MST3K’s Kinga Forrester Coat

MST3K’s Kinga Forrester Coat

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Whew, it’s been a busy fall. Between tons of duties at work, and learning how to prep a home for the winter, we’ve had our hands full here. We adopted the joy of hosting the family’s annual Halloween party since we have a home to host in now, and it wasn’t until a week before the party that I realized I didn’t have a good costume that I hadn’t worn yet… Whoops. I could’ve worn the skant, but it was real cold that night and those legs are out on display.

I had been planning on recreating the coat that Kinga wears in MST3K since I saw the first episode of the return. Between the simple lines, weird details, and adaptability to easily use an already-made pattern, it could be done in a snap. Luckily for my procrastinating Halloween-costume-needing self, I had already done a muslin and purchased the fabric months ago! It just needed to be made. In a week. And so it was.

The coat pattern is Vogue 8346, view B, cut in a size 14. I initially made a muslin, which  worked out great. I liked the sleeve length and fit of the bodice as a whole. I would have liked to move the buttons up to have more of a traditional peacoat shape like Kinga’s is, but that was more complicated that I was ready to dive into. I generally prefer when sleeves are made of 2 separate pieces to allow greater arm movement, so in the future I will hack this to have 2 parts.

I sourced the fabric for my coat, a wonderfully dark melton wool, from S.R. Harris in Brooklyn Park, MN for $19.99/yard, but purchased the contrasting lapel color, a simple quilting cotton, and lining at my local Jo-ann Fabrics. My patches were sourced last minute from Etsy (one showed up the day of the party!) from these two shops. Lastly, my hair bones were made from sculpting Sculpy onto some melamine chop sticks, and painting it all white after baking.

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Oh! My partner in crime! Ian is wearing a Jonah-style costume with his own name on it that we made for the convention we went to this summer. I knew that a wool coat wouldn’t fly at a convention in July, hence why I had the supplies and never made it on time. But, it is surprisingly difficult (impossible) to find long-sleeved  yellow coveralls. So we purchased a white cotton jumpsuit on Amazon, and dyed it in a big bucket with Rit dye. Then, I sewed on the patches. We found a velcro tactical belt with accessories  for him to finish off the look. Bam! Our own test subject!

We ran into a few other Jonah-like people at the convention, and they had dyed their coveralls with both the cotton and polyester dye. I should have done this as well, because while the fabric is made of cotton, the thread is polyester and is still white. So, this is what I would recommend if you’re trying to make your own test subject.

Overall, I love this costume! The coat came together quite smoothly in a week, and the hardest part was simply working efficiently after work to get it done on time.

Oh, our Halloween party was a success too. Hurrah!

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Star Trek: TNG Skant

Star Trek: TNG Skant

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This project has been a really long time coming. One of the first photos I saw of my husband was of him at a convention in a Star Trek uniform, and I thought, “aw look at that adorable nerd.” I had no idea that some 6 years later, I’d be suiting up in my own uniform and happily stumbling around a convention.

Ian and I watched Star Trek together a ton when we first started dating, and one of the things he pointed out to me were all the crazy costumes and different obscure things he wanted to cosplay, namely the Ten Forward bartender and the male skant. So, I felt that the skant would be the easiest. A friend of ours also made some skants, so I borrowed her sewing pattern.

As soon as I took it out though, I put it back… for 4 years. At this point I considered many of the other skant tutorial options, where they remove the “skant” part and make it into a dress. But I knew that if I were putting in the effort, I wanted it to feel authentic. So I stuck with my pattern. It was the original Gene Roddenberry costume designer sewing pattern, with no measurements for sizing, and nary a sensible instruction on how it was all magically put together. The zipper location on the diagram made no sense, and for some reason the construction of the legs was completely out of wack. I made up a muslin, and decided that the diagram had the pattern pieces labeled incorrectly. Turns out they were correct, just wildly bizarre.

The weird “skant” part, where each side is a mirror image with a flap and pseudo-shorts

I used Obsessive Costuming Dude‘s PDF and video tour of the skant as a resource for all things construction and finishing touches. Luckily, his posts on the uniform were made at the same time that I was laying on the living room floor, pattern pieces strewn about me, crying to my cat and husband about how it JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. You could say that this costume certainly would not have come together if it weren’t for Obsessive Costuming Dude’s posts. I might have been a little emotional too, as we were trying to finish this before buying a house. Whoops.

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The fabric we sourced from Fabric.com and includes the Fabric Merchants Teal Ponte and Fabric Merchants Black Ponte. These fabrics were lovely to sew and work with, and in appearance looked very similar to the uniforms. Unfortunately, after wearing them for a full day at the convention, our con bag ended up making a terrible patch of pilling and pulled loops. I used a crochet hook to pull these back inside, and will likely take a razor blade to the patch in the future.

For the skant contruction, I followed his directions almost to a T. I made a muslin for myself and Ian first, and only had to alter the length by about 3 inches for myself. Ian’s skant had to be nearly redrafted to accommodate for his male figure, and the hem was lengthened 5 inches while the sleeves were lengthened by 2 inches. I reinforced the zipper seams with a knit fusible interfacing to reduce the potential for a wobble in the fabric, which I thought worked really well!

After months of agony and painstaking hand sewing of every hem and hook and eye, the skants fit. And they looked damn good! I went to try my own on, and nearly died. My zipper broke, right across my the chest. It was 2 days until we left for the convention and my costume had broken due to a crappy invisible zipper. The teeth had come clear off the zipper tape, there was no fixing it! So, I had to cut the zipper pull out of the garment and sew the seam up along the chest. Turns out, you really don’t need that zipper to get in and out of the uniform anyway when it’s a nice, stretchy ponte!

The uniform felt nice and breezy (a little too breezy, definitely wear spanx!) at the hot, July convention and we received a ton of a compliments on them. Making the pair of uniforms is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, just below making my wedding dress, purely because it was such a struggle to figure out how they come together cleanly. A huge thank you to Obsessive Costuming Dude for making such a detailed analysis of the costume, and allowing us nerds to embrace the authenticity of the skant.

Woolen Nintendo Switch Bag

Woolen Nintendo Switch Bag

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A long while back, I released a tutorial on how to sew a Nintendo Switch carrying bag that looks like a messenger bag. Since then, I’ve made a few more! This one however, is my favorite one yet.

The exterior fabric is a melton wool from Fabric.com that was an absolute joy to work with. I’ve never worked with a wool like this before, it was plush and took to a steamy iron perfectly. I have a large swath of this fabric leftover, and I have way too many ideas for what I want to do with it! More bags? Luxurious picnic blanket with crochet borders? Cool wizard hats…?

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The interior fabric is a basic Kona cotton, but I used new interfacing for this! I wanted fusible interfacing with even more support than the medium weight to hold up the wool, and found this Pellon ShirTailor interfacing that almost feels like it’s a peel away interfacing. It’s not! It’s supportive and lightweight, and worked great for the lining.

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I’ve made a few alterations to the pattern to make this. The length of the fold-over flap was reduced by 2 inches so that there’s no excess fabric hanging over when the bag is empty. And because the wool I chose was so plush, I semi-quilted the strap with a few more lines of stitching along the length. I added 3 in of the wool to the top of each of my lining pieces so that the purple didn’t show through from the top of the bag. It was easiest to just baste the wool on top of the interfaced lining pieces prior to constructing the lining, then treat it as normal.

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I adore this bag. I think that I’m going to have to make another one for our own household because this one went away as a Christmas gift. I hope you also feel inspired by this lovely wool!

Kalle Ponte Crop Top

Kalle Ponte Crop Top

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Way back in February, my husband and I went to Las Vegas. Working in a hospital, I wear scrubs five days out of the week, and pajamas the other two. So, despite avidly sewing for myself, I don’t have a very robust closet anymore (thanks weight gain!) and went into panic mode to try and make some things to wear in the southwest. My friend gave me this lovely maxi skirt to wear there, and I had no tops to go with it. So naturally, I dug in my scrap pile and found just enough of this polka-dot ponte to whip together a Kalle crop top. And of course, to make it more complicated, I decided to alter it to be a popover rather than a full button placket!

 

I barely scraped by with enough fabric on this bad boy. I skipped the collar and made it a band collar, though I have to say, I love a good band collar. The hem facings and inner yoke are cut from black quilting cotton, and the sleeves, collar, and front button band are another black ponte I had laying around. My machine had a little trouble chugging through the thick layers of ponte, but a couple needle changes later it worked out.

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I love the overall fit of this top, which I expected since I love the Kalle shirtdress. However, I will definitely lengthen the top in my next make! The front length is nearly indecent on me, the top of this crop comes just above my high waisted jeans. Lengthening it by about 2 inches would be the perfect length, so I’ll be doing that in future makes. It takes so little fabric to whip together, I will probably be making this up frequently to use up my scraps!

It’s a shame it feels so short on me because I really do love the overall look of this shirt. It’s kind of bad ass, and makes me feel simultaneously comfortable and confident. Come summer and spring, I’ll try to pair it with more high waisted skirts and shorts to make it work.

 

Black Corduroy Rosari Skirt

Black Corduroy Rosari Skirt

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This is a project that’s been a long time coming, mainly because it’s been on my to-do list for over a year! I was inspired to make the Rosari skirt after falling in love with Lladybird’s mustard corduroy version years ago. The use of corduroy with the vintage a-line is exactly what I wanted to add to my closet. And a nice, bad-ass version in black would be perfect to wear to concerts. So I snatched up this black corduroy to fulfill my bad-to-the-bone skirt dreams.

The fabric is impeccable. This is made up of Kaufmann’s corduroy, and feels beautifully medium-to-heavyweight. Its plush and thick, unlike some corduroys that I’ve worked with from Joann’s whose pile crushes down immediately. I spent days vacuuming my house from the amount of lint it produced when cut, but it was totally worth it. I admit to sitting there, petting the corduroy while making this skirt!

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I enjoyed making this up. The pattern felt like it came together quite quickly. I used version A’s pockets and the midi length. The length ends up coming right to my knees, so the term midi is applied loosely. It kind of falls in an awkward spot on my frame, so in my next Rosari I’ll take it up an inch or two. Additionally, I probably won’t add the coin pocket to the pockets (not useful for the time it takes) and will extend the length of the pocket lining, mostly because I love deep pockets. I left out the belt loops on this version in the interest of time, but will probably make it up with belt loops in the future.

 

While the pattern calls for buttons, I’ve had a bit of an infatuation with snaps lately. I wanted something that felt as bad-ass as I wanted to feel in this skirt, so I hammered in some Dritz heavy duty snaps. It took some trial and error, but a combo of my awl and snip scissors made quick work of putting them in. And I felt much more secure in them lining up properly than buttons might allow! They definitely feel secure and I love the utilitarian feel they have. And, it’s a bonus that they jingle when they’re not secured. While adding the snaps, I might have stabbed my finger once with the awl… it just adds to the literal blood, sweat, and tears that go into making a garment though right?

I have some heavyweight red wool in my fabric stash, so maybe we’ll see another one of these once the seasons change again?

 

My First Archer, in Denim!

My First Archer, in Denim!

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I’ve had this pattern for a real long time, but I had bought it was a PDF and struggled to find a print shop in Des Moines that would print it off inexpensively for me! After calling about 6 different print shops, I found that Beeline and Blue was my best bet around here. Not sponsored or anything, just an FYI from my own personal struggles and research!

After seeing a million bloggers be over the moon about their Archers, I finally found the time to whip together my own. This one is made of a super lightweight denim from Fabric.com (can’t find the link for this anymore, sorry!) and has only been shorted by 1 in along the bodice and sleeves. I love the burrito method of finishing the yoke, and the easy to follow sew along helped take care of any worries I had if I was doing something wrong. I finished the button band with pearlized snaps, and I absolutely love them. There’s nothing as satisfying as hulking out of a shirt at the end of a day.

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At first, I thought this shirt was way too big on me and felt unflattering. But I was reaching for it more and more in my closet. Turns out, I adore it! The only changes I’ll make in the future are to narrow the sleeves and cuffs. Even with the pleats, they feel quite large. I’ll be grading them to be 2 sizes narrower at the wrists, which is apparently a common alteration because I’ve seen this same problem on many on other blogs. I also don’t know if the chest pocket is necessary for all make ups. It is conveniently sized to hold my phone perfectly, but doesn’t add a whole lot to the look of the shirt!

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Since I’ve been so slow to post this (it’s been months), this shirt has seen the trials of wear. I’ve noticed some fraying at the bottom of the button band, because my stitching didn’t quite hit the right spot. This is entirely my mistake, I trimmed that seam allowance when I really shouldn’t have. In my next make of this, I’m not trimming the button band seam allowance at all and will also be reinforcing it with iron on hem tape to ensure that my top stitching is clean and catches all the allowances my first run through.

All things considered, I’ve had to make some fit alterations. But the overall proportions of the collar size are great. I currently have another Archer cut out and ready to sew on my sewing table, so I can’t wait to see how my other alterations change it up!

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Polka-Dot Kalle Shirtdress

Polka-Dot Kalle Shirtdress

I love a good shirtdress. In fact, shirts and shirtdresses are what I’ve sewn the most in the past year or so. I have an assortment of shirtdress patterns in my library, but I still couldn’t pass up trying Closet Case Pattern’s Kalle shirt/shirtdress. Especially after seeing the version made up by True Bias! It looked so effortless and comfortable. Luckily, I’d have this polka-dotted shirting fabric in my stash waiting for the perfect pattern to shine.

 

 

I adore this dress. I wanted to wear it so badly, that I used the snaps in my stash rather than waiting to run to the shop for a set of buttons! It’s comfortable, breezy, and I still feel well put together when I wear it. It has versatility to be worn in the fall with tights, a belt, and sweater, or in the summer with sandals! Not to mention the other versions, the tunic to wear over leggings or the crop top for just about everything! And the neckline variations of the band collar, popover placket, or hidden placket. Speaking of which… there might be a band collar popover placket cropped shirt coming up soon.

I sewed up a size 10 with no changes to the fit of the pattern. The shape and fit of the sleeve/sleeve band is great. I know that some bloggers found the thigh curve to be too high, but I like it as drafted because it feels like it allows for leg movement.

Between my husband’s and my taste in clothing, I’ve become admittedly pretty good at a collar and button placket! The directions were written out well, and the sew-along was great with further clarification. I was pleasantly surprised when this pattern was still able to teach me something. One of the things that slows me down when sewing a collar is ensuring that the top stitching catches the under collar. I’d ensure this with hand sewing the seams together, which disrupts my sewing flow and slows me down. The Kalle directions recommend using iron-on hem tape or fabric glue to hold it in place, then top stitching. This worked like a charm! It was fast and clean, everything was held in place like I wanted it. I’ll definitely be using this technique again.

I have a popover placket shirt Kalle cut out and half sewn on my sewing table currently. I couldn’t even wait a month before starting another one! So expect to see that shortly.