Short Marlo

First, go check out Heather’s Overall This 2020 Nonsense dungarees – aren’t they terrific?! Unfortunately she can’t totally endorse the pattern (unfortunately for me, mainly, because her finished pair is beautiful and beautifully made, and now I want some too). Anyway, go feast your eyes, and enjoy her detailed review!

Okay now look at me again. ; ) Like a sweater-y Lady Macbeth, I didn’t let “I dare not” wait upon “I would” and here’s my second Marlo already.

This True Bias Marlo is the cropped view, size 10, in Pacific French terry from iseefabric. It’s the second half of my fabric splurge and I had some trouble choosing which shade of blue I wanted. Eventually I just sort of squeezed my eyes shut and picked one, and when it arrived the color didn’t match the one shown on my monitor, but I’m happier this way. It’s the perfect dark teal I always hope to find. It’s not madly warm (the waffle knit is cozier); I often assume French terry is warmer than it is, I need to break that habit. It’s more like wearing a soft and sexy sexy towel.

Last time I talked mostly about the finished sweater and less about the Marlo pattern itself, so I wanted to mention that it’s simple but great. When a pattern is uncomplicated I really expect everything to line up perfectly and this one does that, with ample notches. I was initially surprised by the soft, gradual shape of the seam where the bottom of the armscye meets the side, but for a big sweater with big sleeves it doesn’t feel like too much fabric ends up in my armpits, thanks I think to that transition. Also it’s easy to serge because it doesn’t create a sharp inside corner.

I’d like to find a better way of marking notches; I usually cut them outwards, but because so many of these pattern pieces are straight-edged, you can butt them right up against each other to save fabric. But, then I can’t cut my notches pointing out. I used a white charcoal pencil to trace pattern pieces (leftover either from the days when I was forced to draw with charcoal, or from the days when I forced my students to draw with charcoal) and it tends to rub off. I might need a better tool.     

Sewing this was pretty straightforward, especially with the directions fresh in my mind, but I tried a tweak. Instead of adding the cuff in the round, as directed, I tried to keep it flat for as long as possible, like so…

I’m not sure that it made that much difference to the overall difficulty. I still ended up hand-sewing the inner edge of the cuff. It might have felt easier if I had actually sewn the cuff to the sleeve on the first try! Instead I sewed (and serged the seam, luckily with the knife off) one cuff to the bottom edge of the left front. I had to really stretch the bejeezus out of the cuff to get them to match, too! Unpicking loop-back French terry is not my all-time favorite.

I managed to snag the back of the fabric this time too, same as my last Marlo. Only this time I made a hole, but it was with the edge of my fingernail so what am I sposed to do, not have fingernails? It’s on the inside of the cuff and I ironed a little piece of interfacing to the back. I could have re-cut the piece but I didn’t notice the hole until I had attached it and I couldn’t face unpicking this one cuff anymore.

Once again I used the low-stretch band, and it’s a little sloppy at the back neck, though not critically. Since I’m never going to wear the cropped Marlo unbuttoned, I serged and topstitched the inner edge, and it went fine. French terry seems to like a bit of topstitching, IMO. I topstitched the shoulder seams too – this fabric is a bit springy, and the grosgrain ribbon I used in those seams doesn’t match, and I didn’t want it to peek out (I’d be the only one who’d see it, but I’m “I”! I care!).

These aren’t the buttons I thought I wanted – I was hoping to find something largish in light wood – but I couldn’t find that locally, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy these expensive washable ceramic buttons for uhhh a while. I didn’t sew buttonholes, just attached the buttons through both layers. This was lucky, because I guessed at placement again; initially I had sewn a fourth, higher button, but when I tried on the top I was getting intense drag lines, so I removed it. My breastbone resembles an uninhabited steppe from my collarbone to my bra band, and lowering a neckline a couple inches makes no significant difference to the look/my comfort otherwise, so it was all to the good.

I might switch them someday, because I think the weight of the buttons throws off the balance of the sweater. Or equally I might not; I like the color and the card of five buttons cost eight American dollars!!! That’s sandwich money!

After having sewn both views, I can confidently say this pattern is a keeper. And if you buy your fabric by the fractional yard, the cropped view in size 10 only takes 1.5 yards, not 2 as listed. I could only buy whole yards so now I have .5 yards of luxurious organic French terry kicking around. I’m thinking of making my hot water bottle a coordinating sweater (its name is Hot Walter, and it deserves the best). Wishing you the best, too!

croppe–

Pattern: True Bias Marlo sweater, cropped

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 10

Supplies: 2 yards of organic French terry knit in Pacific, iseefabric, $31.90; thread from stash; buttons, Gather Here, $8.00

Total time: 3.75 hours

Total cost: $39.90

So long, short dress

I don’t have so many clothes that I need to swap them seasonally, but a couple times a year I take a Long Hard Look at what’s around and work out what I’m missing, and more importantly, what I’m not using, and why. My size is slowly but surely growing, and I’m comfortable and happy with this; I’m not hoarding anything for a mythical smaller version of myself and I have no trouble getting rid of clothes that don’t fit. But what about clothes that kinda, sorta fit? That would fit if I spent a couple hours on them? Those are tricky.

My Lisette Itinerary dress (OOP) is a particular challenge, because while I just realized I haven’t worn it in over a year, in some ways I’m still pretty pleased with it!

Mainly I’m proud of the hand embroidery, which isn’t perfect, but it took ages.

The sewing is sashiko-inspired – the color palette, the design – but I think it’s probably not sashiko, because I didn’t stack multiple stitches on a long needle. It’s just a regular old backstitch throughout. I’m missing a lot of my usual data on this dress – time, money, even size unfortunately – because I made it 5 or 6 years ago.  But I do remember doing the embroidery for hours and hours by the glow of a British murder series. The serial killer had a thirtyish white brunette wife, a thirtyish white brunette mistress, and he only murdered thirtyish white brunettes. I barely looked up while sewing and when I could I had no idea what was happening to whom. It was a confusing show.

This Lisette dress has fully lined back and front yokes, making it an ideal candidate for embroidery. Both shoulders are standard seams, since I omitted the shoulder placket. I gambled on fitting my head through the head-hole without the closure, and it does. I have to take my glasses off first, though.

The obi-style cloth belt is also self-lined. And I suspect, a smidge small for me! It doesn’t quite meet in the back. I sized my motif to fit the finished belt measurements.

It balances the yokes, IMO! Also, somehow the dress looks even shorter without it?!

Oh yes, this is short. I’m wearing pajama boxers underneath (which I actually always did, even when this was getting regular use, an example of the healthy kind of paranoia).  

My version is more A-line than designed. In the misty past I forgot to grade out from my bust size, which meant it was way too snug on my hips. Instead of buying more fabric and re-cutting the body, I inserted two triangular gussets from the leftovers, widening from about 1” at the underarm to 7” at the hem. They’re invisible from the back of a trotting horse, as Ramona Quimby’s father’s grandmother would say.

There’s not one raw edge inside this bag. The side/gusset seams are flat-felled, the yokes are self-lined, and the armscyes are bound with the same bias tape I used to hem (every ¼” counted).  

Even though it’s old, I’m proud of the workmanship. And I love this fabric! It’s medium-heavy cotton with a ton of texture and next to no wrinkling. And I think the embroidery still looks cool (and is aging shockingly well). Bad news: it’s too small in the biceps now, the armscyes are too high for my comfort, and the upper chest feels a little binding.

It gives me wedgies in my armpits.

So that’s a no.

If I remove the sleeves and lower the armscyes, that could fix all three problems in one swoop. Or I could shorten the sleeves and use the cut-off fabric to add further gussets in the underarms. If I made it much shorter (and a shirt, obvs) I might even have enough ‘new’ fabric to make the sleeves interesting in some way. This would probably represent a few hours work, and it would make the result of many more hours of work wearable.

But at the end of the day, this dress ain’t me anymore, you know? And I don’t see myself reaching for it as a shirt either. So I think I’ll just feel proud, and move on.

One more for the rehoming pile!

Happy Juneteenth, everybody!

Pattern: Lisette Itinerary for Simplicity 2060, view B

Pattern cost: ? pre-spreadsheet

Size: ? pre-spreadsheet – probably a 14, with modifications

Supplies: indigo cotton, white topstitching thread

Total time: ? sorry, this is

Total cost: ? worse than useless