Fit (Anna) Now, (Anna) Party Later

Mic check…is this thing on? ūüôā

I seem to have temporarily¬†neglected¬†my own corner of the internet–oops! I have been BUSY. I have been cleaning the house,¬†spending time with my family and friends, helping my husband fine-tune our homemade Neapolitan-style pizza-making skills (SUCCESS!!!!), and taking another pattern class. On top of all of that, I GOT PROMOTED!!! I am now the Market Research Analyst at the company where I have worked for over 5 years, and I am beyond excited. So with all of this stuff going on, my sewing mojo¬†has been well and truly zapped into oblivion…until now.

(WARNING: lots of words ahead!)

I am mildly ashamed to admit that, apart from the sewing I needed to do for class, I have done hardly anything in my sewing room since I last posted.¬†I did make one thing for myself from a pattern Nina mocked up–it’s a nice, slouchy kimono-sleeved knit top–but I haven’t decided if it’s worth blogging. (I love the top, of course, but it’s not the most exciting thing in the world, particularly for people who are not me!) But recently, something prompted me to get off my ass (couch) and get back¬†on my ass (sewing chair) to tackle a project that has been in my head for a couple of months:¬†a silk maxi dress!

You may be having a total WTF moment right now, and I get it. Of all the things to work on, why a terribly impractical silk maxi dress? If you’ve read here for long, your WTF may be further magnified by your knowledge of the fact that I have never before worked with silk. (Unless purchasing it counts as “working with” it, in which case, I am a boss.) My only explanation is: International Anna Party.

Well, let’s back up: it all started on Instagram. The lovely Ms. Rosie tagged me in a comment on a photo, which turned out to be an “invitation” (this sew-along is open to anyone, so no invite needed; still, I wouldn’t have seen it if not for Rosie!) to participate in the International Anna Party, which is basically a sew-along/post-along celebrating the Anna dress pattern by By Hand London. I actually own every BHL pattern in paper form (thanks to backing their Kickstarter campaign) but have never made one of them; no reason for that, really, apart from being more drawn to other projects. I am aware of there being some debate in the online sewing community as to the quality of independent sewing patterns and the technical expertise¬†of many designers, but I suppose that in the end, I don’t really care too much one way or another. I spend my money how I like, and will deal with whatever fitting issues arise if/when I get around to a particular pattern–that goes for vintage, Big 4, indie, etc.

ANYWAY ( ūüôā ), a couple of months ago I treated myself to an order from Gorgeous Fabrics (aka one of the most dangerous websites on the entire internet if you like amazing fabric) and included some ombre silk crepe that I’d been coveting for a while. I bought 4 yards (at 57″ wide, that was overkill, probably) because I knew what I wanted to do with it: a full-length dress that fully utilized the amazing coloration of the fabric, preferably with a nice, sexy split in the skirt. The Anna pattern was the only one I had in mind, honestly–it seems to look good on everyone who makes it and is very simple, allowing the fabric to really be the star (well, the fabric and whichever leg I choose to reveal). My long-term goal was to have this mythical dress done in time for my company’s holiday party in December–see? Super¬†manageable!–but this Anna Party business gave me an extra push to get started. Just imagine it:

A perfect pairing, if I do say so myself...

A perfect pairing, if I do say so myself…

THAT SILK CREPE, THO. Red to coral to orange and back again, starring Bilbo Baggins...

THAT SILK CREPE, THO. Red to coral to orange and back again, starring Bilbo Baggins and maybe a dragon…

(So far, I am thinking of having the red focused at my waist, fading from orange/coral at my shoulders and then back out again past the waist. Thoughts??)

Obviously, I am aiming to have this dress finished before July 17, so that I can post photos to my Instagram feed (hopefully the entire blog entry will be ready in time, too) during the allowable time frame of the Anna Party. I don’t care about winning any of the prizes; I tend to join sew-alongs (or IG-alongs, apparently!) just for the motivation to finish something. To facilitate this, I have started with my fittings already:

Anna bodice 1.0, back view

Anna bodice 1.0, back view

Anna bodice 1.0, front; note the cringe.

Anna bodice 1.0, front; note the cringe.

The first muslin is straight from the pattern. Thanks to Nina’s teachings, I am learning to see probable fitting issues in a pattern before I do anything with it, but I wanted to see the fit out of the envelope on Anna, since I’ve never made a BHL pattern.¬†It turns out that I need a LOT of fitting adjustments! The most necessary thing was to add length to the bodice, because it came up wayyyyyyy too short for me, as expected. The difficulty is that I needed all that length between my shoulders and bust, as opposed to needing it between my bust and my waist. Do not be deceived by the above photos: I held that bodice down while Tom pinned it to me–it rides wayyyy up. I added 2″ of length and shifted the shoulder seam so that I had more length at the back than the front, and got this:

Anna bodice 2.0, back view; definite improvement, I think

Anna bodice 2.0, back view; definite improvement, I think, apart from Tom’s questionable pinning! ūüėČ

Anna bodice 2.0, front. Still cringing, but a little less. =)

Anna bodice 2.0, front. Still cringing, but a little less. =)

My second muslin confirmed¬†that I need to: stop sewing the pleats about 2″ before where I stopped them on Muslin 2.0 (they were lengthened¬†after v. 1.0), scoop out the front neckline a little, and shift the side seams toward the back by about 1.5″ (tapering to nothing at the armhole). What do you think? Am I on the right track here?¬†I can definitely see an improvement from 1.0 to 2.0, but I worry that I’m suffering from confirmation bias!

Once I get the bodice where I want it, I will be making any complementary changes to the skirt side seams and CF panel seams (if needed), and lopping some inches¬†off of the skirt length. From my waist to¬†the floor, I need about 42″, whereas this skirt is about 46″ as drafted. And bear in mind that, at 5′ 8.5″ tall, I am taller than the average bear lady. I suspect that the extra length is due to Anna’s designers opting to factor in very¬†high heels (rather than drafting for exceptionally tall people), but I am not intending to wear mine with more than a 2.5″ heel. I’ll do the math after all this other jazz gets worked out though–priorities, people!!

Speaking of jazz, I will leave you with a shot of me in all my vintage glory, 1920’s style! As many of you know, vintage is what got me into sewing in the first place, and I still adore it (despite my foray into more modern sewing projects of late). I was fortunate to be asked to assist with an event at a local historic mausoleum, which involved me talking to people and looking nice and era-appropriate. Easy as pie! ūüôā I had not gotten to wear “Princess Peach” (yes, I named both of my 1920’s evening gowns) yet, so she was the obvious choice for the evening. She looks pretty good for ~90 years old, huh?

20's silk gown, early 1900's ivory pendant, and 1920's (or earlier) metal mesh handbag!

20’s silk gown, early 1900’s ivory pendant, and 1920’s (or earlier) metal mesh handbag!

Mads vs. Glazed Linen, Round 2

Good Morning!

Thanks to a planned cut-back in my hours at my second job and a well-timed wife-less outing on the part of my spouse, I was able to venture into my sewing area last night. (Well, let me amend¬†that: I was able to venture into my sewing area to WORK rather than just add new patterns or fabric or someone else’s circa-1950s UFOs to my sewing area and then back away slowly…)

My original plan was to start a muslin of my much-beloved vintage pants pattern, which I have never gotten around to messing with since it came to me many months ago. But then it occurred to me that I had never gone back to the black glazed linen version of vintage Simplicity 1281 that I’d tried to make a while ago, and I felt guilty and blah blah blah. So after about 5 minutes of frantic digging and hunting, I found the rest of the linen and started ironing. (I. FUCKING. HATE. IRONING.)

I was¬†really careful when cutting this time–didn’t want any stupid mistakes like the last time I attempted this project, or the time before that…

After cutting 4 measly pieces of fabric, it is clear to me that I 1) need to lift more weights or 2) need a new blade for my rotary cutter, because I had to basically retrace my cuts for the whole first piece and then make sure I pressed really hard for the last 3. I mean, this linen is beefy, but this seemed unnecessary.

I sometimes (okay, often) wonder what the fuck I was thinking when I made past decisions. I think I ordered 4 yards of this linen, which is about 60″ wide. My original plans for it were a sheath dress (thank hell I decided against that…) or a pencil skirt and jacket, neither of which would have required nearly that much yardage (thanks, acquired sewing knowledge!). So not only have I now cut 2 skirts out of this stuff, here is what is STILL LEFT OVER:

One actual fuck-ton of linen, coming right up...

One actual fuck-ton of linen, coming right up…

Plenty for a jacket, so I guess that part of my original n00b plan will come to fruition. And once that is done, I am probably setting the remaining bits of this fabric on fire because I am just over it and its abundance and its linen-y-ness. OVER. IT.

In interesting (well, to *me*, anyway) sewing developments, that joke above about other people’s vintage UFOs wasn’t a joke at all. A lady brought lots of her mother’s hand-made vintage clothes to the shop a couple weeks ago, and her mother was very excited to learn that we all sew; her daughter returned with piles of sewing patterns and several unfinished projects in tow. Most of the patterns were circa-1970s but I did take a few home. The UFOs were all from the 50’s, and were wool. Very finely made, even in their incomplete states. I was given custody of the UFOs, and they’re hanging out until I feel brave/stupid/worthy enough to attempt to finish them. Apparently my house is now the Mads Home for Wayward Sewing Bits and Bobs…

Anyway, this skirt will be the first item of winter sewing for me this season–have any of you (in the Northern Hemisphere) started winter projects? Or are you just cuddling your winter-weight fabrics for warmth?

Random Update (Warning: Post Contains No Sewing Progress!)

Hello, Internet Denizens!

Following my Scout triumph, I haven’t gone into my sewing area. No, really: the remnants of my ikat fabric are still exactly where I left them after cutting out the sleeves, there are pattern pieces everywhere, and my ironing board is still out. I’ve worn my new tee twice already–once for Day 1 of the hot air balloon event that my family hosts every year, and once for shits and giggles (as one does when one makes a shiny new item). I love it. LOVE IT.

I’m not sure what my next project will be. I have lots of ideas, and a handful of wardrobe needs, but we’re heading into the busy season at the store so free time will be even more limited until after Halloween. I have another length of ikat in a different colorway, which is destined to become Scout 2: Electric Ikat Boogaloo. (Don’t get too excited: it’s mostly gray, with some white and yellow for good measure. But neither should you be worried: it’s awesome.) I could whip that up in a week if I can dedicate an hour a night to the project, so I may start with that. Few things boost my sewing mojo like a quick and wearable project!¬†

Since I have no new sewing things to share, I thought I’d pillage my Instagram feed for some recent photos of what I’ve been up to. (My Instagram is wronghandmads, in case you’re interested!)

Hanging out with the pup at the in-laws' house

Hanging out with the pup at the in-laws’ house

Same room, different day. (No, my face isn't dirty; apparently my cheekbones are just, um, prominent.)

Same room, different day. (No, my face isn’t dirty; apparently my cheekbones are just, um, prominent.)

The fiercest pin that ever walked the Earth! Got it for $1.

The fiercest pin that ever walked the Earth! Got it for $1.

My 1950's hostess/lounging pajamas!

My 1950’s hostess/lounging pajamas!

Just so we’re clear, I know my dog is sickeningly adorable. He’s the best, and we love him. The T-Rex pin and evening pajamas were bought yesterday from the store. I wore the PJ set to work today and felt oddly subversive knowing that I was literally wearing my pajamas to my job. The pin will make its debut soon, for sure!¬†

I hope you all have a great start to your week(s). Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some sewing-related ramblings! =)


Gone for A Month, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Whoa, guys–I did NOT mean to be away from my sweet little blog for this long!

As you may have guessed by the title, I haven’t been terribly productive since my last entry. I bought more fabric (because of course I did), and even solidified a few ideas for my next project(s), but that’s about it. However, as alluded to in the title, I did end up with a t-shirt; yes, it was indeed very lousy:

Technically wearable, but that's about it!

Technically wearable, but that’s about it!




I made this as a wearable muslin for Tom. For the most part, it looks like a t-shirt, which is a good start. The fabric is a PITA and stretched and distorted like a motherfucker, though. I used the Thread Theory Strathcona pattern, which I like a lot and will use for ALL THE SHIRTS. But between those wavy hems (sleeves AND body), jacked-up neckline (guess who cut the binding much too short, apparently?), and a few fitting adjustments that I couldn’t have foreseen (like the short sleeves being elbow-length), I still have a lot of work to do before I end up with something Tom would wear out of the house. Perhaps Step 1 should be spraying the ever-loving shit out of this fabric with spray starch…

Per usual, I have a ton of ideas for my selfish sewing. What I lack is motivation and spare time! But I’ve been trying to do better at buying fabric with a purpose in mind (and I am currently PROHIBITED from buying more fabric per a self-imposed directive), and I have a handful of things queued up in my brain-pan: some shorts using the pattern from my playsuit¬†and at least 3 or 4 fabrics from the stash, a skirt using some awesome J. Crew fabric I bought with a vintage pencil skirt pattern in mind, and at least 2 more iterations of vintage Simplicity 1281¬†in good neutral colors for easy coordination.

I also need to start planning more blouses and tops, because I really lack those in my wardrobe. At this point, I recycle the same 4 (!!!!!) knit tops whenever I want to wear separates; I’m asking way too much of Forever 21 and H&M’s craftsmanship, and I know it’s only a matter of time before I wear them out. With that in mind, below is what I am really inspired to make RIGHT AWAY, at least as soon as I figure out what the fuck to underline it with (because this shit is see-through and why wear a tank top when your shirt is made of 55% silk?!?):

Silk/cotton voile (J. Crew) from Fabric Mart; "Lumberjack Chic," am I right??

Silk/cotton voile (J. Crew) from Fabric Mart; “Lumberjack Chic,” am I right??

Two potential "matches" from the pattern stash. Startlingly, I have enough yardage to make the onesie version of the Vogue pattern!

Two potential “matches” from the pattern stash. Startlingly, I have enough yardage to make the onesie version of the Vogue pattern!

I feel compelled to note that this stuff GLOWS, even after pre-washing–I’m really excited about it! I am also really conflicted about what pattern to use for this amazing fabric. I didn’t even check my other pattern filing box for options, so I’m sure I’ll find additional contenders in there. And this isn’t the only silk/cotton voile I bought, either: I’ve got a handful of other colors, and I bought enough of some of them to make shirts. (The rest are for sleeveless tops or bras, hopefully, which will be a whole new adventure…) Now I just need to sit down and DO STUFF. I promise not to be absent for a month, though! =)

What have you guys been up to lately?!? Bought any amazing yardage or tried a new skill? 

Mending Mads

Greetings, Internetland!

As you may have guessed, I have not done much sewing since I finished the playsuit. I am sad to say that I’ve only gotten to wear it once due to the wicked constraints of my office dresscode and the not-hot-enough weather in Ohio up until this past week.

2 weekends ago,¬†our band played at the wedding of two of our friends, and it was great! Except for the utter lack of cell phone reception and the stupid cold/windy/wet weather, anyway. We were gone for 2 full days, so no sewing was accomplished, obviously. And we’ve been working hard on another EP and prepping for our last show ever this¬†weekend, which eats into my free time as well. I will dearly miss this project, but I am looking forward to fewer demands on my leisure time!

I did a little sewing between last week and today, but not on anything me-made: I am trying to do much-needed repairs on some of my vintage! I just got a black silk 1910’s dress that is nearly in perfect condition, apart from a tear at the hem…oh, and the fact that somebody cut off all 20 or so of its buttons! They’re decorative, at least, so the dress is technically wearable without them, but I wanted to restore it to some semblance of its former glory. I found a perfect lot of 20 matching Victorian-era faceted glass buttons on Etsy for a very reasonable price and started attaching them late last week. They are a pain in the ass!!!! They’re shank buttons, but not like you’d think: they’re self-shanked, so each pass of the needle has to go through the hole in the button and back out again, which takes some getting used to. As you can see in the photos below, I marked out button placement with chalk and am working my way up from the bottom. It’s frustrating but worthwhile work, and as of yesterday evening I’m 6 buttons from being finished. Yay!

This photo doesn't do her justice, I promise! You can see my chalk marks for button placement on the placket.

This photo doesn’t do her justice, I promise! You can see my chalk marks for button placement on the placket.

This is what the buttons look like--I think they're perfect!

This is what the buttons look like–I think they’re perfect!

I also have some new (to me) chemises and a house jacket from the 1930’s, and one of the chemises desperately needed repairs. The side seam on one side of the skirt was¬†basically a slit, and the skirt has a big pink stain on the front. Did I mention that I am hoping to wear this in a 1920’s and 1930’s style show for the vintage store on June 1?!?!? I think this particular chemise is rayon silk or something like that, so I used my rayon thread without a hint of guilt. After I got the mending done, I¬†soaked the chemise in Soak Wash, but the stubborn pink stain would not be defeated. Since it’s so old (and I’m hoping to publicly show it off later this week), I am scared to soak it in anything stronger. I will pack the other ivory-colored chemise in my drawer on the day and see what we decide to go with at show time. But you can see why I love this one so much, right??

She's so beautiful! (This is with NO filter, btw.)

She’s so beautiful! (This is with NO filter, btw.)

A close-up of the front of the bodice

A close-up of the front of the bodice

And the back!

And the back!

In Naughty Mads news, I bought several remnant fabric pieces last¬†week, totaling over 12 yards. Some pieces are for t-shirts for Tom, and the rest is for me. ūüôā I got some suiting that I plan to use to make a coat, along with a piece of silk crepe to use for the lining. I also got some stretch black denim (because I am apparently living in the 1990’s) and some double-faced twill that I’m really excited about. I’ll be sure to take photos once it all arrives (if it ever does–it’s been a week and I haven’t gotten my “it shipped!” email)!

What are all of you up to? I hope you are refreshed after the weekend (a long one for most of us here in the States!) and ready to tackle another week!

Pattern Review 2014 Vintage Contest – I’m Entering! (For Real This Time.)

No, for really real.

Vintage Contest 2014

Exciting news, everyone: I have officially entered my vintage Simplicity 1173 playsuit in The Vintage Contest at Pattern Review! Never have I been more relieved not to have started a project when I meant to: for this contest, fashion fabric work (tracing, cutting, sewing, etc.) can only be done from May 1 to May 31, and except for my muslin, this was an all-May project. Whew!!

I did not even know that this contest was coming up. I posted a review of the pattern on PR because I try to do that whenever I finish something, and a commenter said that she hoped I was entering it in the contest. I went straight to the contest section of the site and read the rules, and realized it was eligible! I was so excited to be able to enter and actually have a finished item this time, since my fitted blouse never made it out of the muslin stages. I’ve gotten so many kind comments on PR since posting and entering my review, which has been so¬†uplifting. I love my playsuit, but I can’t believe so many strangers stopped to comment and say such nice things about it!

If you’re on PR and are eligible to vote in contests, you should definitely consider voting for me. I expect lots more awesome entries though, so be sure to check out what other folks have made!

Photos of Vintage Simplicity 1173

I finished hemming my new grownup onesie yesterday while watching “The IT Crowd” before heading to work. Yay! I was determined to wear it, despite the fact that it was 62 degrees (which, if you’re me, is too cold for such a small amount of clothing). As promised, here are some better photos of my playsuit:


Front view, now with 100% more dog!


A better view of the back; also, dog.


This is about as “cheesecake” as I get….


This outfit was meant for lazing around, right? You can see the pile of sweaters I had been wearing but had to remove for the photos–classy.

I feel compelled to note that no, I totally didn’t need those sunglasses–it was overcast as hell yesterday by the time we got around to taking photos! But I don’t like doing “final” outfit photos without makeup, and since I was wearing something that’s super appropriate for summer lounging, I opted to use my sunglasses to cover up my lack of cosmetics. I¬†did throw on some lipstick for all y’all though, because it seemed necessary.

I really enjoyed wearing this outfit all day, with one exception: I cannot close the hook and eye by myself!! I can undo it just fine (which is great, because if I have to pee, I’m not about to wait around until someone shows up to unhook me) but have not yet been able to close it afterwards. Other than that, it’s a joy to wear!

I haven’t decided what my next project is, though I would love to whip up some shorts using the pattern from this playsuit–I’ve got leftovers from my gray skirt, along with a cut of vintage fabric that HAS to be made into shorts. I’ve also got a summer halter dress (1930s) and a crop top and skirt set (1950s) that I’d love to start on as well. Looks like I’ve got some decisions to make! ūüôā

Thanks for reading–while wearing what I make is a thrill, it’s so much better knowing that I can share with all of you. ‚̧

Vintage Simplicity 1173 – The Playsuit Has (Basically) Landed!

You guys.

You guys!


My playsuit from vintage Simplicity 1173 is basically finished. I need to hem the leg holes, but that’s it! Also, one of my buttons got sewn on off-kilter, so I also need to fix that, but that’s so easy to do that it barely counts. I got a few photos of the playsuit¬†last night, but the pulling on the right side of the bodice due to the button issue is¬†really obvious (and it was like 9 at night and the lighting was awful), so I won’t post many pictures¬†yet. But here is a preview:


Side view! Note the stripe matching FAIL.


Back view. That’s the one place I managed to match my bodice stripes…


Close-up of the strap attachment at the back; do you like my chalk? =)

This pattern is really easy to put together (which I think I mentioned before), which was nice. Unfortunately for me, I hit a lot more snags with the real version than I had with the muslin. For instance:

  • Underlining made everything more difficult; in retrospect, I wish that Past Mads had instead invested in additional pairs of skin-colored underpants and not bothered. Past Mads is an asshole.
  • Stripe matching was attempted, but apparently not successful. The shorts portion isn’t even close, especially in the crotch region, and the bodice only matches up at the back. I didn’t even manage to get the straps to have identical striping patterns. WTF, Mads?!?
  • The shorts and bodice were even further away from fitting together on this version than on the muslin, which made no sense to me. I ended up letting the bodice side seams out about 1/4″ out of desperation, which did help a bit.
  • Bodice fitting was a real bastard this time around. I adjusted to add some width at the very top, and ended up with too much room. So between that and the bodice vs shorts size differential stupidity mentioned previously, I ended up with more room in the bodice than I wanted; I think it fits well, but I wish the fit at the waist was more akin to the muslin version. In addition, I’m beginning to think that cutting two bodice fronts and putting them together–as opposed to the single continuous piece you’re supposed to cut–may be given me a bit of shaping on the muslin that I lost when I did it the right way. Maybe on my next (non-striped, for sure) version I can try that!

I wish I had taken a photo of the fabric I have left after finishing this. I miscut the front bodice (cut two separate pieces, AGAIN) and one of the back bodice pieces, which wasted fabric, but even without those mistakes, I’d still have basically nothing usable left over! I may be able to squeeze out a bra top–and that’s a BIG maybe.

Real talk: for all of the complaining I just did, I LOVE this playsuit. I love that it looks like the picture on the envelope, I love that it seems like something I would wear or buy, I love the comfort, and I love how I feel in it. I need to press the short seams and zipper (and still need to trim back the short seams) to help them lay better, too. Re: the straps, I decided to attach them that way at the back on a whim. My hand sewing is awful, and I just didn’t want to trust the integrity of these straps to that technique. I opted to sew around the bottom of the straps–from the outside–to securely attach them at the base. I¬†went as high as¬†the top of the bodice and as low as about 1/4″ from the bottom of the strap, and I went around the squares¬†twice to make things extra-secure. For machine stitching, I think I did a really good job of keeping my lines straight and getting the second line of stitching right on top of the first; the squares aren’t perfectly centered, but I’m still really happy with how they turned out. And let me tell you, those straps? They aren’t going¬†anywhere.

I’m hoping to be back after the weekend with more photos for you guys, but with better lighting and a finished-for-real playsuit. Is anyone else getting a jump on summery sewing projects?

Vintage Simplicity 1173 – Playsuit Ahoy!

Happy Monday! I hope everyone out there had a nice weekend. I certainly did: we had great weather here in Ohio, and I got an unexpected day off yesterday. I’m pleased to say that I used my time wisely. ūüôā

After getting frustrated/intimidated by my blouse pattern of choice, I have mostly shelved that project without making any additional progress. I feel confident that I’ll go back to it eventually, since it’s one of my favorite patterns and because all of my notions are ready, waiting, and look great together. I just didn’t want to spend my first healthy day off in over 6 months working on something that was frustrating me! I cleaned up my sewing area a little bit, and decided that I was ready to tackle vintage Simplicity 1173: the playsuit to end all playsuits (for me, at least).

The pattern, fabric, buttons, and belt buckle I had picked out for Simplicity 1173¬†months ago have continued to haunt my dreams, and I felt like this was my best chance to get to work on it. I got started on Saturday night while Tom was out at a concert; I took everything out of the pattern envelope (what’s left of it, anyway!) and traced the necessary pieces directly onto my muslin fabric. With an ink pen. Because I can. I knew right away that I had to make some changes: this pattern is a size or two bigger than what I need in certain areas, mostly the waist. I measured in about 1 5/8″ from each side seam on the bodice, and the same amount from the side and center seams of the top portion of the shorts; my waist:hip ratio is about 0.7, so I knew I couldn’t afford to remove much or any from the rear region, so I left that area alone! ūüôā I also avoided any changes to the dreaded crotch curve area–I figured if that became an issue, I would deal with it after I got all the easy stuff fixed. After my inappropriate tracing was complete, I cut everything out and went to bed, prepared to sew it all together on Sunday.

Sunday ended up being more active than I had hoped: we had an errand to run (UGH lawn maintenance) and a lost neighbor cat to look for, but I did get lots of sewing time. Before I started putting stuff together, Sane Mads convinced Rash Mads to trace the muslin pieces onto my tracing material, just in case my gonzo drafting resulted in a good fit. Out came the ink pen (WHATEVER, I DO WHAT I WANT) and all pieces were traced. Then I sewed. All the sewing I did took about 2-3 hours, or thereabouts (between snack breaks, checking in on my movie, and chatting to Tom, I lost track!). Here’s what I ended up with:




We’re gonna need a bigger zipper. (Also, less-visible underpants.)


My hands are trying to flatten out the back closure AND cover my goodies. =/


Flat front view

It’s damn-near perfect!!! I was so excited when I got it on and it fit this well. I had tried on the shorts before the zipper went in, so I knew those would be a good fit, but the bodice was a lot of guesswork and couldn’t really be tried on separately. Please excuse my hands in every photo: since my zipper isn’t the right size, I had to pull up on the bodice to keep the back closure from sagging where the gap was between the zipper and the hook and eye; doing that¬†also helped me get a better idea of how good (or bad) the fit was.

I need to add a little bit back in at the very top of the bodice, since it is too tight there but big enough for my bra cups in the actual cup area. So, all things considered, I have very little to change. I made a stupid mistake when joining the bodice to the shorts: I folded over my seam allowance in the shorts to create the zipper opening, but forgot to do the same on the bodice. Since the instructions said to ease the shorts into the bodice, I figured it was normal that things weren’t lining up exactly. This big “DUH” moment hit me after I’d sewn them together, so I just inserted the zipper anyway and made a mental note for the real thing.

The zipper is sloppily handpicked for fitting purposes only; I ripped it out of a UFO, but¬†if it were a little longer, I’d use it for this playsuit–the color is great for the purple stripe in my fabric! I also had to sew in the hook and eye at the top of the opening, since my zipper came up several inches short and I needed to know how this was going to fit. How the hell do people attach¬†those cleanly?!? I struggled with a capital “S,” folks. I got stabbed, and the sewing looks like shit. But they’re on there, and they did their jobs. (Let’s have a moment of silence for Victorian women, who had dozens of these damn things all over their clothes.) I omitted the pockets, but might try adding one to the muslin before I put my shorts together in the real fabric, just to see how much I struggle with it. I also have to stick the straps on this thing and see if they’re the right size. I made one but was too excited to attach it (and a button–after that hook and eye nonsense, I was tired of getting stabbed), but I can sew it down quickly and see if/how it changes anything. I’ve decided on a narrow machine hem for the shorts. Honestly, I can’t afford to make them much shorter than they already are!

I haven’t decided yet (I need to test the fabric), but I may underline the actual playsuit. I don’t want to have to bust out flesh-colored undergarments just to swan around in an outfit that’s supposed to be easy and casual, you know? I also need to figure out how I want to “face” the bodice. I think the pattern calls for using a full-sized piece as a facing that ends up functioning like an underlining, so maybe I will add an extra 1/2″ or so of height to the top edge of the bodice and just attach my underlining inside that seamline, turn it, press the top edge, and then it can function as an underlining AND a facing to finish the top edge. Any thoughts on that? I don’t think I will like the look of an invisible bias facing, since that will leave visible stitching along the top edge, but I will test it on the muslin before totally writing it off. And then there’s the small matter of making a belt, which I’ll sort out once the more important stuff gets done.

This project has really given my sewing mojo a boost–I’m so excited and motivated to get it finished! I think it helped that I had the entire thing together in only a few hours; with a schedule like mine, that’s a big help!

What do you guys have in your queues at the moment?¬†Any must-have summer items that you’d like to get started on?

Giveaway at The Vintage Home Sewist – Yay!

Checking in real quick to let y’all know about an amazingly generous giveaway going on over at The Vintage Home Sewist! Here’s the scoop:

Three winners will be selected, and each will win a $50 credit to The Vintage Home Sewist’s Etsy shop, where she has a lot of amazing vintage sewing patterns on offer. (And there’s currently a sale going on, which means those prizes will go even further–who doesn’t love that?!) I’m tossing my name in for this one (because OBVIOUSLY), and if you’re interested, you should do the same. Good luck, and many thanks to The Vintage Home Sewist for this generous giveaway!