Sunday, October 19, 2014

OOTDs/Review: Boden Everyday Sweater, Low Heeled Loafer, and Charlotte Top. Plus a Flash Sale Today Only!

Before I start, there is a flash sale going on at Boden today, for one day only.  I put the link in the sidebar and at the bottom of this post for those of you interested.  The Everyday Sweater is in the sale, fwiw.  The Charlotte Top is not part of the sale, but it is listed at 30% off, so it has been reduced to further than my current sidebar coupon is (currently at 15% off).

Okay, onto the outfit of the day/reviews.  OOTD portion first, followed by a review.

Day: Sunday, October 19, 2014.

Where:  Harris Teeter.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  It is a touch cool here today, with highs only in the low 60s.  I knew I would need a sweater (here at Boden, use link below for the flash sale savings), but was hoping this would be warm enough for the temperatures.  It was more than fine, I wasn't cold at all.  The weight of the sweater was more than adequate.

The shoes are a bit wide on me, sigh.  They didn't fall off or anything, but I am so darn picky.  If only these loafers (here at Boden) had come in half sizes, I would have been set. 

Cool Factor: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  A bit trendy with the necklace, jeans, and shape of the sweater, but a bit retro with the design on the sweater, so all in all, a great look for me.  Just wish I had someplace more exciting than the grocery store to go to...

Anecdote from the day:  Rex fell down from the illness that took his daddy down yesterday.  He is sick, too, with a temperature.  So now half the house is sick, and the other half is trying to take care of the half that is sick.  ;-)

Everyday Sweater
Everyday Sweater.  Size 6.  I chose correctly, size-wise.  The width is bit wide, but I know that was the intention, so I would not size down from your normal Boden knitwear size.  I personally think this is such a flattering silhouette, with the gentle curved hem, scoop neck, and long, thin sleeves.  Those are really long sleeves, though, and they have no petite option, so keep that in mind if you are a smaller lady.  The length is also a bit short, so if you have a longer torso this may end up bothering you.

The blue retro rose color is a cotton/wool blend and so soft.  I love it!  The other colors are not that combo, so I can't speak to their relative softness.

If they come out with other colors that tempt me in the future, I will definitely be buying this sweater.  It is truly a lovely item.

I did another review of this item here at this blog post.

Low Heeled Loafer
Low Heeled Loafer.  Size 41.  I wear a size 9.5 at J. Crew, and their shoes, without fail, always fit me in that size.  Boden's shoe sizing is one place I can never be fully sure what size I wear.  It may be a 40 one time, another a 40.5 (if available), or a 41.  Sigh.  These, as I mentioned above, would be best for me in a 40.5 since the width on the 41 is too loose.  I can fix it by wearing thicker socks, but sometimes I just don't want to wear socks.  Oh, well. 

As it is, these are popular shoes, and nearly sold out in many of the colors (or on backorder), so I will keep the 41.  It isn't like they are falling off, they are just a touch wide, and I am picky.

The color is fab, a muted pewter color that goes with so much.  The heel height is also wonderful, just enough for a lift, but not so high that it becomes hard to manage.

I did a review of this item here at this blog post, way back when.  I wasn't so picky back at that blog post, maybe they felt tighter then?  Who knows.  Maybe I am just cranky.  LOL.

Day: Friday, October 17, 2014.

Where:  Target and School Pickup.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  Well initially, at my house anyway, it was cool enough to justify a scarf with the outfit.  But by the time I got to the school for pickup, it was actually hot, so I had to take it off.  The Charlotte top (here at Boden) was a perfect weight for the mid-70s, so on its own, it was very comfortable.

Cool Factor: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  I dig shorts with a longer-sleeved top, a scarf, and sandals, but based on the look that some old guy gave me at Target, I would guess he wasn't into it.  LOL.  Okay.  That's fair.

Anecdote from the day:  The world's cutest chocolate lab puppy showed up at pickup (he was a rescue) and my son was in HEAVEN.  He spent half of the pickup time playing with the puppy.  The other half of the time he sat enjoying being the center of attention since all the adults there were oohing and aahing over the insane adorableness of cute puppy and cute baby together. By the way, Angus's shirt is from baby Boden and available here.   Hee. 

Charlotte Top
Charlotte Top.  Size 6 PETITE.  After taking the measurements into consideration and reading that the top is supposed to hit at the low hip, I *knew* I had to get the petite because that would mean it would be shorter on me, which means it wouldn't hit at my low hip and instead hit at my high hip.  Whenever something straight up and down hits at my low hip, I either size up to fit the hips and have it be too large on top, or get it to fit my bodice and know it will be too tight on bottom.  Yay PETITE sizing!  :-)  It is a touch short in the arms, but I like where the cuff hits, just below my elbow.

The size 6 R and 6 P both have the same body measurements, it is just the length of the top and sleeves that are different.  They don't do what J. Crew does and make the 6 P have the same measurements as the 4 R, just shorter (so weird, don't get that at all), so definitely do not size up if you want to buy the petite version.

I am particular about how the plaid lines up and it doesn't, kind of obviously, if you notice it, but meh, it isn't something most people look for, so I can get over it.  It is a really cute top otherwise.

Okay, that's all for now.  Hope everyone is having a great Sunday.

Sale Info:
Sunday only! 20% off all Women's Knitwear, Hats and Scarves15% Off Everything Else + Free Shipping

Saturday, October 18, 2014

OOTDs: 13 on the 13th and a Stunned Sewer.

Before I start the ootds post, I wanted to let you know there is a reason I am a "stunned sewer."  Turns out that I *won* the Fabric Mart Fashion Challenge.  Woah!  I honestly thought I was going to come in third, *maybe* second if I was really lucky, but nope, first!  I wrote this all over the place this morning, but I was really glad that I was sitting when I received the news since I had to compose myself, so weird, right?  :-)  I guess I was a tiny bit excited!

Nakisha came in second with her gorgeous interpretation of minimalism architecture, and Sue's amazing, yellow trench coat inspired by Pop Art came in third.  It was a true honor to be in the last challenge with them.  

I have a lot of thoughts about the competition, what I learned, what I experienced, and how the whole thing went, but I will save that for another time (I do want to dissect it, though, since the progress was pretty significant overall--more so than I expected it to be).  I do really want to say thank you to Fabric Mart for hosting the competition, the judges for all their thoughts and words about the garments I sewed up, and to my fellow sewing friends in the contest with me, it was wonderful to be part of such a cool thing with such gracious, generous, and gifted sewers.  And of course, I *know* so many of you voted for me, or left incredibly kind comments here or at my FB page, so thank you for that.  I had many moments where comments were what I needed to keep my head up high, since there were points in the challenge where I wondered if I should keep on keeping on...

Okay, onto the outfits...both featuring dresses I sewed up in the competition (there's the connection, lol).

Day: Monday, October 13, 2014.

Where:  To celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary, Mr. Dina took me to America Eats, which has moved from its downtown DC location (featured at this post and here at this post) to the Ritz Carlton Tysons (ooh, fancy!).

Ease of Wear: (3.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I made this dress for me (read more on that here), but it is still a fancy dress worn with heels.  It won't be the most comfortable dress ever, but considering that normally dresses feel too tight in my hips, it was a nice change of pace to feel not restricted there, for once.  :-)

Cool Factor: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  I love it.  I think I looked really nice, and I always, ALWAYS want my hair to look that good *why can't it always behave--WHIIIIINE!*. 

Anecdote from the day:  Driving to Tysons it was SUPER FOGGY out.  We have a few tall buildings in our neighborhood and there are really tall buildings (well, by DC standards anyhow) in Tysons, and the tops of the buildings were completely hidden behind the wall of fog.  I love fog, so I was really into it, but Mr. Dina was freaked out.

Yeah, we've been married for 13 years and it was awesome that it was on the 13th.  Wish it had been a Friday, too, that would have been even better.

Day: Saturday, October 18, 2014.

Where:  International Fair at the school.

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  Yeah, this dress is so comfortable.  I am really glad I spent all those hours patterning out the original and sewing up a gazillion gathers (wrote the process up here).  Worth all the effort.  Such a breezy, lovely dress. 

Cool Factor: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  Very pretty and presentable outfit, and perfection for the weather we had here today (umm, gorgeous, with a slight breeze).

Anecdote from the day:  We have been a house of sick lately.  I was sick with the flu for a week and then both CW and I came down with laryngitis.  Unfortunately Mr. Dina and Angus now have it, too, and they are struggling.  Only Rex seems immune.  I bet he scares the germs away.  :-)  We had a good time at the International Fair, though.  One of my favorite families from the school are Ethiopian and they remembered how much Rex likes the yellow pea dish, so they made that special so Rex would be able to enjoy his favorite.  Isn't that so sweet?  What a nice and generous gesture. 

Okay, that's all for now.  Still pinching myself over the win, cannot wait to give another sewing project a go, and now that I have a bit more time, I think I will be tackling a coat or jacket, which I have always wanted to sew up. 

Have a great night!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Made by Me File: Splatter Abstraction Simplicity 1590. Thank You, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner.

UPDATE (10/18/14): I just found out the news, and I won the final week, which means I won the challenge!  Wow!  I was not expecting that result, to say that I am stunned is a bit of an understatement.  I am so excited, though, of course.  :-)  It was a great time, I learned so much during these six weeks, and my competition were truly amazing sewers and I am glad to say I have gained so many friends through this process.  Thank you to Fabric Mart for hosting the challenge, and thank you to all the judges for taking their time to look at our pieces.  Their feedback was so helpful for my sewing!

This is the last entry for the Fabric Mart Fashion Challenge!  I made it to the finals.  I really hoped to go far, but honestly, because I started as the "lowest" level sewer (advanced beginner--there were a lot more seasoned sewers in the competition--churning out amazing things every week), I expected to be auf'd sooner than not.  So to be here, right now, is very exciting!  :-)  I want to thank all of you who have so supportive of my creative endeavors of late, having your sweet words and nice comments definitely helped in all those moments when I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open after a long day of sewing.

I haven't won one of the weeks, yet somehow still here, so I guess I was *just good enough* all those weeks to keep on keeping on, lol.  The final three do receive a prize, so yay!  I'll take bronze if that is what I end up being.  I'm cool!  :-)  (But wouldn't say no to a silver or gold, of course...)

Anyhow, here is my final entry, and because I want to go out with a bang (and take a big risk), I chose to create a blouse inspired by the art of Jackson Pollock, his wife Lee Krasner, and the era in which they both created their visions, the 40s and 50s. 

Before I start, the first five photos are done like I am in a magazine, but we were asked specifically to do so by the challenge (stage your outfit in a setting that will go with your vision...think of yourself as a model in a fashion spread), so understand that is why my mid-century Eames rolling chair (mine is the real deal that I was able to save from being trashed!) is perched at the edge of my driveway with the vista of the forest in the background.

Chicken Wings were so a *thing* in the 1940s.

I was asked four questions by Julie, and since my answers pretty much cover everything I would have said here anyhow, I will copy and paste those here.  :-)

Tell us what artwork, movement, etc. you chose and why you chose it. 

After reading what the last challenge was going to be, my brain *immediately* went to Jackson Pollock. I own some Liberty tana lawn called Melly that is very reminiscent of his famous "splatter" paint technique and thought I would use that at first to create a design from one of my Japanese dress books. But after doing some research on Jackson Pollock and reminding myself that the National Gallery of Art here in DC has one of his most famous works (that I also happen to LOVE) Number 1 Lavender Mist, I knew that I wanted to try painting my fabric myself, in colors I love, just like he did with his work. To see how he did his splatter paint technique, check out this link. I explain how I created my vision of his work in my fabric in the next questions below.

But he alone did not inspire me in my creation. I also read up on his wife, Lee Krasner, who also was a very successful, if less well known artist, in her own right. She was overshadowed by her husband, but her works also inspired me, as she, too, created works using a similar technique to Jackson Pollock.

The garment I decided to make is from the era of both of these artists and based on the portraits I saw of Lee Krasner, I could easily have seen her in a similar piece.

Bringing the blouse to 2014...
Then also tell us about your garment, why you created what you did and how you can use it in your life. 

I chose Simplicity 1590 which is a reprint of a blouse pattern from the 1940s.  It features a scoop neck, fitted waist, and a peplum hem. There is also a five button closure. I chose this pattern, as I mentioned above, because it looks to me like something a woman like Lee Krasner would have worn, and since I wanted to keep her as part of my inspiration, I was specifically looking for something from that era.

I also felt like the painting method used by Pollock would look good on a garment like this. I saw that other designers (recently, in fact) have used Pollock for inspiration in their collections (Dolce and Gabbana 2008, amongst others--AND Sportmax 2014--Rosario Dawson is wearing one of the dresses here).  Armed with the knowledge that I wasn't alone in my love of his unique art, I forged ahead, willing to take the risk.

I loved the idea of something so prim and ladylike being paired with something so messy and not prim. The disconnect makes this garment exciting to me.

I find it very wearable, but do look forward to washing it. You have to wait at least 72 hours before doing so, but based on how long it took to dry, I think I will wait a week and carefully handwash mine and line dry it.

I will be wearing it with jeans since it looks so cute that way, but maybe for a night out I will wear it as I did in my "editorial/magazine" photos.

Explain what fabrics you chose and why.

I chose handkerchief linen because I know linen is perfection for accepting paints and colors, so it was a no-brainer choice. I had *just* enough to make my garment with a little left over for experimenting on before I began the big painting job. After deciding on how I wanted to apply the paints--yellow, green, and turquoise were all applied in drips and gentle waves, while navy blue was applied more aggressively, I proceeded and when pleased with the results, I left the pieces to dry. It says four hours on the Tulip soft paint, but it took nearly twenty-four hours to get mine to dry fully.

(I need to point out that I needed to add water to the Tulip soft paint to get it to the correct viscosity for applying the paint the way Pollock did, in its regular form it is far too thick.)

I found that once dry, the pieces were easy to sew together, but the pressing process was very interesting and took me a long time since I didn't want to ruin all my hard work. :)

Include a photo of the inspiration too. 

I was inspired by this quote by Pollock, which allowed me to fully release and let go during the process of painting my fabric: “When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It is only after a sort of ‘get acquainted’ period that I see what I have been about. I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.”

Jackson Pollock Art: Number 1 Lavender Mist (more amazing in real life, btw); Untitled 1951; Convergence

Lee Krasner Art: Shellflower--(an article, btw, which has a lot of info on Lee Krasner); Shattered Color

Okay, that's it for now.  Again, I am so grateful for all the support.  I am definitely worn out, but feeling great that I stayed the course and kept on keeping on.  :-)

Voting will be open tomorrow and I will update this post with a link if you feel *inspired* to vote for me.  ;-)  For now, here is a direct link to the Fabric Mart blog.

Boden: Winter 2014 New Arrivals Rollout and Extended Spring 2015 Preview!

On Monday, Boden rolled out their winter 2014 new arrivals.  I had a chance to briefly mention it over at my facebook page for the blog, but have not had a chance to update here.  I did, however, update the sidebar coupon, so the one that's over there (--->) is active.  :-)

You have actually already seen two of the items that were in the rollout at this BWRR, the Everyday Sweater (here at Boden), and the Hartland Dress (here at Boden).  That BWRR has the review of both, and I really hope that I am able to wear those as soon as possible.  It has been pretty warm this past week, so it may be a while yet.

I also received the Knee socks (yes, I got the squirrel ones) and they are so cute.  I literally smiled upon pulling them out of their box (they are boxed!).  I'll have to figure out how to wear them without looking too twee, but it shouldn't be that big of a problem.  Those I can wear now, so hopefully the next BWRR I will review them.

In other news, and for this I am grateful to both cc and Tammy, Boden has extended their 20% off with free shipping and returns over at their Spring 2015 Preview site.  I was able to put in a preview order, but it was very last minute, and I wasn't sure I was going to make it.  I bet a lot of people missed out, and when Boden noticed less sales, they extended the sale.  So now the % off is good until October 27, an additional two weeks.  There are also new items, so when I get a chance, I may add a few picks to my picks post and get around to finally writing up my thoughts on the items.  Remember to use the code F9Z8 to receive the 20% off.

Alright, that's all for now.  I have finally finished my last entry for the final challenge of the Fabric Mart Fashion Challenge.  I am guaranteed a win of something (yay!), but since I took a big risk in what I decided to do, I don't know how it will pay off.  :-)  Jackson Pollock is not everyone's cup of tea*, but as soon as I found out what the challenge was (art as inspiration for a garment), I knew *immediately* I wanted to do something with his art as inspiration.  And yes, I painted my textile before I sewed it up into the blouse.  I will write this sewing project up tonight in a "made by me" post.

*I told a friend's mom I was going to be painting my fabric to be evocative of Jackson Pollock's works and she scrunched her face and said, "eww."  LOL.  He clearly polarizes. 

Have a great day, and if you have any picks either from the new winter rollout or the newly added spring 2015 items, definitely list them below!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Boden: Spring 2015 Preview Picks! Oversaturating You All with Everything...

Anyone remember the time when the Boden Previews (and their extra 20% off code) would last for a month?  Yeah, me too.

Since we can't change the date they choose to end the extra 20% off (with free shipping and returns), which is tomorrow night, October 13, 2014, then I guess I had better get my preview picks up today.

We are headed to Richmond for the day, and if I return early enough, I will give these picks some copy so it isn't simply a bunch of pretty pictures and a link to the product page. 

In general, Spring 2015 is a very strong collection.  There are enough repeats of prior styles to please old time Boden customers (hello, Fun Skirt is back), but also a few newer, fresher styles to please those craving something novel (jumpsuit?!?).  The colors and prints are fresh and lively yet retro and are very evocative of what spring and summer 1963 would have looked like with a 2015 twist.  I have a lot on my wishlist, of course, and as soon as you see some of these picks, you won't be surprised by my choices.  I did add some items that I personally wouldn't choose for me but could see being popular for others.  :-)

I have more info on this Spring Preview here at this link, but for those of you who just need the 20% off code, it is F9Z8.

Seatown Shirt Dress. 

Eliza Tunic Dress.

Beatrice Dress. 

Casual Jersey Dress. 

Easy Day Dress.  

Pall Mall Dress.

Wrap Dress.  

Lara Coat.   

Annette Jacket. 

Colour Block Sandal. 

Tassel Point.

Westminster Bag. 


Dip Dye Cashmere Sweater.

French Knot Sweater. 

Knitted Bomber Jacket.

Rainbow Knit Sweater. 

Colette Top.

Favourite Tee.

Marion Top.

The Shirt. 

Uplifting Tee.

Bistro Short. 

Santa Fe Jumpsuit. 

Grace Skirt.

Okay, will be back with some copy later.  You all have a great Sunday.

If you have any picks, definitely let us know in the comments!

BTW, today is the last day of fall/winter 2014 mid-season sale.  To receive an additional 10% off the prices, please use code G2B2.