Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Made by Me File: The Joy of the Red Coat.

Before I start talking about the joy of making the red coat, I encourage you to visit the post I wrote up at Fabric Mart first, especially if you are a sewer.  I am sure it would be fine to replicate, word for word, and photo for photo, that post here, but since this blog is more focused on style, fashion, and garment reviews, I am choosing to leave the bulk of heavy sewing info there.

I am choosing to focus here instead on the journey I took to getting to a place where I made up a fully lined, fully tailored red coat in a month's time.  :-)

The back story here is important.  I wrote to Fabric Mart and told them I would love to make a coat for my January make.  I always enjoy picking out my projects with them, but most of the time the projects are not so involved.  Usually I'll make up a dress, or a top and pants, but I tend to not sew up intense projects as they don't really fit in with my hectic school and life schedule.  But dang it, I really wanted to challenge myself, so I said to myself I could figure it out and make it happen.

I asked what coating they had in stock and they mentioned that they were getting in a red wool, and if I was interested they would send it my way.  After looking at, I leaped, even though I wasn't fully convinced that the red would be "classic" red enough.  It definitely didn't look like a yellow-based red (which I usually wear, it suits my warmer complexion), but it didn't look like a blue-red, either, which I know would look horrible on me.

It ended up coming and I fell in love since it was indeed a true red, with no additional tones of blue or yellow.  The color is one of the four universal colors all people can wear, regardless of skin tone.  Looking at that universal color chart, it's true.  I normally can't wear purple, but the one purple on the list is the only shade of purple that doesn't make me look ill.

Deciding on a coat shape and design took me FAR longer than you would think it would.  Especially considering that once I had figured it out, I knew immediately what to do.  I hemmed and hawed over which design I wanted for a week or so.  Did I want a double-breasted trench, did I want a full a-line skirt on the coat, did I want a more modern shape like a cocoon?

It wasn't until I put on my Alabaster Tweed coat from J. Crew that I realized my design was under my nose.  Even though I didn't use a shape or coating like the Alabaster Tweed one, I decided I was being silly not looking through my coat closet for inspiration.  After all, you all here (especially if you have been reading for years), know how much I love my coats.  We may not wear them all the time here, but I adore them all, and wear them every chance I get.

If you have been reading the blog for long enough, you'll know exactly where I went to find my design inspiration, my Sybil coats, and my Bella jackets.  Ever since I started sewing, I knew that one day I would want to try and make my own version of these and get them in my wardrobe, but with my personal measurements and aesthetics leading the way, not one of J. Crew's designers making those choices for me.

And I do fully realize I am being derivative here, but at least my version is a bit different, especially in the lower half of the coat (the Sybil is a more straight up-and-down shape).
So I stopped my constant searching through my coat patterns and ebay for the "perfect" coat choice, and decided on the two coat patterns that would come together best to suit me and to realize my vision of the red coat I had in mind.

Vogue 8626 is a pattern I had seen over at Sewing Pattern Review a couple of years ago, and when I saw it, I swooned.  It was so pretty, feminine, and yet regal, at the same time.  And it was out of print.  It took me a few months, but eventually one in my size came up on ebay, and I bought it without hesitation.  The only issue I had with the coat was the design of the collar.  I don't know if you can tell, but when the collar is buttoned, it makes a weird pointy collar jut in one direction, and the asymmetry is too much for my eye, and I knew it would bug me if I made it up that way.

McCall's 7024 is a pattern I had seen when it came out and bought it as soon as possible.  I loved the collar because of how much it reminded me of the Sybil and the Bella.  Really the rest of the jacket is fine, but the collar was what I most wanted.  Though it is designed with a drawstring, I knew I could probably (and eventually) figure out what to do to omit the drawstring and have it properly stand up.

I had to make a muslin to ensure I was using the correct measurements, and thankfully, they were pretty close to right.  I did note that I needed to change up the way the side pleats on the back laid (they favored opening up to the center pleat and it didn't look right on me, so I chose to turn them into box pleats).

I am pleased that Vogue 8626 has cup sizes.  I have a very small bustline, 32B if I am lucky, and I have noticed that any pattern that doesn't have specific cup measurements built in will often manifest themselves in a bit of wrinkling above my chest below my collarbone.  The same thing happens when I wear a bra that is too big (which is a lot of the time, it is really hard to find a 32B bra that doesn't have underwire).  This coat has an A cup bodice, and it is a dream fit up there.  Seriously, hands thrown in the air, waving around, kind of fit.  I know fuller-bust ladies get a lot of attention for having to make FBAs on their clothes, but for those of us who are wee-er up there than average, have to do the same thing if we want a good fit.  People notice it less when things don't fit me properly since it doesn't mean gaping plackets or straining streams, but I get really bothered by those darn wrinkles.

This doesn't mean I am going to take on the challenge of the small bust adjustment every time I sew anything for my top half, but for tailored garments I darn well will.  It is worth the effort!

BTW, the belt above is called a Martingale belt.  I always just called it a "half-belt at the back," but now that I know what they are called, I am gonna throw that term around like it's hot.  LOL.

So the collar, the most important portion of my coat in realizing my vision...turns out the McCall's 7024 is a great dupe for the Sybil coat.  It is nearly the same.  The Bella is a bit off, as the Bella collar sits on a faux collar stand.  The way I made it stand just so was to interface the non-pleated side with fusible hair canvas on the bias (wanted it on the bias so it would be more easily molded when I was steaming it, on the straight grain I would have had a few more struggles to shape it since the straight grain prevents any stretching).

The buttons.  Well, it turns out that even though I had chosen a near match for the Sybil coat (they seriously are the same buttons as the ones on my other coats, but red), I wanted to use a flatter, variegated reddish button instead.  Now it fully is a coat that is "inspired by" but not a samesy copy.

Now that I have published this post I can actually start wearing the coat out and incorporating it into my ootd postings here and at Instagram.  Yes!  (I have to wait until the post publishes over there before I publish here.)

I know that some of you might have questions, so if you do, I encourage them.  Maybe some of you can even make your own versions of the Sybil/Bella?  I would love to see some more of these out there in the world of sewing.  :-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Boden: Summer 2016 Preview is Live!

Textured Emma Dress--a gorgeous offering!

Hi, all! 

We are slowly digging out here in the Northern Virginia area.  We received around 20 inches of snow here in Alexandria, which is quite a lot for us.  Other parts of the area (further west, in higher elevations) received upwards of 30-36".  Man.  That's a lot of snow.  We did not suffer this much snow and power outages, forcing us to escape to a hotel, but it was close.

I posted a few of my snow related escapades from this time on Instagram.  :-)

Anyhow, I received an email yesterday stating that Boden had some new styles for me to look at, and I was all, "ooh, preview time!"  I still get excited by the new styles.  I was really really hoping that this Summer's preview would make up for the lackluster spring offerings.  (I have my eye on three items from spring, that's it, normally that number is much higher.  Great for my wallet, but sad for my eye candy, I feel like a lot of what I am seeing at Boden right now is Gap circa 2001.)

I took a look around and I encourage you all to go, too.  If there is an interest in an item or two, the code for 20% off with free shipping and returns is 9R7C*.  This code expires on February 5, which is next Friday.  I should be able to get a picks post done before that point, especially if they don't add anymore items.  (Based on what I saw over there, I have slim pickings.)  :-/

*I can give codes for preview time, as these are different from what the affiliate sends me.  Yay!

Here's to hoping they add more.  I usually love the Boden summer offerings, but these seem a bit subdued, plain, and easily found at other places.  If I am paying Boden prices, I want the Boden style, especially since we here in America can get our basics at a number of places for far cheaper than Boden sells them for.

Alrighty, enjoy your Tuesday! 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Boden: Extra 10% Off Clearance Items!

Hey, all! 

So happy Friday.  :-)  I know for those of you that live around here (DC/MD/VA/PA/DE/NC), you are bracing for quite a weekend.  (SNOW!  BLIZZARD!  WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!)

Anyhow, the snow hasn't started here yet, and since we still have power and internet access (really hoping those stay all weekend), I thought I would take a moment and let you all know that Boden has decided this weekend is the one where they will give an extra 10% off their clearance items.  All of us LOVE when Boden does this, and I am sure this year will be no exception.

I did receive the few items that I ordered in clearance two days ago, and have already worn one of them, the Heritage Check Coatigan (here at Boden).  It is very warm, a lovely mix of colors, and I have seen no reason to take it off, but it is getting a bit "pilly," so be warned of that.  I believe the mohair in the mix is to blame.  Nothing a shaver won't fix, but still, had it no pills, I would say it is a homerun, especially for the new price.

I also received the Relaxed Toasty Roll Neck (here at Boden) and I have plans to wear it one of these weekend days, so watch my Instagram for it.  Even though I sincerely have plans to update this blog with a special clearance Boden Review Roundup, I know better than to promise.  I took a size small in the roll neck, and it fits wonderfully, the back bit is even long enough to cover my tush.  (That's saying something, btw.)

The Ravello top in the floral print (here at Boden) came and since I am the last Boden fan on earth to own one, I didn't know what to do sizing wise.  The 6 fits, but the hem is a bit tight, so I went ahead and reordered the size 8 with the reduced price.  I know the 8 will fit, it will be loose up top, but I don't think it will detract from the overall look.

Apparently if all you have in your bag is clearance stuff, they will get you on shipping.  (Even if your order is over $49.)  I don't love that they do this, and I know some of you wouldn't even notice, so I am putting it out there so it is noticed.  I get that $5 shipping isn't a big deal, but I know a lot of people who just won't pay shipping.  The only way to avoid it is to add $49 or more of REGULAR priced items from the current line, and use the 3Y9L code (it's in my blog sidebar, too) to get the 15% off with free shipping on those regular items.

Okay, that's it.  I have a very long blog post to write for both here and the Fabric Mart blog on my latest sewing project.  This project was so involved and took so much time that I am going to make sure I take some credit here at this blog for it, too.  :-)  Look for it next week some time if you like the sewing stuff.

Any picks from the newly priced items?

This link will get you to the sale.  :-)
Last call! Extra 10% off already reduced prices. Valid Jan 22nd - Jan 24th!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Boden: Clearance Prices Drop Further!

Hi, everyone!

I hope all of you are well.  I have been in the mad dash to get this coat sewn up (the one you are seeing is my muslin, which is made for fitting purposes only), and I am nearing the end point.  I am glad to take on such a big project, but most of my spare time has been spent doing that and nothing else.

Angus jumped off the couch yesterday, and all of you moms and dads out there know what I am going to say next, he broke his leg while landing from his jump.  And in almost perfect timing, it has been one year since Rex broke his leg while ice skating.  Ugh.  Poor baby Angus.  Wish us luck (and patience) for another round of caring for a broken-legged child.

Okay, so good news for Boden fans.  If you still thought clearance prices were too high (raising my hands emphatically here), the folks at Boden have reduced quite a few of the items that were not selling well at their higher sale prices.  I was stoked to see the Relaxed Toasty Roll Neck (in pink only), as well as the Heritage Check Coatigan (here, both colors), were reduced nicely.  I couldn't pull the trigger at the higher prices, so I held on, and when I saw the better prices this am, I decided to go for it (especially since it is freezing here today and both of these look so warm!).

Do any of you see any REALLY great deals?  I know a few items that I reviewed over the past few months (either in the BWRRs or at my Instagram account) have been greatly reduced in price, so you may want to check out both of those.

Alright!  Enjoy (sale) shopping!  Back soon with a sewing a coat post!

Boden USA

Monday, January 4, 2016

Boden: Spring 2016 is Here!

Hey, all!  Happy Monday! 

Anyhow, as every single person who cares about what happens in Boden land knows, today is the "drop" day for Spring 2016.  (Well at least the first rollout of Spring 2016.)

It seems fine enough, especially if you really like basics combined with Boden's quality, but since that's not really my thing (love the prints and bright colors you can only get from Boden and their quality), I am a bit ho-hum about it all. 

The blue backgrounds and the overall emphasis on blue (many of the entry shots on the category pages are of blue items, tees, dresses, etc.) seem a bit too sedate and not exciting enough.  I kind of felt sleepy after looking through the pages, to be honest.  I am not alone, there was a scientific study on which filters received the most engagement in Instagram, and the ones with a blue hue did significantly worse than the warmer hued ones.  The marketing people at Boden must have missed that memo.  Oops.  :-)  (Boden, hint, read the study and maybe DO THAT next time.)

Okay, so all that aside, there were quite a few items in this rollout from my "Spring Picks" post here, but obviously some of those are in future rollouts, so don't expect them all today.

The affiliate program provided me with a 15% off coupon, and it works on all new arrivals, but not on clearance (the stuff from the winter sale is now clearance).  There is a link at the bottom of the post and there is also a link in the blog's sidebar.

They added an additional color of the Martha Dress, and I love it!  Still hate the blue background, but really dig this pretty border print.  I may end up trying the navy version since I already have a ton of clothing in ivory, light blue, and yellow.  That said, I may end up being sized out since my pear shape may not end up getting along with this sheath shape, since it looks like to work on me I would have to buy a dress too large for my torso and a bit too fitted on my hips.

What are your thoughts on the rollout?  Any must haves?  Do you care about the overall "blue" look?

Spring Launches! 15% off plus free shipping and returns over $49+ with code 3Y9L valid 1/4-1/31

Boden USA