So A Sundress and A Sweater Walk Into A Blog…

Hi! It’s been a little while, huh? You know, I naively thought that my summer would calm the f*ck down after Memorial Day, but I still had too much going on for my liking! (Some of this is stuff I do to myself, like agreeing to participate in an event.) Fall didn’t slow down much either, especially since we WENT ON VACATION ABROAD!!! What?!? I know. Don’t worry, I’ll share that soon. ๐Ÿ˜€

I haven’t had quite as much time for sewing lately; between stress from work (my role was assigned to a new manager and I feel ways about that…), stress from life, and continuing to struggle with my mental health, it’s been hard to feel creative. And as far as blogging goes, it’s been hard to get motivated to take photos of things once I did finish them. O_o On top of that, I started selling out writing blog posts for my company’s website this year: you’d be surprised how fast that can steal the fun of blogging about a hobby, but here we are.

That said, I did sign up for a block of the month quilt project in August and have been keeping up with it. And it’s easy to take photos of quilt blocks: they just lie there as I loom over them with my phone! ๐Ÿ˜€ I am definitely not a quilter, but when I saw this pattern–an exclusive at my around-the-corner sewing shop–I had to make it. As you might expect, this project is very EXTRA considering that it’s my first quilt:

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Koala cuteness!

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Flamingo and Turtle butts!

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Blocks 1 and 2 joined

The entire top design! (Photo property of Dabble & Stitch/Cassandra Ireland Beaver)

Here is a link to a photo of the actual quilt top sample–I can’t wait to have mine finished and on our bed…in a year! I’m planning on paying for the designer to quilt mine just like the sample. Personally, I think I will get more out of spending money on that service than I would out of doing the work myself. O_o #notaquilter

But let’s rewind, because I have made quite a few other things since my last summer post. Two of those projects were accessories I made to take on vacation, which I will share soon; two others are the garments you’ll see below! (The otherย others were costume shirts for the vintage and costume shop–8 in total.)

First up, my 3rd Style Arc Ariana dress!

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Cute dress, shame about the face!

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Back view

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Buttons!

I want you all to know that it was barely 55 degrees when we took these photos the other day: I suffered for you!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I can’t say enough good things about this pattern. I made two last year, and I would actually like to make at least a 4th one–it’s that good. This rayon crepe fabric was destined to be an Ariana the minute I bought it. It’s perfect, if a bit lightweight. For my bodice lining, I chose to use leftovers from my last Blaire shirt. This was kind of a bad choice, in that the fabrics behave quite differently to each other; but it worked out okay in the end, and there’s no risk of print (or nip!) show-through here.

There are a few dumb mistakes on display with this new dress, namely on the skirt buttons. Originally, I made this dress because I wanted to wear it to an out-of-town family thing this past July. I was actually ahead of schedule–yay!–which meant I wasย thisclose to having my dress done in time for a last-minute dinner I was invited to in June. I won’t get into it, but it was a (casual) dinner full of strangers who were Important People at an event I was helping with that month. While eating meals in front of other people is one of my actual worst nightmares, I wanted to attend to make a good impression and meet everyone ahead of the event. I don’t know about you all, but I always feel much more confident in a self-made garment when interacting with Important People and/or New People and/or People Who Stress Me Out. So anyway, buttons and buttonholes were all that stood between me and feeling my best at this dinner. The day of the dinner (yep…) I pulled out the front bodice pattern piece to see how far apart my buttons were supposed to be, marked the dress, and got to work. Unfortunately, I forgot that the skirt buttons are spaced farther apart than the bodice ones for Very Good Reasons. I used the correct number of buttons, but the skirt opened far higher than it should because the buttons were too close together! D’oh. Before my next event–the one I was originally making this dress for–I went back and added 2 more skirt buttons. The buttons, by the way, are from Bennos and are made of coconut shell. I love them and will for sure have to buy more when I run out.

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Twirling

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Derp

I also neglected to stay stitch my necklines, which I should have done at least on the shell; there’s some slight gaping around the curves. (It doesn’t help that I put my top buttonhole too close to the edge, so now I actually need to move the button over a bit to compensate.) The pockets aren’t my best work either, namely because I decided to try flat-lining them in the bodice lining fabric. They’re pretty sloppy at the bottom hems. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ My hope is that they pass the “3-foot” rule and nobody else will really notice. I mean, in the above photos you can’t even reallyย see the pockets, so I think we’re good!

And now for something totally different: a knitted sweater!

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Bear and Dog

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Half-brioche faux seams

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Back view–love those triangle details!

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Weeeeee!

This is the Ursa sweater by Jacqueline Cieslak. Jacquie is a fairly new knitwear designer but she definitely has a talent for it! Her instructions are really good, and I especially appreciate the way she breaks down your total stitch count between the front, back, and raglans here. It makes counting them up so much more intuitive!

I did modify this sweater a bit by lengthening it: it’s quite a cropped sweater and is even shorter on long torsos! I didn’t want to have to wear a shirt under it, or be limited to wearing it over dresses. In all I think I added about 4″ to the length before starting the triangle insets. Sadly I need to properly block it in order for that extra length to really “count”: it’s still in over-dresses-only territory. While knitting this I had to pay attention to my mechanics on the half-brioche parts: my method of knitting actually positioned the YOs on top of their companion stitch, so I had to re-orient those stitches when it came time to knit them. My first start on this sweater revealed the issue, so I frogged it back and started again. After that, it was looking exactly like the pattern (albeit a bit more open)!

My gauge is off on this sweater. My stitch gauge tends to work up tighter than a pattern’s specifications, and this is no exception: my sweater doesn’t have the same boxy fit that the samples have. Plus, with my broad shoulders and upper back, the raglan shoulders on the size I made are getting stretched to the max! My fabric also seems a bit looser/more open than Jacquie’s samples, probably because my yarn is kind of in between Aran and Bulky and probably needed a smaller needle than what I used (the US10.5 listed in the pattern); this is moreso on the row gauge but does show up on the half-brioche areas too.ย  So for future versions, I will probably need to go up at least one if not two sweater sizes for my shoulders andย maybeย drop my needle size (which may necessitate going up yet another sweater size). I’ll play with things and see, but I would love another Ursa or two in my life!

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Still handsome

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Admiring glance

Ironically, the sweater itself was out of season when I made it–in fact, Ohio was in the middle of a news-making heat wave about the time I finished–and now the temps are cool enough that I need to figure out how to style my pink (Ariana!) dress with tights and boots if I want to wear it. D’oh!

As far as current projects go, I have my Halloween costume underway (one piece is done!) and a non-costume Halloween-y dress cut out. I also have another sweater project going, so I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied for now. I’m excited for “proper” fall sewing though: I want to make SO MANY trousers!!

What are you sewing (or knitting!) right now? Do you have any tried-and-true tricks for deciding what to make next?

Proper Summer Sewing (aka Revenge of The Hammock)

Hi again!

As promised, I have two recent projects to share today: a Style Arc Blaire shirt and a dress made from McCall’s 6886! I’ve made both patterns before so there isn’t much new to say, but I’ll share them anyway. Plus we got some pretty ridiculous photos of the McCall’s dress, so stay tuned for those!

First up is my new Blaire:

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Yep, it’s a shirt

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Closer view of the front

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Side, with flaps!

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Back

I really must have a chat with my photographer about his favorite editing preset, as it does nothing for my scary-visible circulatory system! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

As I said, there isn’t much new to say about this shirt that I didn’t say the first time around. I followed the same order of construction and everything! This fabric is cool though: it’s a cupro/linen/tencel blend from Blackbird. (I’d link directly to it, but her stock is always changing and I know eventually this will sell out forever and break my link! As of this post going live, she still has this fabric in multiple colors.)ย Originally I wanted a white Blaire but settled for ecru because there was no white, but this fabric seemed neat. It’s not really visible in photos, but the fabric has a sheen to one side; I used that one as my right side, because of course I did. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It feels much heavier than I expected, but is still light and has a very fluid drape. No regrets whatsoever! This stuff feels great against the skin. I have just enough left over to use as a bodice lining for an upcoming dress, so yay! The buttons are shell ones from Wawak; it was tough choosing between the 2 different off-white shell buttons I haveย andย my coconut ones. O_o (I’m only kind of kidding…I spent way too many minutes agonizing about it. #getalife)

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“Mom, this is boring. I’m bored.”

Couldn’t leave you all without a cutie cameo, could I? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now for something much cooler than a flappy off-white shirt: this dress!

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Stripes!

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Side slits!

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Tight fit!

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Ridiculous pose!

All those captions are basically “‘Mads’ Bingo!” aren’t they? ๐Ÿ˜‰

This dress came to life because of the ponte knit fabric. Several months back, I was the lucky winner of an Instagram giveaway by Gorgeous Fabrics–I KNOW!!!!!!! I was very excited because the prize was 3 yards of an amazing bright red lace. However, I felt kind of guilty just taking free fabric, you know? Especially aย nice fabric like double-scalloped lace!ย (And no, it wasn’t for a partnership or sponsored post–Ann was doing a few giveaways to clear stock and I happened to win one of them.) So I headed over to the site and poked around, as one does. >=D Ann has great taste and I’ve bought amazing things from her since I first learned to sew, so I knew I’d find something. My eye was immediately drawn to this fabric, as it’s the perfect stripe width AND bright shade of cobalt blue. I had to have it! (I also got an animal print ITY with a cool border fade effect. That will be fun to use!) Immediately I thought of a dress like this one: midi length, short sleeves, snug fit, side splits, worn with white sneakers. I couldn’t really be much happier with the result! (And I definitely bought these sneakers just because of this dress. And yes, they’re Sperrys–don’t @ me.)

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Pure class.

I’ve made M6886 a few other times, and it’s a great dress pattern. However, I learned early on that I really benefit from putting a CB seam in it: it’s a must to get the snug fit through the waist that I prefer. I didn’t 100% nail the stripe matching up the CB because I didn’t baste the seam first, but it’s sooo close. O_o I did baste the side seams and the actual neckband–I wanted the stripes to be perfect and that’s a tricky prospect on a neckband.

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Neckband action

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Sweet-ass side splits

I need to adjust the shoulder slope on this pattern–it’s really obvious to me now, lol.

This dress is also the first project that I’ve sewn on ALL THREE of my machines!!! (Oh yeah, by the way: I got a coverstitch last summer from a friend who had upgraded to a Babylock combo, and am now the proud owner of the legendary Janome Coverpro 1000CPX.) The CB seam was done on my sewing machine with a narrow zigzag, and the split openings were topstitched on it as well; I serged every other seam and the raw hem edges; finally, I sewed the bottom and sleeve hems and around the neckband with my coverstitch. Boom!!

Okay, with the technical stuff out of the way, I have some hilarious (to me, anyway…) photos of this dress for you. The day we took photos, Tom had used his hammock to lounge out in the yard. I thought it would be cute with the nautical look of my dress if I got some hammock shots, but it turns out I am rubbish at hammocks! See for yourself:

 

 

So far, so good, right? Nope. Behold the immediate aftermath of the above photos:

 

 

This thing kept spitting me out like I was a piece of gristle in a steak, y’all.

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For real, I look like I’m trying to elaborately hide behind the hammock.

Finally, after resorting to using my chin for leverage…

 

 

…I managed to stay on the hammock. Sort of. Less “lounging” than “clinging desperately and in a state of exhausted exasperation”…

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I mean, come on.

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A perfectly accurate face for my emotions.

In between Tom’s cackles at my ineptitude, he captured these photos (and more, if I’m being honest). You’re welcome.

Summer is what’s on my mind where sewing is concerned: I have plans for at least one sundress, and maybe some linen pants. (I know, soooo original…) I also need to replace one of my Reeta dresses ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ so that’s on the agenda also. What are you sewing now?

 

 

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 wasย 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? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) 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…), Iย 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 beingย 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) 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?

 

 

New Year, New Tops!

Hi there! I want to start by saying “Thanks!” to all of you who read and commented on my 2017 Top 5 posts: I enjoy sharing a year-end recap, but it’s so heartening that people read them and take the time to leave a comment. And while I’m at it, a massive “THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!” to anyone who read or commented on this blog over the course of the past year! My sewing friends–online, on social media, and in real life–add so much joy and inspiration to my life, and I hope I am able to do even a fraction of the same in return. โค

And now, on with the show!

It seems that, for the second year running, I will be starting a new year of project posts with multiple knit tops! But unlike last year, all three tops in today’s post have something in common: stripes!! First up: the Molly top by Sew Over It!

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“Are you taking the photo now?”

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Back!

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Side, with poor stripe matching on full display.

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Tilt

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Sass

Sorry about these relatively boring (but still very high-quality, IMO) photos, guys–I vastly prefer outdoor shots, but the weather was far too cold and snowy for me to risk it this time. Tom was also messing with his lighting and flash options, which resulted in some unusually crisp shadows. (We don’t Photoshop around here unless we’re doing something really obvious–this ain’t a magazine shoot.)

This top is actually my final garment for 2017–I cut it (and the other 2 below) out on 12/30, and somehow sewed it up completely before noon on 12/31!! Not at all what I planned or expected, but that’s what happens when you’re up at 5:30AM*, even on days off: you get shit done! ๐Ÿ˜‰

*And you also have a serger

As basic as it is, this pattern was one that I was excited about, for a few reasons. First, because I’d never used a SOI pattern before–I was eager to see what they were like, how they fit, and how I felt about the resulting garment. Second, because I bought this fabric and wanted a different pattern to showcase the stripes. (Is it just me, or are stripes of this scale oddly difficult to match to a pattern choice?) I love my Lark tees–and totally intend to make one with what’s left of this material–but I wanted something that looked a bit more unique in stripes. Finally, I figured if I liked the top version of Molly, I would be able to crack on with a dress version eventually!

So first impressions: the pattern printed a little oddly for me, but not in any way that negatively impacted the scaling or fit. I think it’s more to do with UK vs. US paper formats, because even scaled at 100%, I ended up with a weird section of overlap on the edges of each page. But it was simple enough to just cut that section off, once I realized that it wasn’tย supposed to be there! My other first impression was that the pieces looked really wide compared to the not-at-all-oversized finished versions I’d seen people make. But I quickly realized that I didn’t know what the seam allowance was, and sure enough, a trip to Google revealed that it’s 5/8″. Mystery solved!ย And while we’re discussing first impressions, I should note that I got this pattern for free; I can’t remember where I got it, but it was from a link multiple months ago that I saw online someplace–again, I can’t remember as it’s been a while! Rest assured that 1.) this is not an affiliation thing and 2.) I came by the freebie legitimately, as far as I know.ย 

I had a heck of a time with this material! (It’s a rayon/lycra jersey, which I’ve used before with not nearly this much fuss!) No matter what I did, the yardage was distorting each time I tried to place and weight my pattern pieces. On top of that, fusing interfacing to my hems was awful! I actually had to stand there, pressing my iron down firmly and holding it there for 20-30 seconds or the fusible would not melt into the fabric. I have used the same knit interfacing many times before (from the same cut) and have never had this happen; as such, I am prepared to blame my fabric for this difficulty rather than my interfacing.

Since I struggled to get the fabric to lay still and stay on-grain easily, I didn’t do a great job matching stripes in the end. My sleeves look pretty good though, and I LOVE how the neckband came out! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m not too bothered by the poor matching at the shoulders and side seams, though perhaps I’d have done better if I took a break from the project instead of forging ahead with the cutting. #YOLO

The only alteration I made to this pattern was to add a little bit of extra hem allowance. I think it’s meant to be longer, but I am glad I left it as-is: tunic-esque tops feel awkward on me. My only real complaint about the pattern itself, apart from those seam allowances (have you ever tried to serge rayon/lycra jersey with 5/8″ allowances?!?!?!? It’s soooo annoying!), is the length of the lower sleeves–they come up a bit short on me, and I’m not in possession of particularly long limbs. But going by the sample garment photos at SOI’s website, it actually looks like this is the length they intend for them to be, but having a free pattern-only (no instructions or line art) version, I can’t be sure. But that aside, I love my Molly top! I might make the dress version, although I’m not sure how much I’d love it in a solid fabric–it would be pretty plain. I would really like to buy the Heather dress pattern next, as I love the front panel with integrated pockets; I also think that pattern shines in solids, whereas Molly probably looks better in stripes since the dolman sleeves are the only real design lines. That’s my $0.02, anyway!

Next up is a pattern I have made once before, but not for a few years: the Tamara top from Style Arc!

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Always Be Primping

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Front view

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Back view

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Side!

This one is quite a bit more tasteful than my first version, LOL! I had enough of my striped bamboo jersey left to doย something with it, but not quite an entire garment. (THE WORST!!) Luckily I remembered this pattern! I have a few yards of a (slightly darker) plain navy bamboo jersey, so I decided to use that for the angled pieces. Speaking of which, the passage of time really made me forget how annoying those shoulder insets were to sew, haha! They definitely aren’t identical but I’m hoping non-sewers won’t even notice.

Style Arc assumes you’ll use the same material for the front bodice piece and the neckband, but I wanted plain navy for the neckband instead. (There were plenty of stripes already!) And I forgot about the sleeve construction, so my genius intentions to put the sleeves in flat didn’t work out–they had to go in round. Luckily SA understands that you don’t need 2″ of ease in a close-fitting knit sleeve cap–more like 0″–so they went in with no trouble at all, just like last time.

Finally, I made a Hemlock tee!

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Seems legit (Also, damn my bangs are getting long!!)

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So much fabric!

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Side (stripes match decently this time!!)

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Yikes.

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“Chop chop buddy, I don’t have all night!!”

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Always Be Primping, Round 2

This is a freebie pattern from Grainline; I’ve had it for a while but hadn’t made it yet! I used the same fabric for this tee that I used for a different Grainline pattern, the Lark, late last year. I added maybe 1/2″ of length to the body pieces here, but that’s it. The pattern has 1/4″ seam allowances, so it’s perfect for zipping through a serger. It’s a really comfortable and relaxed tee; I actually think it would make a nice pajama top. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Otherwise, there isn’t much to say!

Here are some outtakes for all y’all, as is customary:

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Angry stretchy shirt

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Abb’s Abs

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Dancing?

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Senior Portrait Pose

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Giggles

There you have it: 3 new tops, all in stripes! (Have I mentioned that I love stripes? Because I do.) I have 2 other projects to share with you also, and that post is coming very shortly. (And one of them is also striped…) I’ve been busy and have plenty of plans for more Winter sewing as well; I’m thinking of putting together a planning post to share my ideas with you all, but who knows if I will do that or not. (Perhaps my focus should be on just sewing stuff, rather than navel-gazing about sewing stuff. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Have you gotten off to a running start with your sewing projects in 2018? How do you feel about stripes? Do you find that sharing your ideas or plans helps you solidify them?ย 

 

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, Iย 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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!

Sox

SOCKSSSSS!!!!!!

And I’ve been knitting socks like a fiend! I have 2 more pairs on my needles as I type this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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?

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) 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?

Wherein The Blogger Attempts* Pants

*Disclosure: it is still to be determined whether or not any pants will actually be completed, since the ‘Mads’ house motto seems to be, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That.”

Another weekend draws to a close. They are simply too short, and I must find out where complaints about that may be registered. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been trying to get back into sewing for the new year, and I’m pleased to say that a few things are in the works. I did manage to finish one project, but it isn’t very exciting: I re-covered my ironing board!

New cover, featuring my new sleeve board!

New cover, featuring my new sleeve board!

This undertaking was, I’m afraid, quite necessary: my old cover was GROSS and I could feel the metal diamond grid of the board itself through the thin padding, so I decided to do a little extra padding while I was at it. I need to pull the cover a little tighter, but apart from that it’s working very nicely. Threading the string through the casing was the worst part of the entire operation and took far too long! I took the opportunity to use the overlock stitch on my machine to finish the raw edge before I hemmed the cover to create the casing, and it worked very nicely. (I cleared out 2 partial bobbins with random colors of thread on them, too, which is awesome.) I also added a sleeve board to my pressing arsenal! I’m excited about that, because I know I need one to help me elevate my finished garments to a new level of quality and crispness. It’s also timely, since the next project in my queue is underway…

It's THE pants!

It’s THE pants! (This is the part where cherubs sing and play trumpets and there’s a laser light show of some sort, etc.)

Ironed pattern pieces and fashion fabric

Ironed pattern pieces and fashion fabric

I’ve been excited about this pattern ever since it fell into my lap a year ago, and I can’t wait to put it together! My butt and these pants need each other like peanut butter needs jelly. (Wait…I’m deathly allergic to peanut butter. This may be a bad omen for the project!) I’ve earmarked my Marc Jacobs (hey, I bought it, I’m going to name-drop it) bottomweight cotton for this pattern, despite the fact that the envelope says the pattern isn’t suitable for plaids. The scale is so small that matching isn’t of the utmost importance anyway, not to mention that I’m not about to take orders from a 50-year-old piece of paper!

I’ve marked on the envelope (!!!!!) to note my measurements vs those of the pattern in certain places. I’ll trace it off before making any alterations; I’m happy to cut out uncut vintage patterns (excepting my mint-in-envelope 1920’s McCall patterns) but hacking into the pieces to make alterations that may have to be re-done countless times isn’t something I’m willing to do!

As if this weren’t exciting enough, I’ve got these two things in mind as well:

Baby's first Style Arc pattern!

Baby’s first Style Arc pattern!

And a Marfy! *insert dramatic "dun-dun-dun" music here*

And a Marfy! *insert dramatic “dun-dun-dun” music here*

I’m hoping that once I complete* the skinny pants, I’ll be confident enough in no-fly pants construction techniques to tackle the Style Arc “Antoinette” pants. Something about this pattern just grabbed me and I had to have it! I plan to make them out of wool crepe–which I’ve bought in 3 colors because go hard or go home, right?–and will be attempting to add a lining to them as a result. My desire for the Marfy was triggered by seeing Poppykettle’s recent version of this blouse pattern, which is/was divine. It’s practically my perfect blouse–sleeves designed to be rolled up, attractive collar, feminine details, and suitable for a sheer or luxurious fabric. Yeah yeah, I know: no instructions or seam/hem allowances. But I’m excited and think I can probably figure it out in the muslin stages. Hooray for adventure!

Hopefully I’ll have pants progress to share soon. I haven’t cut into my muslin or traced off the pattern yet, and Saoirse has ensured that all the ironing and laying out I did yesterday are sufficiently thwarted–she’s sitting on the pieces as I type this, wrinkling and furring them all up. Life with cats, right?

What are you working on, if you sew? Trying any new or particularly adventurous projects to kick-start your new year? Do tell!

*No guarantees, people–it’s me we’re talking about here! Seeing as how this is the dreamboat pants pattern of my dreams, I’m sure it will be completed at some point. Let’s just hope this project doesn’t end up being a carried-over UFO into 2016. ๐Ÿ˜‰