Monday, April 30, 2012

Mixing Patterns

This is my husband’s favorite dress ever (guess why!).  It is dry clean only so I wear it pretty rarely, but I decided to wear it the other day for a date night.  I got the dress from Modcloth last year (or the year before?).  It is a great light summer dress.  It is very comfortable and flattering. 
Dress: Modcloth. Shoes: Urban outfitters.  Headband: Anthropology. 

The feature of my outfit however, was this awesome headband that my friend Jessica bought me for my birthday from Anthropology.  We had a special birthday  shopping trip a few weekends back where we each bought each other birthday presents (I got her a super cute skirt that looks awesome on her). 

This headband is bright mustard with pink and turquoise dots on it.  It is pretty much in my favorite color pallet ever.  However, it isn’t a super practical headband because it doesn’t go with a lot of stuff unless you are willing to mix prints, which I actually am just getting into.  (I’ll update this post by adding some up-close shots of the patterns on these pieces soon)
So, even though at first glance the pattern on the dress doesn’t match the pattern on the headband, if you look closely you find that the flowers on the dresses skirt are teal and pink, and since my purse that I used is mustard, it all ended up looking awesome together!  Yay!  Personally, I am loving that it is becoming a trend to mix patterns.  It really opens up your wardrobe and a whole new way to express yourself through fashion. 
What do you think?  Have you tried mixing prints yet?  How do you feel about the trend? 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Dress is in the Details

Here is my second Peony dress.  I actually finished it last week, but didn't get around to taking proper photos until this morning.  For this dress, I used a kind of a stiff cotton, that was different to work with than the other fabrics I have chosen, and also drapes a bit differently than my other Peony because of it.  For this dress, I also used interfacing in the neck rather than make a lining because I was afraid that a lining would add too much bulk.  Interfacing is basically something that you iron onto the fabric to give it a bit more form and help it to keep its shape.  

As a result, the inside of this dress is the cleanest and nicest looking yet!  I also bought some pinking shears which are used on the seams to keep the dress from fraying on the inside and went back and used them on all of the dresses that I have made so far.  It greatly improved how the inside of each of my dresses look, and hopefully will help to protect them during washing.


The fabric is actually a bit darker than it looks in these photos.  

I am waiting on the new fabrics that I bought from Amazon to arrive, so I have been currently unable to sew something new, and I have been itching to get back at it!  Luckily, this gave me the perfect opportunity to take a second look at the first dress that I made and try to improve it.  Last night, I stayed up sewing some pretty little details onto the sleeves to give them a more tailored look, and also made a sash to emphasize my waist.  I  am hoping that this helps to give the dress the more fitted look that I was going for in the first place but failed at.  :P
The newly completed Pastille dress.

Pretty detail on the sleeve.



Friday, April 27, 2012

Accessorizing for a Busy Print

Try as I might, I couldn’t get a good picture of myself in my new Peony dress without help, so I decided to make this post about accessories. 
Trying to put some effort into my accessorizing has been a mini goal of mine recently.   Usually I am just too lazy to do much more than slap a big bow on my head (which I still plan to do quite often by the way) and call it a day, but I have a jewelry box full of beautiful bobbles just going to waste!  Well I say, ‘no more’! 
I really like big chunky pieces, but I also like delicate subtle pieces.  What you wear with your outfit can totally change the whole feel of your over all look. 
This dress has a simple shape which really calls for jewelry in order to make it pop.  But the bold print would over power subtle jewelry and might end up looking gaudy with big loud jewelry.  This contradiction could make picking out the right jewelry a challenge, but luckily, I actually had the perfect combination of jewelry to work with this dress already in my collection! 

These earrings that my sister gave me for my birthday match this pattern so well; it is amazing that they didn’t come together!  However, I think that the fact that they don’t match exactly perfectly pattern wise is what really makes them work together. 
As a side note:  I really love wearing large earrings with short hair.  It makes the earrings themselves stand out so beautifully, while also calling attention to the face. 

This bamboo necklace that my husband gave me for our anniversary a few years ago is one of my most treasured positions.  It actually has a pair of matching earrings that I also love, but I feel that they look better as separate pieces than as a matching set.  This necklace is large, but the delicate chain helps to balance the piece and keeps it from looking garish, as does the muted natural bamboo color.  I think it looks especially great with this dress, but I also love to wear it in unexpected ways, like with a more delicate dress that I think most people would pair more precious dainty pieces with. 
Someday I will get a better shot of the dress itself, but for now I will say that I am very happy with how it turned out.  I learned a lot about sewing and fit from actually wearing my Truffle dress, and I am now learning just as much by actually wearing my first (of many) Peonies. 

I hope you are all having a beautiful day and feeling great about yourselves!  Blog to you soon.  :) 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peony Dress

Yay!  I made my first Peony dress from!  I put a lining in the top of this one but it made the process take at least twice as long, and was super hard to do.  Also, in this soft fabric it is alright, but anything thicker might be too bulky with a lining.  I think I am going to try my next Peony without (according to directions) and see how I feel about it.  

Also, it has pockets!!!!  I am very happy about that.  I want to put pockets in everything from now on.  

I am learning so much, but I still have a long way to go.  For example, I have no idea how to keep the inside seems from fraying and becoming a complete mess after washing. I think I might have to hand wash and that is okay, but I want my pieces to be durable.  Hummm...

I envision using this pattern many times.  In my mind, it is the perfect dress shape!  Also, I have been using the pattern size 8 which is pretty roomy, but I do like the feel of a roomy dress.  I am going to make my next one in the 8 as well because the material I have chosen doesn't lend much give so I don't want to make it too tight, but I would like to try to make a more fitted dress using this pattern in the not to distant future.   

It looks great though, right?  I am so so happy with how this dress turned out.  I can't wait to show it off!   

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Emily and Fin Beauty

Modcloth dress, Dillard’s shoes

I had my husband take these photos as we were running out the door this morning for work, so forgive me for once again having my photo taken for this blog with wet hair (as if anyone cares, I know). 
This dress is yet another Emily and Fin success from Modcloth.  I have 6 Emily and Fin dresses in my collection, but honestly I could never have too many.  They are by far my most expensive dresses that I own, including the ones that I got on sale (typically, I like to spend no more than $30 or 40 dollars on any one item of clothing and these can run anywhere between $60 and *gulp* $100 plus), but they are worth the price.  
Each Emily and Fin dress that I own is lined (the inside is as pretty as the outside), and made of beautiful luscious fabrics that come in the prettiest prints you could ever hope for. They also seem to all be made for my exact body type, with lots of room in the bust and hips, while being fitted in just the right spots without being too tight.  I consistently wear a medium in their dresses, although I did purchase one in a size large (the last one they had) and just put it in the dryer to shrink it (a risky move that paid off this time-but I don’t recommend trying it!).   
This dress is the exact same dress as one that my husband got me for my birthday, but with a very different pattern.  This one is covered in tiny flying birds.  The shape of the dress is my ideal dress shape because it is roomy through the bust and the hips with its most narrow spot hitting just at my ribs.  I have heard several friends complaining that this shape is a figure killer for them, so I don’t want to say that it would be universally flattering, but for anyone with my body shape it is a dream.  It is also very comfy, and not too short (yay!).  This dress is even more perfect because it is fitted enough that it won’t blow up during one of our signature windy NM Springs so I don’t have to wear shorts under it for once. 
The only down sides of this dress are that it is dry clean only and it requires a slip because it gapes a bit at the top (although it is nicely lined so even though it is white you can’t see through it in the sun).  Also, I never care about this very much, but I know it can be a deal breaker for many: The sleeve gapes so you can see the side of my slip (or you could see the side of my bra if I wasn’t wearing a slip).   

So, what would you consider your signature shape?  What brand makes your whole body happy when you wear it?    
***By the way, did you notice the bracelet I am wearing?
It is hard to imagine anything competing with the beauty of this dress, but this bracelet that my sister gave me for my birthday gave it a run for its money!  In fact, I have gotten more compliments today on the bracelet than the dress!  I completely adore this bracelet.  I have been trying not to wear it more than once a week so that it continues to stand out when I do, but it is so unique and beautiful, it is hard not to wear it every day!  So so special and pretty.  :)

How I wore it…

I wore one of the dresses I made out and about yesterday, and I was really pleased with the fit and the construction (for a beginner seamstress anyway). 
I paired the dress with my Dillard’s boots, an old GAP sweater, and a bright teal headband that I just got at Forever 21 for $1.50.  I think that the key to wearing handmade pieces out in the real world is to accessorize them with wardrobe staples so that they blend in rather than stand out as a home-made item. 

I also wanted to share the beginnings of my next project. Here it is all pinned together on my dress form.  I got this fabric on Amazon, and I am so so happy with it.  My sister said that the fabric gave the dress a 60’s or 70’s feel, which I like since I am very drawn to retro-inspired pieces.  It was described on-line as “Asian inspired” which I can also see.  It is cotton (just like all of the other material I have chosen to use) but it is a little softer than the other fabrics I have worked with so far.  I am trying to add a lining to the top, but it is giving me a bit of trouble.  Here’s hoping that this project doesn’t fall through, because I really want the fully completed dress that I see in my imagination to become a reality that lives in my closet! 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I made another dress!

 This is fully completed dress number two.  This one is lined in the top.  I am totally impressed with myself right now.  Let's just hope that they don't completely fall apart when I try to wash them, but they seem sturdy enough!

Friday, April 20, 2012

New glasses!

I just wanted to share a few more photos of my new glasses because I love them!  I am not super good at accessorizing (today I kind of nailed it though), and usually just grab whatever earrings are closest to me in the morning and go, but I really love the way that a pair of glasses can frame the face and be an easy go-to accessory (not to mention the fact that they help me see).  I actually really love my old glasses too.  I am going to keep them around as they are black, smaller, and can serve as my fancy dress glasses.  It’s fun to be able to switch it up from time to time!  

While I’m at it, I might as well show off these really cool earrings that my sister Rachel got me for Christmas, and this beautiful scarf my friend Jenn got me a long long time ago. 

I think the earrings are from Forever 21, but I’m not sure.  I love how they aren’t huge, but they still have a really big personality! 

The scarf is just really classic and pretty.  It is the perfect scarf to wear on a warm spring day like today.  :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I made a dress!!!!

Technically, I made two skirts and two dresses, but the first skirt was way too small, and the first dress ripped up the back and had some other issues that made it a little off, but it was great practice for the real thing!  

I am so excited!  I have a lot of plans for future sewing projects.  I feel like making my own clothes is a great way for me to express my love of fashion in a new way.  

Here is the skirt!  I even put a zipper in the side.  :)

And here is the dress!  It looks awful on the inside, but the outside looks pretty good in my opinion.  :)
I added the zippers by hand, as I am completely baffled by anything more advanced that a seam stitch on my sewing machine.  :P

The patterns that I used were from The Colettrie Sewing Handbook, which I got from Modcloth, but you can also purchase it here: All of the new patterns that I have are from this site, and they also give a lot of good tips (and even some free on-line patterns!) for seamstresses.  It is a great resource for someone like me who is trying to re-learn how to sew (after 12 or more years without sewing) using only books and the internet.  

I am very proud of myself, and I hope to pick up more and more skills as I go along.  I'll be sure to post my progress here for anyone who is interested.  :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Here I am having the most productive day cleaning, pulling weeds and cooking for friends, and I am enjoying every minute of it!  I just wanted to take a moment and show off my Easter outfit before I spill ham and potatoes all over it.  
Modcloth dress, Urban Outfitters shoes 

I also wanted to show off my new birthday headband from my friend Jenn and my new glasses!  

Okay, that is all I have for you today.  Time to get back to work!  Happy Easter.  :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Representing Yourself Through Fashion

What you wear can truly have a huge impact on how your body is represented.  While I know how to dress for my body type, I am not into disguising my body or trying to mold it into something it is not.  Nothing riles me up more than a magazine article (and there are countess examples) that tells a girl with a big bust how to minimize, while telling a girl with a smaller bust how to enhance.  On the next page, you can read about how the woman with the round hips can hide them and the woman with a "boyish shape" can add padding.  Huh? Just who do they think looks okay in these scenarios?  Should the goal always be to just figure out how to be what you are not and strive for that?  It is ridiculousness!

Still, it is true that there is some flexibility in how you can represent your body type with what you wear without giving up your sense of style.  And there are some pieces that are just plain unflattering for one particular body type or another.

This dress is from a very expensive English brand Lowie.  It is a really cool brand because they use ethical business practices and strive to use materials that do not hurt the environment.  I got my dress on super sale from Modcloth!

At the St. James Tea Room in Albuquerque with my husband.  

As you can see, this dress completely emphasizes my curves.  The neckline, the thick material, and the dresses high waist, all add to this effect.  I think that this dress has a playful feel, and it is really unique.

This dress is a great contrast.  These photos were taken the very next day and I think that my body looks very different!  This dress was a great Target find, and is a go-to little black dress.  It can also be dressed down very easily because it is made of a stretchy jersey-like material.

I think that this dress minimizes both my bust and my hips without completely hiding them. It is a much more subtle dress as well. To me, this is a much sexier dress than the Lowie dress, but it is also much more muted and laid back.

I think that both dresses do a good job of representing "me", but they also allow for some diversity in my wardrobe and allow me to show two diffident sides of myself.  

Another good lesson that I have learned is that you don't always have to believe what the media is telling you is right for you.  You should experiment for yourself, and never be afraid to try something style wise that appeals to you.  For example, I didn't try skinny jeans for years because I thought they were only for stick thin girls.  I couldn't have been more wrong!  Find the right pair and they can beautifully accentuate a curvy behind and shapely calves.  Who knew?

Personally, I know how to dress my body type in the most flattering way (that I like), and what does and not work on me.  Still, sometimes I throw all of that out the window and wear clothes that I just like, even if they aren't technically the most flattering (hello baby doll style tops that are oh so comfy, but just might inspire someone to ask when you are due).  Sometimes fashion can just for you, and the whole world doesn't have to like it for it to be right!  If you feel confident, you will look good 9 times out of 10.

The question is, how do you want to be represented in your clothes?  Whether you know it or not, you are already doing this.  Choosing clothes that either hide you or show the world who you are.  I say, have fun, and be whoever you want to be!

My handsome husband, drinking tea with me on Valentines day.  Doesn't he dress well too?  :)