Okay, it’s about time for another ModCloth Picks of the Day, right? So here they are!

Dresses: Ombre Skies Dress
There were several nice dresses to choose from today, but I picked this one because it’s cold out and I’m in the mood for a good sweater dress with cowl neck. 🙂

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Tops: Anything but Basic Cardigan
Again, there was some good competition in this category, but I love a basic cardigan, especially with those sleeves, ribbing, buttons and the soft, creamy color.

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Bottoms: Blizzard Conditions Shorts
I wouldn’t wear these, unless with some nice tights. And even then, I doubt I’d go for it. But they would look cute with the above cardigan.
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Shoes: Chuckoo Booties
Even if there were more than two pairs to choose from today, I would still pick these. Perfection.
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While I’m on the topic of shoes, I have been admiring these for a while and I found them again by clicking the designer link in the description for the above booties. Most of the shoes made by Seychelles are pretty cute. 🙂

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Happy December everyone! I can’t believe how quickly November has come and gone………whew! Some days I wish time would just slow down a bit.

For the Modcloth Picks of the Day………………….

Dresses: Full Steed Ahead Dress
There were some good contenders, such as Fallen in Love, Pointed Petal, Nothing Cuter than Pewter, and Plum-diddly-umptious…….but this is my favorite. Mostly because of the styling and unique skirt. I fall too easily for unique skirts. 😉 I find it interesting that so many new outfits incorporate horses of some kind into the fabrics…………I wonder what is prompting that?
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Tops: Favorite Quote Cardigan
Nouveau Noir Top almost won this round, but I am in a cardigan mood. 🙂 The print on this one really got me, too. I reminds me of a top that Casey Mcdonald wore in the opening credits of Life With Derek. Yes, I love that show. 😉
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Bottoms: Dear and Driven Skirt
Slim pickings in this category again…….but this is as good as it gets.
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Shoes: Flawless Taste Heel
Another immediate winner for me! *love*
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ModCloth Picks of the Day
Dresses: White Chocolate Truffle Dress
Sophisticated, beautiful, flowy, a neutral shade with pearl buttons and lots of pleats. What’s not to love?

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Tops: Blue in the Lace Top

This is one I’d like to try with one of my long sleeved tops. How cute and easy!?

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And because I think it would look great with my top pick, I will post my second favorite top of the day:

Hit the Hot Spots Cardigan

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Bottoms: Rows of Prose Romper

This would be cute for a day at the beach, or for just lounging around the house.

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Shoes: Wyoming Cutie Bootie

A bit too hiking boot for me, but still really cute!

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Alex’s Favorites {For Whatever Reason}

Cute design and nice colors. I normally look odd in blousey-topped dresses, but you never know until you try it on…..

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Just look at the fabric detail….. haha!……..cute and Japanese-ish. This would look cute with tall socks, a pair of brown boots and a sweater.

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This one is my favorite. I fell in love as soon as I laid eyes on it. But I get the feeling most people would find this to be a strange dress. Oh well. 😉

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Cute, comfy and simple. Love the idea of this sweater dress with some skinny jeans and flats. And you know I can’t resist the bow…… 😉

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This is the classiest dress out of the bunch. If I went out dancing {I don’t}, this would be the perfect dress for it.

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Okay, I admit it: School Marm / First Lady. Maybe I’m taking my vintage school look a little too seriously.

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Sleek and sophisticated. Not sure how this would look on, but the mannequin does it justice.

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Retro design. Love it.

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I’m still not sure about this one……….It might look cute with some tall brown boots and a sweater………..

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The End

Good morning! Can you believe I’m back again already? hee hee.
I have decided to start a blog segment where you can find my top picks from Modcloth’s newest additions. I will throw in my Anthropologie picks, as well, whenever I find something new. To start, I will show my top picks for each catagory: dresses, tops, bottoms and shoes. Then I’ll show a selection of other favorites, showing off the elements that particularily appeal to me or inspire me to make one like it.
Here we go:
Raspberry Fudge Dress
I love the combination of loose top and form-fitting skirt. The colors are sophisticated and comfortable, while the simple yet complicated folds and pleats add that needed bit of pizzaz.

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Top: Sweet Prophecies Cardigan

There was slim pickings in the tops catagory, so I chose the one that fit me best. Vintage + School girl + Office. Gotta love ruffles and lace running down the front of a cardigan. 🙂

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Bottoms: Culotte Factor Romper

Slim pickings in this catagory as well. I am not particularily fond of this romper, but it beat out the poor competition.

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Shoes: On A Whim Boot

Yesterday’s shoes were downright ugly, although I thought at first that the Color Odyssey Wedge was very promising. Then I clicked on it and WOW………ugly, plastic, rainbow heels DO NOT mix with pretty blue office shoes. So I had to go with the only shoes added so far today. They are pretty cute, just not spectacular.

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Now on to my personal favorites from the first few pages……..

Alex’s Top Picks {for whatever reason}

Delicately Dijon Dress

I love the color, the lace at the neckline, the fact that it’s made entirely from a mustard-hued lace {probably the stretch kind} but doesn’t look tacky, and the nice, simple lines of the dress itself. This would be a pretty easy one to make.

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Madame Speaker Dress

The colors are nice, it has simple lines and there are just a few interesting elements to make you look twice.

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The Sweeney Mod Romper

I’m not crazy about it being a romper, but I do love the top portion. I wish they sold it as a blouse instead.

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Idee Fixe Blouse

I love everything about this one! The muted pink, the ruffled “sleeves”, the lace and the band around the bottom. I could really use this in my wardrobe to pair with my suspender jeans or a sweater vest.

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Blue-ming Beauty Dress

I wouldn’t buy this one, because I’d have no place to wear it and I usually opt for straps. But just look how unique and beautiful it is!

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Ripple in Still Water Skirt

This skirt is probably my favorite piece out of the bunch. I have been in the mood for pencil skirts with interesting effects ever since I made my Circus Skirt back in June {or was it July?}. This one is so cool! Just wish it had a different base fabric like wool or something more traditional.

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Last but not least, I found these cute shoe clips on the sale page. I remember shoe clips from when I was little, but those were ugly gold or ruffly things that I clipped to my sunday shoes. These would be cute on my leather Hushpuppy flats. Very Schoolgirl. I’m sure you’re sick of that phrase by now. 😉

I may have to try these out……….

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Mystery Plait Tote -by Constructivism

I love this bag!! I’m really glad that I found it and made it…….so cute! I do have a few things to say about the pattern, though. I had some trouble printing it, for one thing. But the seller was VERY helpful, and sent me another pattern (reformatted) so that it would work with my printer/computer. I think this problem was completely on my end, as I’ve had trouble printing other patterns, too. They worked perfectly on my dad’s computer and neither of us can figure it out. Weird.

The other problems I had were more to do with the instructions. Number one……..all measurements are metric. Millimeters and centimeters. The buyer is warned about that before the purchase, though. There are about three different seam allowances used throughout the pattern: 5 mm, 9 mm, and 1.5 cm. 9mm is the most common and I used 3/8 inch seam allowances here. You may want to find a metric converter online and use that for your reference.

Number two……the instructions are very wordy and therefore, a bit hard to follow. Also some of the cutting-out techniques were foreign to me. For instance, the seamstress is instructed to cut a roughly sized piece of interfacing and fuse it to the wrong side of fabric. Then you lay pieces out, pin, and cut. This was actually a pretty nice way to do it, though. The fact that you need to flip your pattern over before cutting the second piece, is never mentioned. If you don’t flip the piece before cutting it the second time, you will end up with two right sides or two left sides of the bag. Not helpful. And wasteful if you don’t realize it in time! This is the biggest negative I have with the pattern. — Turns out I was wrong about this step! The pieces can be cut without flipping…………just turn one piece 180 degrees once it’s cut out and you’ll have two perfect pieces! I don’t know where my head was when I did this step. Sorry for any confusion!!!

At least one or two of the photos didn’t seem to match up with what my pieces looked like. Weird.

The plaiting technique was fun! I would suggest sewing a basting stitch at the fold line (9mm), around all handle pieces before folding them under during step 10. This way you can just fold and press directly on the basting line, eliminating all of that fussy measuring, pressing, measuring, pressing, etc. It makes the handle step go WAY faster and more smoothly. Just remove the basting after your handles are sewn to the facing pieces. Ta-da!

One last suggestion to make your sewing experience go more smoothly: during the last steps shown in the pattern, sew by hand. The seams that you have to sew over at the bottom of the bag lining are too thick and will give you trouble unless you have a very powerful machine. These steps, in text, were hard to follow, so just look at the photo.

I love the inner pocket and how professional this bag looks when finished. I added a magnetic snap to mine, which gave it a nice touch.

All in all……..I give this pattern 4 stars (you have to be experienced and pay attention!) and the seller 5 stars for customer service! 🙂

I bought an amazing new book+cd at Barnes and Noble a couple of months ago. It’s called Twinkle Sews, and is basically a selection of clothing patterns (and artsy photographs) from the designer of the Twinkle line of clothing. I don’t know much about the clothing line, so whether or not these are the actual deigns from the line, I don’t know. But I do know this much: I. Love. It. Immediately, I wanted to make almost every outfit in the book, but I finally chose an easy-looking skirt called Skyline Skirt. It’s a simple style with clean lines and I had the perfect fabrics for it.
I took photos every step of the way to document my very first Twinkle Sews project and to give a little review of sorts. For the most part I love the book and the patterns are easy to follow. I did find a few mistakes that could lead to trouble with your design, especially if you’re not very experienced, but I’ll point them out along the way. Enjoy!

Each pattern in this book is presented in pdf format on the included cd. You just insert it into the computer, open the file and print the pattern you want (8X11.5 paper). For example, I wanted the Skyline Skirt, size 16. So I printed the file SkylineSkirt_16.pdf. Easy! That particular pattern didn’t have too many pieces, but my second one sure does! I don’t remember how many off-hand, but it seems like it was somewhere between 30 and 60. These don’t take very long to piece together, though, and then it’s just the matter of cutting them out, which has to be done no matter what pattern you’re using. 😉

I don’t think the book has a section telling you how to cut the paper patterns and piece them together, so I’ll include a little info about it here. Sorry if this is getting too long and drawn-out!

First, cut along the dotted lines. These usually run parallel along two or more sides of the paper, sometimes less. Once these are cut off, piece the papers together using tape. There will be a partial circle with a number in each corner of the paper (usually). These match to the other three partials with the same number on the other papers. It’s not difficult to get the hang of, and goes fairly quick once you get started.

The book, cd, 3 pattern pieces for “Skyline Skirt” and the un-pieced, uncut paper for my next project: the Dark Secrets top.

(In this pic)I like the skirt……..the sweater? Not so much……. It reminds me of the sweater Lizzie McGuire’s grandma gave her. Please tell me that I WON’T think that this is a cute top in a couple of months or years from now! The way my taste in clothing has changed recently…..I’m afraid. lol

There are only 8 “steps” for the Skyline Skirt, but some of these, in turn, have more than one step to them. This pattern calls for a zipper which is not my area of expertise. The last(and first) zipper I sewed, caused me grief, so I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

In the instructions for each pattern, they do assume that you know what you’re doing in the sewing world, and that you have at least a basic knowledge of sewing techniques. But no fear: there is a whole chapter at the beginning that takes you through terms and instructions that you’ll need for the patterns and any other sewing you may do in the future. Honestly, I’ve been sewing for several years and, in some cases, making my own patterns, so it’s always a bit hard for me to say whether or not a real beginner would understand the instructions as well as I do. They seemed very thorough, though, at least in the beginning chapter. The steps for each individual pattern are a little more vague, assuming that you remember techniques from the beginning of the book. You may have to reference back from time to time.

Also, the sizing is a bit difficult to understand, or at least it was for me. In the beginning chapter it explains how to do some simple calculating of your measurement + given amount for ease + given amount for seam allowance. The amounts for each of the last two are actually given right there in the first chapter. Once you know this number you are supposed to match it up to the included sizing chart. Sounds simple, right? Well, at the beginning of each pattern, it tells you whether to use your bust, waist, or other measurement to figure your size for that particular article of clothing. In addition to that, it will sometimes say “use such-and-such amount for ease, plus such-and-such amount for seam allowance”. And those amounts will be different than in the beginning chapter. Or sometimes it will only give you the ease amount before the instructions. Sometimes neither. I just found it a bit contradictory, but when in doubt, go with your instincts and maybe choose a larger size just to be safe. It’s much easier to reduce it down by using large seam allowances or cutting some off, than it would be to make it larger once the outfit has already been partially sewn. I used a size 16 for this skirt, but had to make it smaller…….more on that later.

The instruction pages

Cutting out my fabric pieces

I used an applique-look cotton paired with a medium-weight red linen. I’ve had the linen for years, and more recently bought the cotton thinking it would make a cute skirt. I am so glad that I hadn’t sewn anything with it yet! 🙂

My main skirt pieces:

The one BIG mistake with this pattern

Okay, see how I cut the pieces out? With the numbers, words, etc. facing up when I pinned them to the fabric. That is the usual way, right? Well, not here……just look how the paper and fabric pieces slant down from right to left. The photo shows them slanting from left to right. What’s with that? Ggggrrrrrr…….. :-S So after cutting 16 pieces out one-by-one, I had to re-do all of the green cotton pieces by flipping the paper pattern over when I cut them out. Fortunately I was able to turn the red pieces over and use them the opposite way. That’s another thing to watch out for. The book doesn’t say anything about whether to cut the patterns out with the fabric folded in two, or laid out flat. Normally I cut with my fabric folded, so as to get two pieces done at once. But thankfully I realized before cutting, that you need each piece of this pattern to be cut exactly the same…in other words, if I cut them on folded fabric, I would end up with two peices, one the mirror image of the other a.k.a flipped. For this design, each piece needs to be an exact duplicate of the one before. No room for flipped pieces here! That’s something to definitely watch out for.

More on the skirt project later…….