Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Boden: Three Reviews. And 25% Off!

Hi, all!  Happy early Tuesday.  For once Boden decided to throw a sale starting on a Monday.  I seem to only ever have time to computer work done on Mondays, and the last few sales/new arrivals came on other dates, or I didn't find out about them until after my "free" time had been used.  (Well I am publishing Tuesday because I didn't get my post done before class last night, humph.)

This is one of those diminishing discount kind of offers, so the 25% off now is set to last until Thursday, replaced by 20% on Friday, and finally ending with 15% by Sunday.  This is usually a good time to pick up items you think will sell out before they get to a further reduction (or if they pop back in clearance because they are popular items, in clearance they will still only be between 20% and 25% off). 

The items I am showing off in today's review post are okay popular, so I don't think you necessarily have to grab them at 25% off, but if you have some particular need for them right now, or you'll wear them a ton, then there may be a chance you would want them with the 25% off.  The Richmond shorts are especially versatile and well done, so I would happily buy them again with 25% off (and am thinking of another color, tbh).

I also am showing off a clearance item that will not be reduced further by the 25% off, as clearance items are excluded.  Having said that, they are really awesome little booties, so they may be something worth it to you, if you actually wear booties enough to justify them.

I have placed a link to the sale in the bottom of this post and in the sidebar of the blog.  It will be switched to the 20% off version provided by the affiliate on Thursday.  :-)

Janie Dress and Keira Stud Ankle Boots.  Size 6 Long and Size 40.

So I decided to buy the Janie dress after seeing a colleague in hers for months this fall.  She wore it all the time!  I didn't love the colors from the fall, and even if I had, they were sold out super early.  When this grey version came out in the spring, I was interested, but I also knew that the price was a bit prohibitive, especially considering I can easily sew a dress like this up.  But it went into one of the bigger sales, and I believe I bought it for around  30% off, which when considering cost per wear (all my jersey dresses get worn a ton, and I keep them for years), I decided made it a better price.  I chose the long because it really is quite short in anything but the long, especially since my school has a conservative work dress code.  The 6 was because all the reviews said to size down, and even though I was concerned it would be too tight at the hips, it fit fine.  I don't love the skirt shape, I do wish it was a touch fuller, but it isn't awful, either.  :-)

The Keira Stud Ankle Boots came out this spring, and though I detest the studded flats and heels from Boden this year, these booties are so awesome.  But again, the PRICE!  It went into clearance quickly, and they held one of those extra % off weekends, which brought the price to a much more reasonable amount.  Now that I have them, I probably would pay more as they are very nicely made and can be worn for hours while teaching.  I only had the option of the 40, and I have other booties from Boden that are 40, but sometimes the size 40 will be too small for my (J. Crew sized) 9.5 feet.  These are great in the 40, just narrow enough for my narrow feet, and just long enough.  The 41 would have been too big overall.  

The pockets are fab, and very much fit a phone or a badge, etc.  The fabric is a bit thin, but very soft.  I wish it was a thicker ponte, but that would likely increase the price, and make it a bit less comfortable.  There are zippers (exposed) at the shoulder seams.  They are meant to be edgy, I guess, but like the studs on the booties, they are paired with something so much more subdued that I definitely don't read it that way.

The booties are pull on, so if you don't like that style, definitely don't buy them.  I find them easy to get on and off, but my feet are very narrow (like AA narrow), so that may be why I find it easy.

I haven't washed the dress yet, so I am concerned the length will get shorter.  That would be a bummer as that would mean I could only wear it to school when it is cold enough for tights.  We'll see.  :-/

Janie Dress and Keira Stud Ankle Boot. The Janie is selling well in all the colors, but the black version is the most sold out.   The Keira Stud Ankle Boot is low stock across the board, but it has been like that the whole time since I had my eyes on them all those months ago.  I guess only some people bought and now they just linger... ;-)

Richmond Shorts. Size 10 6".  These shorts!  I had plans to make a pair of black shorts, but often my sewing is a bit of "ooh, shiny," and I will put off the practical in favor of bright beautiful printed dresses, and colorful skirts, etc.  It may happen, but now I have a pair of shorts that fit so well I might just "forget."  The Richmond shorts fit so much better on me than the Bistro shorts.  For comparison, here I am in last year's shorts.  I like the Bistro, my goodness they are comfortable, but they run very large, especially in the waist and leg.  I don't want to go down to an 8 in the Bistro, because as is so often the case with Boden, it may mean the shorts are just on this side of too tight, but the 10 is pretty darn loose.

The Richmond shorts, though, fit perfectly in the hips, legs, and leg openings.  Though the waist is still gape-y, the waist measurement is around 34.5" (and where it hits on me I am closer to 33", it is about two or three inches below the waist).  I think the key is the legs and leg openings.  Because they are a closer fit, it feels like the shorts will stay up better.

The shorts are made with this very nice cotton sateen with stretch, and the cotton is substantial.  These feel like they will last a very long time.

I chose the 6" length as my inseam is 34" long.  The 4" length only ever works on me if the shorts are of the "skort" variety, with a very large loose leg opening.  The 9" works, but I personally feel I look dowdy in my longer shorts and only wear them if I will be doing a long day of hiking or traveling. 

Richmond Shorts. Black is less popular than the other colors, but I can assure you that if you find your right length and size, you'll wear them constantly, no matter what color.  I love these so much.

The 25% off sale goes for a couple more days, it ends Thursday.  I think I may bite on one or two items, but I am still seeing a lot of basic tees, striped crap everywhere, and little eensy weensy dotted items.  I need more oomph from Boden, and all I see is items I already own, or don't really excite me.

I lol-ed at a recent comment from my Instagram.  I had placed the outfit in the #bodenbyme category because the shoes were from their 2012 season, but the dress was made by me.  One of my favorite blog friends wrote that she had hoped the dress was a new arrival from Boden.  Come on, Boden, my made by me stuff can't be more you than you right now!

Boden USA

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

OOTDs: Spain!

Last Day, Barcelona, at Playa de Sant Sebastia
Hi, all!  Hola! 

I am glad to be back from Spain, I did have a lovely time, and I really do want to get back (especially to see the finished Sagrada Familia in 2026), but I was beat by the time we got home.  :-)  I have more travel type photos to share later, but since this is more an "ootd" kind of blog, I know those can wait.  (I know, I know, I haven't really been all that great at the ootd lately.  Ha.  But I am trying to get back! Hand on heart!)

Okay, so though I started with the above image (one of my favorites from the trip), I am going in order from the first day traveling on the plane (from Philadelphia to Madrid), followed by Madrid, then Barcelona (and day trips), and finally the trip from Barcelona to Philadelphia.

I knew I would have to wear super comfortable clothing, but I also didn't want to wear clothing that was shlumpy, so I tried hard to meet my needs for cute and comfy right in the middle.  I did choose to use three main colors, a deep teal/aqua, grey, and black.  I only brought two pairs of shoes, and that turned out to be more than enough.  In fact I brought just enough, and we had room left over to bring back souvenirs (including the "top" from the top photo up there).  I bring more than this to my trips to Mississippi and Louisiana.  I think I am going to try this capsule kind of thing again. It was great!

Day: Monday-Tuesday, March 28-29, 2016.

Where:  Travel to Philadelphia from Alexandria, then the flight from Philadelphia to Madrid, and finally Madrid (with a nap for me at the hotel).

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) Made the tunic so I could wear it with the Madewell leggings without showing off my bum.  I did this so I could basically wear pjs in public.  LOL.  I barely slept on the plane, but still felt danged good because I wasn't pinched at all in the outfit.

Outfit Details: Coat, Anthropologie; Tunic, handmade (used New Look 6240); Shoes, Clarks (find them here at amazon.com); Sunglasses, J. Crew (here); Leggings, Madewell.

Anecdote of the Day: I had a sinus infection before leaving town (yep, that's my third illness of 2016, after the Pink Eye of January and the Strep Throat of February), so I had antibiotics and strong cough medicine to take with me on the plane.  I was very tempted to just go when we arrived in Madrid, but I heard the doctor in the back of my head reminding me to not overdo it, since that was likely what landed me with a third illness this year.  (She called it having a suppressed immune system, sigh.)  So while the rest of them went sightseeing, I slept for four hours instead.  I felt much better after waking up.

Day: Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

Where:  Madrid.  Mainly the Museo del Prado.  This was after I had my nap. 

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) Again, super comfortable.  Very few of these outfits, btw, are anything but comfortable.  One or two might be described as a bit less comfy, but nothing dramatically uncomfortable.

Outfit Details: Coat, Anthropologie; Top, J. Crew; Shoes, New Balance for J. Crew (they have this cute pair in gold and ivory right now); Pants, J. Crew; Sunglasses, Ray-Ban (I think these are the same from amazon.com); Necklace, Stella and Dot, Bag; Travelon (buy the same one from amazon.com).

Anecdote of the Day: The Museo del Prado had free hours between 5 and 7, if I am remembering correctly, and though I would have preferred to spend more time there, we got quite a bit more of the "must-sees" done in that time, so yay for small things.  I would have thought it would have been more crowded, and though there were a lot of people there, it didn't feel overwhelming. 

Day: Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

Where: Continued Madrid sightseeing, including the castle and the Museo Reina Sofia.

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) I made this dress a while back and I think I forgot to give you all the blog post I wrote on it for Fabric Mart.  Anyhow, the dress is wonderful and fits so well, plus the knit fabric (from Halston Heritage!) moves and drapes beautifully.  It also has pockets.  :-)

Outfit Details:  Dress, handmade (used Ottobre Magazine 05-2015, read more about it here); Shoes, Clarks (find them here at amazon.com); Sunglasses, Ray-Ban (I think these are the same from amazon.com); Tights, probably Spanx, but I can't remember; Necklace, Stella and Dot.

Anecdote of the Day: This was day one of MANY many miles walked in Spain.  Most days we walked 10-12 miles.  Angus was in his buggy or on my back for the most part, but the older two were forced into walking the whole amount.  That said, we ate and drank very well, so though I didn't lose any weight, I definitely didn't gain any (and I ate a lot of very high calorie foods and all my beverages were of the vino category).

Madrid, btw, is where my mom was born.  She is Spanish only by birth (she is German/American), but I know that your birthplace is still important, and it was nice to see the city she knew as a little girl.  I was quite taken with Madrid.  It is apparently a very big city, but it felt small, and that was appealing to me.

Day: Thursday, March 31, 2016.

Where:  Madrid to Barcelona, and then a lot of sightseeing in Barcelona (including a frightening funicular trip--my first of two terrifying rides up mountains while in Spain). 

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) These pants were made by me to fit extremely well and do well on travel, so it was a no-brainer I was going to bring them.  I wrote more about the process of making them here at this Fabric Mart post.

Outfit Details: Top, J. Crew; Shoes, New Balance for J. Crew (they have this cute pair in gold and ivory right now); Pants, handmade (used McCall's 6901); Sunglasses, Ray-Ban (I think these are the same from amazon.com); Bag; Travelon (buy the same one from amazon.com).

CW, by the way, is wearing one of my favorite mini Boden dresses ever, the Sweatshirt dress.  It is still available, but it is out of stock in most sizes in this color.

Anecdote of the Day: We walked so much that day, and I LOVE walking, but by 6:30 pm, I was done.  This is the first time in my life where I can remember actually wanting to stop.  We had to keep going, but at least we didn't head to another museum.  I think the kids and I would have revolted had we continued.

We ate dinner at a hole in the wall, and this British couple was sitting near us, and very quickly identified that we were from Virginia, based on our accent.  I was stunned.  People in Wisconsin think I am from the deep deep South, but people in Mississippi think I might as well be from the Bronx.  Turns out they had lived in Harrisonburg, VA, and knew the accent of "us" very well.  Yeah.  Good for them.  They may be the only people who can do it outside of Virginians.  :-) 

Day: Friday, April 1, 2016.

Where: Figueres, Spain, which is a small city outside of Barcelona fairly close to the French border.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  The pants are the same ones from the day before, and so still comfy, but stupid me only brought the rain jacket (not pictured, well except I am holding it in my hand in the courtyard at the Dali museum) and not the Anthropologie knit coat, so I was a touch cold all day.  I drank wine to make up for it.  Ha.

Outfit Details: Top, J. Crew; Shoes, New Balance for J. Crew (they have this cute pair in gold and ivory right now); Pants, handmade (used McCall's 6901); Glasses, Bebe eyewear; Scarf, MoMA (yep, it's Jackson Pollock inspired; apparently you can buy anything on amazon.com, including this).

CW's rainjacket is the Pack-Away Rain Mac from Boden.  It's wonderful, and does truly and easily pack away and was exactly the right layer for her that day and others.

Anecdote of the Day:  To get to Figueres, we ended up on the fast train to Paris.  I was very very tempted to see Paris, so I threatened to stay on the train with CW.  But I did want to see the Dali museum, and it was worth it.  There were hordes of French teenagers everywhere, too, so it kind of felt like I was in Paris, anyhow. 

Day: Saturday, April 2, 2016.

Where:  Barcelona (mainly Gaudi sites besides the Sagrada Familia) and La Rambla

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) The tunics CW and I are wearing are made by me, and they were super soft rayon knit from Joann's, so they felt wonderful, but mine kept riding up a bit on the jean leggings.  Ding down for that. 

Outfit Details: Tunic, handmade (used Kwik Sew 3463 for mine and Kwik Sew 3958 for hers; I wrote more on my original make of this pattern here); Shoes, New Balance for J. Crew (they have this cute pair in gold and ivory right now); Leggings, the grocery store...seriously; Bag; Travelon (buy the same one from amazon.com); Necklace, Stella and Dot.

Anecdote of the Day: I loved this day.  I was stoked to take it all in, and though the trip to get to the Park Guell was a bit of a bear, once we got there, it was very lovely, and I dug the mosaics everywhere.  The view was great, too.  We decided to walk (of course!) to the next Gaudi site, and it took us through these darling streets with cute shops and restaurants.  It was hard not to fall in love with Barcelona that day.

We ended up having to go to Zara to get the kids some shoes (they complained theirs were too small), so we found some there in the sale section, and because it is Spain, and it is Zara, of course I had to peek in the women's section, too.  I ended up with dos vestidos (two dresses--more like tunics on me, of course).  They were both on sale, and when I checked the American price, I realized the price I paid in Spain was much better.  Woo hoo!  The cashier was super handsome, too.  (Not that this matters, wink wink.) 

Day: Monday, April 4, 2016.

(There is something and an ootd for Sunday, but the dress is under wraps until late April as it is my April make for the Fabric Mart blog.  You can take a peek at it here at this instagram.)

Where: Barcelona, mainly the harbor/beach, and a very very long walk to the Sagrada Familia.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) This is one of the two dresses I bought from Zara.  I decided to wear it under the skirt as a top, but if I hadn't gone to Sagrada Familia that day, I would have been tempted to wear it on its own.  Sure it was short, but I *think* I can get away with it. 

Outfit Details:  Dress, Zara (here, I did buy it for about $23, btw, but it sold out here at the higher price, it is worth it, though the back button is a bit flimsy); Shoes, Clarks (find them here at amazon.com); Sunglasses, Ray-Ban (I think these are the same from amazon.com); Tights, Boden; Necklace, National Trust UK.

Anecdote of the Day: So that beach there that I am posing at?  It has a nudist beach there in the summer (though unofficially).  No nudists there while we were there, but that would have made for an interesting discussion with the kids had we ended up there by accident in the summer.  :-)  Angus is really vocal when he sees bare chests, declaring that those people are "naked, Momma," so I imagine he would have been very loudly exclaiming over the nakedness surrounding him had this been the case.  Instead we ended up nearly getting killed by an errant skateboarder who acted like we were the problem (yeah, no, you were skateboarding DOWN the stairs).  I would much rather see naked people.

The Sagrada Familia is certainly interesting from the exterior, but the interior was so beautiful, I nearly started crying upon entering.  I rarely have moments like those, but I felt the love and passion all the artisans had poured into its creation, and the fact that it was made for Catholics to worship in made it even more special and spiritual.  I just wish we could have gone to mass there.  (We went to Monserrat on Sunday instead, also a very spiritual place.)

Day: Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

Where: Barcelona to Philadelphia, and then the car drive to Alexandria.

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) The shorter length of the Gaudi top (purchased on the day we visited all the site) didn't ride up with the leggings the way the tunic did, so it was super comfortable.  And considering I was on a plane with three children for eight hours along with a very surly flight attendant crew (not surly to us, just surly/complainy in general), I was very relaxed and at ease in it.

Outfit Details:  Top, Gaudi inspired, made for the museums that showcase his work; Shoes, Clarks (find them here at amazon.com); Leggings, Harris Teeter.

Anecdote of the Day: I could have stayed a few extra days, but my body thanked me for returning to normal by insisting I sleep non-stop for days upon return.  I was going to bed at 8 every night for a week.  I am still very much hitting the hay as soon as I can.  I do want to try and get more walking in, even more than I already do, since I love the benefit of eating and drinking well in return.  :-)

Okay, that's it for now.  Thanks for reading.  :-)

BTW, Boden has both rolled out a collection for April and the Icons.  The Icons are nearly sold out, but the new stuff for April is still around and I have a code for 15% off below and in my sidebar.  I want to talk more about it, but I really wanted to get this post up instead.  I am sure Boden doesn't care which I do.  LOL.

Shop New Spring Arrivals Now With 15% Off Plus Free Shipping! Valid through 4/25 with code 8W5Q

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hola From Espana!

At the Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain.

At Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain.

(Done in the accent of my eldest with just a bit of a slight twang) "Hola, everybody!"

We've been out of the country for a week now, and I didn't even bother to tell anyone on the internet because I have been just that bad with keeping up with the blog writing.  To be fair, I did make a few of the pieces I brought with me to wear to Spain (including the two blue floral tunics CW and I are wearing above), so that took a bit of time.  I do teach, too, but really it's getting kind of ridiculous, this whole "where is Dina?"

I have kept up on Instagram, so check that out if you are interested in some daily shots I compiled from my phone.  

Literally at the same time we were leaving for Spain, Boden announced that they were adding 20% off to the mid-season sale, which I hadn't even had a chance to announce here, much less the 20% off.  I did add the links for the mid-season sale, but the 20% off, feh, yeah, right.  I hope that you all were able to enjoy either the mid-season sale or the 20% off mid-season sale.  I did get the Janie dress before the 20% off happened, and I am glad I did as the size I wanted was all gone by the time the extra % occurred.  Did any of you enjoy either sale?  Honestly, this was the only way I was going to buy anything from them this season (other than the beautiful Martha dress, of course).  The "meh" factor was high at the full price for most of this season's pieces, the "meh" goes down significantly when the prices go down.  ;-)

Anyhow, we've been having a great time here in this beautiful country.  We started in Madrid, took the fast train to Barcelona, and have had day trips to Figuerres and Montserrat.  There has been a ton of walking, so I actually can eat all the amazing food and drink without fearing weight gain.  When I say a lot of walking I mean between ten and twelve miles a day.  So, yeah, a lot.

We'll be back in Virginia in a couple of days.  More than likely if the mid-season happened right now that means Boden is going to drop some rollout or another soon, so be on the lookout.  I hope that the meh factor is gone, I am really missing the Boden of yore now.  (I love some of the Spanish retailers, btw, color/pattern/texture is very high on their list, and boring is out.  It's awesome!)

Talk with you all soon! Hope you all are having a great start to your April!

Below is the link for the sale at Boden, with the additional 20% off.  It lasts for another seven hours or so.  Use the code 8V9T.
Shop an extra 20% off sale AND get 20% off new full price styles with code 8V9T, valid 3/31-4/3

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

OOTE/Review: An Embellished Shoe and a Martha Dress.

Before I start, I want you to know that there was a promo that started at Boden on Monday (maybe Sunday?) and in bad bad Boden blogger fashion, I completely neglected to tell you all till today.  Gaw!  And of course the two items I am reviewing and showing off today are not included since the shoes are clearance (and that means no additional money off) and the dress is not part of the sale.  Anyhow, the sale is for knitwear, tops, tees, shorts, pants, and skirts.  You can take 20% off this sale.  I have a link in the sidebar, but you can use this link, too.

Don't despair if you love this dress, though, and it pops back in your size.  The code 9Y8U will get you 15% off (this is a code I am allowed to publish as per affiliate rules).  I can assure you this dress and its navy sister pop back on a regular basis.  (Usually just one at a time, but I have seen my size come back time to time.)

Anyhow, onto these reviews!

Martha Dress and Embellished T-Bar Point
.  Size 8 Regular and Size 41.

The Martha Dress is shorter than I normally order, as I usually choose to get the long size.  If the navy floral ever pops back in my size in the long (or in one size up), I will be mightily tempted.  Either long or regular will work, and for a more fitted "night out" silhouette, I can make the 8 regular work, and for a more conservative, "work" silhouette, I can get an 8 long or 10 long.  This 8 regular is great, though, and falls just a couple inches above my knee and is fitted without being skin tight.

I was worried that the 8 would be too tight through the hips and too loose everywhere else, but because this fabric is a stretchy textured cotton fabric with a stretchy lining, it fit exactly right.  (That is also how I know that a size up would work, too.  The textured cotton has enough structure that even a bit loose it will be fine, too.)  (So, yes, I am saying to size up if you see your size up pop back and you are in LOVE with this dress.)

The T-Bar points are wonderful in the size 41, and they are so comfortable I wish it was always sunny and dry outside so I could wear them more often.  They felt like walking on marshmallows.  :-)  I wear a 9.5 in J. Crew, so this seems true to size to the Boden shoe size chart.  The 40 would have been too small.  I often wear 40 in Boden, but that would not have been a wise choice here.

This view shows why a size up in a longer length would be more appropriate for work.  It is very fitted, again without being skin tight.  We went to a restaurant last night on a date, so this was exactly the right outfit for the occasion.

The shoes are embellished throughout.  The little jewels stayed on well.  Very secure and well made.  They aren't perfectly placed, but they don't look terrible a little askew.  I bought them for the low price in the January "extra %" off and I am very pleased I took a chance on these darling shoes.

The back view is so pretty with the extended back neckline collar detail.  I sort of wish it had cap sleeves, but I know that most prefer sleeveless to cap sleeve, so I will deal, clearly.  That back slit is sort of long, beware!  It wasn't close to exposing anything, but it is also more length than I would personally like.  I think I may just sew a small bit of it closed.

The details in the floral border print are so pretty.  I love how it appears to be a rainfall of them below the waistband and a "popcorn" effect of them above.  The colors are gorgeous together...the light tan of the base fabric with the citron yellow, light blue and navy of the flowers working in harmony.  The basketweave texture of the fabric also lends to the appeal of this dress.

For those of you looking for another set of views of this outfit and the shoes, head on over to my Instagram of the outfit! 

Martha Dress and Embellished T-Bar Point.  Both of these colors are almost sold out.  But popbacks!  Yay!

Okay, that's all for now, all!  I hope this day is treating you well.  I am glad I got a chance to update the blog again! 

Talk soon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Boden: March 2016 New Arrivals Here! And 15% Off!

Hello, all!  Happy first day of March!  Hope you had a lovely leap day.  :-)  I have a handful of friends born on 2/29, and I love seeing how "young" they are.  One just turned nine, but boy, she certainly leads the life of a 36 year old. (Groan...)

Anyhow, yesterday Boden rolled out quite a few new arrivals.  Unlike the past two rollouts, this one seems a bit more lively and I saw a few items that may warrant a second look.  I have heard from a few of you (through Instagram, Facebook, etc.), that you all are liking the rollout as well.

Now I am not IN LOVE with anything, and there are no must haves (like with the gorgeous Martha dress in the floral design), but I am not all verklempt that the Boden I know and love is going the way of Gap circa 2001 anymore (although I am side-eyeing those denim overalls).

So what are you loving?  Are you giving the side eye to the overalls, too?

There's a coupon with my affiliate program for 15% off, you do need to use the code 9Y8U (and spend over $49) in order to receive the 15% off and free shipping.

Okay, looking forward to seeing all your thoughts.  One more week of crazy, btw, in my life, and then things slow way down, so very excited for that.  :-)

Remember to use code 9Y8U for the 15% off to work:
Boden USA

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Boden: Diminishing Discount 20% Off Until 2/25. Plus More on a Vanishing Dina.

Hi, everyone!

More on my vanishing act in a bit.  ;-)

First, I am sorry I didn't tell you this sooner, but Boden started there diminishing discount a couple of days ago.  Bad news is that I didn't tell you then (seriously, worst Boden blogger ever, lol), but the good news is that there is still today and tomorrow to shop.

The deal is the same as prior diminishing discounts, the beginning is front-loaded with the most days of savings at the highest percentage off (this time 20%).  On Friday it is 15% off, and I believe by Sunday it goes down to 10% off.

So the best way to approach this is to buy the things you *need* now or that are already sold out, like the lovely Martha dress in the floral shades.  In fact, the popback items, from the sold out category, could even be purchases at 15% off since they are the kind of items that even in deepest clearance never get reduced by much more than that, anyhow.  Of course you could wait and take your chance that the item that is sold out will popback in a moment when a category like dresses is on sale and get more % off (I've done that a handful of times over the years), but it is a bit like trying to catch a swift bunny on a muddy field. 

Okay, so that Martha dress.  I was sure that danged thing wouldn't fit me, but I loved the design so much that I went ahead and ordered the ivory in the 8 regular.  I may have preferred an 8 long, but they were all sold out.  So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  Because the model has a bit of a shapelier bottom, I suspected I may be okay since I carry weight in the hips and upper thighs, and by some miracle, the dress fit in the 8 regular.  It is a touch big in the bodice, and a bit big in the waist, but the hips and thigh areas don't pull or look strained.  Thankfully the fabric is stretchy, including the lining, so it really is a well-thought design in form and execution. There are two pleats at the upper hip area, so if you are concerned about highlighting that area, bear that in mind.

The ivory is a bit muddy, more light tan, but it doesn't look off on me personally.  It may not work on cooler complexions, and would probably look silly on skin tones that are that exact shade.

I have only bought a couple of things from the spring.  Besides the Martha dress and a few others, I haven't been wowed.  I keep hoping.  I guess it is good that if I am going to be a bad Boden blogger I do it when they've lost a bit of their mojo.  ;-)

The mini stuff is awesome, though.  My daughter has received a few darling items from the spring, and they are so wonderful that I desperately wish they would do those designs in adult sizes.  The bird printed sweatshirt dress is easily one of my favorites.

Second.  Me.  I received an email (so sweet, btw) from a reader who noticed how quiet I have been.  And I have been.  Really quiet. (Except on Instagram.  Wow.  So much easier to upload a single photo with a few words daily than execute a blog post.)

1. Sewing.  I worked so hard and so furiously and with such focus on the red coat in January that I was literally worn out from the process.  I also made this dress to wear on National Wear Red Day (Go Red for Women), so that took some time too.  My daughter has her First Holy Communion in May and I am both altering and creating anew my Communion dress so she has something special to wear.  (My Communion dress was handmade from a 1974 pattern!)  I am currently working on a project for Fabric Mart, and I am stoked to get it done.  It will be fun and sporty and probably very "me," lol.  There are other things, too, and as many of you realize from your own sewing, these just take a lot of energy and time.  (BTW, Pattern Review interviewed me as their "member in focus" for February, too.  That was such an honor!)

2. College Classes.  I have to recertify this year in VA.  You are required 180 recertification hours to do so, which is equal to two college classes.  I could have made my life easier and done this before returning to work, but baby Angus made that a bit of a challenge.  Now that he is older, much easier, but difficult from a time standpoint.  I love the classes, but unlike when I was in university initially, I am in constant worry that I am not doing things on time.  For one, the idea of a syllabus being presented on the first day and pored over is not really a thing anymore, and I was flailing about the first few weeks on the maze that is Blackboard.  (I assume it can be clearer, but if the professor makes it a maze, good luck!)  The classes are "Guiding the Behavior of Children," and "History of Photography."  Both work for me, especially since I am trained to teach Middle-Schoolers and work with preschoolers and kindergarteners.  Definitely different styles there.  History of Photography is fascinating and useful both for my training as a history teacher and to get my desire to pull out my SLR and get some shooting done.

3. Sicknesses.  I got pinkeye.  I got Strep Throat.  I am a grown woman with diseases that affect six-year olds.  If you teach computer, I suggest gloves, eyewear, and handwashing constantly.  BTW, Strep SUCKS.

4. Teaching.  My job is fine, but I love the saying "part time means half the pay for twice the work."  LOL.  People say that to me to keep me going, but I am a bit surprised by how much more work I do than I remember doing when I was at the middle school.  ;-)  I suspect the above plus three small children have an affect, too.

5. Blog.  My blog turned seven (7!) on January 15, 2016.  Whoops.  I forgot its birthday.  Sorry blog.  :-/

Okay, that's all for now.  Won't be back for a couple of days (I will, though, come back), but I do appreciate all of you who come to visit me from time to time.

Boden USA

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Made by Me File: The Joy of the Red Coat.

Before I start talking about the joy of making the red coat, I encourage you to visit the post I wrote up at Fabric Mart first, especially if you are a sewer.  I am sure it would be fine to replicate, word for word, and photo for photo, that post here, but since this blog is more focused on style, fashion, and garment reviews, I am choosing to leave the bulk of heavy sewing info there.

I am choosing to focus here instead on the journey I took to getting to a place where I made up a fully lined, fully tailored red coat in a month's time.  :-)

The back story here is important.  I wrote to Fabric Mart and told them I would love to make a coat for my January make.  I always enjoy picking out my projects with them, but most of the time the projects are not so involved.  Usually I'll make up a dress, or a top and pants, but I tend to not sew up intense projects as they don't really fit in with my hectic school and life schedule.  But dang it, I really wanted to challenge myself, so I said to myself I could figure it out and make it happen.

I asked what coating they had in stock and they mentioned that they were getting in a red wool, and if I was interested they would send it my way.  After looking at, I leaped, even though I wasn't fully convinced that the red would be "classic" red enough.  It definitely didn't look like a yellow-based red (which I usually wear, it suits my warmer complexion), but it didn't look like a blue-red, either, which I know would look horrible on me.

It ended up coming and I fell in love since it was indeed a true red, with no additional tones of blue or yellow.  The color is one of the four universal colors all people can wear, regardless of skin tone.  Looking at that universal color chart, it's true.  I normally can't wear purple, but the one purple on the list is the only shade of purple that doesn't make me look ill.

Deciding on a coat shape and design took me FAR longer than you would think it would.  Especially considering that once I had figured it out, I knew immediately what to do.  I hemmed and hawed over which design I wanted for a week or so.  Did I want a double-breasted trench, did I want a full a-line skirt on the coat, did I want a more modern shape like a cocoon?

It wasn't until I put on my Alabaster Tweed coat from J. Crew that I realized my design was under my nose.  Even though I didn't use a shape or coating like the Alabaster Tweed one, I decided I was being silly not looking through my coat closet for inspiration.  After all, you all here (especially if you have been reading for years), know how much I love my coats.  We may not wear them all the time here, but I adore them all, and wear them every chance I get.

If you have been reading the blog for long enough, you'll know exactly where I went to find my design inspiration, my Sybil coats, and my Bella jackets.  Ever since I started sewing, I knew that one day I would want to try and make my own version of these and get them in my wardrobe, but with my personal measurements and aesthetics leading the way, not one of J. Crew's designers making those choices for me.

And I do fully realize I am being derivative here, but at least my version is a bit different, especially in the lower half of the coat (the Sybil is a more straight up-and-down shape).
So I stopped my constant searching through my coat patterns and ebay for the "perfect" coat choice, and decided on the two coat patterns that would come together best to suit me and to realize my vision of the red coat I had in mind.

Vogue 8626 is a pattern I had seen over at Sewing Pattern Review a couple of years ago, and when I saw it, I swooned.  It was so pretty, feminine, and yet regal, at the same time.  And it was out of print.  It took me a few months, but eventually one in my size came up on ebay, and I bought it without hesitation.  The only issue I had with the coat was the design of the collar.  I don't know if you can tell, but when the collar is buttoned, it makes a weird pointy collar jut in one direction, and the asymmetry is too much for my eye, and I knew it would bug me if I made it up that way.

McCall's 7024 is a pattern I had seen when it came out and bought it as soon as possible.  I loved the collar because of how much it reminded me of the Sybil and the Bella.  Really the rest of the jacket is fine, but the collar was what I most wanted.  Though it is designed with a drawstring, I knew I could probably (and eventually) figure out what to do to omit the drawstring and have it properly stand up.

I had to make a muslin to ensure I was using the correct measurements, and thankfully, they were pretty close to right.  I did note that I needed to change up the way the side pleats on the back laid (they favored opening up to the center pleat and it didn't look right on me, so I chose to turn them into box pleats).

I am pleased that Vogue 8626 has cup sizes.  I have a very small bustline, 32B if I am lucky, and I have noticed that any pattern that doesn't have specific cup measurements built in will often manifest themselves in a bit of wrinkling above my chest below my collarbone.  The same thing happens when I wear a bra that is too big (which is a lot of the time, it is really hard to find a 32B bra that doesn't have underwire).  This coat has an A cup bodice, and it is a dream fit up there.  Seriously, hands thrown in the air, waving around, kind of fit.  I know fuller-bust ladies get a lot of attention for having to make FBAs on their clothes, but for those of us who are wee-er up there than average, have to do the same thing if we want a good fit.  People notice it less when things don't fit me properly since it doesn't mean gaping plackets or straining streams, but I get really bothered by those darn wrinkles.

This doesn't mean I am going to take on the challenge of the small bust adjustment every time I sew anything for my top half, but for tailored garments I darn well will.  It is worth the effort!

BTW, the belt above is called a Martingale belt.  I always just called it a "half-belt at the back," but now that I know what they are called, I am gonna throw that term around like it's hot.  LOL.

So the collar, the most important portion of my coat in realizing my vision...turns out the McCall's 7024 is a great dupe for the Sybil coat.  It is nearly the same.  The Bella is a bit off, as the Bella collar sits on a faux collar stand.  The way I made it stand just so was to interface the non-pleated side with fusible hair canvas on the bias (wanted it on the bias so it would be more easily molded when I was steaming it, on the straight grain I would have had a few more struggles to shape it since the straight grain prevents any stretching).

The buttons.  Well, it turns out that even though I had chosen a near match for the Sybil coat (they seriously are the same buttons as the ones on my other coats, but red), I wanted to use a flatter, variegated reddish button instead.  Now it fully is a coat that is "inspired by" but not a samesy copy.

Now that I have published this post I can actually start wearing the coat out and incorporating it into my ootd postings here and at Instagram.  Yes!  (I have to wait until the post publishes over there before I publish here.)

I know that some of you might have questions, so if you do, I encourage them.  Maybe some of you can even make your own versions of the Sybil/Bella?  I would love to see some more of these out there in the world of sewing.  :-)