Tuesday, August 28, 2012

J. Crew Inspired DIY Peter Pan Collar Mini Tutorial

I first saw this top on Gigi and loved the way it looked on her.  I knew I already had a gray sweater so decided to make a separate Peter Pan collar to pop on and off when I felt like it.

Left: J. Crew Peter Pan Collar Tee inspiration (buy here)
Right: DIY Peter Pan Collar worn over a gray sweater

There are a quite a few tutorials out there with printable patterns for you to follow, so I'm not really going to go in depth here.  I will admit that I was too lazy to hook up the printer to use one of those aforementioned tutorials, so I decided to wing it like I usually do.
The diagram doesn't show this well, but make sure you either sew a little overlap in the center front or don't cut through it completely.  You don't want 2 separate flopping pieces of collar.  Also, you can go ahead and cut through the center back.  This is where you'll attach a snap / clasp / hook / button / whatever you prefer to allow you to get in and out of your collar.

If you use something that doesn't fray and has structure (i.e. felt, vinyl, leather, etc.), you're done!  I used regular white cotton fabric so cut out 2 duplicate collar pieces, sewed the wrong sides together, flipped the right sides out, and sewed a snap at the back for a closure.  

Now you can wear it atop whatever you want :)

How do you feel about Peter Pan collars this season?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Black Sheath w/ Structured Sleeves DIY

For most of my dresses, I tend to go with a sleeveless / collarless look as it keeps both the look and sewing simple.  However, I was enchanted by Wendy's structured sleeves here and decided to give it a shot on this black sheath dress.

The material is a ponte knit, which gives it structure with stretch and comfort.  The sleeves can be worn both flattened (normal) or pointed.  I rather like the pointed look.  It's something different than my usual aesthetic.

Black Sheath Dress w/ Structured Sleeves
Necklace 1 - my first thrift find!
Necklace 2 - Vince Camuto
Ollio Leopard Wedge Peep Toes

Deep side pleats for tummy hiding

Also replicated on the sleeve 

My husband, ever direct, asked, "Why do you have a ball on your head?"

Me:  "Um, I don't know.  I was trying one of those sock buns."

Him:  "I don't think you did it right."

Oh well, I tried.  If anyone has some tips on making my sock bun look more natural, please share!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Asymmetrical Chain Clutch and DIY Countdown

I have 1 week left of maternity leave and I plan to crank out the DIYs because I know time will become much more limited (and will be spent doting upon the children) when I return to work.

For this project, inspiration struck me whilst trying to get Baby E back to sleep at 4am.  How about a clutch with a decorative chain + button closure?  I drafted it up in my imagination and thought about it extra hard (*click* goes the camera for the mental picture - sorry, I sometimes just have to go for the cheese factor) so that it would stick in my mind when I got some DIY time.

My original vision was to use heavy, striped or chevron fabric in a white / blue combination, but I was scared of ruining expensive fabric, so decided to do a trial run with some old, leftover material.

DIY Asymmetrical Chain Clutch
Looking at this now, I should probably iron the flap to make the angles more crisp.

I was floundering when making this because I wasn't sure how to give this bag structure.  I wound up stuffing 2 pieces of felt between the lining and exterior.  This worked fine, but upon researching how real DIY bags are made, I found there is a special kind of interfacing that can be used instead.  Good thing this is a practice run!

Other projects I just finished (so many inspirations lately!):
Bejeweled Collar

Knotted Rope Bracelet

DIY Tribal Necklace (worn here)
Made from dissecting an old necklace, eyepinning the beads and arranging the geometric shape

DIY Crocheted Crescent Necklace in Yellow (video tutorial here)

I also have a structured sleeve dress, Kate Spade Jillian-esque dress, and chevron skirt in the works for future posts.  Busy sewing bee over here.  :)

How would you feel if I offered up practice DIY items for giveaway?  I sometimes wind up swimming in finished projects with too many to actually use.  But I don't want you to think I'm trying to foist things upon you.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

2 DIY Sheath Dresses: Lace & Paisley

I've been on a dresses and skirts kick lately.  I used McCall's M5972 as the basis for both dresses and changed just a few things on each.

The yellow lace sheath features little gathered pleats on the skirt while the blue paisley features 2 large pleats + little sleeves.

DIY Yellow Lace Sheath (lined)
DIY Blue Paisley Sheath

 Pleating details on each:

Deep pleats on either side of torso
It's a shame that the blue paisley pattern gets lost when viewed from a distance.  I think it's so pretty!

I wanted to try sleeves for something different on the paisley, but I'm not loving this look.  I'm currently debating adding structured sleeves (like Wendy's here) or making it sleeveless.

What do you think?  Different sleeves or no sleeves on the blue dress?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gap & Limited Fitting Room Reviews

Armed with a 40% off Gap F&F email graciously emailed to me by Gigi and a $20 coupon for The Limited, I headed to the mall.  I wound up taking so many pics, I split up my review posts.  See here for J. Crew and LOFT.

Gap Ponte Academy Blazer, Vamp Red, 0P, $53 during F&F (buy here)
I know burgundy is THE color everyone is excited about for fall and I was tempted to buy this for that reason alone (I'm easily influenced), but I honestly could not think of how I would pair burgundy with any non-neutral color.  Also, though the sleeves on this petite size were the PERFECT length (hit right past the wrist where your hand starts), I felt like the overall jacket length was a little too cropped for me.
The material is a fully-lined, nice thick knit.  Knit blazers conform nicely to the body, but the sleeve lining tends to pop out randomly because there isn't enough structure to keep it in place - just a minor annoyance of mine.
Verdict: No, can't think of many pairings & too cropped for me
See also on Gigi

Gap Ponte Academy Blazer, Dark Heather Gray, Sz 0, $53 during F&F (buy here)
I almost never wear a blazer buttoned up, but I always try it on that way to make sure it's an option.  The difference between 0 & 0P lies in overall length, sleeve length, and overall body snugness.  The sleeve length is too long on me, hitting at my 2nd thumb knuckle, but I liked the looser feel of this vs. 0P to allow for more layering flexibility.  Gray, though not adventurous, is more suited to my needs as something that can be worn for many seasons and, as a neutral, can be paired with any color.  The gray with olive / yellow tones seen pictured above isn't accurate.  It's a true heather gray with cool tones, but the lighting in the fitting rooms gives everything a warm cast.
Verdict: Bought - great price!  I love the contrast piping & fit.  Perfect for my return to work.

Gap Colorblock Crewneck Sweater, XS, $24 w/ F&F, (buy here)
I loved the combination of navy / green / gray / white and this fit decently (I would say size down), but it just didn't have the same appeal on as it did on the hanger.  Sleeves / chest are nicely fitted and torso is a little loose for tummy hiding :)
Verdict: No

Gap Striped Three-quarter Sleeve Cardigan, S, (buy here)
I am still enamored with navy / green items so was instantly drawn to this cardigan.  I was disappointed that they only had a Small but tried it on anyway.  Firstly, the 3/4 sleeve is wrist length on me, but this is nothing a little scrunching can't fix.  Since it was one-size up, everything was a little baggy (sleeves were fine).  I prefer sweaters to fit like the colorblocked one above - fitted shoulders / chest / sleeves and loose-ish torso.  Resigned, I was putting this back on the rack when I came across a helpful SA who checked the computer system and found that there was one XS in the store.  It happened to be on the mannequin - so a note to those looking for XS / S - don't forget to check the mannequins! :)
Verdict: Bought in XS

Then I went to The Limited:
The Limited Mandarin Collar Split-V Blouse, Cobalt, XS, $8 (buy here)
I've been looking for a cobalt shirt of some sort and when I came across Jean wearing a button-down version, I decided to keep an eye out for something similar.  I honestly can't help it - she makes everything look good!  The XS fit pretty well and it has roll-tab sleeves - something I've always liked.  I don't particularly love the mandarin collar with a split neck (would prefer a traditional collar), but I loved the color and fit.  The material is polyester with a slight sheen (also not optimal), but there's a promo for 40% off shirts and since I had a $20 coupon, this blouse was only $8!
Verdict: Bought. Beautiful color and good fit for $8? It's coming home with me.

No-Closure Jacket, XS, $118 (buy here)
The fuchsia color of this is so pretty!  I thought it was a little strange that they would have a blazer in XS-L sizing versus numbered sizing, but the XS had a nice, slim fit.  The sleeves are very long, but alterable / scrunchable.  If I was being nitpicky, I would also say the shoulder seems to extend a little too far for me as seen in the sleeve photo.
Verdict: No for now.  The price is too high for a "trendy" color like this, but will consider on sale.

Sheer and Stripes Poncho, XS, $30 (buy here)
I saw this striped poncho top and was fascinated by the simple construction.  It literally was a rectangle with tapered edges and a hole for your head.  2 lines of stitching on each side created the sleeves and bodice.  I can totally DIY this :)
Verdict:  No. Of course love the stripes, but I tried this on more for sewing applications than for purchasing interest.

Striped Knit Pencil Skirt, Sz 4, $20 (don't see online)
The bright pink on navy was a pretty combination and the thick knit fit nicely, though the skirt was a touch on the long side.  This runs TTS (not vanity sized), so smaller ladies will probably like the fit of a 0.  
Verdict: No.  It's very cute and fits pretty well, but can't easily think of pairings.

I have a weakness for sales and used to overbuy, leading to a stuffed closet full of things I feel lukewarm about and don't really wear.  So I'm trying to have a mini heart-to-heart with myself on each item.  Can I wear it for more than one season?  (If not, it better be super cheap and fit well)  Can I think of many pairings on the spot?  Can I wear it on many different occasions?

Fueled by this new "system", I escaped the mall with 2 items.  :)  How about you?  Do you have a shopping "system"?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

J. Crew + LOFT Reviews: Dots, Snowcat, Snake & Stripes

Dots, snowcat, snake and stripes - oh my!  It was a print extravaganza in the fitting rooms :)

First up, what I found at J. Crew:
Tie-neck Top in Dot, Sz 2, (buy here)
I fell in love with the top online and was happy to be able to try it on even though they didn't have my size.  The main thing I wanted to check was whether or not the tie-neck got lost in the print.  Unfortunately, I think it does.  Looks lovely in person though!
Verdict: No, main detail gets lost in print so price is not justifiable (to me)

Jules Dress in Snowcat, Sz 0, (buy here)
I'm rather fascinated by the concept of a shift dress (easy silhouette / tummy hiding / comfortable), but this one appeared to make me look pregnant.  A horrible thing when you're not.  I thought the print was adorable.  The arms, shoulders, hips, and length fit well.  The negative was that they built in a lot of extra chest room.  Since I obviously don't fill that out, the extra floppiness fell and settled into a wide pouch-y area.  The sleeves fell to an awkward length a couple inches above my wrist (where my watch is) - looks much better pushed up to 3/4 length.
Verdict: No, not flattering to my body type

No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Snake Print, Sz 0 (buy here)
I've never been much of a fan of snake printed garments.  It always seemed too edgy for me, but I was drawn to the simple, clean lines of it in pencil skirt form.  I thought it looked beautiful in person.  The material doesn't have any give so I'm guessing it's a woven of some sort.  When comparing this with the double-serge cotton version, the snake print runs smaller.
Verdict: Will wait for sale

And then at LOFT:
LOFT Corded Dobby Stripe Trench, XS, (buy here)
I originally saw Gigi wearing this beautifully and filed it away as a future wishlist item.  When I found out LOFT was having 40% off everything, making this coat $89, I went to check it out in person.  My store didn't have it in petite sizes, but luckily, I can sometimes straddle the line between regular and petite sizing.  The XS had a slightly roomy fit that skimmed my body well making it a great coat candidate for fall layers.  The sleeves are a bit long, but nothing's new there.
Verdict: No for now.  Ultimately, I thought this was a cute coat but it wasn't something I had to have considering how many coats I have in my closet.
See also on Chloe and Wendy.

Also spent some time at Gap for the Friends and Family sale (giant thanks to Gigi for the info and code email!), but will save that for Wednesday.  17 pictures in one post seemed a little much :P

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Jeweled Collar Necklace DIY Tutorial

I've been looking for an emerald green statement necklace for a few months now and haven't found the right one for the right price.  I spotted these pretty green crystal beads at the local bead shop and decided to see how I could DIY my own necklace.  To kill 2 birds with 1 stone (statement necklace + trying a trend), I decided to form a collar shape.

Please see tutorial after the jump.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

"Nautical Stepford" Dress DIY

Because Aubrey never ceases to amaze me, this post is dedicated to her :)  I've been shopping in the home decor section of the fabric store lately and have found some gorgeous prints there.  My theory is that people want more of a classic / modern print for their house than their garments (well, at least here) so those types of prints are more readily available.  I've run across chevrons, stripes, sailboat, and map prints that can't be found in apparel.  The caveat?  Most have a very open weave, are coarse to the touch, and cannot be machine washed.  Despite that, I found a few suitable fabrics and then some not-so-suitable ones I couldn't resist.

DIY Sail Away Dress
DIY Yellow Beaded Necklace
Talbots Sandals

Closer view of the print

I feel like this dress may be missing something and asked the gals of the "Anchor Brigade" (Aubrey, Cee, Elle & Ying) for suggestions.  I still need to figure out what to implement :)

What do you think?  Is there something missing?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Graphic Green Dress DIY (& 1 for Baby)

Whilst perusing the local fabric store, I noticed a "Country Club Collection" that I had never seen before.  I, of course, had to investigate.  The collection consisted of heavy-ish cottons in cute, graphic prints.  I'm going through a green phase so when I spotted a graphic green fabric, I fell in love.

I decided to go for a fit and flare type of silhouette to hopefully be more figure-flattering to my rectangular / pear-shape.  My go-to pattern for a bodice has been McCall's M5972.  It features darts at the bust and waist for a more precise fit.  I then added a waistband and full skirt (easy to self-draft) with plenty of pleating (hides the tummy).

DIY Graphic Green Dress 
DIY Pearl Necklace
DIY Pearl Bracelet & J. Crew Bracelet
Amrita Singh Ring
Michael Kors Tortoiseshell Watch
Talbots Wedge Sandals

I'm glad I went with the waistband because it really carves out a waist on me.  The print reminds me of golf.

And of course, a mini version for Baby E <3

Speaking of Baby E, anyone have any advice on how to stop a 10-month old from scaling the furniture?  Even though I'm always within a few feet of her, I worry about the day that I'm not fast enough to catch her (she is speedy!).  


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