Friday, October 31, 2014

Boden: Four Days Only! 20% Off with Free Ship and Returns!

Before I start, I just want to quickly remind you that my blog is not just one "kind" of blog.  I have been blogging for nearly six years and over that time I have added many types of post types to my blog.  The blog is probably best known for the Boden stuff I write about, so if you have recently joined my blog because I am a sewer, I just wanted you to know so you would understand why I write so much about Boden, and less about sewing.  You can read more about it the "About Me" page.  :-)

Textured Off Duty Sweater, Skinny Jeans, Boots.  Yum.
I mentioned the sale last night in my blog post, but I couldn't officially give you any links until this morning, which are at the bottom of this post and in the sidebar.  I am off to the doctor in thirty minutes, so I need to keep it brief.

In addition to the sale this weekend (the sale ends Monday, November 3, 2014), the folks at Boden rolled out some Christmas items and set up a Christmas shop.  There are some cute ideas for presents, including some non-clothing items, like pillows, blankets, and the cutest hot water bottle covers.

They also rolled out the sequin cable sweater (here) for a mere $418.  Eep.   

Okay, since most of you want the clothing they sell, I want to remind you of the BWRRs that you can look at to see reviews from other blogs out there, from some blog friends who commented here at this blog, and from myself. 

In the past few days, however, I have had a few reviews/ootds that feature items from the fall and winter collection, so if you would like to see those, head on over to the links below: 

I wore the Milano dress (here) to substitute teach, and posted a photo at my Facebook page.

I wore the Chepstow top (here) to run errands and meet up with a friend, and posted photos of the outfit here at this post.

Alrighty, must head off to get checked out to make sure I am still working properly, so we'll talk soon!

Enjoy (sale) shopping! Link below:
20% Off Everything plus Free Shipping & Returns - FOUR DAYS ONLY!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

OOTDs: Three.

Sewing friends, before I begin, I want to let you know there are sewing projects in the queue for publication at the blog, but most of my sewing energies of late have been of the selfless sewing kind.  I haven't sewn anything up for myself since my splatter art blouse!  I knew the first week I would definitely want to take a break, so I sewed up a bunny rabbit stuffed animal for Rex.  I did cut some coat fabric for a coat last week, but then Rex reminded me about his pizza costume.  So I put the coat on hold and decided to make that this week (it is nearly done--woo!).  But the coat will have to wait just a touch longer since I will be receiving my first fabric from Fabric Mart tomorrow for my very first blog post for them.  I suspect most of my weekend will be spent getting a lot of that project done.  :-)

Okay, onto the outfits!

Day: Tuesday, October 29, 2014.

Where:  Joann's, Michaels, and Noodles and Co.

Ease of Wear: (3.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  Even though the only reason I could wear these pants was because I had a recent weight loss doesn't make them easier to wear.  They are cute, I like the slim cut with heavier fabric, but the waistband kept riding down.  I had to keep hitching it up.  I don't know what is going wasn't the worst, but I wish there was something I could figure out to do so they wouldn't ride down on me.

The Chepstow top (here, original review here) is awesomely comfortable, so that helped make up for the pants.  But not enough to drag it higher in score.

Cool Factor: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  My style is usually not this style, even with the Chepstow top, so I would say stepping out of my preppy comfort zone helps up the cool factor. 

Anecdote from the day:  Fall.  Grr.  Fall.  I hate the "oh it's so cold in the morning, but almost hot by midday, and then rainy in the afternoon."  I spent the day wearing this wondering why I bothered.  I am not sure what would have worked for the weather we had yesterday.

Apparently Angus is a Lorde fan.  Upon arriving at Joann's to procure more supplies for Rex's pizza costume, "Royals" came on, and Angus got mad at me for singing because he wanted to sing the song.  When asked if he wanted to listen to the music or go into the store, he didn't hesitate before he said "listen to music."  And to make his day even more complete, they were playing "Royals" in Michaels, too.  :-)

Day: Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

Where:  Bowling and Harris Teeter.

Ease of Wear: (4 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  These johnnie b. jeans are wonderful, but maybe a bit too fitted for bowling?  I should probably just show up to bowling in sweats, but no one else does, so I guess I should just learn how to bowl better in non-activewear.  :-)

Cool Factor: (3.5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  It's cute enough, I suppose.  That's all I got.

Anecdote from the day:  My games were B-A-D, like my first year bad.  Sad.  Our team was whooped soundly, after soundly whooping others the week prior.  Sigh.

BTW, these photos had to be lightened a ton.  The light during the morning is just off in the house and outside.  I look forward to the time falling back on Nov. will make waking up easier and getting photos done properly, as well.

(If I use the flash, my skin looks ghostly, and I am 100% serious when I say ghostly...I am paler than I realized.)

Day: Saturday, October 25, 2014.

Where:  Rex's baseball game.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.)  I was warm because of the Blarney Woolen Mills cape, and comfortable because of the J. Crew jeans.  The boots, while awesome, didn't work with the socks I wore, so I had to keep pulling them up to make them stay up.  That is the blemish, and the reason for the 1/2 star reduction.

Cool Factor: (5 of 5 stars--5 being the coolest.)  I am giving this one a perfect score.  I really like the way this cape looks when combined with the jeans, boots, and sunglasses.  I don't know if the Sartorialist would dig it, but honestly don't give two flying "you know whats" about his opinion. 

Anecdote from the day:  Rex's team made it to the championships with the game they played that day.  There is a really good chance their team will be in first place.  I am thrilled for them.  We have the most amazing coach, just an all-around great guy, and the kids really work super hard and try their best, so to see the team make it this far is really exciting.  Wish Rex and his team luck on Saturday coming, please!!!

Okay, that's all for tonight!

P.S. Boden fans--20% off with free ship and returns are here starting tomorrow for four days!!!  Will write more on that tomorrow morning!  :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

OOTD/Made by Me File: Frozen Festivities...In Superfluity.

If you recall, right before I was slated to start competing in the Fabric Mart Fashion Challenge Sewing Competition, I sewed up most of my little girl's "Elsa" dress based on McCall's 7000 sewing pattern.  I was nearly done at the point I wrote up that blog post, but because of how much time and energy was spent in September and half of October on sewing for the Fashion Challenge, I never did get around to showing off the final project and all of the festivities that surrounded her costume creation.

In addition to this sewing based post, I am also throwing in outfit of the day shots (my daughter is in all of them, though, since the main focus of these days was her, after all).  I am also including some Frozen-themed birthday party things that we did for her on her big day.  And at the end, I included some photos from when we went to see Disney's Frozen on Ice.  (We surprised her with that one, too!)

I realize that there is a real hodgepodge of things going on here, but hopefully if you are here, and are looking for Frozen/Elsa things, what I have here can help you.  And since it is three days before Halloween, I know some of you probably are doing what I do every year, a little bit of procrastination.  You may be just starting your Elsa costume, so seeing a final product might make the work go a little better.

(I am not out of the woods this year, btw--I have to make a PIZZA costume for Rex--no pattern--by Friday.  Have I started it...erm, no.)

Right before her party, CW and I posed with one of her birthday gifts/party decorations, the life-sized cardboard cutouts of the Frozen sisters, Elsa and Anna.  Of course CW squealed with delight after seeing the life-sized Queen and Princess, but both Mr. Dina and I squealed with delight (well, not really, lol) after we realized that for $35 we could have both a present AND a party "favor."  The guests at the party would receive a sparkly crown (like CW's--$1 at Joanns, btw) and they, too, could pose with Anna and Elsa and I would send the photo to their parents after the party.

OOTD: Dress, Anthropologie; Shoes, Target.

My daughter looks so beautiful in her Elsa gown!  Worth all the hours of sewing I did.

Since we had only invited a handful of girls and their parents to the mid-afternoon party, we knew we wouldn't need much in the way of food, but we know that kids get hungry and thirsty, so we made sure to set up the table in a way that they could have easy access to the food and drinks.  This is the shot before I had put all the food out. 

I happen to own a lot of aqua blue colored dishes/serving pieces, so we had zero costs there.  (I guess I was onto something thirteen years ago when I put all these things on my registry.)

Again, not much in the way of food and snacks, just apples/carrots/some juice (on the glass platter just outside the frame of the photo) and some gumballs. 

There were other food items, but they were part of the festivities of the birthday party.

Originally I was going to have a "Frozen" yogurt bar, but when we saw the Blue Bunny Birthday Ice Cream flavor, we *knew* that had to be the dessert for the treat.  It's good, you all.  Mmm.

Anyhow, the girls were invited, one at a time, to get some ice cream from me, and then put their favorite decorations/yummies on top of it.  We used pearl colored balls, silver balls, aqua blue sanding sugar, marshmallows, and sno-caps (get it, ha!). 

The ice cream bar was a huge hit, and the expenditure was very little.  Some of those girls, though, man, they poured on those candies and treats.  Sorry, parents!!!

Because it was a birthday party, of course we had a cake.  More sugar, hey!  Anyhow, Harris Teeter had this cake as one of their options, so even though there was no specific Frozen birthday cake licensed by Disney, this sheet cake with blue icing and snowflake decorations was available.  We added the 6 candle and the Elsa mini doll (she's in her coronation outfit in this one).

Over the summer I made quite a few "Elsa" skirts for little girls, and for one version (given to CW's cousin), I used some sparkly poly organza.  I had some left over, so I knew that I could use it for something.  And that something was as a wrapping for the party favors the girls went home with (in addition to the crowns they received at the beginning of the party). 

Each was cut using pinking shears, but that still didn't keep the fabric from fraying, however, since these were only meant to last for a little while, I wasn't that worried about it.  I enclosed some blue and white gumballs, some snowflake stickers, and a Frozen ring in each girl's favor.  (I also made sure to have a few boy versions available--they received the Kristoff rings.)  I then tied the favors using some Frozen ribbon I found at Joanns. 

I wrote up a review of this pattern at Pattern Review, so definitely take a look if you want more info on it.

The dress turned out quite well, but I personally did not want to make the whole thing from woven fabric.  Instead I decided to make the bodice bit from knit fabric (extra stretchy for growth spurts, plus easier on her to wear), and use some gorgeous sparkly metallic linen (from Fabric Mart, hey!) for the skirt portion. had some great sparkly tulle, and although the stuff drives me crazy (not the sewing of it, but the way it is always getting caught on things bugs me!), I knew this dress wouldn't be complete without it.

I wish the pattern had included directions for using knit fabrics, but in the end I figured out how to make it all work. 

One way I had to "make it work" was to figure out how to get the super sheer white power mesh fabric to lay flat and down into the seam where it joined the knit sparkly aqua fabric.  Nothing was working (pressing that mesh--not an option), so in the end, I just carefully topstitched the mesh fabric down with the aqua sparkly knit fabric.  You can see the topstitching detail at the sweetheart neckline.

(You can also see the zip in the back, though the front bodice was completely knit, the back fabric was partial metallic linen, so I just followed the pattern directions exactly for that bit.  I did not, however, add a keyhole opening in the power mesh above the zip, there is PLENTY of stretch there and in the neckline to get over my daughter's head.)

Since a traditional facing or binding at the neckline wouldn't have worked, I needed to figure that out, too.  I added a stretchy ribbon lace that I found at G Street fabrics there instead.  Let me tell you, though, adding that ribbon to the neckline was a pain in the patookus.  I had to pin like a madwoman and then carefully stretch the ribbon (which was smaller than the power mesh opening by about two inches) to fit the neckline.  I thought I had attached it fully only to discover that it had only been stitched on fully about halfway.  Somehow in the process of attaching and stretching the ribbon, I had lost contact with the neckline.  Grrr.  But I took a deep breath and started over, and fortunately the second time's attempt was more successful.  I am actually insanely pleased with how well it turned out.  This is ice skating dance costume worthy, people.  :-)  Plus on my daughter it fits perfectly, and looks really lovely!

On the hem I used a "snowflake" stitch that I found on my machine.  Since I have a 9 mm opening on the plate, but used a 5.5 mm foot to stitch the flakes, it does look a bit smooshed, but the effect is still there.  I didn't do this the whole way round, though, instead switching to a traditional stitch on the back.  Heck, you can't even see it unless you are up close, but I figured that is what makes home sewing so special, these little details.

Back of the garment features an invisible zip that is accessed by a slit in the tulle.  If you are using an organza or something very frayable, you will need to hem the opening of the fabric, but the tulle does not fray so I saved myself some work there.  Plus, you can barely tell there is even an opening there. 

Here is the back of the garment on her.  If I could have lengthened the tulle a bit, I would have for a better effect, but ultimately, I worked with what I had.  I think the shorter length works better for her age, though, much less possible to ruin the hem that way.

Her outfit here is nearly identical to the one she wore at her party, but since I knew we would be doing a lot of walking (I took her for a tour of my college beforehand since the show was at the Patriot Center), I insisted she wear her aqua blue sandals instead of her special plastic Frozen heeled mules.  She did bring her "Elsa" purse with her.

OOTD: Jacket and Jeans, J. Crew; Top, Hunter Dixon; Boots, Boden; Sunglasses, Anthropologie.

If you ever wonder what little girls are doing when they put their hand out the way CW has in this photo, it is *this* Elsa moment they are trying to emulate.

Right before we headed to our seats, we stopped to grab this photo of the "stage."  I bought one thing, that crazy snowflake wand, with the caveat she had to promise to lead us on Halloween night with it.  She said it would be her pleasure.  Yes, she is wearing this costume on Halloween.  Like every other little girl out there this year.  :-)

Definitely a low-definition photo, but I managed to get this photo of Elsa from the production.  Thankfully CW has not asked for me to make her a shorter gown to look like Elsa from the show.  ;-)

Okay, that's all.  I'll be back later this week with other things, I am sure.  But only after I get that pizza costume started!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Boden Weekly Review Roundup: Glamour in a Knitted Dress.

Hey, all! 

Before I start, I want to say "hello" to all my new sewing friends.  I realize quite a few people joined this site over the past month or so, and a lot of them may be confused why what they thought was exclusively a sewing blog is anything but a sewing blog.  Clearly I need to explain what's going on here a bit more, so I created an "About Me" page, which can be found below the blog header.  I don't want anyone think that I am trying to fake you all out by sewing in a competition and making you think I will never sew again and all you all will see is a whole bunch of Boden and outfits of the day.  :-)  I am a sewer, and I will be showing off projects again, but this blog is not a sewing blog, nor will it ever exclusively be a sewing blog.  To help any of you that really only want to see sewing projects, I name all of my post titles.  The ones that most sewers will want to see are called "Made by Me Files."  I probably write those up two-three times a month, unless I am being especially fast with my sewing. 

Most people, though, who come to my blog are not sewers, and I would say that my *least* popular posts are my sewing projects.  Most people who come here are Boden fans or people who enjoy seeing outfit of the day posts.  And since this blog was started in 2009, well before I started sewing, I am not going to completely change course of this blog to suit a new sewing reader base.  I LOVE having sewing friends here, but if the blog's intent isn't your thing, I understand that, and respect any decision you make regarding whether you want to stay around or not.  So know that I want you here, but I can't fully commit my blog space to what you may want to exclusively see.  :-)  And for those sewing friends who are enjoying it all, cool! 

Boden Reminders and News:

1. The Boden Spring 2015 Preview was extended a week or so back, so we could continue to enjoy the 20% off with free shipping and returns for a little while longer.  I *still* have not updated my picks post.  I am so bad.  I can blame my children, those darling time sucks, but that's probably a cop out.  ;-)  Hopefully before the code (F9Z8) expires, which is Sunday, October 26, 2014, I can manage to get it properly written up and with the newer items in it, too.

2.  Boden is only running a 15% off with free shipping coupon on my site right now, but I was emailed a promo for 25% off dresses and 15% off everything else.  That coupon expires on Sunday, October 26, 2014.  I will be using it to purchase the correct size for the Hartland Dress (review here) since I lost seven pounds over the last month and now the size I bought is too big everywhere.  I won't return the bigger size until I am sure the smaller size will work, but it is nice to get the new size at a better price.  Use the code 3S9K for the 25% off.

3.  The affiliate program sent me a coupon for new customers, where you will receive a scarf, bag, or socks with your first purchase (it is your choice, I will run all three in my sidebar for you new customers).  I also have the coupons at the bottom of this post, along with the regular one that I always put in the post for you every time I write one of these posts.  If you aren't a new customer, no dice, you can't get the free item, but those of you that can, enjoy! 

Okay, onto the roundup!

Regular Boden:
Glamorous Knitted Dress.  Size 6 L.  I purchased this size wondering if I should have sized up, but after the weight loss, I think this is the best size for me.  I will say this long is kind of laughable.  If you are truly looking for a longer length, one that hits at the knee or just below, and you are 5'7" or taller, you ain't gonna get it.  This one on me, at 5'8", hits just above the kneecap.  It doesn't look bad, but I personally prefer these fit and flare type dresses to hit right at the mid-knee or just below for proper proportions.

It was cold and rainy when I wore this out to go to dinner with the family (my treat!), and I wanted something that would keep me warm.  It wasn't quite cold enough for tights, but the next time I wear this dress, I think I will style it with a scarf, slim belt, and tights with a pair of boots.  I think that will look very cute, and definitely be nice and warm.

This dress is a sweater knit, but has no wool in it, at all.  It is a combo cotton/viscose/nylon/metallic fibers.  The metallic fibers are the only thing that *might* be itchy.  I thought it was super soft and cozy, but I am not especially sensitive to scratchy fabric.

I think the side view looks nice, I may not fill it out, especially out front, but it does at least show off what little I do have.  Those sleeves are mighty long, which is awesome.  If you have shorter arms, you may want to go with the regular length.

Here is the one place where the dress sort of fails me, the back.  Again, I have a very short back length (the same as on a petite woman--about 15.5 inches), so I nearly always have pooling at the back.  I don't see anyway to fix this, but if any of you sewers have an idea, I am open to it.  There aren't a ton of seams, and with that pattern, I could sew it up without it looking bad.  Let me know if you have ideas.

Glamorous Knitted Dress
Glamorous Knitted Dress.  The sizes are still available in this color, but the blue version is on backorder for nearly all sizes. 

I did write up a review with a close up of the fabric here at this post if you want to see more of it.

Everyday Sweater
Low Heeled Loafer
Charlotte Top
Everyday Sweater, Low Heeled Loafer, and Charlotte Top.  I wore these pieces out and about recently.  Check out this post for more on these items.

Knee socks
Knee Socks.  I wore these with a denim mini, turtleneck, jacket, and tennis shoes.  You can see them in action here.

Skinny Jeans
Skinny Jeans.  Lou wears hers (in indigo) with a darling yellow jacket.  She also wears them here.

The link above is for last spring's version, I can't seem to find this season's.  Hmm...

Cambridge Skirt
Cambridge Skirt. Lou looks fab in her fall ensemble, which includes this skirt.  The boots look especially chic!  :-)

Millie Skirt
Millie Skirt.  Monica is beyond adorable in her squirrel-themed outfit.  Love the whole outfit!

British Tweed Mini
Printed Shirt
Sixties Mini
Pattern Sweater
Ponte Skater Dress
British Tweed Mini, Printed Shirt, Sixties Mini, Pattern Sweater, and Ponte Skater Dress.  A Pear to Remember shows off these four items as part of four very nice outfits.  The tweed mini outfit is probably my favorite!

Zip Top Clutch
Zip Top Clutch.  Liz look very sophisticated in her outfit that she wore recently to cocktails with friends.  She brought the clutch along for a little extra sparkle.  :-)

Jewelled Flats
Jewelled Flats.  My blog friend, Abbi, who blogs at Dorset Fashionista, recently told a few of us about her experience with these shoes.  She writes:

Well these arrived and I loved them so much I wore them last night for a dinner party at my house. So I've just noticed four places on them where jewels have fallen off, and it looks really obvious, not a third world problem I know, but would you even bother getting a replacement? There are threads hanging where the jewels were and I'm thinking if this happened in three hours at home what will happen if I wear them out?

After some discussion, with most of the ladies saying to get a refund, Abbi let us know what she decided:

I'm getting a refund as I just know it would happen again, I only wore them for about three hours and most of that was sitting around the table! Its put me off them, I am over them, I have moved on already.

She also showed us some photos:

So definitely bear this in mind if you order these shoes.  I have ordered them, but in gold, and have not had any of the jewels fall off.  The big stone on the right shoe was wobbly, but after turning it a bit to the right, it became secured.  I will trust they will be okay, but I will be watching them very very closely.

Knot Detail Dress
Knot Detail Dress.  I wore it on CW's birthday, back when it was still nice and summery.  Ah, summer, how I miss your sweet embrace.  ;-)

mini Boden:

Button Pinafore Dress.  Size 7-8.  CW is probably closer to the 6-7 size, but I love having items from mini Boden that will last a few years, so I always size up.  She has had other versions of this dress (here for last year's fall version and here for last year's winter version), and I think this may be one of mini Boden's best garments.  These are well made from hard-wearing corduroy, and are fully lined in a lightweight cotton.  There is an invisible zip in back, and the buttons are well secured at front.

Button Pinafore Dress
Button Pinafore Dress.  This one is selling well, but not in this color.  If you like one of the colors from the fall rollout (this is a winter color above), you may want to grab it sooner than later, since those won't be around at clearance.

Vehicle Applique T-Shirt.  Size 2-3.  Angus is above in the green version, petting the world's most adorable chocolate lab puppy.  Gaw.  So cute.  Anyhow.  The applique is of an excavator, which is Angus's very favorite piece of construction equipment.  We live in an area with constant construction, so he is always seeing his favorite earth mover.  LOL.  The applique is nicely applied, secured well, and from a similar cotton weight fabric that the shirt is made from.  All applique tops we have in our household from Boden last forever.  All of Rex's tees from years ago are now being worn by Angus, and still look new.  So the money you spend now is worth it, especially if you have younger children who could also wear the pieces in the future.

This size fits a bit big, but I am fine with that since it means he can wear it longer.

Vehicle Appliqu� T-Shirt
Vehicle Applique T-Shirt. These are not even close to sold out, except the blue, which has a backorder for two of the sizes.

Okay, all, thank you for sticking around!  Thanks again to all my blog friends for their reviews!  I'll be back tomorrow with another post.

The links below give you new customers a choice of either a scarf, socks, or a bag with your first purchase.  You will also receive 15% off with free shipping.  (Below these three coupons is the one for the rest of us.)

This coupon is for us old-timers. Remember if you want to receive 25% off the dresses, use the code 3S9K. :-)