Saturday, March 29, 2014

La Mia Boutique 04/2014

One word to describe this issue of LMB: meh.
There's nothing really wrong with the patterns of this month, I'm just not particularly excited about any of them. I think this is mainly because of two reasons:
1. there are just separates, and you know I'm a dress kind of girl;
and 2. these patterns are mostly very classic in style, and I usually prefer something either quirky or retro.

But let's see, shall we?

There is a LOT of outerwear in this issue! I find it a little unusual, since we're fast approaching warmer temperatures here in Italy, but that's ok.
I'm not particularly excited about sewing jackets, so none of these patterns really call out to me, but there are a couple interesting one, especially the first trench coat. Jacket #19 feels very outdated to me, while I quite like the details of #22, which I think would look much better in a darker color.

MOAR jackets... sheesh! I do kinda like the first one (and the jeans paired with it), although not on me, but the second and third photos made me cringe. This is some epic 90's ugliness on display... let's not exhume it, please.

Aand more separates.
I kinda sorta like the first outfit (again, not on myself), and I really hate the second one. The macrame lace on that top looks terrible and the fit of the pants is embarrassing. Just no.

This blouse is really interesting, but it looks much more like a costume than like something one could wear in real life.
The skirt is cute, but I've seen it a thousand times.

This blouse is the only pattern I did like for myself in this issue! It reminds me a bit of the Carme blouse by Pauline Alice.
The pencil skirt is cute and every girl should own one, but as I mentioned for the previous skirt, it's something we've seen before.

And to end this forgettable issue, we have some awkwardly styled, frumpy looking plus size fashion. I did really like the gown from afar, until I saw the terrible boob gathering... I think the visual effect is really ugly. But from the waist down, it's really nice.
The jacket is just frumpy, as confirmed by the sad, sad facial expression of the model.

In conclusion... yawn.
I'm hoping for a more modern (or more retro!), better styled, less random issue next month.
This one just wasn't for me. Is it for you?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Update: Bow Shirt Without a Bow

I asked, you answered: I was having doubts about my Ralph Pink bow shirt that I made for the Minerva Blogging Network and (most of) you guys confirmed something was wrong in the proportions.
Negative criticism is hardly ever pleasant, but your comments were all very polite and reassuring, as always. Siobhan's comment, telling me the bow looked like Ariel's shell bra, definitely takes the crown; I literally laughed my ass off at the screen. Anyway, thank you all for your honest opinions!

As you might have spied on Instagram, I removed the bow, and as I suspected, the shirt is now a bit anonymous, but much more wearable. It still has both construction and fit issues (not to mention it needed a good ironing before photos), but it's ok.

Now, time for a new project! I just hope it's gonna be a more successful one...

Ho chiesto la vostra opinione, e voi mi avete risposto: avevo dei seri dubbi sulla camicia con fiocco di Ralph Pink che ho fatto per il Minerva Blogger Network, e voi mi avete confermato che c'era qualcosa che non andata nelle proporzioni.
Le critiche negative non sono mai troppo piacevoli, ma i vostri commenti sono stati pacati ed educati come sempre. Il commento di Siobhan ha vinto senza dubbio, dicendomi che il fiocco sembrava il reggiseno di conchiglie della Sirenetta; mi ha fatto ridere tantissimo! Comunque, grazie davvero per la vostra onestà.

Come forse avete intravisto su Instagram, ho rimosso il fiocco, e come sospettavo, la camicetta adesso è un po' anonima, ma quantomeno portabile. Ha ancora difetti di costruzione e vestibilità (per non parlare del fatto che avrebbe avuto bisogno di una stirata prima delle foto), ma va bene così.

E adesso, è il momento di un nuovo progetto... Speriamo di avere un po' più di fortuna! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Burdastyle Magazine 04/2014

Guys. Guys. GUYS!!!
This issue of Burda is SO good, I'm (almost) speechless. I mean, while I went through the preview photos my jaw literally dropped and I asked myself "is this the same magazine from the last months years?".

I don't know if something changed in the artistic direction or what, but this really looks like a whole new magazine, and I couldn't be happier about it.
I got in touch with Mokosha and it turns out we were in the same state of shock. Some of these patterns are exactly in her style, so I can't wait to see them popping up on her blog.

Now, less blabbering and more commenting. Although my comments on these patterns are pretty much all something like "beautiful", so I'll be concise and leave space to the images.

The first set of patterns all have a modern feel to it, but they're so much cooler than the usual Burda standards!!
Take these two dresses: clean, simple, modern lines with interesting design features (look at the back darts of that second dress, for example). Just great.

 This is something I wouldn't wear myself, but would see on a whole lot of people...

 ... although I immediately like it so much more when it's shortened into a top. Also, the skirt is simply gorgeous.

I'm really uncertain about this dress... The design is interesting, but those front panels look a bit too far from the center front to be balanced... What do you guys think?

Again, this is something I wouldn't wear myself, but I can still appreciate the design. On a tall woman, this would be pretty spectacular.

The next set of patterns are presented in a folksy/beachy themed photoshoot, and while most of them are not that memorable to me, these two are real stand-outs.
The pants remind me a lot of the Chataigne shorts by Deer and Doe, and this is actually a variation I wanted to try out.

I'm repeating myself here, but... gorgeous! That bib/yoke thingy in the front might be a little overcomplicated, but it does look great.

And last but not least, my favorite set of patterns, with a vintage feel to them.
The pants were too cute not to include them again; the blouse looks cuter on the model than on the technical drawing. I like the collar, but I would probably eliminate the faux wrap effect.

A shorter version of the maxi dress from before, with a few different details. I LOVE how this looks on the model, fabric choice included (and shoes, too).

This is a little overcomplicated, but all these details are so adorable that they really work together. WANT!

The elasticated waist is a huge let down for me (it feels too dressed down compared to the rest of the dress, imho), but the rest is simply stunning. Those sleeves, oh, those sleeves!

I didn't include any of the plus size patterns because there was a lot to show already and I found them a little boring anyway, sorry! There are also a couple men's patterns and some extremely cute kids patterns.

So, what's the verdict?
I guess it's more than clear how happy I am about this issue and the direction the magazine seems to have taken. No huge wtf-eries, no rectangles (well, just one top, which I didn't include), classy styling... I hope it's not just random, and it will be consistent in the future issues.
I'm so proud of you, Burda, welcome back! But please, keep it up!

Now I'm curious... What do you guys think?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Minerva Blogger Network: Bow Shirt

Pattern: Bow Shirt by Ralph Pink
Size: I'm not sure! Should be a UK12
Alterations: I used the sleeves of the Sureau dress by Deer and Doe
Fabric: cream chiffon with polka dots and black cotton poplin available on Minerva Crafts (unfortunately, the chiffon is sold out)

Guys, there's so much frustration behind these photos, you can't even imagine.

As I explained in my post for the Minerva Blogger Network, this blouse wasn't my March project, but my April project.
What happened to my March project, you ask? Well, it was supposed to be a mid-season boyfriend coat, made using the ever-so-popular Gérard coat by République du Chiffon, but I disliked the result so much that I ended up asking Vicki of Minerva Crafts if I could just not show it. I want to stress the fact that the pattern was absolutely fine (although extremely time consuming to tape together, trace and add seam allowance to), but it just doesn't look right on me. Also, the fabric looked terrible... I should have ordered swatches.

Anyway, back to the shirt... There's plenty of drama there as well.
First of all, of course I didn't make a muslin! Stupid me, trying a new pattern from a new designer, I almost slapped myself when I had all my fabric cut and I realized the armholes and sleeves were completely wrong for me. My solution, as written above, was to simply cut the sleeves of the Sureau dress and praying that would work. Thankfully, it did.

Second reason for drama: the fabrics I chose are too different in weight. That means the bow is too heavy and bulky and I had to tack it in place or it would flop around.

Finally, I'm not sure about this bow at all. The first time I tried the shirt on, I really hated how it looked; now I do a bit less, but I still think the proportions are not right for my body. The section in the middle is too large, and the body of the bow is maybe too small, and the result is that my bust looks... weird in this shirt.

A few more words on this pattern, since it seems like there aren't many reviews on Ralph Pink patterns around the web.
First of all, I really hated that the pattern is multi-size, but you can only print one size at the time. That means there's less taping to do and that you can skip tracing, but it's very inconvenient for someone like me, whose measurements never fall in just one size.
Another thing I hated is that the size guide is only available online; of course you can save it and print it or consult it offline, but I find it absurd that it's not included in the pattern.
And one last thing: the size is not marked on the pattern pieces! That's why I'm not exactly sure which size I even printed out. Silly me, I should have noted that down, but it's something I usually take for granted...

One more thing to note is that the seam allowance for these patterns is 1cm (3/8"); I don't have any strong feeling about this. It was just unfortunate in this case, because I didn't increase it before cutting my fabric and was unable to use french seams for the shirt, which would have looked better with the chiffon.
One big plus for this pattern are the instructions, though: detailed, fully and clearly illustrated, just great all over.
If I sum all these aspects to the price (9.99£ = 12€), which is not cheap for a pdf, I don't know if I'll try other pattern from this designer...
What's your experience with Ralph Pink patterns? Have you tried them? Do you want to?

In conclusion, lots of drama surrounded this shirt, which means I kinda hate it right know and am very torn on what to do with it: keep it as is and hopefully like it more when the drama dies down, or remove the bow and make it perfectly wearable (although a little dull)?
What should I do?

Modello: Camicia con fiocco di Ralph Pink
Taglia: Non sono sicura! Dovrebbe essere una UK12
Modifiche: Non ho utilizzato le maniche del modello ma quelle dell'abito Sureau di Deer and Doe
Tessuto: Chiffon color crema a pois e popeline di cotone nero, disponibili su Minerva Crafts (purtroppo, lo chiffon è esaurito)

Ragazze, non avete idea di quanta frustrazione si nasconde dietro queste innocenti foto...

Come ho spiegato nel mio post per il Minerva Blogger Network, questa camicetta doveva essere il mio progetto di aprile, e non di marzo.

Cos'è successo al progetto di marzo, chiedete? Beh, doveva essere una giacca di mezza stagione in stile boyfriend, fatta con il modello Gérard di République du Chiffon, ma è venuta così male, ma così male, che ho finito per chiedere a Vicki di Minerva Crafts se potessi evitare di mostrarlo. Giusto per essere chiara, il modello in sé non ha niente di male (se non che ci vuole una vita per assemblarlo, copiarlo ed aggiungere i margini di cucitura), ma non me lo vedevo proprio addosso. Inoltre, la stoffa era orrenda... avrei dovuto ordinarne un campione.

Ma comunque, torniamo alla camicetta. C'è un bel po' di dramma anche qui.
Prima di tutto, non ho fatto una prova! Che cretina, con un modello nuovo di un designer mai provato! Mi sarei presa a schiaffi quando mi sono accorta che giromanica e maniche erano completamente sbagliate per me, dopo aver ormai tagliato la stoffa! La mia soluzione, come scritto all'inizio del post, è stata di tagliare le maniche del (santo) abito Sureau di Deer and Doe e pregare che funzionasse... e così è stato, per fortuna!

Seconda fonte di drammi: i tessuti utilizzati hanno pesi troppo diversi. Il che signica che il fiocco è troppo spesso e pesante e l'ho dovuto fermare con dei punti a mano perchè stesse al suo posto.

Infine, questo fiocco non mi convince affatto. La prima volta che ho provato la camicetta, non mi è piaciuto proprio per niente. Adesso lo odio un po' meno, ma penso comunque che le proporzioni siano sbagliate per il mio corpo. La parte in mezzo è troppo larga e le "orecchie" del fiocco sono troppo piccole per dare un effetto armonico con il mio petto.

Vorrei spendere ancora qualche parola su questo modello, visto che le recensioni di modelli Ralph Pink sembrano inesistenti sulla rete.
Innanzitutto, ho veramente detestato il fatto che il modello fosse multitaglia, ma che si potesse stampare solo una taglia per volta. Ovviamente, questo significa meno fogli da incollare e che i pezzi non hanno bisogno di essere tracciati, ma è un sistema scomodissimo per chi come me non corrisponde a una taglia sola.
Un'altra cosa che non mi è piaciuta, è che la guida alle taglie è disponibile solo online. Ovviamente la si può salvare e stampare o consultare offline, ma trovo assurdo che non sia inclusa nel modello.
E in ultimo: la taglia non è marcata sui pezzi del modello! Per questo motivo non sono sicurissima della taglia che ho stampato. Ovviamente sono stata sciocca a non annotarmelo da qualche parte, ma sinceramente è un'informazione che dò per scontata.

Un'altra cosa da notare è che i margini di cucitura per questi modelli sono di 1cm. Questa cosa non mi piace o dispiace particolarmente, anche se in questo caso mi è andata male, perchè non ho aggiunto margine prima di tagliare la stoffa e non ho potuto fare le cuciture all'inglese che sarebbero andate meglio con lo chiffon.
Una grossa nota di merito per questo modello va data alle istruzioni: chiare, complete, ben illustrate... Soddisfacenti sotto tutti i punti di vista.
Sommando tutti questi aspetti ed aggiungendo il prezzo del modello (9.99£ = 12€), non esattamente economico per un pdf, la mia voglia di provare altri modelli di questo designer non è alle stelle.
Che esperienza avete voi con Ralph Pink? Avete provato i suoi modelli? Li vorreste provare?

In conclusione, questa camicia è circondata da un sacco di drammi, il che mi rende difficile apprezzarla, ora come ora. Sono molto indecisa sul da farsi: la lascio così, sperando che mi piaccia una volta che la mia frustrazione sia passata, o rimuovo il fiocco, rendendola perfettamente portabile (ma un po' noiosa)?
Cosa dovrei fare?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Giveaway! Christine Haynes' New Book Blog Tour

Hi, guys!
Today, I’m really excited to be the next stop on the blog tour of Christine Haynes‘ new book, The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing Construction!
I was lucky enough to get a preview of this book, and I can't tell you how impressed I am by it! I do own a fair amount of sewing books, but this one is definitely unique.

The book is divided into five sections, each detailing different elements of garment construction. “Tools of the Trade” is about the various tools needed for sewing from the machine itself, to pressing tools and notions. “Patterns, Fabric and Your Body” guides you through the process of choosing a pattern, your size, your fabric and the cutting and marking process. “Construction Basics”introduces simple sewing techniques such as seam finishing and garment closures. “Taking Shape” explains all of those techniques that give our garments shape like darts, gathers, pleats and more. Finally, "Finishing Touches" is about hems, pockets and other details to take into consideration before finishing your garment.

Unlike a lot of other sewing books, which are useful for beginners but not so much for advanced ones, this book really goes into all kinds of techniques from beginning to advanced and all that's in between. Every passage is illustrated with clear, detailed photos, but that's not all: the design and fabric choices through the whole book make it an adorable visual experience.

Want to see for yourself? Here's a little excerpt from the book that explains how to gather fabric:

And what's the best way to put this technique into use? Making your own Emery dress, of course!
Christine very kindly offered a copy of her popular Emery dress pattern to one of my readers (see my version made up here), all you need to do is to enter below!

Good luck!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Craftsy Class Giveaway

You guys know how much I like Craftsy and their sewing classes, so I'm very happy to offer you today the chance to win one class of your choosing!
All you need to do is to click on this link to enter. You will need to be registered to Craftsy and to be logged in.
Giveaway ends Saturday, March 15th at midnight (GMT).
Good luck! 


Ho detto più e più volte quanto amo Craftsy e i suoi corsi di cucito, ed è quindi con grande gioia che oggi vi offro la possibilità di vincere un corso gratuito a vostra scelta!
Tutto quello che dovete fare è cliccare su questo link per partecipare. Dovete essere registrate a Craftsy ed aver eseguito il log in.
Il giveaway termina sabato 15 marzo a mezzanotte (GMT).
Buona fortuna!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pattern testing : Deer and Doe Anémone skirt

Size: 40 at the waist, 42 at the hips
Alterations: lengthened short version by about 2,5cm
Fabric: wool from my stash

Did you see the new pattern from Deer and Doe, released yesterday? After a couple of more casual designs, Chataigne and Plantain, Eléonore took the dressy route and gave us Anémone, an extremely cute skirt in two versions: short, with peplums, and longer, with decorative buttons.

Blouse: OVS
And really, what's not to like in this pattern?
The fitted high waist is incredibly flattering, and so is the gently flared shape; the peplums are incredibly stylish and, to my dismay, they not only help to minimize large hips, they also elongate the legs.
The longer version has a 40's vibe which, hello!, I adore and the buttons are the perfect little touch to complete the picture.

The construction is also a lovely process (an it's fast) and the instructions are detailed as ever.
The skirt is fully lined, so it's marked as intermediate, but a confident beginner might manage just fine (just know there's some hand sewing involved).

Leotard: OVS

I made these two versions as a tester for the pattern and I was, as always, very impressed by the fit. With Deer and Doe, I know I just have to pick my usual size (38 for the shoulders, 40 for the waist and 42 for the hips) and I know I won't need any alterations... Mind blowing!
I know that fit is extremely personal, and not everyone will be as lucky, but, hey, I can only vouch for myself, and I couldn't be more satisfied.

There are only two things I will change for my future versions:

Length: the short version of the pattern is a little too short for my comfort and the long version is a little too long (with my height, it only looks flattering if I'm wearing heels, which I don't very often). I'll draw my hemline between these two, so that the skirt hits me at my perfect spot, just above the knee.

Fabric: I used wool from my stash because I'm too cheap to I don't really like to go fabric shopping for test versions, because sometimes they're not wearable, but it's not in the recommended fabrics, and rightly so. Both fabrics I used were a little too bulky for this pattern (especially the check one), and just didn't have the correct drape. Just look how much better this skirt hangs when made in a beautiful printed cotton (by Sandra) or in a heavier, solid cotton (by Clotilde)!

What fabric would (or will) you use?

Taglia: 40 in vita, 42 per i fianchi
Modifiche: allungato la versione corta di circa 2,5cm
Tessuto: lana dalla mia collezione

Avete visto il nuovo modello di Deer and Doe, uscito ieri? Dopo un paio di design più casual, Chataigne e Plantain, Eléonore ha imboccato una strada più elegante e ci ha regalato Anémone, una gonna carinissima in due versioni: corta con pepli, e lunga con bottoni decorativi.

Camicetta: OVS
E cosa manca a questo modello? La vita molto alta ed aderente sta benissimo a praticamente tutte, così come la forma leggermente scampanata. I pepli sono estremamente stilosi, e contrariamente a quanto pensassi, non solo non allargano i fianchi, ma aiutano anche ad allungare le gambe. La versione più lunga ricorda un po' gli anni '40, che ovviamente adoro e ha dei bottoni decorativi, la perfetta ciliegina sulla torta.

Non solo portarla, ma anche cucirla è un piacere (e si fa in poche ore), grazie alle istruzioni dettagliate come sempre. La gonna è completamente foderata, perciò il modello è definito come intermedio, ma anche una novellina coraggiosa ce la potrebbe fare, secondo me (basta tenere presente che le rifinizioni richiedono un po' di punti a mano).

Body: OVS
Ho fatto queste due gonne come tester per il modello e, come sempre, sono rimasta sbalordita dalla vestibilità. Con Deer and Doe, ormai, mi basta tagliare le mie solite taglie (38 per le spalle, 40 per seno e vita, 42 per i fianchi) e non devo praticamente fare modifiche... Alleluja! So che la vestibilità è una questione estremamente personale, e quindi non tutte avranno questa fortuna, ma io non potrei essere più felice di questi modelli.

Per le mie versioni future, ci sono due cose da cambiare:

✄ Lunghezza: la versione corta del modello è un po' troppo corta per come sono abituata e la versione lunga è un po' troppo lunga per la mia altezza (perchè non mi tagli, la devo portare coi tacchi, cosa che faccio estremamente di rado). Ridisegnerò la mia linea per l'orlo esattamente tra le due lunghezze, in modo che cada appena sopra al ginocchio.

✄ Tessuto: ho usato della lana che avevo in casa perchè sono troppo tirchia non mi piace comprare stoffa per le versioni test, visto che a volte risultano importabili, ma non viene elencata nei tessuti consigliati, e a ragione. Quella che ho usato io (specialmente quella a quadretti) è troppo spessa e non ha il giusto peso per questo modello. Guardate com'è subito più bello questo modello se fatto con un bellissimo cotone stampato (da Sandra) o con un cotone più pesante a tinta unita (da Clotilde)!

E voi che stoffa user(s)te?