Last Resort

I really like black outfits in the summer even if they effectively make me look glow-in-the-dark, but this one kind of crossed the line from “casual” to “deadly-widow-on-a-cruise”. To be fair once I realized that I leaned into the styling; since I’m only going to wear this outfit this once, I may as well wear it as hard as I can. This is my wearable muslin for M7936.  

Sometimes a muslin gets promoted to the big leagues. This isn’t one of those times. I haven’t really been tempted by short rompers lately; I feel simultaneously overdressed and underdressed, and this summer has been so relatively cold in New England that I’ve gotten to enjoy long pants most days anyway. But I wanted to sew through this pattern once before deciding whether or not I would make myself a full-length version. Honestly, I’m still not sure.  

The drafting was simple but good – everything lined up, there’s generous hem allowances, and the pockets are a good height and size. I had to sew my nemesis, an invisible zipper, but even that went okay thanks to the expert guidance of Kenneth D. King! However, it seems my new nemesis is facing a V-neck with an invisible zipper at the point. My fabric was a slightly grow-y, slightly shifty rayon/linen blend, and I didn’t make it perfectly symmetrical. I hand-stitched the edge of the facing in place to minimize the mismatch.

It’s obviously not an invisible finish, but if a line is going to be slightly wobbly anyway, I think hand-sewing visually justifies it. I wonder if a closed-end dress zipper in the side seam would make a good replacement for the center zipper, possibly if the back neck had a “V” neckline as well for extra hip-in, hip-out room? I’m not fond of placing the thing I’m most likely to mess up front and center, but a back zip can be a hassle too.

Fit-wise there’s not a ton to say – the intended fit is free through the waist and loose in the hips and shoulders. I sewed a straight size M (the pattern alpha-sized, by the way). It’s comfortable but the inseam pockets gape a bit, so grading to an L probably would have been more suitable. It passes my squat test for thick thighs as-is, though.

Unfortunately it’s a little uncomfortable to raise my arms above my head. It’s a cut-on-sleeve issue, not a body-length issue. Lifting my arm moves the whole garment, inevitably, but the sleeve digs into my arm before I run out of crotch space; if it were a set-in sleeve I would have a sense of how to adjust (all due to ikat bag’s generous post, an evergreen from 2014) but I’m not sure what to do about it here. Adjust the shoulder slope, possibly?

I sewed and finished the pattern according to the directions before adding my own twist, the little strappy hardware bits. It’s just four rectangles folded like double-fold bias tape and topstitched shut, plus four D-rings. The strap width was determined by the D-rings I had sitting around, 1 ½”.

These straps each started life much, much longer. I pinned them to the finished garment before trimming. This was easiest, but it wasn’t always easy. I was home alone for this sewing project and pinning straps above my own booty with the help of exactly 1 mirror was a bit fussy. They were unsurprisingly unsymmetrical, so I took measurements on the flat garment and tried to split the difference, only to somehow end up sewing the back straps symmetrical to each other but a good 4” lower than the front straps. Several tries later I ended up with this arrangement.

I was a little worried that the cinching would pull back the fabric around the invisible zipper and reveal the coils, but it’s all good. These look a bit useless when fully loose and a bit tortured cinched to the max; this sort of half-waist seems to be the sweet spot. You can get a similar(ish) effect with something like this elastic waist, with the exception that I have a flat area (panel in that link) between the strap ends on both the front and back.   

I’m not super excited about this romper, alas. Why’d I even bother poisoning the Colonel, y’know? The one thing I unabashedly like is the depth of the V. I really wanted to recreate a particular denim jumpsuit I have pinned, but now I dunno. I was pretty grateful to pop this off in favor of jean shorts and a tank; I just feel more like me in that outfit. On the other hand, denim makes everything better.

It did inspire me to go through my wardrobe and pull out a few other things I don’t feel excited about. My clothing swap pile is growing. Got to get that stuff out before the if/when of another lockdown…

On that cheery note, arrivederci! If Scotland Yard comes sniffing around, tell them it was natural causes.

Pattern: M7936

Pattern cost: $5.49

Size: M

Supplies: 2 yards of black linen/rayon, $11.98, Sewfisticated; 22″ invisible zipper, Gather Here + 1 1/2″ D rings, Winmill Fabrics, $4.79

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $22.26

Planning 2

I love writing lists. You should see me grocery shop; there’s footnotes.  For sewing, however, I find the process more meditative than practical – I can write “white-button down” on an index card and peacefully release it into the universe, without any pressure to actually sew a white button-down. If white button-down loves me, it will return. But right now I’m going to plan FOR REAL, because I can’t sew, because my sewing machine is in the hands of another!!

Fine, it’s getting a long-overdue tune up. If you live in MA, RI, or CT, and you don’t have a car, I can give you the name + number of my guy. He does pick-up and delivery! I look forward to being ❤ reunited ❤ but in the meantime I’m getting my next few sewing projects in order. You could think of it as an itty-bitty capsule for an August day. Or the ramblings of a woman with no hand to hold foot to press. Whichever!

  1. First, itsa gonna be sleek. Itsa gonna be practical. Itsa gonna be a little bit boring. That’s right, it’s a – black bathing suit!

It’ll be a one-piece based on the Nettie bodysuit, but sleeveless. I think I can fudge the top using a RTW tank for reference, since I’m already really happy with the bum/leg coverage of the bottom. If I use a low front neck/mid-low back, I should be able to climb in and out without requiring crotch snaps. I also plan to use the banded finish without added elastic. This isn’t going to see a ton of vigorous water sports; I just want something classic and basic I can wear once a year for the next 5 – 10 years, which is about how often I go swimming.

I’ve already ordered and received this UV Compressive Tricot from Mood Fabrics. It’s hand-wash only, but I can commit to that once every 12 months. It’s matte, smooth, and has great recovery. Best of all, it’s got 50+ UV protection! Unfortunately it’s also sold out. Mood has other colors and some way more exciting patterns in stock – my personal favorite, these bananas.

But I chose something too basic to get tired of. Like toast.

2. Pajamas. I know, lounging was very April/May. We’re doing collective action now. But I’ve been wearing the heck out of my one pair of Grainline Lakeside PJs, and it’s about time I make another.

My existing pair is super cute, but I sewed them 5 or 6 years ago and my kiester has increased with my wisdom, so I want to size up for breeziest comfort. This is dependent on Gather Here reopening its doors to retail soon – at time of writing, not a guarantee – because I want to choose quilting cotton for these in person. Finally a chance to dip into the shelves of novelty designs! 

I hope to find something graphic and fun, like some Dear Stella and Ruby Star Society designs. Not these precisely, but I’ll know it when I see it!

I might adjust the rise of the shorts (above or below my nice tummy, that is the question). I’m fine with the itty-bitty inseam, though. It’s a perfect hot-day, get-home-from-work, cold-shower, smallest-possible-outfit outfit. (I know underwear is smaller but is it an outfit??!)

3. Swim, sleep…what else can one do in the dog days of summer? Romp, naturally. And for that I’ll need a romper.

One pattern I’m considering is the Salme Playsuit. I already own this, which is handy, because Salme the company is very much no longer with us.

I’ve loved and outgrown one of these already, but looking back at the pattern, it’s got an astonishingly shallow front crotch so I doubt it ever really fit right (I didn’t have any pants-fitting wonkery then). I’d want to adjust it before sewing again. My original version was in olive-green stretch twill and I could totally recreate it with a much better fit, but I’m not fully comfortable wearing short-shorts to work (says the echo of my mother) (she’s not a ghost, but I might be if she finds out I considered professional short-shorts), so I’m not sure this is the best investment of my time/materials. I do want something in the romper family, though – maybe with a wide cropped leg, for work + play.

I’m considering Manchester cottons. They’re light and soft and pretty darn cheap! One candidate is Leaf, another is Marmalade. A wise and wonderful friend pointed out that the word “Marmalade” might be what I find tempting, more than the color, but WWPD (What Would Paddington Do?).

I also love Kaffe Fasset shot cottons but because they have a two-tone glimmer (it’s seriously lush) I’d prefer to see those in person.  Dare I consider Sunflower, though?

There! Three looks for late summer! Depending on when my machine, a.k.a. Swamp Thing, returns to my loving arms, this plan may be delayed or altered. Depending, too, on how & when I can get fabric! Pretty much the only thing that’s guaranteed is the swimsuit, which I could sew on my serger if I absolutely had to (but I’m hoping not to have to). If and when any of this goes from theoretical to theothreadical (NOPE), you’ll see the results here!

Do you have any fun summer plans, on or off your sewing table? 🙂