Smells Like Teen Spirit, Looks Like 1994

Hi! This will be a fairly quick post, since it’s a pattern repeat. I meant to have an entire outfit to share, but my trial jeans didn’t work out. (The fabric was the culprit: it was too damn stretchy!)

So that leaves us with this shirt! And thanks to my fabrication, it’s straight out of the High Grunge period of the early 1990s. It’s a Grainline Archer, this time with sleeves. If you’re keeping score, here’s another one for my Fall plans that I can check off! (Fair warning: my hair looks bleh because I had it dyed that morning and hadn’t re-washed it. But the color looks great, at least! 😀 Also, I have had that metal comb headband since, I don’t know, junior high maybe? It is still ridiculously useful if utterly uncool.) Behold:

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Gahhhhhh he is so cute.

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The front; looks like I missed a few threads at the collar stand!

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Full front view, with dog

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Making a stupid face

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Back view–check out that pleat!

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Dicking around

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Clearly I have been watching “Kung Fu Panda” wayyyyy too much.

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Snaps!!

I put the yoke, button band, pockets, and cuffs on the bias to break up the checks and get out of pattern matching. >=D The scale of the checks–3″ by 3″–proved to be really annoying for the duration of this project, but especially when it came to the collar, because no matter which grain or placement I chose I would be getting nothing but partial checks. In the end, I put that on the straight grain and just picked a color distribution that I liked. Like my striped version, I opted for an obsessively-choreographed placement of the center back pleat at the expense of matching one or both of the side seams. I french seamed everything I could, including the sleeve/armhole seams. I wanted to flat-fell but forgot to add more seam allowance before I cut. Derp.

I’d never done a continuous bound placket before, but got them done successfully on the first attempt; the instructions and sewalong post at Grainline were really clear.

Apart from my usual addition of 1″ of length, I didn’t make any fitting changes to this version of Archer. But once again, I used fewer buttons than the pattern calls for: there are 6 front buttons and 2 cuff buttons on mine, but the pattern calls for 8 front buttons. I just don’t like buttoning shirts up all the way OR wasting buttons. And instead of buttons, I used snaps for the first time!

The lovely Heather has made many beautiful shirts that feature snaps from Snap Source (NAYY); she also raved about their quality and ease of application, so obviously I had to check them out. 😀 I am pleased to report that my experience with these snaps very closely mirrors her own: I found the snaps to be of high quality, and after reading the instructions a couple of times, easy to use successfully. I really didn’t have high hopes for that last part, so imagine my surprise when my practice snap (Snap Source includes sample snaps with your tool because they’re awesome) went in perfectly on the first attempt! I went with pearl snaps for this shirt, which requires a separate base that is designed not to damage the pearl domes as you hammer away. Even so, I did end up with one scuffed snap (the top one, OF COURSE) but the installations were all successful. I will warn you though, that this process should not be done while your co-occupants are sleeping: it is LOUD. I did mine at 10PM (I was on a total high after getting home from a “Fit and Sip” event at a sewing store down the street) while Tom was awake, but I felt obligated to keep apologizing for the noise! O_o

I got this fabric at Zinck’s in Berlin, OH. Don’t let the named-after-a-huge-European-city name fool you: this place is in the middle of BFE Amish Country, Ohio, and was a definite pain in the ass to get to from Columbus. (I am a freeway driver: give me high speed limits and at least 3 lanes–so I can get around all y’all–and I’m happy.) Their prices are pretty good anyway, but we timed our visit to coincide with their 37th Anniversary sale; as you can imagine, I made some serious scores. (Like an entire 20 yard bolt of water resistant nylon in The Most Perfect Olive Green for $0.37/yard. 37 CENTS. PER YARD. Seriously.) This buffalo check cotton (which also came in blue/black, which I also bought…) came pre-cut into approximately 3 yard bundles and was $0.75/yard. It’s probably not meant for shirts but the hand and weight are suitable for that application. The buffalo checks, I think, make it seem heftier than just shirting-weight cotton, but it’s actually pretty nice to have a light fall-appropriate shirt hanging around.

I made this shirt back in September, but don’t be fooled: I’ve been somewhat productive since then! I made most of a pair of jeans for myself–I was all the way at the waistband stage–before realizing the project just wasn’t going to work out (the aforementioned too-stretchy-fabric pair), sewed up some more poet shirts for the store where I used to work part-time, and made Tom 2 new pairs of Hudson pants! Here is one pair in, um, “action”:

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A pair of butts.

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This dog tho.

On top of all of THAT, I have been busy dealing with our bathroom remodel. It’s been a slog, but we’re finally getting to the point where there are things I need to do to keep the job moving. It’s been kind of nice to not have to work on it for a short while, since we did all our own demolition to save money. (Note to self [and any other interested/curious parties]: next time, just pay up and let someone else do everything. Seriously.) Now we’re getting to the priming and painting stage (again, we’re doing this ourselves to save money) so I’m being pulled back into the fray! I fully intend to share more about the remodel here when it’s finished: we have been taking plenty of pictures and it’s going to be an amazing transformation, but boy is it ugly in that in-between phase!! We’ve also had our fair share of Old House Problems that don’t make for very enjoyable in-progress reading material! =’D

So that’s my update today! I have a HUGE sewing project in the works (it’s a personal thing as per usual, not a testing/promotional thing, FYI) that I will hopefully finish by my deadline and be able to proudly share with you next month, so look out for that! (And if you’re feeling generous, send good vibes/cross your fingers/make a ritual sacrifice for me–I need all the solidarity I can get, LOL.)

 

 

 

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?