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Thursday, January 31, 2013

What I'm Wearing | Camel, Yellow & Ripped Denim!

After a day of terrible weather that swept through the state, today is absolutely gorgeous!  A perfect January day... not unseasonably warm and not bitterly cold... just perfect!
Perfect weather to toss on my Vogue 8776 cape...
thrown over my J. Crew cableknit sweater, my yellow gingham shirt and my Gap Vintage Flare jeans (with my DIY distressing). 
This has been a pretty slow sewing week.  Have you ever lost the instruction sheet for a pattern?  Well, I did and it's an OOP pattern... sigh.  But that's okay, I'm winging my way through it.  The project should be finished and posted by early next week.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Inspired by Pinterest: Weekend Wear | Denim on Denim with a White Blazer!

For my Saturday look, I pulled inspiration from my favorite place -- Pinterest.

Inspired by Pinterest
From my Fashion board.

White, in the middle of January?  Hmmm...
It was sunny and the temps were mild, so this equals a fun fashion day and I took full advantage.

Worn with a DKNY chambray shirt, Gap jeans and cobalt blue wedges..
I hope the rest of your weekend is great!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What I'm Wearing | Black & White: Bold & Graphic!

Brazen... optical... geometric... graphic!
Bold black and white prints are popping up everywhere as we start thinking about Spring clothes.  Oh, you're not thinking about Spring clothes yet?  Well, you better get a move on it!


My self-drafted dress (yes, I do do that sometimes), was inspired by this great geo-patterned body-con dress from Asos.com.  Amazingly so, I've been in possession of a similar print for years now.  But I never knew how I wanted to use it... until now.
Being that I wanted a very simple design that would highlight and not disturb the print, I went with a fitted, straight-style body-concious dress.  
And I off-centered the print to give the dress more of an abstract look, similar to my inspiration dress.
And I accessorized with black.  And as the weather warms, I'll be adding colors like yellow, fuchsia, probably cobalt as a contrast.
I really like this style of dress and I can't wait to run across great prints so that I can make a few more.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Vogue 1317 - Chado Ralph Rucci | Oxblood!

This is Vogue 1317 - Chado Ralph Rucci.  When I was getting ready to cut this pattern out, I came to the realization that even though I've collected almost every Rucci pattern that VP has released, I've never made one.  That was really surprising, downright shocking considering how much I admire his designs and skill.  If you ever run across his documentary "Ralph Rucci:  A Designer and His House" on Sundance channel, it's a must see!  He's a serious haute couturier! 
Here is the runway version from Chado Ralph Rucci Fall 2011.

And just to give you an idea of how his looks trickle down from the runway to the realway, here are a few of his recent design offerings at Neiman Marcus.
Description: Dress has low neckline slit, close-fitting bodice cut-in-one with sleeves (slit), side back bodice extending into uderarm gusset, lined midriff, single-layer tie ends (wrongside shows), skirt with side front/side back seams, side front pockets/vents, invisible back zipper, stitched hems, and self-bias binding. Topstitching and edgestitching. 

Now the fabric suggestions are faux suede and a lightweight double knit.  Things that make you go "hmmmm..."  As long as I've been sewing, that should've given me pause.  Those two fabrics move, drape, wear and behave completely differently.  Either a garment made in the woven fabric is going to be too tight (not enough wearing ease) or the knit garment is going to be too loose (too much ease for a knit garment).  I'm always perplexed when such opposite fabric suggestions are offered.  But oh well, I decided to go with the fabric similar to the runway version of the dress, because it's all I could envision when I pictured the outcome of this pattern.  I'll learn one day...
I checked the flat pattern/finished measurements as I always do and cut my normal size for VP patterns.  I'm going to tell you right now, this pattern did not offer ANY altering lines.  So if you need to add or subtract, you're on your own with this one.  Most patterns are almost always at least an inch too short in the waist for me, so I added an inch to the bodice.  I should've done an FBA.  Even though the neck slit isn't gaping, it would've probably laid closer together.  And I added 3 inches to the skirt because this dress was pretty short.  As you see, it still stops above the knee.  How I made this alteration was to find a good place in the middle of each pattern piece and cut there to add my additional length.  I choose to do it this way instead of going to the bottom as not add additional width.
Do you ever find yourself making nonsensical mistakes while sewing?  I do all of the time, just like I did on this pattern.  When I added length to the bodice, I didn't really take into account that this would affect my zipper... and maybe I should go a little longer.  So my zipper ended up being a little too short.  And remember that thing I just said about the way different fabrics react?  Yeah... the dress ended up being too tight.  But with all of the work of topstitching and edgestitching I had invested, no way was this going to be a wader.  I added 1" panels to each side of the center back and repeated the same type of stitching and made it work.
Here is a close up of the arm slit and the gorgeous faux suede from Mood Fabrics.  The color is "cinnabar", but it fits right in with the Fall/Winter 2012-13 oxblood trend.  This fabric feels so luxurious.  It feels and behaves like a real suede.  I found that while sewing this, I needed to use a teflon foot (or a walking foot would work too). 
Notice my "sensible" heels!  Boots by Circa Joan & David.  Similar to these.
All and all, I really like this dress. I don't think I'll sew this pattern again, but if I did here are things I'd do different:  use a double knit; eliminate the tie ends so that I could do a belt if I like; and eliminate the useless pockets.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What I'm Wearing | Weekend Wear!

Hi guys!  Just wanted to stick my head in. I hope everyone is having a great weekend... thus far.  We are!
I'm sure some of you think I'm always in heels.  That's far from the truth.  Sure, a couple of days a week I like to zhuzh it up!  But that's about all my 42 year old feet, ankles, legs, knees AND back can take.  I've promised myself this year I would start looking into fashionable lower heels and flats.  My feet need to last me hopefully for another 50 years!
So for my Saturday afternoon running around, I wore my Vogue 1020 tunic with my McCall's 6404 skinny pants.  Topped off with a fur poncho, a pair of black sneakers and a bright bag for a punch of color.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What I'm Wearing | The Rainy Day Edition!

Don't you just hate rainy days?  I know I do.  I wish I could just opt out of every obligation and just stay home and sew.  Grocery shopping?  Sorry, I'm not going.  Eat whatever you can find... it's raining.  My child needs to be picked up from school?  Sorry kid.  Bum a ride... it's raining.  I kid... 
So, instead of being a Grumpy Gus about the weather... you know, matters completely out of my control.  I decided to suck it up, put on a nice outfit and attend an early morning event.
Can I tell y'all how much I still love this jacket?  Oh, and my husband told me I have way too many consecutive posts wearing sunglasses.  And he'd appreciate if I gave them a rest.  Well, since there was no sun, I granted his wish! LOL
click to enlarge

So, the reason I got out in the cold rain was for Belk's Spring '13 Fashion Tour that was held on yesterday at the Birmingham Summit Mall location.  And it was totally worth it.  I'll talk more about the fashion trends that were introduced in a separate post.  But I wanted to share with you the beauty trends that were gifted to us in our goodie bag.  I can't wait to fully experience all of the products.  But as of right now, my favorite 2 are the AHAVA Mineral Hand Cream and Isaac Mizrahi's new fragrance "Fabulous".  The hand cream is amazing.  I've been using it since I left the store yesterday.  It doesn't have a greasy residue and it's perfect to use while handling fabric and using a touch screen device.  And the fragrance smells wonderful.  And what better name for what I'm certain will become my Spring/Summer signature scent.
Wearing:  jacket: Vogue 8333; leather peplum top: Vogue 8815; pants: Vogue 1143; shoes: Shoe Dazzle.com; necklace:  BCBG Max Azria (old); purse (old); umbrella: Totes.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

What I'm Wearing | Tweed, denim & leopard!

Today, I decided to give my pea coat a rest!  Mikaela pointed out that I clearly love my new jacket, because I've been wearing it almost everyday!  She's so right... I do!
But today I decided to grab this red tweed blazer that's McCall's 6207.
I belted it with my ponyhair leopard print belt.  
And I wore my favorite pair of jeans:  my Jalie 2908.  
Pulled it all together with a ponyhair leopard print slingback pump and red shoulder bag.

Friday, January 04, 2013

What I'm Wearing | Layer: Leather, denim & fur!

Layering in winter is a great way to be warm and fashionable.
For my base, I'm wearing my leather sleeve dress...
with my denim shirt.  Denim shirts are so versatile and have become a wardrobe must have.  I also wore my black rabbit fur vest that I've owned for almost 20 years (1995)!  I guess it can almost be considered vintage!
Meet my new favorite watch.  It's a black ceramic by Emporio Armani.  I'm in love!
And for fun, I wore my houndstooth tights...
with my BCBG boots.  

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Review: Vogue 2873 (OOP) | The Pea Coat!

Happy New Year!!!
Every year since this pattern was released back in 2005, I've planned to make this jacket.  I've bought fabric every single year and the fabric seems to get designated for another project -- each year.  For the life of me, I couldn't remember why I'd never gotten around to making this.  But this year, I was determined to make my pea coat that I've wanted for so long.
This is out-of-print Vogue 2873, a design by Michael Kors from his Fall 2004 collection
Original Michael Kors pea coat
What I love most about this design is that pea coats are so traditional and timeless and this pattern was no exception.  
Pea coats are a wardrobe essential that every well-dressed woman I can think of owns and wears to death.  The pea coat was made iconic by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  That's why it's often referred to as the "Jackie O jacket".
They have the ability to make your ensemble look much more pulled together than otherwise.

For my pea coat, I chose this pattern because it has all of the details that I wanted (i.e. military-inspired epaulets, three row high buttons).  I wanted to use a heavy weight, high quality coating fabric so I chose this wool/cashmere (wool 80%/cashmere 20%) fabric.  I can't tell you how luxurious this fabric feels.  Unlike how wool can feel itchy, the cashmere makes it feel like a cuddly blanket you just want to wrap up in.
Here are my jacket "innards".  As you see, I've intricately tailored it.  I'm not going to go into great depth and description because I've blogged extensively in the past on my tailoring techniques.  The only thing I really did differently this time was using the machine instead of padstitchng.  It tremendously cut down on all of the handstitching.  I used a serpentine stitch as seen in Kenneth King's book "Cool Couture".  Other steps were taken from my tailoring go-to book -- "Tailoring:  The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket".  
And for a vast amount of info on tailoring a coat or jacket, please check out "The Great Coat Sew-Along" blog.  The sew-along is way over, but the information is still there and is invaluable.
The only modification I had to make was adding an inch of length to the body of the pea coat.  I was pleasantly surprised at how generously the sleeves are drafted.  I couldn't believe I didn't have to lengthen them.  
For the lining, I used black Bemberg rayon that I picked up at Joann's.  My location stays pretty well stocked in the basic colors.  And my favorite detail of all are the great silver/gold crested shank buttons.  
They just take the jacket to next level compared to the ones I see most in ready-to-wear.  And I topstitched using heavy-duty thread that wouldn't get lost in the thick fibers of the fabric.
For my final project of 2012, this is my favorite.  I succeeded in making an heirloom-quality jacket that I plan to wear for many, many years.