31 August 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Straight to the pretties:

Sally Hansen New Lengths Ceramics - Seaside
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $4.49 CDN

Seaside is a pretty frosty blue that it truly does conjure up images of the sea.

This polish applied well, although it required three coats to be opaque. My issue is with the texture of the polish. It has a bumpy surface, like tiny grains of sand are trapped in the polish. It might be that the pigments used to make this polish were not ground fine enough, resulting in this lumpy consistency.

This polish wore quite well. After three days, I only had minor tip wear.

China Glaze - It's My Turn
- purchased at head2toebeauty.com for $2.99 US

It's My Turn is a bronzey-beige holographic polish from China Glaze's Kaleidoscope collection. The colour is the perfect one for a woman that wants a subdued shade with a bit of a punch. At first glance, It's My Turn is just a nice neutral colour, but brought out into the sun, it comes alive.

This polish applied like a dream and I used three coats for perfect opaque coverage. It wore well over the two days I was sporting it - only minor tip wear.

MAC - Rich, Dark, Delicious
- purchased at maccosmetics.ca for $14.50 CDN

Rich, Dark, Delicious is part of a brand new release of six polishes from MAC. With its deep, dark brown hue, it is like hot fudge in a bottle. I have other browns, but nothing quite this dark that still reads as brown, rather than black.

Although I love the colour, I was a bit disappointed in the formula. Although the polish is of a reasonable consistency (maybe a smidgen runny), it was a tad difficult to apply opaquely. Between the smaller than average brush and the way it moved around the nail, my first coat was streaky and left bald spots. A second coat helped immensely, but I had to lay it on pretty thick to get completely opacity. Now, this not normally a real issue for me when I'm using a $3 polish, but at $14.50 a bottle, I believe I am entitled to expect more.

This polish wore well - only tip wear after two days. On the third day though, I was starting to get some chips around the nail edges. Again, disappointing for an expensive polish. I have three other of the new releases, so I'm hoping they produce better results. Stay tuned.

28 August 2009

Textile Studio Shell & Loes Hinse Hepburn Pants

Pattern: Textile Studio Shell & Loes Hinse Hepburn Pants (view A)

Size: Shell - size XS; Pants - size S.

Fabric: Shell - brown knit from Fabricland (Canadian chain fabric store); Pants - tencel woven from Nancy's Notions

Project Photo

Comments: The pants are another version of the cropped Hepburns I have made in the past so not much to say about them.

The top was inspired by a J.Crew offering (see photo to the right). I've noticed that ruffles seem to be all over this place for fall. I'm not really a fluffy, floaty ruffle kind of gal, so I've mostly ignored the trend. However, when I saw these small, understated ruffles, they struck a chord with me and I knew I had to make a similar top. I used a remnant of a soft knit fabric that I had lolling in my scrap bin for a practice run. I simply cut strips of the knit width-wise, sewed a basting stitch down the middle of each strip and pulled on the thread ends to gather the fabric. The gathered strips were pinned to the shell in the desired location and stitched down in place. Finally the basting threads were removed. My top is made entirely from knit fabric, whereas the inspiration top has woven ruffles on a knit tank. Either way, these tiny ruffles are super cute!

Conclusion: I have plans for some more ruffled up tops since I really like the way this wearable muslin version turned out.

27 August 2009

Wardrobe in a Week

Jacket: Loes Hinse Bolero (view A)
Skirt: Loes Hinse Tango (view A)
Pants: Loes Hinse Hepburn Pant (view A)
Top: Vogue 8495 (view A).

Size: Jacket & Skirt - size XS; Pants - size S; Top - size 8

All fabrics from Fabric Mart
Jacket - Tan/mineral blue silk/rayon tweed
Skirt - Tan Triacetate/polyester herringbone weave
Pants - Mineral blue silk/linen
Top - Mineral blue/tan/gold silk charmeuse.

Project Photo

Comments: I decided to participate in the August Wardrobe in a Week (WiaW) adventure on Stitcher's Guild. The goal is to make four pieces of coordinating clothing during a one week time span.

The unlined jacket, skirt and pants were all made with TNT Loes Hinse patterns. These babies literally fly off the sewing machine. They are quick and painless, yet they easily fit into a sophisticated professional wardrobe. When I need a quick outfit, these are the patterns I know I can count on.

The top is V8495. I fell in love with the drawing of view A on the envelope cover. Although I am not normally a fan of top that has this big of a maternity vibe, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it. So, I started by making a wearable muslin of some medium weight linen. From the muslin, I was easily able to see that this top has a definite "is she preggo?" vibe. But, I figured that most of this vibe was the fault of the stiffish linen fabric. I figured the soft, flowy silk charmeuse would be a better pairing with this pattern and the maternity feel would be overcome. Um, yeah - ladies, always listen to that little voice inside. It speaks the cold, hard truth. Although the silk version is less "baby on board" than the linen version, it is still far more "bun in the oven" than I am comfortable sporting. I will always be wearing this top with a fitted jacket over top, just like in the project photo above.

Conclusion: Well, I give this project a 3.5 out of 4. Jacket - good; skirt - good; pants - good; top - meh.

26 August 2009

Simplicity 3867

Pattern: Simplicity 3867 (view A & F)

Size: size 8

Fabric: Lime w/teal and white floral print cotton voile & teal cotton voile, both from Fabricland (Canadian chain fabric store).

Project Photo
: The dress, both with the jacket and without.

Comments: I bought this pattern when it first came out and promptly cut out the dress. Then it sat languishing on a pile for two years, sad and forgotten. Well, no more, I finally rescued the poor thing from a life of banishment. It's nice to check one off the UFO pile!

This dress (and the accompanying bolero) went together very easily - no fuss, no muss. It's perfect for warm days when I need to be a bit dressier - it will work wonderfully for work in the early fall.

The only change I made to the pattern is a broad back adjustment (BBA) on both the dress and bolero. Although I am small through the chest, I find that I have a disproportionately large back across the shoulder blades. This can make my tops feel like they are pulling across the back when I try to reach forward. This is especially true at school when I am trying to write on the chalkboard. This BBA is just the trick needed to add a bit of ease where I need it.

Conclusion: Pretty dress, cute bolero. I have already cut out another version of the dress in an Anna Sui scarf panel silk.

25 August 2009

Butterick 4745 & Textile Studio Madison Avenue

Pattern: Butterick 4745 (jacket and skirt - view A &D) & Textile Studio Madison Avenue Dress (shortened to a top)

Size: Jacket and Skirt: size 8; Top - size XS

Fabric: Jacket and Skirt - brown rayon/linen from Fabric Mart; Top - brown/coral floral knit from Textile Studio.

Project Photo
: The photos show the outfit with the jacket closed, the jacket open and the jacket removed.

Comments: I wanted a lightweight suit for work. I was looking for something professional and appropriate for warmer days at school. I have always liked B4745 and although I have made the skirt in the past, I really wanted to give the jacket a go. Both pieces went together easily and fit beautifully straight out of the envelope. The jacket closes at centre front with four oblong buttons and self fabric loops.

Both the jacket and the skirt are lined in a coral cotton voile. I wanted to reduce the wrinkling, while maintaining the breathability, of the linen. The colour of the lining is a perfect match to the coral print in the top.

I really like the style lines of the Madison Avenue dress, so I figured shortening it up into a top was a the way to go. I can see making many more of this top - it's simple, comfortable and uses very little fabric.

Conclusion: I really like this outfit - it's pretty darn flattering if I say so myself. The combination of the full skirt and the fitted jacket is perfect for my pear shaped body - it emphasizes the good parts and disguises the bad. It's a win-win situation!

24 August 2009

Premium Memium

Mardel has passed on the Premium Meme Award to me. The rules of acceptance state: list 7 of your personality traits, as evidenced on your blog, and then pass the award on to 7 other blogs with notable personality.

Hmm, personality traits, eh? At first I was inclined to only list out personality traits that make me sound funky cool and super neato. Then I got over myself and decided that the truth will set me free. So, strap in, this could get ugly...

1. Exhibitionist - Heck, I wouldn't have a blog if I didn't enjoy being on display. I like being the centre of attention and I crave admiration (just call me the comment ho). After all, I am an only child.

2. Introverted - Bet ya didn't see that one coming after #1 - what can I say, I'm an enigma. I'm an extrovert 25% of the time. The remainder of the time, I like to be alone inside my own head. Wow, I sound like serial killer material.

3. Organized
(okay, anal retentive, obsessive compulsive, orderly to a fault) - I like things to be "just so" - got a problem with that?

4. Obsessive - If it's worth doing than it's worth doing all the time.

5. Quirky - I show a bit of my wacky personality on the blog, but in real life I'm a complete and total weirdo. Just ask my long suffering husband - the poor bastard.

6. Vain - It's not like I stare at myself in the mirror 24/7, but I am pretty particular about the pictures I post of myself on the blog - I figure why post a photo that makes my ass look bigger than it is?

7. Intelligent - I am so smart, S M R T - doh!

Okay, time to pass this meme on. Problem is, I can't chose just seven other blogs. I read all the blogs that I do because I am taken with the personalities of the authors. So, I hereby pass on this meme to any blogger that is found in my side bar and who wishes to play along.

Lacquer Lundi

Hi Folks, I'm back! Last week my husband was off on vacation, so a little blogging break was in order. But, things have returned to normal around chez HCZ, so I'm back to the regularly scheduled program.

So, on to the pretties:

Sally Hansen Salon - Honeydew & Nfu Oh - #52
- Sally Hansen purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.49 CDN
- Nfu Oh purchased at fabuloustreet.com for $8.50 US

Honeydew is another Tiffany-esque blue (although it is a darker blue than China Glaze For Audrey - see prior link for review) and it is quite a striking colour. It applied well (although the consistency of the polish was a bit thick, but nothing a bit of thinner can't clear up). I required two coats for opacity.

Over Honeydew, I applied two coats of Nfu Oh #52, which has a navy base and turquoise flakies. It is simply stunning and it elevates this manicure to a whole new level. I could not stop staring at my hands for the two days I wore these polishes. In that time, I only had tip wear.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Plum Power
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $2.95 CDN

I always gravitate to this reddish purple colour - it draws me in like a moth to a flame. I'm powerless to resist - so powerless apparently that I am now the proud owner of two bottles of essentially the same colour. But, here's the kicker - the two bottles are not the same - one is SHHANXW Plum Power and the other is SHID Pronto Purple (see review below). Okay, there is some slightly perceptible differences that exist, but it's pretty subtle - I think Plum Power is a smidgen brighter and more reddish.

The formula of Plum Power is great - excellent consistency and easy to manipulate. It required only two coats for opacity. I had only tip wear after two days.

Sally Hansen Insta Dri - Pronto Purple
- purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $5.99 CDN

Although I love this colour, I am annoyed that I basically bought it twice, rather than spending my money on a unique colour I don't own. I will acquiesce that the Insta Dri Pronto Purple version does dry faster. So, if you like this colour and enjoy the extra large brush (I spoke about the brush in greater detail here) that comes with this product, than purchase the Insta Dri version over the Xtrme Wear version.

Pronto Purple applied well, covered in two coats and dried quickly. I only had tip wear after two days.

L'Oreal - Yellow Buzz & Nfu Oh - #57
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN
- Nfu Oh purchased at fabuloustreet.com for $8.50 US

I enjoy a good yellow nail polish. It's fun and funky and really like the way most yellows look with my skin tone. However, finding a good yellow polish is difficult - yellow polishes, almost without exception, tend to be chalky and difficult to apply without streaks and spotty coverage. Unfortunately, Yellow Buzz falls into this category. Although, I love the colour, it was a PITA to apply. The polish was a tad thick and the first coat went on lumpy, chunky and gooey. The second coat helped to smooth things out, but it didn't make the polish opaque. So, a third coat was needed and I still have streakiness and slight bald spots.

The Nfu Oh, on the other hand, applied quite nicely. With the bright green translucent base, the orange flakies and the lime shimmer, #57 is a gorgeous polish. I can't imagine wearing it alone (too sheer), but as a topper over another polish, it is a winner!

17 August 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Straight to the pretties:

Rimmel Play Fast - Killer Queen
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $3.26 CDN

Killer Queen is such a gorgeous colour - a reddish purple base with gold shimmer. I am not the only one that enjoys this polish as I got many compliments while wearing it.

As with all the Rimmel polishes that I've tried, Killer Queen applied smoothly (and easily thanks to a wonderfully wide and nicely shaped brush) and covered nicely in two coats. Unfortunately, it is not the most sturdy polish - I had chips after only two days.

Sally Hansen Ista Dri - Blue Streak
- purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $5.99 CDN

I am a sucker for a turquoise polish - I probably have 10 turquoise polishes in my stash that are only very subtly different from each other. So when I saw my beloved SH Insta Dri polish in Blue Streak, I had high hopes that I could keep it and adopt out the other turquoises to good homes. It, however, was not to be.

Let me first begin by saying the colour is beautiful - this metallic blue reminds me of beetle wings. Neither is the problem with the application or consistency, as both were good. The issue is with the wear, or lack of wear to be specific. After less than 24 hours, I had chips and a bit of peeling. Not good.

Avon Nailwear Pro - Ruby Slipper
- purchased at avon.ca for $2.99 CDN

There's no place like home, there's no place like home... Ruby Slipper is exactly what you'd expect based on the name - a rich red base, packed with red glitter. This polish is a red lover's red (I bet Summerset would love this polish).

As with all the Avon polish I have used, the polish is quite good. Ruby Slipper applied easily (although the consistency was a tad thin), covered nicely (two coats for opacity) and wore well (only tip wear after two days).

So, grab Toto, channel your inner Dorothy and ease on down the road into Ruby Slipper.

14 August 2009

Hepburn Pants Zipper Tutorial

I know when the Loes Hinse Hepburn Pants pattern first came out, there was concern over the zipper insertion. Seamstresses far and wide were stymied by the instructions included in the pattern and boy, were they pissed off! Chaos ensued, the oceans boiled and there was a plague of locust...

Needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive to try these pants myself. However, when I did, I had absolutely no problems at all. I followed the instructions and sailed right through, no fuss, no muss. Now, before you think what a pompous bitc...ahem...gal, let me tell you that I usually excel at difficult tasks and then get totally stymied by the simplest things. Just call me the idiot savant.

So, I tossed together a Hepburn Pant zipper tutorial. Now, with extra visuals! Hopefully, this helps out a frustrated sewist or two. The following is the construction of view A (the high paper bag waist) as per the steps listed in the pattern instructions. View B is constructed in much the same way. Note that all the pictures can be clicked on to make them bigger for better detail.

Steps #1-13: Just follow the instructions - I don't think there's any wackiness here. For my pants, I tend to omit the pockets. I enjoy a good pocket, but I don't love the extra padding in the hip area, so I rarely use them.

Step #14: Notice on the front pattern piece there is a dot at the bottom of the fly opening (the dot is circled in red on the pattern piece and on the corresponding piece of fabric in the photo). You will stitch, right sides together, the two legs of the pants from that dot, around under the crotch, all the way to the top of the back waist. The stitching line creates a big "J" in profile.

Press open the seam. In the photo you can see that your pant legs should be completely attached together at the crotch, except for the fly region.

Steps #15-16: I think the construction of the waistband facing is well explained. Just remember that when the instructions say "right" and "left", it is referring to the location of the piece as it will be worn on the body when the pants are complete. Also, be sure to mark the dots in the lower corner of the right and left waistband facing pieces - they will come in handy later. As a side note, I used a lightweight white knit interfacing for this slightly stretchy RPL (rayon, polyester, lycra) fashion fabric.

Step #17: Turn pants right side out. With right sides together, pin the right fly front panel to the the right waistband facing (left photo). Sew together from the top of the waist to the marked dot and clip to the dot (right photo).

Step #18: Press this small seam open. The unstitched portion is pressed toward the waistband facing.

Step #19: Fold back the right fly panel at centre front, use the marked notched as a folding guideline and secure with pins. The fly panel and pant front should now be right sides together. See photos for Step #20 to see the fly panel folded properly.

Step #20: Continue pinning the waistband facing to the pant, right sides together, around the entire circumference of the waist. Sew facing to waist using a 1/4" seam.

Step #21: Fold waistband facing away from the pant. Understitch (sewing through both the facing and the seam allowances) close to the seam line around the circumference of the waist - you will not be able to understitch all the way into the right side. In the photo below, this is the right side of the back of the pants with the waistband facing at the top and the body of the pant below. You can see the understitching on the facing.

Step #22: Turn facing right side out and press. The photo shows the inside of the right front of the pant in the fly region.

Step #23: To locate the position of the top zipper stop on the left side of the fly, transfer the dot from the waistband facing to the same position on the fly. To do this, fold down the waistband facing onto the fly and mark the position of the dot onto the fly (marked with a pin in the photo).

Place the zipper face down on the edge of the fly and stitch in place. I have lined up the top zipper stop with the pin from the photo above.

Step #24: Turn zipper right side out and stitch along teeth.

Step #25: Press right fly along fold line.

Step #26: Stitch one end of the elastic to the loose seam allowance of the right waistband facing.

Turn elastic into the facing, lining up the elastic with the long edge of the facing, being sure the elastic does not twist.

Step #27, 28: Fold the seam allowance, wrong sides together, on the left side of the facing. Attach the elastic here, as shown in the photo.

Step #29: Attach the elastic to the long edge of the entire facing (I used my serger to attach and clean finish in one sweep). The elastic has to be stretched to distribute it evenly along the facing edge.

Step #30: To finish the left side of the fly, fold down the facing and stitch it to the fly region.

Step #31, 32: To finish the right side of the fly front, the instructions have you attach the zipper and topstitch the fly all in one step. I prefer to attach the zipper first and then topstitch in two separate steps. I feel this gives me greater control over this procedure. Below is how I do it.

Attach zipper to the right fly region. Line up the edge of the zipper tape with the edge of the right fly flap. Slip the top portion of the zipper tape under the right facing. Stitch the zipper in place along the teeth. Be sure to only stitch through facing - do not stitch right through to front of pant.

Step #33: Topstitch the fly front, through all layers. I like to mark my topstitching line with chalk.

Step #34-38: Follow the given instructions. The top of your pants should look like this:

And, voila! Hepburn pants the HZC way!

ETA: To see the completed Hepburn pants, click here.