Thursday, July 31, 2014

Made by Me Files: Mini Wardrobe Pieces Four, Five, and Putting Them All Together.

I also could have entitled this post "I MADE LEGGINGS, you all!"

But that seems super lame, and unless you sew, you may not realize that making leggings is actually kind of a hurdle to pass through.  But more on that later.

First, before I begin, I wanted to let you know that a ton of great Boden reviews have been coming through the Boden Reviews tab here at the blog, I have seen some great reviews at other friend's blogs, and I have received a few messages, too, so I am very excited to get the next roundup started, tomorrow am.  Bright and Early.  The children willing, of course.  ;-)  CC, ever the best blog friend, commented on the last blog post and let us know that you could use the code 4Y4D to receive 20% off.  Thank you, CC, for the code.  If you have a review you want to send this way, you can email dinagideon AT aim DOT com or leave a review at the Boden Reviews tab, whichever is easier for you!

Okay, onto the mini wardrobe conclusion.  Reminder, the first post on this (pieces one, two, and three) is here.

I struggled a bit trying to figure out what the fifth and final piece of this mini wardrobe was going to be.  For a hot second I considered a cardigan or a scarf, but wasn't really feeling either of those since I really wanted this to be a true summer wardrobe. 

And although I don't make it a regular practice of mine to wear leggings in summer, because DC HOT/HUMID/UGH, but I also have been known to wear the shorter variety with a long tank or flowy linen blouse under the right circumstances.  So that's when it hit me, make the leggings. 

I knew that making them was on my bucket list of things to make since I love them, need them, and don't really love paying over $30 for the good ones at J. Crew, which only ever come in black/grey/navy, anyhow.  And the cute colorful ones at Target are (forgive me, Target) crap.

Thing about sewing leggings, or any fitted knitwear, is that you have to sew them sew that they fit with *negative* ease because they are meant to stretch.  That means the flat pattern is significantly smaller than my measurements and if I were to have sewn these up in a woven material, they may have fit CW well.  ;-)

Add to that the fact that while you can sew these up on a regular sewing machine (and bits of this were sewn up that way), it is really great to have the serger on hand to help with sewing the knits up as the way the stitches and loops are formed on it make the seams super stretchy and means that pulling these on and off your body won't bust the seams of the garment. 

Serging also makes this project super fast.  Of course if you *accidentally* sew up the front leg pieces to each other instead of sewing the front of the leg to the back, you will have a LOT of seam ripping to undo.  Not that I made that mistake, of course.  Cough, cough.

This is not necessarily a great first project for a first time sewer, but if you really are digging sewing, and want to make up some actual functional leggings that fit really well (even over my very curvy hips!), this Kwik Sew pattern (3636) is a wonderful jumping off point.  Every bit of the directions was excellent, and I did everything suggested by them. 

Although most of my information on this pattern is at the review at Pattern review (link at bottom of this post), I highly recommend checking out this link as this sewing blogger has a good review of how she made her leggings.  Here, a fabric store in Australia wrote up a great post on the waistband application that is pretty much the same as what Kwik Sew wants you to do.  I did as asked, and it sewed up very well.

This is a button-up loose fit blouse that I sewed up using a vintage (kind of) pattern from 1979, Vogue 7088.  I was gifted this pattern by a sewing teacher, and was waiting for the right fabric to sew it up in (well, I have some Liberty tana lawn, but wanted to wait until I had tried it on something less expensive first).  Anyhow, knowing that I would want to use the Tropical Print Rayon Challis I bought from Fabric Mart, I also needed a pattern that would look equally good with shorts, leggings, and a dress.  I knew that if the top was too tight, then I couldn't wear it over the dress, and it would be comical with the leggings.  I also knew that buttoning up the blouse would help with wardrobing options (layered over a cami gives it a different look that buttoning it up).  So that is why I chose this one, it is long enough and loose enough to wear with leggings, breezy enough to wear with shorts, and versatile enough to not look super silly with a dress in the same pattern.

This blouse probably took me the longest to sew up of all five pieces since the pattern has two front pieces with self facings, a button placket, a collar, a yoke (with a facing, too), and a back.  The front and back pieces have gathered bits, too.

Surprisingly none of this was especially hard.  It may have helped that I sewed up a little boy's version of a Hawaiian shirt before this (for Rex from this Butterick pattern), and a lot of what I had to do for his shirt, I had to do for mine.  So good practice and all.

I really like how flowy it is and the gathering at the yoke looks really pretty.  Next time I will add a square shoulder adjustment since I can see the side bits of the sleeves poking up instead of hanging down.  I should just recognize that and do it every time since clearly I am thinking patterns will magically do it for me or something.

Here is the shirt inside out.  The yoke facing and collar nicely attach to one another.  Provided I take care of this blouse, it should last a long time.  Considering how much I have seen women's Hawaiian shirts retail for, I feel like I did well at around $7 for fabric, $1.50 for buttons, $3 for thread, free interfacing, time consumed (have no idea what to rater $$ for my time), and a free pattern.  :-)

I definitely became besties with my serger with this shirt and the leggings.  I managed to break one of the threads in the looper when attaching the elastic to the leggings, but considering how much I have used it, I would say that is some success.  Yay!
Here are nine possible combinations using these five pieces.  Admittedly # 3 and 6 are similar, as are #4 and 9, but even discounting those, there are seven solid combos here.  I may just bring these five pieces with me on a vacation next year to see if I can actually make this happen for real and under actual strict limitations.  I have worn all five pieces out and about, with the shorts being in the number one spot for most use so far.  I think the leggings will end up winning since I can probably get away with wearing them in the winter here (well most winters here, anyhow, not last winter's freeze fest).

Here are the five patterns I used. 

Okay, that's all for now.  I am off to go watch other people sew on Project Runway.

Review of the Kwik Sew 3636 leggings is here at Pattern Review.

Review of Vogue 7088 loose fit blouse is here at Pattern Review.

Review of all five pieces together for my contest entry is here at Pattern Review.

Have a great night!

Monday, July 28, 2014

OOTDs: Preppy Patriotism.

Before I start this brief (and dated, lol) outfit of the days post, I wanted to let you Boden fans know that I have put up one photo of the new Sophia Dress (seen here at this post) at my Facebook page.  It is not available to purchase online yet, but for some reason, mine was sent to me early.  I don't know when it will be available, but the moment I see it pop up, I will let you all know.  I will be doing a review of it soon, likely in the next Boden Weekly Review Roundup.

Okay, onto the outfits!


Day: Friday, July 4, 2014.

Where: Celebrating America's birthday the usual way--BBQ and FIREWORKS!

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I thought for sure I would never get into these shorts when I first received them, they just looked so tiny.  They worked, but I still thought I shouldn't at *my age.*  Meh.  I got over myself and just wore them already on July 4 since they worked so nicely with my (ancient old school J. Crew) striped tee.  I was fine wearing the whole outfit the whole day, no extra worries that I was showing too much skin.  ;-)

Cool Factor: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest--for both outfits.) I think this outfit makes me look younger and I dig that.  The shorts, btw, are the Hummingbird Short from the J. Crew Factory store last spring.  I bought them in a ten, and that size worked well for my frame.  AudreyBella has a great review of them here. 

Anecdote from the Day:  The afternoon BBQ was at a friend's house and one of my friend's dad was there, too.  He had recently lost his mom and we got to talking about her estate and in the process he shared some great stories about her life.  It is so nice to sit down and reflect on what others have done in their lives.  What a great way to remember that we all have some kind of impact on the world, however small.  I was so glad he shared her stories with me.  Very touching!

Day: Tuesday, June 24, 2014.

Where: Did something that day...probably involved picking up one of the kids from their summer camp classes.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  Another preppy Old School J. Crew outfit.  :-)  This madras jumper is either from 2006 or 2007 and really fills the void of proper preppy that seems to only be found at Vineyard Vines or Brooks Brothers these days.  The cotton stretches out a bit through the day and the style is very easy, so the whole outfit was super easy to wear.  Bit short, but nothing scandalous.

Cool Factor: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest--for both outfits.) Looks polished and preppy, and classic American.  I would say this was a winner, especially if you live anywhere where preppy is a *thing.*

Anecdote from the Day:  At 14 I had my very first date ever to Ballston Mall with a boy I met from school.  He and I didn't last (that one date was it) and we lost touch until recently.  Of course FB is great for connecting all sorts of people, including former first dates.  Anyhow his birthday was on June 24, and even though it wasn't listed on FB, I remembered from all those years ago and wished him a Happy Birthday.  I hope my freaky birthday memory didn't weird him out too much, lol.

Day: Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

Where: As lame as this sounds, I pretty much spent the day cleaning and sewing.  But at least I had a cute outfit on...

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  This was brilliantly easy to wear.  The shorts are a bit large on me through the waist, so fall a bit low, making them super comfortable.  The material (hey, yo, poly, lol) doesn't wrinkle and crazily enough is more breathable than you would think they would be.  The top is made from the linen knit that J. Crew likes to use so even though it is thinner, it is very nice for hot summer weather.

Cool Factor: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest--for both outfits.) I have always like turquoise and bright red together, so I like the look.  It is a lot of look, though.

I took a ten in the pleated crepe shorts, which is the opposite of what everyone else did with these shorts.  I had purchased them in a size 8 (in the navy) initially and while they fit, because of the way my thighs are, the pleats bagged open a bit.  So I repurchased them in a 10 in the red and navy, and these fit much better.  The price I paid was more than fine, btw.  (I think it was $18 a pair.Gigi's review of these is here.

The linen tee in anchors is like all my other J. Crew tees, it runs big, so the xs was the right size to pick, especially since this fabric stretches out.  

Anecdote from the Day:  I spent so much time going going going on our vacation to NC, SC, and GA that is was nice to have a day at home.  I feel like such an introvert purposely not going out and seeing people.

Okay, that's it for now.  Hope everyone is great!  If you have a review for the linen tee in anchors, I would love to add your link to my review.  Just let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Made by Me Files: Mini Wardrobe Pieces One, Two, Three.

So Pattern Review is hosting a mini wardrobe contest that runs for the month of July.  Basically you create five separate pieces of clothing that can be mixed six different ways (at least).  It is a challenge, but one that I kind of love doing, since it allows me to go all crazy, color/print wise, while making sure to create pieces that can actually be used together, because let me be honest here...I would probably just sew up a whole slew of summer dresses and shorts if left to my own devices.  ;-)  I haven't officially entered the contest (I always wait until everything is done to do so), but since I am three pieces into the five total (with the other two prepped to get sewn up soon), I figured a post showing off the first three pieces was in order.  Eventually I will write up a post highlighting the other two pieces, and then I will do a compilation post showing off how I actually can mix all five pieces together.

I won't be spending as much time discussing the details of construction, instead focusing more on the styling bits, but I will at least link to my pattern reviews of the pieces so if you are interested in more about how it was sewn up, etc., you can go there to find out more. 

Rust Ponte Jersey (leggings); Multi-Colored Tropical Floral Rayon Challis (dress and button-up blouse); Pink Cotton Floral Eyelet (top); and Aqua Blue Cotton Sateen (shorts). (All fabric from Fabric Mart, btw.  The rust jersey was a freebie in a bundle, btw!)
Above are the four fabrics I chose to use to make the five pieces.  The only one being used twice is the tropical rayon challis, as this printed fabric is the very anchor for the mini wardrobe, with the other fabrics serving as pieces that will work well with the challis.  Of course I haven't actually combined the pieces I have made with the challis and photographed it yet, but they look nice together. 

I have not made the rust ponte leggings yet, nor have I made the tropical print button-up blouse, so those will be in the next "made by me files" blog post.

I have made the tropical print dress, the pink cotton floral eyelet top, and the aqua blue cotton sateen shorts, and those are the three pieces you will see in the post.

This dress is based off a fairly simple pattern, but one that gives a lot of bang for the literal buck (seriously, the pattern was $0.97 at Wal-Mart).  It is the Simplicity Sew Simple A1636, which is a sleeveless sundress with an elasticized waist, gathered scoop-neckline, and has POCKETS!  Woo!

I had to lengthen this dress by three whole inches and use a very narrow hemline (1 inch) in order to ensure it wasn't super short.  Seriously short, like Johnnie b. dress short.  ;-)  I just added the three inches to the hemline since it is a straight skirt and doesn't have any features that I would mess up by adding it there.

The blousing effect at the waist is awesome, and since I am generously endowed below but not so much above, I feel like this style feature helps balance me.

I cut a size 10 for the bodice with a size 12 length at the shoulder line to help with my sqaure shoulders.  While that helped give me more room between my shoulders and the armpit, it didn't help with the gaping at the back neckline (really evident in the next two photos).  Next time I have to not be lazy and just do a proper square shoulder adjustment (cut a ten, but do this to get the room I need).  The waist and upper hips were also cut to a 10, but I graded out to a size 14 in the hips.  It fits PERFECT.  Holla!  :-)

I was so excited to finish this in time for our trip to Hilton Head last week.  I wore it out one evening, and it was just the right amount of breezy and soft for the fairly warm/humid night.

The rayon challis was pre-washed and machine-dried to solve the eventual shrinkage that comes with working with woven rayon.  As anyone who has owned any rayon pieces from Boden can testify, that fabric shrinks something awful, especially if it isn't pre-shrunk, which I fear Johnnie and co. do not do...

After our night out we took a walk on the beach and OMG was it ever windy.  BUT--this photo shows just how drapey this fabric is...look at it nicely blowing in response to the OTT wind.

BTW, CW look so pretty in this picture!!!

'Cause I am a product of the 80s, I have a fierce love for loud colors, crop tops, and gym shorts.  Now because I am not planning on truly reliving it the way I did in the actual 80s, I decided to create the idea of the crop tops and gym shorts in beautiful fabrics and perfectly suited to my current lifestyle and not my 12 year old self.

The crop top is made using McCall's 4320, which is an "Easy One Yard Top" pattern from 1989.  I bought it off ebay for maybe a dollar because I dig the style and the fact that I could use tiny scraps of material to make the top (this took nowhere near a yard, fwiw). 

The shorts are based on the June 2014 Burda Style Magazine's Drawstring Gym Shorts pattern (08-2014-116).  I traced the pattern, but unlike some Burda patterns that have to be traced, this one took hardly anytime at all.

The top is a straight size 10, which fits exactly right.  I didn't have to worry about the hip measurement, which is a nice change of pace (I guess pear shapes should always look for crop top patterns!).  I did lengthen the bodice by an inch, because although I dig a shorter blouse, I do not dig showing off my navel.  I am not looking to be cast as an extra on Saved by the Bell, thankyouverymuch.

The shorts were cut for the size 42, which is fine, and they do fit me nicely.  I have fairly large thighs and bottom, and based on how much room I ended up having, I could have possibly gone down to a size 40, but I really like how comfortable they are, so not really regretting my decision.

The cotton eyelet is beautiful in real life, and maybe when I do a compilation post I will take a few close-up shots so you can see the detail of the flower embroidery.  The shorts are actually made from a J. Crew cotton sateen with lycra, so the same material all of my favorite J. Crew shorts are made from.  Yay!  I bought enough of this fabric, btw, to make a pair of pants, too...

Back of the shirt.  The pattern is not especially complex.  The front looks so much like the back that I have put it on backwards more than once.  I need to get tags for my clothing already. 

Review of Cotton Eyelet top here.
Review of Cotton Sateen gym shorts here.
Review of Tropical Print Rayon Challis dress here.  (This one I will be publishing tomorrow at Pattern Review.)

Okay, that's it for now.  Are any of you entering this contest?  I have seen some really cute combos already, and am looking forward to all the final results.  I kind of wish they did this for every season...I dig this approach to sewing A LOT!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Boden: Autumn/Fall 2014 Has Rolled Out!

Good morning! 

Well I know most of you knew this, and so did I, but it is still really exciting to see a new rollout from Boden, especially since they tend to do fewer rollouts than other companies (but still more than their old "four annually" of years past).

I know many of you are hunting for a coupon of some sort, so I wanted to let you know that the affiliate has given me a 15% off with free shipping coupon that is valid once you spend $50 or more.  (That's easy enough to do with the new stuff.  If you are hoping for free shipping for clearance items, then the $50 limit is harder to reach.  BTW, only "current season" items will receive the 15% off.)  That new coupon is at the bottom of this post, in the sidebar, and in any prior posts that I published about the fall rollout (dresses/skirts/pants picks here, coats/shoes/accessories picks here, and knitwear/tops picks here, plus the press day images post here).  I figure google takes a while to get the bots to properly locate the actual "hey, Fall has come to Boden land" post I write every year, and I know everyone wants a coupon, so I will just make it easier on everyone by putting it everywhere it applies.

Okay.  So onto the actual stuff...

1. The layout of the website is similar, but they are now using real models to show off their items instead of the headless woman they had been using for years.  Edda, of old school J. Crew, is there. So yay for that, but I will kind of miss Ms. Headless...I always wondered what she looked like.  Anyone else?

2. Not all the fall items are available today, including the GORGEOUS Sophia dress I had preordered.  I *think* I remember seeing that it was set to debut in late August, so I am not super surprised, but I do want to let you know that if you preordered, some of your items will be on their way to you later than this week.

3. A lot of spring/summer items (in some colors) are now part of the "regular" line, including one of my favorites, the Casual Jersey Dress (review of the peach here--part of the clearance line--and the navy here--regular season).  Hmm.  I think it's fine if Boden wants to keep it as a regular season item, 'cause it is pretty awesome, but ugh on the price.  I mean *hello* on increasing the price.  What?  So take a look at the clearance ones, but I am still giving a huge side eye to this. 

4. The clearance section is fully stocked with a ton of stuff, including a lot of lovelies from last fall.  Those items are decently priced for what you receive, so if you want fall stuff, but can't make the current items work, budget-wise, the clearance section may have something for you.  :-)

5. There is a new tab, called "explore."  This has those features that if your computer is ancient may cause it to explode.  LOL.  They are fun, and show off different items from different views.  I always love looking through these as the Boden team puts a lot of detail in their work.  I sometimes even manage to remember to show the images off here, but that is happening less and less these days.

Okay, that's all for now.  I am spending the. entire. day. on the road going back to Virginia, so it is very doubtful I can answer questions as they come to me, but I will try.  If I can't, sometimes my blog friends who have been Boden fans as long as I have been will jump in with their two cents, which is more than fine by me. 

Tomorrow I hope to be back with more!  You all enjoy looking around, let me know if you see anything that you love or loathe.  Also definitely chime in with your comments on all the new changes over at Boden.

The below coupon is valid on all purchases, but the affiliate program only had these banner type coupons available in mini Boden clothing.  Received the new banners this morning (7/22/14).  Boden doesn't care what you buy Boden does care if you buy clearance only--if you only buy clearance you will not receive free shipping.  In order to receive free shipping, you have to have $50 of regular merchandise in the basket to receive the 15% off and free shipping (but again, no 15% off any clearance).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Boden Weekly Review Roundup: Super Sale Edition.

Hi, all!  Long time no talk.  Still in a situation where I am not able to communicate super easily, but I will try to make sure to get back to every comment/question as I can fit it in (we are on vacation, and will be out until Monday).

Anyhow, I did manage to see a reduction in Boden sale prices a couple of days ago and wrote more about it here.  There is no free shipping right now, so please be aware of that.  There are no codes for it, either, so if something you love went on greater sale and is in a "likely to sell out before free shipping comes back," you may have to deal with the $10 shipping charge.  I did pay the charge a few weeks back, and the clothing came SUPER fast from the UK and PA, so maybe they make things more speedy when the money is spent on shipping?  Who knows?

Okay, onto the roundup!

Casual Jersey Dress.  Size 6L.  I bought this one after I fell in LOVE with the peach version I wore here.  You'll note that I did size down to the 6L from the 8L and I don't regret it.  I am NOT returning the peach in the 8L since I think that one, with its more loose fit and lighter coloring is quite nice for church and subbing (read: more modest/conservative).  This navy one is meant to be more of a date night/backyard party one with the darker color and closer fit.  ;-)  My hubby likes both, fwiw.

Length is fab, but I wonder if going with the regular length would have been better for the date night/party look I wanted to achieve.  In the end, I do own a sewing machine and serger, and if at a later date I want to shorten it, I can, so I will keep it rather than exchanging for the 6R.

Side view.  You can see how more fitted it is in this size.  The 8 swung away from my body a bit more.

Back View.  Like the peach version, I like the back view, which happens rarely with my clothing and my pear shaped body.  Sorry, btw, for how dark this photo is...the backlighting messed with my camera's sensor, underexposing some shots and overexposing others.

Casual Jersey Dress
Casual Jersey Dress.  This dress is only at 30% off, so of all the reviews today, this is the one that is barely part of the "super sale," but this color is one of the less popular colors so it is the one that is more greatly reduced.

Flowershow Dress and Summer Fun Dress.  Evi, a blog friend, posted this review (and gave us photos--above) on the Boden Reviews tab.  She writes of the two dresses:

I received the Flowershow Dress and the Summer Fun Dress! The Flowershow Dress is a made of a gorgeous fabric. Many reviews said that the waist is too loose, actually the waist could really be more nipped in but a belt really helps! The Summer Fun Dress is made of linen. In the blue colour it almost looks a bit like light blue denim and it fits me quite well. My measurements are 91cm-71cm-110cm (36"-28"-43") and I`m 170cm (5'6") tall, both dresses are size 12L and fit quite well. I had planned to keep only one of them but now I love them both and can`t decide on one.

Flowershow Dress
Summer Fun Dress
Flowershow Dress and Summer Fun Dress.  Stocks are fairly healthy for the Summer Fun Dress, unless you are a lady who needs long sizes.  Those are selling out.  The price can't be beat...$47.40!  The Flowershow Dress is mostly full stock, barring a few more popular colors. 

Nancy Dress
Nancy Dress.  On Monica and on Lou, you can see why this one is such a favorite amongst all of us Boden fans.  :-)  (I reviewed it a bazillion months ago, I get that I could have had it a super sale price, but I am fine with the 20% off I received since I have worn it a few times since purchasing it.  But for those of you that received it at this awesome sale price, yay!)

Bistro Crop Trousers
Bistro Crop Trouser.  Lou models these for us.  These are a favorite style of hers, and seeing how lovely they fit her, I can understand why.

Maya Maxi
Maya Maxi.  Monica had her eye on this for a long time, and finally it is hers.  The colors are just stunning IRL. 

Holiday Wedge
Holiday Wedges.  You can spy these on Lou in her first review, and as worn with the Nancy Dress.
Leila Ponte Dress
Leila Dress.  Keilalexandra wrote a quickie review of this dress in the last BWRR and she has this to say about the dress:

The bright blue colorway in the Leila Dress is really quite pretty. I returned mine because I ordered the wrong size (I'm a size 0/2 at J.Crew and the size 4 in this dress was too big all-over) and wanted a
lighter-weight fabric for all-season wear, but it would be a great fall/winter dress or all-season for a cooler climate.  

Thank you to all my blog friends who posted reviews on their blogs, posted reviews to here, or emailed me.  :-)

Current Sale Link (still no free shipping, though):