Front Door Fashion | A Sewist’s Review

13 Mar

Hi, friends! I’m back today with another installment in my series of online personal styling service reviews.

I would like to change the pace for a minute and have you close your eyes and think back to the last time you remember really experiencing Christmas with childlike excitement. The last time you struggled to fall asleep and your eyes popped open at 4 AM but you waited until the sun came up to get out of bed because your parents had threatened you. The last time you tore excitedly into your gifts, finally getting to find out what had been waiting for you under the tree.

For me, that was probably my mid teens. Once I got my drivers license, I started doing my own Christmas shopping for my mother. Before you say that sounds awful, we actually preferred it that way. I loved shopping and my mother hated it. My mom and I had very different taste in clothing. I was/am very picky. My mom would still buy some surprises for me but I would get the things that I really wanted and she would wrap them and make me wait until Christmas to open them.

Then I got married and started a career and usually get what I want when I want/need it so Mr. Homemaker and I don’t typically exchange Christmas gifts. Which is fine but a small part of me misses that pure excitement that only wrapped Christmas gifts with your name on them can bring.

Enter Front Door Fashion, a Dallas-based company that provides online and in-the-flesh personal styling services. Simply put, Front Door Fashion is the closest I will come to experiencing that childlike Christmas morning excitement as an adult.

FDF is different from Stitch Fix, which I reviewed here, and I have to admit FDF suits me a lot better. Not that I don’t enjoy Stitch Fix (I have more Fixes to share with you), but FDF can provide the more intensive work that my wardrobe needed.

Back when I was in my wardrobe rut, I was looking for something new. I had already placed orders with two of my favorite online stores but I knew my selections there would be within my comfort zone and my closet needed a little something more — a bit of defibrillation if you will. When I came across Front Door Fashion, I loved the look of their site and enjoyed filling out the style questionnaire.

But I have to admit I was a little worried that I would get a box full of clothes that would be out of my price range, but based on their no upfront risk ordering policy, I went ahead and clicked. And I actually forgot I signed up for the box until I got an email from my stylist asking for a few more details about my style and clothing preferences. And then forgot again until I got the tracking number.

FDF Intro

Then I got excited. And even more excited when I saw the sturdy, fashionable box the UPS man dropped off at my office. I ran home during my lunch break and quickly broke open my present to myself. Folded neatly inside was a black garment bag bursting at the seams. I took a quick assessment of what was inside. My stylist, Morgan, had grouped outfits into different categories based on outfits on my Pinterest page. Each set of garments contained coordinating accessories to compete the looks.

FDF1 Pants

First up, I had asked for some wide leg, pleated slacks. I got two wonderful pairs that were both keepers. The pair on the left is the Trina Turk Saniya Pant ($266) and is a gorgeous white poly crepe with a side zip and full lining. They will have to be nipped in about 1/2″ in the back waist and hemmed a little before I can wear them but overall the fit is divine for a RTW pant — a near priceless find in RTW slacks!

The other pair is the BCBGeneration Pleat Front Pant ($118) and is a machine washable merlot poly. They were very long so I was able to get them hemmed with a cuff added. I love these because of their menswear style.

FDF1 Blouses

Next, I asked for blouses for work and I let Morgan know that I love silk tops. On the left is the Cooper and Ella Jade Embroidered Blouse ($121) in a black poly with cut out detail at the neckline. This top was returned because it was too restrictive in the shoulders.

Cooper and Ella Ava Tie Front Blouse ($124) was a beautiful silk blouse with a great cobalt, navy, and black pattern. Unfortunately, it was also too snug in the shoulders.

Veronica M Rita Dot Top ($58) was a simple poly shell in a cute fabric but was also too snug in the shoulders.

Lavender Brown Boxy Crew Neck Blouse ($123) was made from a gorgeous plum silk with a tad bit of stretch. Also too tight in the shoulders and strangely fit my shoulders better when I put it on backwards. What does that say about my body??

FDF1 Classic White Blouses

Next up are the classic white shirts I asked for. On the left is the Lavender Brown Long Sleeve Hi-Lo Collared Blouse ($178) in a fabulous ivory silk. The fit was off just a little in the shoulders and the price made me a little uneasy. For a lower price I could have lived with the fit issues but I am too close to perfecting my Granville…

On the right is the Nanette Lepore Villa Vella Peplum Top ($115) in a stretch cotton shirting. The fit was great and I love Nanette Lepore so it was a keeper.

FDF1 Knit tops

These tops are my favorites from the box. The one on the left is the Abbie Hi-Lo Peplum Top by Weston ($118). It is a great sturdy textured knit with an awesome cherry blossom design. The peplum has small pleats in the front and back and is lower in back than front. It looks great with jeans or pencil skirts. I get tons of compliments every time I wear this shirt.

On the right is the LA Made Fleur Top ($58), a simple taupe tank with an interesting cowl design feature in the back. I am wearing this as I type.

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Next, I asked for a nice knit dress. This Nanette Lepore Superslide Dress ($148) fit the bill perfectly with its modest neckline and flattering princess seams and flared skirt. It is also fully lined making it feel as good as it looks.

FDF1 Accessories

Finally, here are all the accessories Morgan sent in my box. Up top is a cute, lightweight trench coat, the Jack Brydon Trench Coat ($90), that will be a great transitional piece in our temperate climate.

For the accessories, here’s a rundown:

  • Turquoise Medallion Necklace ($44), kept
  • Black and Gold Bib Necklace ($45), kept
  • Elise M Charlize Belt ($40), returned
  • Kendra Scott Andy Bracelet ($50), kept
  • Kendra Scott Jackie Necklace ($140), returned
  • Amber Beaded Layer Necklace ($40), kept
  • Mixed Motif Scarf ($21), kept

I also received two pairs of jeans, Level 99 Tanya High Rise Trouser ($140) and Citizens of Humanity Avedon Ultra Skinny ($178). I didn’t keep either pair and I forgot to snap pictures. Finally, there was a great little Tees By Tina nude camisole ($30) that I kept.

The grand total for this box of goodies was $2205 with 21 awesome items inside. The nice think about FDF is that you don’t actually spend $2205 when you order the box. In fact, you have 5 business days to try on the items with things already in your closet before you decide what you want to keep. Once you return your box, they only charge you for what you keep (in my case, a little less than half after I used a coupon code I had received in a prior order).

Most boxes contain 4 styled looks and range from $1500 to $2300 with a discount for keeping all the items. According to the company, clothing ranges from $100-450 and accessories from $25-300, but I found quite a few items in both of my boxes to fall below this range (yes, I did have a second box — actually before this one).

FDF0 Haul

Original box keepers:

  • Amanda Uprichard fabulous high waist knit pencil skirt ($150)
  • Tees By Tina Paris Dress ($84)
  • Velvet Heart Jamie Shirt ($84)
  • Print Scarf ($21)
  • Sonya Renee Green Pendant Necklace ($70)
  • Green Scarab Cuff Bracelet ($12)
  • Sonya Renee Infinity Cuff Bracelet ($36)
  • Black Knit Infinity Scarf ($22), love this thing!
  • Flat Chain Necklace ($38)
  • Ada Wrap Belt ($77), love this thing, too!
  • Tees By Tina Nude Tank ($38), not shown

Front Door Fashion is a great service for women who don’t have time to shop and who need to update their wardrobe in a major way — new job, upcoming interviews, life change (post-baby, weight loss/gain), etc. It’s also great for women who need some help getting out of their comfort zone and getting a little guidance on styling and accessorizing. My FDF boxes have been great at rekindling my love for dressing every day.

For me as a pediatrician, I think dressing nicely helps convey a message to my patients that taking myself seriously and caring about my presentation means that I will take them seriously and care about their well-being.

FDF Outfits

But the best thing about FDF? Having a real-life stylist who spends actual hands-on time selecting things that will look good on you and be fashionable all while taking your lifestyle and taste into consideration. Basically, someone who can deliver authentic Christmas morning excitement right into your ho-hum adult life :)

So, if this sounds like something that would work for you, give it a try and tell them I sent you. I don’t get any compensation but I would love to know that other women could enjoy this service as much as I have. In fact, you can read about my friend Lynn’s experience here. Have you tried any online personal styling services yet? What do you think?

I had previously alluded to trying a third services (which I did — Tog + Porter), but it has not been much to write home about so I will not be doing a separate post about it. If you are looking for true personal styling, Front Door Fashion is the way to go. If you just want to add a few fun new pieces and get a little surprise every month, definitely try Stitch Fix. Hope that helps. Now back to the sewing and cooking!

McCall’s 6706 | Carolina Herrera Skirt

12 Mar

Howdy, friends! I have another completed sewing project for you today! But before you get too excited, this is a project I completed sometime last year (probably Summer 2014), and just never got a chance to get good enough photos to blog.

Luckily, we finally had some pretty weather this past Sunday and there is a cute spot outside our new condo, so I took advantage and enlisted my handsome stepson to play photographer. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until after the photo shoot that there was a large smudge on the lens so you will have to excuse the blur around my feet :)

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This skirt started with the fabric. I found it at Promenade Fine Fabrics in New Orleans, one of my favorite fabric haunts. It was milled for Carolina Herrera and is a silk organza with blue flowers with black outlines embroidered on it. Maybe there’s a better term for the way this fabric is embellished but I don’t know it. The black outline appears to be clipped to have exposed threads, kind of reminds me of velvet, but the blue looks like embroidery. Any info on this type of fabric would be appreciated. The fabric was very pricey ($58/yd) so I knew it had to become something that didn’t require much yardage and that I could make without any errors.

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I decided on McCall’s 6706 (rendered once before in a drapey rayon challis), to create a simple, elegant, pleated knee-length skirt.

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Then I found this photo of the designer herself wearing a very similar skirt in an almost identical fabric. I never could find any garments in the exact fabric.

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I decided to underline the fashion fabric with plain silk organza so I could finish the raw edges like I did in my red Hollyburn skirt and to give it a little more opacity and body.

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I also lined the skirt with a bone colored silk crepe de chine from Promenade. At first I thought I would line it with black, but the neutral silk really made the white of the organza stand out.

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Finally, I decided to use some fabulous, authentic Petersham ribbon for the waistband. This notion also came from Promenade and Herbert says that it is some of the only truly legit Petersham that is still made. I wish you could feel it through the computer — it is so thick and luxurious. Another pricey option ($32/yd), I purchased just enough to go around my waist twice for the waistband and facing.

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Construction was pretty straightforward. As I mentioned above, I underlined the skirt panels with organza then hand basted the pleat lines and lightly pressed the pleats into place then machine basted them across the top.

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For the lining, I basted it to the skirt along the top then treated it and the outer skirt as one piece when applying the waistband. I laid the Petersham ribbon directly on the waist seam line and used my edgestitch foot to stitch just inside the outer border of the ribbon. Then I matched the other piece of ribbon (the waistband facing) up with the top and edgestitched along the top border to connect the two. The I did one final row of stitches to secure the bottom of the facing to the bottom of the waistband. Fortunately, these stitches just melt right into the ribbon and you can’t see them, otherwise I would have been doing a lot of handstitching!

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I finished the lining with a 1/4″ machine hem and the outer skirt is finished with a 1″ hand stitched hem, catching my stitches in the organza underlining.

All in all, I love this skirt even though it was not the cheapest project. It is one of a kind and I feel like it looks like a designer piece. I think I will be able to enjoy wearing it for many years so I don’t mind the little splurge to create it.

What about you, my fair readers, have you ever splurged a little bit on a project? Did you play it safe with a pattern you knew would sew up well or did you do something more daring? I would love to hear in the comments!

I hope to be back soon :)

A Sewing Update

11 Feb photo 1[1]

Lest you all start to worry that I have sold my sewing machine to pay for all my new clothes, I have been slowly getting my Sew-jo back. It was temporarily interrupted by selling our home and moving into a much smaller condo. I don’t really have a dedicated sewing space anymore so that has made me reevaluate my sewing methods. But I will not be deterred and I have been slowly but steadily making my flat pattern adjustments to the new Sewaholic Granville shirt pattern. So far, I have done my full bust, forward shoulder, short waist, swayback, and uneven shoulder adjustments. Now all I have left to do is trace and cut the pattern pieces that didn’t have to be altered and make a muslin. I am feeling a little brazen and may forego the actual muslin and cut into a real fabric for this test run. The flat pattern adjustments are looking pretty good when I hold them up against my body in the mirror — ha!

I have also solved the dilemma about where to put my sewing machine. If you remember in a prior post, I was debating about what small space sewing solution to use to set up my work area. Well, I didn’t go with any of those options because my grandmother reminded me that I was supposed to take her 1960s Kenmore that is built into a cute little wooden cabinet. I picked up the machine a few weeks ago but knew it wasn’t in working order — I don’t remember my grandmother ever really sewing anything although there are rumors of her sewing prom dresses for my mom and aunt. You can guess how out of shape that machine was! I called my friend and trusty sewing machine doctor, Richard Givens, and he came and picked it up.

When I dropped by his shop today, he showed me pictures of all the work he had to do to get her back in serviceable condition — basically a complete overall with the machine torn totally apart. Almost every gear was locked up. But now that he has worked his magic, she is humming a sweet, sweet song, and I can’t wait to sew that Granville on her. Poor little Janome is going to get so jealous when I stash her in the closet for the time being. But she’ll come back out when the new house is finished. Mr. Givens says sewing machines aren’t manufactured like this Kenmore anymore — all precision metal parts, etc. And that if it were to be manufactured today, it would cost over $1000. Luckily the repairs weren’t quite that much but I can understand why many of us today don’t invest in repairing the things we have (as I could have easily bought a decent cheap machine — like my current Janome — for the cost of the repairs). But I would gladly spend it again to be able to sew dresses for myself on the machine that my grandmother and possibly mother once spent hours in front of creating the frocks of their dreams.

photo 1[1] Here’s a picture of Mr. Givens with my little Kenmore. You can start to get a glimpse of all the sewing machines that were laying around everywhere.

Sewing Machines

He let me snap some more pictures to show you all the different types of machines he works on. I don’t think there is a machine he couldn’t fix. The button machine does nothing but sew on buttons. And it does it in about 2 seconds. How awesome is that?!?

The last really cool bit of news is that I entered my Butterick 6019 bombshell dress into Gertie’s Grand Giveaway and I was selected as a finalist! Now I have to mail my dress off to NYC to be inspected by the judges — yikes! There is only a 20% chance I will win, but if I do, what will I do with 17 bolts of fabric??? We will have a big giveaway here on the blog! Cross your fingers, say your prayers, and send good thoughts my way!

Stitch Fix | A Sewist’s Review

31 Jan

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As I mentioned in my last post, I recently decided to try out some online personal styling services. I am planning to tell you about all three that I signed up for and the first one up is Stitch Fix. Before I signed up to try it out, I scoured the web looking for details about the type and quality of clothes that women typically got in their boxes. I was interested in the quality of the construction, the fabric content, and the finishes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much info on these things. So I decided when I received my box, I would write about these details, regardless of my overall experience. Fortunately, my overall experience has been positive, so that is a bonus!

I won’t go into excessive details about how Stitch Fix works because there are plenty of other sites that do that, but I will give you the Cliff Notes version here in case you are completely unfamiliar. Stitch Fix is a web-based company that provides personal styling services to women on a subscription or on-demand basis. They collect information from you about your preferences in color, fit, fashion, style icons, accessories, etc. When you sign up for your first box, you agree to pay a $20 “styling fee” (more about that in a sec). Then, they assign a personal stylist to you who reviews your profile and your Pinterest board (if you have one), and she sends you a box of 5 items, most likely 4 garments and 1 accessory, personally selected to suit you.

Your box arrives on or before the date you selected when you signed up and you get to try on your items in the comfort of your home and with the help of your hubby, bff, etc. You can mix and match with what’s already in your closet to help you decide what to keep and what to send back. If you love something but it doesn’t fit quite right, you can email them to see if they have a different size and if they do, they will send it. You have three business days to make up your mind. The $20 styling fee you paid when you ordered your box gets credited toward the purchase of what you decide to keep from your box. If you decide to keep everything, you get an additional 25% off everything. You send back what you don’t want and aren’t charged for those items. There is no additional charge for shipping either direction.

If you try Stitch Fix and you love it, you can tell your friends about it with a referral link and you will get $25 each time one of them signs up (yes, that is my referral link and I would love it if you decide to use mine :) ).

So without further ado, here’s a fashion show for you, complete with both garment insides and outsides!

sf1 haul

First, the entire line up of the articles that came in my box. My first fix was a pretty neutral color scheme. I don’t mind neutrals but I also enjoy colors. I made a specific request for more color in my next box.

sf1 blouse and pants - Copy

41Hawthorn | Astrid Spade Print Tie-Neck Blouse | Medium | $58 ($44.50 with 25% discount for keeping all 5 pieces)

100% polyester | Hand wash cold, no bleach, lay flat to dry | Made in USA (!!!)

The first garment I tried on was this white 100% polyester blouse with a black spade pattern on it. The fabric is soft and reminiscent of crepe de chine. The care label calls for hand wash and lay flat to dry but I will machine wash on delicate and lay flat to dry. I am excited that the garment was made in the USA! It has a button placket with bronze buttons in front and is accented by a bow tie at the neckline.

sf1 blouse 1 - Copy

The neckline is safe for work and the hem is a nice length for wearing tucked in or out. The blouse fits well through the bust but is a tad low in the armscye. This minor fitting issue was not a deal breaker, though, and I think this blouse will fit nicely as a multipurpose basic in my wardrobe. It has tucks sewn at the shoulders for bust shaping and no side darts for a loose, flowy fit.

sf1 blouse collage - Copy

As for interior finishes, the back yoke and side seams are serged. The neckline has a clean finish. The armholes are nice and tidy with bias binding. Overall, this is definitely a finished product I would be happy to produce from my sewing room and reminds me of my Belle Bow Blouse in style and finish.

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Liverpool | Anita Skinny Pant | Size 10/30 | $78 ($59.50 after discount)

62% Rayon, 33% Nylon, 5% Spandex | Turn inside out, machine wash cold, no bleach, tumble dry | Made in China

I paired the blouse with the black ponte skinny jeans by Liverpool. I have to tell you I was soooo skeptical about these pants when I first pulled them out. I warned my stylist in my online profile that I had a really hard time finding pants and jeans to fit properly. But let me tell you, I wanted to cry with joy when I slipped these babies on. They fit PERFECTLY!

sf1 blouse pants back - Copy

They have the perfect rise in front and back, the waistband doesn’t gape, they flatter my booty. The fabric is a smooth black ponte knit that has great recovery so they don’t bag out after wearing. I love them so much I asked for them to send more in other colors if they have them. I didn’t take interior pictures of these pants but they are very straight forward — serged seams and basic 5-pocket styling with faux front pockets.

sf1 tunic front

Daniel Rainn | Owen Tie Neck Blouse | Medium | $68 ($52 after discount)

100% Polyester shell, 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex lining | Hand wash, hang to dry, dry clean recommended | Made in China

The next garment out was this 100% polyester chiffon peasant tunic. I have to admit I wrinkled my nose at it a little when I pulled it out, but I was determined to be an equal opportunity shopper so I tried it on.

sf1 tunic side

You already know I kept the shirt — I liked that it fit in the shoulders, had a work-appropriate neckline, had a cute hemline that dipped lower in the back to cover the tush, and upon closer inspection, has an awesome bird print all over the fabric. Plus the top has a built in cami so I don’t have to worry about finding a clean one.

sf1 tunic collage

The seams feature faggoting or entredeux which adds visual interest and texture. The interior seams are serged and sewn flat to the trim. The neckline features shirring with elastic thread and is finished with a placket and closed with yarn tassels. The sleeves have a simple placket and button closure.

stitch fix 1 jacket

Market and Spruce | Kristah Ruffle Knit Blazer | Medium | $78 ($59.50 after discount)

95% Rayon, 5% Spandex | Hand wash, tumble dry low | Made in China

This cute navy knit jacket is 100% polyester and is the weight of a t-shirt.

stitch fix 1 jacket back

The back features a cute peplum details in polyester chiffon.

sf1 jacket collage

The interior seams are finished with serging and a Hong Kong finish taking this jacket up a notch. There is a facing for the front and the back neck. There are faux welt pockets on the front.

sf1 necklace

Zad | Meagan Cut Out Spade Layering Necklace | $32 ($25 with discount)

My fifth item is this cute long gold necklace with a design that mimics the white bow blouse, above. I had always shied away from longer necklaces because I felt like they looked funny on me, but I have been coming around to the look and was glad to see this in my box, especially since it is a great basic. It has already gotten quite a bit of wear since its arrival.

So, to wrap this really long post up, I had fun trying out Stitch Fix. I was satisfied with the quality of the garments in my box although I would love to see some natural fibers in the next box. I also loved that one of my garments was made in the USA. A lot of people will probably think the garments are a bit on the pricey side, especially if you are a bargain shopper (I know the girls in my office love to hunt for deals at places like TJ Maxx), but you have to consider that you don’t have to spend the gas driving to the store, the lost time you will be away from home/work/family/sewing, and you won’t have to spend money to feed yourself while you are away from home for half a day shopping. Plus you won’t be as tempted to purchase other things that you don’t necessarily need. And you can avoid the frustration that comes with searching through the racks not finding what you want. You also have the advantage of knowing that a professional objective third party selected the garments because they thought they would look good on you.

I think the web interface for Stitch Fix is very easy to use and allows for great user interaction. I also think the $20 styling fee is reasonable since you get to credit it to the purchase of anything from your Fix (I will talk more about this when I compare all of the services later). I also think the referral program is great and means that you could really get a good deal on some clothes if you are comfortable sharing your experience about Stitch Fix with your friends — and you don’t even have to have a blog. You could share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or via email. I did contact Stitch Fix customer service once via email and my question was answered very promptly and the issue handled immediately and satisfactorily (I forgot to enter my friend’s referral code when I signed up).

In summary (finally!), I had fun trying out Stitch Fix and I can’t wait to see if my next Fix is better than this one. It has been a good treatment for my sewing dry spell. If you decide to try it out, click through this link to sign up and let us know what you think!

Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank | Jungle January

17 Jan IMG_2906

Hi, friends! I hope this post finds you well. It’s been a little more than a season since I last checked in but I hope you have had other blogs in your reader to keep you entertained. We have had a very busy few months with vacation, selling our home, moving, birth of a niece, the holidays, hospitalizations of grandparents (everyone is doing great now), husband working out of town, all that on top of the usual cold and flu season which is always hectic for a pediatrician.

But life is good and we are excited about all the changes happening. Selling our old house means we get to build a new one. We are living temporarily in a small condo but we are in the heart of our downtown so we are enjoying being close to everything and walking distance to my favorite coffee shop and BBQ joint. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of room for sewing so I have not stitched anything since before the move (pre-Thanksgiving). I am looking at purchasing a Gidget table and setting it up in my bedroom and adapting my sewing habits to be more streamlined and uncluttered.

I have also been reevaluating my wardrobe as I had gotten into a bit of a funk with dressing everyday. Since I had started sewing, I had stopped purchasing as many clothes as I used to thinking I would sew the perfect garment and that perfect garment just never materialized. Sure, I have sewn some things that I really love and am very proud of, but I have not made many daily basics that work well for my usual routines. Plus many of my clothes weren’t fitting right any more because I have been working out. So in my sewing-restricted state, I decided to do a little shopping for myself. First, I visited my favorite online spots, Nordstrom and Anthropologie, and quickly had some packages sent my way. As is usual, many things had to be returned but I ended up with some new colored skinny cords and jeans and a few basic tops and one pretty dress. Nothing that really sang to me, though.

Then, I remembered a friend telling me about Stitch Fix and I started browsing the web for more info and for similar services. Basically, they are services that take your info on size and style likes and dislikes then send you a box of garments and accessories to try on at home. You decide what to keep and what to send back. During the course of my searching, I found two other companies to be viable contenders, although different in some respects. So I signed up for a box from all three to try it out. Worst case scenario, I would only be out $20.

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All that said, today I am here to actually tell you about something I sewed (of course back when my sewing machine was still plugged in, pre Turkey Day). I will tell you in upcoming posts about my experiences with the online styling services. This top is my first-ever contribution to Jungle January. I have never been a big animal print fan but this stretch silk charmeuse was cheap at Fabric Mart and I thought it would be perfect for muslining a basic silk shell. And it was.

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Enter the Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank. The is a perfect canvas for so many things. I was looking for a simple top that could be worn with a skirt or pants and blazer/cardi for work or paired with jeans and a necklace for a more casual look. I also wanted a pattern that would be a good base for embellishment. I started with a straight size medium and only adjusted the pattern by raising the armholes 1/2″. I knew that ultimately I would probably want to do a bust adjustment and add a side dart for a better fit but I wanted to see what the fit was like straight out of the envelope.

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This fit was not too bad. There is a little bit of dragging under the bust in the front, but this top is definitely wearable and with the silk having a little lycra in it, it helps. In my next version, I added a 3/4″ FBA and the drag was eliminated and the tank hung evenly front and back.

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So friends, to wrap this wordy, overly gushy post up, I hope I will not be such a stranger now that things are starting to settle back down in our life. I hope that you will indulge me if I talk a little bit about ready to wear fashion and a little less about sewing and cooking while we are living in a tiny two-story box. I may even talk a little about home planning and interior design as we get further into that project.

I would love to hear in the comments how your year is starting off and if you have advice on setting up in a tiny sewing space. Have a great weekend!

Thirsty Thursdays | Kentucky Saint |La Petite Grocery

18 Sep

Happy Thursday again, friends! I hope the upcoming weekend holds promise for being fun and relaxing for you. I am here to tell you about another ingredient that may fit right in to said weekend.

 

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This beverage is called the Kentucky Saint and the recipe is courtesy of La Petite Grocery, a James Beard award-winning restaurant on Magazine St. in New Orleans. Mr. Homemaker and I took a day trip to NOLA earlier this summer (for fabric shopping and eating), and this is where we chose to have a late lunch. Thank goodness we did because the service was friendly, the drinks were refreshing, and the food was delicious.

That afternoon, I went and purchased the ingredients that were listed on the menu. But no matter what ratio I tested, it didn’t taste quite right. So I sent an email to their bar manager, Julia (who happens to be from my hometown), and she graciously provided me with the official recipe. And the missing ingredient? A splash of orange juice.

As I mentioned last week in the Thirsty Thursday post, this is the recipe I originally purchased the St. Germain liqueur for. So now you have two excuses to buy some :)

This cocktail makes bourbon taste good even to the bourbon-averse among us. It has just the right amount of sweetness and citrus to compliment the bourbon. I didn’t think I would like this one but surprisingly, it is now a favorite.

Give it a try and let me know if you find it as much of a palate-pleaser as I do.

 

Looking for a few other refreshing cocktails? Try one of these:

La Recolte

Meyer Lemon Drop Martini

Cuba Libre

Absolut Stress

Blood Orange Martini

 

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Kentucky Saint

  • 1 ounce Noah’s Mill bourbon (or other bourbon of your choice)
  • 1/2 ounce St. Germain liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Aperol
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice (original recipe called for 1/4 ounce)
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup

Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until the outside surface of the shaker is frosty.

Strain into a martini glass straight up or pour over ice in a rocks glass.

Garnish as desired and enjoy!

 

Courtesy of La Petite Grocery.

Thirsty Thursdays | La Recolte | Pear and St. Germain Martini

11 Sep

From what I hear, some parts of the world are starting to show signs of fall — autumnal leaves, crisp evenings, and don’t forget all the Christmas decorations in the stores (ugh!).

Here in the Deep South, Fall hasn’t even scheduled his airfare to our area. Highs are still in the 90s and humidity is always 100% (or close to it). We have rain showers most days.

Although I have not dusted off my boots or pulled out my sweaters, I would like to keep the spirit of the changing seasons and bring you an appropriately flavored cocktail that is still palatable and refreshing when your backyard is a sauna.

 

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Enter La Recolte (The Harvest en anglais). This is a cocktail that evokes thoughts of golden leaves, holiday gatherings, and cuddling up by the fire. It is also a cocktail that isn’t too sweet or too tart and has a refreshing effervescence that you can enjoy after swimming in from the mailbox or melting while carrying in your groceries.

 

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I love the styling of this bottle!

 

I found this recipe while searching for things to do with St. Germain liqueur — a French libation flavored from elderflowers. I had purchased a bottle for another recipe I will share with you later, but I like for things in my pantry to do double or triple duty if possible. Enter the Pear and St. Germain Martini.

This cocktail is a nice clear drink that is great made 1 or 2 at a time but would also work well mixed up as a punch for a cocktail party or bridal shower (consider adding a bottle of ginger ale to the mix to bring down the potency). The lemon juice and champagne help balance the sweetness of the St. Germain and pear vodka.

So if you find yourself with this random assortment of ingredients in your pantry, or if you just fancy a new, refreshing cocktail, give La Recolte a try and let me know what you think!

 

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La Recolte

  • 1 ounce pear vodka
  • 1/2 ounce St. Germain liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Champagne or sparking wine
  • Thin pear slices

Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosty.

Strain into a martini glass and top with enough sparkling wine to fill.

Garnish with a pear slice and enjoy!

 

Adapted from St. Germain website.

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