Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I Found This Humerous: ootd

    I recently bought a few cheap graphic tees to wear with skirts on the hot summer days on the way.  I know they're on the way because it's only May and I'm already feeling uncomfortable.  Most years I can make it until July without turning on the A/C.  This year I may not make it to June.  I picked up this Forever 21 skirt at ThredUp for about $6.  (If you've never tried this awesome online thrift shop, use this link to save $20 off your first order  http://www.thredup.com/r/WKVOY5 ).  This tee used to be a a snug crew neck and now it's a roomy scoop neck.  Today promises to be nearly 80 with not a single cloud in the sky and we have a birthday party to attend.  The party is at an indoor pool about an hour away by train/foot.  With my comfy flats and my breezy skirt and tee, I'm ready for the long trek. 

Shop the Look:
Skirt by Forever 21 from ThredUp
Earrings from ModCloth
Tee shirt by Tultex
Shell Purse

Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm Really a Mermaid: Sewing Project

    Secret confession time: when I was a little girl and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I always gave the standard replies of nurse or teacher or astronaut, but the only thing I ever reeeeeeeaaaaally wanted to be was a mermaid.  We were landlocked so, instead of collecting shells on the beach, I scoured flea markets for wicker furniture and shell covered boxes.  One magical summer, my mom made blue mermaid tails, one for me and two extras for when friends came over to play in our wading pool.  For the next few years, until we outgrew them, we spent countless hours splashing in our wading pool while wearing those mermaid tails.  
    Even after the sad realization that "mermaid" wasn't a feasible career goal, I still love mermaids and all things nautical.  Making a dress, or anything really from this fabric by Heather Ross, has been a goal of mine ever since I first saw it.  This was by far the most complex sewing project I've taken on and I tackled it without hands-on help from hubby, although he did still help me muddle through confusing directions more than once.  I didn't do a perfect job on this dress; I know I say this every time, but only because it's still true.  However, I can really tell that I'm improving each time, gaining more confidence, and I'm looking forward to completing my second dress with this pattern.

I love these mermaid treasures!  Blue Mermaid Necklace from ForTheCrossJewelry & Star Fish Hair Clips on Amazon.com

Shop the Look:
Dress Pattern Simplicity Pattern 1873 Cynthia Rowley
Heather Ross Mendocino Mermaids Blush
Seashell Purse
Heels from ModCloth

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Changing T-Shirt Necklines

    This post is going to contain a few headless pics.  Today is one of those days that make-up and hair just aren't going to happen.  It's been a full week of appointment after appointment and today is my only day to just lay around and live that slug life.  I went to put on one of the "around the house" tees I just got in the mail and it needed a little work.  So, I decided to put the slug life aside for about 10 minutes to take some photos while I worked on these shirts.
    I know I've just done a post about T-shirts, and I don't want to be redundant, but it's so hot outside T-shirts are moving to the front of my wardrobe and are therefore on my mind.  About a month ago I came across some cute graphic tees by Tultex for $5 each, so I bought three.  When they arrived, I remembered why I don't usually buy generic graphic tees.  The reason is the neckline; I can't stand it.  I feel like I can't breathe when I wear the standard unisex crew neck tee.  I know I said in a previous post that I used to buy mens white tee shirts in bulk, but things have changed over the years and those days are long gone.
    Normally when I have a T-shirt that doesn't work for me anymore either because it's too tight, short, or just plain silly, I hand it down to whichever of my girls calls dibs.  They turn them into summer nightgowns, or occasionally they can wear them as tops.  This time I decided to convert these snug crews into comfortable scoop necks.  It's fairly easy and only takes a minute or two.  Here's how I do it:

You'll need:
a tee shirt (obviously)
fabric scissors, or extremely sharp scissors
2 straight pins

First I fold the tee in half so that the shoulder seams line up.  This will create a symmetrical neckline.  I smooth out all the wrinkles so that when I start to cut I won't have jagged edges.  Once everything is smooth and lined up, I pin the the fabric at each side.

I usually begin cutting about 1/2 inch below the neckline.  If you want a deeper scoop neck, start about an inch below the neckline.  *Remember that jersey fabric stretches over time, so it's better to start with less of a scoop that slowly grows than to start with a big scoop that sags to unwearable depths.*  Staying 1/2" below the neckline, I follow the natural curve of the shirt until I am over the shoulder seam.

Once I pass the shoulder seam I gradually cut closer to the neckline until I'm following right up next to it.  This prevents a low scoop in the back that will make the shirt difficult to keep from sliding off my shoulders.

And, voila!  A symmetrical collar and I can breathe.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tahiti Ships & Larmoni Love

The lovely Rebecca of AClothesHorse.co.uk
     Just a quick word about Larmoni and their new store The Other Sparrows.  The reason I found this store was because I saw a dress called Tahiti Ships in the Style Gallery of another fashionista on ModCloth.  It was so gorgeous that I tracked it down only to find that it had already sold out.  I watched and waited for it to come back in stock, but, alas, it did not reappear.  
    When a Larmoni representative told me they were opening a new shop called The Other Sparrows and were going to be restocking past favorites, my hope was renewed.  I am so pleased to share with you that today is the day; the Tahiti Ships dress has returned!
    Perhaps the most lovely thing of all is that after I made inquires about the dress, a customer service representative contacted me, a real person, not just an automated e-mail,  to let me know the dress was now in stock.  I don't often find such courteous and wonderful customer service as this and I was so impressed that someone remembered that I had asked and got in touch with me.  I really love these two shops and my Tahiti Ships Dress is on the way!

Summer Ahoy!: ootd

    An oldie but a goodie, this red and white striped dress by Manoush always says summer to me.  And while it's technically a little early to call it summer, these hot, humid days make it difficult to keep calling it spring.  Today we decided to take my husband to our favorite roller slide for an afternoon of grueling uphill hikes followed by exhilarating descents at break-neck speed all in the name of good fun. 
    My favorite thing about this dress is the quirky little cartoon print running along the white stripes.  My not so favorite thing about it is the wide open back and the very short skirt.  By itself, this dress is not exactly day-at-the-park material, but with a white camisole and some navy blue capri pants, I'm totally ready to hike those hills and race down that slide.  
    I also promised my youngest that I would wear the anchor earrings she bought me for Mother's Day at every possible opportunity.  I love her so and she knows my style so well.  I think they go just perfectly with this outfit.

Shop the Look:
Dress is old and from Manoush
Earrings are by Napier
Wedges and capri pants are old

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Meet Miss Patina

    With places like Ruche and Dear Creatures closing their doors, I've been on the hunt for new places to shop.  It wasn't long before I found Miss Patina and after the first time browsing all the lovely dresses and tops, it left me wondering where this store has been all my life!  And, this season's mermaid and nautical theme have me drooling over practically everything.  I may have to start selling my old dresses again so I can buy a few things here.  In the mean time here are my top picks from the new look book:
 Find all this and more at www.misspatina.com

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tees are Tops

    I've always been a fan of tee shirts.  In college I used to buy a pack of white Hanes t-shirts for men twice a year and wear them everyday until they fell apart.  During the baby years, I went for colorful graphic tees that were cute and that I didn't mind getting spit-up on.  As time has passed, I've become a connoisseur of comfort wear.  I need more from a t-shirt than just low price and bulk quantity or stain resistance.  Nowadays I need my tees to have the right length and some shape built into them.  I'm hoping to do a few outfit posts with the awesome tees I purchased last month if or when they ever make it over the ocean to me.  It's been four weeks with no sign of them and I'm starting to think they may be lost, but I'll just have to keep waiting and wondering for now.  Until then, I'll post a few of my favorite tee shirt picks this season:

Why save the best for last?  This Beachy Tee from Anthropologie is my favorite by far.
This Off-the-Shoulder Tee from Ann Taylor is a new take on a classic concept

Romantic Lace tunics are a weakness of mine and I adore this Aragon Tunic from Sundance Catalog
The Serendipity Tee Shirt Dress from Blue Platypus is comfort and girlishness rolled into one
Nautical Stripes never go out of style and this Ann Taylor Top is so very chic.

My old stand-by, the white tee, but with a very feminine upgrade in this Shirred Short Sleeve Top from Gap

ThredUp Faves

 I love ThredUp, but I know it can be a little overwhelming.  There are so many things to choose from and their stock updates every minute.  So, I'm going to start running curated posts of my favorite picks.  Things sell quickly on this site, so if you see something you like, don't hesitate.  If you're new to ThredUp, use this link to sign up and save $20 off your first order  http://www.thredup.com/r/WKVOY5

Reborn Dress sz Small $14.49 
Forever 21 Stripe Flats sz 7 $8.49
Green Scarf $9.49

Sita Floral Dress sz L $33.99
Green Romper by Pink Owl Sz Small $20.49
Blue Dress by American Apparel sz XL $12.99
Yellow Dress by Ellen Tracy sz 12 $26.49

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Darling Lace Dolly Dress Review

Larmoni Dress Left & ChicWish Dress Right appear to be identical
    I love lace dresses, particularly in ivory or ecru, although it seems like it's much more common to find them in white.  I noticed this dress on Larmoni, and then ran across it again on ChicWish.  I can't find any real difference in the appearance of this dress from the photos, though there are some things of which to take note.  
    For one thing, the size charts vary at the different shops, so be sure to read the size charts before ordering and compare with your measurements.  There's also a price difference.  This dress is called the Darling Lace Dolly Dress at ChicWish and is priced at $59.42.  At Larmoni it is called Eyelet Floral Embroidery Babedoll Dress and is $69.99.  Both sites offer discounts on first time orders, so you could potentially pay even less at either place.  Personally, I didn't buy this dress directly from either shop.  I found mine at ThredUp for only $22.  It was from ChicWish and listed as a size Large.  Although I normally wear an XS, I decided to take a chance and attempt to tailor it myself.   Thankfully, I was able to make the adjustments without any trouble, but I would say that the sizing is accurate for a Large, so buy your size with confidence at ChicWish. 
    Ok, now for the dress review:
This dress is made of a beautiful soft cotton eyelet and has a lovely pearl button at the back of the neck.  It's completely lined and well made.  If there is one con, it's a personal one.  This is a baby doll dress and therefore has a short waist, which doesn't look awesome on my shape, and a short hemline, which doesn't feel so awesome on someone my age.  So, if there is a plus side to buying the dress in larger size and tailoring it down, it has to be the added length and lower waist that I was able to achieve this way.  I'm really happy with this dress and I'm considering getting one or two more cotton dresses from Larmoni.  I love their High End Embroidery White Dress and V-Neck Cutout Embroidery Dress  almost as much as I love this one.
 Shop the Look:
Darling Lace Dolly Dress from ChicWish or Eyelet Floral Embroidery Babedoll Dress from Larmoni
Charter School Cardi in Rose from ModCloth
Jewelry is made by me
Matryoshka Purse from accessorize.com

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Map to Fashion: Sewing Project

    I didn't start out trying to make my own version of ModCloth's For the Mercator Good Skirt.  I know there are entire blogs devoted to DIY ModCloth styles,  and I've done one myself with a certain Russian doll dress, but in this instance it was just a case of great minds thinking alike.
    I saw this gorgeous map print fabric on Fabric.Com and thought, "wouldn't that make a beautiful skirt!"    It wasn't until later that I saw ModCloth's version, which has just been restocked if you're interested in purchasing rather than making your own.  I have no regrets about making my own though, because I feel like this style is a bit fuller and longer and looks much better on my shape.
    It's worth noting that as far as cost goes, ModCloth's version is $59.99 and making it myself cost me about $40 for the fabric, lining, zipper, and pattern, plus about five hours to cut it out and sew it.  So, $60 is actually a really good price for this skirt.  But, since I already had the pattern and the fabric before I realized that ModCloth was carrying this skirt, there was no sense buying what I could make myself.
    The reason I chose this particular pattern was that I stumbled onto a youtube video by Creativebug that I thought walked me through the entire process, so I could finally make something on my own with zero help from my husband.  He was pretty excited about that too.  Turns out the video only walks you through about 70% of the process and then you have to pay a membership fee and join their website to see how to do the rest.
    I felt like a complete fool for having fallen for this trick.  To add further frustration, I had just reached a difficult point and I was lost without a map (pun intended) on a very unclear portion of the instructions about sewing the yoke to the skirt.  My husband agreed to help, but soon found himself befuddled by the directions too.  Between the two of us we figured out how to do it and the result is...well, not perfect, but I'm really happy with it.

    Also, I'm excited to share my first purchase from PeachTreeLane.  I'm hoping to devote an entire post to this shop and the lovely lady behind it in the upcoming weeks.  For now though, these adorable bee earrings made it just in time for Mother's Day and I'm so pleased with them.  I have sensitive skin, but these little beauties haven't caused any irritation.  Although they're smaller than I imagined, I think that just makes them even more charming, and they go perfectly with my honey comb necklace.
Shop the Look:

To make the skirt use Simplicity Pattern 1369 & Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements Expedition Multi
Definitive Drama Heels and Nectar in Line Necklace from ModCloth
Lil Top by Anthropologie purchased at ThredUp
    If you're new to this awesome online Thrift store, use this link to save $20 off your first order

© Bleu Avenue. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.