Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Project Runway finale recap

I have to admit, this was the first time in a long time that I’ve felt complete surprise during a finale! What I thought would happen, didn’t, and the one I expected to fail, succeeded. What a good episode!

Spoilers ahead...

After the previews last week, I thought it was down to Brandon and Ayana. I felt like Margarita was put through sort of as a courtesy to her being the Tim Gunn save. Honestly I wasn’t sure why Kentaro was sent to Fashion Week at all, since he received bad feedback.

“Designing fashion is exciting, it’s kind of like I’m making food for the soul.” -Kentaro

I love this quote. I also loved when he said that he felt like he’d already lost, which was a GOOD thing, because then he could do whatever he wanted.

Margarita’s collection was fun, but I feel badly for her if she thought she could really win. To me, the judges just wanted to see a colorful runway and never had any intention of giving her a win.

When Kentaro’s collection walked, I was stunned. The flow of looks was amazing. The colors told a story. It was like watching artwork that moved. The eerie quiet of the audience, paired with the music he composed, was haunting.

I was highly anticipating Brandon’s collection, but it turns out I was disappointed. I agreed with the judges about the lack of diversity in his fabrics. I understood what he was doing with his various silhouettes, but it just didn’t work. His most interesting looks were the ones that incorporated the pink leather, but sadly there weren’t enough of those.

Ayana’s collection pretty much looked how I expected. The prints weren’t my favorite, the silhouettes were old, and I can’t get on board with ruffles. But I think she accomplished what she wanted. I give her kudos for her finale dress. It was possibly the most beautiful garment made this season.

Going into the judging, I thought Ayana had a slight edge over Brandon. As much as I loved Kentaro’s, I thought it would be too cerebral for Project Runway. But to be honest, I wasn’t sure at all how it would go, and that was fun! I was pleasantly surprised when the win went to Kentaro. He deserved it and his collection was beautiful.

What did you think of the finale? Was Kentaro the clear winner?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Wool Peacoat with Organic Cotton Plus

It seems I'm on a coat-making kick when it comes to using fabrics from Organic Cotton Plus. My previous review was a Kelly Anorak with their fabulous pink cotton twill. I knew that this time around I wanted to make my oldest daughter a winter coat, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out!


This is the Olivia and Oliver Peacoat from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. I made this coat once before for my daughter, when she was just a baby (sob!). I've always wanted to make it again, and I'm so glad I did!


For my outer fabric, I chose this navy wool (it comes in 11 colors!). Aside from being the classic peacoat color, it also matches my daughter's school colors. I wasn't quite sure about the fabric and whether it'd be suitable for a coat, but I looked through the older posts from other OCP bloggers and found a coat made from the same fabric. Double-checking the weight (13 oz/sq yard) led me to believe that it would be a bit lighter than wool melton, and I was right.


For the lining, I settled on a beautiful golden poplin from Cloud9 fabrics (doesn't say the maker online but it was on the selvedge). It is a little "sticky" in that it doesn't glide over clothing like a silkier fabric would, but I wasn't interested in purchasing polyester just to make dressing easier (have you ever dressed a Kindergartner? It's not easy, no matter what they're wearing!).


Both of these fabrics were absolutely wonderful. The wool, in particular, was a great surprise. I've worked with heavy wool in the past and when you start adding layers, it becomes very difficult to sew. Then when the coat is finished it weighs a million pounds. My daughter is still in a five point harness carseat, and I needed her coat to be slim but warm so that she can be buckled properly on her way to school.


The pattern is surprisingly simple. No collar stand, no pieced facing/lining (only the back panel and sleeves are the lining fabric). Minimal topstitching. But the impact is strong. I opted for only a single row of functional buttons. Extra buttons usually end up confusing my kids. After a quick muslin of a size 6 (my daughter will be 6 in a few months) I realized it was a little too small for wearing over a cardigan, and I wanted it a bit wider. I slashed and spread the front and back pieces from the shoulder to the hem. I spread them 2" at the hem on the front (4" total with two pieces), and 1" on the back (piece was cut on fold so 2" total added). I also added in-seam pockets, and I rounded the collar for more of a Peter Pan style.


My daughter goes around school telling everyone that her mom made her coat, and I kind of want to cry over how sweet she is! The changes I made resulted in a bigger coat that will hopefully fit the entire season, and dare I hope for next season as well? We'll see.  At the very least, her two younger sisters will have a high-quality garment to wear when they're older.


If you want to nab some of your own beautiful, all natural fabrics, make sure to follow Organic Cotton Plus on Facebook or Instagram. They will be having a big Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale next week. There have been a few teasers of new products and they look amazing! You can also sign up for emails on their website. Thank you so much to Organic Cotton Plus for sending me the fabric for this review!


Fabric for this review was sent to me for free. I purchased the pattern and notions. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Project Runway recap

Home stretch! For the most part, I think this has been an enjoyable season. All of the designers were talented and the challenges were great. Although, I did find myself watching this episode and imagining how it would be with Claire and/or Shawn and how dramatic that would be! I guess this season we learned that siblings should not be on this show?

Spoilers ahead...

Best/worst moments: Tim’s visit to Puerto Rico somehow falls into best and worst. Old San Juan was so beautiful in those shots, and it was so sad knowing what was coming to that area.

For totally different reasons, Kentaro’s piano playing also falls into a best and worst category. I thought it was cool that he composed something, but then the whole exchange was so awkward! Sometimes I wonder how much of it is Kentaro’s personality and how much is the language barrier.

See all the looks here.

Best looks: As always, Brandon’s looks were the most interesting, but I agreed with the judges that the crop top and pants were a bit of a miss. There was just too much volume. I’m glad Ayana listened to Tim because the looks she showed were much younger looking than the ones she wanted to show. They’re still not my cup of tea but she does have talent.

Worst looks: Sadly, Kenya’s looks were not good enough for Fashion Week. I really wanted them to be. I wanted her to have more time and get her thoughts together for a great collection, but it just didn’t happen. The black dress just wasn’t working, and I can’t see the same woman purchasing both of her designs. On the other hand, Margarita’s woman would buy both of her outfits and then have nowhere to go, except for a disco club in Miami. To be honest, I’m a little appalled that Margarita went through. Her prints are beautiful in small doses but I’m afraid they’re going to dominate the collection in a tacky way. I already have second-hand embarrassment for the judges.

The big question: who will win? I think it’s down to Ayana and Brandon. Their viewpoints are very different so it could come down to a matter of taste. Ayana’s dresses that she wanted to preview are super frumpy dumpy to me, but it’s possible she could rescue them with some amazing styling. Kentaro seems lost (again, styling is important!!). I can’t see Margarita winning (please no). What do you think? I’m rooting for Brandon.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Color-blocked Halifax Sweatshirt

It's that time of year, the time of hoodies and sweatpants and hats and "it's too cold to go anywhere wahhhh". Okay, maybe that last bit is just me! While everyone else is downing pumpkin spiced everything and wrapping up in blanket scarves, I'm all like "I'm cold!" But I learned a long time ago that dressing in frumpy hoodies for 6 months out of the year is both unfashionable and bad for my self-esteem. The last few years, I've been on a mission to make stylish sweatshirts that are comfortable but not sloppy. Enter my fave, the Hey June Halifax!

Hey June Halifax

I made this pattern twice last winter (here and here). Both of those were mediums, and I found that they were just a bit too big. The pattern includes enough ease for wearing as a sweatshirt (in other words, with something underneath) so I didn't really need to size up. For this newest Halifax I went with a small and I'm pretty pleased with the fit.

Hey June Halifax

Another reason to be happy: all the fabric I used was from large scraps in my stash! Hooray! But that also explains why the sleeves are color-blocked (I didn't have enough fabric). I wavered between making the top 3/4 length sleeves or adding the color-blocking, my husband voted for color-blocked so that's how it ended up. Both fabrics are French terry. It escapes me where they were purchased, but I remember that the green is a cotton/modal blend and super soft (the rest was used for this Itch to Stitch top, and the black was used here for a Union St. sweatshirt).


I went ahead and added thumbhole cuffs, using the directions from the Lane Raglan. This was my second time making these, and while it can be a little head-scratching, Adrianna does a great job explaining it.

Yes, that is snot and dog hair #sahmomlife

Olive is so "in" right now, and black is always in style, so I'm excited to add this sweatshirt to my wardrobe.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Project Runway recap

You know that emoji with the horizontal lines for eyes and a mouth? That's my face after watching this episode.

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: Two days for the challenge, which again had just the right amount of focus vs. open-endedness (is that a word?). For the last challenge, it was definitely time to let them spread their wings a bit and see what they could do with more time and money.

Worst moments: This is a cruelty-free show? But leather is okay? So confused. By the way, since when?? It's entirely possible I don't understand what makes something cruelty-free...but I would think the designers would know, or hell, the people at MOOD would know. That whole thing with Margarita putting back her fur was weird.

Also weird: an ice bar. Hard pass.

See all the looks here.

Best garments: LOVED Kentaro's. He was lucky he had that particular model (her name is escaping me at the moment) because they obviously work well together. Brandon did a great job as well. Am I totally crazy, or was there NO WINNER this week?

Worst garments: I liked Ayana's coat (I'm a sucker for pink and black), but the geometric romper underneath was hard to look at. For that matter, I thought Kenya's tweed was hard to look at, too, even though she was in love with it. Margarita's coat and dress had boring, unoriginal silhouettes, in addition to being unfinished. Which brings me to my real point...

WHY are there still five of them there??? I am so angry about this. Two weeks in a row, nobody goes home! Am I crazy to think that Margarita definitely should have gone home after that weird fur dress? I miss the old days of Project Runway. Three designers go to Fashion Week, that it's. None of this "okay, four can go but really only three can because we'll eliminate one beforehand". They're doing the same thing except its FIVE of them! Hey, I have an idea, how about you have 12 contestants make full collections and then eliminate them the night before Fashion Week. That would be fun, right? So. Much. ARG.

Next week: home visits and probably two people being eliminated just for the sake of drama

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween Costumes

I think all sewists with families both anticipate and dread Halloween. It’s a chance to get pushed outside our regular boxes, but also a lot of pressure! This year, I left costume choice for our whole family up to my five year old. Continuing with her princess theme, she chose Cinderella. Her dad was Prince Charming, I was the Fairy Godmother, and the two littles were mice, Jaq and Gus Gus.


Unfortunately, it was so cold in Indiana (wind chill in the 30s) that everyone (except me!) needed coats over their costumes. Sad face. I was able to bulk up underneath my costume with two wool tops, wool pants AND jeans! I did have a wand, but I lost it almost immediately while trying to carry Gus Gus. The wand was made with silver washi tape wrapped around a toy lightsaber (a small one). Pretty clever, I thought, so I'm totally bummed I lost it.

For future reference, and if anyone needs inspiration, I've given the details of the costumes below. There are lots of tutorials on Pinterest but I kind of made everything up as I went along. The Prince was kept as close to the movie as possible, which ended up being a lot more simple than you'd think. Anything I sewed to hist top was done lightly, by hand, so it can be removed later and the shirt still used.

I tried to turn my hair white with cornstarch. I do not recommend this method!

Cinderella's skirt was puffed up with the crinoline I made two years ago with her Belle dress, plus this tulle skirt, plus another RTW skirt we had on hand. SUPER poofy! Even though it was cold and dreary, I was so excited to have us all in a family costume for the first time. My oldest daughter loves her Cinderella dress and I know it's going to have a heavy rotation as dress-up piece for years to come.


Cinderella
Pattern:
Practical Princess (affiliate link) with lengthened skirt
Self-drafted bustles which are a separate skirt attached to an elastic waistband
Fabric and supplies:
Main Fabric is cotton/poly interlock from Jo-Ann’s
Silver knit from a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart (stash)
Glitter elastic and headband from Jo-Ann’s
Choker is black elastic
Hair donut from Amazon
Gloves from Amazon (these were too big for my five year old but worked fine for a costume)
Glass slippers from local swap group


Prince Charming
Pattern:
Pants made from the free Pajama Pants pattern from 5 out of 4 Patterns
RTW button up shirt
Fabric and supplies:
Epaulets, belt, and neckband made from yellow felt and gold trim, from Jo-Ann’s
Gold cording from Jo-Ann's
Yellow ribbon (on pants) from Target


Fairy Godmother
Pattern:
Self-drafted jacket (started with my Anthro cardi knock off and altered from that)
Hood from Hey June Lane Raglan
RTW tshirt
Skirt is just a long rectangle with an elastic waistband
Self-drafted bow
Fabric and supplies:
Blue cotton/poly interlock from Jo-Ann's (same as Cinderella's)
Pink cotton ponte from Mood (stash)--this needed to have a lot of body to stand up properly, which is also why I lined the hood with it!


Jaq
Pattern:
Jacket hacked from PABPS Winter PJs (affiliate link) top
RTW red shirt
Wool pants from Sloomb
Self-drafted hat and ears
Fabric and supplies:
Red poly knit (stash)
Hat is lined (to make it stand up) with jacquard knit from Urban Rag Trader (stash)
Ears are brown felt and pink rib knit (stash)
Grey yarn tucked into pants for tail


Gus Gus
Pattern:
Yellow shirt hacked from PABPS Winter PJs top (link above)
Brown shirt is RTW
Wool pants from Sloomb (link above)
Self-drafted hat and ears
Fabric and supplies:
Green wool knit (stash)
Hat is lined (to make it stand up) with jacquard knit from Urban Rag Trader (stash)
Ears are brown felt and pink rib knit (stash)
Yellow cotton/lycra knit (stash)
Grey yarn tucked into pants for tail

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Project Runway recap

I accidentally got spoiled on the ending of this episode (be careful who you follow on Facebook!) so it wasn't quite as suspenseful as it could have been. I also hate unconventional materials. So this was a good episode to watch after school when the kids were bouncing off the walls, and I didn't really need to hear the dialogue!

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: The Lexus cars were pretty? IDK. I didn't much like this episode.

Worst moments: I did not like seeing Brandon and Kentaro doubt themselves. They're likeable, and top contenders, and I hate that they felt at risk because of a stupid unconventional challenge.

See all the looks here.

Best looks: Ayana's was the most dramatic, I'll give her that, and her model did a fantastic job with the hard hat and her walk. But something about Ayana's attitude was really off-putting (not talking to Kenya, bragging about how she was going to win). The rest were kind of boring.

Worst looks: Michael's was terrible, I think everybody knew that. Brandon managed to pull off something good, but in any other challenge it would have been considered too simple. Margarita's was too costume to me (but I did just watch Wonder Woman this weekend).

Best quote: "I look like Pocahontas is about to play football." --Liris

I thought Zac's comments this week were telling about how the rest of the season will go. He said he wanted to see a full collection from Brandon, and that he didn't know who Margarita was as a designer (I agree with both). And keeping Kentaro over Michael indicates that they want more from Kentaro too. So who will slide into that final spot (assuming three designers go to Fashion Week)? And will Tim even use his save?

Next week: High fashion warrior women