Author Archives: madhatterstitch

About madhatterstitch

Mad Hatter Stitchery was developed to provide a custom clothing opportunity for people that don't make movies and music for a living.

“Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”~Lewis Carroll

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So here I am. It’s early again, I have been up for a couple of hours. Everyone else is sound asleep. I have been going over my production lists and what I need to get done or better what I would like to have done for the shop before the first of the year. That sounds like a long time from now, however we all know that it is just around the corner. I would also like to finish up on the project that I started for myself, which is those amazing trousers. I have them all cut out and ready to sew. I just can’t seem to find the time to do it. I bought some new fabric last night and started working on some summer dresses and cute two piece outfits that I really need to get done and in the shop. I also would like to have more stuff for little boys there as well.

I know that when my boys were little I could never find super cute things for them. Thats one of the reasons that I learned how to sew. That way I could make outfits for them that were cute and fun. When they wore them out a lot of times people would stop me and ask where I got them from. I usually would just smile and say I made them. If I had been smart I would have started all of this then. But who thinks of that when your 20 something with 4 kids.

I was at a local fabric outlet last night picking up a few things. Fabric obviously as well as some notions and whatnot. The problem with the fabric store is that I could be in there for hours on end, looking at fabric. I could easily walk out of there with a few thousands worth of fabric. I really have to curb my enthusiasm for stuff. Every thing that I look at inspires me in some way. The left part of my brain tries to tell me  that I can only work on one project at a time, but the right part gets so excited about what I find. GAH, it’s such a struggle. The left side usually wins when it points out that my bank account can’t take a 5000.00 fabric hit. lol.

I brought that up because the lady there told me that they were thinking about closing down. They had actually been thinking about this since March….OMG!, that cannot happen. I told her that I run a clothing design and manufacturing business and that one of the places that I depend on for quality fabrics is her place. Which in turn led to a conversation about online fabrics and wholesalers. Now the problem for me with that type of stuff is that I usually try to do an item as one of a kind. Therefore I don’t need an entire bolt of pink or purple gingham. I have looked at pricing for different places and different materials by the yard. I have come to the conclusion that after buying and shipping the fabric to me, the price ends up to be more than a trip in the car 4 blocks from my house. So if they do close….I’m screwed

If any of you know a good online place to get fabrics let me know, until then I’ll just keep hoping they stay open!

 

No wonder your late, this watch is exactly two days slow~~Mad Hatter

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Well the holidays are over! For which I am very thankful, from Thanksgiving to Christmas It seems like all I do is eat and run around in a crazy chaotic attempt to do EVERYTHING. And all though I always run around trying to do everything, it isn’t so crazy thru out the rest of the year. And the eating…..OMG. Normally I am a very petite(nicely put for very short) relatively thin person, so at first it was no big deal. Then I just kept eating, everything that we had in the house it seemed like. At one point I had eaten so much I physically hurt. So I am very thankful that all of that is over, I can lose the ten pounds I gained that make me look like a Dr Seuss character and get ready for the new year!

 

So whats been up with the shop you ask…..(lets pretend you did). Awe thanks for asking, the shop at storenvy is doing really well. I havent got an order yet but the traffic is really super good. Everyone tells me that is a good sign. YaY!

I have been keeping track of whats getting the most attention and eliminating things that aren’t getting any. By trial and error I will hopefully get stuff on there that will sell. The number one thing that people are looking at is the Handmade Tote bags and that’s exciting. I use them every time I go to the store or library or anywhere that I am going to have to carry stuff. It’s such a waste to get those plastic bags.  The ones that we sell at the shop can be totally customized for whatever, I am going to work on some that would function not only as a grocery bag but also as a baby bag.

The second thing that people are looking at is the two piece outfits that we make for summer. I only have two samples up but we will be working on more.

Everything I gifted this year was an item we made. I gave a gorgeous black and white apron(which I will be making a 2nd one of for the shop) to my son’s girlfriend. She literally leapt of the couch to thank me, since it was so well received I need one in the shop. I also gave my son a travel pillow in custom colors just for him. It was large enough to lean on when he travels but not so large to take up a lot of room. It also has a pocket for him to store his phone or music device or whatever so it won’t get lost while sleeping. My partner’s son just moved into a new house so we created a “housewarming” gift which consisted of, a tote bag, tea towels, a fabric bound book for recipes and potholders. All in a custom fabric and design made just for the colors in their kitchen.

It was all pretty amazing and I will eventually get samples of all those things up in the shop, but for now it’s time to go finish the tote’s that I am working on and start on the cutest little tulle skirt ever.

 

Trying to find my holiday spirit, I know it’s here somewhere!

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Things are quite chaotic right now and I’m not sure exactly why. I think that I do it to myself and again I’m not exactly sure why.

Since starting my business venture at storenvy I had this (at the time) brilliant Idea that our Christmas should be a homemade Christmas. What does that mean you ask??? It means that I get to run around like a crazy person trying to get stuff done. I know so many people who are hung up on the materialistic type of Christmas and I don’t want my family to be like that. So I told everyone that they had to bring gifts that they made.

The guidelines were simple. No store-bought gifts, they could buy the items that they need to assemble the gift. But the gift itself had to be something they made. Also they could not buy paper or gift bags for said gift. They needed to find an alternative way to wrap gifts.

Ok, simple enough. Christopher and Nicole(both of whom are culinary students) decided that they would buy all the ingredients and prepare  our christmas meal and that would be their gift to everyone. I decided that I would make what I thought would be the perfect gift for each person. Started out pretty easy (I should have known right then something would go wrong). At the time that I started making gifts I was also making inventory for the shop. I guess that I got more than a little excited about that so making inventory kind of got out of control. I started working on Christmas gifts, the first one was an adult shirt. Turned out quite nice, so I was on a roll. Then came a child’s shirt…..OMG I make kids stuff all the time but this shirt took on a life of its own. No matter how hard I tried it became impossible. So I put it away and went back to making inventory. Those things just seemed to be easier, I don’t know why.

Eventually I went back to making gifts(but not that shirt) mixed in with inventory. Things were moving along quite well.

But here is where it gets dicey, I know that all of our kids have extended family that they will be wanting to spend Christmas with. So I decided that we would have our Christmas Dinner on Friday. Which is also Gryphon’s Birthday.

THATS TOMORROW! I don’t even have til Sunday to get things done. I have to be done TODAY!

I have spent so much time doing other stuff that I now have to crunch everything into today. But that’s not all, you see, I also have to drive Nic to the store to get a few more things she needs for our dinner. So that’s a good 2 hours away from my sewing machine.  I am also sure that at some point my partner will need me to do things for him. Such as fix him lunch or run to the store for smokes….Or whatever random stuff he can think of that he just doesn’t want to do.

I try not to panic, or show anyone how stressed I am. To anyone outside of my brain I appear to have it all under control. YIKES if they could see the swirling mess in my frontal lobe and parietal cortex they would be amazed that I can still process information much less function. It’s only with you dear readers that I attempt to share this information.

Ok, so what do I have left to do….here is the break down.

1 child size pair of pajama bottoms, a drawstring for an adult pair of pajama bottoms, sew together a shirt(not the kids one), 2 sets of different patterned potholders, 2 sets of different patterned tea towels, stuff a pillow, 6 pack of coffee cozies(which will be coming soon to the shop).

It doesn’t seem like a lot BUT, I also have a partner who cannot seem to breathe without me telling him to, 2 adorable grandkids who constantly want my attention, Nic who will need to go to the store, a household to run, and a house to keep clean. As well as any incidentals that pop up. My poor dog must feel like I don’t love him anymore. I never have the time to cuddle with him like I use to. And I seriously cannot remember the last time I sat on the couch and watched TV.

There is one thing that made me super happy in the last week. I will not bend on the Christmas tree issue. It must be a live tree. I was in a panic because I had no idea when or how I was going to go pick up a tree. My partner just wanted to use the fake tree he has out in the garage…………………seriously!? NOPE can’t do it, It just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me with out a live tree. AND I didn’t want Alice and Gryphon to think a fake tree was ok.  So I only have 2 criteria on my tree, it must be a douglas fir and It must come from Oregon.

So on Monday Nicole wanted me to take her somewhere, but wouldn’t say where. She said it was a surprise. So we all bundled up and went out for the evening. The only thing she told me was that we were headed to Jones and the 215. For someone with control issues not knowing where your going is tough. But we finally arrived and there standing in front of me was the most beautiful tree.  Nic bought it, I cried, then we went home to decorate.

We ended up with this;

So If my Christmas spirit is anywhere it’s hiding in that gorgeous tree….

I have spent way way way too much time on this post so I am off to make myself crazy and finish my gifts. Hopefully the next time that I talk to you dear readers everything will be done and I will be a little less crazy…….Well everything will be done anyway. I think the crazy part is a permanent affliction.

And just in case I don’t talk to you before Christmas, I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. If your holiday celebration is different from mine I truly hope it’s the best holiday for you EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

The blur of Christmas Time

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Well I have been extremely busy the last couple of days. I realized yesterday that all my christmas presents for people are half done. I have been so busy trying to get my inventory up for the shop that some how all those things got put on the back burner. I would have a little more time if we were going to celebrate on Christmas. My partner and I both have grown kids that have their own families as well as in-laws so we decided to celebrate on the 23rd. Which is also Gryphon’s birthday. That way all the kids could spend Christmas with their families.

So the 23rd is alot closer than the 25th. That puts me in a major time crunch. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal except I spent all day yesterday on a shirt that is frustrating the hell out of me. I am pretty sure I have remade that shirt 4 times. Fabricating the pattern pieces for the shirt has become a nightmare. The first shirt was too small, I tried it on Alice as a reference and it was super tight in the sleeve. So I ripped it all apart and tried to modify the sleeve. That one went in the scrap pile. Everything about that one was fine except that stupid sleeve. Then facing became an issue, I’m not sure how but every one after that I had issues with the facing. The 3rd one I tried on Alice the neck was too tight and the facing bunched up making it look like it was pleated. Sheesh it was a disaster. So I recut everything, hopefully sorted out the issue with the facing. When I finally went to bed last night I had the sleeves pinned on and ready to go. If it doesn’t work this time I can’t even say what I am going to do.

I had this glorious (insert sarcasm) Idea to make matching items for Dad’s and sons. So the adult equivalent to that shirt is amazing. Then I have an adult size pair of pajama bottoms that need a drawstring, the kid size needs pockets, cuffs and elastic in the waist. I also have to finish some potholders and kitchen towels that go in with some other stuff for one of the kids that just bought a new house. I also have like 4 gifts that I havent even started. A pillow with a mp3 pocket for one of the boys that travels alot, an apron for his girlfriend, another kitchen set for another one of the boys and his girlfriend that just got their first place and a video for my partner. Sheesh! And if that wasn’t enough, Monday is my daughter-in-law’s birthday. I already gave her, her gift for Christmas but now I need something for her birthday.

I made a big deal out of this being a “homemade” Christmas. I think people have forgotten what Christmas is all about. So I wanted to remind our family at least that it’s about family and friends coming together and celebrating. It’s not about who bought the biggest gift or who got the most presents.  And I still believe in that idea, however, there have been several times when I thought that I should just run to one of those big box retail stores and get gifts.  Ha wouldn’t that be hilarious if all the kids made gifts for everyone and our’s were from the store! But no I can’t do that, I believe in what I say and I think it’s really important no matter how big your kids get to continue to teach them.

So I’m going to finish this up and go back to torturing myself with that teeny tiny shirt! Wish me luck!

 

Jeans, Slacks, Trousers, Pants and everything in between

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So I have been up for about an hour, have my second cup of coffee and everyone else is still sleeping.  I cut out my material for my trousers yesterday, and decided I didn’t like the way the legs looked. I want them to be a super skinny leg maybe even with a button on the cuff for foot entry. So I have to re-measure and recut the legs. It has me a little worried because I know that you can take away but you can’t add(well you can but not in this case). It all got me on a train of thought about pants.

I started thinking about all the different ways that everyone says pants,trousers,slacks and all that stuff. So this is what I came up with;

In North America, pants is the general category term, and trousers refers, often more formally, specifically to tailored garments with a waistband and (typically) belt-loops and a fly-front. For instance, informal elastic-waist knitted garments would never be called trousers in the U.S. Undergarments are called underwear, underpants, or panties (the last are women’s garments specifically) to distinguish them from other pants that are worn on the outside. The term drawers normally refers to undergarments, but in some dialects, may be found as a synonym for “breeches”, that is, trousers. In these dialects, the term underdrawers is used for undergarments.

In Australia, the terms pants and trousers are synonymous.

In most parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland, trousers is the general category term, and pants refers to underwear. In some parts of Scotland, trousers are known as trews; taken from the early Middle English trouse, its plural developed into trousers.

 I could go on and on about pants, panties, knickers and so on. But the point being with the exception of jeans, because I am pretty sure the term jeans is universal. The evolution of these words is amazing.
Take pants for example, In the UK pants meant underpants and referred to as something you wear under your trousers. In the US trousers mean a well-fitted tailored pant.
Slacks use to mean a loose-fitting comfortable type of pant for men, now it is mostly a term for women’s pants. What!!!!
It’s all so very confusing really, most people I know call all their pants, jeans. That seems to be the most universal term for an item worn below the waist separately on each leg.
I started thinking about all of this because I was concerned that when I say I am working on a well-fitted, tailored pair of trousers people would have no idea what I was talking about.
I am sure there are plenty of other things in this world that I could be worried about other than what to call my current design item. But then again everyone needs a well-fitted good pair of  Jeans, Slacks, Trousers, Pants or whatever you want to call them.
Until we talk again remember to put your pants on one leg at a time! 🙂

You know what really grinds my gears!?

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This day is gonna be a weird one. How do I know you ask? Because I slept in until 8am! That almost never happens, no matter how late I stay up I am usually up by 5 or 6. And that’s on a good day. So throughout the day today I will be sitting here wondering when the apocalypse is going to happen.

Ok, so on to what really grinds my gears. First I was reading about all the new trends for this winter(have to keep up on that stuff) in British Vogue and there were a couple of things.

First: Gucci Prada, Gaultier and Donna Karan have started their season with Forties glamour, all revolving around the pencil skirt. Now I know that they obviously have had their collection done for a while. BUT and it’s a big one, I stated in one  of my first post that I was inspired to do a pencil skirt. Now that all the big name designers are doing them it will make mine harder to sell.

Second:The silhouette for the season is large shapeless shifts. Prada(again), Bottega, Loewe, and Marni are all doing dropped waists 60’s  Tunic dresses. Jonathan Saunders,Miu MiuErdem, Victoria Beckham are doing nostalgic Forties-shaped shift dresses which is essentially the same thing with different types of fabrics.

Third: The colors for the season are dark muddy colors, deep rich burgandys, warm rusts among the monochrome. Mixed up with bright bold accents.

So all of that sounds exactly like what I have been working on for my current winter collection. So what do I do?  Look for the guy who has been stealing my ideas? OR be glad that my thinking is online with the current batch of designers? Including Chanel who’s collection includes masculine inspired clothes and that sounds just like the structured trouser that I am currently working on….

It’s very frustrating to know that my ideas could compete with the likes of Chanel and Beckham, but that my chance of being on the runway with them is as close as a trip to the milky way…………

Now I do feel like tormented, distressed, downtrodden artist.