Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Boden: Fall 2014 Preview Live in the States! Also New Arrivals for Summer 2014!

UPDATE (05/08/14): Today Boden had their London Press Day and released a lot of images of their fall and winter items.  I wrote a blog post highlighting some of my favorites, if you would like to check that out.  :-)

Well, you all have likely seen the whole of this collection over at the German site after I blogged about the preview going live over in Deutschland before here in the United States or in the UK.  But, now we have it fully in English and with dollar signs instead of Euro symbols.  So enjoy taking a look around the Boden Preview site for fall 2014.

By the way, before I continue, I want to give a shoutout to CC, one of the blog friends here for telling me that the site was live and for hunting down a preview code for 20% off with free shipping and returns.  Use the code H6G9 in the shopping bag for extra savings. 

I have definitely looked around and found a few very cute things to earmark for preview purchasing, but because of the schedule I am keeping right now (subbing nearly everyday since returning from our trip to Florida last week), I am not in any place to do a picks post yet.  What I have seen, though, I figure will make for a very knitwear/tops/shoes picks post as opposed to my usual dresses/skirts/coats heavy picks posts.  I am reading that many of you are likely in the same boat.  I think the dresses are just a bit too similar to past years' offerings and they are not in colors or prints that are special enough for me to notice.  And since I already have a *stupid* number of Boden dresses in my closet, maybe it's okay?  ;-)

In other news, Boden brought out some new arrivals yesterday morning and while I was able to announce it over at the facebook page, I didn't get a chance to tell you all here, so I apologize for the delay.  There are some beautiful items, but I specifically was swooning over the Laid Back Dress in orange, and the Maya Maxi in the multi feathers print.  They both scream summer to me, the first being made from a pretty linen printed fabric, and the second in my very favorite summer silhouette, the maxi dress.

There are also a few new arrivals in mini Boden, from what I can tell, and as per usual, the darling girls dresses get me...every single time.  :-)

I have a coupon code from the affiliate program that takes 15% off with free shipping and returns if you have a need for a code/coupon.  There is one in the sidebar and one at the bottom of the post.

So what are you all eyeing?  Excited or lackluster about the fall preview?  Stoked or indifferent about the new summer garments?

Talk with you all soon!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Boden: Fall 2014 Preview is Live! In Germany!

Welcome to the Fall Preview!

UPDATE (05/08/14): Today Boden had their London Press Day and released a lot of images of their fall and winter items.  I wrote a blog post highlighting some of my favorites, if you would like to check that out.  :-)

UPDATE:  Thank you to CC who let us know (below in the comments) that the Boden USA Preview site is up and running.  She also gave us the code for 20% off which is H6G9.  I should be back later tonight announcing it officially at the blog, but don't have the time right now to write up an entire blog post.  :-)

Thank you to Lou (What Lou Wore 365) for announcing that the Fall Preview 2014 is live on the German Boden Preview site.  Because I am never willing to accept things, I tried the bodenpreview.com website and it popped up as the regular Boden USA site, so I figure for now Germany's Boden preview site is where we can see all that will be available for this year's autumn collection from Boden.

Haven't had a chance to look around, but I highly encourage all of you to do so and to please report back with your favorites.  :-)  And as you all know by now, I won't be able to resist writing up a picks post eventually.  And don't worry, I won't be writing it in German, unless there is a need.

Auf wiedersehn! Und guten nacht!

Boden: What a Catch! 25% Off Everything!

Happy almost the weekend!

We returned home just fine, I love how quick the flight from FL is to VA, would be nice if we could make the trip more often, but I am a huge sucker for all things Disney, so I understand if you don't necessarily agree with me.  ;-)

Okay, so usually Boden gives us a grab bag of items for the last catch of the day, but not this weekend.  Johnnie B. and co. have given us the entire site off this weekend!  Woo!  (Well, except for the usual "not on clearance items" of course.

I am not going to write up any reviews here at this post, like I have done with the posts I wrote on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, but I will encourage you to look at all of those for the quick reviews, and also the latest BWRRs for any reviews written in the last few months.

I do want to mention that Lisa (in yesterday's post's comment section) said that she used the code R174 on her shopping bag page and it took an additional 15% off of her shopping bag, so the sale did stack, which is pretty flipping awesome.  I just tried it on the items I ordered, and it worked, and did indeed save me a bit of money.  In fact, my big return from Boden's summer preview order just processed, but the exchange didn't, so I went ahead and contacted Boden and asked them to cancel the two items I wanted in exchange instead.

SO THANK YOU LISA!  Of course, this stackable promo may be a "whoopsie" on Boden's part, so don't be surprised if it goes away.  :-P

I went ahead and ordered the Selina Dress in the size up (to make up for the way too tight pencil skirt lining of the 6L), and the Ariette Dress in the size down (to make up for the HUGE size it was on me, though that could be a mistake--even so, the reviews are not being kind to it, so sizing down seems smart).  I decided to spring for a few Johnnie b. items since they are usually priced very well when on deep discount.  I chose to get the Anna Dress in a 15-16 (measurements fit that way, worried about the length, but might be able to bring the hem down), two pairs of Leggings (I chose the 16+ for the best length and coverage), and the classic swimsuit in the red stripe (same size as I purchased last year in a 15-16).

Okay, so go ahead and enjoy (sale) shopping and let us know if you found any especially great deals out there!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

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

Good Thursday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk with you all soon!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Boden: Catch of the Day! Dresses!

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 21, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you and we'll talk soon!

Friday, April 18, 2014

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

UPDATE: I wore the dress in Florida on our second evening of the vacation, and it was a hit.  Very easy to wear and exactly the right weight/color/pattern for the evening out at Downtown Disney.  I am eventually going to do an ootd post for the trip, but have decided to add two photos of me wearing this dress there to this post.  They are the first two photos you see below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is what went wrong...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes on this project:

1. Pattern: New Look 6097.

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

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

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

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

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