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Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Simplicity 1366 & McCall's 6757 | A Crop Top & A Metallic Pencil Skirt!

So, I've already begun to sew with fall in mind.  And a crop top and metallic pencil skirt are great wardrobe additions for this upcoming season.
So let's start with the top, Simplicity 1366.
For my version of a crop top, I chose this length.  Contrary to belief, crop tops do NOT have to be tight, knit or midriff-baring.  And for a daytime-appropriate crop top, I'm choosing to wear mine loose-fitting with a high-waisted fitted skirt.  The sight of a sliver-of-skin is completely unnecessary to get this look across.  My goal is to look chic and hip without looking like I'm heading to the beach.
This top is a great basic to have in your wardrobe as a simple pullover woven.  The size 14, sews perfectly out of the envelope without any alterations.  I used this rayon (which is possibly a challis) that's the perfect weight for a blouse.  
My skirt is McCall's 6757.
For this skirt, I cut the size 14 and I added 3 inches to the length.  This pattern started out so promising until I got to the pockets.  Welt pockets can be daunting, but these instructions were overcomplicated and even the illustration in step 13, is backwards.  I had to figure that out the hard way.  My seam ripper was working overtime for this project.  But I made it work.  In case you choose to make this skirt, here is a quick tutorial on the welt pockets:
As instructed, interface the welt area on the wrong side and transfer the markings.
Interface the welt pattern pieces as well.  And create them by folding the welt in half, lengthwise and pressing.  And stitch along the raw edge.
Prepare the pocket facings.
Now, here is where things got fickly.  The instructions would have you sew the facings on the opposite sides of where they should be.  But when you match your markings, this is how it should look.  I know it may look strange, but it will make sense shortly when you turn your work to the other side.
This is how the opposite side looks at this point.
Slash your welt line and clip at the diagonal corners.  BE CAREFUL and DON'T cut the pocket or welt.  And turn the pocket facing to the inside.
And once the pocket is finished, this is how it looks.
Yes, it was pretty daunting, but the results were great!
My fabric was pretty cool as well.  As soon as I saw this gold foil denim on the bolt in Hancock, I knew it would be a skirt.  The fabric sews like a regular denim.  The only thing is I wish it had at least a little bit of stretch.  And it creases a lot from sitting. One day, I shall learn to levitate to prevent that!
And I used a gold exposed zipper.
And per usual with any pencil skirt pattern I use, I peg the hem. I just don't like when pencil skirts flare at the bottom.  Is it a pencil skirt or an a-line skirt?  I do this by taking in the bottom 4 inches less than the widest point of the hip.  Even with the welt pocket hiccup, I think this is a cute skirt.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Review: Simplicity 1318 | A Silk Chiffon Fringed Kimono!

Every now and then, I really become completely and utterly obsessed over a trendy piece.  And this time, it's the fringed kimono jacket.  I had been planning to make one for weeks now.  I had even thought of drafting my own because they really are simple.  And lo and behold, Simplicity released 1318.  Jackpot!
The swingy, loose kimono jacket has become a warm weather layer staple -- often adorned with fringe or tassels are a great alternative to a blazer or cardigan.  
Simplicity 1318 is a great capture of this trend.  The pattern includes four variations from which to choose.  I picked view C.  It sews excellently straight from the envelope with no alterations necessary.
I chose a printed silk chiffon from my fabric stash.
Of course with silk, I used French seams. 
And the only modification I made was to add my fringe, which I found in the home furnishing notion section at Hancock.  
The fringe was really simple to attach.  I finished off the hemline of the kimono just as the instructions suggested.  I added the fringe with a zig-zag stitch on the back side.
And an edge stitch on the front.
And I really like the way it turned out.  
This kimono will be a great addition to my wardrobe.  I paired it with white skinny jeans.  I plan to also throw it over my fuchsia romper, denim shorts, a little black dress, and in the fall -- my leather pants.  It's a really versatile piece to own.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Uptown Birmingham | A Taste of Uptown!

Yesterday, I attended the grand opening of Uptown Birmingham as a B-Metro Blogger!  It's located in downtown Birmingham at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.  It was a magnificent event!
Birmingham's illustrious mayor - Honorable William A. Bell, Sr. was there for the ribbon cutting.
After that, all of the special invited guest and dignitaries continued on in the VIP area.  And the tasting of all 7 fabulous restaurants began!
This event sold out so quickly that it made my head spin.  The opportunity to get out and sample the regular menu items at all of the restaurants was amazing.
The first restaurant I had to try was Cantina Laredo.  Their menu items were:  Crispy Tortilla Chips Served with Roasted Tomato Salsa with Top Shelf Guacamole- Chicken Quesadillas de Laredo with Pico de Gallo and Sour Cream- Mini Chocolate Brownies with Pecans - Mango Tres Leches with Mango Cream Sauce.  They have some of the best guacamole I've ever tasted. They open on August 19th and I can't wait!
Next was Todd English P.U.B.  Yes, celebrity chef Todd English has a restaurant in Birmingham, AL!  On their menu was Ahi Tuna “Tar Tare” Hawaiian blue fin tuna, crispy fried wonton crackers, seaweed salad, gingered sesame vinaigrettte, toasted macadamia nuts- Hickory Smoked Pork Riblets House smoked riblets with TE BBQ sauce.  Let me tell y'all about the Tuna Tar Tare!  I could've eatened my weight in it!  
And last for me was The Southern Kitchen & Bar.  Their menu sample selections were the most substantial.  It was literally a full meal!  This is what they served:  Cajun Angels...bacon wrapped blackened shrimp served with a New Orleans BBQ sauce. - The Jefferson... Spiced turnip greens and Smoked Alabama Gouda Grits toppedwith rotisserie fried chicken and a hint of a homemade hit sauce.  This was like a traditional Sunday dinner!  I like to call this "Upscale Country Cooking"!
There were also fabulous giveaway items!
All in all, the evening was a success with a great turnout.  Uptown is my new favorite place to hang in Birmingham.  And if you live here or plan to visit, this is where you definitely need to go.  There's something for every taste!
What I wore:  My favorite white blazer: Simplicity 2250. And since it was a party, I wore great party pants!  My sequined version of Vogue 8909.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: Simplicity 1696 | Printed Pants!

I bought this great Rebecca Minkoff fabric from Mood Fabrics because, well... because it was pretty!  I'm so particular about prints that when I find a printed fabric that I love, I'm almost giddy.  I can usually track down the RTW finished products of a particular designer fabric, but I had no luck with this one.  But I know that Rebecca Minkoff does prints really well and I decided that this one needed to be pants.
This pattern is Simplicity 1696.  And before I even start, I'm going to tell you right now that these will be made again.  I love this pattern!  It's already been added to my TNT list.
I cut the size 14 in the average cut.  I added 3" to the length. This pattern is drafted with 1" seam allowances for fitting.  I probably could have cut the slim version, but I liked being able to really tailor this for a more personal fit. I eliminated the carriers, so I had to take in the waist a lot.  
For the order of construction, the front pockets are done first...
 and then the fly front...
 and the zipper.
Okay... when I got to step #14, I used the Sandra Betzina Easy Fly-Front Zipper method.  And I added the underlap at step #19.
And this is how they turned out:
And here are the faux welt back pockets:
So, when I saw this pattern (without reading first), I thought those were real welt pockets.  Cool... I haven't done any in a while and I thought it would be great practice.  Well, they weren't real and I was a little disappointed.  *Womp, womp*  
That was the only downside to this pattern.  But I will find another pattern and make a great pair of wool trousers with REAL welt pockets for fall.
Blazer is Simplicity 2446, reviewed here.  This is my TNT blazer pattern until I find one that's more incredible than this one.  And the top is the Vogue 8815.