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Friday, March 27, 2015

Views from the Fitting Room! #FashionFriday

Vogue 1258 - Vena Cava -- Erica B's DIY Style!
A couple of weeks ago, I attended Belk's Girls Night Out to support blogger buddy Alexis Barton of Same Chic, Different Day who was hosting the event.  I wore an oldie, but goodie - Vogue 1258 (Out-of-print now).  I re-discovered this dress about a month ago as I was purging my closet preparing donation bags.  I tried it on and it fit better than it originally did, so into rotation it went!  So while at Belk, I was there absorbing the atmosphere and sipping on wine, I did some exploring and some trying on!
Elie Tahari Emory Floral Print Sheath Dress - Erica B's DIY Style!
This fabulous Elie Tahari Emory Floral Print Sheath Dress - $428, jumped off the rack at me!  I had to try it on!  
It's neoprene and mesh!  A floral neoprene at that!  Can I just tell y'all that I've been searching high and low for a similar print and I've had no luck thus far.  But I'm not giving up.  I absolutely loved the details.  This is a dress that can easily be made.  I could use a ponte knit or a stretch twill, but I really want a floral neoprene on a black background.  Notice how the darts are sewn.  I hope you can see it.  On the inside, the seams were left raw.  I've noticed that in ready-to-wear, neoprene is never finished on the inside.  And on this dress, nor is it hemmed.
Trina Turk Emmalyn Jumpsuit - Erica B's DIY Style!
I also wanted to try this tailored jumpsuit.  What drew me to this is that it has a front invisible zip, even though it's a little low-cut.  I've never really had much luck with ready-to-wear jumpsuits because due to my height, they always seem too short in the rise.  
Trina Turk Emmalyn Jumpsuit - Erica B's DIY Style!
But this one fits well and it was even comfortable when sitting.  And I was also impressed with the length.  It stopped where it was meant to according to how the model is wearing it.
Let's look at the inside...
The bodice of this jumpsuit is fully-lined with a facing.
Here's the back.
And they even used hem tape.  This is a detail that I don't often see.
DKNY Feather Hem Lace Dress - Erica B's DIY Style!
And of course, I had to buy something and what an amazing buy it was!  I found the DKNY Feather Hem Lace Dress that originally retailed for $495.  Brace yourself... I found it on clearance for... $19.98!  Yes, 20 bucks!  I paid for this dress with pocket change!  I very rarely buy ready-to-wear, so this purchase makes it worth my while!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reading Between the Lines!

Sometimes when your sewing mojo has taken a hike, the easiest way to motivate one's sewing self is through pure magazine inspiration.  In the age of all things digital, it's good to fall back on the satisfaction of simply flipping through the glossy editorial pages of a fashion magazine.  
At one point, I thought Issuu.com and Pinterest had almost ruined the experience for me.  But it's just something about daylight savings time and the turn of the new season that inspires me to grab an actual magazine.  No matter how many Pinterest boards I create, I still love to rip out those pages and push pin them to my inspiration corkboard.  I must know what they think is hot!
My inspiration for this dress was pulled from the pages of the April 2015 issue of Marie Claire.  The dress is Alexander Wang Pre-Fall 2015.
I had recently purchased this fabulous striped ponte knit from Mood Fabrics.com.  The weight and quality of this ponte knit is unlike any I've ever felt outside of a ready-to-wear garment.  If you're looking to make a fitted body-con dress, then I suggest you seek a ponte knit swatch from Mood.  
I used McCall's 6886, once again.  This is such a great basic pattern that is perfect for when you have a spectacular fabric that you want to be the star.
I used the same cut pieces as before, which was the size 14.  But I needed to shave down the sides by 1.5" each.  The stripes run horizontal... selvage to selvage.  But I cut it the other way for my look.  And instead of hemming the neckline, I wanted my dress to be a little closer to my inspiration piece.  So I used the black stripe in the fabric, that was serendipitously 1.25" wide.  Which was perfect for a 5/8" neck binding.  I just cut into the white part so that I would have a seam allowance.  How I did this was to trim down the neckline on the front and the back by 5/8".  And stitch the binding on as if it was meant to be like that.

 I'm thinking that this pattern is officially a "TNT" that I'll be making over and over.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics at Belk at The Summit!

The new Bobbi Brown store inside Belk at The Summit is now open and it's beautiful!  Just look at the countertops.  Doesn't it remind you of a kitchen?  The marble counters, the large island in the center and the cabinetry is gorgeous.  
Let's have a brief history lesson about Bobbi and her brand...
Bobbi Brown's story is very inspiring.  It all started with these 10 lipsticks pictured above.  In the 1980s, with a degree in theatrical makeup she was a makeup artist.  The makeup trend back then was strong contoured faces and red lips, which Bobbi didn't find all that flattering.  Bobbi's own look was inspired by Ali MacGraw in "Love Story", so she wanted to create natural looking lip color so that lips would look like "lips".   She launched her lipsticks at Bergdorf Goodman in 1991, with instant success -- she sold 100 lipsticks on her first day!  And after 4 years, her brand was acquired by Estee Lauder with Bobbi retaining complete creative control.  Just like we all read those affirmations that say things like, "If it doesn't exist, create it".  Well, she did! 
These are the current lip colors...
And the creamy lip color which is like a tinted lip balm definitely caught my eye for everyday wear.
And there is also a simple balm.
And she offers foundations from the lightest to the darkest.  And an interesting fact:  they are all yellow-base.  This piqued my curiosity, because even though I have golden undertones to my skin and I would naturally wear a yellow-base foundation, I wouldn't think that everyone could.  But the way her makeup is formulated, it works.  And she also says, "Concealer is the secret of the universe".  And I believe her.  It's the difference between looking exhausted or like you've had some great sleep.
And even it you need a little bit of help, her bronzer is perfect for color correction.
And the beautiful array of blushes.
Here is the eye color.  Colors from cool to warm.  I like warm!  And from everyday clean to a dramatic occasion look.  
And most importantly, the skincare products.  And another little fact I learned:  The moisturizers contain a primer!  So that's one less step in your routine.
And here are 4 of the 8 books she's written that are also available at the counter.
And what's a major plus about this brand are the very educated makeup artist!  Bobbi Brown Coordinator Jennifer Puckett (sec. from the left) and her team of professionals are excellent in helping your establish your skincare regimen and makeup routine.  And they also offer classes.
Here's my sheet!  And they keep a copy on file in the store.
And they get to wear this fun, cool girl shirt!  So, if you're in the Birmingham Metro Area, make sure to stop by Belk and head to the Bobbi Brown counter!  Or any Bobbi Brown counter in your area.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Gus Mayer Spring '15 Preview!

This morning I attended Gus Mayer's Spring Preview Blogger Breakfast.  
A lot of Birmingham's most fabulous bloggers were in attendance.
As usual for Spring '15, florals will most definitely be making an appearance.
The first look is Noir Sachin Babi cropped top and embroidered organza midi skirt.  This look is right on trend for this season.  
The other dress is a fit and flare neoprene dress from Erin Erin Fetherston.  It seems that each season neoprene gets better.  This one is gorgeous and this dress has so much movement.
Sewing details:  Notice that exposed zippers aren't going anywhere.  And I love the use of the grosgrain ribbon as a zipper facing.  I've noticed this detail a lot and I plan on incorporating it soon.
I also like these two printed looks.
I also noticed a lot of mixed media pieces.  I love the sporty chic look of these pieces.  The mesh inserts keep these tops fun and can easily ago from day to night.  This is something I might consider adding as well.  Think about when a pattern calls for lace, mesh would be a great substitute.
Fringe is on everything and everywhere this season.  Lots of it...
Or you can keep it subtle.
Even here in The Deep South, we wear leather all year.  And this white leather dress is perfect to wear into summer.  And a white perforated leather tote is a wonderful addition.
Another fabric that screamed out to me was gauze in boho hippy styles.  My favorite is the modern tie-dye.

Now if only spring actually shows up!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pretty Birds!

Have you ever been in need of something to do with your bag of scraps?  Well, here is your chance to make some adorableness.  I'm going to be honest with you, usually if it's less than a yard and I can't  use it for a project I'm working on and no matter how fabulous the fabric, it may just meet the garbage.  But this book, "Pretty Birds: 18 Simple Projects to Sew and Love" by Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake blog offers the most adorable solutions to your scrap fabric pile.
I'm not a "crafty sewer" by any means.  I live strictly for wardrobe building and for the fashion side of sewing.  But even for me, I think there are a couple of really cute projects that I would consider trying.  And the owl is one.  I think it would be cute for Isabella's room. Even though I've never sewn any softies, I would love to turn him into a pillow.
Another project that I feel would work for me is the canary.  The shape screams pincushion. 
And the final project that I would do is the cardinal.  I would create a few of these to be Christmas tree ornaments.  He couldn't be more perfect for that!

PRETTY BIRDS should be on the shelves of your favorite book store March 2015.  

By Virginia Lindsay 
Blog Tour Schedule 
 2/25 You Go Girl!
3/10 Sweet KM
3/12 Buzzmills

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Let me be the YKK on yo' zipper!

YKK Zippers vs. Coats & Clark - Erica B.'s DIY Style!
The title of this post is taken from the rap group Outkast's 2001 hit single, "So Fresh, So Clean".  Everytime I see a YKK zipper, I can't help but to sing the lyric aloud.  Which leads me to talk about my new favorite preference in zippers.  It was a longtime coming, but I finally have to say good-bye to Coats & Clark zippers.  I've held onto them for so long based on convenience.  See, I live really, REALLY close to Hancock Fabrics, Jo-Ann's AND Hobby Lobby.  I've always been able to easily make a mad dash to one of these locations for a quick zipper run and also with the savings possibility of coupons! Coupons will cause you to make bad choices just to say that you saved money.  When in the long run, you're not!

I've had several invisible C&C invisible zippers break on me in the last year.  Too many to count.  I even blogged about an experience that almost put me in a bind.  I did consider it was me.  But I've been successfully installing concealed zips for many, many years.  So when I doubted my own ability, I went in search of re-learning from scratch how to do it all over again.  Still, the zippers failed me once again and then again.  So, I'm done.  I'm not going to promise that in the throes of sewing passion that if I need a zipper, I won't give in and use a C&C.  But it's definitely no longer my go to brand.  

So as of today, YKK is my zipper brand.  They're considered the best zipper brand in the world.  And it's the brand that most designers use.  Just grab a random RTW garment of yours and look at the zipper.  It will almost always be stamped "YKK".  

Now that I've ventured out into the world of custom sewing, there is no way that I would put a C&C zipper in a garment for a customer.  I just don't trust their reliability,  Nor would I ever want to compromise the integrity of something someone has paid me to make with a sticky zipper, breaking teeth, a lockup or one that will more than likely split open on someone's special occasion.  I've had that happen, I know what it feels like and I wouldn't want anyone to experience that -- especially when I made it.

A zipper doesn't make a garment, but it can damn sure break one!

Here are my sources for YKK zippers:

What zippers are you using and highly recommend?  And what are your favorite sources or vendors?  Please share!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Beauty Review: Younique Mascara!

Allow me to preface everything in this post by first saying, I am NOT a beauty blogger, nor do I deem myself a beauty expert.  However, I am a consumer that has been purchasing makeup for the last 30 years.  That makes me an expert on ME and on what I like!
So, when I was approached by Emily Guffey, a Younique Presenter to review the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes, I jumped on the opportunity.  I'm a product junkie and I love being put on to a new product that I've never heard of or probably wouldn't purchase based on the lack of familiarity.
So I graciously accepted this beautifully packaged mascara.  It's like NOTHING I've ever used before.  And the entire process of using it is an experience.  Let me explain how you apply it:
First, you apply a thin coat of your own regular mascara as a base.  Any kind will do.  I'm a fan of L'Oreal mascaras, so those are what I use.  

Then you apply a coat of the Moodstruck Transplanting gel.  And IMMEDIATELY following while WET, apply the Moodstruck Natural Fibers.  

The part about immediately and wet are extremely important.  Let's just say that the first time I tried this product that I failed to do that part.  It was like I was brushing tiny little feathery hairs into my eyes.  I knew I had to have done something very wrong.  So, after a few more tries and probably around a week later, I feel like I pretty much know how to properly apply it.  You have to do one eye at a time, have all applicators ready and move through it reasonably fast.  I really like the end results when applied properly.  I think after you actually get the hang of the application process, you can apply it quickly.  Because it really is all about technique.
A problem that I initially had was when I was applying the fibers too dry was the falling or flaking of the fibers onto my under eye area.  But again, this all has to do with perfecting your own technique.  Now, would I recommend this product?  Not to the regular woman.  But I HIGHLY recommend this to the lady who LOVES makeup and is always in search of the latest and greatest new product!

Disclaimer:  I received this product for to review.  I was not compensated.  All opinions on this product are my own.