Monday, March 31, 2014

Boden: Summer 2014 New Arrivals!

I will definitely be thinking sunny thoughts.  Ugh, winter.

Good Monday morning! 

As per usual in Boden land, once something ends, they usually roll out something else, and in this case, they decided to start our Monday morning off with some luscious new summer arrivals.  Great timing for us here in Northern Virginia as we had some snow (!!!) yesterday.  Today is meant to be glorious with temps in the 60s, so I am more than ready to ditch all my woolen layers in favor of cotton and simple sundresses.

I haven't had a good look 'round, but I did at least have a chance to check and see if the affiliate coupons were working this morning (they are!), so that's good news.  Right now the offer is for 15% off everything, with free shipping and returns, if you spend more than $50.  That's fairly easy to do at Boden, amiright?

Anyhow, I do want to encourage you all to take a look at my picks post if you like seeing that kind of post, if you all remember, that was the post where I basically chose all bright colors and florals (even more than I usually do, which is saying something).  Later today, or when the affiliate program updates their directory, I will make sure to update the links to their proper page at Boden. 

If you have had a look around and would like to share your favorites, do tell below in the comments!!!

Talk with you all soon!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Boden Weekly Review Roundup: Emily, Her Skirt, and My New Hair.

Hey, all!  Happy Friday!

Just in time for this weekend, I have finally gotten a few moments together to get all the pressing Boden reviews in order for you all.  The sale that is on right now (wrote about it here on Monday) ends this Sunday evening, so hopefully some of these reviews will help you in your decisions about sale purchases.

I believe new arrivals (from the Summer 2014 line--did a picks post here) should be in very soon, probably next week.  I am pretty excited since there is just so much color there in the pieces.  We have had a really long winter here in the US, and I think so many of us want to shake off all the wool and drab colors and put on something fresh, light, colorful, and airy.  I have a few pieces coming from my preview order, so hopefully the next BWRR can include a review or two from the order.

My good blog friend Lou (of What Lou Wore 365) let me know there was an article about Boden sales worldwide, and it turns out that 55% of sales now are from outside of the United Kingdom.  Woah!  Remembering when Boden was just this teensy weensy presence in the US clothing marketplace, I say BRAVO!  That's great, and kudos to Johnnie and his team!  You can read the whole article here.

My other blog friend from Fashion Mommy has written up a post with an emphasis on the summery shades of yellow and bright blue, and all the yummy dresses you can find in these two hues at Boden.  Take a look at the blog post here.  So many choices!  I love that we are spoiled for choice...

Okay, then, onto some reviews.  :-)

Regular Boden:
Emily Skirt.  Size 6 Long.  Fits true to size, but since I will always wear a smaller skirt size if the skirt portion is full, take what I say with a grain of salt.  My waist measures small compared to my hips, so I will often wear the 6 rather than an 8 in styles like this.  If your waist runs bigger, you may want to size up.  This waist measures bang on at 29.5, which gives me about an inch of wiggle/breathing room.

I have been waiting so long to wear my pretty summer/spring clothing (never have to normally wait this long here in VA, just this year), so I said, "screw it, I am wearing tights and a cardigan with the skirt," even though this type of skirt is best worn bare-legged, with a tank and a cute pair of sandals.  In the end, it looked cute like this, so I am glad I was forced to "winterize" it.

I wore this outfit to church, btw, and since I spent all of church running around after Angus, I can assure you it is both comfortable and flexible for any woman who has a need look nice but has to be able to sprint off at a moment's notice.

FWIW, I published a photo of me wearing this at my FB page.  I noticed I had an uptick of new FB "likes" this week, and I appreciate it.  I try to stay on top of my FB page and if I ever have a quickie look-see at something, I will publish it there first since FB makes it easier.  Just a little shoutout to see if a few more of you wanted to join in on the fun.  :-)

At first I didn't love the black waistband, and definitely don't think it's the nicest they have ever made, but it has grown on me since it really does flatter the curves.

The length is nice, I always need longs in skirts, just to get to my knees.  Since I have a high waist (my true waist is right where the band is), if I don't have extra length, all skirts, regardless of any moniker given to them by companies (looking at you J. Crew), will be short on me, often barely making it past mid-thigh.  So thank you Boden for really making longs quite long.

The pattern is very pretty, and appliqued onto the border of the skirt.  It appears that they took some seersucker stretch cotton fabric and machine appliqued them onto the skirt.  It is well done and an interesting feature, especially since usually applications like this appear on solid fabric and not striped fabric.

Pockets are adequate, but not especially deep.

The detail runs round to the back of the skirt.  I felt a bit like a Scandinavian princess wearing this.  :-)

The only real issue I had was with the lining.  I really feel (just like with the Nancy Dress--review of that one here) that Boden cheaped out on the lining.  It is super thin, not of high quality, and very poorly applied.  I am *this* close to ripping it out.  That's a problem to me since Boden IS better than that.  I hope that someone from there reads this and sees that some of us are noticing the shortcuts taken.  I would have paid ten dollars more for a better lining.  Seriously.

Emily Skirt
Emily Skirt.  Backordered all around, and only 10% off.  Boden knows that it is a good seller and is unlikely to reduce it by a whole lot.

Must Have Tee
Must Have Tee.  I wore this one recently as part of a casual, "let's go to the kids' school and watch a play," kind of outfit.

Boho Boot
Penny Loafers
Fashion Pointed Flats
Mya Bag
Palermo Tote
Modern Stripy Top
Printed Pocket Top
Brigitte Sweater
Darcy Sweater
Blenheim Blazer
Cotton Biker Jacket
Boyfriend Jean
Boho Ankle Boot, Penny Loafer, Fashion Pointed Flat, Mya Bag, Palermo Tote, Modern Stripy Top, Printed Pocket Top, Brigitte Sweater/Jumper, Darcy Sweater/Jumper, Blenheim Blazer, Cotton Biker Jacket, and Boyfriend Jeans.  Awesome Avril photographed herself wearing these items that she was able to try on at her friend's big Boden party.  There is a lot of lovely on view.  :-)

Nancy Dress

Nancy Dress and Bistro Crop Trousers.  Boden Bits & Blog has some recent photos on their tumblr of two bloggers dressed in these fine pieces (dress here and trousers here).  I normally don't link to a blogger unless they give me permission, but since Boden's tumblr itself shows them off, I figure it's fair game.  ;-)  *Use hyperlink in the trousers name since there is no direct link in my affiliate's directory.*

Clearance Boden:
Amelie Dress.  Seeing as how a few of these pretty dresses are left in clearance, I figured I would put this ootd photo here for you all to see (even though I have plans to properly publish it in its own ootd post).  I am wearing the 6 Long, like I would in all fit and flare knit dresses (and most woven, too) from Boden.  I wrote my initial review of this dress here (and its summer 2013 sister here).  There is another incarnation of this dress for this season, which can be found here.  This version may be my favorite, though, I think the longer sleeve and slight boatneck take it over the edge for me.  A lady saw me in this yesterday (this is from yesterday, shocker!) and said she just LOVED this dress.  I had no problem pointing her to the direction in which she could acquire it.

Amelie Dress
Amelie Dress.  Selling out, nearly, but still a few sizes left, especially in the version I own.

Okay, that's it for tonight.  I don't think I missed anyone, but if I did, please do let me know and I will amend this post (if before Friday at 11:59 pm) or I will include you in the next roundup if later.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

OOTDs: Three Pairs of Pants and One Purse.

Day: Tuesady, March 11, 2014.

Where: CW's Bible Play.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I love the ease of this outfit.  I normally try to dress up more if I am going to the kids' school, especially if it is for a play/performance, but I wasn't feeling up to getting kitted up that day, so I figured a dash of color would make up for the fact that I am wearing jeans.  :-)

The Must Have Tee is super soft and just warm enough, even though it is fairly lightweight (see my original review of it here).  I didn't have to wear a coat that day, by some minor miracle in this Canadian winter of ours, we had a day of semi-warmth.

Cool Factor: (2.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest--for both outfits.)  Very pretty, but also very casual.  Just somewhere right in the middle of cool...

Anecdote from the Day: You can never hear kids when they are performing, huh?  There is a chance CW did say her line properly, but we aren't sure.  They all sang the songs really well, though.

Day: Wednesday, March 12, 2014.

Where:  Home sewing and school pickup.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  Again, a super high score for comfort.  Those Pure Collection pants are sublime, and I am so glad I have these in both the navy and the black color (I am wearing the black now as I type).  Even though I haven't been able to do a lot of in-depth reviews of Pure Collection lately (budget constraints, boo!), I do look over there from time to time (and keep their coupons in my sidebar) since I LOVE everything I have from them.  Looks like they have a near dupe of these pants in their current collection called the Pure Silk Tie Waist Trousers, and I kind of think I need to save up for the ones in jade.  My pants are made from a heavy poly mix, so I suspect the silk ones would be even more luxurious and special.  Pure is having a big mid-season sale and the pieces in there look to be very pretty, especially all the cashmere in sherbert shades.  The Pure Silk Tie Waist Trousers are not in the sale (the sister, the silk tie waist skirt is, though), but you can use the sidebar coupon to get an additional 25% off those, if you like the look.  (The 25% off does not come off the mid-season pieces, though.)

Cool Factor: (2.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest--for both outfits.)  The Downtown Field Jacket seems to be the coolest bit of this look, as it is so popular that J. Crew keeps bringing it back season after season.  The rest of the outfit is fine, of course, but not especially cool.

Anecdote from the Day: My stinking Pants Sloper I worked SO HARD on is TOO BIG!  I spent hours redrafting the sloper into a new pants pattern with a yoke and pockets only to make the whole thing up and find the whole thing was too big by one whole inch on each side.  Sigh.  I put the redrafted pattern against what I had made in class and it was the same, so the only thing I can think is that because I wore tights and not bare skin to the lessons that the friction from the fabric allowed the pants to stay up since they definitely were falling off of me when I finished all the hard work on the pants I made at home.  I can save them, I took an inch off each side seam and they fit better, but still a bit loose.  I think I need to redraft the pattern again and hope for the best.  I can save the pants I worked on, but they will likely become "at home" "fat day" pants.

At least the crotch length and depth is accurate, so small favors, right?

Day: Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Where: Finishing the kindergarten class quilt, the Veronica Mars movie, and Girls Night Out with B. and T.

Ease of Wear: (3.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  The Peter Pilotto for Target tee is very soft and comfortable (and worth the $20 I spent, only thing from the collection not overpriced in my estimation).  The points off are for the jeans, which while look fine on me are just not *super, over the top,* pj comfy the way I have decided I want all my pants to feel.  LOL.  I am getting soft in my old age. 

Cool Factor: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest--for both outfits.)  This outfit is pretty cool.  I think the whole look makes me look a touch younger, maybe not super youthful, but maybe, possibly, *not a mom with three kids* young?  :-)  Here's to hoping, anyhow.

I cannot believe how much the people in the UK were willing to pay for these Target pieces.  They were sold at Net-a-Porter UK and from what I could tell they simply took the American price and put a pound sign in front of the amount instead of a dollar sign.  So this tee would have been 20 pounds, or nearly $35.  Yikes.  And then of course some of the items sold out and the ebay people over there then double or tripled the UK price.  Seriously.  Wow.  I made a joke with some of my UK blog friends that I could go to the local Target, buy most of the pieces on sale, and then make a *stupid* amount of profit if I did that.  I guess we didn't want these pieces as much as the ladies over there did.

Anecdote from the Day: My hubby and I love Veronica Mars.  I loved it enough to obsessively watch it, but my husband was obsessive enough to actually give money to the kickstarter to get the movie funded.  It turned out that he couldn't give money in the end since the whole project was funded in one day (fast!!!).  That's some serious love.  It was a good movie, but it was weird, like it should have been on TV, but there I was, along with other adults reliving their *decade old* youth in a theater.  Did anyone else out there see it?

Okay, that's all for now. 

If you have a Boden review, I will be writing the BWRR up tomorrow if you would like to include yours in it.  You can either comment your review here at the Boden Reviews tab, or you can email me at dinagideon AT aim DOT com.

Monday, March 24, 2014

OOTD/Made by Me File: Burda 7137...Just in Time for the Derby.

Hey, all!  First up will be the ootd portion followed by a closer look at the Burda dress pattern and how I made it work for my body.

Day: Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Where: School Auction (theme this year is Kentucky Derby).  You can see what I wore to last year's auction here (fourth outfit).

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I took a half-point off because the Boden shoes pinched just a touch by the end of the evening.  I didn't have a seat, so I stood the entire live auction portion.  Whatever.  I felt so good in my dress I didn't care.  :-)  This dress is so comfortable since I made it exactly to my measurements, in a stretch cotton sateen, and lined it it in a stretch nylon tricot. 

Cool Factor: (3 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest--for both outfits.)  I'll give it a 3 because I am so stinking proud of my creation, but I *know* it really isn't *that* cool.  I definitely resemble a lady who is on her way to a proper English wedding, though, so I am sure I would fit right in with that crowd.

BTW, we were asked to wear the hats.  If you have been reading long enough, you'll remember me picking this up after spending an evening trolling Burlington Coat Factory with my brother last year.  So glad I found a reason to wear it. 

Anecdote from the Day: The Mint Juleps were so strong, OMG.  The first one I drank nearly tipped me over the edge.  I chased the next one with some diet ginger ale and that seemed to help cut its effect.

The quilt I had made for CW's kindergarten class went for $325, so that made all that freaking time and energy I put into it worth it.  It was my first quilt and although it is technically not as good as it could be, it was really cute with all the squares having been hand-painted and drawn by all of her classmates.

I saw this beautiful fabric first when I spied this McCall's pattern a few months ago.  While in Joann's searching for some quilting and knitting supplies, I caught a glimpse of the same fabric, just in a cotton sateen and not a knit fabric (still hunting for the knit fabric, fwiw, would love a tee in this print).  I was sold on it, but was trying to figure out what to make with it, and then it dawned on me that I could use it for the auction dress, since I had plans to make it anyhow.

Pairing it with a pattern proved more challenging.  I initially wanted to use a vintage Vogue pattern from the 60s, but I knew that the button back and other details would make it a more time consuming project than I wanted to sew up.  I also thought of using this Kwik Sew pattern, but I thought the challenge of grading the pattern's top half and bottom half to match my pear-shaped measurements may be too hard (it also wasn't as fitted looking as I wanted), so I scrapped that idea.  Then I spied this classic sheath pattern from Burda and realized that I could make it work since the pattern could be graded out at the seams rather than through a slash and spread method.  I was stoked.

I cut all the bits out (only three pattern pieces total) and measured the tissue and determined that a 12 up top (equivalent to a 38 Euro size) and an 18 at low hip (equivalent to a 46 Euro size) would work best for me.  What I ended up doing was starting at the waist of the dress pieces (very clearly marked, btw, on the pattern) I took my hip curve ruler and carefully drew a long curved line (over a span of about ten inches--I have a L-O-N-G hipline) from the size 12 at the waist to a size 18 at the hip.  It ended up being the precise right measurement to draw and it perfectly follows my own natural curve.  If I had shortened the length, it would have had too much fullness at my high hip, which is much narrower than my low hip.

A bonus of this fitting so well is that it was super comfortable in this stretchy fabric.  I could, if I ever so desired, go *down* a size (so grade from a 12 to a 16 instead) the next time I make it in a stretch woven.  I also am thrilled to know that I can make this exact pattern again, with my alterations, in a non-stretch woven, and I just happen to have a really pretty textured ivory cotton that may look very nice in this silhouette.

I love that I have a pattern that can work as a sloper since it mirrors me very well.  I plan to use it against other patterns when trying something new, and definitely can use the skirt portion of the dress pattern to create a pencil skirt pattern.

The sleeves were not super tricky to set in, but of course I still didn't get them 100% perfect.  There is a touch of puckering in both.

The zip was easy to install, and I absolutely love my Bernina invisible zip foot.  I feel like a rock star every time I put an invisible zip in, lol, even though objectively I know the foot is doing all the work for me.

The vent was kind of a pain, and I don't think Burda did a great job of explaining how to properly do it.  I think my version looks okay, but could definitely be better.

The lining went in well and will be great for any time I want to wear this dress with tights.  I still need to attach the lining to the vent pieces, but having not done it did not mean it showed, so thank goodness for small things.

Conclusion--I will make this dress again, and I highly recommend it for any woman with a pear shape who will take the time to find the right measurements and curve on the paper pattern since it worked so well for me.  I turned to sewing, in part, because of dresses like this sheath dress.  Often if I wanted a dress like this from ready to wear I was forced to wear a sack up top to ensure I got something that fit properly through the hips and legs.  No more, hahahaha. 

Okay, that's it for now.  Anyone else try this pattern?  Would love to see what you all made!