Monday, April 29, 2013

Newsflash: New Vogue Patterns Announced

The Vogue website put up their latest designs a few days ago, but a busy weekend and not-so-cooperative website meant I didn't have much time to look through them until tonight.  I have to say: I am not impressed.  I can't remember the last time I was so completely bored with a Vogue release, but I can honestly say that none of the new patterns are going on my wish list.  Despite my total boredom with the latest releases, I suppose they are worth a look anyway...

There are lots of new summery dresses:

V1351 - DKNY.  Simple and pretty, but not anything I haven't seen before.

V1349 - DKNY.  Pattern blocking dress.  Again, not exactly something new.

V1348 - Tom and Linda Platt.  Another pretty dress, but yet again nothing I haven't seen before.

V1350 - Rachel Comey.  Cute, but not my style.

V1353 - Kay Unger.  At first I was mad over this dress,
but after really looking I have decided I am more obsessed with the fabric choice
than the actual pattern.  I am pretty sure I have a few options
from Burda with a similar silhouette.
V8900 - Not exactly a fan of the cut-outs... though I do like the neckline on this dress.

V8895 - Those sleeves make me giggle.  The rest of the dress is ok though.

V8898 - Ok,  I have to admit I do sort of like this dress.
But maybe not enough to actually buy the pattern.
Mostly because I think the dress is pretty much a sack
and the only thing giving is shape is the waist tie.

V8896 - This is probably my favorite pattern in the bunch,
and the one I would be most likely to wear.
On the other hand, I have a lot of very similar patterns already,
so I don't really think I need to add this to my collection.

V8904 - Marcy Tilton.  Interesting, but I don't know how the style will work for me.

V8904 - Though the solid version is actually quite pretty.
This is the one pattern that is really tempting me,
though my inner voice of reason and logic is telling me to stay away.

Apparently the maxi dress is going to be quite popular again this summer:

V1354 - Anne Klein.  Does this not look almost exactly like the
maxi dress from the February Burda magazine?

V1352 - Rebecca Taylor.  Maybe I am a bit off on this one,
but the only thing I can think is "mumsy."

V8901 - Not really a fan of the double slits on the skirt...
And maybe it is just the stripes, but I can't say I find the overall cut of this very flattering at all.

V8899 - I sort of feel like this is a pattern that has been resurrected from the 1970s.

 Oversized bagginess also seems to be a big trend in this release:

V8894 - Not a fan of this crazy hemline.

V8897 - The world didn't really need a pattern for another sack dress...

V8905 - Poofy tunic top with crazy big sleeves.

V8908 - Maybe a bit hard to see with the pattern, but am I the
only one who thinks the last thing a ruffly skirt needs is an even more ruffly peplum?

I do sort of like the more work-related patterns this time around, though they aren't anything I don't already have in my stash:

V8916 - A Vogue Wardrobe pattern.  I like the jacket and the skirt.

More V8916 - I think the neckline detail on this dress is super cute as well.

V8893 - A Claire Shaeffer pattern.  I am not sure if I am a fan of this style,
but I do know the instructions with her patterns tend to be fantastic.
So... yeah.  There are other patterns, but mostly basic tank tops and fairly standard pants.  Yawn.  Even the designer patterns left something to be desired this time around.  Certainly there were lots of practical wearable patterns.  But nothing was really a stand-out for me.  What about you all, dear readers?  Anything in particular catch your eye?  Will you be adding some new Vogues to your stash soon?  Am I just jaded from too many pattern reviews?  Or does this release feel sort of lackluster to you as well?  Feel free to discuss in the comments!


In other sewing news, GLP International has announced the pre-orders are up for this year's Burda Classics.  Last year it sold out quickly, though I know many people weren't entirely satisfied with the result.  I haven't sewn anything from my copy yet, but I did appreciate a lot of the patterns and I think the classic shapes are the sorts of things that would suit me if I had more time to sew them.  So I think I might give Burda Classics another shot this year, to see if the patterns are any more inspirational than the designs from last year.  If you are interested as well you can pre-order a copy here.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Book Review: The History of Love

I am so behind in my blogging.  Life seems even more fast-paced and crazy busy since I graduated, and I just haven't had the time to document a lot of the exciting goings-on.  As I may have mentioned, I have been doing a lot of sewing of skating costumes, which means I have been getting paid to sew a lot of skating costumes, which means I have had a bit more of a cash influx than I had anticipated.  Which is good, because it means I can use my hobby to fund my hobby.  Which means I have a few exciting things to show off once I get some photos uploaded.  In the meantime, I am trying to get caught up on blog things, so here is a book review that has been half-written for a few weeks.


My sister is an even larger bibliophile than I am.  Her book obsession might be comparable to my Burda obsession.  It might surpass it.  So it is no surprise that over the years our literary collections have mixed and mingled quite a bit.  So much so that the stack of books she has given me to read occupy their own shelf in my bedroom.  Despite her constant pestering, I have been quite slow in getting to that stack, but when I do the effort is usually well worth it.  The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is no exception.

The History of Love is a fantastic novel that weaves together the lives of a young girl who is looking to find a romantic interest for her mother, and an old man who is looking to make a connection with the son who never knew he existed.  They deal with ever-changing emotional landscapes that are relatable and interesting.  This book will tug at the heartstrings of its readers, but the emotional investment is well deserved.

The premise of the novel is quite straightforward, but the characters are deliciously complex.  They all seem to exhibit an emotional range that is both complicated and contradictory, which makes them feel incredibly real.  Despite this, each character has a very distinct and unique voice, which lends itself well to the overall theme of the book; exploring the many aspects of love.  It looks at love from all sides - the fumbling confusion of a young first love, and the bittersweet devotion of a true love lost to time and circumstance.  It explores how hope, loss, and dispair can emphasize what is truly important in life.

The writing itself is wonderful.  Each character is written in a different style, which makes them seem even more distinct and realistic.  The overall themes of the book can be seen in each character's story arc, even though the characters are all at various phases in their lives.  Their stories are all woven together with a common thread (the book is titled after the fictitious book called "The History of Love" that is central to the plot) that makes the story feel continuous and effortless, even though the individual character stories are written in very different, almost disjointed, styles.

Regardless of what sort of books you usually like to read, The History of Love should make it onto your list.  Wonderful writing, complex characters, and a study of relationships that anyone can relate to all come together to make this a truly fantastic book.  I found it to be a quick read, and well worth the time I devoted to it.  It isn't a book I would normally pick up, but I am very glad my sister prodded me into reading this novel.  Highly recommended.

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Poor Bobbin Casing

When I was shopping for fabric in LA I noticed one of the shop owners who had swept up his floor and then came outside to dump an entire dustpan full of glitter into the gutter.  Environmental issues aside, I thought it was crazy that he could generate that much glitter dust just from cutting fabric.

I shouldn't think such things because the universe has a certain way of laughing at me:

Neon organe glitter and velvet fuzz...
I am brushing it out about once an hour at the moment...
And I usually end up with a little mound of glitter in my palm.

It wouldn't be so bad if the floor didn't look the same way.  Actually the floor is worse.  I am going to have at least two dustpans worth of sweeping to do come July...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Birthday Fabric Stashing

I have been trying to be good and not buy too much fabric.  Then my birthday happened and I got coupons... Which I mostly was able to ignore until about 5 hours before they expired.  Which is when some really fantastic looking fabrics showed up in the "new arrivals" or "clearance" sections of my favorite fabric websites.  And I caved... I'm sure you know how it goes.  Anyway, here are my new birthday pretties:

From Fabric Mart:

Back: Navy cotton.  It actually has a striped look.
I think I want to line it and use it for a dress...
Front: Lavender silk charmeuse.  Too good a deal to pass up.
Left: Grey/black cotton velveteen houndstooth print.  Most likely for a blazer style jacket.
Back right: Plaid silk taffeta.  I have plans to use this in a RTW knockoff project.
Bottom right: Cream stretch wool gaberdine.  Lovely!  I am going to make some white trousers.

And from

Left: Poly/cotton rainbow suiting fabric.  I have plans for a pencil skirt.
Right: Rayon challis print.  I am planning to use it for a summer dress.
ITY knit prints.  I am planning to use these for lightweight knit dresses.
Metallic cotton shirt-weight fabrics.
The photo does not do them justice.
Now I really need to get a TNT button-down shirt pattern sorted out.
Now if only I had time to sew for me...  At least these will be waiting in the stash when I have time to get to them around mid-summer!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Newsflash - Summer New Looks Announced

Simplicity has posted the summer New Look patterns to their website.  I have to say, the clothes are certainly geared towards summer, but I don't find them particularly inspiring.  There are more than a few generic t-shirt patterns, coupled together with some nondescript pants and skirts.  The dresses are probably the best thing in the release, and even them I am not that impressed.  I suppose we should have a look either way:

NL 6206 - A Project Runway Workroom pattern.
Although I was obsessing over the maxi dress in the May Burda,
this one leaves me less impressed.  Maybe it is the cleavage window?

NL 6207 - Another Project Runway Workroom pattern.
My general feeling on this... meh.  The neckline is cute, but the dress looks like a tent.

NL 6211 - A Suede Says Studio pattern.
Not really a fan of the cut outs on the side of the dress.
The placement seems... off.

NL 6208 - Probably my favorite of the new patterns.
The front of the dress looks rather generic, but the back is actually pretty cute!
Not exactly practical to wear with a bra, but cute.

NL 6209 - More cleavage windows!
Though the black/white and solid red versions aren't bad.

NL 6213 - I am not a fan of the line drawings, but the model photo isn't too bad.
I suppose this is a pattern with potential?

NL 6214 - Nothing exciting or different, but these tops do seem very summery,
and there are a lot of options in the same envelope.

So, all in all, meh.  Nothing super exciting that needs to join my stash.  Anything catch your eye?  Are you ready to start sewing for summer?  Or are you still trying to sew for spring?  (Or winter, as the case may be...)  Feel free to discuss in the comments.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Newsflash: May Burda Preview Posted (Sort Of)

I have been waiting for the preview of the May Burda all week.  Every time I checked the Russian website the page was up, but I couldn't see any of the model photos.  Actually, I still can't see the model photos on the main page, and according to my reader Sewing Sveta, the Russian website is only showing the preview to registered users.  Looks like I am going to need to register with Russian Burda. However, I was able to see the new designs when I clicked on the Garment Type links at the bottom of the page. And I have to say I am excited for May!  On the one hand, I can't really point to one all-out spectacular pattern that I am dying to sew.  On the other hand there are a lot of patterns that I really like and lots of projects I want to add to my summer wardrobe.  So on the whole I think this issue is a win.  Much better than April at any rate.  So let's take a look.

Since May is traditionally Burda's spring/summer dress issue, let's start with the dresses:

Pretty!  I would so make this if I had a beach wedding to attend...

Still in love with the maxi.

Line drawing - the back is cute too!

This would be a nice simple dress for summer.

I would probably leave off the pockets myself,
but I like the basic shape of the dress.

I like the version with sleeves too!

I also like this more fitted dress, the vintage pattern for the month.

Much easier to see all the seams in the line drawing.

Still a bit torn over this dress.  I feel like the way the skirt is draped
might add a bit too much of a maternity look to the dress.

I was on the fence with this one in the preview, and I am sort of still on the fence now.

I would definitely leave off the dust ruffle skirt though.

But the back on the model is hot!
This might be a candidate for a frankenpattern...

Babydoll isn't really my style, but I suppose this might be cute on others?
I am also super excited for a lot of the new tops coming in this issue:

I know this is a basic tank with a keyhole, but this would be fabulous to wear under a
lightweight summer jacket or on its own.  I am thinking this is going my must-sew list.

Love the knot detail!  Another one I really want to sew.

The collar is so pretty!  Love this shirt.

Hooray it is a pattern!  Not sure how I feel about the center front
seam, but I LOVE the back of this knit top.
There are also a few other pieces I am really liking in this issue:

Ruffle skirt is pretty!

Line drawing for the ruffles...

I also like this wrap skirt...

But with a slit that high it wouldn't be practical except as a beach cover up.

Cardigan with a peplum looks interesting.

This sweater looks so cozy!  I might reduce the pocket size a bit though.

A slip pattern!  I have been wanting to make a slip after seeing so many awesome
ones on the blog-o-sphere, and this Burda one might be the way I go.

Hard to see in the photo though...

This year's bikini pattern.  The top is better than years past.
The bottom is still a bit wrinkly.

But it does look to provide decent coverage, so that is nice.
While there were a lot of good things in the regular sections the Burda Plus offerings this month aren't as exciting:

Can't decide how I feel about this dress.  Might be a bit too sweet for my taste.

I do like this top though.

But this skirt didn't look too flattering on the model.
And it looks like it is made out of lining fabric?
Though, to be fair, not all of the regular sized patterns were all that spectacular either:

Crazy flutter sleeves.  Which look cool in the garment photo,
but look crazy in the model photo.

Boring sack-tee of doom!
If you were eaten alive by fabric it would look like this.

The lace + sweatshirt combination is something I just don't get.
Lace makes me think of parties and dresses.
And sweatshirts make me think of, well, sweat.
Very very odd combination.

Ugh.  Another unflattering romper pattern.

But does it look even worse with longer pants?
I think it does.
And I am not a fan of the crooked crotch either.
So, yes, a few blah patterns this month.  But not enough to detract from the awesome dresses, tops, and skirts that are going to be showing up in my mail soon.  Yes, I am excited.  Which means it is time to do the best and worst picks of the month.  It was a bit difficult because there are so many tops I really want to sew, but in the end I think the Best of BS for May goes to:

Maxi dress of awesome!
Yes, the maxi dress.  I mean, how can you look at it and not want to immediately jump on a plane to some exotic beachy local?  I haven't been on board with the whole maxi dress trend that was super popular last year, but this one might have changed my mind.

As far as the worst pattern of the month, well, I think it is pretty obvious that the BWTF award goes to:

Quilting cotton playsuit.
It just looks a bit much like scrubs made out of quilting cotton.  And the print makes it so drab.  Not a fan.

But, all in all, a good issue!  Can't wait for mine to get here, though I know I won't have time to sew anything from it for a good long while.  What do you all think?  Are you excited?  Anything going on your must-sew list?  Or are the designs too similar to things you have already seen?  Feel free to discuss in the comments!