February* FO Trio Post (aka Shield Your Eyes)

*Okay, so one item here was made in December. Whatever.

Hello again!

Hopefully all of you are enjoying the last gasps of the weekend; we had nicer weather the past few days, which doesn’t hurt!

I have not one, but THREE completed garments to show off today–can you believe it?!? Very exciting stuff.

Up first, the longest-finished of the three: my latest version of vintage Simplicity 1281!

New skirt, featuring Mulder

New skirt, featuring Mulder

Side view

Side view

Obligatory twirl photo, duh

Obligatory twirl photo, duh

I have very little to say about the construction of this one, since it’s my third version. It’s exactly what I wanted and is a great staple for my wardrobe. The fabric remains a PITA, but seeing the way the skirt hangs in photos helps me feel like it might be worth it. šŸ™‚

FO #2 can be (partially) seen above: the Tamara top by Style Arc!

Do not adjust your monitor: this shirt is playing games with your eyes.

Do not adjust your monitor: this shirt is playing games with your eyes.

Side view of those triangular bottom panels

Side view of those triangular bottom panels

It's like someone captured the very essence of my attitude in a single candid photo...

It’s like someone captured the very essence of my attitude in a single candid photo…

Pretty nuts, huh? I bought this fabric a few months ago when FabricMart had a big sale and had no idea what to do with it at first. Then I saw this top pattern while shopping the Style Arc Etsy shop and got the idea you now see before you. I wanted to look like a walking page out of one of those 3D picture books from 20 years ago, and give innocent bystanders headaches. Flawless Victory. Speaking of flawless, I should note that the last photo in the above series was a candid that Tom took at the very end of our session this morning. My red was getting all up in my face and so I tried to move it before he took another photo, and he chose that moment to snap a candid shot. After we saw this one, we ended the “shoot” for the day, because it was obviously not going to get any better. Ever.

Constructing the top was relatively challenging at times, due to the fabric (an ITY jersey) and those damn pointy corners. I thought I had knit interfacing but that turned out to be incorrect; I improvised with Wonder Tape and my tracing material and got what I think are really good results. I had to unpick the right one twice (!!!!!!!) until I was happy with the point. After that part was finished, the rest was pretty smooth sailing. This was my first Style Arc pattern, and I knew what I was getting into with respect to their instructions; that said, I really didn’t need any other resources to make this work, since I’ve done neckbands and have sewn knits on my machine before. I did all my hems with a lightening bolt stitch (no twin needle šŸ˜¦ ) and the stitching is pretty well hidden by the busyness of the print. I will get a lot of wear out of this top! (Bystanders, you have been warned!)

The third item in this post is actually a big fail. I made a really dumb mistake and that resulted in an unwearable (in public) garment. But I’ll share it, because it’s part of a concept outfit with the Tamara top above. (I know, right? Who fucking does “concept” outfits? Who am I trying to be, the The Who of sewing??) Presented for your viewing agony: the Shadi knit skirt by Named Clothing!

Yep, nice and trippy

Yep, nice and trippy (plus a scowl)

Just in case you ever wanted to know more about my ass...

Just in case you ever wanted to know more about my backside…

I got it in my head that it would be AMAZING (and hilarious) to go head-to-toe “Mod on Drugs” and make a pencil skirt out of the same checkered jersey. I knew I wouldn’t really wear them together, but having them as separates seemed like a great idea. I picked up the Shadi knit skirt pattern from Named Clothing (via Pattern Review) and got to work. Sadly, I did not notice that I was cutting the skirt with the highest % of stretch running up and down instead of horizontally. You can bet that I noticed, though, once I tried putting the goddamn thing on. At first I was baffled: I’d done everything I was supposed to do, including making the elastic smaller than my waist and stretching it to fit the top of the skirt. I even graded out from the smallest size to the one up from it on the PDF at the hips, just to be safe!! Tom laughed hysterically as he watched me struggle, which made me mad, and when I finally got it over my ass I realized I could barely walk! Ugh. And of course, there isn’t enough material to re-cut it and it’s long since sold out. *cue heaving sobs* But if I’m honest, the top is the more versatile piece and would have gotten the most wear, and it turned out pretty great, so I’ll chalk it up to a learning experience.

"Vitruvian Mads," aka my entire range of motion in this skirt

“Vitruvian Mads,” aka my entire range of motion in this skirt

But of course, I had to take photos of the two together. HAD TO, you guys. Brace yourselves, and maybe take an ibuprofen and come back to look at the next photos in 30 minutes:

The trippiest dog training photo everrrr

The trippiest dog training photo everrrr

"Come on, Mulder, dance with mommy!!"

“Come on, Mulder, dance with mommy!!”

Good boy!!

Good boy!!

So there you have it: three things, two of which will make it into regular rotation. The other might be scrapped for parts (i.e., the vintage elastic in the waistband) or just binned; the jury is still out on that one. The Shadi pattern is NOT the issue here, to be clear: my lack of ability to brain while sewing is entirely to blame. I’ll be using the pattern again, for sure. (Yes, I know I could have probably just drafted a knit pencil skirt myself, but Named has an aesthetic unlike most other pattern companies out there now and I’m happy to give them my $9USD for this and support them.) I may not make the Style Arc top again, but only because it’s such a statement top that I don’t know if I’d need another in my wardrobe, even in a saner color combination. I will be making more Style Arcs, though, obviously! Vintage Simplicity 1281 is a TNT for me, so it will undoubtedly be back again. Now that I’ve gotten this inspiration out of my brain and into meatspace, it’s on to pants for this weirdo!

Have you ever gotten a random inspiration that you had to bring to fruition right this second? Did you love the results as much as the original idea?

On Hubris and Sewing Miracles

Happy Friday!! I don’t know about the rest of you, but this week has felt interminably long and I am ready for it to be over!

Have you ever gotten cocky and, as a result of your hubris, not been as careful or attentive as you should have been? I’m living that right now. My current project is a repeat of one I’ve made before, and I sashayed into my work area like I’d been there, done that, and was gonna own this motherfucking skirt. I should have respected the skirt, y’all.

I’ve been working on my next version of vintage Simplicity 1281 on my evenings off (2 per week) and it was starting to look like a skirt. Well, kind of, anyway. For starters, my fabric–a stiff, ever-shredding suiting-weight glazed linen–has been impossibleĀ to keep ironed, thoughĀ I’m trying. On my first workday, I made the mistake of cutting out my pieces and not labeling them immediately; when I returned to the project a few days later, I was beyond confused about which piece was what and struggled to mark them correctly. With this pattern, theĀ front and back pieces are shaped almost exactly the same but not quite, and theĀ right and wrong sides of my material are nearly identical. I don’t know if I messed up the marking or the cutting, but one thing is clear: I messed something up someplace. šŸ˜¦

I swear I'm not making a cat blanket...

I swear I’m not making a cat blanket…

If you look closely, you might notice that one halfĀ (front, in this case, which is the layer that’s against my cutting mat in the photo) is WAY longer than the other. In addition to that, the lengthsĀ of the back panels (which are the top layer of the skirt in the photo) are not level–not even close. I have no idea if my cutting was that sloppyĀ or if I made an error in pairing up the pieces before sewing them, but I’m going to have to figure out how to salvage this somehow. Or not, since I have enough yardage left to make another skirt. But, actually,Ā I think I kind of hate this fabric. The finish is beautiful (not in this photo, sadly) and it’s a great weight for this skirt, but it’s impossible to deal with. It’s 100% linen and frays and shreds all over the place at the cut edges. On top of that, it isn’t particularly pleasant to touch. Good thing I bought 4 fucking yards! /sarcasm

Because of the fraying, I decided to do french seams onĀ all of the skirt pieces. This is a hefty fabric, but I liked this idea better than using bias tape or lining the skirt (because I’m a fucking idiot). I’m happy with how those are turning out, so there’s one ray of sunshine. There’s also this:

This bobbin wasn't empty when I started!

This bobbin wasn’t empty when I started!

I’ll set the scene for you: I was nearing the end of a seam finish–the stepĀ that encloses the raw, trimmed edges of the first step of a french seam with right sides together–and could hear the telltale sounds of my machine running out of bobbin thread. (It makes a peculiar mechanical “chug” sound, okay? Trust me.) I’ve been using up the leftover polyester thread that I used forĀ Tom’s cardigan back in December, and knew I didn’t have enough on the bobbin to do the entire skirt. I checked my little window and could see thread feeding through, so I kept going. Once I finished my backstitching at the end of the seam and cut the thread, I realized I’d only cut one thread. I sighed, thinking that this was just the kind of sewing day I was going to have: running out of thread during the most crucial part of this seam finish on top of the other mistakes/unpleasant realities I was dealing with already. But when I checked everything, I realized that I ran out of bobbin thread AS I MADE THE FINAL STITCH OFF THE EDGE AFTER BACKSTITCHING. That’s like a sewing unicorn!!! I was really excited, obviously. I stopped there for the night, thinking that this was a bit of goodwill from the universe re: this stupid skirt (and also because I didn’t feel like winding a new bobbin). I’m going to pick it up again tonight and see what I can do. I’ve got my zipper area interfaced already–seriously, the way this shit shreds, I needed to do that, despite the weight of the fabric–and need to sew the side seams to join front to back. Then it’s waistband time! (Assuming I don’t set this fucker on fire before I get to that step.)

I was very naughty yesterday (pay day, woo hoo!!) and ordered some fabric: 2 stretch denims and 2 woven ikats. In my defense, I have patterns and outfits planned for everything already, and one denim goes with each ikat. I just got the ScoutĀ pattern from Grainline Studios and the JamieĀ jeansĀ pattern from Named, so I’d like to jump into those things once the fabrics show up. It’s my first time ordering from Michael Levine, and I’m anxious to see how their material handles.

What’s your favorite fabric source? Are you planning to try any new-to-you pattern companies soon?

In Which A Plot Is Hatched

Happy Wednesday, people!

Not much to report over here: still busy as hell and completely unproductive, mostly. But I thought I’d share what I’m planning for my next selfish project…

An entire outfit, OMG!

An entire outfit, OMG!

That’s right: TWO ITEMS. AT ONCE. Whoa. If you’ve read my blathering before, you probably recognize Simplicity 1281. Between the ease of the project and the way it looks on me, this is probably going to be my first-ever TNT pattern. And this upcoming version will be even easier than my first, since I plan to do the strapless version. The only bad thing is that I will have to do some grading down at the waist since I won’t be able to rely on the suspenders to hold it up, but whatevs. I’ve got a gorgeous bottom-weight glazed black linen picked out for it, too. I had originally earmarked that material for a bolero or blazer-type jacket when I bought it from Gorgeous Fabrics last year, but I felt like this was a better use of it for now. (Plus I am sure I’ll have enough left over for that jacket–for some reason, I bought 4 yards. WTF, Past Mads?????)

Advance 6426 is one of the patterns that was gifted to me by our cousin Kathy, whose mother Mary bought it when it was new. I found this pattern in my second filing box (see?? That’s why you should always look through EVERYTHING.) and saw that cuffed short-sleeved version–in a plaid, no less–and knew it was the one I wanted to use with my orange and black silk/cotton voile. It’s pretty much exactly the shirt I envisioned for that material! I will have to muslin this one first, since the bust measurement for this patternĀ is too small; I’m tiny, but my ribs ain’t no 30″! Because of that, I’ll be doing the skirt portion of the outfit first. (Also, I’ve never sewn silk–or a silk blend–before, and I’m beyond nervous and haven’t bought any spray starch yet.) And because this wasn’t enough…

A surprise shirt for the hubs!

A surprise shirt for the hubs!

…I’m hoping to start on View C of this shirt for Tom at some point. I bought two fabrics–one that I’m okay with using as a potentially wearable muslin, and a nice lightweight flannel that I’m hoping will be the big surprise–so that I can make this for him in time for fall. Luckily, he owns a few shirts similar to this that I can measure beforehand and use for comparison. I’m planning on this one being a true surprise, unlike my not-so-secrety surprise Christmas gift. He doesn’t even know I have the fabrics. He isn’t the snooping type, so hopefully he doesn’t decide to go digging around in my sewing room!

I also reorganized my stash a little bit. I pulled EVERYTHING out of my one and only bin and refolded some pieces that were a hot mess. I also tried to arrange them in some kind of order when they went back in: stuff that isn’t pre-washed on the bottom, followed by stuff I have no plans for and am not likely to use right away, followed by stuff meant for bottoms, followed by stuff meant for dresses, followed by stuff meant for blouses, followed by vaguely queued projects (like my trench fabric). Somehow–I’m assuming the laws of physics are involved here–not everything that was in the bin would go back into it. That’s even after scrap fabric got moved into an empty box to save room. šŸ˜¦ I moved Tom-centric materials to my cedar chest upstairs (which will help with the super duper sewing surprise), and left all of my new silk/cotton voile (including the orange and black check) and nice J. Crew shit in the box it came in on the dining room table. My glazed linen is also on the table. Ugh ugh ugh. I guess that means I’d better get busy, huh?

Vintage Simplicity 1281 – Finished!

I can’t believe this, but I really finished this project already! 6 days after deciding to make it, with only 4 or 5 of those days being utilized as “work” days, I have a lovely new piece of clothing. WHOA!

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Doing my happy flailing dance!

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Back view

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Strap and waistband detail–not too shabby!

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Side button; the other waistband tab is sticking up…oops!

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Enjoying the fullness of the skirt

Now for all the details! I obviously shortened the skirt quite a bit; I just didn’t see myself enjoying a below-the-knee skirt with this much volume and structure. I’m really happy with the length, although I wish I had been a little more careful when trimming off the excess and judging how much hem length to leave. I made a real hackjob of removing about 4″ initially, and then sewed on my Flexi Lace. I then pressed the hem to my desired length, which was at least 3″ of extra fabric. I tried to fold the hem under again, which of course was bulky and awful, so I cut most of that off (lace included) and just did about a 1″ single fold blind hem. I also opted to not follow the instructions for sewing the straps. Instead, I followed a tutorial (cannot remember what blog, sorry!) for purse straps. I cut 3 times the width of the pattern piece and pressed in half lengthwise; then I unfolded it and folded each side in to the center crease, and then folded in half one more time. I pressed the hell of out of them and then topstitched up each side. IĀ love the results! They’re sturdy and durable and attractive–the perfect straps, really. Honestly, I didn’t even read the strap instructions included with the pattern. I found that tutorial and knew that was how I wanted to approach the task.

Now for the things that proved to be a challenge or that I wish I had conceived differently. First up: the grainline. For some reason, it never occurred to me that the grainlines wouldn’t be on the bias all the way around just by following the cutting instructions. If I make this again, I’ll try to match them. I don’t think anyone else will even notice this, since it’s a cotton twill and the grain is only visible if you get right up to it.

The waistband is also bothering me a tiny bit, because I can’t decide if I want to topstitch all the way around it. Right now it’s just at the border of the skirt and the bottom of the band. If anyone has an opinion on that one way or the other, please share!

Attaching the straps was a little weird. I’m guessing that it would have been more straightforward if I had pinned them to the waistband before topstitching it (and especially if I had topstitched around the top and bottom of the waistband), but I totally didn’t. Instead, I attached them by hand. My hand stitching isn’t great (except for buttons and hemming) so I’m not sure how that will hold up; it sure isn’t pretty, that’s for sure!

I can’t wait to wear this skirt, you guys. It will be a good transitional piece, pairing well with tights and sweaters in the fall and spring, plus the color will be easy to coordinate. My next project will either be more blouses or a pair of 1960’s skinny pants. For now, though, I’ll take a few days off–this project was a marathon!