Tuesday, July 30, 2013

OOTDs: Handmade Liberty Love.

Angus loves to smile.

And he likes to run.

And every once in a while, he will stand still.

Day: Saturday, July 27, 2013.

Where:  Damn Yankees (my dad was props manager for the local production).

Ease of Wear: (3 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I guess I have been favoring easy to wear jersey dresses and loose shorts this summer too much as this skirt felt so fitted and tight.  It really wasn't, obviously, just a regular pencil skirt silhouette, so I probably should wear at least one fitted piece of clothing a week to remind myself that I can wear clothing like this.

I don't know when I fell into the comfort clothing trap, but it probably has something to do with my overall mood this summer.  I go to the "aw, forget it" mode way too fast when something doesn't quite work.  I need to get out of this funk already, and stop letting everything bother me to the point where I quit.  (I forced myself to go out in this outfit instead of changing into a jersey skirt.  I was *that* close to freaking out that I was too big to wear this outfit, which is ridiculous, but that is where my mind went that night.)

Cool Factor: (3.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  Pretty top (wrote about it here, btw) with a great skirt and cute headband makes this a bit cooler than my usual SAHM look, which was appropriate since I was going out with my friend instead of doing something with the kids.

Anecdote from the day:  My dad loves loves his theater group, and when a play or musical is upcoming, he throws himself into the production with such gusto that the song from Damn Yankees "You've Got to Have Heart" is very appropriate for his life.  :-)  We don't get to see him as much during these times, but it is nice to know he is really having a lot of fun.

My friend got a migraine that night, so we had to leave at intermission, which I obviously understood.  This is the second time I haven't been able to see a musical there during the second act, since last year my dad had the great idea that I bring Angus to see Legally Blonde.  Yeah, Angus was upset at me and insisted that I either nurse him the entire time or get him out of there.  I didn't go back for the second act as I am not a crazy person.  (I also wondered *why* my dad thought it was a good idea.)

Day: Monday, July 15, 2013.

Where:  Drive from North Carolina to Georgia.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I knew I wanted a pretty outfit to wear on the drive, but since the drive is nearly 7.5 hours, I knew that it had to be comfortable.  The shorts are a bit oversized and that helps up the ease factor, and the top is blousey enough to not pinch or pull.  I still get bugged by the gathering and puckering where the yoke meets the bodice and armholes, but I don't feel the issues while wearing it, so as long as I am not looking in a mirror, it doesn't bug me.  (I wrote about making the top and the issues I had with it here.)

That bag, btw, is so overused.  It has this patina to it now that I like, but I have no idea if it is okay that I willingly used a light-colored leather bag as a day bag when I have toddlers in my life.  Oh, well...at least I got it from the J. Crew clearance store instead of at full price.

Cool Factor: (2 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  Meh, the colors are pretty, and those Sperry Top-Siders (for J. Crew in a neon pink color) are really cool, but the outfit definitely reads SAHM casual.  The cool kids would probably just sort of scoff at my attempt at cool if I was trying to hang with them.  Good thing I'm not, lol. 

Anecdote from the day:  The trip to GA was beautiful and the weather was amazing.  I always love the drive down there...something about Southern interstates are refreshing.  They are made well, nice and smooth, with lush forests and rolling hills for scenery, and miles between exits.  The blood pressure drops a bit, you know?  Not that I don't enjoy going to other places, but I am not sure I would ever describe the drive to NYC in the same way.  ;-)

Okay, that's all for today.  Hope you all are having a fabulous Tuesday.

I want to write a Boden Weekly Review Roundup tomorrow.  If you have a review for me (it doesn't have to have a photo, btw) for anything (clearance or new), you can e-mail me at dinagideon AT aim DOT com.    

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Made by Me Files/OOTD: Burda Style Magazine 02/2013 Pleated Shorts #129.

I will go ahead and write about the ootd first and then follow-up with more on the "made by me" second.

Day: Wednesday, July 18, 2013.

Where:  Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Steak & Shake (mmm, Steak & Shake).

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I love love love this outfit.  I was not sure how the shorts would end up fitting or feeling since there was no real way of knowing until the shorts were completely sewn, but once I had completed them, I knew I had something pretty special.  They are a touch too big (esp. in the waist), but the slouchy look lends itself to both the fabric and the style.  More on that in the "made by me" portion.

The tee is from Zara and a very soft cotton/modal mix, which draped well and felt nice against my skin on the ridiculously hot and humid day that it was.  The wedge sandals have served me well these past years, and all the pairs I own never feel too tight or too high, and not once have I regretted either buying them or wearing them out and about.

Cool Factor: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  Yep, I gave this outfit a high score.  I think the combo of unicorn foil-printed slouchy tee, retro yet modern handmade denim-look shorts, arrow-shaped necklace, metallic clutch, and wedge sandals look cool, no matter what circle I run in...even if it is just the "take my girl to Wal-Mart to get some sandals" kind of circle.  ;-)

Anecdote from the day:  We went to Wal-Mart to buy CW's some shoes (she has outgrown her other pairs), Kroger for groceries (made my family in GA some cheesy grits with sausage and shrimp), and Steak and Shake for a shake (yummy peanut butter banana flavor). 

Really, I could go anywhere and do anything, but if the day were topped off by a trip to Steak and Shake, it would be a fine day.  Love love love Steak and Shake.

The shorts are based on a pattern found in the February 2013 Burda Style Magazine.  This magazine has a lot of patterns stuffed inside the center and based on what I have made from them before, they are drafted well, and look great once sewn up.  The only rub is that you have to trace them from a sheet of paper that looks like this.  Once you find the pieces you need to trace, it gets better, but it is definitely a time consuming process and definitely not for the faint of heart.

I traced off a size 42, which is what I have done in the past with them to some success.  Barring some extra length in the front crotch curve, the first pattern I made was spot on for fit.  This pair of shorts fits decently, but is very much too big at the waist, which is obvious in the above photo.  The size 42 on the measurement chart says that it is meant for a waist of about 31", so my 28.5" waist is more suited for a size 40.

The pattern is also meant to fit a touch closer on the bottom portion of the shorts, based on the photo in the magazine, but that bit I like, even if it doesn't resemble the original "look."  I think the swingy almost skirt-like a-line shaping is pretty and suits my frame.  I will be cutting this pair of shorts again, with a smaller waist, in a flowy fabric so I can replicate this interesting silhouette.

I do have plans to cut the 40 in the future, just to at least give it a try and see if the smaller size will fit my body more like it fits on the model in the magazine.  I will probably try it with a stretch twill fabric I own, that way if there are any fit issues, some of them can be erased with the ease built into the stretch fabric.  (And if there aren't any issues, and I was meant to cut the smaller size in the first place, I will have learned something new about pattern sizing in general!)

Oh, the pocket details are such fun, and beautifully drafted.  They are not only useful, but look very pretty.  I could see trimming them in a contrast material if the right fabric/embellishment/thread found its way into my fabric stash.

This view shoes that the hips are a touch too big.  My hips and bottom, while large, are not quite this large, and by the end of the day, especially with the way linen/rayon fabric wears, there was a bit of sag overall in the shorts.

That isn't to say the shape from behind didn't look okay, I just know that the extra fabric may have added a bit of fullness where there is none.  ;-)  But again, and I keep repeating it because it is true, I definitely want to replicate this, but in a different fabric, one that is a bit more flowy, so the skirt effect of these shorts can look more intentional and less, "oh, she cut those too big."

The side zip and button are on display above, and I am sure some of you very advanced sewers will just look at it and gasp at the clumsy application I did, but I am sure proud of myself for getting them in there.  I want to believe that one day that all my zips and button closures will look super tidy and neat, but I am not quite there yet.  I can only get there by continuing to attempt them, the best that I can, again, and again, and again.  LOL.  And again.

Since I knew that I would need some help in creating these shorts because Burda instructions are iffy at best, I went to a few fellow blogs and/or pattern review sites to help me understand how to create these.  These ladies may have no idea who I am, but I definitely grateful to them for putting their work out there for me to inspect.

1. Loved how "whatkatiedoes" styled the shorts.  Had to borrow some of her cute ideas.

2. Kathryn made these shorts in two different colors.  Love her styling of them, as well.

3. Love these winter/fall version, and I appreciate knowing they will look good lengthened a bit in the inseam.

4. Grays08 wrote a fantastic review on the pattern over at sewingpatternreview.com.  I referred to her review constantly during the process of making the shorts.

Okay, that's it for today.  :-)  Have any of you out there attempted a Burda magazine pattern?  I love the challenge, and the results seem to be worth the effort.

Friday, July 26, 2013

OOTD/Review: Maximizing the Summer.

Yes, that's a new haircut.  Finally!

Day: Tuesday, July 23, 2013.

Where:  Mint Condition (Consignment Shop) run, Cosi, and Anthropologie.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  As you are all very aware by now (unless you just discovered my blog), I heart heart heart all my long jersey maxi dresses from Boden.  I love them because they are ridiculously comfortable and very cool on the hottest, most humid days.

Anyhow, as per usual, this dress is very much in the same vein, and I feel fortunate that I was able to grab this one on popback, since it was the original color I had wanted but had been sent another color.  Only drawback was that I had to grab in the size down, a 4 Long.  (Still fit, more on that in the review bit down below.)

The sandals are the versatile Seventies Wedges, and I continue to think their low wedge heel are a great lift without pain.  If you can get a pair of these on popback in your size, I highly recommend them (my original review of them is here, btw.)

Cool Factor: (3.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  I think I would give this outfit a half-point more if I had worn flat sandals since the effect of the maxi is a bit marred by the heel of the sandals lifting the hem a bit off the floor.  Since I went down a size, the length ends up being a bit shorter on my frame (probably since it is hugging my curves a bit more than the 6 Long does), which means I should wear these with absolutely flat shoes in the future.  That said, the sidewalks in Old Town are a bit dirty, so I was okay keeping the lovely fabric off the pavement.  :-)

Anecdote from the day:  It was nice spending the day in Old Town with Rex.  I had my dad take the youngest two to CW's Bug Walks and Critter Talks class and my oldest and I just chilled at the various shops and one of his favorite restaurants, Cosi (weird, right, but that's my guy!).

I had a 15% off bday coupon from Anthro, but try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to spend a load of money on items I can sew on my own, so I bought a cute pair of sunglasses, a darling embroidered tea towel, and a knitted short-sleeve cotton sweater.

Mint Condition took nearly all my consigned items from this post, so yay for that! 

Review: I actually thought there would be a slightly bigger difference between the 4 Long and the 6 Long (here is my original review), but this Jersey Maxi Dress is very forgiving in the size 4 Long, which makes it appear to fit nearly the same as the 6 Long.  The only (pretty obvious) difference is the length, since the 6 long is worn with a higher heeled shoe, yet appears much longer.

So if you see a popback in a color you like, and it is one size up or down, go for it.  The jersey works out all the issues because it truly is a miracle fabric.

Mr. Dina lol-ed that the camera was fogging up due to the vast contrast in temps between his sister's house and her front porch.  He really loved the halo effect the camera gave the image.  He insisted I use this one in today's post. 

Day: Wednesday, June 17, 2013.

Where:  Ruby Falls, you all!

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  Exactly like the above outfit, just substitute the dress for last season's version (original review here) and the sandals for Johnnie b.'s leather clogs (no longer available, apparently due to a fault in the wood used in the sole--they sent me a letter saying I could return, and I was all, "feh, no way!").

Cool Factor: (3 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  Very pretty outfit, but definitely very in your face with all those glorious bright pinks.  I suspect I should tone it down a bit if I wanted to be "cool."

Anecdote from the day:  I was a bit stressed once down in the cave for Ruby Falls since my youngest is a mover and shaker now, but I used my wrap to keep him next to me the whole time, and so long as I was moving, he was fine.  The moment I dared to stop, he would whine and complain, loudly.  Sigh.*

Rex loved it.  He actually exclaimed loudly, upon seeing the falls, "THIS IS AWESOME!"

*I have a flight with Angus at the end of August.  Unlike my past few flights with him, he now wants to be running around almost always.  My hope is that I have had enough sleep and patience to deal with him, and with any grace, maybe I will be blessed with a baby willing to sleep at least part of the flight.  Fortunate for me, he likes blowing kisses at ladies, so maybe a few of the flight attendants will be charmed by him, and will blow him a few kisses back.  Wish me luck on that!

Speaking of moving, I move constantly with him, but the last five pounds of weight is not budging off my body.  I think that I have a reason to hold onto them, but it is a wee bit frustrating to not see the results on my scale.

Alrighty, I hope all of you are having a great day, and maximizing your summer!  ;-)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Made by Me Files: From Start to Finish...The Amy Butler Anna Tunic/Dress.

If you all recall, I wore this dress on Independence Day.  The process of getting it made was only a teeny bit of a headache because I chose to start the project too soon relative to the day I wanted to wear it and because it turns out that I need to be extra careful with armholes in the future.

But I am so glad I photographed this process of creating this dress since I now can refer back to what was successful in this project and what I need to improve upon for the future.

If you aren't a sewing type of gal or guy, this post may be utterly boring for you, but if you have come here by way of an actual interest in how one newbie to the sewing world created a lined dress with pockets on her own (woo!), then this may be right up your alley.  :)

Start of Project.  Alexander Henry La Paloma Fabric (can find the blue/red here), Amy Butler Anna Tunic (can be made into a dress, obviously), Measuring Tape, Pencil, and Pattern Ease Tracing Material (I am constantly buying more--LOVE this stuff).

I personally chose to trace this pattern onto the pattern ease tracing material because I suspected that I would like to make this pattern again, and the pattern ease material is thick, flexible, and long-lasting.  I initially bought the stuff so I could trace patterns from the Burda Style Magazine (look at their pattern pages, OMG), but I discovered I far preferred tracing most patterns onto ths material since it makes cutting the fabric so much easier (it is a bit "staticky sticky," so I don't have to pin as much before I cut).

Tissue pattern pieces.  See?  While nice and clear, you can see how thin and rippable it looks.  LOL.  I have definitely use tissue pattern pieces in the past, but I always rip them somewhere in the process of cutting the fabric.  If it is a cheap pattern, or I don't plan on making it again, no biggie, but with this pattern, I didn't want to chance it.

Look at how neat and clean the traced pattern looks!

Because I have two different sizes on top and bottom, I knew that I would have to grade out, somewhere (this time I chose to do it in the seam allowance, going from small to medium--however, sometimes I split the skirt portion of the pattern and grade it out that way--link sort of shows what I do).  The pattern trace material makes it easier for me to make those adjustments, so another bonus. 

Cut out pattern.

Note--Now that I know how the bodice/armholes fit me, I am going to have to re-do the yoke so that it is longer which will allow the armholes to sit a tad bit lower.

Tissue fitting to ensure that the fit will work on me.

This dummy is named "Triple D," for Dressmaker Dummy Dina.  I bought a size 10 dummy to fit my bodice, since she is nearly exactly my size from the neck to the waist.  I did have to pad her out using batting and my maternity belly bands on the bottom, though.  My hubby and brother are stunned at how much her body mirrors mine.  Ha.

Turns out that the skirt portion was fit perfectly for my form, since Triple D looks good in it.

However, Triple D warned me of something...that's right, the armhole is sitting far too high to be comfortable on me.  Since this was my first time working with Triple D, I didn't know what to look for to ensure a perfect fit on me, and since I never thought I would have to worry about anything on my upper half fitting me (the only benefit of being a pear shape, I suppose), I didn't pay any attention to how close the tissue came to the socket of Triple D.

Back View.  I was stoked that the skirt was going to fit!

This dress has a lining, which I made from muslin material (I like to use this 108'' Unbleached Muslin Natural all cotton material from fabric.com).  Since it is recommended to always make a muslin before cutting into the real fabric, I was able to kill two birds with one stone with this pattern.

The lining shows that the dress will fit, but yet again, it was showing that the armhole would be too tight.  ;-)

Convinced I had a winner, I decided it was high time to cut into the fabric.  I spent way way way too much time lining the fabric up so I could have the print on the fabric exactly in the middle of the dress front and dress back.

Once cut, I checked to ensure the print lined up perfectly and that it would fit well.  Yes to both!

Back view. Print lines up nicely here.

This pattern does not come with pockets as part of the pattern, but since I recalled how easy it was to add them to this skirt I made way back in February, I thought it wouldn't be that hard to add them to this dress.  I took a pocket pattern from a dress pattern that I own (don't recall which pattern I used) and traced it with the pattern ease material.  The pockets are a really nice feature, but unfortunately I put them in wrong the first time, so I had a lot of thread unpicking to do.  I also placed them a touch low on the dress, but nothing awful.  They still felt great, even if a bit lower than I normally would like.

And the finished product...

Okay that's it!  You all enjoy your Tuesday!  I am off to the consignment store later today, looking forward to letting the pretties go to a new home.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Boden: Autumn/Fall 2013 is Now Live!

Look One: Mia Coat, Cable Sweater, Bistro Crop Trousers (I did a review on these from last season here), and Sixties T-Bar.

Look Two: Lightweight Roll Neck, Daisy Jacquard Skirt, Skinny Belt, and Sixties Slingbacks.

Look Three (my fave of the bunch!): Cable Sweater, Lois Skirt, Tuileries Top, and Pointed Flat.

Look Four: Tuileries Top, Cashmere Crew Neck Cardigan, Lois Skirt, Canonbury Clutch, Pointed Flat.

Look Five: Stripe Colourblock Top, Skinny Ankle Skimmer Jeans, Super Skinny Belt, and Sixties Slingbacks.

ADDED TO ORIGINAL POST on July 24, 2013:
You can see all of the looks at this slideshow.

Boden also has a slideshow featuring some of the pages from the catalog that I received in the mail, which I still have plans to put here on the blog since some of the "winter only" items are not part of the slideshow.  But it is still nice to look at and enjoy!

Also, a ton of items have the "video" option, which Boden had introduced a few years ago and then didn't bring back for a second season.  I think having the video is awesome to see how items move on a body, and are not just static on a dressform.  You can see it with the Mia Coat (in look one above).  

Okay, everyone, the Boden site is live and ready to go.  I pulled these images off the site from "The Bright Side" link right there on the front page of the site.  Eventually, I will add links to the products so you can see what products are what.  ;)  This blog post is a work in progress...   Finished the links as of 12:50 pm, July 24, 2013.

No new coupon links at my affiliate site, but I know, with 100% certainty, something is in the works, it just hasn't been uploaded to their site yet.  As soon as that happens, I will make sure to update this post and the blog sidebar.

UPDATE: New Coupon is directly below this sentence and in the sidebar.  Also of note...many pieces from the collection are already in the "pink low stock" box, which means the preview sale went very very well.  Hmmm...

Until then, enjoy the pretty, have fun exploring, and if you see any must-haves that we missed during the preview (or that you really love even if it was in the preview), let us know in the comments.  :-)