Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black Friday Recap & T-Day Eats

I love deals, but hate pushing / shoving crowds.  Ohio Black Friday shopping was pretty doable with a decent amount of people and personal space intact. Unfamiliar with local terrain, I consulted expert shopper Gigi on whether I should hit the outlets.  Her sage advice, "Don't do it."  I nearly listened to her, until I heard about the Kate Spade sale with 50% off the entire store plus an additional 20% off handbags.  So in the wee hours of the night, I dragged my husband out of bed and we headed to the outlet mall.

The crowds actually weren't that bad!  I went way after the midnight crowd and way before the morning one.  The trade-off?  Most of the hot items were already snapped up, but I did find some cute things:

The Loot:
2 x $29 Kate Spade Hinge Bangles (orig. $88)
$5 Banana Republic Cable Bracelet*
$11 Banana Republic Belt* (Jean-inspired)
*after using my $15 gift card
Total damage = $74

Gifts for the kids:

  • $9 life-sized (cardboard) color-able playhouse.  Great fun for them, recyclable when they get tired of it.
  • 2 x $12 toy tablet games
  • $50 toy tablet
  • $9 power cord for toy tablet (these manufacturers sure know how to make a buck)
  • 2 x $6 cargo pants
  • $17 shopping cart w/ toy food.  E LOVES pushing things around and at the moment pushes chairs from place to place.  We'll see how she likes something with wheels.
  •  $12 Minnie Mouse pajamas
  • 2 x $5 Hello Kitty tees
  • $1 doodle pad
Total for the kids: $144

I would elaborate on what I got my husband, but he'll occasionally browse the blog :P

I also stopped by J. Crew of course:

Printed Scoopneck Blouse, XS, $39, (buy here)
This shirt runs large, I'd recommend sizing down one or two sizes.  I can understand a blouse-y torso, but the arms seemed ridiculously wide especially given that J. Crew usually cuts such a slim sleeve.  Such a shame because I love the bright red against the navy.
Verdict: No, too big

Classic Crewneck Cardigan, XS, $25, (buy here)
Another pretty color and good fit...up until the chest gap at the button.  To be fair, I rarely button my cardigans all the way, but I still like having the option.  I would have tried one size up but the store was low on Smalls and Mediums.
Verdict: No, maybe size up if you want to button it

Lanvin Bag, orig. $2000+, marked down to $900
I have only ever seen Lanvin online so I was fascinated to investigate one IRL at Last Call.  It was gorgeous, crazy heavy, and still very expensive :)  
Verdict: No, for admiration purposes only, lol

Groggy comfort w/ boat shoes and my trusty crossbody bag

Score any good deals for Black Friday?  Do you have all your holiday shopping finished?

On to the food portion of the post!

Thanksgiving Day Eats
Hungry after a Thanksgiving day errand, we kept our fingers crossed that we'd find a place open for lunch.  Well have no fear, Asian restaurants to the rescue!  In one shopping center with predominantly Asian cuisine, every single eatery was open.  We decided on pho.  Though simple in concept, pho is tricky (I feel) to get right.  It seems like the simplest foods are the simplest to mess up (e.g. cooking the perfect egg).

Coconut milk with red beans and green jelly
I started out with a drink listed in the dessert section (you know it has to be good then).

I very often judge pho by the color of the broth.  Darker color, deeper flavor (most of the time) and this one was pretty good.

Beef Banh Mi
Um yeah, I ate both the pho AND the banh mi in entirety.  The beef had impeccable flavor, but the bread to filling ratio was off-kilter.

Speaking of beef, here are the cows in our "backyard"

Hiking and cow-watching after lunch

For Thanksgiving dinner, we had hot pot (no pictures unfortunately because I was busy gobbling it up) with the usual - fish, shrimp, chicken, tofu, beef, fish balls, udon, ramen, and romaine lettuce.  I used to LOVE drinking the hot pot broth after all the cooking was finished, but my Mom tells me this isn't healthy.  Not sure why - please enlighten me!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Buttons to Jewelry DIY Tutorial, Part 1

After meeting Ping the other week, I got to explore a 4-story fabric store in the city and found these gorgeous buttons.  I was originally planning on turning it into a pin, but decided on making a necklace instead.  I should also note that though these buttons were expensive, I'm guessing they are just very cute replica buttons.  The store didn't specify one way or the other and none of the buttons there are labeled with the designer.

What I Used:
  • Button
  • Pearls
  • Stringing material
  • Ribbon
  • Jump rings large enough to fit the ribbon
  • Crimp beads 


1.  Plan out your design by laying it out
I love this little design board - so handy!  I think mine was only $1.50 and you should be able to find it at any jewelry supply or craft store.

After playing around with it, I decided to forgo the all-around double pearl strand for an asymmetrical look.  Does this look off (below)?

2.  String it as planned above and loop your stringing material onto a jump ring.  Secure with a crimp bead.  Do this for each side.

3.  Knot a ribbon to each jump ring.  Add a small dollop of glue to ensure your knot doesn't unravel.

4.  I trimmed my ribbon ends at an angle and then sealed the ends with Fray Check.  Clear nail polish will also work.

5.  You're finished!  I love ribbons closures because they allow you to customize the length as you please.

Long option for wearing

Shorter option

Stay tuned for part 2 next week and a Black Friday recap later this week :)

Hope everyone in the US had a wonderful holiday weekend!  I ate SO much.  What did you eat - traditional turkey or something else?

We went out for pho & banh mi for lunch and then stayed home for hot pot.  Yum!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blogiversary, Being Thankful & Beyond

I fell into blogging a little haphazardly.  I had been following DIY and petite blogs with great interest and decided to start one of my own with a primary focus on sewing.  I wanted to name it SewInspired - chronicling my DIY inspirations and the way I went about making my own version.  My plans changed when I found out that name was already taken.  I decided to broaden my blog a little bit to incorporate the fitting room reviews I loved reading and thus SewPetiteGal was born.  (And in case anyone was curious, I didn't intend for "SewPetiteGal" to indicate I am "so petite."  I was aiming more for sewing + being short.  My husband bluntly pointed out that I'm not so little and obviously much larger than most of the petite blogging community.  My fault for the ill-conceived name!

Anyhoo, fast forward a little over 2 years and here we are.  Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to come visit my little blog.  Thanks x 100 to those who comment because I really do love hearing from you.  Your advice, pointers, and constructive criticism have helped me grow as a DIY'er.  I wanted to take a little time here to show some love to some special folks:
  • Jean - For being one of my first followers and welcoming me to the blogging community with kindness and advice.  And more recently, for offering to critique my prototype peplum skirt, giving me invaluable feedback, featuring it on her blog and making me feel like I could play "fashion designer" with my little Etsy store :)
  • Cee - for being my preppy / layering inspiration and wearing my scarf so well that a reader requested one in the middle of summer!
  • Aubrey - for sharing my love of all things nautical, answering all of my tedious Twitter requests for DIY input, and keeping me LOLing with your humor.  
  • Gigi - your blog is ridiculously awesome at keeping me up to date on one of my favorite subjects - shopping
And finally, this blog focuses on 2 of my hobbies: DIYs and shopping.  I'm thinking of pulling in a 3rd hobby, and quite possibly, my favorite one: food.  I started a little food blog on the side and am now pondering integrating it here or keeping it separate.  What do you think?

I'm ending this post with a picture of my precious little girl with a giant cup of bubble tea (Tiger Milk Tea specifically), because every post should have a picture of some sort :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

H&M Fitting Room Reviews & Meeting Ping

I went to H&M twice this week (yikes).  Once for the 40% off one item coupon and once with the lovely Ping from All About Fashion Stuff.  We grabbed some Korean for lunch and then headed to the mall with our SOs in tow :)  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of us together to document the occasion.  Will have to remember next time!

Toggle Coat w/ Fur, Sz 4, $30
This coat is marked down as part of their holiday deals for $30.  I love the mustard color, fur, and toggle buttons.  I think the coat is supposed to fall straight down, but (ahem) my rear was too big and made it bunch out a little so while the front looked fine and the coat felt fine, the back looked a little strange.  I would not have noticed at all so thank goodness for Ping!
Verdict: I didn't wind up buying this due to time, but I'm undecided at the moment.  

Striped Coat, Sz 4 (?), $59.90
I saw this coat on Jenny of Crazy Style Love and was instantly drawn to the stripes.  It looked gorgeous on her, but not so much on me.  I don't think I can pull it off.
Verdict: No, looks better on others though!

Faux Collar Shirt w/ Rhinestones, Sz 4, $20
I loved the feminine pink contrast and the faux collar / placket, but ultimately the fit threw me off.  The torso was very blouse-y but the shoulders were a touch too small for me.  I thought about sizing up to get a better shoulder fit, but didn't want a tent-like torso so put it back on the rack.
Verdict: Another no for me, but would look great on others

Blazer (lined), Sz 6 (Khaki) and Size 4 (Blue), $19.95
I've wanted a Khaki blazer for a little bit now so was excited to see this one (lined, no less!) at H&M for only $19.95.  I tried both a size 6 and 4.  The 6 was a little too loose, especially in the chest area.  The 4 fit well in the chest and shoulders, but seemed a little tight at the waist.  Sigh.  Though not ideal, I  wound up buying the Khaki in Sz 4.  I justified it by telling myself that I never button my blazers anyway :P  I used my 40% off coupon on this so the blazer was only $13.
Verdict: Bought

Blazer tag for anyone interested

Lace Dress, Sz 4
I've been thinking about lace dresses ever since seeing Elle's WIFW post, so decided to give this a shot.  It unfortunately was very matronly and dowdy on me (probably didn't help that I kept my pants on).  The scalloped edge details are oh so pretty though.  
Verdict: Big NO

Still doing well with managing my shopping, but the Holiday sales are nearly here and those will probably be too tempting to pass up.  Will you be doing any Black Friday shopping?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

J. Crew Fitting Room Review: Stripes

This post is about a week old, but I believe J. Crew stores still have a 30% off sale promotion so the prices should be the same or lower.  I read on JCA that J. Crew is banning fitting room pics, but I'm wondering how they will enforce that.  Or more specifically, how strictly they'll be trying to enforce that.  Hmm, guess we'll see on my next visit.

I didn't even realize that I had an armful of stripes until the SA laid it out for me like this - stripeaholic indeed

Tortoise Button Sweatshirt in Stripe, XXS, $30, (sold out online)
Despite purchasing the red-white-blue sweater here and dress here (man alive, I've got a problem), I've still been keeping my eye out for a blue & red only striped combo.  This one fit the bill!  The word "sweatshirt" brings gray workout clothes to mind, but this one seems more like a sweater in a non-obvious sweatshirt-type material.  The result is a pretty and comfortable hybrid.  Love the colors!  The arms / shoulders / chest fit well without being too snug and the torso is loose for those big lunch / dinner days.
Verdict: This one is a keeper!

J. Crew City Mini, Sz 0, $15 in stores (buy here)
I LOVE the color of this skirt!  It matches my sweatshirt perfectly and the price is amazing, but I can't do the length.  I would prefer the length shown in the L photo (pulled way down my hips), but it wiggles back up to my waist as shown in the R photo.  I know the L length looks a bit frumpier, but it suits me and my lifestyle so much more.  The R length would just make me ultra self-conscious the whole time.  Aside from length, the skirt fits well since it has an elastic waistband.
Verdict: No, cute option, but too short for my taste

Rugby Stripe Boatneck Top, XXS, $14 (buy here)
I already have a black / white wide-striped sweater, but I was curious about the fit of this one and the price was awfully alluring.  This had semi-snug arms and an odd sleeve length - kind of in between 3/4 and full length.  I'm guessing it's just awkward because I have short arms.  Torso, as with other J. Crew garments, is a little loose.  Ultimately, I felt like the stripes were a bit too wide on this top.
Verdict: No, stripes are too wide for me

Diagonal Long Sleeve Sailor Top, XXS, $20 (?), sold out online
This looked gorgeous on the hanger, but I didn't like it as much when I put it on.  The way the mixed stripe panels fell made me think of a straitjacket (perhaps I've watch too much American Horror Story Asylum) and the torso was a bit too boxy for me.
Verdict: No

Stripe Hoodie, XXS, $20 (?), sold out online
This was comfortable and fit pretty well - slim, but not snug sleeves and a slight looseness in the torso.  I was drawn to the stripes on this, but came to my senses when I thought about how many similarly colored striped garments I had.  I also have a tendency to buy things that are wearable to work and this looked a little too casual.
Verdict: No

Weather was in the high 70s on this day!  Wearing my eShakti giveaway win from Vicky (thank you!!!) and "pretzeling" my belt the way Kileen taught us.

Warm weather dwellers - how do you dress?  Do you dress by season or by weather?  For example, is it a faux pas to wear spring / summer prints and sandals in the fall even if the weather is warm?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

LOFT Inspired Bow & Rhinestone Sweater DIY Tutorial

I originally tried this on a few weeks ago and have still been thinking about it.  A clue to either buy it or DIY it.  I chose the cheaper route ;)

Inspiration and DIY'ed Version
LOFT Striped Bow Necklace 3/4 Sleeve Sweater (link)
I know I made the bow a little too big, but I'm hoping to also use this as a neck tie like this:

Asos top

Want to make one too?  See the full tutorial after the jump.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Black Tie DIY Part 2

On Sunday, I asked which of the 3 options here would be most appropriate for a black tie event and most were in favor of the plain with gathered shoulder.  I wound up making all 3 (more explanation below), but wore the gathered ruffle to the event.  (Sorry for more iPhone pics, I still can't find that darn camera remote.)

Full-length and up-close (w/ a shot of my attempted updo)

As Jessy correctly surmised, I made the ruffle detachable with options to wear as full length or gathered.  The detachable ruffle transforms to a gathered ruffle with a few well-placed snap buttons.  I always love when I see garments with multiple ways of wearing and I'm trying to adopt that into more of my DIYs.

One dress, 3 options to wear

Want to help plot future transformable garments?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Black Tie DIY Part 1 & New Sewing Room

Weeks ago, my husband told me we'd be going to a black-tie event the first weekend of November in SF.  At the time, I thought, "Eh, I can whip up a dress AND get everything unpacked."  I underestimated how much stuff we have, or more precisely, overestimated my organizational capabilities.  So I put everything on hold and set to work.  I knew I wanted to make a long gown in a fabric that I already had (to speed up the process) with some kind of interesting detail.  I decided on a one-shoulder top and pondered my options:

L to R: Plain w/ Gathered Shoulder, Ruffled, Gathered Ruffle

I did ultimately make a decision (will be posted later this week), but I'm curious on what you think.  Which option (or perhaps none of the above) would you choose for a black tie event?

And a peek into where all the pondering and sewing happens:

I have most of my fabrics folded up neatly and organized - 3 more boxes (eek) to go!

My sewing station: Janome Serger and Singer Heavy Duty 4423

I decided to merge our office and sewing area together.  In Ohio, my sewing area was the dinette in our kitchen which made set-up and take-down a pain in the butt.  I'm much happier with this new arrangement!


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