31 July 2009

Vogue 2267

Pattern: Vogue 2267 (a vintage reprint pattern)

Size: size 8

Fabric: Medium weight cotton (that looks just like linen) with an orange floral leaf pattern from Fabricland (a Canadian chain fabric store).

Project Photo

Comments: Originally, I had planned on making this dress up in formal fabric. However, I figured first I better sew up a (hopefully) wearable muslin since the lines of this design are such that I didn't see any way to fix any major fitting problems after the dress was in progress. So, I rooted around in my fabric cupboard and found this fabric. I bought it on clearance at a local fabric store and got it for a song - so if things turned disastrous, I wasn't out a load of loot.

In the end, I'm glad I didn't go straight for the good fabric as there was one major fitting issue. The largest problem is with the neckline being far too wide for my shoulders, which causes the straps to constantly slip down my arm. If I make this dress again I will be reducing the width of the centre front panel and increasing the width of the side panels. This should keep the straps on my shoulders where they belong. Otherwise, the dress fits nicely every where else.

One change I made from the original pattern was to hem the dress right at the knee instead of part way down the calf. At the longer length, the dress was a bit too matronly and unflattering. The other change was that instead of using facings around the neckline and arms, I lined the entire dress in a fine cotton batiste. Essentially, I just made a second dress out of the batiste and joined the fashion fabric and the batiste at the neckline and armsyces.

ETA: A few commenters have asked if I "slimmed down" the skirt to make it more narrow, as it looks fuller in the drawing on the pattern envelope. I did not - the skirt is made exactly as the pattern specifies. I think the illustrator took a bit of creative license when creating the envelope art!

This dress is not a loss however. I can still wear it to work with a cardigan over top of it and the sweater should provide enough friction to keep the straps in their proper position.

Conclusion: A nice dress that requires a few tweaks to get it perfect.

29 July 2009

Simplicity 3874

Pattern: Simplicity 3874 (view B)

Size: size 8 from shoulder to high hip, out to size 12 downward (I probably only need to go out to a 10 here, but I sit a lot in my job, so I wanted the extra room for comfort)

Fabric: Peach bubble print polyester woven (normally I hate 100% poly, but this fabric is actually quite nice) from Fabricland (a Canadian chain fabric store).

Project Photo

Comments: I have made this dress once before and I absolutely love wearing it. It is such a simple, easy-to-sew dress that is so flattering on my body type. I love the empire styling and the bow that cinches up the front. Not to mention the great raglan sleeves, that add width to my shoulders to balance out my bottom half. This dress is an all around winner.

As with the other version of this dress, I chose to leave it unlined, since the fabric is quite opaque. Also, I will normally be wearing it in warmer weather, so I didn't want to add to the non-breathability of the polyester fabric. If I do wear the dress on a cooler day, I can add a separate slip and a cardigan to keep me warm.

Next time I make this dress, I am debating about leaving out the back zipper. The dress goes on over my head, even if it's zipped up. The only problem with this is that I like to get dressed after doing my makeup and hair and I don't want to mess that up putting on a zipperless dress. Hmm, decisions, decisions...

Conclusion: Such a wonderful dress! I have a few other versions on the drawing board and hopefully I'll get them made up in the near future.

28 July 2009

BWOF 123 (2/08) & Loes Hinse Hepburn Pants

Pattern: BWOF 123 (2/08) & Loes Hinse Hepburn Pants

: Top -size 36; Pants - size S

Fabric: Top - floral cotton jersey knit from Fabric Mart; Pants - royal blue linen from Fabric Mart.

Project Photo:

Comments: Surprise, surprise, Hepburn pants again. I can't get enough of these babies - I just keep making them over and over. Hey, why reinvent the wheel?

I have made the top in the past as well. You'll notice that with this top I chose not to do the tie detail around the neck. Instead, I raised the neckline considerably to preserve my modesty. This required a very easy redraft of the rolled collar - I just made it shorter to fit the reduced neckline.

Conclusion: Another more casual, yet very work appropriate outfit.

P.S. I was getting bored with my usual poses, so I decided to do something different. Don't I look all fetching and come hither? ;)

27 July 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Last week, Cidell asked about my polish stash and its storage. At last count I have 213 bottles of polish from many different companies (Avon, BB Couture, China Glaze, Color Club, Finger Paints, GOSH, Misa, Nfu Oh, New York Color, NYX, OPI, Orly, Revlon, Rimmel, Sally Hansen and Wet n Wild, to name a few). At first, all my polish was stored in old shoe boxes, but it was not ideal - the boxes were not very sturdy and they were not very aesthetically pleasing.

So, I did some research and found the nail polish board at Makeup Alley. Many of the women on this board that had larger collections were using a unit from Ikea, called Helmer. It has 6 drawers, each the perfect depth for polish bottles. I have found that each drawer holds from 60 to 80 bottles, depending on the style of the bottle. At present, three drawers hold nail polish (sorted by brand) and one of the drawers holds all the implements and treatments (files, base coats, top coats, lotions, cuticle treatments, etc). The extra drawers are waiting to be put into rotation at some point.

I am very pleased with my Helmer - it's an obsessive compulsive nail polish fanatic's dream. It keeps everything neatly stored away and there's room to grow!

Now on to the pretties:

L'Oreal - Electric Blue
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN

I saw the latest L'Oreal display at my local drug store and I was pulled in by this gorgeous blue polish. It's a metallic royal blue that is absolutely ezquisite on the nail.

The application of this polsih was a bit problematic for me however. I found it to be thich-ish and difficult to move around the nail, which resulted in clumps and streaks on the first layer. With much patience I was able to even every thing out on the second layer, so I guess all's well that ends well.

I only wore Electric Blue for one day and in that time I only experienced minor tipwear. I have included two photos, one with flash and one without (left and right pictures, respectively). The photo at left shows the metallic shine better, but the photo at right is a better representation of the true colour.

New York Color in a Minute - Downtown
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.39

Downtown is a not a colour I normally gravitate toward, but for less then 2 bucks, I figured I'd give it a shot. Boy, am I glad I did. What a beautiful colour - a deep purple-tinged wine creme that looks amazing with my skin tone.

This polish applied well (as do all the NYC polishes that I own) and covered nicely in two coats. The NYC brush is wider than most inexpensive drug store polishes and this really makes application a breeze. As promised ("color in a minute"), the polish dried very quickly (even more so with my beloved Sally Hansen Insta Dri quick drying top coat. The wear is pretty decent - just tip wear after two days.

For the price, this line of polish cannot be beat!

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Ice Coffee
- purchased at Rexall for $1.52 CDN

Ice Coffee is a wineish pinkish purpley brown frost. Did ya get all that? I can't really think of any other way to describe this colour. Admittedly it is a bit of a "mom" colour - I think every mom on the PTA at my high school in 1988 had this colour polish in her medicine cabinet. However, it is quite pretty in its own way. It doesn't poke you in the eye with uniqueness, but it's a good solid shade for everyday wear.

As ususal with this line, the polish flowed on smoothly, covered well in two coats and dried quickly. Over the three days that I wore Ice Coffee, I had minor tip wear and two rather large chips.

25 July 2009

Simplicity 3887 & Loes Hinse Hepburn Pants

Pattern: Simplicity 3887 (view C) & Loes Hinse Hepburn Pants

Size: Top - size 8; Pants - size S

Fabric: Top - abstract print cotton voile from Fabric Mart; Pants - brown rayon/linen blend from Fabric Mart.

Project Photo

Comments: Another outfit made from patterns I have used in the past. I made this top a couple of times before and I really enjoy wearing both versions, so when I was trying to decide on an airy, blousey top to make using this lovely cotton voile, S3887 immediately sprang to mind. I really pleased with the result - this top is cool and comfortable, but still quite chic.

The pants are my TNT Loes Hinse Hepburn pants. When I want a quick pair of flattering pants, this is the pattern to which I inevitably turn. I know that the style gurus are stating that skinnier pants will be in for fall, but I'm not sure that I can pull off a closer fit like that on my bottom half. Maybe I'll warm up to this trend but, for now, I'm sticking with what I know works for me.

Conclusion: Another easy-to-wear outfit for work. This pair of garments should help my work wardrobe transition from summer to fall nicely.

24 July 2009

BWOF 119 (11/05) & Loes Hinse Hepburn Pants

Pattern: BWOF 119 (11/05) & Loes Hinse Hepburn Pants

: Top - size 36; pants - S

Fabric: Top - large floral cotton knit from Lucy's Fabric; Pants - putty coloured linen from Fabric Mart.

Project Photo:

Comments: I finally got a chance to take some pictures of my latest projects. The last few days have been rainy and dreary. Today, however is sunny, so I took advantage.

I have made both of these patterns several times before and I always have great results. Talk about instant gratification sewing!

I was looking for a simple, comfortable outfit. Suited to casual days at work, as well as errand running on the weekend. I'm pleased with the outcome.

Conclusion: Excellent TNT patterns that give me guaranteed results every time.

20 July 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Last week, I sang the praises of biotin (which I purchase at Shoppers Drug Mart, a Canadian chain drug store). In the comments I was asked if biotin grows hair as well as nails. Well, let me tell ya! For me, the amount of hair that I have has not increased, but the speed at which my existing hair grows has gone crazy. My hair grew like wildfire to begin with, but biotin has increased it even more. Typically I get my hair cut every five weeks and prior to biotin, the last week before the salon was annoying due to grown out bangs hanging in my eyes. Now, since taking biotin, my bangs are annoying after three weeks. Unfortunately, this accelerated hair growth is not confined to my head and I have to shave my legs more often. But, my nails look wonderful, so I take the good, with the bad.

Now on to the pretties:

New York Color in a Minute - Little Italy
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.36 CDN

I was looking for a nice soft white polish and Little Italy seemed like a good bet. I'm usually a wacky polish colour gal, but occasionally I like the clean, bright look of white nail polish.

Little Italy was a bit troublesome. It flowed on well, but it is streaky. I applied three coats in an attempt to even out the colour, but if you click on the photo, it's obvious that there are still some streaks. I can't get too upset about this though as this is fairly typical of white nail polish.

I wore this polish for two days and it did get a reasonable amount of tip wear.

China Glaze - Shower Together
- purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $3.99 CDN

Shower Together, from China Glaze's Ecollection, is such a beautiful colour - a medium greyed-out teal blue. I have a lot of this colour in my wardrobe, so I was drawn to this polish to use as a "fashion accessory."

This polish applied well, although it did require three coats to be opaque. However, it did not wear particularly well. After less than 24 hours, I had considerable tip wear and a few small chips.

I really had higher hopes for a polish this pretty.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Violet Sparks
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.53 CDN

I have a few sheer polishes in my stash that I'm not particularly fond of in the bottle. However, I like to give them a whirl on the nail because sometimes they surprise me. This is one of those polishes.

Violet Sparks applied nicely, although it is quite transparent. I opted to go for four coats to build up the opacity to a degree that I could live with (I do not like visible nail lines).

It was worth the extra effort because this polish is so soft and pretty on the nail. It's a soft pinkish-purple colour with a darker lavender flash and silver shimmer. It's perfect for a conservative work place or a job interview, but interesting enough not to be boring.

Orly - Glam

- purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $5.99 CDN

Glam is hot. It is a deep, rich wine-red base with sparkling scarlet glitter. If I was vampire, this is the polish I would wear on a nightly basis.

It applied smoothly and covered well (two coats gave me a nice opaque coverage). It wore okay - minor tip wear, which is good, but several small chips, which is not so good. However, this polish is sexy enough to save for special nights out on the town.

18 July 2009

Givin' Fall My All

Am I the only one that is dying to start some fall sewing? Since my summer vacation started three weeks ago, I have barely done any warm weather sewing yet. However, my mind has turned to thoughts of crisp autumn days, rustling leaves and oodles of wool, cashmere and silk. Aah, transition sewing - I can't get enough of it.

I think the real reason why fall is on my mind is because the weather around here has been so odd. Usually by now we have a bunch of days that are evil, humid scorchers, but so far, the temperatures have been pleasant. Now, don't get me wrong, cool and crisp in the morning, warm and breezy in the afternoon is pretty much ideal. However, temperate weather does not make the thought of touching wool deplorable. Hence, my desire to bust out the jacket patterns.

On that front, I could not resist picking up a few bajillion Vogues (and maybe a couple Buttericks and McCalls too) during the big Club BMV members sale.

So, any of these float your boat too?

17 July 2009

Simplicity 7990 Again

Pattern: Simplicity 7990 (vintage)

Size: 8

Fabric: Tan scallop-edged eyelet from Timmel Fabrics & Jade handkerchief linen from Fabric Mart.

Project Photo

Have you ever been just going about your business and then inspiration hits? Without warning an all-consuming passion engulfs you - you're unable to focus on anything but your vision. The world slides away and the creative drive kicks into high gear. Ever been there? I have and this dress is the result of one of those episodes.

One day as I was rearranging some of my stash, I came across the tan eyelet fabric and opened it up to get a better look. It just happened to fall on top of the jade linen and the combination of the two colours was entrancing. At first, I was just going to underline the eyelet with the linen and let the jade peek through the eyelet holes, but that didn't show off the scalloped edges to the best advantage. Having just finished another S7990 dress that had a border print at the hem, I decided to use the scallops at the hem in much the same way. Then I mused about where else the scallops could be used to advantage and the bodice you see here was born. This bodice is the same one I drafted for this version of S7990, except the front neckline slit was sewn shut.

The bodice is underlined and the midriff panel and skirt are lined in the jade fabric. The lining for the skirt is not fully loose however - it is attached at the side seams all the way down, but it hangs free in between. I think it makes the interior of the dress almost as pretty as the exterior. All the facings were hand stitched to the underlining and it gives the dress a nice clean appearance, inside and out. It also gives the dress a nice heft.

When the dress was finished, it still needed one more dash of jade fabric. So, the belt was created and I think it added the perfect finishing touch.

I love this dress. The combination of colours. The placement of the eyelet "stripes" horizontally on the skirt, vertically on the bodice and diagonally on the midriff. The location of the scallops. The fit. The cute little belt tied in a bow. I know I sound like a big ole braggart, but I can't help it - I love it all!

16 July 2009

Simplicity 5197 & Loes Hinse Oxford Pants

Pattern: Simplicity 5197 (view A) & Loes Hinse Oxford Pants (view B)

Size: S5197 - size 8; LH Oxford Pants - size S

Fabric: Tunic - Embroidered teal cotton from Timmel Fabrics; Khaki tencel woven from Nancy's Notions.

Project Photo

Comments: I have had this S5197 tunic cut out and ready to go for over two years, but it just sat in my to-do pile unloved and ignored. Well I finally felt bad enough about allowing it to languish for so long and decided to sew it up. Unfortunately in the interim, I managed to lose the instructions. Not a tragedy, but irksome none the less. So, I did it my way and made it up as I went along! It turned out well - the slits at the cuff and sides of the hem, as well as the collar are cute design features.

The cropped pants are simply shortened Loes Hinse Oxfords (which is one of my TNT pant patterns). Although I'll be the first one to admit that cropped pants can make those of us that are vertically challenged look all the more stumpy, I'm okay with it. Cropped pants are cool and comfortable in the summer for occasions when shorts are inappropriate. Normally for these circumstances, I turn to a skirt, but a girl likes to have options, ya know?

I was looking for a comfortable, casual outfit to wear for a day out shopping or visiting with friends. I think I got it!