfectly right out of the gate, but that I can reasonably expect the same general fit across their patterns against my own body because they are consistent.) If you want a summer sundress that’s so 90s it hurts, this is it!

And you guys didn’t think I’d leave you without any outtakes or .gifs, did you??? >=D

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Accidental strip-tease

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Puppy snugs!

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God I look like such a mom…

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Chomp chomp!

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You guys are the wind beneath my…skirt. πŸ˜‰

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No dog noggins were actually smooshed in the making of this .gif

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A “Mads” in her natural state of being

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Don’t judge: that bench was wobbly and those shoes are tall!

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Attitude in motion

I have a few more summer items to share, which I will hopefully have posts for shortly. (And one of them will introduce you to the newest member of the “Mads” House blog team. πŸ˜‰ ) After those are live I will be mostly caught up, yay! I still have 4 Driftless cardigans that haven’t been photographed, plus 6 t-shirts for Tom that I made back in…March? O_o

I have NO IDEA what I will sew next (it’s hard to plan these things when you can’t use your sewing space) so perhaps a brainstorm/planning post is in order…

What’s on your sewing table right now? Are you prepping for the next season or still stubbornly sewing for this one? Are you into the 90’s fashion revival?

 

 

Dude Sewing: 2017 Edition

Hey there!

I’ve missed this blog, you guys–I did not intend to drop off the face of the internet! Stuff just got a bit busy and stressful, and even though I’ve been sewing, I just haven’t had the energy to get photos of stuff. I’m working on that, by the way! πŸ˜‰ But in the meantime, I thought I’d share some things I have made for Tom this year.

I was mentally counting up all the things I have sewn this year and it occurred to me that I wasn’t even counting the stuff I’ve made for Tom! Admittedly, it’s not a lot, but it’s more than 0 so it counts.

First up is what I’ve always called a “baseball t-shirt” in classic Tom colors:

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Senior portrait pose!

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Aerobics class?

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Yep, definitely aerobics class. πŸ˜‰

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Back view

This is a copy from a RTW shirt of Tom’s; he liked the fit and style, but it had a big ugly brand tag on the front near the hem. He hated walking around with a massive tag on display so much that he never really wore it. (I didn’t even realize heΒ had that shirt–that’s how rarely he wore it!)Β I cut the shirt apart and used it as the pattern. Ta-da!

I used Kaufman Laguna jersey for this shirt, which I sorta recommend. “Sorta,” because it shrinks like the devil even after pre-treatment AND the color of this orange has faded considerably. My other complaint is that different colorways shrink at different rates, which is deeply frustrating. This is actually the second iteration of this shirt for Tom. The first one was a literal copy in terms of dimensions, and it shrank so much after a wash and dry (again, DESPITE being rather roughly handled–i.e., hot water and hot dryer–in pre-washing to prevent this) that it is now too short for him to want to wear it. For this version, I didn’t make it any wider, but made it a full 2″ longer; I also don’t dry it in the dryer except for on the Extra Low setting. That is not my idea of a workhorse fabric, and in my opinion, cotton/lycra jersey ought to fulfill that role without making such a damn fuss. Having said all that bad stuff, the fabric is comfy to wear and a pleasure to cut and sew. Plus it’s the right weight for men’s t-shirtsΒ and comes in a lot of colors, which is always nice. For the sake of convenience, I would use this fabric again–but with caution. It can be such a challenge to find knits that are suitable for men’s t-shirts, both in weight and in color/pattern. Do you have a favorite material for making dude t-shirts that you’d like to share?

Somehow, Tom gets a lot of love for this t-shirt when he wears it! I know I should just accept that for the awesome ego boost that it is, but it doesn’t make sense to me; it’s just a baseball t-shirt! πŸ˜€ But the color palette is very “him,” and I expect that combination doesn’t appear often in stores, especially free of logos and branding. Reactions tend to get more intense when he explains where he got it, LOL.

My other Dude Sewing project this year is also my first-ever Burda pattern!

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Too cool to care he’s in a photo…

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Posing is such hard work!

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How big that cowl *really* is…

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Blue Steel

This is Burda 6718, from the “Burda Young” line. I made View B, the one with a big cowl/funnel collar and no pocket. I made this as Tom’s birthday gift this year, although a May birthday in Ohio isn’t a great time for this kind of garment! That’s especially true given the fabric I used: Polartec Power Stretch. I heard about it from Two On, Two Off and bought it at Rockywoods.com. This fabric is completely awesome, I just wish it was easier to find in more colors! The face is a smooth jersey with a dry hand-feel, and the back side is fleece-y. It’s kinda thick and very stretchy, and I certainly didn’t use it to its full potential for this pattern in terms of the stretch factor. It does a great job of blocking cold air and wind compared to normal sweatershirts, I am told. πŸ™‚

I made a size 40 for Tom, and the fit is spot-on. It’s loose enough that he can wear it over other shirts but not so big that it looks sloppy. (For reference, Tom is about 5’10” and usually wears a Medium in shirts and hoodies.) It was SO EASY to make. The only complicated things were the casing and buttonholes for the drawstring, and those were still very simple. (The pattern would have you use grommets, but I didn’t have any and didn’t want this to be my first attempt at setting them. I made buttonholes instead!)

Tom gets compliments on this thing all the time, too! (And unlike the t-shirt, I feel quite smug when I hear about them. πŸ˜‰ ) The Burda Young line is very “cool” and fashionable, and really, this garment isn’t something I’ve seen an allegory for in stores. I also think that this fabric really adds to the cool factor. The colorway I picked has a melange effect, something Tom admired about the sweater knits I used for some tops early this year. For the effort expended, this pattern provides an amazing return on fashionable warmth! Tom has already requested more of these, especially if I can find more of this Polartec material. πŸ˜€

I know they’re not as exciting as a pair of jeans, but I’m glad I made these things for Tom. He appreciates the effort and thought that go into making something for him, but he also doesn’t have expectations or grabby-hands when it comes to my sewing time. Since sewing can be such an all-consuming and expensive hobby, having a supportive partner makes it that much more enjoyable for me. ❀ Along with more jeans, I’m hoping to try making him some underwear soon (I KNOW, WHAT THE HELL?!?) but as we all know, I tend to put myself first in the sewing room so who knows when he’ll get them! πŸ˜‰

How about some outtakes? (Warning: .gif ahead)

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In a pinch, this thing could be used to make a Lord Buckethead costume…

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Cowl in action!

I’ll be back tomorrow with some stuff I made FOR MEEEEEEEEEE. Thanks for reading!