Hi, my name is Maddie Flanigan and I am the blogger behind Madalynne, the cool sewing and pattern making blog. If Steve McQueen was the ‘King of Cool,” then Madalynne is the “Queen of Cool.” My blog covers everything from how to draft a sloper to interviews with independent pattern makers/ designers and what projects I’m currently working on. For the past two and a half years, my day job has been in the technical design department for a very large fashion company in Philadelphia. A couple of months ago, this company took note of my personal blog and asked me to start an Intranet blog that would create a cohesive voice for all their brands. Sweet, right? I consider myself one lucky gal to be able to do what I love both day and night (blog and sew), not to mention I receive a stellar discount off some really fancy clothes.
But enough about me, let’s talk more about… me! Not too long ago, Violet asked me if I would be interested in guest posting while she was out photographing in Asia (okay… seriously, who is jealous just like me?). Before finishing her email proposing the idea, I was more than thrilled and eager to take up her offer. The next question I had to ask myself was what to write about. One thing and one thing only came to my mind – my most recent creation, my ‘Matchy Matchy’ project, and the HUGE obstacle I faced after I got too far involved in the project that I couldn’t back out. Luckily, my obstacle turned into a learning experience and history lesson.
Approximately two weeks after I finished sewing a dress that I made to wear to a friend’s wedding in April, I began this project, which I later named ‘Matchy Matchy.’ An alumni of a very artsy art school, SCAD, I tend to draw inspiration from high-fashion and this project was no exception. Reading this article about a fashion trend that is on the horizon – matching tops and bottoms – I decided to give the fashion trend a go. It was a new and refreshing look to my eye. I’ve always been a fan of polished dressing a la Mad Men and I thought that this trend was a nice evolution of that trend. Plus, the silhouettes were simple, which made this pattern maker very happy (to all you fashion folk out there, there was to be little slashing, opening, closing, or other pattern manipulation involved in this project. Wahoo!)
After I drafted the pattern and fit the practice sample, which took less than two weeks, the next step was to buy the fashion fabric. From the beginning of this project, tweed had been on my mind. Because the silhouette was so simple, I wanted to focus on the quality of the fabric. So when I saw 4 yards of vintage yellow tweed fabric on Etsy, I pressed ‘add to cart’ and ‘checkout’ without a thought in between. When I received the fabric, it got even better – lurex threads were woven into it. If you don’t understand my excitement, then think of it this way… lurex threads in a tweed is like glitter on your nails - the perfect amount of jazz.
What was bad about my purchase was that I failed to research tweed beforehand. Every seamstress knows that before any fabric purchase is made, a good look through a fabric dictionary or Google is a must. All fabrics behave and sew differently and never ever EVER should a seamstress buy fabric because it’s pretty - you never know what you’re getting yourself into. When I finally researched tweed, I quickly learned that tweed needs lots and lots of TLC. Seriously.
According to many blogs and books, including Claire Schaeffer’s, tweed needs to be reinforced with interfacing, quilting, and other kinds of reinforcement. Because it is woven loosely, it will sag and fall out of shape over time if this step is skipped. Reading this, I wondered if the ultimate tweed garment – The Chanel Suit – had the same amount of TLC sewn into it. Researching further, my suspicion was confirmed. Yep! Chanel and her suits, every single one of them, were quilted not because of design but because of necessity. I originally thought that Chanel quilting was a design detail, like Angelina and her tattoos, but it was not. Chanel quilted her garments so that they would hold up just like new over time. Neat, right?
I really didn’t want to put in this extra work – the dress I had just completed was rather intense – but I wasn’t going to make a poor quality garment. That just ain’t me. So I did it all. I interfaced, hand quilted, and then machine quilted. I pressed at every step and I used silk organza, not muslin, as a press cloth. I was on such a high with the way the project was turning out that I added some fun and glamorous details. - I beaded the front neck. Yeh, that’s right, I beaded. Every single bead. The project may not have been simple, and that’s okay because I kept at it and learned something very cool along the way. A success? I think so! Onto my next project I go…
Oh goodness Maddie, you are SO talented! I wish I had just a tiny bit of your talent! You should definitely check out this lovely ladies blog HERE. It's filled with helpful articles, fashion, INCREDIBLE photography, and everything beautiful in-between.