Wednesday, August 27, 2014

OOTDs: Short. Summer. Hair.

Before I start the ootd post, I received the PURE collection catalog in the mail yesterday.  Although I don't buy a ton from them, I do buy from them when I need a good, high quality basic in a luscious, high quality fabric.  I wear these tie-waisted tapered trousers all the time (that is why I have three pairs--they are in heavy rotation) and their super-soft cashmere keeps me nice and warm in winter (for example, the turtleneck here and the snood here--second outfit).  Anyhow, the catalog featured some beautiful items, and since I forgot to do a spring/summer 2014 look, I figured better late than never by at least getting the fall 2014 rollout off to a good start.  The catalog only featured a 15% off code, but upon checking the affiliate program, I realized I had access to a 25% off code for the blog, so I immediately put that in the sidebar (third or fourth item down on the right hand side).  For those of you who want to see my few picks and stick it out to the end of this post, I have also placed the coupon at the bottom of the post.

Okay, onto the outfits!

Day: Thursday, August 21, 2014.

Where: Hair Cuttery for a haircut and La Madeline for dinner.

Ease of Wear: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) The Boden Santorini dress (here on sale, my original review here), once again, was exceedingly comfortable to wear.  I wanted something that would make me feel good and also look good, and this dress did both.

Cool Factor: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  Love this look, maybe I will try it with a different belt next time. 

Love that CW is so self-assured, look at all those colors/prints/textures.  :-)

Anecdote from the day:  After finding out that I had lost the baby, I knew that I needed some time to do something to make me feel better.  Since CW was heading back to school, and my hair was getting long and heavy, I knew that a visit to the hairdresser and a dinner out to La Madeline was exactly what the doctor ordered.  My dad came along, too, and because he is awesome, even threw in a visit to the local Sweet Frog for a yummy frozen yogurt dessert. 

Day: Monday, August 25, 2014.

Where: Harris Teeter to do some shopping.  Of course.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I ordered the Delancey Slouch Trousers (from Madewell, here) in a size 10 thinking they would fit, but I maybe could have gotten away with the size 8 since the pants are a bit loose.  I am fine with the 10, though, they are really comfortable in the bigger size.

The Linen Piscine Muscle tee (from Madewell) is also quite large and loose in the size I ordered (one up from my J. Crew xs size), but again, doesn't look too bad a bit bigger, and again, very comfy.

The Slide sightseer sandals from Madewell (notice a theme, lol) are my favorite part of the outfit, though.  They are really cool and very easy to wear.  They didn't have the 9.5 available, but that was fine since the 10 I ordered fit perfectly out of the box.  I guess that means you should size up 1/2 size.  ;-)

Cool Factor: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  This is definitely a cool outfit.  The slightly bushy take on the shorter bob (didn't blowdry it that morning) combined with the sunglasses help up the cool, too.  Definitely not polished, but sometimes I don't need to be, right?

Anecdote from the day: A neighbor stopped by who speaks Spanish fluently.  She also speaks French and upon seeing my shirt exclaimed, "oh, you want to go to the pool, huh?"  So while J. Crew apparently screws up their French tees, Madewell doesn't.  Well at least this time.  ;-)

I had gone to the pool that day, so I could reassure her that the dream came true.

Okay, as promised here are the five picks I found from the PURE collection catalog, and below the picks is the coupon for 25% off with free shipping.

Ankle Length Trousers (here).  Since I love my tie-waisted trousers so much, I figure that these have to be a good pair of pants, too.  They are made from a stretch twill and I kind of dig the zip detail on the front of the pant at the hem.

Wool Pencil Skirt (here).  A pencil skirt is a pencil skirt is a pencil skirt, but they have one in a GORGEOUS turquoise color (above on the model).  If you love wool pencil skirts and pretty colors at a pretty good price, this one is probably gonna make you squeal.

Silk Abstract Print Tunic (here).  This is one of the only printed items in their catalog, but what a stunner it is.  And made from silk, too, yum.

Cashmere Blend Coat (here).  This is a wonderful example of what PURE does best, the classic item made very well in a high quality material.  The navy color will be timeless, and unless you don't stay the same size, you could potentially have this one in your closet for years and not ever need to get rid of it.

Luxury Cashmere Textured Sweater (here). Okay, this one costs as much as the coat above, but can't you just imagine yourself on the coldest of days putting this on and being all toasty and warm?  Yeah, tell me I am not alone in dreaming of wearing something like this when it is just awful outside.  If cashmere didn't exist, I would probably have to move to Miami since I just hate hate hate cold weather.  Warm soft wool makes winter tolerable.  But just barely.

Alrighty, take a poke around if you feel like it, and report back if you see something you just love.  Hopefully my budget allows for something from them before too long (probably not the textured sweater, though, sadly).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Made by Me Files: Orange Rib Knit Tee (Burda 6910) and Ikat Shorts (Butterick 5044).

Before I start, I want to extend a very big thank you to everyone who left me a kind message, prayed for us, or reached out to me either by email or facebook or text.  All of your words and thoughts are very special to me, and are helping to "bind my heart," as one of the commenters wrote yesterday.  It is a slow process, healing, but one that I know will happen.  I wish I didn't have experience with heartbreak, but dealing with the awful certainly prepares you for whatever you are handed in life.  I sent the oldest two off to school this morning and part of healing will come from routine, and there certainly is nothing more routine-driven than school.  :-)  Anyhow, don't want to dwell too long on it all, but I didn't want to not show my appreciation for all of the love I have been shown over the past day and a half. 

A little while back I sewed up two summer pieces in very quick succession.  For me, this was a huge success, considering how slowly I typically sew things up.  Granted these two patterns are not especially hard to get cut out and sewn up, but considering it took me a month to sew up this skirt, I wasn't betting on actually getting these two pieces done in any timely manner.  But I got a little bee in my bonnet and managed.  ;-)

I will focus on the tee construction first and then the shorts, but I do want you to know that I am skimming over the nitty-gritty details of sewing it up and instead asking you to visit my pattern review for both items for more on the process of sewing, at this post I will focus more on the visual evidence of what was done, the styling aspect, and sizing info. 

Pattern Review for Burda 6910.
Pattern Review for Butterick 5044. 

I received the knit fabric for the top from Fabric Mart in a bundle.  I had about a yard and a quarter or so, and that was plenty for sewing up this top.  Keep in mind that the top is substantially longer when it starts out (it was probably around mid-thigh length before), so you need extra yardage for that so you can properly ruche the sides.

The shorts fabric is an ikat fabric I found as a remnant at Joann's.  I thought it was so pretty and different, and at $9, I knew I could play around with it without feeling bad if I screwed up.  In the end, I could have used a bit more fabric since I had barely enough to eek out a 3.5" inseam.  I had to do a very narrow hem on the shorts, and while it isn't awful, I know that a thicker hem would look better.

From this vantage point, both pieces look pretty decent on me.  The top is a really an interesting design, and while I can see where it is flattering, I had to really fuss with it to get it to look like this for the photo.  While wearing it in real life, I am not really noticing the fact that it fits not so well in the upper body (shoulder and neckline area), but I could immediately see the issues when I started taking the photos.  This photo is one of the only ones I took where the top looked the way it was supposed to based on the cover art of the pattern.

From the side.  The ruching is a cool effect but maybe one that is lost on my frame since I have a flatter chest and a narrow waist to start with...I think if I had more of a larger bustline, the effect would be more pronounced and flattering.  It's kind of sad (lol) that some of those ruching bits have a bigger bustline than what I have naturally.  ;-)

I like the back view best.  Since the ruching is intentional, the usual wrinkling I get from all my tees from my sway back (see this photo for proof of that) is there, but it is SUPPOSED to be there.  Yay!

The shorts look awesome from the back.  It is rare for me to like my back view in shorts.  I am going to sew this pattern up again just because I like the back view so much.  (With a few small changes implemented, though.)

Here is where you can best see how badly the tee fits me in the upper body and neckline.  I knew the tee would be a bit long and large on my body (even though I sized way down on this pattern--usually I wear a size 38 bust/40 upper hip, and in these I cut a size 36/38), but the neckline really surprised me at how large it was.  It appears that if I want to make this top work on me I have to size down to a 34, cut the neckline binding to a 30 or 32, and then make the rest of this in a size 36, with a shorter overall length.  Not so sure I am going to go there.

Having said that all, I am very proud of this tee, even if it wasn't a slam dunk in fit.  I was able to construct this top perfectly using my serger and my sewing machine, and on both the inside and outside, it looks ready to wear, which is pretty darn cool.

Inside view of the top.  Barring a tiny bit of tricot interfacing peeking through at the hemline, this tee looks a lot like ready to wear tees that I own that have the ruching on the sides (mainly maternity tees, fwiw).

To get the ruching to work, I had to sew the elastic onto the sides of the tee while stretching the elastic to fit.  My zig-zag stitch isn't perfect, but it does the job very well.

If you take any Craftsy courses, you may notice that I sewed this neckline on using Linda Lee's RTW application that she teaches in her "Sewing Fashion Knits" class, lesson 7 on edge finishes (specifically ready-to-wear bindings).  It worked like a charm, and looks like it is supposed to...on the top.  If only the neckline had been small enough to lay flat against the body.  (There is a lot of speculation that the neckline binding was drafted too larger for the neckline to properly lay flat.  If it were a bit smaller than the neckline, then it would lay flat.  I did cut this neckline one size smaller, and then added another inch on top of that just to be sure, but even all of that was not enough.  Sigh.)

My first attempt at twin needle hemlines was disastrous, so actually getting it to sew up properly was such a thrill.  Again, I used Linda Lee's awesome instructions on getting a great hem on knits from her "Sewing Fashion Knits" class.  Worked so well!

This is the inside of the lower hem of the top, the zig-zag is created when the twin needle goes up and down making the stitch on the other side.

While the shorts fit, I know that next time I need to add an extra half-inch to the pattern piece in the middle of the piece to get the shorts to fit better over my hips.  See, I had bought this pattern in the larger sizes and when I sewed up some pj shorts in the size L, they were MASSIVE on me.  So I figured I could sew up the M no problem.  Well, it turns out that my lower hips are just a touch too big for the M size, so I will just add that half inch of space to the pattern piece, and with an extra inch overall in the hip area, I will have a pair of shorts that will fit my frame well.

The pockets are fun and were very easy to add onto the shorts themselves.  Definitely make sure you mark where they belong, though...without those markings it would have been impossible to figure out where to add them. 

Okay, that's all for now.  Hopefully I will get back to sewing up my last pair of shorts for the summer soon.  Thankfully VA always has a fairly warm September/early October, so I should be able to bust those out at least a bit, even though I didn't get them sewn up earlier. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Obviously you can tell that the regularly scheduled programming 'round these parts has been far less regular and far more irregular. 

I was very excited to find August was here upon us, which means for us as a family super slow days and plenty of time to just. get. stuff. done. already.  For me that included making my sewing room super organized and efficient, getting clothing ready to sell or give away, and sitting down and posting here as often as possible.

But, bam, August 1st arrives, and while waiting for August to come I realized something else had not come the way it was supposed to, so on that Friday morning, I asked my husband to stop at the CVS on the way home and buy me a pregnancy test.

And because I have already had many pregnancies under my belt, I knew that there was no way it would be negative, but since most ob/gyn offices won't invite you to come on in to discuss your pregnancy without a positive test, I took one as soon as enough time had passed for it to be anything but a baby on the way.

Yep.  I was pregnant. 

We were never not okay with having a fourth child, we just had it in our head that we shouldn't, and we took the time to ensure we weren't going to have a fourth.  Well, my OB said that as women age, you can actually ovulate earlier, and so even if you are fairly sure of your NFP signs (we are devout Catholics and do NFP--more on that here), "advanced maternal age" moms will ovulate earlier.  Oh, is that right?

So upon realizing our pregnancy, and sitting a bit slack-jawed, we both really came around to the idea and were thrilled at having a new little one in our lives.

Then Sunday, August 3 came, along with a bit of blood.  Scared out of my mind and sure I was losing the baby, I told my hubby.  He looked pretty crestfallen, too.  Then the bleeding stopped completely, and Dr. Google told me the baby may be okay.

So Monday comes and I go to see the doctor, and all looks good and she seemed not too concerned about the blood, but told me to watch for it in the future.  She also took my bloodwork, and by the next day I found my HCG levels were very high, and my progesterone was a bit low (but still in the "acceptable" limits).  She made me get some progesterone to help me and the baby, and all was good. 

For a week.  The next Tuesday (the 12th) at night I once again started bleeding, and while it was not a huge amount, it never stopped.  I called the doctor and she said to get an ultrasound the next morning and see what's going on...

Of course we immediately scheduled something the next morning, and nervous as hell, I walk into the ultrasound room, and as quickly as she got the gel on my belly, we saw the heartbeat.  I started weeping in happiness that the baby had a heartbeat.

The ultrasound showed the bleed near the baby, though, and they told me the doctor at my practice would let me know more about what to do.

But because we had seen the heartbeat and evidence of where the bleed was coming from, we figured we would be okay, especially if I took it easy and didn't do too much. 

I made sure the office wanted me to keep my appointment for Tuesday, August 19, and they confirmed that they still wanted to see me. 

After seeing the baby and the sweet little heartbeat, the bleeding continued, never especially heavy, but there was evidence that maybe everything wasn't okay, including clots and cramping, but Dr. Google said a lot of women had those, too, and their babies were just fine.

Armed with that knowledge, I went into the appointment ready to go.  Well, it wasn't so great.  Turns out my doctor was really uncomfortable with the amount I kept bleeding, and the cramping made her unsure of my pregnancy's state, so she said to steel myself for a 50/50 chance of miscarrying the baby.  And she made me go in for another ultrasound, "ASAP."

The next available appointment was the next day, and through it all, I was fairly convinced that everything would be okay, and if it wasn't we would see a baby without a heartbeat (which would be awful, obviously). 

What we didn't expect was that the ultrasound tech would see NOTHING in the uterus, no sac, no baby and the heartbeat, nothing. 

Turns out that I had miscarried and hadn't even known it. 

I was STUNNED.  I literally couldn't talk. 

See I have miscarried before.  TWICE...both before Rex came along.  And both of those didn't show up as miscarriages until the ultrasound showed either a baby with no heartbeat or an empty sac (blighted ovum).  The miscarriage I had with the baby with no heartbeat was HORRIBLE, PAINFUL, AWFUL, and frankly was the reason why I was petrified at the prospect of having another one.  So to have a miscarriage and not even notice it was happening (seriously, very little pain, not that much blood, etc.) seemed unreal.

Finding out made me sad and blue, of course.  The kids were super sad.  (We told them only because of the heartbeat, in the past, for us anyhow, heartbeat equals kid is cooking properly.)  I wasn't sure how to process the events that had been swirling around me for the past half a month.  It was all too much. 

I will never regret getting pregnant for the sixth time.  The potential of an extra baby in the house was thrilling, if a bit scary financially and physically. 

I have no great ending to this story, except I really wanted to tell it.  Humanity shows its greatness in times of grief, and if this story helps someone else out there with one of their own struggles, then I am happy to have told the tale.

I also wanted a record of the baby that was and then was no longer with us.  And by telling this baby's story, I have told the story of my other babies that didn't make it. 

I know that I am now back to being semi-close to normal, and progress has restarted on plans I had to put off in early August.  I feel ready to go back to what we were meant to do, instead of planning for something we weren't thinking we would do, but returning to that was HARD since the new plans were more than okay by me. 

I guess that's all.  I wish I had more to share, but maybe this is just enough. 

I will be back tomorrow with more frivolity and silliness and clothing and stuff, but I couldn't restart that without writing the above.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Boden Weekly Review Roundup: Summer and Sophia.

Hey, all!  Happy Tuesday!  As promised (yesterday, yikes!), here is the BWRR.  Since the Sophia Dress finally dropped yesterday, I can officially do my review with all the photos I took a few weeks back.

The mini-rollout was yesterday, and included all those fall items that didn't roll out in late July.  As of this morning, there appears to be even more at their "NEW IN" tab, so take a look 'round there, especially if you didn't have a chance to yesterday.

Okay, 'nuff blah blah, onto the roundup!

Regular Boden:
Sophia Dress.  Size 8L.  I actually wrote up a little bit of a review here at this last BWRR, but I have more to add for those of you who really want the down-low before you buy.

The 8L is a nice fit.  I can slip it right over my head and it fits just so over my curves.  Yes, it is a bit big through my bust and shoulders and waist (most obvious in the back photo), but it does not stick to my hips the way I am sure the 6L would have.  Since I know that I would like to wear this to both church and subbing, I needed to make sure it wasn't too fitted.  If you prefer a tighter fit, size down.  Don't worry about access since there is a back zip (completely superfluous for me, btw, since I can slip it over my head). 

Side view.  The ruching at the waist is fairly subtle and doesn't make one look pregnant, so don't fear the waist ruching! 

The 3/4 sleeves are nice, but on me are more elbow length.  Or maybe they are meant to be elbow length and on the tall size are a bit longer than elbow on me.  Hmm...

Okay just checked.  They are supposed to be 3/4 length and look that way on the model in the studio shot, but in the catalog, the model's are up to her elbows.  Looks like I am in good company--long arms UNITE!

Back view.  It is obvious that the bodice is too long and too large here.  The zip would have worked better for me in a shorter length, and in a more subtle (and less heavy) zip.  But whatever.  I am so in love with this dress, this is a tiny irritation.  I don't mind exposed zips but I know some of you HATE them, so bear that in mind.

Detail.  Love the floral design, so pretty in a watercolor/Monet sort of way.  The material is a lyocell that is very stretchy, lined in a contrast jersey lining.  Both are very soft and exceedingly comfortable to wear.  This is a very thin set of materials, so in no way would I think this will work as really warm winter wear for most women.  You can wear them with tights and a cute jacket in winter, though, and that would work just fine.  It is obviously fine for summertime.

Sophia Dress
Sophia Dress.  Fully stocked.  Likely you can wait for a better percentage off if you want to.  I am not sure if this one will sell out or if there will be so many ordered by Boden that there will be plenty of stock through the season and will be there when clearance rolls out in December.  I am not unhappy buying it now and getting plenty of wear out of it over the next few months.  :-)

Chepstow Top
Chepstow Top.  I wrote up a review of this top here at this blog post.

Dartmouth Tunic Dress
Dartmouth Tunic Dress.  Anna had this to say about this dress/tunic:

I got my Dartmouth Tunic in mulled wine last week and love it. I felt the color was a bit lighter than pictured on the website, but I still liked it. I was going for a dress, not tunic look, so I ordered long and it's perfect, hits at the knee (I'm 5'5). The dress is more form hugging than I expected, which turns out to be a good thing, there is noting sac-like about it but it's not clingy either, just perfect. As Lizzyt mentioned, it snags really easily. Love the wool/cotton blend, it's nice and soft, and from my experience with that fabric from last year, washes and keeps well.

Poppy Dress
Poppy Dress.  LizzyT had written up a review of this one a while back, but this dress finally dropped in the last rollout, so I figured it made sense to re-publish the review.  (At least I *think* this is the same dress, LizzyT can let me know if it isn't.)

I can't find the name of this last dress but I think it's the Posy dress in bright pink. It has an embroidery detail as a bib. This can't go back fast enough. Cheap jersey material that is see through and very clingy. Glad I have tons of dresses from seasons past that are high quality and appropriate in length for a grown woman! 

Sparkle Tee
Sparkle Tee.  CC wrote up a review of this one yesterday for us!

I had received the Sparkle Tees several weeks ago and had to return them. They were really pretty, but there is a whole lot of beading on them, and I thought, as long as the beading stays on....They didn't even make it to the closet. I tried them on and was going to put them away, when I noticed a dangling bead. I think the beading is just too heavy for the material, which is a double layer of viscose and wool. It also wouldn't be able to be worn too casually, because the beading is quite delicate. Pretty top though, I wish it were just made a little differently.

Ottoman Shift
Retro Tunic Dress
Print Tunic Dress
Ottoman Shift, Retro Tunic Dress, Print Tunic Dress, and Amelia Dress (not yet available--CC is not reviewing the Johnnie b. dress).  CC wrote up some info on these items in a comment at one of my posts last week.  :-)

I bought a few dresses, but have only kept one - the Ottoman Shift. Really, it's a dress that can fit anyone. It's stretchy and comfortable, has a back zip and pockets, too! I bought the black and then went back and purchased the Beetroot color (plum/purple), which is very vibrant. I also returned the Retro Tunic and Print Tunic Dresses. The Retro Tunic fit well, but the material, which is a double layer, is a little thin, and every time I moved, you could see an undergarment line. I planned on wearing this more casually, and don't want to have to spanx it on a casual basis. The pattern also overwhelmed me because I'm shorter. The Print Tunic Dress fit well, it's a stretchy sweater fabric, but the pattern overwhelmed me as well. There are a whole lot of dots on that dress - just too much for me. On someone taller it would probably look great. For all these dresses I purchased the long, and even though I'm short, I'm glad that I did, because they would have likely been well above the knee if I had not. From the Winter Preview (can you believe they have been sending some items from that preview already), I received the Amelia Dress which is a jersey fabric with a lot of little birds lined up. Very cute and here the length, which I purchased in long, was actually long. The dress was cute and comfortable, but it looked like a nightgown on me, due to the fabric and print. I just couldn't pull it off. I guess this dress will be released with the winter merchandise, but it is not a very warm fabric, and would have been a better choice to release with the Autumn items.

Low Heeled Loafer
Flat T-Bar Point
Ballerina Flat
Low Heeled Loafer, Flat T-Bar Point, Ballerina Flats.  CC also did some reviews of these shoes.

I also bought the loafers. I bought the warm pewter metallic in my regular size. I didn't need to size up on that one at all. I did purchase (and receive) the bronze metallic flat t-bar points. I did size up on this one after I read the reviews (and thank you for suggesting to look at the UK site, it has been very helpful with other items as well). However, the one size larger was just too big, and because of the point, it looked too big, almost clown shoe-like. I know at least one other reviewer noticed the same problem. It is a little bit of a longer shoe, because there is unwearable space at the point. So, I have ordered another pair in my regular size and they are on their way to me, so I can see if I can still fit my foot in one size smaller, which would be my regular shoe size. They probably could have made these a little less pointy with more toe space up front. The Ballerina Flats is another shoe that I have purchased and like a lot in my regular shoe size. I bought the gold metallic and the navy. These are extremely comfortable shoes. They have plenty of room in the toe box and the heel is just sturdy enough to keep your foot in place. They are probably not the most attractive pair of shoes, but the gold metallic goes with everything. In fact, I had my daughter try on the gold pair and she loved them so much that I purchased her a pair as well. Her foot is more narrow than mine, but the shoes still fit her well (my feet are a little more Flinstone like, more square).
Mary Jane
Autumn Trench
Mary Jane Heels and Autumn Trench.  Jacquelyn took a closer look at these items for us here at this blog post.

Clearance Items:
Easy T-shirt Dress
Easy T-Shirt Dress.  Egyptomaniac wore hers recently.  Very pretty!

Holiday Wedge
Holiday Wedge.  Lou sported her spotted pair with a cute casual outfit, featuring pants/trousers.  Very cute.  Love it!  She also wore them with a more summery look here.

Broderie Detail Tee
Broderie Detail Tee.  Lou wore hers in white recently.  Hadn't even noticed this one, looks really good, Lou!

Okay that's all for today.  Have a great one!

This link works for all items, not just mini Boden ones.  The affiliate has not uploaded ones for the ladies yet.