Archive | January, 2015

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.

sf1 blouse pants side - Copy

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!

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Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank | Jungle January

17 Jan

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!