Thursday, April 24, 2014

Boden: Catch of the Day! Accessories, Shoes, Shorts, and More!

Good Thursday!

I am heading home today after our very quick trip to Florida.  I wish we had one more day, just to relax here at the resort, but budgets don't allow that right now, so we are back to the grind.  ;-)  Mr. Dina seems to think that if we save we could maybe one day stay at the Polynesian Resort here (it is so beautiful), but we don't see that happening for many years yet. 

Anyhow, today's catch over at Boden is a mishmash of a bunch of different categories, all the ones that have not yet been on sale.  Like the tops and tees sale on Monday, today's assortment is well received as it features staples in a wardrobe, like shoes, loungewear, pjs, and accessories.  And because it is summer, Boden added swimwear and shorts to the mix.

Again, it is 25% off the items that are in the sale, but if you needed to get something else today (say a popback you had been waiting for), you can use the "new customer" coupon in the sidebar which gives 10% off.  You won't receive the bag unless you actually are a new customer, but it is a good discount to have if you have a need for something right now and can't wait for a discount that is greater.

I have a few quickie reviews/links to prior reviews to share of items in the sale. 

Bistro Short
Bistro Shorts.  I purchased two pairs of these in the size 10 L.  I chose to buy the two floral versions, and they are truly beautiful and the colors are true to what you see on the screen.  I reviewed the navy blue version here.  I wore the green floral version yesterday, and while I had photos taken of me wearing it, I haven't uploaded them.  I did take a few photos at home, before we left, and you can see them here (remember to click on the photo to see the next one).  The shorts did stretch out and they got a bit wrinkled, but they held up well and were so comfortable.  I think the Magic Kingdom test is a pretty good one, so buy them with confidence, but if you are not especially well-endowed on your lower half (like lucky yours truly--sarcasm alert), buy your "smaller" size.

Chelsea Clutch
Chelsea Clutch.  I chose to purchase the yellow floral version, and while the print isn't as spectacular in real life as it appears on screen, it is a beautiful clutch in a very nice leather.  I haven't worn it out in real life, but it appears it could fit a kindle and a few credit cards, or a phone and a small wallet and keys.  I think it is meant as a wedding/party bag, but I can see me using it for making quick trips, like on the school run or to winesday.

Penny Loafers
Penny Loafers.  I did an in-depth review of these shoes at this blog post.  I have also worn them a bunch since purchasing them, so I can say, definitively, that these are living up to my expectations. (The above color in the ivory appears to be sold out.  I don't know why the affiliate program has not updated the directory.)

Mid-Heel Wedge
Mid-Heel Wedges.  I wrote up a review of these here at this post.  I have worn them a few times since purchasing them (last outfit in this post), but would have worn them more had our winter and early spring been drier.  We have had so much snow and rain, I couldn't wear them out on days when I would have otherwise.  Maybe now that it is warming up?  :-)

Okay, that's all for now.  Do any of you all have any favorites from the sale???

Talk with you all soon!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Boden: Catch of the Day! Dresses!

Good Tuesday morning!  We are about to leave for Hollywood Studios today, so I will be *very* brief, but I wanted to let you all know that Boden's catch of the day today is dresses for women (and various other "dressy" clothes for the rest of the family).  Obviously I am a HUGE fan of Boden dresses, so in my archive of Weekly Review Roundups, you will see a lot of dresses on review.  :-)  In fact the most recent review roundup included link to reviews of dresses at my facebook page, and a more in-depth review of one of my most recent favorites, the Darcey Dress.

I have other reviews of current dresses in the queue, but obviously have not done them, but like yesterday, I will quickly go over the pluses and minuses of each below (does not include any dresses that are in the last roundup).

Gingham Shirt Dress
Gingham Shirt Dress.  I chose to purchase the 6 L and this was the right call for my pear shaped frame.  Unlike recent purchases from Boden (like the Nancy Dress--review here and the Selina Dress--review in the roundup above), this is an unlined frock, and there is no pencil skirt (!!!) lining to contend with on a full shaped skirt.  The grey/brown gingham is true to color (on the screen) and is quite preppy and pretty in real life.  My hubby wishes I had purchased the green (he saw the Poppy skirt on me and loved the color), but I have a ton of green dresses, so I just said no to an exchange.  The dress reminds me a lot of the Riviera Shirt Dress, but is not made of a stretchy cotton.  The long hits just below my knees.  One minus is that the plaid does not match at the sides, but I feel like had they done that the costs would have been higher (takes a bit of fabric finagling to get plaid to match up well).

Santorini Sundress
Santorini Sundress.  I fell in love with this, but the olive green color was sold out in my size when I noticed it.  This was obviously not made in vast quantities, so take the pink "low stock" box seriously.  I purchased a size 6 L and it fits very well.  I almost brought it with me on this trip, but decided I would wait and wear it when I came home (I really want all my friends to see it in real life since I know they will be fans).  The price is really great, too, today, since the normal price is a bit steep for the t-shirt material.  That said, it is a dress that could definitely stay in your wardrobe for the long run, so cost per wear will likely be very good.  Also--pockets!  ;-)

Okay, that's all I have for today.  Do you all have any LOVES from today's catch?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boden: Catch of the Day Begins! Today 25% Off Knits, Tops, and Tees!

Hello!  I hope everyone had a happy weekend, and if you celebrated, a very Happy Easter.  We are currently on spring break, so I am actually typing this from a place that won't surprise any of you longtime readers of My Superfluities, Disneyworld in Florida.  :-)  What a surprise! 

Like our family annual journeys to see the Mouse, you can also count on Boden to have a "Catch of the Day" set of sales for a week every season, and today starts this season's.

UPDATE: I tried to get this coupon to work, but when I went to the checkout page, craziness came!  One item was at the reduced price, but the other wasn't.  So I went back and tried again with the link, and again, craziness.  Now both weren't working.  Well, huh.  Anyhow, it should all work out 'cause I have seen Boden's FB page light up when something doesn't work, but I wanted you to be aware of it in the meantime.  I will let you know when I can if they have fixed it.

UPDATE, PART TWO: Okay, I tried adding just one item and it properly reduced that price. So maybe you can add one item at a time and check out that way? It is free shipping and returns, so no harm, no foul, and I bet if Boden keeps seeing individual items being checked out, they may hone in on a problem. 

Up first are tops, tees, and knitwear, and of all the sales they have during the Catch of the Day week, this one usually is the most popular because everyone usually has their eyes on these kind of items for their wardrobe.  I have a few of the items in this day's sale, and I will briefly review them for you so you can decide if you had your eyes on any of the ones I have purchased.  There is also a good chance one of the recent BWRR has a review of whatever item you are interested in, so definitely check them out, too.  And, sometimes folks add reviews to my Boden reviews tab, and will be there ready to be read before I take the information and put them in a BWRR.  (Hint--to get the comments that are newest at that tab, make sure to click the header that says "sort by newest.")  There are no new comments as of this morning, but that can change throughout the week, so it never hurts to look.

Okay, as a reminder, the Catch of the Day is all you have right now.  So if you had you had hoped to use my 15% off coupon that was in the blog's sidebar for the last week, it isn't working, instead it reverts to the Catch of the Day promo.  So to avoid confusion, I took that coupon down for the week.  I have kept up the "new customer, receive a bag, and 10% off," since that appears to still work.  Now you won't get 10% extra off the Catch of the Day items, but if you had hoped to get an item and need it ASAP, that will still give you a *teeny* discount.  (And if you truly are a new customer, you will receive the bag, too!)

Regarding the tops in the sale that I have tried, most are winners, so I can fully give my thumbs up, but there are, as usual, things to keep in mind.

Silky Vintage Top
Silky Vintage Top--I chose to purchase the green leafy version in a size 6.  This was my absolute favorite from the rollout, but I haven't had a chance to wear it in real life.  The sizing is accurate, if a touch loose.  I wouldn't go down to a 4, though, since it is made from a rayon, which we know means there will eventually be some shrinkage.  It also features a row of self-fabric buttons down the back.  It is very retro and reminds me strongly of my grandmother's wardrobe from the 50s and 60s.

Must Have Tee
Must Have Tee--Already wrote a review of this one with a few photos.  Check out the review hereHere is a post featuring it in an outfit of the day.  :-)

Button Back Sweater--Wrote up a review here.  (Use link in name of item, affiliate program does not have this item in its directory, sigh.)

Do you have any favorites that are on sale today?  Definitely let us know in the comments.

If you happen to see that Boden has fixed the shopping bag page issue, as well, I would welcome you all letting us know in the comments, too!  

Thank you and we'll talk soon!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Made by Me Files: New Look 6097/Almost a Starlet.

As you all know, I LOVE the Garnet Hill Starlet Knit dress.  Every year without fail I have purchased one or two of these dresses and anticipated yet another year of buying one.  Then I saw my choices and was a bit underwhelmed. 

Fortunately for me, I learned to sew knits in the meantime and also happened upon a Reader Sew Along sponsored by one of my favorite fabric shops, Fabric Mart, so I decided to try to kill two birds with one stone, participate in my first ever sewalong and also make a dupe (as close as I could anyhow) of the Garnet Hill Starlet knit dress. 

Here is the end result, all dolled up with a cute J. Crew cardigan.  It has many of the features of the starlet dress, including a crossover (surplice*) bodice, pockets, and a travel friendly knit that doesn't wrinkle.  It isn't perfect, but I am glad I made this one so the next one I make will be just like the Starlet knit dress.  I now know what I need to do to get it there, which will be outlined below in the other photos I share of this dress.

*The term surplice also refers to what priests wear.  Hmm.

But first I want to share the original I made of this pattern, which I knew was meant to be a muslin (or practice version), but secretly hoped would work out to be a wearable muslin.  In the end a few things kept it from being wearable, but I certainly learned a lot from the process of making it.  I actually made it a couple months ago, and was stoked when I learned about the sewalong since I had already done one version and had always had it in my mind to try again, so I appreciated the gentle nudge.

It looks *okay* above, but in reality it has issues. But first what I did right with this version...

1. The bodice is pretty well constructed.  The sides are on the correct sides (I reversed them by accident when I cut out the floral version), but in the end, and from what I see in my google searching, a whole lot of sewers out there do that too. 

2. I also really dig how well my neckline was made on this version.  My floral version is not *quite* a hot mess, but I wasn't convinced that it was going to look good enough to wear until well after the process started.  I took a lot of time constructing this neckline, and I believe I did something better with this version to make it work better than the floral version.

3. Though hidden by the belt, the waistband was properly made.  I forgot this step in the construction of the floral version, which asked you to sew up the casing for the 1/4" elastic on the seam allowance from the waistband, but not onto the bodice.  It is so much cleaner looking.  To make sure your waistband stays up, you sew it up to the bodice at certain points (hand sewing).  On my floral version, I just sewed the casing with the seam allowance straight onto the bodice, and to make matters worse, the thread is very light, so if you look close you can see it.  Ugh.  At least it was on a patterned material, right?

4.  The sleeves look really good on this version.  I didn't add sleeves to the floral, but that was because I wanted it sleeveless, so it would look more like my Starlet dresses.

Here is what went wrong...

The skirt is a big huge mess.  The pockets turned out great, but I have had a lot of experience with these kind of pockets (pocket plus integrated yoke) that I can pretty much do these in my sleep now, which is pretty exciting.  The dang problem I faced with the skirt came from the fact that the bodice was cut at a 12 while I cut the skirt at a 16.  I could have cut a 12 skirt, but it would have been too fitted, and I really prefer something easier for summer.  In attempting to fit the skirt with the bodice, I added darts to the skirt, which did not work at all.  They look less messy from the front, but it is still bad in front.  Ugh.

OMG. So bad.  I am only showing you this photo so that if you have a different size on bottom than not attempt darts in the skirt unless you really know what you are doing.  This mistake made the whole dress completely unwearable.  Sigh.  At least I was using a "freebie" fabric from Fabric Mart (it was in one of their "free" bundles they offer from time to time).  Lesson learned--sage green activewear knit fabric and darts do not mix unless you know what you are doing.

Having learned my lesson from the first version, this time I made sure to carefully pleat the bodice bits and to take care with the neckline (even though I thought I had screwed it up, I did better than I had thought).  I definitely made sure to GATHER the skirt waistband instead of darting the skirt to properly fit the bodice.  That was far more successful, and this time the skirt portion looks really good.  The pockets were still super easy.  :-)

From the side you can see it fits well, just skimming over my curves, but because of the pleating in the bodice, I have a little something something extra up top that I don't normally get.  :-)

The length is a bit short, honestly, and I need to remember to mark the pattern to increase the length of the skirt by two inches to make up for the extra length I need.  It looks fine this length, and is great for summer, but I prefer a bit more coverage usually.

The back views definitely looks better here than in the green version.  YAY! 

There are a few things I am going to point out, though.  The back waist is still too long, and as usual with me I have just a touch of wrinkling above the waist.  The only way I can adjust for that is to do a swayback adjustment, but I need to practice that first before I try it on something I want to wear in real life.  I also *know* there is a better way to hem the sleeveless armscye.  Here I stitched 5/8" from the raw edge (with a zig-zag setting) which gathered the fabric a bit causing it to turn under a bit.  After that I placed stay tape in the seam allowance of the hem and pinned it all down and proceeded to stitch the stay tape and armscye hem all at the same time (3/8") with a straight stitch. Again, it looks fine, but I could have used the fabric from the sleeves that I had cut out (when I was cutting I wasn't sure if I really was going to go for the Starlet dress) and made binding from it which would have probably worked better to finish off this edge.  Oh, well, it works.

Here is a photo of the bodice before I sewed it all together.  I put the beginnings on Triple D (Dressmaker Dummy Dina) to make sure it looked okay.  Looking at this photo, I really wish I had been more careful with the neckline facing and the armhole bit.

Thankfully the pleats still look this good in the finished version.  Those pleats are awesome!  (Secret--I kind of hated them on the solid version, they look so cool in this floral version.)

Testing the bodice out on me.  I knew it would fit, but you are never supposed to rely just upon the mannequin, even if you are 99.9% sure everything will be fine.

For those of you wondering, I think investing in a dressmaker dummy is smart.  I rarely have big fitting issues since I have a static, objective body that looks just like mine in front of me.  I always can tell from her if something is just not going to fit, no matter how much I want it to.  Very sobering to put a few pins and some fabric or pattern paper on her and see that the seams are just too small to make it work.  That said, I can adjust for the changes needed before I start sewing, and that feels pretty good.  It is really hard to tissue fit on your own body without someone else there, and as much as I adore Angus, he would make a terrible assistant.

I nearly had the setting correct for the ITY knit fabric I used.  The bit in the middle shows how the seam is supposed to look.  To the right it is a bit loose, that is because I fed the fabric in at a different rate than I should have.
Oh, I should mention that sewing up the muslin of this pattern pretty much convinced me that getting a serger (overlocker) would be a great investment since sewing up the muslin with the sewing machine's knit stretch stitch (called the lightning bolt stitch) was a BEAR.  It took so long.  I still had to sew up parts of this floral dress with the sewing machine, but the seams on the bodice and the skirt were done on the serger and it took so little time.  Seriously it was like an hour less total time using the serger for that step.  (The serger sews very fast, has a very secure, stretchy stitch, and cuts and finishes the seams all at once.)  Now that I am more confident in the serger and what it can do, I might try to do more of my future projects on the serger to make them even easier.  For those of you wondering, I bought a Brother 1034D, which is pretty much what every sewer starting out buys when they go serger shopping the first time.  It is as good as all the reviews on Amazon make it out to be.  (I bought mine on ebay for a screaming deal, though, nearly $30 less than what it was on Amazon.)

Notes on this project:

1. Pattern: New Look 6097.

2. Fabric: ITY Knit from Fabric Mart (Brushwork Floral).

3. Changes made: Made it sleeveless, encased the waistband elastic by sewing the waistband to the bodice (not supposed to do that, though, so don't follow my example), and gathered the skirt to properly fit it into the smaller bodice size.

4. Changes I will make on the next project: Lengthen skirt by two inches, properly encase the waistband elastic the way I did in the muslin, face the armscye instead of turning the fabric and stitching, and be more careful with the neckline.

5. This project is part of the Fabric Mart Reader's Pick Sew Along.  I finished early, but you will know why when you read the next few sentences. 

Okay, that's it for now.  I hope everyone is ready for Easter weekend.  :-)  We are headed to Florida on Sunday night and guess what I am wearing Monday?  Yep, this dress!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Boden Weekly Review Roundup: Darcey Dolled Up.

Before I start, I wanted to let you all know that I screwed up and said the 20% off selected Boden items sale was ending last night, because...and you all are going to love this...I thought last night *WAS WEDNESDAY NIGHT*.  I have serious doubts about my mental stability.  LOL.  Anyhow it is really Wednesday night tonight and the sale is ending tonight.  You can find all the goodies here.

If you have a desire to get something not in this current sale, you can use the sidebar coupon (or the one at the bottom of this post) to receive 15% off and free ship/returns on any purchases over $50.

In other Boden news, my good friend B. told me that she recently asked about the "pink" low stock box that appears when an item is popular and about to sell out/go on backorder.  She wanted to know exactly how many items would be left if it went into low stock and she made me guess first.  I told her 25-50, and she lol-ed.  No, in fact it is FIVE.  FIVE ITEMS, people. FIVE.  It may be even less by the time you see the low stock.  So now guess what I do if I see an item in the pink box and really want/need said item?  Yep, I get it.

Onto the reviews!

Regular Boden:
Darcey Dress. Size 6 L.  Many of you saw this on me at my FB page, and here it is all dressed up and ready for Winesday.  Since it was a touch cool that night, but so spring-y out, I really really wanted to wear this dress.  I decided that even though it looks cool on its own with sandals, it could be worn with a jacket without it looking ridiculous (the way some sundresses look when you wear them with a jacket or coat).  It may have been a bit nicer looking with a belt, but the waistband features a knot when not covered up, so a belt would not have worked.

As I mentioned in the FB review, it hugs my curves (it is a stretchy jersey) but not so much that I felt like I was all on display.  With the jacket covering me up, I even felt more than fine.  I did wear a seamless undergarment over my underwear since I didn't want any lines showing, but not of the Spanx "suck it all in" variety.  You could try this pair from Freshpair ( Jockey Skimmies Slipshort), I have those and find they do a great job of keeping the lines at bay (although you could wear them on their own, as well).

The long is really quite long, if you are shorter than 5'7", I recommend ordering the regular length.  Sometimes the longs are great for women above 5'5", but this dress is made for really tall ladies.  (I am a right on the edge of thinking it may be a bit too long on me, but I know the regular would probably be the wrong length I am looking for in a dress like this.)

The colors are a mint green, a deep purple that almost looks brown, a mid-copper/orange, and a cream.  They work together, which sort of seems impossible.

Darcey Dress
Darcey Dress.  Not selling out, but some of the sizes are in the low stock zone already.  This color is popular, but not as popular as the pink/grey version.

Ariette Dress
Selina Dress
Abigail Dress
Bistro Short
Poppy Skirt
Ariette Dress, Selina Dress, Abigail Dress, Bistro Shorts, and Poppy Skirt.  I tried these all on when they arrived at my house a few weeks ago.  Although I received more than just these, these were all ones I had issues with, in fact one of them is a complete return, while three were exchanges for a new size, and one was a keeper with hopes of fixing it up on my sewing machine.  See the Ariette Dress here (four total photos, click on the photo to get to the next one), the Selina Dress here (five total photos, click on the photo to get to the next one), the Abigail Dress here (three total photos, click on the photo to get to the next one), the Bistro Shorts here (two photos, click on the photo to get to the next one), and the Poppy Skirt here (two photos, click on the photo to get to the next one). 

Below each photo is an explanation of any issues I had with the garment.

The Abigail Dress is also part of the 20% off promo. :-)

Amelie Dress
Amelie Dress.  The lovely Lisa was in fine outfit-making form when she posted this outfit featuring the Amelie dress recently.  She was so in good form that Boden's blog, "Bits and Blogs" featured her in one of their recent posts.

Serrana Sandal
Serrana Sandals.  Beth, of the blog Style Guile (one of my favorites from my "Blogs I Love" tab), recently wrote up a review of these darling sandals (she purchased the silver glitter version).

Lightweight V-Neck Tee.  Lou gave us a written review of this practical tee in the mint shade over at her blog.  She also has a few mini reviews at the same post, so definitely check it out if you have any "minis" in your life.  ;-)  *Use link in name since the affiliate program has no link to this shirt in their directory.*

From the Boden Reviews Tab:
Marilyn Dress
Marilyn Dress. pdxelizabeth, one of the blog friends, recently commented at a post about this dress.  She says:

My Marilyn dress showed up late last week (I ordered the blue and white, to replace a similarly patterned Boden dress from several summers ago that is now too big) and I love it. Ordered the 10L, and it's a great fit overall - a touch big in the chest, because I'm a pear, but nothing noticeable or causing me to think I should've sized down. It's swingy and swishy and I love it. It's a cotton sateen, so it does have an ever-so-slight sheen to it (this is fine by me), and I do wish the lining was cotton (that's a minor quibble - at least it's a full lining, not a pencil lining). Hope this helps someone out!

Jessica Dress
Summer Jersey Blazer
Pretty Eyelet Dress
Nancy Skirt
Chino Skirt
Silk Linen Wrap
Shell Top
Pointed Slingbacks
Jessica Dress, Summer Jersey Blazer, Pretty Eyelet Dress, Nancy Skirt, Chino Skirt, Silk Linen Wrap Sweater, Shell Top (also see photo IRL below), and Pointed Slingbacks.  Lizzyt wrote up reviews for all of these items.  Of these items she says:

Jessica dress in pink and navy: Beautiful jersey dress and I am keeping both colors. The top is done in a pretty see through, dotted fabric. Your bra strap shows but it is not very noticeable unless you are up close. I wore the dress with a blazer for the first time but if I wear it alone, I will probably wear a camisole. Length is just below the knee on my 5'10 frame (I always order long).

Summer jersey blazer in polka dot: I love this blazer and am keeping it because it is jersey but it is cut very small. What is up with Boden's new cuts on blazers and jackets! Not cool Boden! I belong to the insider community so I left a note there about the change in fit in blazers - hopefully next season it will be much better.

Pretty eyelet dress in cobalt: Beautiful dress, cut a little small on top but very short in length. Return for me :( If you don't mind dresses above your knee, this is a beautiful choice! I even checked the garment length and it was well within my normal preferable length so I'm not sure what is up with this one.

Nancy skirt in polka dot and Riveria: this skirt is an exaggerated A-line but I like it. I'm returning the Riveria print as I like the dress much better but am keeping the polka dot. The fabric is stiff so the part of the A-line sticks out at the bottom. I'm hoping it will soften up and not be so dramatic but if it stays that way, a quick trip to the tailor to take the sides in a bit will be an easy, cheap fix. The dots are black and the background is cream. It is stunning! I plan to style this in many, many ways.

Chino skirt in pink: I like this skirt too but it's cut a little small across the hips as compared to other skirts. Since it's chino I expect it to loosen up a bit with wear so I'm keeping it. I'm even going to order a few other colors.

Silk linen wrap sweater in yellow: beautiful sweater in a beautiful color. On the longer side but pairs nicely with dresses. Sheds a bit on the first wear. We'll see how it goes the second wear or after it gets laundered. Very good basic.

Shell top in pink: I very rarely order tops from Boden unless I know it will be on the longer side. I'm 5'10 and I find tops at Boden to run short. This top was too beautiful to pass up. It's actually a very good length and cut is slimming. It's not tight, but not baggy either. Perfect top in a beautiful color. Will order other colors. See picture below.

Pointed slingbacks: I've ordered these in quite a few colors and sizes and can't seem to get a good fit. I'm a standard US size 10 but first tried the 42, they are slightly too big. Then I tried the 41 and they are far to tight in the toes. I'm going to try the 41 1/2 but I'm not getting my hopes up. They just don't seem like a very comfortable pointed toe.

Thank you to both pdxelizabeth and LizzyT for their great written reviews!

Thanks to all my blog friends for their published reviews!

Okay that's all for tonight.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Wednesday!  See you back here later!