Monday, August 14, 2017

Too Much of a Good Thing?

The first time I came across a Rifle Paper Co. product, I think I audibly gasped. Maybe I was at Paper Source, or a stationary store ...or was it Anthropologie? I loved the style instantly and I'm sure I thought something like "FINALLY!-- A brand whose aesthetic perfectly matches my tastes!" (yes, these are how my thoughts sound).

I think my first purchase was a set of "thank you" cards. It was several years ago, back when they were mainly doing stationary and paper products, and were just starting to dip their toes into other accessories, like phone cases and small zippered bags. 

After that, as soon as I (also finally) jumped on the iPhone train, I got a Rifle Paper Co. phone case, and I would get the odd compliment on it, from other fans of the brand, who sometimes weren't even aware that the product existed. "I love your Rifle phone case! Where did you get it?!" I think the brand was still kind of flying under the mainstream radar at that point?

Over the past several years, I've gradually accumulated RPC stationary, greeting cards, calendars, coasters, art prints, cosmetics bags, phone cases, and anything else I could reasonably get my hands on. I just found myself in love with everything Anna created and I wanted to sprinkle it everywhere in my life.

It felt like the designs added a clever, interesting, artistic touch to my style. Modern yet retro, with enticing color schemes and a dash (but not too much) of whimsy. I loved it!

Like most sewers, back when I was re-entering the sewing world, as an adult (um 8 years ago?), a significant issue for me was finding fabric that I actually wanted to wear -- it needed to be interesting and cute, but also appropriate for garments. Not quilting cotton. Exploring online, and occasionally at JoAnn's, I found some suitable fabrics here and there that helped somewhat quench my thirst for eye-catching prints and colorful designs I could make into clothes.

I remember wishing back then, "If ONLY Rifle would design FABRIC." That would be amazing and I could then proceed to make ALL the clothing of my dreams, obviously.

When RPC eventually released their first fabric line, I was delighted. Hallelujah! I can make my own Rifle clothes! The possibilities are endless! My clothing will be unique AND exactly the style I want it to be. Also, rayon everything!  This is THE BEST!

I pre-ordered some Les Fleurs rayon as a birthday gift to myself and, once it showed up in the mail, I promptly tucked it away in my embarrassing fabric stash to await the perfect project. 

Somewhere along the way, before even cutting into the fabric, I started to feel less excited.

Over the past year or so, I found that clothing other bloggers and IG users made from the same, bold Rifle prints really started to feel boring and all the same to me, regardless of the actual style of the garment. Interesting details became invisible to me. The fabric appeared to be wearing the person, no garment even making a blip on my radar. It seemed like all I could see was Rifle fabric. Rifle, Rifle, Rifle, Rifle. 

Fast forward to present day. I now cringe as I scroll through Instagram (numerous times a day because I'm addicted). Rifle's latest (third? I've lost count) line of fabric is out and it feels like everyone's starting to use Rifle everything... yet again. (Also they offer Keds now, too?!) I can't escape it. It's like I'm suffocating in the pretty, painterly, detailed, perfect-color-combination, prints. It feels like too much

I didn't know that I could get sick of a style that seemed so well-suited to my own.

My beautiful periwinkle fabric is still siting in my stupid fabric stash and now I'm realizing I'm officially sick of all things Rifle Paper Co. I'm hoping to wait this out and fall back in love with my treasured cloth -- maybe next spring? 

I'm dismayed to admit I'm experiencing #RPCOverload and am totally burned out. How are you faring?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Finished Project: Carolyn Pajamas

Hi, friends! I'm marching right along (get it, it's March!) with sharing my backlog of yet-unblogged makes. Today, we have the Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Patterns. I bought this pattern right when it came out because I've always loved classic PJ sets like this, and had just been debating pulling the trigger on some at J.CREW. Nope! I can make those! So, I (finally) actually did.

The fabric is a huge bed sheet I got at Goodwill. It's 100% cotton and feels great. The print is some kind of painterly style tropical setting amid trees and flowers with ladies holding parasols, standing before scenic views, sitting on benches, and little girls chasing little dogs. I have a bunch left, so I'm thinking about making matching long PJ pants, too. And also maybe long sleeve/pants Christmas PJs? Yes.

As you can see, I made the short sleeved top and shorts version. The shorts have a faux fly, which I like the look of and was happy to have Heather's well-written instructions for, since I'd struggled with that when I'd attempted to tackle (then abandoned) a Big-4 pattern with one, some time back in my sewing career.

By the time I'd actually gotten around to sewing up this pattern (a year... or years?) after impulsively purchasing it, I was under a self-imposed deadline to complete it before I left on a girls' trip to New Orleans for one of my best friends' bachelorette trip/celebration back in September. In the interest of time, I opted to omit the piping at the sleeve and shorts cuffs, as well as at the collar and center fronts. I even went so far as to skip the buttons and just stitched the front closed at a place that felt right. I personally never unbutton PJ tops anyway, but pull them on over my head, like a little kid. Yes, I also sleep with the teddy bear pictured. Adults can do whatever we want!

I don't have any super special construction notes and I did not make any real changes to the pattern, apart from skipping a couple aesthetic steps. I did somehow manage to line things up so that there is a big palm tree centered above my bum (when I'm not twisted sideways like in the above photo) and on the back collar, too. OK by me!

I wore these PJs all fall and have just recently started pulling them out again on warmer nights as spring edges nearer. I will definitely be making another set, just a matter of time (which could be a while because I'm easily distracted by new/shiny). Next time, if I use this fabric or fabric of a similar weight, I'll likely skip the interfacing, as it makes things around the neckline a bit bulky when I'm tossing and turning in bed. I actually like the look of only piping the pocket, but I've always wanted PJs with classic coordinating piping at the collar and cuffs, so I'm sure I'll try that at some point. So many PJs possibilities, so little time.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

eShakti Dress Review

Do you guys remember back in 2014, when I reviewed a dress for eShakti?

Well, they emailed me recently to see if I'd like to do it again and I said, sure! I thought it made sense to take another crack at it, since over the years my style has changed a little bit, leaning more towards the modern now than strictly vintage-obsessed, my size has gone up, and I could now take the opportunity to try out their customizing features, since I hadn't in my first review.

If you've not heard of eShakti, they are an online women's clothing retailer with a wide selection of designs on offer that the customer can then further customize to her preference. Oddly, the dress I picked to review (from a small range of pre-selected items) seems to no longer exist on their site, but I've cobbled together a bit of information I could find to tell you about it!

This little thumbnail shows the original style of the dress as designed, the Snowflake Beaded Poplin Dress. You can see it has cap sleeves, a slight scoop neckline, and the skirt is knee length.

It's winter here in Virginia, and, even though we don't get crazy arctic temps, I still knew I wanted actual sleeves of some sort. Plus I tend to like the way short sleeves look on me more than cap sleeves.

In selecting customizing options, I added short sleeves and went for an even more scooped front and back neckline. I kept the length at the knee, but could have gone longer or shorter with it, which is a nice feature! The site also takes into account your height in the customizing section.

The skirt is pleated with in-seam pockets and the bodice meets the skirt at a separate waistband, which I'm usually a fan of, but I think this kind of looked rumpled on me -- perhaps I could remedy this by taking in the waist a bit for a closer fit. The fabric was not something you could customize, so, I got their standard cotton poplin fabric that happens to be the same fabric that the first dress I reviewed for them was made from, too.

This is, sadly, what makes me not want to reach for this dress in my closet more often, though. The cotton poplin fabric is lightweight but a bit stiff and, in black, tends to attract lint and cat hair easily. It seems to constantly look a bit rumpled and disheveled rather than crisp, even on the parts of the dress that are more fitted. I really wish that the customization extended to the fabric type, even if it was limited to this simple cotton poplin and , say, cotton sateen, or something like that! I think a different fabric would have really elevated this dress.

The beading on the front is cute, but not over the top, and I appreciate that it feels a bit more modern in design -- it's not just polka dots or cutesy snowflakes.


I  styled it with polka dot tights and pointy-toe bow flats, which I felt took things in the quirky, retro direction, to go with the vintage-style neckline. You could just as easily style a dress like this with solid tights and a sleek heel for a different, more modern look. I will say the really nice thing about eShakti's dress offering is that there is something for virtually every style. They have categories broken out by occasion and aesthetic, and so many of their dresses have interesting details you just don't find at your local Banana Republic or other run of the mill shop. 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

These are my favorites that I wish had been available for review! Though I don't love their cotton poplin, I'm so into the little scallops on that retro neckline and I think the lines of the dress (elastic shirred back waist and paneled--not pleated--skirt) would work much better with the poplin. I'm also interested to see what the cotton knit is like -- it looks great on that gold-spotted dress!

Back to my dress, I do really like the look of the scoop neckline on front and back as well as the raglan sleeves. And, any designer that knows the importance of pockets in dresses is good in my book! All in all, I may not be totally in love with the particular dress I received, but I do like the way my customization selections came out, and I would recommend eShakti for their wide range of interesting, customizable dress styles, though they do have other clothes (separates! jeans!), too.

If you're thinking of giving eShakti a try, go for it! You can get $25 off your first purchase just by registering on their site.

You can find eShakti on all of your favorite social media sites (facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest), and check out other reviews from regular people like me by following their #eShakti and #realfashionforrealpeople hashtags.

Disclaimer: As also mentioned in my last eShakti review, I was provided with a free dress of my choosing, but was not otherwise compensated for this review. All delightfully insightful thoughts and opinions are mine.